Showing posts from September, 2019

September, not Fall

Good morning from Omaha! I was supposed to fly out this morning, but the best alternative after severe weather in Chicago wreaked havoc on my travel plans was to keep the same itinerary but push it back a day. I'm thankful for a wonderful host home and that I don't have  to be back for anything, and struck by the irony of regularly flying all over the region and not being able to get home from the Midwest!  Having just wrapped up FORO #2 for the month, here's a look at FORO #1, the DRLM September  FORO. I'm trying to be better about referring to FOROs by month and not Fall/Spring since, as one of my esteemed colleagues so keenly pointed out, seasons aren't universal when your work spans hemispheres. And let's be honest: there's no such thing as fall in the Dominican.  Sometimes, I feel like Friday's cultural excursion is just a backdrop for the meaningful and enjoyable conversations that happen on the bus, while waiting for people in the bathr

Pastor Yban

Sunday was the highlight of this past weekend's DRLM FORO, and really, a highlight of my nearly 14 months here and the DRLM's nearly 14 years here: the ordination of Yban Navarro as the third Dominican national pastor. Ordinations are momentous even in the US, in a church body in which thousands of men hold the Office of the Holy Ministry. The magnitude of such occasions is off the charts in a mission outpost where adding one to the ranks represents a 50% increase. The day did not disappoint. Over 200 saints from all five Dominican congregations, joined by FORO partners from Arizona to Ontario, packed into Iglesia Luterana Cordero de Dios, which was beyond prepared thanks to the meticulous planning of Rev. Sergio Fritzler and the concerted efforts of numerous dedicated members. Candidate Yban and all the pastors processing into the sanctuary, led by Guatemalan seminarian Luis as crucifer.  Yban's public examination, performed by Regional Director Rev. Ted Krey

Parade Gardens Lutheran School

If you're reading this, there's officially a Lutheran school in Kingston, Jamaica! Parade Gardens Lutheran School (PGLS), so named because it meets inside Parade Gardens Community Center for the time being, started classes on Monday, September 2, but Area Facilitator Rev. Charles St-Onge led students, faculty, staff, and community leaders in a dedication service this morning.  Thanks to a few key generous donors, Lutheran Ministries in Jamaica rescued PGLS from the brink of having to close its doors. Church members at both nearby Faith Lutheran Church, including principal Sandra Buchanan, and St. Andrew Lutheran Church are ecstatic, since churches and schools go hand in hand in Jamaica. Rev. Obot Ite, too, is eager to serve as chaplain; Lutheran education is in his blood. Future short-term team projects will represent a blend of continued Ministry Centre renovations and PGLS support, beginning next month as part of the crew from St. John's Lutheran Church in Grand H

The Plans of the Heart

I've been in hardcore planning mode of late. Come Thanksgiving, two FOROs that I have a significant role in (the DR and Jamaica), on-field orientation for three new missionaries, a presentation on the long-term impact of short-term teams at the Beautiful Feet Mission Conference , and short-term teams in Jamaica and Peru will all be in the rear-view mirror. Good thing I'm squeezing a vacation in there, too! Not your average vacation, either: I'm staying on in Peru for an extra week after the aforementioned short-term team to do a 4-day/3-night (NO phone, NO computer!) trek to Machu Picchu. I'm not sure when doing this became the number one thing on my bucket list, but to say I'm excited would be an understatement.  Besides booking the trek itself, I've also checked off flights from Lima to Cusco, a hostel in Cusco, and hiking shoes. That last one was a doozy. I'm a pretty low maintenance person and can get everything I need and most things I want in t

Office Space

A year later...I have an office! Apparently this is typical so I'm not offended, although it is nice to have a private, AIR CONDITIONED space with fewer distractions than my overstuffed chair, hammock, couch, or kitchen table. I'm sure I'll continue to make it my own, but there's one less blank wall as of today so I decided it was ready for its close-up.  It's on the second floor of the "green office," the corner lot just across Calle Principal  from my house and the "yellow office." The two buildings used to be segregated by national (green) and regional (yellow) staff, but we've done away with those distinctions in practice and are trying to amend how we refer to them, as well. While much of the DR team indeed works out of the green office, I'm joined by Lourdes, the distance instructor from LAC's in-house language institute, Regional Life Coordinator Jamielynn ...and Skittles the cat! The 2nd desk will become Courtney Z

Tropical Storm Erin

The weather phenomenon (what exactly  is a "post-tropical cyclone?") bearing my name may have vanished from the NHC's radar , but I was spinning in circles and running at the speed of hurricane force winds all last week being the hostess with the mostest. Joining short-term volunteer Krista Hahn and the couple at the helm of LeadaChild was Krista Kafer, a member of the Benevolence Committee at a CO congregation that supports the Church's work in LAC through me. She affectionately became "Krista #2" so as not to cause confusion. Although we had never met, I readily agreed to introduce her to my life and ministry when my point person within the congregation promised me she wasn't weird (she's not)! "Very cool lady actually," he wrote; I heartily agree. In between church activities, exploring Santiago and surrounding areas, Bananagrams and double solitaire marathons, and SEVEN trips to the airport in the span of a week, we chatted nonstop