Showing posts from October, 2021


Squeezing this in while it's still "Oc" and I'M STILL IN MIAMI (currently in an interminably long and slow-moving Rebooking Center line to see if I can indeed get a confirmed seat on a 2:35 pm flight with a layover in Tampa).  I got back to the DR on October 11, just in time for Christmas!? Yup. Lacking any fall holidays, and fall in general, Christmas lights start popping up on homes, like this one down the street from my temporary apartment, in early October. However, while I've seen 2 or 3 bulk bags of Halloween candy at our local warehouse club store in past years, there's been a far more pronounced Halloween presence elsewhere, like the grocery store at which I typically shop, this year. Roadside stands selling apples and grapes are a very Dominican marker of the holiday season. I'm treated to this view of my neighbors' decked out apartment anytime I come or go (funny story: the green garland interwoven with the red on the banister has shamrocks o

Community Day

Hello from Miami International Airport! I should be flying to Chicago as I write this, but my flight was cancelled so I'm sharing some Dominican life with you before I go in search of dinner. I'm on standby for a 9:05 pm flight with one person in front of me, and if I don't make that, I'll crash in Miami for the night on American Airlines' dime and be on my way tomorrow morning. Pray! In many ways, the rhythm of my daily life in Santiago remains unchanged from how I left it in early August. Community Day, though, was brand new to me upon returning from home service.  The LAC regional team meets every Thursday at 10 am. The bulk of us are in Santiago, but we also have missionaries that Zoom in from Belize, Canada, Panama (Houston, currently), and Uruguay. Historically, we've met at the regional office in the same neighborhood where the Santiago contingent lives, but as a show of support for the seminary's strategic community-building effort, the start of the

Virginia is for Best Friends

Congratulations if you've kept up with my entire home service journey; you've made it to my last stop.  Part of home service is resting and recharging, so I flew to Virginia to spend a few days with my best friend Marie, her husband Philip, and their three kids in Williamsburg, sans presentations. Some people you don't know how you became friends with. For Marie & I it's the opposite, and we have our sophomore English teacher to thank. He paired us together for a debate about cloning (no idea who was on which side or who won), and we've been inseparable since.  The NL Wild Card game was the night I got there. Ned (4), my godson, donned his Cardinals shirt and got to stay up for the first few innings. I donned my Cardinals socks - which Ned insisted be in the picture - and watched the Cardinals lose in a painful bottom of the ninth inning. With my team eliminated, I had zero plans for the next few days. It was blissful: morning runs on the Virginia Capital Trail,


Getting close! We're on my 2nd to last stop: Springfield, MO, affectionately known to some as Springvegas. I went to college there and graduated 13 years ago; this was the first time since then that I've done more than wave as I passed by on I-44. Two things stuck out to me. First, I felt like everything was new; I hardly recognized once familiar routes. Second, I still have more connections there than I thought I did! I had three engagements lined up: 1) Prayer & Praise at the Lutheran Student Center (LSC); 2) chapel at Springfield Lutheran School (SLS); and 3) a presentation at Redeemer Lutheran Church.  I rolled into town - in my Nissan ;) - on Tuesday in time to join the LSCers for dinner, provided by Trinity Lutheran Church, before announcements, singing, and my presentation, which I customized with some throwback photos of my LSC days and, as I had done while on campus at CUNE , opportunities for future short- and long-term missionary service.  Photo credit: Ron (&qu

Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.

Friday afternoon, I crossed the state line into Iowa. My first stop was Mission Central, to see founder Gary Thies and sort out lodging for that night. If you're not familiar with Mission Central, it's really unexplainable. You can poke around on its website  for some background and visuals, but really, just go sometime and thank me later. I hung out for an hour or so before driving 30 min. to Denison, where I'd meet up for dinner with my fan club, 5/6 people I traveled to Peru with in February 2020, four of whom drove nearly seven hours from the Chicago area! I'm a city girl. But, heading STRAIGHT east, I couldn't help thinking of the famous title line from Field of Dreams , which I WILL visit one of these times I'm in Iowa.  Saturday morning, it was go time.  All missionaries passing through get their pictures taken with "the boss." Gary was prepared for  Ben & Becca Helge , the other presenters, and I, with postcards, adoption agreements, and p

The LORD bless you from Zion

And so it continues: my Mustang and I rolled into Zion Lutheran Church in Omaha, NE, on Thursday morning, September 23, for the start of the Jamaica FORO. Zion's WiFi password is a Bible verse about the Lord blessing His people from Zion, and bless us He did through their hospitality and generosity. Simply defined, a FORO is a partnership circle: districts, congregations, individuals, RSOs, departments within the Synod, auxiliary entities, other NGOs, and more walking alongside church planting efforts in a particular field by engaging in the strategic planning process and rallying various forms of support. Typically, FOROs convene 2x/year  in  the field in question, but Jamaica is unique in that its FORO meets once in the States and once in the field. For the past several months, all FOROs have been virtual, so pulling off an in-person event anyplace was a triumph. As I do for a handful of other FOROs, I helped Area Facilitator Rev. Charles St-Onge with partner communications and l