These Shoes Were Made for Goin’

How beautiful upon the mountains
    are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
    who publishes salvation,
    who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
The Jamaica mission (officially) has a new pastor: Rev. Arthur Benevenuti, a Brazilian Alliance missionary, was installed last Sunday as undershepherd of St. Andrew Lutheran Church, and yours truly got to be there for the occasion. Fellow missionaries Tirzah and Jonah came, too, representing human care and regional leadership, respectively. Jonah preached on the "beautiful feet" passage from Isaiah 52, citing that Arthur's feet are beautiful because of where they will go: the pulpit to preach the pure Gospel, the font to welcome new believers into the family of faith through water and the Word, and the altar to rightly administer Christ's true body and blood to his flock. 

Before we ever got to Sunday, though, our feet went lots of OTHER places. Arriving in-country Wednesday, we spent our first few days assessing the St. Andrew facility's present state and future prospects, laying the groundwork for the return of short-term volunteers, prepping the space to host the celebratory joint service, and encouraging the Benevenuti and Ite families. Oh yeah, and holding a FORO!

Ya gotta do what ya gotta do when it's mango season and the branches overhang the hotel parking lot. 

Let's just say the storage area looked...nothing like I left it 3+ years ago. We emptied it and threw away a mountain of trash before putting everything back with some semblance of organization. 

Usable items were offloaded onto the tables for categorizing. 

It was Jonah's idea to quickly paint the wall behind the altar so there wouldn't be smudges and nail holes peeking out from behind Lu Benevenuti's gorgeous new banners in all the photos. 

Team dinner at Nirvanna (the pastors' choice). 

Another night, the Benevenutis had Tirzah & I over for homemade pizza. Lu is a phenomenal cook, and we successfully Ubered there and back. Uber is new to the country since my last visit and will be a GAME CHANGER as I prep for teams' arrival. 

Saturday's FORO was meant to be in-person, but low registration forced our hand and we did it virtually one last time, no matter how many partners register or don't come October. 

No one on-screen could see the peanut gallery, so Tirzah & I sat in the A/C. 

Final touches for Sunday included a 2x4 cross that was, truly, a Benevenuti family effort. It didn't dry in time to hang, but I can't wait to see it next time I'm there.

It's installation day!

I sat in the very back so I could a) let Tirzah, who pinch hit as a keyboard accompanist, know when we were on the last stanza of each hymn; and b) take pictures, since neither of our regional Comms people was there. 

Wife Lu and daughters Raquel and Giovana laying hands on and praying for their husband/daddy.

Revs. Obot Ite and Arthur Benevenuti. 

Fellowship with the Jamaica MKs while we waited for lunch. Goodness Ite & I go way back to 2018; she's turning into such a beautiful young woman of God. 

Meanwhile, 2 1/2 mo. old Anaiyah and I met for the first time and are buds now. 

Lu never stops caring for others. She made her own husband's installation lunch (not one but two types of lasagna) AND a decadent chocolate layer cake with at least two different fillings, decorated with brigadeiros. 

Pray for the Benevenuti family as they continue to settle into their new home and study English, for Obot & Arthur as they iron out the kinks of team ministry, and that the Holy Spirit would continue to open doors for the dissemination of the Gospel in Kingston and beyond. 

Tirzah & Jonah flew home Monday, but not before dropping me off at my diplomat cousin's apartment Sunday afternoon for 2 days of R&R. That's right - his family's current foreign service post is KINGSTON! My take on spoiled diplomat life (his words, not mine) is forthcoming. 

Until next time, blessings in Christ!