Capital Improvements

WOW it's the Ides of March and this is my first blog post. Sorry! I blame the DRLM March 2022 FORO. As is typical, I was part of a small team at the helm of planning this most recent iteration of the bilingual partnership meetings that allow the various LAC fields to "talk shop" on their home turf with US constituents. 

Given that we hadn't held one in Santo Domingo since I deployed to the field 3 1/2 years ago, it was high time to feature the capital improvements and projects at Friends of Christ and Bread of Life Lutheran Churches, even though it meant only a skeleton crew of DR missionaries could attend. It also brought with it a whole new dimension of complexity in terms of housing, feeding, and transporting everyone. I'd be lying if I said I didn't get any frantic texts or phone calls, but it was nothing we couldn't get past as a team and learn from. 

In the end, seven individuals came away having picked up on our laser focus on church planting, so that's a win. I had only met two of them before and didn't know them well, but I can safely say the whole group of us goes "way back" to arrival day on Thursday now. We even have a WhatsApp group, so we're pretty much BFFs.  

We explored both natural and man-made wonders on Friday, beginning with The Three Eyes National Park. Pictured is Rev. Jason Schockman, from St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Oconomowoc, WI.

Higher Things BOD member and missionary colleague Joel (far right), with fellow HTers Rev. Harrison Goodman and Erica Jacoby. 

Regional Director Rev. Ted Krey with the English District's new School Ministry Executive, Albert Amling.

Ted explaining the significance of the Columbus Lighthouse before we went inside. 

Everyone loved our Venezuelan arepa lunch, and we were blessed by the hospitality of the Quantico restaurant staff. I read the room as we ate and chatted until nearly 2:00 pm and slashed one of the afternoon's planned activities from the agenda. 

South Wisconsin District brothers in ministry...and Panama hat twins. 

Thankful for many a great conversation with this sister in Christ, Deac. Sarah Longmire. She told me I'm a "little d" deaconess!

Starting a long, hot day of metaphorically drinking from a firehose and wishing I were being sprayed by a real one with Morning Prayer. 

My view (when I wasn't running out to pick up lunch). 

Soon to be (in May!) "big D" Deaconess Maritza and her cadre were superstar helpers when it came to breaks and meals. 

I'd be shocked if many people's favorite moment wasn't when the kids at Friends of Christ sang and played recorder for us. Man, did the cell phones come out!

Yeah, OK, mine too. 

New this FORO was contextualizing the presentations at the two Santo Domingo congregations by extending them to include property tours. 

Friends of Christ's proposal is to pave this vacant lot into a multi-use sports court. 

It was cooler outside than in, so Sarah and I made the executive decision that dinner would be al fresco. We moved one table and others followed suit with the rest!

Sunday morning, roughly 80 people crammed into Bread of Life Lutheran Church to receive the bread and wine of Christ's body and blood and later break physical bread together as the congregation banded together to prepare side dishes for a veritable feast of rotisserie chicken. Accordingly, it's proposal is to purchase a larger space!

José isn't even confirmed yet and is already excited about maybe going to seminary someday. 

My view (when I wasn't running out to pick up lunch), part II. 

Parillada on our last night in Santo Domingo. Note to self: learn to make pickled eggplant. 

And now...I'm tired, but good tired. Even as I process many of this weekend's conversations, I'm helping host two partners who wanted to tack on a few days in Santiago AND prepping for a short-term team arriving Saturday. All of that means ample fodder for more than one blog post in the 2nd half of the month!

Until next time, blessings in Christ!