Showing posts from May, 2021

Out with a Bang

The last Sunday in May (pandemic day 439) was marked by celebration after celebration - in the Church, in the Dominican, in my local church, and at Concordia the Reformer Seminary: Trinity Sunday (yes, we said the Credo Atanasio in Spanish); Día de las Madres (Mother's Day);  2 Baptisms;   5 confirmations at Iglesia Luterana Cordero de Dios; and 8 graduations.  Chris & Jenn Gann are on staff at Santiago Christian School and have three kids: Calder, Ainsley, and Malachi. Calder and Malachi were received into the Lord's family yesterday! Later in the same service, Chris, Jen, Calder, Ainsley, and Nellie Fernández, an English teacher with the DRLM's in-house language institute, confirmed their faith in the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. The tradition at Cordero de Dios is to have a current member choose and read a verse for each confirmand. Pastor Fritzler asked me to do so for Calder; I almost said no since I barely know him, but a dear friend pointed out that e

It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing

I can check another item off my DR bucket list after this weekend: Montecristi. I didn't know much about this northwestern province on the border with Haiti, but I knew there was a mesa to climb with swings  at the top, so I was sold and worked together with Courtney to plan a 6-person getaway. We set out on Friday (pandemic day 430).  The tail car in our caravan: me (driving), Kelsey, Jess, and April. Montecristi is just over two hours from Santiago, and I could count the number of turns from my house to our Airbnb on one hand.  These aren't the swings, but we found these a short walk down the beach from our Airbnb. At high tide, they're surrounded by water.  Exploring what there is to see in town on Saturday morning.  One of Montecristi's most notable features is its clock tower. Remind you of the Eiffel tower? It was designed by the same engineer (Alexandre Gustave Eiffel).  Iglesia San Fernando as seen from the top. Saturday morning mass was underway, so we didn'

A Latte Fun

A freeform trip to the capital on Saturday, pandemic day 424, was just the distraction I needed from some news I hope to share more about in the coming days. Tirzah, Courtney, and I followed the Krey guagua  down early with only an inkling of what was in store for us.  First up: help a couple of seminarians and an electrician get going on making a small apartment to the side of Iglesia Luterana Amigos de Cristo livable. We did more milling around than I would have liked but also unloaded paint supplies, drove to the hardware store, picked up lunch...and finally started prepping the walls to be painted to keep busy.   I hadn't laid eyes on this particular church in ???, so I enjoyed Regional Director Ted Krey's walking tour of recent facility upgrades and visions for the future. Imagine this lot as a community basketball court! Next: house [read: apartment] hunting! Soon, we hope, Rev. Lucas Elberhardt and his wife Agatha will get their visas and return from Brazil to serve at A

Nympha and the Church in Her House

A few weeks ago, my Bible study group talked about the conclusion of Paul's letter to the Colossians: a litany of people to greet or who send their greetings that usually gets glossed over. The author of our study, though, drew attention to the fact that each name represents an individual whom God purposefully included in Paul's cloud of witnesses so that the Gospel might be spread more effectively and further afield.  Colossians 4:15 introduces us to Nympha:  Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. The author held Nympha up as an example of biblical hospitality, asking "In what ways do we, as a congregation and as individuals, offer similar gifts of warmth, hospitality, and physical space today?"  My perspective on the question would have been much different had I been answering it from a conference room in the state-of-the-art ministry wing of my home congregation's towering edifice with its flagstone façade. Her


My last newsletter  ever so briefly alluded to Missions Unpacked for Kids, but given the amount of time that numerous people have dedicated to it ever since an emergency meeting about an "unexpected wrinkle" on Thursday afternoon, it deserves more than passing mention. Wrinkle or no wrinkle, we're going to make it happen, and it's going to be awesome.  Let me back up. In January and February of this year, some colleagues and I pulled off what came to be known as Missions Unpacked: a "global mission experience" to "unpack how LCMS International Mission works without ever having to dig out your suitcase." The educational, experiential event took place online over the course of four weeks, one for each region.  It was a pilot, and we approached it as such. We had no idea how it was going to go. It could have been a flop.  Instead, it blew us away.  So, even as we debriefed and analyzed the original, its first spin-off was conceived. "MU4K" h

Business in the Front...

Today was like a mullet: business in the front, party in the back.  This morning, I joined friends and supporters of Lutheran Ministries in Jamaica for a virtual FORO - maybe, hopefully, after 410 days of the pandemic, the last before we're able to meet in person again? It was an uplifting, educational two hours of worshiping our amazing God and hearing about all of the ways His name is being proclaimed despite tight COVID restrictions. Rev. Obot Ite has been working tirelessly to support two congregations and a preaching station - over and above his vocations as husband and father - and his efforts are bearing fruit. The congregation at St. Andrew has begun worshiping in its new sanctuary space; there's a solid group of dedicated men at Faith; and soldier seemed to be the most popular costume at Parade Gardens Lutheran School's recent Career Day.  After crossing off a few quick FORO follow-up tasks, it was adventure time for Courtney and I in the afteroon, literally. We to