Thursday, September 5, 2013

Preparations Continue – both planned and unplanned

It has been another week of preparations for Richard and Debbie. The time is going by quickly and we’re more and more encouraged as plans and ideas come together. On two separate occasions we had the joy of having dinner in the homes of long-time friends with extensive experience in foreign missions. Both events were wonderful opportunities to gain more insight and knowledge of working in a foreign country and serving the church in a different culture. Debbie got to peruse our friend’s bilingual Guatemalan cookbook. Later she found a used copy online so now she’s looking up recommended favorites and getting ready to put on something special for when we have visitors in our Guatemala home! Thank-you Chris and Jeanette; and thank-you Sam and Judy. We loved your hospitality, good food, wisdom, and knowledge. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

Hospitality and chances to share more about our ministry were extended to us by friends who opened their homes for gatherings with new and old friends wishing to connect with us before we leave and to learn about our work and new calling. Building new relationships and strengthening old ones is a vital component of our preparation. The more we consider the challenges ahead of us, the more we know how dependent we are on the prayers, words of encouragement, and financial support of those who are alongside us and sending us out. It’s a special joy when we can gather in the friendly and hospitable setting of peoples’ homes. Thank-you Dick and Trudy for the picnic at your home with the choir! And thank-you Jason and Carole for an enjoyable time at your lake cabin!

As much as we would love to spend all our preparation time in informal gatherings with friends, supporters, and family, there are other aspects of the sending interpretation process that require more formal surroundings. Executive Presbyter Sheryl Kinder-Pyle graciously made time in her schedule to meet with Richard to discuss our interpretation plans in the Presbytery of the Inland Northwest, and to plan for our commissioning at the September presbytery meeting. What an encouragement it is for us to know that our presbytery stands behind us as we take on this new ministry! Through the extraordinary efforts of our predecessors in this mission calling (Roger and Gloria Marriott) we have an opportunity to visit individuals, groups, and congregations of the Presbytery of Middle Tennessee. We’ve shared a connection with the Middle Tennessee folks for several years as they have maintained a mission partnership with the same people group as our home Inland Northwest Presbytery.

Shortly after our return from Nashville, we will participate in our presbytery meeting on the campus of Whitworth University. The following Sunday, we will be sharing in our home congregation, Knox Presbyterian Church. Soon after that we leave for Chicago for Richard’s 40th high school reunion and will visit his childhood church as well as a visit to a church in Kenosha, WI which has sent several groups to Guatemala over the last few years. September is going to be an exciting month. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers for every engagement and opportunity!

Not all our preparations were planned by us. Early this week our area experienced a spectacular electrical storm that knocked out the power to our home for 14 hours. Out in the country where we live, no power means no water. Electricity is needed to pump water from the well. Fortunately, an old well on the farm has a working hand pump, so we made many trips from the pump to the house, hauling water to fill toilets, wash dishes, and prepare meals. Our little adventure was a subtle reminder of how many of our sisters and brothers around the world cannot take constant electrical power or a convenient, safe, and reliable source of clean water for granted. Many of our mission co-workers in Presbyterian World Mission are involved in programs to help provide clean water to communities around the world. Let’s think of their work and ministry whenever we turn on the tap at home. And let’s pray for them, their work, and the communities they serve.

Richard and Debbie

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