Showing posts from May, 2023

Mi Casa es Mi Casa Otra Vez

Hello from my HAMMOCK.  Today was moving day, but I have a lot to catch you up on before we get to that so this is simply a long overdue post so you can share in my joy! The short story is that my landlord kicked me out of the house I adored just shy of two years ago so she could live in it while her house was being remodeled, and today, I moved back. I was quite literally the ONLY one who thought this day would ever come, but I never lost hope and am trying very  hard not to say "I told you so."  After a harrowing final month of negotiations, my landlord handed over the keys at the worst possible time: in the middle of Symposium week.  Day 1 almost did me in, so I wasn't mad about needing to fulfill my logistical support role remotely while out and about all the following day.  The key exchange was a microcosm of the past 23 mos. in that it took far longer than anticipated, and the screen doors her dog chewed through weren't fixed as promised. (I can't even exp

I Don’t Have the Patience for This

Real life post alert. Next time I agree to a 3:30 am airport pickup and a 10:00 pm meeting in the same day, someone stop me. I enjoyed catching up with OIM Exec. Dir. Rev. James Krikava on the drive to his hotel AND fielding questions from a July short-term team (above) yesterday, but lack of sleep + being up to here (picture me gesturing WAY above my head) with the stress of a pending move* meant I about lost it this morning when the bus driver got confused and didn't show, leaving Pastor Krikava and a dozen or so other hotel guests stranded on day 1 of Concordia the Reformer Seminary's annual theological symposium . If one more person texted me about it once I was aware, I was going to throw my phone across the parking lot.  We pulled the trigger and ordered four Ubers at 7:38 am; the last group had straggled in by the end of Matins.   I so needed the reminders of Psalm 23, hymn 872 ("The Lord is my Shepherd"), and the wise words of a fellow missionary who said some

The Concordias Do LAC

Weeks with two short-term teams happening simultaneously are my favorite. Last week was extra special, then, with TWO Concordia Universities learning about and jumping into international mission in TWO different countries: whilst my friend and colleague Caitlin Ramírez hosted CUNE in Peru, I hosted CUC in the DR. My group consisted of team leader Kristin, director of the undergraduate deaconess program, and five deaconess students (OK, three students and two very  recent grads who walked across the stage on Saturday and hopped on the plane on Monday). I planned a week of mission education with a heavy bent toward diaconal formation and ministry from multiple perspectives for them. I did NOT plan the termite infestation... We did ALL the things their first full day, beginning with observing the Palmar school's opening flagpole ritual. It never takes long for teams to become fast friends with the group home chicos , especially when UNO and BINGO are involved.  Deaconess Cheryl Nauma

Mine, all Mine

Way back when I  took a team to Taino Valley Park  in October, my spidey senses were going off left and right at the number of "amber mine" signs I saw on the way. You know I'm always on the lookout for new places to take volunteers and visitors, and hey, I wanted to tour an amber mine. A fruitless bout of Googling confirmed I'd just need to drive to la cumbre  one day and stop in at whichever one looked most intriguing. When Becca asked if I wanted to tag along when she took some friends to do just that, it was a no brainer.   The first place we stopped was just a showroom. The owner told us mine tours are only offered M-F but was all too happy to educate us about the...stone? mineral? (where's a geologist when you need one?) of Jurassic Park fame. Handling specimens of various sizes and in various states of raw vs. polished. I was surprised at how lightweight it is and learned there's such a thing as "blue amber."  A few hundred meters down the ro

Powell Plaza Peeps

When a family member moves to a foreign country you frequent for work - even temporarily - you go visit.  My paternal cousin Ian is a foreign service officer with the US State Department; having previously been posted in San Francisco, Pretoria, Baghdad , and Detroit, he's filled the tole of Assistant Regional Security Officer - Investigations in Kingston, Jamaica, since July. I disconnected my work email from my phone for a 2-day vacation with him, his wife Maria, and their kids Will (8) and Claire (4). They welcomed me Sunday night with homemade pizza using Imo's sauce and cheese (#iykyk) and fresh-baked cookies.  They had work and school, respectively, so I was largely on my own during the day; I didn't mind a bit. Monday, I barely left their apartment building (Powell Plaza, a 36-unit complex that felt like a cross between a college dorm and a resort, only with armed guards on duty 24/7) except when we went out for an adults-only dinner, hitting up the gym first, then t