Posted on August 9, 2019 I Thank God for YOU
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I thank my God every time I remember you.– Phil. 1:3

 It has been a few months since I’ve had a chance to catch you up on my life and ministry, so it’s about time that I do it. I just returned from a month long intensive study program in Expressive Arts Therapy and Social Change at the European Graduate School in Saas Fee, Switzerland. I completed a two-year Certificate in Advanced Graduate Studies making me a PhD candidate. That means that I still have a lot of work ahead of me to research, write, submit and defend a doctoral dissertation before receiving my PhD in Expressive Arts Therapy. This low residency program is designed for working professionals. This means that our research is intended to enhance the work we are currently doing as well as contribute something new and unique to the field.  I am humbled by the significant lifework of my international cohort colleagues and have cultivated many new opportunities for ministry and networking around the globe, thus expanding International Ministries reach as well. This has been an amazing opportunity to prepare myself and enrich the skills I have to offer my colleagues around the world as a Global Consultant for Training through the Restorative Arts. I thank God for this gift of learning.

After returning home from an intense training and memorial making trip to Cuba in March, I had the chance to join my husband Gary in a visit to Tuscan, AZ where IM colleagues, David and Joyce Reed cared not only for my weary soul, but allowed my tired body to recover and rest as well. I was so tired that I slept almost my entire first day there. Their and Gary’s gracious care restored and sustained me when I needed it most. I often quote the phrase, ”Healer, heal thyself.” At times, I need to hear this, but I learned that this is not enough. We need others to help in our healing. I thank God for this gift of friendship.

April and May brought opportunities to serve ecumenical partners locally in Washington State. In April, I facilitated an arts-based retreat for 30 women of St. John’s Episcopal Church on the theme of Refreshing Restoration. Together we explored restorative practices for soul care and relationship building through collaging, community mosaic-making, movement, and creating found object triple spiral labyrinths. We learned from each other and were moved by the Spirit that flowed among us. In May, I was invited to be an Intergenerational Mentor for the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship. The Krista Foundation was founded in 1999 in Spokane, Washington, to honor the life and vision of Krista Kimberly Hunt Ausland, who was killed at age 25 while volunteering with her husband, Aaron, in global service in rural Bolivia. Inspired by Krista’s desire “to show God’s love in actions,” her family and friends wanted an enduring legacy to celebrate her spirit of active love and faith. Today the Krista Foundation equips young leaders who commit to a year of service to serve effectively before, during and after their year. Inspired by Krista, their research-based, skill-building global citizen leadership program equips young adults to maximize service impact and transform their service experiences into lives of service leadership. Besides having significant conversations with many engaging young adults, I co-facilitated an arts-based resiliency workshop, consulted on the conference’s worship design and led an interactive community art process. I thank God for these gifts of collaborative leadership.

In June, I was thrilled to reconnect with many friends and colleagues at the American Baptist Mission Summit in Virginia Beach, VA. Accompanied by Gary again, I spent significant moments catching up with people, presenting at the Hear the Call learning track and with the conference youth program, as well as leading an interactive prayer experience during an evening worship service. Following the Summit, we spent two days in Washington, DC with our friends, Joan Friesen, ABCGI executive minister and Jay Nordgard, Edna Martin Center. Our most significant highlight was spending extended time at the National African American History Museum. Powerfully poignant and inspiring, it moved me towards a greater personal commitment to dismantling the evil construct of white supremacy and to building bridges of racial repair and reconciliation. I thank God for the gift of challenge.

From now until the end of this year, I have four more trips to prepare for. I invite you to pray with me that they will be fruitful and fulfilling.

*September 1-7 Rebuild, Renew, Restore Puerto Rico with my supporting church of First Baptist Church of Olympia, WA

*October 1-19 All India Baptist Summit in Hyderabad, India and then onto Kathmandu, Nepal to accompany IM colleague, Carole Syndor in leading a Restorative Arts workshop for key Nepali leaders and emergency responders involved in earthquake and crisis recovery.

*Oct. 3-November 10 Expressive Arts in Transition (EXIT) and Community Ritual: Moving Toward Belonging After Trauma and Displacement in Fort St. Elmo, Malta

*December 6-15 Expressive Arts Leadership Training with ministry in La Carpio, Costa Rica

I thank God for these opportunities to serve.

I thank God for YOU! I thank God for your prayers! I thank God for your lives of service and support! I thank God for our relationship and our faithful friendship!