Over the River and Through the SID

[Current location: Montevideo, Uruguay...DONE with home service (and  therefore sharing my location at the beginning of each post) and back to field duties!]

The Southern IL District represents a burgeoning partnership with the DRLM, specifically Concordia the Reformer Seminary (CMSCR), and its furthest reaches are a stone's throw from my home service hub: St. Louis. I made a total of three day trips across the Mighty Mississippi to present at various fora, oftentimes adding a few CMSCR-specific slides to my standard PowerPoint. Public libraries and coffee shops made great landing spots with free Wi-Fi whenever I needed to kill a few hours so as to avoid traipsing needlessly back and forth.

Wednesday, April 17

8:00 am: Chapel, St. John's Lutheran Church, Chester, IL - No photos, but it bears pointing out that few venues have hosted me three times (pre-deployment, home service 2021, and home service 2024). I loved Rev. Tim Sims' brief homily before he yielded the floor to me, on Luke 24:47:
"...and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in [Christ's] name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem."
He emphasized the final three words. We are the continuation of the mandate, which has, to-date, made it from Jerusalem all the way to Chester, IL, the Dominican Republic, and beyond. 

6:30 pm: SID Mission Task Force open house, hosted by Zion Lutheran Church, Mascoutah, IL

Task force chair Jeff Fick welcomed the assembly.

The program began with a virtual greeting from CMSCR's director, Rev. Sergio Fritzler (Rev. Joel Fritsche, the former director, and his wife Clarion came to cheer me on and be a part of the conversation)...in English! I presented for the next 45 min. or so, took questions, and then joined everyone for a lovely dessert reception.

Thursday, April 18

11:33 am: Chapel, Christ our Savior Lutheran High School, Evansville, IL

Who knew there was an itty bitty (23 students) Lutheran high school in the metro area?! It's been there for 25 years, and I'd never heard of it. There's actually another similarly-sized one, Christ our Rock, about an hour and a half away in Centralia.

Administrator Sherry Prange was a rock star in setting everything up. Her dedication to CoS and love for each and every student was plain to see.

Wednesday, April 24

10:00 am ff: Preschool/Kindergarten classroom visits + grades 1-8 chapel, Immanuel Lutheran School, Okawville, IL

Walking through the halls, you couldn't miss Immanuel's commitment to raising funds and awareness for CMSCR. 

I'm not the first DR missionary to visit Immanuel. Jamielynn's sister Elizabeth teaches there!

5:15 pm: Family Night, Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Springfield, IL [OK, you got me...this one's actually in the Central IL District, but close enough]

My connection to Our Savior's is Rev. Joshua Traxel's family. They adopted Widlina (front, right) from the DR almost two years ago and spend several months in-country during their journey, including a stint at an Airbnb in Cerro Alto, my neighborhood in Santiago. I was the photographer for Widlina's Baptism at Iglesia Luterana Pueblo Nuevo; they wanted to welcome her into God's family in her heart language. 

I love the concept of the event I was part of! First, dinner (pizza, green salad, fruit salad, and ice cream sundaes). Kids and adults alike then scattered; my presentation was just one of a variety of studies/classes to choose from.

Everyone came back together at the end for a song led by the vicar, followed by a popcorn prayer. 

Over the river and through the SID
To five schools and churches I go
The van knows the way to carry the display
Through the bright and springlike sun!

Until next time, blessings in Christ!