International Ministries

Baits - International Ministries The latest from Mylinda Baits https://internationalministries.org/teams/45-baits.rss Creating a Story Holder <p class="MsoNormal"><i><b>“You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord.” Isaiah 62:3 ESV</b></i><br></p><p class="MsoNormal">In May I was invited to facilitate a collaborative art making process during this year’s International Christian Alliance on Prostitution Global Conference. The conference gathered over 300 people from across the globe who are actively engaged in anti-trafficking ministries. I’d been wanting to create a mosaic stained glass window with this community for years and was glad to now get the opportunity to do it. Although I had been pondering and praying about the process for quite some time, I really had no idea how the final piece would turn out. <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Beauty Restores </i></b><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">(bring back, return or repair or renovate<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal">)<o:p></o:p></b></i></p><p class="MsoNormal">A month prior to ICAP, I received a note from friends in Oregon that their church had a shed full of stained glass windows, damaged from a propane explosion in their parking lot. They had been sitting, collecting dust for years and the church was looking to get rid of them. Would I be interested in taking some off their hands? Of course, and now I have enough glass for years of projects! I cut some of the glass into smaller sizes and packed the 48 lbs of broken glass into a suitcase to travel with me from Washington state to Wisconsin. <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">At a reclaimed building materials and salvage store, we found old paned windows that were the size I was looking for. After sharing with the shop keeper the purpose of the ICAP gathering and how we planned to use them in the worship setting, she generously offered them as a buy one, get the other three free.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">With bits of dusty and broken glass placed on no longer useful windows, could beauty restore us?<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p><b><i>Beauty Revives (</i></b><i>to live again, restore to life, regain strength or energy<b>)</b></i></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>I set out tables with the glass pieces spilling out from the center of a globe to represent how at times we feel overwhelmed: that our worlds are falling apart, spilling out and broken into pieces because of the suffering we see and have experienced. I invited everyone to choose one piece of colored glass that expressed something about themselves. They were to reflect throughout the day on the shape, the color, the texture, the sharp edges and the meaning of their piece.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It could also be used as a way to create conversation and curiosity, opening up opportunities to share stories and impressions of why they picked their particular piece and what it means for them. These small, shattered, fragmented and fragile glass pieces began to live again as they took on the meaning of the lives that held them.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">By attaching meaning to the bits, could beauty bring life back and revive us?<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p><b><i>Beauty Refreshes (</i></b><i><a href="https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS739US741&amp;biw=1397&amp;bih=576&amp;q=define+reinvigorate&amp;forcedict=reinvigorate&amp;sa=X&amp;sqi=2&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjJ3t-sk6rUAhXJCBoKHa4fCWwQ_SoIKDAA"><span style="color:black;mso-themecolor:text1;text-decoration:none;text-underline: none">reinvigorate</span></a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS739US741&amp;biw=1397&amp;bih=576&amp;q=define+revitalize&amp;forcedict=revitalize&amp;sa=X&amp;sqi=2&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjJ3t-sk6rUAhXJCBoKHa4fCWwQ_SoIKTAA"><span style="color:black;mso-themecolor:text1;text-decoration:none;text-underline: none">revitalize</span></a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS739US741&amp;biw=1397&amp;bih=576&amp;q=define+fortify&amp;forcedict=fortify&amp;sa=X&amp;sqi=2&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjJ3t-sk6rUAhXJCBoKHa4fCWwQ_SoILDAA"><span style="color:black;mso-themecolor:text1;text-decoration:none;text-underline: none">fortify</span></a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS739US741&amp;biw=1397&amp;bih=576&amp;q=define+enliven&amp;forcedict=enliven&amp;sa=X&amp;sqi=2&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjJ3t-sk6rUAhXJCBoKHa4fCWwQ_SoILTAA"><span style="color:black;mso-themecolor:text1;text-decoration:none;text-underline: none">enliven</span></a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS739US741&amp;biw=1397&amp;bih=576&amp;q=define+stimulate&amp;forcedict=stimulate&amp;sa=X&amp;sqi=2&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjJ3t-sk6rUAhXJCBoKHa4fCWwQ_SoILjAA"><span style="color:black;mso-themecolor:text1;text-decoration:none;text-underline: none">stimulate</span></a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS739US741&amp;biw=1397&amp;bih=576&amp;q=define+reanimate&amp;forcedict=reanimate&amp;sa=X&amp;sqi=2&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjJ3t-sk6rUAhXJCBoKHa4fCWwQ_SoIMjAA"><span style="color:black;mso-themecolor:text1;text-decoration:none;text-underline: none">reanimate</span></a></i>)</p><p class="MsoNormal">I imagined that following the Holy Spirit’s lead in the anti-trafficking movement was a bit like the unseen yet very present movement of the deep ocean currents interacting with the wind driven surface currents creating streams and swirls similar to how Van Gogh interpreted the heavens in Starry Night. A new understanding for me of “on earth as it is in heaven”. To capture this idea of movement, I attached a few swirling, wavelike lines of dark blue glass on the empty window panes to form a scaffold or structure. Everyone was invited to add their small, broken piece to the window. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>It was an offering of their uniqueness, gifting, story to the whole. To be mindful of where they fit, to leave space between, to pay attention to who they follow and to how and where they lead. At the beginning it seemed chaotic and without form or shape. It was messy, at times confusing, sometimes frustrating not knowing how it was “supposed to” turn out. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>The “not really knowing where I fit” or letting go and offering “my broken piece” act surfaced deep feelings right away in some while the significance of the act came later for others. The interplay of the different shapes and colors began to add new life and beauty to the old windows. It was refreshing to see all of the pieces coming together in ways that I couldn’t have expected.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Once everyone placed their piece, there were many empty spaces between to fill in, so a small group of us continued to work through the day and evening to use up all of the glass that I brought. We found that we only had enough glass to finish three of the four windows so we concentrated on those with a promise that I will bring more glass to the next gathering where we’ll finish the final one. This shows that we are always in process and hopeful that the work will continue. Undone is still beautiful and there is wisdom in the waiting. <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">Can this active engagement in creativity refresh and revitalize us?<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p><b><i>Beauty Reconciles (</i></b><i>to restore friendship or harmony, to settle, to bring together, resolve<b>)</b></i></p><p class="MsoNormal">Once all of the stained glass pieces were glued to the window glass, I invited a diverse group of people to help me put grout into the empty spaces. The grout is made of a powder like cemet mixed with water into a thick paste that seeps into the spaces between to form a permanent bond, unifying the separate pieces into one. It softens the rough edges and hardens later to create a strong connection. It is the messiest part of the process. We had to get our hands dirty to work the grout into the creases. It covered up all of the colors at first until the spaces set up and the extra could be wiped off. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>We spent the whole day cleaning and scraping grout to uncover the beauty underneath and in between. Like the Holy Spirit moving in, around and through us to bring us together. <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">Can the beauty that comes from our unity reconcile us?<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p><b><i>Beauty Recreates</i> (</b><i>to create again, to reproduce or reenact</i><b>)</b></p><p class="MsoNormal">We began to discover the beauty not only of the process, but also emerging in the product of our creation. This art object, the stained glass mosaic windows, <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">held our common story</i></b>. They had become more and more valuable for all of us. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>The result of our work together became the <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">holder of our stories</i></b>, a reminder of our beautiful and broken experiences being brought together by the Spirit of God who carefully and lovingly made, remade and continues to recreate us. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>The mosaic metaphor became a visual description of our individual as well as common life. The experience of creating something together is held in each person’s memory and our community memory is revealed through, held up and remembered in the object itself. <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">Will we allow ourselves to be created again by the beauty that recreates us?<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span>Throughout the week as we were completing the large three paneled mosaic, people would ask me what we were going to do with the finished windows. I really had no idea what was going to become of them. My role was to create the process and we hadn’t decided where the finished product would reside. The “where” and “what are you going to do with them now” became the million dollar questions. Since none of us knew if what we would create together&nbsp;would be worth holding onto, we hadn’t made plans for it. Since the windows became the <b><i>story holder</i></b> of ICAP, they will be used again for the next global gathering. In the meantime, one panel is available to be used at Green Lake Conference Center, another panel will grace the space of the home offices of International Ministries, and the third is with one of the ICAP counselors who will bring it back to be joined with the others in three years. The scattering and regathering of the panels can remind us of our leavings and comings as well, though separate, we need each other and beauty is made whole when Christ’s light shines through us all together.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>What a gift and honor it was for me to be a part of Beauty. Thank you for making the world more beautiful by offering your part as well.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">Held in the beauty that restores, revives, refreshes, reconciles and recreates,<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">Mylinda<span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> <o:PixelsPerInch>96</o:PixelsPerInch> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> 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<!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> Tue, 06 Jun 2017 15:42:26 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/65303-creating-a-story-holder https://internationalministries.org/read/65303-creating-a-story-holder Another chance <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:9.0pt;font-family:Helvetica; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">Hello Mylinda Baits Cheer Squad!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:9.0pt;font-family:Helvetica; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">This is Gary Baits writing to say THANKS to all of you for your support of Mylinda's ministry.&nbsp; I know that some of you gave to the recent matching gifts campaign. Thanks so much!&nbsp; Some of you weren't able to send a gift before the matching campaign ended.&nbsp; The good news is that more matching funds have been made available, so if you act quickly, your new or increased gift will be matched.&nbsp; Simply go to&nbsp;<a href="http://internationalministries.org/"><span style="color:blue">internationalministries.org</span></a>, then go to the "your gift doubled" area and follow the directions.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:9.0pt;font-family:Helvetica; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 9pt;">Currently Mylinda is visiting some churches, supporters, and friend in New England.&nbsp; Please pray for safe and fruitful travels.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 9pt;">Look forward to a new journal&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px;">coming out soon</span><span style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 9pt;">&nbsp;describing her facilitation of a collaborative art making process&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px;">at the ICAP Global conference!</span></p><p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> <o:PixelsPerInch>96</o:PixelsPerInch> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> 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class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> Tue, 06 Jun 2017 06:49:32 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/65300-another-chance https://internationalministries.org/read/65300-another-chance Matching Gift Opportunity <p class="MsoNormal" style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px;">Hola to all of you who care about the ministry of&nbsp;<b>Mylinda Baits</b>:<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px;">This is&nbsp;<i><b>Gary Baits</b></i>, Mylinda’s husband and biggest fan.&nbsp; Many of you have told me that you look forward to Mylinda’s journals and that you’re inspired by how God is using her ministry throughout Latin America and beyond.&nbsp; I hope you read her most recent journal about an event she coordinated in Mexico City.&nbsp; If not, read it!&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px;">I’m writing to you because while Mylinda loves to share about the people with whom she serves, she doesn’t really like to talk about money, especially when it has to do with supporting her ministry.&nbsp; I, on the other hand, have no hesitation about asking you.&nbsp; Could you please consider giving generously and regularly to support Mylinda’s ministry? &nbsp;We would love to see her support at 100%.&nbsp; It is currently &nbsp;lagging at below 70%.&nbsp; &nbsp;Right now is an especially opportune moment to give, as International Ministries is offering to match your gifts.&nbsp; You can see the attached document below for instructions. &nbsp;<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; text-align: center;">Mylinda and I are about to celebrate 30 years of marriage.&nbsp; During that time, it has been a joy for me to watch Rev. Mylinda use her gifts of teaching,&nbsp;preaching, bringing folks together, and walking alongside of people in the face of great struggle and pain.&nbsp; Most of you know that Mylinda has been an artist for years.&nbsp; But in this new phase&nbsp;of her ministry she is using the arts more than ever, especially as a way to help people process trauma.</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px; text-align: center;">&nbsp;Mylinda extends her heart to those she encounters, reminding us that we are works of art, that we’re made in God’s image, and that we can all reflect God’s beauty and love.&nbsp; Recent brain science is now proving what ancient cultures and the Bible have been saying for millennia: music, movement, drawing, painting, sculpture, and all of the arts can move us in ways that go beyond words.&nbsp; Mylinda works with people who have been beaten up by life, people for whom words may have lost their power.&nbsp; But therapeutic arts can be used by the Spirit to help vulnerable people express and grieve, as well as celebrate and heal. It’s not magic and it’s not instantaneous, but it is authentic and it is transformational.&nbsp; Those of you who know Mylinda can feel her joy as she serves Christ in this way. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px;"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px;">Now that I’m done bragging (in a humble, Christian way) about my wife, I’m inviting you to give.&nbsp; You can read the attachments and you can give on the website at&nbsp;<a href="http://internationalminsries.org/">internationalministries.org</a>.&nbsp; All gifts are appreciated, though ongoing, monthly gifts from individuals and churches are the best way to ensure that Mylinda’s ministry continues.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px;">Thanks for your giving.&nbsp; Thanks for your prayers.&nbsp;&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px;">Humbly proud and gratefully yours,<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px;">Gary Baits<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px;">p.s. thanks for your prayers for me and the (grown) kids.&nbsp; We are well, and I’m four years into teaching High School Spanish.&nbsp; I plan to be at the Mission Summit in Portland, OR (June 30-July 2), and am glad to buy you a cup of coffee.&nbsp; If you don’t drink coffee, I’m glad to drink it for you.<o:p></o:p></p><div><p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 16.100000381469727px;">You are vitally important to the work of global mission around the world.</p><p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 16.100000381469727px;">The Spring Matching Gift Challenge is a unique opportunity to see your generous support for International Ministries and the global servants you care about DOUBLED in impact!</p><p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 16.100000381469727px;">Out of a desire to inspire new and increased support for global servants, several generous partners have come together to create a $52,000 Spring Matching Gift Fund.&nbsp;<b>From now until June 15 or the matching funds run out, whichever comes first, your crucial financial support for an International Ministries global servant can be doubled!</b></p><h3 style="font-family: arial; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Your gift can be matched when:</h3><ul style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 16.100000381469727px;"><li style="margin-bottom: 0.5em;"><b>You pledge a new recurring gift</b>&nbsp;to support the work of International Ministries and our global servants. (For example: If you make a new pledge to give $100 every month, $100 will be doubled.)</li><li style="margin-bottom: 0.5em;"><b>You increase your recurring gift</b>&nbsp;amount if you’re already giving monthly or quarterly. (For example: If you increase your recurring gift from $100 to $150, $50 will be doubled.)</li><li style="margin-bottom: 0.5em;"><b>You make your first one-time or recurring gift</b>&nbsp;to International Ministries. (For example: If you have never given to International Ministries before and you make a one-time gift of $75, all $75 will be matched.)</li></ul><h3 style="font-family: arial; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">How to give:</h3><ul style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 16.100000381469727px;"><li style="margin-bottom: 0.5em;"><b>Online.</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;Go to internationalministries.org special campaigns 2017 Spring Matching Gift. Use the Give box by Mylinda's name to give by credit card.</li><li style="margin-bottom: 0.5em;"><b>By phone.</b>&nbsp;Call Carol at 1-800-222-3872, ext. 2323, to give by credit card.</li><li style="margin-bottom: 0.5em;"><b>By check.</b>&nbsp;Make your check out to International Ministries, write Mylinda Baits/Matching Gift Fund in the memo line and mail to International Ministries, PO Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851.</li></ul></div><div><br></div> Wed, 19 Apr 2017 08:00:43 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/64954-matching-gift-opportunity https://internationalministries.org/read/64954-matching-gift-opportunity Is There Hope? <p class="MsoNormal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">“Jesus’ work on the cross is to protest and question and demand the overthrow of violence and death-dealing systems of power. His imminent and eternal rising is a crying out against and over the abuses of this world — ensuring that they do not have the last word.” Layton E. Williams<o:p></o:p></i></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;">How to listen #1<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;">Somewhere in my brain<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;">each laugh, tear and lullaby<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;">becomes memory.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;">How to listen #7<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;">Even the silence<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;">has a story to tell you.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;">Just listen. Listen.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">How to listen #10</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;">Write down what I think<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;">I know. The knowing will come.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;">Just keep listening… <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>-Jacqueline Woodson, brown girl dreaming<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">Listening to my heart this Easter week as I process an amazing gathering of 35 Latin American peacemakers at the first ever 10 Day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers in Mexico City that I was honored to help make happen. I arrived home after experiencing life-giving beauty in diversity, wisdom in youth and seasoned sojourners, humility in abundant generosity and extravagant hospitality, and hope laced with practical and prudent <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">non-violent</i></b> tools for conflict transformation in our churches, community and world to bad news. I was saddened and grieved by news of death promoting violence in military actions taken by the US against the Syrian people, Palm Sunday bombings of Egyptian believers in their place of worship, another senseless school shooting in my hometown of San Bernardino and the Maundy Thursday bombing attack in Afghanistan. I struggle to find words to express what I think I know, trusting that the knowing will come. I’ll just keep listening…<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">If even the silence has a story to tell me, I’ll listen. <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">The busyness of facilitating group learning, arranging airport taxis for scattering workshop participants, paying the final bills for food and housing, cleaning up the reams of butcher paper used to record “the wisdom in the room”, the giving and receiving of hugs, blessings and Facebook friend requests have all subsided now and I was left to ponder in sweet silence. Stories that stick to me become memories that remind me of Jesus’ rising and crying out against and over the abuses of the world. Stories that astound and humble me as I recognize how privileged and honored I am to walk alongside of such significant servant leaders. These stories visit me, prod me and coax me toward Hope, even when the evidence against it grows with every new newsfeed. <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">I am grateful for the stories that move my friends towards brave non-violent transforming initiatives as they follow Jesus’ way of peace. Like Rebecca and Javier who accompany the families of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico as they hold on to a hope for justice. Like Ernesto who when he unknowingly committed a cultural offense, modeled mature humility and gratefulness to learn from others in the group who have been historically <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>marginalized. Like Gustavo who, though not a follower of Jesus, generously shared from his deep well of Chilean Mapuche spirituality and extensive knowledge of human rights advocacy. Like Luz, the only Columbian participant, who both engaged deeply with the other participants while maintaining close tabs on the struggles of her congregation and close friends back home as they dealt with emergencies related to extreme flooding and loss of life on top of the post traumatic effects of a 52 year civil war. If you can imagine, the stories that these 35 people carry with them are countless. In 10 days we couldn’t hear or honor all of the richness that they each represent, but we did get a glimpse and it was amazing. <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">The gift of this gathering was as historic as it was priceless. Without the generous support and prayers of many, we could not have accomplished all that we did. Most of the leaders who are serving in Chile, Columbia, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, and Nicaragua received scholarship help to be able to attend. Now with many more tools in their peacemaking toolbox, they will be able to multiply the impact in their communities, churches and countries. Thank you for being connected. Thank you for the stories you hold. Thank you for reminding me that Jesus has the last word and it is life. 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mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> Fri, 14 Apr 2017 13:55:21 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/64928-is-there-hope- https://internationalministries.org/read/64928-is-there-hope- Paz & Peace, Please <p style="text-align: center;">“Yes, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’-MLK</p><p style="text-align: center;"><i><b>The arc of the moral universe will only bend</b></i></p><p style="text-align: center;"><i><b>&nbsp;if justice-seekers and peace-makers stand together to bend it.</b></i></p><p style="text-align: center;"><b>“On earth as it is in heaven.”</b>-Jesus</p><div>Greetings from your friend and fellow pilgrim, International Ministries global servant, Mylinda Baits. Thank you for your partnership in serving your brothers and sisters throughout the Americas.<br></div><p>My primary ministry focus over the last few years has been training and capacity-building in three key areas: Prevention of Human Trafficking, Trauma Healing through the Restorative Arts and Conflict Transformation in order to equip the Body of Christ to engage in God's mission.</p><p>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;This last year, along with my other work in the restorative and healing arts, I was honored to co-facilitate extensive conflict transformation trainings with IM colleagues, Dan and Sharon Buttry in the Philippines. Together we dreamed of providing this same excellent resource to our partners in Latin America.&nbsp;</p><p>Giving thanks to God, this March/April IM colleagues Ray Schellinger and Dan Buttry will join me for the first ever Iberoamerica/ Caribbean Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers for Peacemakers in Mexico City. We will be facilitating a practical, hands-on, experiential training for 30 key national partners and IM global servants from Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Cuba, Haiti, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Bolivia, Puerto Rico and the United States.&nbsp;</p><p>This "University of the Streets" type of training will use creative and experiential tools, Bible Studies, spiritual disciplines for sustainable social engagement, community-building and networking.</p><p>Topics will include:</p><p>*Conflict analysis, resolution and reflection on personal conflict styles</p><p>*Confronting diversity in conflict</p><p>*Issues of power dynamics</p><p>*Non-violent transforming initiatives</p><p>*Constructive movements for social change</p><p>*Healing of trauma, secondary trauma and compassion fatigue</p><p>*Sustainable spiritual practices and self-care</p><p>*Mediation and Reconciliation&nbsp;</p><p>I want to send a huge thank you to FBC McMinnville, OR for responding to the call for scholarships for the first ever Iberoamerica/ Caribbean Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers for Peacemakers this year. Three leaders from Guatemala, Mexico and Nicaragua will be able to attend this important gathering because of their generosity. I invite you to join them in providing scholarships so that the even more can have this once in a lifetime opportunity, you can give directly to the "Conflict Transformation Training" account online at: <a href="http://internationalministries.org/projects/214 ">http://internationalministries.org/projects/214&nbsp;</a></p><p>This training will be my only major international trip this year since I will be on my US/Puerto Rico assignment. &nbsp;I hope to see many of you face to face to say thanks for being a part of my life and ministry. &nbsp;I will be sharing with churches and individuals about what God is doing in and through International Ministries and our partners as well as inviting folks to partner with me through prayer and generosity. American Baptist International Ministries has been a part of the world-wide body of believers responding to God’s call to engage in mission beyond our own land. Your giving is vital to helping me support international partners and global servants with practical and life sustaining tools.&nbsp;</p><p>Looking Forward Together,</p><p>Mylinda</p><p><br></p> Sun, 15 Jan 2017 11:42:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/64286-paz-peace-please https://internationalministries.org/read/64286-paz-peace-please From Cuba to Croatia? <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="background-color: white; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Calibri; font-size: 11pt;">This month, as in every October, many Puerto Rican and American Baptist Churches are collecting the World Mission Offering. This year’s focus is on Cuba and our partnership there. I am privileged to be a part of the IM Cuba team, serving with other IM colleagues and our partners in the vital ministries they have there. You can check out the videos of our work at </span><a href="https://internationalministries.org/drives/42%23V" style="font-family: Calibri; font-size: 11pt;">https://internationalministries.org/drives/42#V</a></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#222222;background:white"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="background-color: white; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Calibri; font-size: 11pt;">In July of this year, Charles Jones, Area Director for Europe, the Middle East and Liberia for International Ministries wrote to tell me that he had received an invitation from our partners in Croatia to deepen/broaden our relationship! One of the areas of priority they mentioned has to do with </span><i style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Calibri; font-size: 11pt;">helping the helpers</i><span style="background-color: white; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Calibri; font-size: 11pt;">: in their words, “teaching people in ministry, efficient self-care practices and giving them tools to work with people sustainably through their problems without endangering their own sanity.” They have identified a growing need for counseling – “for pastors themselves, as many have worked through the trauma of war in addition to a challenging job, but also for church members and even more so such people that are not church members but who are ready to seek advice and help in the church. Croatia with its war past and also political transitions has been a fertile soil to grow all kinds of hardship for its people.” He thought this sounded like a ministry that I would be interested in. So in early October, I traveled to Zagreb to join Charles, Peter Kaulkman, IM’s volunteer coordinator working throughout Europe, and Tom and Terry Meyers, colleagues working in Bulgaria to experience first-hand their ministry context and for face-to-face discussions with the leaders of the Croatian Baptist Union about what greater cooperation in ministry might look like.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#222222;background:white">Our hosts, Toma, Zeljko and Svjetlana treated us with radical hospitality, welcoming us and showing us the face of God in their actions. Together we drove through stunning landscapes, walked amidst ancient buildings and cobblestoned streets, and ate delicious food like: fresh-from-the-sea fish, warm baked bread dipped in thick homemade garlic olive oil and amazing dark chocolate gelato. We felt the warm embrace of kindred love and kindness through their smiles and hugs. While visiting a camp by the sea, a Union sponsored medical training high school, various churches and an UNHCR asylum seekers holding facility, we heard poignant stories of sacrifice, loss, and struggle as well as hope infused, inclusive, and innovative ministry among youth, minority and refugee populations. From a first glance at some of my pictures and hearing descriptions of the food, some might think that doing ministry in Croatia is like taking a vacation. Though there is much beauty, and the food and folks are amazing, there are also physical, psychological, spiritual and relational wounds of war, a refugee crisis, economic challenges, brain drain, and pastoral burn out to attend to with Christ’s love and grace. Life is a mixed bag of sacred struggle. Our partners do amazing work and they are inviting us to be a part of what God is doing in their neighborhoods, schools, churches and world.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#222222;background:white">Humbled and inspired, I left Croatia with an invitation to return after my US assignment in order to accompany their pastors and humanitarian aid workers through art-based, trauma informed, resiliency focused, sustainable ministry seminars and retreats. I feel so honored that they would invite me back to deepen and broaden our relationship even more. God has indeed opened wide the gates and allowed me to see the kingdom on earth as in heaven, thanks be to <b>God</b> and to <b>you</b> for the privilege of serving our global family. <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Calibri; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#222222;background:white">Starting in January of 2017 through December 2017 I’ll be on US/Puerto Rico assignment, which means I am available to visit, preach or do hands-on art-based workshops in your church or regional gatherings. I’d love to inform and inspire global mission engagement and partnership with International Ministries. 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mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> Wed, 19 Oct 2016 13:34:20 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/63588-from-cuba-to-croatia- https://internationalministries.org/read/63588-from-cuba-to-croatia- We See You, We Hear You, We Honor You! <p style="text-align: center;"><b><i><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>The blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and good news is preached to the poor.</i></b></p><p style="text-align: center;"><b><i>—<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Matthew 11:5</i></b></p><p style="text-align: center;"><b><i><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.</i></b></p><p style="text-align: center;"><b><i>—<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Matthew 12:13</i></b></p><p style="text-align: center;"><i>“It seemed a bit hokey and awkward at first,</i></p><p style="text-align: center;"><i>&nbsp;but once we practiced and found a rhythm,</i></p><p style="text-align: center;"><i>&nbsp;it was life-giving and encouraging.”</i></p><p>I heard this statement more than once in reference to a greeting I incorporated in all of the workshops, trainings, and retreats that I facilitated this summer. &nbsp;The opener is an adaptation from a Zulu greeting from South Africa that goes something like this:</p><p style="text-align: center;">My name is______________________and I am here to be seen, to be heard and to be honored</p><p style="text-align: center;">We see you, we hear you, and we honor you</p><p style="text-align: center;">I am here.</p><p style="text-align: left;">For some participants it was an awkward stretch to repeat this phrase over and over until everyone in the room’s name and presence was acknowledged and affirmed. For others it was empowering and transformative. The idea behind the greeting is to practice giving and receiving welcome, to practice seeing and being seen, to practice listening and being heard and to practice honoring and being honored. &nbsp;It is not just a greeting, but also a life practice. It’s the reason why we pray the Lord’s Prayer over and over again, so that when we say “On earth as it is in Heaven” it becomes a life practice. We are living into what we believe. We are practicing new behavior until it gets into our bones. &nbsp;Establishing the structure through the ritual creates a safe place to practice into something new, until the new becomes the normal and we gain ground and grow. I believe it is what we all need, what we long for, and how we were designed to thrive. We grow into our best selves when we learn to stretch with confidence and curiosity to something “just outside of our reach” where growth and healing happen. The words I see you, I hear you and I honor you bounce around in my head and heart now not only during the trainings and “doings” of my work, but when I am home with my husband, when I spend time with my kids, when I’m in my neighborhood and yours, in the grocery store, at the airport and on the road when I travel, and whenever I encounter and interact with people. &nbsp;The practice of seeing, hearing and honoring others and being seen, heard and honored feels like Heaven on earth. &nbsp;It is why we do what we do.</p><p>Speaking of what we do, in the busyness of travel and significant work, I have been lax in communicating my whereabouts and prayer concerns with all of you. &nbsp;See, hear and honor what your prayers and support have made possible in the last few months. Since my last update from Cuba:</p><p>*I have co-facilitated 3 Healing Arts Toolkit trainings with <a href="http://firstaidarts.org">First Aid Arts</a> in Mexico City, MX in April, Milwaukee, WI in June, and Managua, Nicaragua in August &nbsp;(FIA#3S:D/FIA#2 S:F)</p><p>*I co-facilitated two, 2-day workshops on Women in the Bible with CICEM and IM colleagues Debbie and Keith Meyers in Chiapas, Mexico in April &nbsp;(FIA#3S:D/FIA#2S:D)</p><p>*I designed and co-facilitated the Conference for Overseas Missionaries re-entry retreat with Stan Slade in Green Lake, WI in June (FIA#3S:D/FIA#4S:E)</p><p>*I designed and facilitated worship for the International Ministries Call Retreat in June (FIA#3S:ABCD)</p><p>*I helped produce the large group gatherings at the World Missions Conference in July (FIA#3S:A)</p><p>*I designed and co-facilitated a 2-day Transformation of Conflict workshop with Gary Baits for pastors and lay leaders in Costa Rica in July (FIA#3S;D/FIA#2S:B)</p><p>*I spent 5 days at the beach in Costa Rica with family on vacation (FIA#4S:D)</p><p>*I participated with most of my regional IM colleagues &amp; MKs in relationship building with our new Executive Director Sharon Koh in Costa Rica in July&nbsp;</p><p>*I designed and co-facilitated a Young Adult Vocational Call Retreat with Gary Baits, Sarah Strosahl-Kagi, and a team from the Greater Indianapolis and Indiana Kentucky American Baptist Regions in Indiana in August (FIA#3S:ACD)</p><p>*I designed and facilitated a Vicarious Trauma and Resiliency Planning and Self-Care through Expressive Arts workshop for the staff of Outreach Indiana, Inc., a ministry <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>of hope for homeless youth in Indianapolis in August (FIA#3S:D/FIA#2BCF)</p><p>*I designed and facilitated a 2-day Facilitation training with key leadership from AMOS Health and Hope in Managua, Nicaragua following the Healing Arts Toolkit Training in August (FIA#3S:D)</p><p>You may have noticed from this list that the last few months for me have been quite full. I spend a lot of time <i><b>designing and facilitating trainings</b></i>. &nbsp;Those trainings have a lot to do with trauma recovery, health and wholeness, peace and justice, prevention, abolition and recuperation of trafficking in persons and global slavery and care for those working in the field. &nbsp;</p><p>Another thing you might see in the list is that I do a lot of <b><i>networking and collaborating </i></b>with others: my International Ministries colleagues, our national partners and <a href="http://www.firstaidarts.org/">First Aid Arts</a>. &nbsp;By partnering with <a href="http://firstaidarts.org">First Aid Arts</a> I have been able to equip care providers from many different organizations serving marginalized and vulnerable populations to use trauma informed, therapeutic arts-based activities for healing and empowerment. &nbsp;I believe that the tools practiced and honed through these trainings in some way allow caregivers and survivors of commercial sexual exploitation, human trafficking, forced immigration, war, prejudice and poverty to be seen, heard and honored. When it comes to creative and Gospel work, together just works better.&nbsp;</p><p>Finally, the last things you may notice are the letters and numbers at the end of each event. They correspond to the Focused Impact Areas and Strategies of IM’s new strategic plan, <b><i><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/53125-responding-to-the-call">Responding to the Call</a></i></b> that may not make sense to you unless you read on.&nbsp;</p><p>Over the last few years, International Ministries has been stretching “just outside of our reach” to discern God’s call. By seeing, hearing and honoring the Spirit through the Responding to the Call appreciative inquiry process, we believe we are on to something good. &nbsp;As a result of countless hours of work, thousands of conversations, and fervent prayer, the Responding to the Call statement of vision, purpose, context, core values and ministry priorities seek to guide us, the stakeholders in mission, you and me, to have a greater impact in the service of God, God’s people, and the world. The four <b>Focus Impact Areas </b>we’ve discovered together where the Spirit is calling International Ministries to deepen its engagement in mission are:&nbsp;</p><p>•<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span><b><i>Inviting People to Be Disciples of Jesus</i></b></p><p><b><i>•<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Proclaiming God's Reign of Justice, Peace and Abundant Life</i></b></p><p><b><i>•<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Equipping the Body of Christ to Engage in God's Mission</i></b></p><p><b><i>•<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Pursuing Organizational Excellence</i></b></p><p>These are made evident with corresponding <b>strategies</b>, the ‘doings” necessary to live out the call.&nbsp;</p><p>The <b>Focused Impact Area </b>that I fit most into based on what I <b><i>do</i></b> most is FIA#3 <b><i>Equipping the Body of Christ to Engage in God’s Mission</i></b> with key emphasis in strategy D: <b><u>Training and Capacity Building</u></b>: Contributing to the strength and vitality of partners around the world, helping them develop increased capacity to do their ministries, sharing resources and the building of skills. &nbsp;International Ministries prioritizes training and skill building with partners around the world by equipping with practical models, methods and tools to promote local leadership among partner organizations and ministries. &nbsp;IM also encourages the expansion of networking and collaboration among international partners for the purpose of building capacity and sharing resources.<br></p><p>Though my primary <b><i>Focused Impact Area</i></b> is in training and capacity building FIA#3, the core areas that I train and build capacity in are found in <b><i>Focused Impact Area #2: Proclaiming God’s Reign of Justice, Peace and Abundant Life:</i></b> based on the Kingdom principles of transformational development that seek to restore God’s shalom to marginalized and at-risk individuals and communities. Distorted relationships with God, with others, with one’s self and the environment are redeemed and healed, leading to transformed individuals, families, churches, communities, and local economies. I train with key emphasis in strategies B, C and F: <b><u>Peace and Justice, Abolition of Trafficking in Persons and Global Slavery and Health and Wellness.&nbsp;</u></b></p><p>Sometimes strategic planning and measuring impact and outcomes feel awkward and clunky in the intangible life transforming ministry work we do. &nbsp;Before having the <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/53125-responding-to-the-call">Responding to the Call </a>vision statements and structure though, I found it difficult to describe what I did as a global servant working with International Ministries. Now I can learn a common language that explains it better in ways that others and I can understand. It will feel strange at first, like learning any new language, but with practice, we’ll figure it out, it’ll get easier and begin to make all kinds of sense. &nbsp;When the rhythm is caught, others can sing along and something greater than our selves will be expressed. It is life-giving and empowering! We grow into our best selves and serve in the way we were designed to, so that all might thrive.</p><p>Thanks for hanging in there with me in this long overdue tome. The future holds great promise for us because of God’s redeeming love and our participation in it. &nbsp;Starting in <b><u>January of 2017 I will be on US/Puerto Rico assignment</u></b>, which means that I am available to <b><i><u>COME TO YOU</u></i></b> to share what God is doing through YOU throughout the world. My calendar fills quickly so if you’d like to <i>see </i>me face to face, <i>hear</i> what God is doing in Iberoamerica and beyond, and <i>honor</i> our relationship and mission partnership, please contact me soon at mylinda.baits@internationalministries.org</p><p>Please pray for the following upcoming events:</p><p>First Aid Arts Facilitator Retreat/Training: Sept. 19-23, 2016</p><p>Preaching at First Baptist Olympia’s International Sunday Mission Faire: Sept.25, 2016</p><p>Listening and visioning trip to Croatia with the IM Croatia Team: Oct. 3-10, 2016</p><p>US/Puerto Rico home assignment: Jan.-Dec. 2017</p><p>10 day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers training with Dan Buttry and Ray Schellinger in Central America: March 27-April 7, 2017</p><p>ICAP Global Conference: May 21-26, 2017</p><p><b><i>I SEE you, I HEAR you, and I HONOR you,<br></i></b></p><p>Mylinda</p><p><br></p><p><br></p> Thu, 15 Sep 2016 01:28:44 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/63282-we-see-you-we-hear-you-we-honor-you- https://internationalministries.org/read/63282-we-see-you-we-hear-you-we-honor-you- This Is Cuba, Life Happens <p class="MsoNormal">Recently I joined 9 other International Ministries colleagues for a friendship tour to strengthen our partnership with the Cuban Baptists.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>When we arrived in Santiago the leadership of the Baptist convention and Oscander, our constant companion, photojournalist and wise cultural guide, greeted us. He told us that whenever anything unexpected or unusual happens and we wonder why, we should just remember TIC. This Is Cuba, that’s why. This phrase reminded me of another one that I’ve seen on bumper stickers and heard my Mother say often: Stuff Happens, though she used the more colorful version. Being with my Cuban friends convinced me again that not only does “stuff” happen: messy, hard and complicated “stuff”, but Life happens and it’s everywhere. No matter bleak the situation seems, Life is tenacious and can’t be destroyed.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The Life that Christ offers will transform every hopeless situation. <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>Another phrase that I heard often while visiting Cuba was, “When it seems that there is nothing, Cubans invent from the air.” Having had to survive for decades on very limited resources, they’ve learned to reuse, recycle, repurpose, redeem and deeply respect most things. With little more than their indomitable faith and ingenuity, from what some might consider extreme scarcity, our friends offer the world examples of deep creativity, beautiful art and music, and passionate sacred worship. I was honored to witness This Cuba and see how Life Happens.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>*We were offered clean water, cold lemonade, and sweet strong coffee. We were surprised to learn that the cost of one water bottle was equal to more than one day’s wages for the average Cuban pastor.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">This Is Cuba, Life Happens.<o:p></o:p></i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal">*We were greeted with generous hospitality and warm welcomes from countless new friends. My hand was numb after shaking hands with over 300 young people leaving a Saturday night worship service. <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">This Is Cuba, Life Happens.<o:p></o:p></i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal">*We arrived in the afternoon to the small house church whose mission focuses on ministering to the large deaf and mute community in their neighborhood.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The smell of roasting pork enveloped us as we caught a glimpse of the huge whole pig, spinning slowing over the open flames in the courtyard.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>For more than five hours, our friends lovingly tended and turned the main course of a table abundantly set to honor their visiting guests. They had changed the hour of their weekly worship service to accommodate our arrival and as the benches were filling up with children and their parents, waiting patiently to begin, they insisted we have something to eat before starting the service.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">This Is Cuba, Life Happens.<o:p></o:p></i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal">*We worshipped on Sunday with a thriving community church that had started, like most in Cuba, as a house of prayer. After the service we rode 2X2 in bicycle taxis to a river where we shared umbrellas to shade us from the beating sun, sang songs of celebration and witnessed 6 new believers proclaim their faith in Christ through the act of baptism and promise to follow Him all the days of their lives. We made new friends, ate more food and shared dreams of doing more ministry together.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">This Is Cuba, Life Happens.<o:p></o:p></i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal">*We were to fly into Havana on the same day President Obama arrived. They closed the airport and our flight was cancelled. We regrouped, recorded some needed video footage, and rested. <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">This Is Cuba, Life Happens.<o:p></o:p></i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal">* We turned the corner and entered sacred space. On nearly every wall were painted murals or hanging appliquéd liturgical banners. The social hall was filled with musical instruments and pianos to be distributed to churches throughout the region for use in their music ministries. Creativity oozed from every corner at El Centro Kairos. With a mission to cultivate creativity, transformation and worship through the arts, my new friends connected with my artist soul and life happened. It was obvious to many that something divinely orchestrated was happening in our conversations and shared commitment. My colleagues had to almost drag me back to the van when it was time to leave. I am convinced that this moment was the beginning of a long and lasting relationship. <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">This Is Cuba. Life Happens.<o:p></o:p></i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal">*We were driving back to the camp where we were staying and experienced what we kiddingly called the Colossal Cuban Crab Crisis. It was crazy. Thousands, perhaps millions of crabs were migrating across the road from the ocean to lay their eggs in the dry rocky hillside. Though our driver tried to avoid them, it was impossible not to squish some. As we drove by, some of the crabs who had successfully avoided the cars, stopped their sideways crawl to glare at us with outstretched claws and a cocky attitude. Sadly, many did not survive the treacherous crossing, but when I looked over to the other side, it was crawling with countless colorful crabs! <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">This Is Cuba, Life Happens!</i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal">Thanks for partnering with me as I am privileged to partner with our Cuban brothers and sisters. I invite you to pray with and for our Cuban sisters and brothers as they continue to reflect God’s love and grace to a searching world.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Together in Christ Life Happens</i></b>,<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">Mylinda<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>PS. I leave on Saturday to partner with International Ministries and First Aid Art colleagues in Chiapas and Mexico City, appreciate your prayers as always.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>PPS. –&nbsp;There is a Spring Matching gift opportunity available&nbsp;soon. Any gift&nbsp;<u>received in response to the matching gift opportunity </u>between&nbsp;April 15&nbsp;and&nbsp;June 15, 2016&nbsp;will be matched 100%. 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style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:black">You may give by mailing a check to International Ministries, making a gift on-line by credit card at </span><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><a href="http://internationalministries.org/drives/35"><span style="color:#1155CC">http://internationalministries.org/drives/35</span></a><span style="color:#222222;background:white">. This page will be available on </span><span style="color:#222222">April 15<span style="background:white">. IM cannot accept gifts to be matched before&nbsp;</span>April 15<span style="background:white">.</span></span></span><span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:black">&nbsp;<span style="background: yellow">B<b>y whatever means the gift is given, it must be clearly noted</b>&nbsp;(either through the response form, the memo line of the check, the special webpage that will be set up, or during the call to make the gift)&nbsp;<b>that the gift is part of the Matching Gift Opportunity</b>.</span>&nbsp; Gifts sent by mail must be postmarked by&nbsp;June 15 and credit card gifts must be processed by&nbsp;June 15, 2016</span><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p></o:p></span></p> Thu, 07 Apr 2016 17:03:44 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/61735-this-is-cuba-life-happens https://internationalministries.org/read/61735-this-is-cuba-life-happens Sounds of Silence <p><b><i>“For there shall be a sowing of peace; the vine shall yield its fruit, and the ground shall give its increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things… Fear not, but let your hands be strong.” Zechariah 8:12-13 RSV</i></b></p><p>I just returned from a two-week trip to the Philippines where I spent significant time with 31 cultivators of peace from 13 countries across Asia and the Pacific. &nbsp;</p><p>Alongside IM colleagues, Dan and Sharon Buttry, I co-facilitated a 10-day intensive Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT). &nbsp;We shared both lighthearted and profound moments together, heard echoes of God’s reign in multi-lingual choruses and felt the dew of heaven in lively impromptu dancing. I am convinced that there will be vines of peace yielding fruit growing in Nepal through the four leaders who just finished facilitating their own conflict transformation trainings back home amidst ongoing recovery from the devastation of last year’s earthquake and tense border issues that make everyday life extremely difficult. We witnessed the tenderness of God’s embrace in bringing our friend Apo from Fiji to join us so soon after the typhoon wreaked havoc on his home and homeland. We prayed often for and with him, and as he left he affirmed how encouraged and strengthened he was to go back home to serve God and his people.&nbsp;</p><p>I am still processing the lessons I learned and the soul gifts I received from this transformative time, but one particularly poignant moment during the ten-day training continues to speak to me in a deep way. &nbsp;I’ll call it my first “silent interview”. &nbsp;The day’s focus was on the different responses to trauma, especially trauma related to violence. &nbsp;We were doing a Bible study on 2 Samuel 21 and I was to interview a volunteer who would play the part of Merab, the mother of five sons who king David had killed to appease the Gibeonites, victims of generational trauma as a result of the genocide perpetrated by David’s predecessor, King Saul. &nbsp;A very quiet female participant from Indonesia who rarely spoke up in the large group gatherings, volunteered &nbsp;(with a little encouragement from me). Though a bit high risk for her, she agreed, partly out of deference, but mostly I believe in response to the Holy Spirit’s nudging. When painful stories aren’t ready to be put into words, talking fails. Knowing this, I reluctantly asked her to share her experience. The sound of her silence was deafening. She shivered and wept while I tried to put into words what I was observing in her. After what seemed like an eternity, I asked if she would be willing to show me how she was feeling with a piece of paper. She agreed. I invited her to do whatever she wanted with the piece of paper. She took it, crumpled it, tore it and then tossed it on the ground in front of her. By the grace of God, I was able to hold the space and stay in the silence. &nbsp;As we looked together at the powerful outward expression of her inward pain, the tears subsided and the shaking ceased, though those around the circle who witnessed her act were moved to tears. &nbsp;I had asked her to speak the unspeakable, but she courageously portrayed the pain of a heartbroken mother with more depth and meaning than I could have ever imagined.&nbsp;</p><p>After the session I checked in with the young woman and she shared with me why she chose to stay silent during the interview. &nbsp;She said that as they were studying the text, she noticed that Merab’s story was silenced. We don’t ever hear what happened to her. The story focuses on Rizpah’s and David’s responses. Since in the text Merab was silent that was exactly what she intended to dramatize. I honored and thanked her for the powerful way that her act created a safe space for others, opening up avenues for healing. What could have been one of my biggest facilitator failures became one of my most memorable facilitator moments. So honored to be a part of this significant work.&nbsp;</p><p>Thank you for your prayers and your friendship that help strengthen my hands and give me hope for the journey ahead.&nbsp;</p><p>I covet your prayers as I leave next week for a relationship-building trip to Cuba with 8 other International Ministries colleagues committed to walking alongside and learning from our partners in ministry there.&nbsp;</p><p>May we sow peace and grow in grace,</p><p>Mylinda&nbsp;</p> Thu, 10 Mar 2016 10:24:15 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/61483-sounds-of-silence https://internationalministries.org/read/61483-sounds-of-silence Plans <p><br></p><p><br></p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>471</o:Words> <o:Characters>2686</o:Characters> <o:Company>International Ministries</o:Company> <o:Lines>22</o:Lines> <o:Paragraphs>6</o:Paragraphs> 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mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><u><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt"><o:p><span style="text-decoration: none">&nbsp;</span></o:p></span></u></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b><i><sup>“</sup></i></b><i>For I know the plans&nbsp;I have for you,” declares the&nbsp;Lord, “plans to prosper&nbsp;you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” &nbsp;Jeremiah 29:11(NIV)<o:p></o:p></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><i>&nbsp;</i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><i>Sí Dios quiere</i> means if God wills or wants it.&nbsp; A common phrase used in Spanish to acknowledge that even though we make plans and organize our lives and schedules, God’s plans take precedent over ours.&nbsp; I am often heard telling folks that we need to hold our plans lightly, that God may have even better plans in store for us. All that said, I still function best when I plan ahead, know the general direction of where I am heading, map out the course, prepare as well as I can and communicate to others who are either accompanying me or might be interested in my whereabouts and well-being. As an International Ministries Regional/Global Servant working primarily in the Spanish speaking world, much of my time is spent traveling, facilitating workshops, designing interactive educational and worship experiences, motivating creative expression and providing friendship and care to fellow change agents involved in challenging and transformative work. At times I am privileged to have a companion come along, at others no, but I never go alone. I am always surrounded by God’s sustaining grace as well as the thoughts, prayers and support of many of you. So that you might have an idea of where I’ll be heading this year <i>sí Dios quiere, </i>the following is my 2016 travel calendar and the road map I hope to follow. I covet your prayers and your partnership with me and the folks with whom I am privileged to share life. Without you, none of this would be possible.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Thanks for coming along,<o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Mylinda<o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b>Jan. 16-24</b> Managua, Nicaragua: <i>Community Empowerment trainings with AMOS Health and Hope staff<o:p></o:p></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b>Feb. 18-March 4</b> Philippines: <i>Expressive Arts for Self-Care workshop with Samaritana Transformation Ministries and 10-day Training for Transformation of Conflict Trainers in Asia and the Pacific with colleagues Dan and Sharon Buttry<o:p></o:p></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b>March 14-24</b> Cuba: <i>Relationship building with Cuban Baptist partners and IM colleague Cuba team</i> <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b>April 10-21</b> Mexico: <i>Women’s workshops in Chiapas with IM colleagues Debbie &amp; Keith Myers and First Aid Arts Healing Arts Toolkit training in Mexico City<o:p></o:p></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b>April 28-30</b> Berkeley, CA: <i>American Baptist Seminary of the West Board of Trustees meetings<o:p></o:p></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b>June 22-July 6</b> Wisconsin: <i>First Aid Arts Healing Arts Toolkit Training in Milwaukee, Worship design at Conference for Overseas Missionaries, Call Retreat and World Mission Conference in Green Lake<o:p></o:p></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b>July 12-23</b> Costa Rica/Nicaragua: <i>Pastoral Transformation of Conflict class with Baptist Seminary in Costa Rica and First Aid Arts Healing Arts Toolkit Training in Managua</i><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b>August 4-11 or August 11-18</b> Indianapolis, IN: <i>Vocational Call Retreat for Young Adults with the ABCGI and INKY and staff training with Outreach, a ministry with homeless youth in Indianapolis, IN<o:p></o:p></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b>September 5-14</b> Brazil and Bolivia: <i>Accompany Rev. Dr. Adalia Gutierrez Lee in relationship building with Brazilian and Bolivian partners as well as House of Hope Ministries</i> <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b>Oct. 27-30</b> Berkeley, CA:<i> American Baptist Seminary of the West Board of Trustees meetings</i><o:p></o:p></p> <!--EndFragment--><p><br></p><div><br></div> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 08:45:53 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/61145-plans https://internationalministries.org/read/61145-plans Nicaraguan Rhythms <p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:14.666666666666666px;font-family:'Helvetica Neue';color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre-wrap;">I was privileged to experience a week in Nicaragua with Mylinda Baits who works in partnership with AMOS, a community health organization. &nbsp;One of AMOS' local health promotors has been trained by Mylinda in the First Aid Arts program to help bring healing into the lives of women who are survivors of trauma. &nbsp;Here's a bit of Mylinda's ministry first-hand and how it intersects with the rhythm of the small mountain community of Apantillo.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue'; font-size: 14.6667px; font-style: italic; white-space: pre-wrap; line-height: 1.2;"><b>We sat at the dinner table while the rain came down onto the tin roof. &nbsp;Drop by drop, then in a torrent as the evening storm passed through the community.</b></span><br></p><p><span style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue'; font-size: 14.6667px; white-space: pre-wrap; line-height: 1.2;">Melida, our guide into the community of Apantillo and delegation coordinator for AMOS, led the small group of gathered women in using their bodies to recreate a storm. &nbsp;Hands rubbed together as the rain began to fall until patting their thighs brought on a pounding of water. &nbsp;Fingers snapped for thunder that exploded throughout.</span><br></p><p><span style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue'; font-size: 14.6667px; white-space: pre-wrap; line-height: 1.2;">The women are madres voluntarias, volunteer mothers, who walk alongside those who are pregnant to help them create a healthier family and environment for the baby to come while caring for the mother herself. &nbsp;For some, pregnancy itself is one of life's storms and the exercise helps them sense a greater control over their lives.</span><br></p><p><b><span style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue'; font-size: 14.6667px; font-style: italic; white-space: pre-wrap; line-height: 1.2;">Tum, tum. &nbsp;Tum, tum. &nbsp;Tum, tum. &nbsp;The sound of Dona Carmen patting tortillas into shape before placing them on the griddle of the wood-fired stove is our early morning wake up call.</span><br></b></p><p><span style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue'; font-size: 14.6667px; white-space: pre-wrap; line-height: 1.2;">Ada Luz, the community's health promotor, is giving direction as empty cans are turned into personalized drums. &nbsp;Each are uniquely finished to reflect the colors and tastes of the women who designed them. &nbsp;Mylinda leads them in different rhythms, reminding them that our bodies themselves have a life rhythm that starts with the baby hearing its mother's heartbeat. &nbsp;We sing together and each has a turn with a drum solo. &nbsp;</span><br></p><p><span style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue'; font-size: 14.6667px; white-space: pre-wrap; line-height: 1.2;">They reflect on the rhythms of their life--what brings them joy, energy, or a sense of peace. &nbsp;What did you learn about yourself? they are all asked. &nbsp;This space for self-reflection is a rare time for each of them. &nbsp;"I was able to accomplish something i didn't think I could do." &nbsp;"I didn't want to come, but once I got here I learned a lot." &nbsp;"Sometimes I'm afraid to ask for help even when I need it." &nbsp;"Es divertido!--it's fun!" one shares.</span><br></p><p><span style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue'; font-size: 14.6667px; font-style: italic; white-space: pre-wrap; line-height: 1.2;"><b>Climbing onto a local bus, we made our way to the next community for the afternoon workshop, bouncing down the rocky dirt road.</b></span><br></p><p><span style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue'; font-size: 14.6667px; white-space: pre-wrap; line-height: 1.2;">In an area with few physical resources and opportunities, fun is a precious commodity. Instead of asking them to form groups of 4-5 women, they play a game of "transportation." &nbsp;Are they traveling by horse, motorcycle, truck, or bus? &nbsp;They form groups of different size as the mode of transport is called out and then act out the ride. &nbsp;Laughter rocks the room and prepares their hearts for the more serious discussion to come.</span><br></p><p><span style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue'; font-size: 14.6667px; font-style: italic; white-space: pre-wrap; line-height: 1.2;"><b>Shouts of joy are heard as a group of children run up the path next to the church where we are being housed and well fed.</b></span><br></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size:14.666666666666666px;font-family:'Helvetica Neue';color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre-wrap;">At the end of every workshop, food is offered. &nbsp;There is a sense of God's generosity and abundance as each is served a snack and beverage. &nbsp;The last workshop ends at lunch where everyone is invited to the table. &nbsp;Mothers and missionaries with the children crowded around breaking bread together. &nbsp;It is one more place and time where the church offers hope and healing to wounded hearts. &nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue'; font-size: 14.6667px; font-style: italic; white-space: pre-wrap; line-height: 1.2;">Rev. Joan Friesen is Executive Minister of ABC of Greater Indianapolis, longtime friend, and former member of Mylinda's Missionary Partnership Team.</span><br></p><p>Links to AMOS and First Aid Arts:</p><p>http://www.amoshealth.org/</p><p>http://www.firstaidarts.org/</p><p><br><br><br></p> Wed, 14 Oct 2015 08:28:35 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/60130-nicaraguan-rhythms- https://internationalministries.org/read/60130-nicaraguan-rhythms- I Am, Because You Are <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin;color:#252525">One week ago today I was in Durban, South Africa, together with</span><span style="font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#222222;background:white">&nbsp;more than 2,500 others from more than 80 countries attending the congress of the Baptist World Alliance. &nbsp;I witnessed a beautiful glimpse of God’s amazing multilingual, multicultural, and multifaceted family. At times I couldn’t believe how privileged I was to be in the presence of so many significant people with such rich and diverse stories to share. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for which I am deeply grateful.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222;background:white">One week ago today, through the gift of technology, I said a final goodbye to the woman who gave me life and loved me without limit. Ginger Long, my Mom, died on July 24<sup>th</sup>, 2015. One of the greatest things about my calling to global service is the opportunity to travel and connect in significant ways with people across the globe. One of the hardest things about my calling to global service is the distance I go away from the people dearest to me.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222;background:white">This week has had its share of deep joy and devastating loss. This week, I have been in the company of many, </span><span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font color="#222222" face="Calibri">with the family of my faith in a&nbsp;foreign&nbsp;land</font></span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Calibri; background-color: white;">. This week, I have spent multiple hours alone with my thoughts, crossing continents to be with the family of my heart at home. This week, I have wept and I have laughed. I have slept sitting up, between strangers on many airplanes and fallen into deep repose in the welcoming arms of my beloved husband. This week,&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Calibri; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">in Durban, South Africa,</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Calibri; background-color: white;">&nbsp;special friends,&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Calibri; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">some I’ve known for years and some who I just met,</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Calibri; background-color: white;">&nbsp;have held me. This week, family in California who have waited so long for my return, have welcomed me home. &nbsp;I have listened and have been heard. I have yet to sort out the kaleidoscope of emotions, though I am trying to see and feel it for what it is while honoring the complex beauty in it all.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222;background:white">For years I have been fascinated with the philosophy of Ubuntu, a concept originating in Southern Africa.</span><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: major-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin;color:#252525"> According to Michael Onyebuchi Eze, the core of Ubuntu can best be summarized as follows:</span><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p style="margin-top:6.0pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:6.0pt;margin-left: 0in;mso-line-height-alt:11.2pt;background:white"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Calibri; color: rgb(37, 37, 37);"><i>“</i><span class="apple-converted-space" style="font-style: italic;">&nbsp;</span><i>'A person is a person through other people'</i>&nbsp;</span><i><span style="font-family: Calibri; color: rgb(37, 37, 37); background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">Humanity is a quality we owe to each other. We create each other and need to sustain this otherness creation. And if we belong to each other, we participate in our creations: we are because you are, and since you are, definitely I am."</span></i></p><p class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: major-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font: major-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#252525;background: white"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></i><span style="font-family: Calibri;">The African communal view of life is not opposed to the view of life presented in the Bible. The image of God is presented in scripture as God existing in plural form as a divine family of Parent, Son and Spirit. The human family must emulate the divine family in unity, mutuality and solidarity. That the people of God belong together as one family is made clear in the Bible.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#252525;background:white; mso-bidi-font-style:italic">In the spirit of Ubuntu and the image of the family of God, over the course of this last week I wrote the following reflection about my Mom.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white;mso-bidi-font-style:italic">I am, because you were<o:p></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#252525;background:white; mso-bidi-font-style:italic"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I am, because you were<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#252525;background:white; mso-bidi-font-style:italic">I am me, because you were your own person.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#252525;background:white; mso-bidi-font-style:italic"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I am strong, because you endured much suffering<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#252525;background:white; mso-bidi-font-style:italic">I am sensitive, because you cared about the feelings of others<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#252525;background:white; mso-bidi-font-style:italic"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I am giving, because you showered all of your loved ones with gifts<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#252525;background:white; mso-bidi-font-style:italic">I am creative, because you made beautiful things<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#252525;background:white; mso-bidi-font-style:italic"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I am a lover of tasty food, because you cooked to show your love<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#252525;background:white; mso-bidi-font-style:italic">I am resourceful, because you could repurpose castaways and create something out of nothing</span><span style="font-family: Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I am wise, because you believed in life lessons<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin">I am self-conscious, because you worried about the opinions of others<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I am stubborn, because you never gave up<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin">I am brave, because you faced your fears even when you were afraid<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I am funny, because you laughed with every cell in your body<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin">I am silly, because you were hilariously inappropriate</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I am faithful, because you were loyal to the end<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin">I am forgiving, because you offered me grace<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I am thoughtful, because you were addicted to significance<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin">I am grateful, because you counted your blessings<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>I am self-sacrificing, because you gave more than you had<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin">I am authentic, because you were the real deal</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>I am loving, because you loved me</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">I am, because you were.</span><span style="font-family: Calibri;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin">Amazed by how much one week can hold. Humbled by how much one life can be.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: major-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font: major-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#252525;background: white"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></i><i><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: major-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font: major-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#252525;background: white">We are because you are, and since you are, definitely I am.</span></i></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-family: Calibri;">Thankful that I am because you are,</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:major-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font:major-latin"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-family: Calibri;">Mylinda</span></p> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 20:14:48 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/59330-i-am-because-you-are https://internationalministries.org/read/59330-i-am-because-you-are Embodiment <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>600</o:Words> <o:Characters>3424</o:Characters> <o:Company>International Ministries</o:Company> <o:Lines>28</o:Lines> <o:Paragraphs>8</o:Paragraphs> <o:CharactersWithSpaces>4016</o:CharactersWithSpaces> <o:Version>14.0</o:Version> </o:DocumentProperties> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> 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<w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="33" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Book Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="37" Name="Bibliography"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white"><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 22.3999996185303px;">Christ has no body but yours,</em><br style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 22.3999996185303px;"><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 22.3999996185303px;">No hands, no feet on earth but yours</em><br style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 22.3999996185303px;"><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 22.3999996185303px;">Yours are the eyes with which he looks</em><br style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 22.3999996185303px;"><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 22.3999996185303px;">Compassion on this world.</em><br style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 22.3999996185303px;"><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 22.3999996185303px;">Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.</em><br style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 22.3999996185303px;"><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 22.3999996185303px;">Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world...Teresa of Avila</em><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">Life has been rich and full for me recently. After a beautiful time of collaboration on a Healing Arts Toolkit workshop for AMOS’s rural and urban health promoters in Nicaragua in April, I spoke a number of times at an American Baptist Women’s conference in Richland, WA. Four days later, I traveled to England for a quick visit with Micah on my way to Kiev, Ukraine for a ten-day training of social action trainers in conflict transformation, experiential education, non-violence, trauma healing and sustainable spiritual practices. Led by two peacemaking heroes, Dan Buttry, IM colleague and Lance Muteyo from Zimbabwe, this international gathering of leaders from 12 different countries on five continents taking place in a country currently experiencing violent conflict was life transforming for me. I am finishing this reflection on the plane heading home to Washington State.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">I have been thinking quite a bit about incarnation and embodiment lately.</span><b><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#252525; background:white"> Incarnation</span></b><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt; font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#252525;background:white">&nbsp;literally means&nbsp;<i>embodied in flesh</i>&nbsp;or&nbsp;<i>taking on flesh</i>. The following Scriptures frame these thoughts:<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:7.5pt;line-height:18.0pt;background: white"><b><i><span style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';">And&nbsp;the Word&nbsp;became flesh and&nbsp;dwelt among us,&nbsp;and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of&nbsp;grace and&nbsp;truth. John 1:14<o:p></o:p></span></i></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b><i><span style="font-family: Arial; background: white;">And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “<span style="border:none windowtext 1.0pt;mso-border-alt:none windowtext 0in; padding:0in;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold">This is</span>&nbsp;<span style="border:none windowtext 1.0pt;mso-border-alt:none windowtext 0in; padding:0in;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold">my body</span>&nbsp;given for&nbsp;<span style="border:none windowtext 1.0pt;mso-border-alt:none windowtext 0in; padding:0in;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold">you</span>; do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19<o:p></o:p></span></i></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b><i><span style="font-family: Arial; background: white;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></i></b><span class="text" style="line-height: 18pt;"><b><i><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';">He made himself nothing</span></i></b></span><b style="line-height: 18pt;"><i><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';"> <span class="text">by taking the very nature</span></span></i></b><span class="apple-converted-space" style="line-height: 18pt;"><b><i><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';">&nbsp;</span></i></b></span><span class="text" style="line-height: 18pt;"><b><i><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';">of a servant,&nbsp;</span></i></b></span><b style="line-height: 18pt; text-indent: 0.5in; background-color: white;"><i><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';">being made in human likeness.</span></i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="line-height: 18pt; text-indent: 0.5in;"><i><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';"><span class="text">And being found in appearance as a human,</span> <span class="text">he humbled himself&nbsp;</span></span></i></b><b style="line-height: 18pt; text-indent: 0.5in; background-color: white;"><i><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';">by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!&nbsp; Philippians 2:7-8</span></i></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:7.5pt;line-height:18.0pt;background: white"><b><i><span style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue';">So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27<o:p></o:p></span></i></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">When I ponder the concept of God taking on flesh, coming to us as a vulnerable baby in Jesus, fleeing with his family to escape a death sentence, growing up as a refugee, learning from and participating in his context, culture and community of faith, gathering up, living with and leading a ragtag band of disciples, experiencing deep joy and profound sorrow in relationships, to suffer a shameful and cruel death at the hands of those he came to love; the ones who were created in his own image, now living in us as the resurrected Christ, I can’t help, but to be moved.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">The following is a collection of words, some might call poetic, that has been forming in me since I shared a part of it during the closing communion service at the women’s conference and the rest as I’ve continued to reflect on the stories and images of struggle and strength shared during these last ten days in Kiev.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">Christ embodied our bodies,<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size: 10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#252525;background:white">Our beautiful and dutiful bodies, <o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size: 10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#252525;background:white">Our “ugly” and unruly bodies,<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">Our flat-chested, too fat or too thin bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">Our frightened and fragile bodies</span><span style="color: rgb(37, 37, 37); font-family: 'Helvetica Neue'; text-indent: 0.5in; background-color: white;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">Christ embodied our bodies <o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Our abused and used bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Our bruised, beaten, and burdened bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">Our bulleted, butchered, bloodied and buried bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="color: rgb(37, 37, 37); font-family: 'Helvetica Neue'; background-color: white;">Christ embodied our bodies</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Our overlooked and outcast bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">Our oogled bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And our objectified bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="color: rgb(37, 37, 37); font-family: 'Helvetica Neue'; background-color: white;">Christ embodied our rejected, raped and worn-out bodies</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Our diseased and death denying bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">&nbsp;our downright discounted bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="color: rgb(37, 37, 37); font-family: 'Helvetica Neue'; background-color: white;">Christ embodied our bodies</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Our stressed and starved bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">Our sold and sacrificed bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Our shamed, scarred, scared and sacred bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(37, 37, 37); font-family: 'Helvetica Neue'; background-color: white;">Christ embodies and redeems our bodies</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Our hidden and our held bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">Sees, values, touches and heals our bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; God’s grace is revealed in and through our bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">Blessing our beautiful brown, black and beige bodies <o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Inhabiting our connected bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">Our compassionate, passionate, empathetic, and engaged bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Our prayerful, playful, purposeful and proud bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">Christ embodies our bodies<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;our blessed, broken and shared bodies</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">Christ’s body is our bodies embodying His story</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Take, <o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; eat, <o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; remember,<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white"><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>repeat</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">Still pondering,<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">Mylinda <o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt;font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#252525;background:white">May 2015<o:p></o:p></span></p> <!--EndFragment--> Fri, 15 May 2015 04:48:25 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/58383-embodiment https://internationalministries.org/read/58383-embodiment Exploring, Engaging, Expressing and Empowering Hope <p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Cochin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;; color:black;background:white">The Spirit&nbsp;of the Sovereign&nbsp;<span style="font-variant:small-caps">Lord</span>&nbsp;is on me,</span><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Cochin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;; color:black"><br> </span><span style="font-size:6.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:5.0pt;font-family:Cochin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;; color:black;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Cochin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;; color:black;background:white">because the&nbsp;<span style="font-variant:small-caps">Lord</span>&nbsp;has anointed&nbsp;me</span><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:black"><br> </span><span style="font-size:6.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:5.0pt;font-family:Cochin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;; color:black;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><span style="font-size:14.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:black;background:white">to <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">proclaim good news,</i></b></span><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><u><sup><span style="font-size:8.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:7.5pt;font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:#B34B2C">a</span></sup></u></i></b><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Cochin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;; color:black"><br> <span style="background:white"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>to <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">comfort&nbsp;</i></b>all who mourn,</span><br> </span><b><sup><span style="font-size:10.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:9.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:black;background:white"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span></sup></b><span style="font-size:6.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:5.0pt;font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:black;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><span style="font-size: 14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:black; background:white">and <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">provide for</i></b> those who grieve in Zion—</span><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family: Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;; color:black"><br> <span style="background:white">to bestow on them <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">a crown&nbsp;of beauty</i></b></span> <span style="background:white">instead of ashes,</span><br> <span style="background:white"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>the <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">oil&nbsp;of joy</i></b></span></span><span style="font-size:6.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:5.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:black;background:white">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Cochin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;; color:black;background:white">instead of mourning,</span><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Cochin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;; color:black"><br> <span style="background:white"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>and <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">a garment of praise</i></b></span></span><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:6.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:5.0pt;font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:black;background:white">&nbsp;</span></i></b><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Cochin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;; color:black;background:white">instead of a spirit of despair.</span><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Cochin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;; color:black"><br> <span style="background:white">They will be called oaks of righteousness,</span><br> </span><span style="font-size:6.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:5.0pt;font-family:Cochin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;; color:black;background:white">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span><span style="font-size:14.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:black;background:white">a planting&nbsp;of the&nbsp;<span style="font-variant:small-caps">Lord</span></span><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Cochin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;; color:black"> <span style="background:white">for <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">the display of his splendor.<o:p></o:p></i></b></span></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Cochin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;; color:black;background:white">from<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"> Isaiah 61:1-3<o:p></o:p></i></b></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:black;background:white"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:black;background:white">Observing, clarifying, seeing, being seen<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:black;background:white"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Listening, resonating, sharing, creating together<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:black;background:white"><span style="mso-tab-count: 2">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Breathing deeply, feeling, moving, connecting<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:black;background:white"><span style="mso-tab-count: 3">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Remembering, recognizing, reflecting, celebrating community<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:black;background:white"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:black;background:white">These words above can only capture a fraction of the experiences that I lived last week. I facilitated a weeklong workshop on using the expressive arts for effective ministry at the invitation of JD and Rhonda Reed, International Ministries colleagues in ministry and Carmen Flores Choque and Richard Achu Mamani, leaders of the House of Hope ministries in Cochabamba, Bolivia.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:black;background:white">We explored and practiced a variety of art forms including: visual and symbolic imagery, mixed media storytelling, music and up cycled instrument making, intentional and deep breathing, mime, mirroring and movement. Through repeated group forming rituals, gestures and traditions we created safety and structure for significant sharing of sacred personal and communal stories. Like all those S’s? One of the favorites was the giving and receiving of the love, using our hands to show how we offer and then accept the love. I learned it from my friend Ruth and it comes all the way from her friends in South Africa who shared it with her.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:black;background:white">Julia Cameron, author of the Artist’s Way says, ”</span><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size: 10.0pt;font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;">Using our creativity is therapeutic, not because we need to be fixed, but because we need to be expressive.” One workshop participant shared that before she came, she had been asking God for a way to resolve some particularly challenging situations in her life and ministry. As we were finishing the workshop she shared how helpful and therapeutic the time had been for her, not because the situation had changed, but because she now had new tools to balance the stress as well as the support of others to share the load.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;">Many of the participants would agree with the following quotes:<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>"Art can permeate the very deepest part of us, where no words exist."</span><span style="font-family: Cochin; font-size: 14pt;">-Eileen Miller</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;">“During illness (or crisis) it’s sometimes hard to articulate ourselves, the different types of thoughts and feelings that we’re trying to process, we don’t always have words for them and the arts have this beautiful, universal appeal due to it’s ability to transcend the limits of language,” -Marlessa Wesolowski<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-family: Cochin; font-size: 14pt;">R said, “</span><i style="font-family: Cochin; font-size: 14pt;">I am learning to express myself through art and music because it reaches us in the deepest places of our hearts.”</i></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;">J said, “<i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">I feel better, art gives me the opportunity to express myself</i>.”<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;">C said, “<i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">It is amazing to be a part of God’s family, sharing with all as if we were one. Today I feel blessed by how God has been walking with us. Through the arts, I rediscovered myself. I feel stronger, more encouraged to keep working and excited to use and to share with others all of the new tools that I have learned</i>.”<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span></span><span style="font-family: Cochin; font-size: 14pt;">Throughout the week we worked together to create an </span><b style="font-family: Cochin; font-size: 14pt;">altered book</b><span style="font-family: Cochin; font-size: 14pt;">. We transformed an old book into one that represents God’s Story, My Story and Our Story. The book itself symbolizes God, acknowledging that God is the source, author and Creator of all. Each participant was given a page from the book on which to create his or her own story. By including collaged expressions of each participant’s personal life story along with space and invitation to add stories of others who come later to the House of Hope, the altered book serves as a living, ever changing, witness to Our Story as God’s people, for the display of his splendor. It was a tangible, active and collective way to put form to faith. The process and the product of our communal creation are forever etched in my memory.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-family: Cochin; font-size: 14pt;">Finally, let me share with you a significant story that stays with me as a life lesson about exploration, engagement, expression, and empowerment.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;">Camilla is six. Since her parents knew she loves art, they asked if she could join the adults for the 5-hour class each evening for four days. Normally quite reserved, she flourished in her element. Along with the others, she fully participated in everything. She was focused, attentive, appropriate, thoughtful and willing to share her reflections about what she created with the others. She chose to be a part, asked questions when she needed help, believed that she was an artist, took care of herself, respected herself, others and the space, and she had fun. On the last day when she shared the four resources she could depend on for life: faith, family, study and play, I witnessed what resilience looks like. When she gifted me this card, I promised her that it would go on my refrigerator with the other important art pieces that I treasure from special friends. I kept my promise, mostly because this little empowered one leads me into deeper reflection about what really matters most in life.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-family: Cochin; font-size: 14pt;">For the gift and privilege I have in serving alongside of my friends in Latin America because of your generosity, prayers and support, I am abundantly grateful.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-family: Cochin; font-size: 14pt;">Basking in the displays of God’s glory with you,</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-family: Cochin; font-size: 14pt;">Mylinda</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;"><br> <br style="mso-special-character:line-break"> <!--[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]--><br style="mso-special-character:line-break"> <!--[endif]--></span><span style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;;color:black;background:white"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cochin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Baoli SC Regular&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Brush Script MT Italic&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 12:12:36 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/57726-exploring-engaging-expressing-and-empowering-hope https://internationalministries.org/read/57726-exploring-engaging-expressing-and-empowering-hope Holding Space, Sharing Grace <p>Between an unexpected trip to Southern California to help my Mom transition into hospice care and the sublime honor of being in Pennsylvania for the ordination ceremony of my dear friend Sara Wiegner, former IM colleague and mentor in ministry, I joined the Emmaus Community from Olympia, WA and Ruth Yeo Peterman from First Aid Arts for a week in Feb. at Deborah’s House, a refuge for women and children escaping violence in Tijuana, Mexico. &nbsp;</p><p>I penned the following haiku and reflections in an attempt to put words to what I experienced.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><b><i>Separation ache<br></i></b></p><p style="text-align: center;"><b><i>deep and dull tenderness weeps</i></b></p><p style="text-align: center;"><b><i>both sides held by God</i></b></p><p>On two distinct occasions I read the following powerful words painted on the Tijuana side of the border fence separating the US and Mexico:<br></p><p style="text-align: center;"><i><b>&nbsp;“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”<br></b></i></p><p style="text-align: center;"><i><b>“I was a stranger and you welcomed Me.” –Jesus</b></i></p><p style="text-align: center;">I hold my memories in a metaphorical bowl of incense offered to God like the prayers of the people in Revelation 8:3-5. Look it up.<br></p><p>*I hold the image of three families physically separated by a looming metal barrier, yet tenaciously together eating their picnic lunches, joined in worship and song, bread and cup being shared on both sides of the fence, proclaiming God’s deepest intention.<br></p><p>*I hold the survival stories, some of which seem to hit me like hammer blows to the gut, over and over and over again. Intense yes, but nothing compared to their lived experiences of sacrifice, powerlessness, isolation, broken promises and shattered dreams.&nbsp;<br></p><p>*I hold the hands of one of the strongest and most hospitable women I have ever met as she thanks <b>us</b> for coming. We reminded her that she makes the world more beautiful. I am awed by her resilience and humbled by her hospitality.&nbsp;<br></p><p>*I hold the sounds of laughter and, a bit of arguing, as children navigate the playground while vying for the attention of any who will notice them, relentlessly hoping for a happy life, offering love and joy in spite of their circumstances.<br></p><p>*I hold the taste of huevos rancheros, spicy salsa, hot chocolate, and way more tacos than I’d care to admit to eating. Time around table, the abundance of such good food and even better conversation, the overwhelming hospitality lingers in my soul. The welcome I undeservedly receive siempre y cuando (whenever) I visit the southern part of the Americas (Mexico, Central and South America), would sadly not likely be the same for many of my hosts if they were to come to some places in my home country. &nbsp;I struggle with this and it makes me sad, but it also empowers me to be more welcoming and hospitable, sharing grace because I have been shown grace.&nbsp;<br></p><p>With Ruth Yeo Peterman from First Aid Arts, I was honored to co-facilitate a healing arts experience with the staff and residents of Deborah’s House. We spent three days exploring how the arts can help heal the broken places that trauma and violence have caused. It was beautiful to witness the power of simple, yet thoughtfully designed activities to create safe and brave spaces for sharing. Participants strengthened interpersonal skills while exploring deep places of both personal pain and promise. I was amazed by how, while describing their artwork they willingly shared significant memories, insights and longings. It was awe inspiring to watch how one woman who was initially emotionally flat and non-communicative, became engaged and alive as she expressed her feelings with a gesture using a colored scarf. Though words often escape her, the movement activity provided her a non-verbal way to share life with the others. Later as the workshop was ending, in her own words, she said she was grateful for the chance to be seen and taken seriously. The last day we explored with the staff ways to sustain the healing arts activities with the residents and plan for their own self-care and resiliency. Throughout the three days, tears flowed, stories were shared, singing, dancing and drawing happened, laughter and love was given and received, and lives were honored. Both brokenness and beauty best describe the sacred space we shared. I feel so privileged to be a part of this creative and life affirming work, bringing together people and processes as God repairs and redeems God’s beautiful creation. &nbsp;</p><p>Thank you for partnering with me in this life changing work and for making my world more beautiful,</p><p>Mylinda<br></p><div><br></div> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 13:03:19 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/57400-holding-space-sharing-grace https://internationalministries.org/read/57400-holding-space-sharing-grace Costa Rican Reflections <p class="MsoNormal">On my way home from Costa Rica today I reflected on the countless ways I had seen God at work throughout the week. Since there were so many, I figured it was best to list them in a way that wouldn’t take you all day to read it.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Hopefully the word images invite you to imagine what I experienced.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Thank you for making it possible through your prayerful partnership and support.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">Small gestures, big impact:<o:p></o:p></span></b></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">An arm offered to lend support along a slippery trail<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:.5in">Baby smiles and giggles<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Spontaneous and heartfelt hugs from kids and old friends<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:1.0in">A gaze of recognition from the coffee vender matched by attentive and kind service<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in">Our beloved family pet, well cared for and brought to me for a visit<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:1.0in">An impromptu international video chat with loved ones chiming in from Oxford, England Seattle and Olympia, WA while I waited for my flight from San Jose, Costa Rica<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p><b><span lang="ES-TRAD" style="font-size:14.0pt;mso-ansi-language:ES-TRAD">Una celebración de cultura, comida y comunidad:</span></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="ES-TRAD" style="mso-ansi-language:ES-TRAD"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Hay, que rico el sabor de:<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="ES-TRAD" style="mso-ansi-language:ES-TRAD"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Un cafecito con leche y amor<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in"><span lang="ES-TRAD" style="mso-ansi-language:ES-TRAD">Carne asada tacos y salchichón de la parrillada <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:.5in"><span lang="ES-TRAD" style="mso-ansi-language:ES-TRAD">Helado casado<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>del Mercado <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in"><span lang="ES-TRAD" style="mso-ansi-language:ES-TRAD">Empanadas and enyuccados, <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:1.0in"><span lang="ES-TRAD" style="mso-ansi-language:ES-TRAD">Arroz con siempre y chifrijos con chicharon <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in"><span lang="ES-TRAD" style="mso-ansi-language:ES-TRAD">Tortillas de queso y chorreados <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:.5in"><span lang="ES-TRAD" style="mso-ansi-language:ES-TRAD">Queque de tres leches <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span lang="ES-TRAD" style="mso-ansi-language:ES-TRAD">Canastas de tortilla llenos de pollo en salsa <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:.5in"><span lang="ES-TRAD" style="mso-ansi-language:ES-TRAD">Piña y papaya frescos del campo<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span lang="ES-TRAD" style="mso-ansi-language:ES-TRAD">Jugo de guanábana o horchata <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:.5in"><span lang="ES-TRAD" style="mso-ansi-language:ES-TRAD">Pan y bísquets recién hornadas de la pulpería y el horno de mi amiga<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span lang="ES-TRAD" style="mso-ansi-language:ES-TRAD">Conversación, risas, y amor compartido alrededor la mesa<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span lang="ES-TRAD" style="mso-ansi-language:ES-TRAD"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Casi no hay nada mejor que esta<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="ES-TRAD" style="mso-ansi-language:ES-TRAD"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><b><span style="font-size:14.0pt">A celebration of culture, food, and community:</span></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Oh, how rich the taste of:<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:2">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>A strong cup of coffee and warm milk with love<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Seasoned beef tacos and sausages from the grill<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:2">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Homemade ice cream from the Central Market<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Fried corn turnovers and meat filled yucca balls,<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:2">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Rice with chicken and rice with beans, chicharones and fresh salsa<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Fresh corn and cheese tortillas y corn pancakes with sour cream<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:2">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Three milks cake<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Tortilla baskets with shredded and saucy chicken<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:2">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Pineapple and papaya fresh from the field<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Soursop juice and milky rice and peanut drink<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:2">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Fresh baked bread and biscuits from the corner store or my friend’s oven<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Conversation, smiles and love shared around the table<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:2">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Almost nothing better than this<span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p><b style="text-indent: 0.5in;"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">In gratitude for generosity given and received:</span></b></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Thanks for Abraham’s local phone to borrow and use <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:.5in">Gratitude for Tanya’s help with a rental car and sacrifice of her commission<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Humbled by abundant meals provided for and by the students from Purdue<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:.5in">Blessed by beds offered and comfortable sleep sacrificed on my behalf<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in">Overwhelmed by Judith’s shopping spree and suitcase to take it all home<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Grace upon grace upon grace-amazing<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p><b><span style="font-size:14.0pt">Glimpses of shalom and God breaking through moments:</span></b></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Presence honored in greetings and goodbyes <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:1.0in">Mary practicing it while having attentive conversations with kids about their hopes and dreams<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in">Playing parachute games with 50 kids who have found a safe place to belong and grow<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:.5in">Cory playing ukulele and singing everything in his repertoire <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Reconnecting with a mentor in ministry and being one to others<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:1.0in">Group building games and communication between students in English and Spanish<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in">Listening to inspiring young adult professionals committed to care of the environment and the most vulnerable in their communities <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in;text-indent:.5in">Honest conversations about racism and its painful consequences<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in">Significant story sharing of cancer diagnoses and dreams deferred, politics and peacemaking, love and loss, transitions and trainings, challenges and celebrations, gratitude and grace, and faith, friendship and family.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="text-indent: 0.5in;">&nbsp;</span><b><span style="font-size:14.0pt">Incarnational joys along the Way:</span></b></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Long walks through coffee fields and adobe home neighborhoods<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:1.0in">Hikes through bamboo forests and dusty dirt roads, navigating slippery slopes and deep drainage ditches<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Strolling along pedestrian pathways in the city or fresh fruit ferias in the suburbs<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Seeing Jesus in flesh and bones, moving through the neighborhood<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">May the words on these pages and the meditations and memories from my heart, honor the Creator and inspire you to notice the gifts of beauty that abound whether in Costa Rica, Central America, Costa Mesa, California or wherever else on this globe you may wander. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>Thank you for making the world more beautiful.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">Yours along the Way,<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>Mylinda</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p><p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> 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mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> Mon, 12 Jan 2015 13:03:56 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/56982-costa-rican-reflections https://internationalministries.org/read/56982-costa-rican-reflections 2014 to 2015 Threshold Ponderings <p></p><p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#333333">I wish I could take language<o:p></o:p></span></i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#333333">And daub and soothe and cool<o:p></o:p></span></i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#333333">Where fever blisters and burns,<o:p></o:p></span></i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#333333">Where fever turns yourself against you.<o:p></o:p></span></i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#333333">I wish I could take language<o:p></o:p></span></i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#333333">And heal the words that were the wounds<o:p></o:p></span></i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#333333">You have no names for.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#333333">-Julia Cameron<o:p></o:p></span></i></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#333333"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial;">This poem written by Julia Cameron, author of </span><u style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial;">The Artist Way </u><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial;">puts words to some of my feelings about writing this year-end recap and update. As is often the case, I have put off writing because I fear that my words won’t be adequate, won’t dip down deep enough, and won’t be articulate or clear. I fear the impact of words spoken too quickly, but know the power of a timely truth told. I long for lasting healing, but know that hurt is inevitable at times. This last year and particularly these last few months have been tricky to say the least. The stories I’ve read about in the headlines and heard from those who I am privileged to share life with, have at times moved me to tears or to deep laughter and at others, caused me to shake my head in anger and disbelief. It is hard to sort and sift through the layers of confusing data to make sense of our world today, but I am convinced that I must try in order to live into the Hope and grace to which I’ve been called. I am deeply grateful for you and to God for the many ways I have glimpsed undaunted beauty breaking through the brokenness of our beloved world.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#333333">In this past year I have:<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#333333">made art and made mistakes, <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-family:Arial; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#333333">designed accessible worship for many while excluding others unknowingly, <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#333333">been a coward and been brave, <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-family:Arial; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#333333">felt frustration and felt elation, <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#333333">said just the right thing in the right moment in just the right way and then didn’t say anything when I should have or said too much or something unkind when I should have just stayed silent, <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in"><span style="font-family:Arial; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#333333">noticed and paid attention to many overlooked people while turning a blind eye or deaf ear towards others.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#333333">I committed acts of goodwill as well as harm. <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in"><span style="font-family:Arial; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#333333">Thanks be to God for mercy and grace that covers the whole mixed bag, or as a wise friend recently reminded me, “You are already forgiven, redeemed and made new.”</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in"><b style="text-indent: 0.5in;"><i><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#333333">"From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace."</span></i></b></p><p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst" style="text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:Arial"><span style="mso-list: Ignore">-<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span></span></span></span><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">The Gospel of </span></i></b><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial; color:#363636">John 1:16<o:p></o:p></span></i></b></p><p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpLast"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial;color:#363636"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></i></b><span style="font-family: Arial;">Graces from 2014 that I received:</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-family: Arial;">*The culmination and celebration of the Memorial Playground in La Guacima, Costa Rica with my sister DeDe, and friends from Woodbury Baptist Church of Minnesota and Mansion of Light Church of Costa Rica. I saw how God continues to bring new life and deep connection through loss, especially in translating poignant conversations between the two Moms who lost children to disease and auto accidents (in whose memory the park was dedicated). Seeing them interact with the children as all of us enjoyed the new playground was and is a sustaining grace to me.</span><span style="font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">*Leading the design team for worship at the All Staff Gathering and Call Retreat during the 200</span><sup style="font-family: Arial;">th</sup><span style="font-family: Arial;"> year celebration of missions through International Ministries ABC-USA, I felt in sync with my artistic giftings in caring for the souls of and collaborating with my colleagues. </span><span style="font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">*A trip to Mt. Saint Helens in WA state where I witnessed in nature the slow, but indomitable power of life being reborn after destruction in the new growth 30+ years after its eruption.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">*New creativity, skills and relationships gained from working with these amazing organizations: First Aid Arts (formerly named ArtsAftercare), Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship, BuildABridge International, Training for Change, and International Christian Alliance on Prostitution. I continue to be amazed at the common threads in story and purpose that we are discovering together.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">*An uncomfortable, yet healing, “Undoing Racism in the US” workshop that helped me to see my own racism and personal benefit from an unjust system. I recognize that I don’t know what I don’t know. I learned that when racial misunderstandings occur, regardless of intent, if harm is done, I need to accept responsibility and acknowledge pain. Reconciliation and repair of relationship is possible when we are humble enough to listen, honor and hold each other’s stories without justifying our own or dismissing the experience of the other. I still have lots to learn, but I am committed to the work over the long haul.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">*Finally, I received grace in a number of impromptu as well as planned mentoring conversations with young adult women who are exploring God’s call to service and ministry on their lives. As my wise friend the Rev. Marlene Dell from Limon, Costa Rica once said, “We are meant to mid-wife dreams for one another.“</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">"</span><span style="font-weight: bold; line-height: 19.55pt; font-style: italic; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(54, 54, 54);">The whole of creation is standing on tip toe to see the full revelation of the children of God" -Romans&nbsp;8:16. &nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-family: Arial;">As I look to 2015, I have a full year of travel, trainings and transformational opportunities ahead. Please pray that God would be honored in all of this.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><b><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">January</span></b><span style="font-family: Arial;">: Costa Rica check in with partners and accompaniment of students from Purdue University Baptist Foundation.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">February</span></b><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">: First Aid Arts Healing Arts Toolkit Training and workweek at Deborah’s House in Tijuana, Mexico with Emmaus House from Olympia, WA<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">March</span></b><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">: <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>Bolivia: Arts in Ministry training with House of Hope ministries in Cochabamba and visits with IM colleagues in Santa Cruz.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">April: </span></b><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">IM missionary collaboration on adaptation of the Healing Arts Toolkit with AMOS in Managua, Nicaragua<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Keynote and Bible study leader for ABW Women’s Conference in Richland, WA<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">May</span></b><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">: Participate in the International Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers with Dan and Sharon Buttry in Kiev, Ukraine.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Facilitate an arts-based resiliency workshop at the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship Colleagues Conference in Spokane, WA<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Facilitate art making and speak at the Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church’s Women Retreat<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">June</span></b><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">: BuildABridge’s Annual Arts Institute in Philadelphia, PA<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Training for Change’s Advanced Training of Trainers in Philadelphia, PA<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">ABC-USA Mission Summit in Overland Park, KS<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">July</span></b><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">: Baptist World Alliance Gathering in Durban, South Africa<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">September</span></b><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">: Creativity and Empowerment workshops for women with CICEM in Oaxaca, Mexico<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">October</span></b><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">: Follow-up with AMOS in Managua, Nicaragua<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">November</span></b><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">: Training with Talita Girls Club leadership in Temuco, Chile<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="font-family: Arial;">I stand on tiptoes expecting to see God at work in these coming days.</span></p><p 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</xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Arial;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p> Wed, 31 Dec 2014 11:44:45 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/56906-2014-to-2015-threshold-ponderings https://internationalministries.org/read/56906-2014-to-2015-threshold-ponderings Gemini crickets, chapulines are good! <h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">To my surprise, crickets not only taste good, they are good for you, too. This is only one of many lessons I learned on my most recent trip to rural Mexico last week. As I was leaving, Josefa gave me her phone number and, for my family back home in WA, a bag full of roasted chapulines (crickets), a great source of protein that she gathers from the fields surrounding her beautiful mountain home in Oaxaca. She and her husband generously opened their home and welcomed me to their table. Along with the chapulines, I feasted on fresh tortillas, salsa (that I got to help make), beans, cheese, roasted pumpkin seeds, coffee, warm milk and cookies. I sat near the cooking fire savouring stories of God's provision and grace, demonstrated in their appreciation of the natural resources that surrounded them. In the song of clucking chickens and turkeys held in pens near the home, the humming of fresh corn being milled into masa for tortillas, and the loud speaker announcing an incoming telephone call for a&nbsp;neighbour (all creative and sustainable income generating projects maintained by the family)&nbsp;I heard HOPE. I witnessed wise and beautiful resilience in their lives and can't wait until next year when I get to spend more time learning together with them.&nbsp;</span></h3><h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">Another lesson I learned from my new friends was that the stakes are higher and much more dangerous for them than me to speak out against injustice. Part of my work throughout Latin America is to raise awareness about the devastating effects of exploitation and human trafficking. I speak strongly and passionately about our responsibility as people of faith and believers in the dignity of all to speak out against systems of death while proclaiming good news, God's design for life, shalom and redemption. Although some may consider my comments too taboo to speak out loud in church or outright disagree with my perspective, up to this point, I have not felt threatened or that my life was in danger. This has not been the case for some in Mexico. In late September of this year, 43 students from a rural teacher's college in Ayotzinapa, Guerreo Mexico disappeared on their way to a&nbsp;demonstration protesting government corruption and repression. Believed by many to have been murdered, their parents and friends are holding out hope that they are being held somewhere in order to be silenced. &nbsp;A Mexican proverb says, "They tried to bury us. They didn't know we were seeds." Those who take life may think they have silenced the dissent, only to have planted seeds that speak louder than life. I heard these seeds shouting in the multitudes who march in public squares, refusing to forget the names of the disappeared, &nbsp;in protest art that pops up all over the Mexican landscape as well as on Facebook, and especially in the peaceful public fasting at the Zócalo in Mexico City by Baptist seminary students and leaders. One of my planned meetings with seminary leadership had to be cancelled because of their participation in this important, yet risky witness.</span></h3><h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">While spending the week with IM colleagues Keith and Debbie Myers and Chuck and Ramona Shawver, I was blessed to learn about the rich and complex history of Mexico and meet their friends from the Baptist Seminary in Mexico City and CICEM, the Council of Rural Indigenous Evangelical Churches of Mexico. Next year I will work with CICEM, traveling to three different indigenous communities to do region wide workshops for women exploring how faith intersects with creativity, resiliency, empowerment and trauma recovery.&nbsp;</span></h3><h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">This past year I have had abundant opportunities to learn about and practice the use of the expressive arts in trauma care and recovery. In April of 2014 I received training in the use of the Healing Arts Toolkit created by Arts Aftercare and have since been developing a beautiful relationship with this cutting edge NGO dedicated to&nbsp;provide resources for trained arts therapists and artists of all kinds to engage in the healing process with at-risk youth and survivors of extreme trauma. An emergent development is the Creative&nbsp;Communities&nbsp;of Care, designed to engage in group art processes for self-care, share resources and adaptations, practice facilitation techniques, and provide mutual support. Part of the vision includes the development of regional gatherings facilitated by CCC coordinators. I was able to co-facilitate one of the first regional gatherings in Mexico City with Shabrae Krieg, Regional Support Coordinator for Arts Aftercare. We engaged in all of the aspects that Creative Communities of Care seek to promote and I was inspired. In 2015, I look forward to co-facilitating a number of &nbsp;Healing Arts Toolkit trainings in Tijuana and Managua with the amazingly creative Ruth Yeo Peterman, Arts Aftercare Director of Mental Health and Program Development. These new partnerships will allow me to learn and lead even more while using the arts to uncover beauty in the brokenness.&nbsp;</span></h3><div><span style="font-weight: normal;">Thank you for being a part of what allows me to witness hope, healing and wholeness for and in our world,</span></div><div><span style="font-weight: normal;">Mylinda</span></div><div><span style="font-weight: normal;"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-weight: normal;"><br></span></div> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 12:00:39 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/56462-gemini-crickets-chapulines-are-good- https://internationalministries.org/read/56462-gemini-crickets-chapulines-are-good- Rising to the Challenges <table border="0" width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" width="100%" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="center" style="padding: 0px 15px 9px;"><table border="0" width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" id="content_LETTER.BLOCK4" style="text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="left" style="color: rgb(113, 113, 113); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt; line-height: 1.4; padding: 8px 15px 9px;"><div style="color: rgb(0, 120, 193); font-size: 14pt;">Dearest Ones,</div><div style="color: rgb(0, 120, 193); font-size: 14pt;">I hope this note finds you well. I just returned from a trip to the Bahamas with the American Baptist Women and the American Baptist Women in Professional Church Leadership. It was a good chance to renew friendships, deepen others and form some new ones. I was especially blessed to spend some time with Sarah McCurdy, brand new IM missionary to the Dominican Republic.&nbsp;</div><div style="color: rgb(0, 120, 193); font-size: 14pt;">Throughout October I have the honor of preaching and lifting up the invitation to Rise to the Challenge through the World Mission Offering in various churches. If you happen to be close or in the neighborhood, I'd love to see you.&nbsp;</div><div style="color: rgb(0, 120, 193); font-size: 14pt;"><br></div><div style="color: rgb(0, 120, 193); font-size: 14pt;">I'll be at:&nbsp;<strong>Olympia First Baptist, Olympia, WA on Oct. 5th</strong></div><div style="color: rgb(0, 120, 193); font-size: 14pt;"><strong>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; First Baptist, McMinnville, OR on Oct. 12th</strong></div><div style="color: rgb(0, 120, 193); font-size: 14pt; margin-left: 60px;"><strong>&nbsp; &nbsp;First Baptist, Port Angeles, WA on Oct. 19th</strong></div><div style="color: rgb(0, 120, 193); font-size: 14pt; margin-left: 60px;"><strong><br></strong></div><div style="color: rgb(0, 120, 193); font-size: 14pt;">If you aren't close by, I'd love to hear how you are doing and how I can be praying for the challenges that you are rising to. Drop me a line, give me a call, or come by for a cup of coffee- let's stay connected.</div><div style="color: rgb(0, 120, 193); font-size: 14pt;">Remember that you matter and that you are loved,</div><div style="color: rgb(0, 120, 193); font-size: 14pt;">Mylinda</div></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table><table border="0" width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="left" style="line-height: 1px;"><img height="1" vspace="0" border="0" hspace="0" width="18" alt="" src="https://imgssl.constantcontact.com/letters/images/1101116784221/S.gif" style="display: block;"></td><td bgcolor="#EDF5FB" valign="top" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="center" style="background-color: rgb(237, 245, 251);"><table border="0" width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" style="text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" width="100%" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="center" style="padding: 8px 0px;"><table border="0" width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" style="text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="left" style="color: rgb(0, 120, 193); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt; padding: 8px 15px 0px;"><b>In This Issue</b></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="left" style="color: rgb(242, 101, 34); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt; line-height: 1.4; padding: 8px 15px 9px;"><table border="0" width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="left" style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 1.4; padding: 0px 0px 9px;"><a shape="rect" href="https://ui.constantcontact.com/visualeditor/visual_editor_preview.jsp?agent.uid=1118636674659#LETTER.BLOCK12" style="color: rgb(242, 101, 34); text-decoration: none; font-size: 10pt; line-height: 1.4;">Rising to the Challenges</a></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table><table border="0" width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" style="text-align: left; margin: 0px;"><tbody><tr><td rowspan="1" colspan="1" style="padding: 5px 15px; height: 1px; line-height: 1px;"><table border="0" width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"><tbody><tr><td height="1" bgcolor="#0078C1" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="center" style="padding-bottom: 0px; height: 1px; background-color: rgb(0, 120, 193);"><img height="1" vspace="0" border="0" hspace="0" width="5" alt="" src="https://imgssl.constantcontact.com/letters/images/1101116784221/S.gif" style="display: block;"></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table><a name="LETTER.BLOCK11"></a><table border="0" width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" id="content_LETTER.BLOCK11" style="text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="left" style="color: rgb(0, 120, 193); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt; padding: 8px 15px 0px;"><img vspace="5" border="0" name="ACCOUNT.IMAGE.83" hspace="5" width="140" src="https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs177/1109942941501/img/83.jpg"><div><div style="font-size: 10pt;"><b>Finding Beauty in Brokenness</b></div></div></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="left" style="color: rgb(113, 113, 113); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt; line-height: 1.4; padding: 8px 15px 9px;"><br><img vspace="5" border="0" name="ACCOUNT.IMAGE.2" hspace="5" width="140" alt="im logo w/ words" src="https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs009/1109942941501/img/2.jpg"><br></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table><table border="0" width="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" style="text-align: left; width: 180px;"><tbody><tr><td rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="center" style="height: 1px; line-height: 1px;"><img height="1" vspace="0" border="0" hspace="0" width="5" alt="" src="https://imgssl.constantcontact.com/letters/images/1101116784221/S.gif" style="display: block;"></td></tr></tbody></table></td><td valign="top" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="left" style="line-height: 1px;"><img height="1" vspace="0" border="0" hspace="0" width="18" alt="" src="https://imgssl.constantcontact.com/letters/images/1101116784221/S.gif" style="display: block;"></td><td bgcolor="#EDF5FB" valign="top" width="100%" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="center" style="background-color: rgb(237, 245, 251);"><table border="0" width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" style="text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" width="100%" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="center" style="padding: 8px 0px;"><a name="LETTER.BLOCK12"></a><table border="0" width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" id="content_LETTER.BLOCK12" style="text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="left" style="padding: 8px 0px 0px; color: rgb(0, 120, 193); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14pt;"><table border="0" width="100%" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="margin: 0px;"><tbody><tr><td valign="center" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="left" style="font-size: 14pt;"><table border="0" width="100%" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td bgcolor="#F26522" valign="center" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="left" style="line-height: 1px; background-color: rgb(242, 101, 34);"><img height="15" vspace="0" border="0" hspace="0" width="10" src="https://imgssl.constantcontact.com/letters/images/1101116784221/S.gif" style="display: block;"></td></tr></tbody></table></td><td valign="top" width="100%" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="left" style="padding: 0px 15px; font-size: 14pt;">Motivos de Oración</td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table><table border="0" width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" id="content_LETTER.BLOCK13" style="text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" rowspan="1" colspan="1" align="left" style="color: rgb(113, 113, 113); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt; line-height: 1.4; padding: 8px 15px 9px;"><img vspace="5" border="0" name="ACCOUNT.IMAGE.87" hspace="5" width="326" src="https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs177/1109942941501/img/87.jpg"><div>Please join me in prayer for:<br></div><div>*The family of Maria Jesus Suarez, pastor and friend from Costa Rica who died unexpectedly this week.</div><div>*The transition of leadership for Deborah's House in Tijuana as Adalia Gutierrez Lee assumes the Area Director position for Latin America and the Caribbean region in May of 2015.</div><div>*Upcoming confirmed travels and trainings in Oregon, Washington, Mexico City, Costa Rica, Tijuana, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Chile, Pennsylvania, Kansas, and South Africa.</div></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table> Thu, 25 Sep 2014 08:28:51 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55690-rising-to-the-challenges https://internationalministries.org/read/55690-rising-to-the-challenges Finding Flow Together <center><p><i>"Because you have this faith, I now remind you to stir up that inner fire which God gave you at your ordination. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and love and a sound mind."<br>2 Timothy 1:6-7</i></p></center> <p>According to wellness researcher <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mihaly_Csikszentmihalyi">Mihály Csíkszentmihályi</a>, flow is completely focused <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motivation">motivation</a>. It is, in essence, characterized by complete absorption in what one does. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task. I believe flow in a biblical sense is the inner fire given by God that Paul refers to in his letter to Timothy.</p> <p>I tend to find my flow whenever I am creating, but especially as a pastor, when I help to create safe and sacred spaces of connection with God and people. Recently, when I was in Green Lake, Wisconsin, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of American Baptist's engagement in mission with all of my International Ministries colleagues from the U.S. and all over the globe, I was in awe at how God's Spirit flowed in and through us. As we anticipated the arrival of over 1000 mission supporters and international partners in ministry for the World Mission Conference the following week, we came together during the All Staff Gathering to decompress, discern and dream of God's future for us. I was asked to pull together a team to lead our twice daily worship times. Though I had worked for months preparing and was extremely busy during the week, I had SO MUCH FUN! Together we found our flow. We heard the Psalms read in various languages because colleagues whose heart tongue is not English shared their voices. A number of Missionary Kids and new missionary colleagues offered their musical and technological gifts, while artistic veterans lent their experience, expertise and style to decorate our gathering space and guide us in collaborative and symbolic art-making. Everyone was encouraged to bring themselves, their exhaustion and excitement, their unique identities and cultures, their burdens and their blessings, their hopes, expectations, disappointments, distinct opinions and experiences, all of the elements of their life story, to our gathering. God's Spirit not only welcomed each of us, but moved in and around and in spite of us creating a beautiful masterpiece out of our imperfect and broken offerings. As we gathered around the cross on Thursday night, candles were lit, tears flowed, heartache was honored and heard and souls were knit together in profound ways.</p> <p>I cannot express how deeply grateful I am for the opportunity that we had to come together, celebrate who we have been and are as a missional movement and dream of how we can be a significant reflection of God's amazing grace and glory throughout the world in the days to come. For the countless hours of preparation and commitment by our Valley Forge partners in ministry, the abundant generosity of donors, the prayers of faithful mission supporters and the awe-inspiring talent of my missionary colleagues and their families, I am truly grateful. Being invited to use my gifts for ministry to serve my colleagues and witnessing their gifts as well was like jumping into and splashing around in a life-giving river. Freedom and fun joined forces and joy flowed in and out of us. Out of our times together, innovative ministry and new approaches to collaborative work were born.</p> <p>My schedule for 2015 is filling up with exciting opportunities to work together with other IM colleagues to find our flow, creating beauty out of brokenness and restoring hope through Christ.</p> <p><i>Prayer points:</i></p> <ul> <li><i>Good connections with Women in Professional Church Leadership and American Baptist Women's Ministry as I join them on their cruise to the Bahamas in September.</i></li> <li><i>New supportive ministry opportunities to explore in Mexico City, Puebla and Chiapas, Mexico, as I travel there in early November.</i></li> <li><i>Strengthening of skills in facilitation using the Healing Arts Toolkit and partnering with Arts Aftercare as we train service providers to use the expressive arts in trauma recovery with survivors of human trafficking. I hope to be leading or co-facilitating trainings in 2015 in Costa Rica, Mexico, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Chile.</i></li> </ul> <p>Special thanks to Bill Mason for these photos he took of our memorable week together.</p> <p>Thank you for being a beautiful drop in my river and helping me stay in my flow, <br><i>Mylinda</i></p> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 13:08:54 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55006-finding-flow-together https://internationalministries.org/read/55006-finding-flow-together 2014 ICAP Conference Promotes International Collaboration in Fighting Exploitation <p class="MsoNormal">The 2014 International Christian Alliance on Prostitution (ICAP) Global “Delight” Conference was held on May 18–22 at the Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake, Wisconsin. The ICAP’s fifth international gathering in ten years, this event was attended by over 300 people representing more than 52 countries. American Baptist International Ministries (IM) was a sponsor of this event.</p><p class="MsoNormal">With participants from around the globe, the event reflected the primary mission of ICAP: "Networking for Transformation and Hope." Through conferencing and consultation, ICAP unites, equips and empowers practitioners and advocates who compassionately challenge injustice and offer freedom to people exploited by prostitution, including sex trafficking. The ICAP Leadership Team represents founders and visionaries of grass-roots organizations from Africa, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Europe, Latin America and North America.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Unfortunately, many of those who live in areas most at-risk for human trafficking and exploitation lack the financial resources to travel to an event like this, however much they might benefit from it. Recognizing this, IM offered financial assistance to several people who would not otherwise have been able to attend. Carmen Flores Choque and Goretty Jora from Cochabamba, Bolivia, were among those who received this assistance—and, for them, the investment paid off! They described the conference as life-transforming.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Carmen coordinates the various ministry initiatives of House of Hope, a ministry that was created, inspired and supported by IM missionaries Mario and Iris Morales. Goretty created Fundación Immanuel (Emmanuel Foundation) to serve the children in her neighborhood who are vulnerable, at risk or exposed to prostitution, poverty and violence. </p><p class="MsoNormal">As Carmen reflected on her time at the ICAP Global Conference, she mentioned the Green Lake Conference Center as a place of great blessing. She was impressed by the sharing, networking and learning she experienced through the workshops and especially the testimonies of new friends who work for justice and in the labor of God. She and Goretty described the experience as-life transforming. They are both grateful to God and to all of those whom God used to make it possible for them to come and be renewed and refreshed. Words could not contain the feelings of deep joy and energy that will surely be reflected in their ministries back home in Bolivia.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Other notable attendees include these IM missionaries:<br></p><ul><li><span style="text-indent: 0.5in;">Lauren Bethell: IM global consultant based in the Netherlands</span><br></li><li><span style="text-indent: 0.5in;">Kit Ripley: New Life Center Foundation, Thailand</span><br></li><li><span style="text-indent: 0.5in;">Annie Dieselberg: NightLight International, Thailand</span><br></li><li><span style="text-indent: 0.5in;">Rhonda Reed: Bolivia</span><br></li><li><span style="text-indent: 0.5in;">Jonathan and Thelma Nambu: Samaritana Center, Philippines</span><br></li><li><span style="text-indent: 0.5in;">Mylinda Baits: regional missionary to Iberoamerica and the Caribbean</span></li></ul><p><span style="text-indent: 0.5in;">For more information, contact Mylinda Baits: <a href="mailto:mylinda.baits@internationalministries.org">mylinda.baits@internationalministries.org</a></span></p><p><span style="text-indent: 0.5in;"></span>&nbsp;</p> Thu, 19 Jun 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/54331-2014-icap-conference-promotes-international-collaboration-in-fighting-exploitation https://internationalministries.org/read/54331-2014-icap-conference-promotes-international-collaboration-in-fighting-exploitation Silly String and IV Tubing <p style="border: 0px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; margin: 0px 0px 1.625em; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(55, 55, 55); line-height: 24.375px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><b><i>"Nothing, in fact, is small." </i></b>Les Miserables</p><p style="border: 0px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; margin: 0px 0px 1.625em; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(55, 55, 55); line-height: 24.375px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">One of the smallest events that changed my perspective in a big way happened in mid-December 1999.&nbsp; We wiped the graham cracker crumbs and sticky frosting from the rolling bedside table and put away the remaining candies used to decorate our gingerbread house mansions. My kids, Jamie and Micah, ages 9 and 5 at the time, were enjoying their visit with California cousins, identical 11 year old twin girls, Brittany and Tiffany.&nbsp;<strong style="border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-style: inherit; margin: 0px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">We had made another trek down from WA State to be with family, this time because the doctors found cancer cells producing on a chromosomal level in Tiffany’s bone marrow.</strong>&nbsp;She would need to spend a good part of December in the hospital for intense chemotherapy treatments in preparation for a marrow transplant scheduled for February. Like most kids, they loved creating, but after hours of navigating turn taking with the limited amounts of sugary building supplies, the cramped quarters of the hospital room workshop, and afternoon pre-supper grumpies, they needed a bit of space to regroup. My sister and I decided to let Tiffany rest while we took the other kids out for a quick bite to eat. Having overcome the witching-hour hunger hump, we spotted a dollar store nearby, arming ourselves for the next grand adventure, unaware that it would change each of our lives forever.</p><p style="border: 0px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; margin: 0px 0px 1.625em; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(55, 55, 55); line-height: 24.375px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Back on the pediatric oncology ward, we prepared for our big entrance.&nbsp;<strong style="border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-style: inherit; margin: 0px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">Red, green and purple washable hair dye was applied to all heads in every imaginable combination and a can of silly string was uncapped and ready for each giggly attacker.</strong>&nbsp; On the count of three, the crazy corps of kids and their outrageous moms burst into Tiffany’s room spraying silly string and singing. Tiffany was given her own can of silly string and she wanted colored polka dots to cover her beautiful, bald head. The impromptu party grew after Tiffany pegged her doctor in the backside with a stream of silliness as he walked down the hallway. The nurses weren’t even upset, though silly string covered the monitors and hung from the IV tubing attached to Tiffany’s arm.&nbsp; For a brief 3 minutes, we all experienced pure uninhibited joy; the kind you feel deep down in your bones that infuse your whole being with laughter, love and life.&nbsp;<strong style="border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-style: inherit; margin: 0px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">Tiffany didn’t survive her bone marrow transplant, but the same Spirit of pure life that was present in that silly string covered room continues to show up in the most unexpected places.</strong></p><p style="border: 0px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; margin: 0px 0px 1.625em; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(55, 55, 55); line-height: 24.375px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Daily I realize how much this experience changed me and had a profound effect on those closest to me. My young adult children and I often recall that day with bittersweet sentiment. It reminds us to see beauty in broken places, to look for the unifying normalcy in uncomfortable situations, to love creatively, especially when the surroundings are less than ideal, to surprise others in extravagantly simple ways, to make memories today and not wait for that perfect moment, because right now is our only guaranteed right time.&nbsp;&nbsp;<strong style="border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-style: inherit; margin: 0px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">Vincent Van Gogh once said, “We who try our best to live, why do we not live more?”</strong>&nbsp;That simple and impromptu silly string party in the hospital room of a child trying her best to live, taught me to live life fully now, grateful for each fleeting moment of connection, compassion, creativity, and communion.</p><p style="border: 0px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; margin: 0px 0px 1.625em; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(55, 55, 55); line-height: 24.375px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">-Mylinda Baits-</p><p style="border: 0px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; margin: 0px 0px 1.625em; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(55, 55, 55); line-height: 24.375px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">The above post was what I wrote as a guest blogger for Cara MacDonald Meredith, a friend and former youth who I was privileged to mentor at Calvary Baptist Church in the late nineteen eighties early nineties.. She has created the blog,&nbsp;<b>Be, Mama, Be,</b>&nbsp;dedicated to finding beauty in the most unlikely of places. Check out her soulful and significant writing at&nbsp;http://carameredith.com/ .&nbsp;</p><p style="border: 0px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; margin: 0px 0px 1.625em; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(55, 55, 55); line-height: 24.375px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><br></p> Tue, 13 May 2014 12:02:22 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53928-silly-string-and-iv-tubing https://internationalministries.org/read/53928-silly-string-and-iv-tubing Story Pillar <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>380</o:Words> <o:Characters>2166</o:Characters> <o:Company>International Ministries</o:Company> <o:Lines>18</o:Lines> <o:Paragraphs>5</o:Paragraphs> <o:CharactersWithSpaces>2541</o:CharactersWithSpaces> <o:Version>14.0</o:Version> </o:DocumentProperties> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> 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The following is the description I wrote for the display.</p><p class="MsoPlainText" style="text-align: left;"><b><br></b></p><p class="MsoPlainText" style="text-align: center;"><b>The Story Pillar</b>:<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoPlainText" style="text-align: center;">Created for the XLVIII Olympia Arts Walk,</p><p class="MsoPlainText" style="text-align: center;">April 25-26, 2014 Olympia, WA</p><p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoPlainText"><b>Artists</b>: Downtown guests and friends of Table Grace, a weekly meal provided at the First Baptist Church of Olympia, WA and hosted by the Emmaus Community. Participants ranged from 3 years old to 70+</p><p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoPlainText"><b>Process:</b> Convinced that we enlarge our lives by engaging and honoring the stories of others, the Emmaus Community set out to collect the stories of some of our downtown neighbors who gather each Sunday at Table Grace.&nbsp; They did this by offering coffee, a safe and welcoming place to create, conversation, paper, chalk and pastels, and an invitation to share their stories through art.&nbsp; After two sessions, all of the drawings were gathered, trimmed and then collaged and layered onto the four-sided story pillar made from recycled folding closet doors.</p><p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoPlainText"><b>Purpose:</b> Legendary&nbsp;documentary creator&nbsp;Ken Burns&nbsp;says that the best stories are about "One plus one equals three." A good&nbsp;story&nbsp;is more than simply the sum of its parts. There is something beyond the words and the data and the images. The power of this story pillar is in your interaction with it. Built as a pillar instead of on a flat surface, the Story Pillar is meant to engage more of your senses, not only your sight. To honor another’s story you must be intentional, present, engaged, and willing to have your perspective challenged. All stories are layered and must be discovered. Often you have to come back again and look at it from another angle, to walk around it, and see something that escaped your notice the first time or that you judged or wrote off too quickly.&nbsp; Sharing our stories humanizes all of us, motivating us to learn more and live differently. We hope that you will listen to these significant stories and find that your own is not that different from those who you share the sidewalks with in Olympia.</p><p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoPlainText">Some of the Stories shared were:</p><p class="MsoPlainText"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoPlainText">A seven-year-old's desire to have a home to live in;<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoPlainText">A teenager’s tribute to her recently deceased mother;<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoPlainText">A good day remembered on a train ride;<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoPlainText">A story of rejection, acceptance, and salvation claimed;<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoPlainText">The last words spoken by a grandfather to his grandson in recovery;<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoPlainText">Memories of palm trees, Florida sunshine, and words of hope of a new neighbor;<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoPlainText">Clouds, rainbows, hearts, flowers, flags, and forests;<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoPlainText">Names 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https://internationalministries.org/read/53702-story-pillar https://internationalministries.org/read/53702-story-pillar Table Grace <p><b><i>Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.</i></b></p><p><b><i>"I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved&nbsp;</i></b><b><i>you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my&nbsp;</i></b><b><i>disciples, if you have love for one another."&nbsp;</i></b></p><p><b><i>John 13:1, 34-35</i></b></p><p>Jesus spoke these words to His disciples as He sat at table with them the night he was betrayed, but it was a concept he modeled on a daily basis. With no guarantee of love in return, he loved them and asked them to love each other. He served them and asked them to serve each other. He led by example and invited his followers to do likewise. Knowing that he would be let down by those closest to him, he still choose to offer grace and an invitation to new life. This grace offered from the table was meant to permeate the very ordinary, everyday relationships and life experiences of his friends.</p><p>In service and engagement around the table, Jesus was showing us what real love looks like. This last week while in Bolivia visiting IM colleagues JD and Rhonda Reed, I had a few opportunities to taste and see a similar kind of table grace:</p><p>*reminiscing and eating Gallo Pinto (Costa Rican rice and bean dish) with 15 year old kid missionary, Grace Reed, who asked that I make some for her birthday because it reminded her of Costa Rica and all of the memories we shared there.</p><p>*conversing over salty grilled piranha, rice and yuca with local Bolivian pastors about the biblical and ethical issues surrounding the trafficking of people. We explored our partnership in God's dream of preventing further exploitation, protecting the most vulnerable among us, promoting justice by prosecuting perpetrators instead of blaming the victims and partnering together to build supportive and sustainable communities that reflect life and promote the well-being of all of God's creation.</p><p>*drinking orange Fanta and sitting around the Baptist seminary table with the Urban Ministries leadership group while struggling with the Judges 19 account of the gang rape and murder of a nameless, voiceless and powerless concubine.&nbsp;Many had never even read the biblical account, let alone heard it preached.&nbsp;I experienced table grace as I listened to the passionate reactions of my table mates as they honestly confronted the cultural and systemic power imbalance that continues to negatively impact women and girls, justifying abuse and violence in the name of religion. As much as we can see what real love looks like in Jesus' actions around the table, we can see what lack of love looks like in the Levite's actions. The Judges account is meant to disturb us to act differently, while Jesus' actions are meant to encourage us to love accordingly.&nbsp;</p><p>*listening to Carmen's story of faith and transformation after enjoying crepes and coffee at her dining room table in Cochabamba. Impacted by the life and witness of my IM colleagues, Iris and Mario Morales, Carmen now leads and coordinates numerous ministries of care and compassion through House of Hope. Her spirit, compassion, hopefulness and hospitality reflected for me, like Jesus, what real love looks like. I look forward to deepening my new friendship with her and Goretti, another inspiring Bolivian servant leader who will be in Green Lake for the ICAP meetings in May.&nbsp;</p><p>*spending significant time with Rhonda in the car eating a salteña, at a police station, at the kid's school where she serves as the nurse, in airports, visiting House of Hope ministries, waiting for a late night dinner to be served, in the hospital, and at home, I saw and felt her love to the end</p><p>*laughing with and listening to teens Abie and Grace over coffee and paninis</p><p>* playing photo booth, basketball, and indoor catch with 9 year old Nathan and then making mashed potatoes for him when his Mama was sick</p><p>*being picked up late at night from the airport, driven all over Santa Cruz and beyond for numerous workshops and events, and then being dropped off way too early in the morning at the airport by JD. His servant attitude was a form of foot washing and I felt loved. &nbsp;</p><p>Jesus offers us table grace for our everyday lives. I have experienced it lately and I hope you can, too.&nbsp;</p><p>"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life- your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life- and place it before God as an offering." Romans 12:1</p><p>Have a blessed Easter,<br></p><p>Mylinda</p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:40:47 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53616-table-grace https://internationalministries.org/read/53616-table-grace Gifts of Grace: Memorial Park Complete! Last month I shared how people in many places were “echando raices”, putting down roots, in me, making my heart and world bigger. As I process this last trip to Costa Rica and prepare to head to Bolivia next week, I offer you some of the tender moments of grace and unexpected blessings experienced for which I am immensely grateful to God. -Mylinda&nbsp; <div><br></div><div>*Flying in and out of Seattle gives me the chance to sup with our daughter, fill her gas tank, and hear about her studies, her students and her soul. The gift of time spent together: a treasure.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>&nbsp;*Receiving a handmade purple and green rubber band bracelet from my 8-year-old friend Joel and then proudly wearing it to church with my pink and black flowered dress. The gift of grateful generosity: a magical motivator</div><div><br></div><div>&nbsp;*Sharing table with the Vindas family whose kindness and creativity, commitment to Christ bless me. Our conversations about unemployment and disappointment reminded me of God’s faithfulness and unbounded hope in seemingly hopeless situations. The gift of faith: a saving salve.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>&nbsp;*Waiting all week for the playground to be released from customs with all of the emotional highs and lows that came with hopeful news then disappointing delays. Each extra day of waiting brought new opportunities for deepening relationships and trusting in God’s timing not our own. The gift of waiting: an uninvited, but invaluable teacher.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>&nbsp;*Communicating with Aziel who helped us navigate the customs system and worked diligently on our behalf even though he was not ultimately contracted by the sending organization. His integrity, honesty and humility were evident throughout the process. The gift of truth: a guiding light on a challenging path.&nbsp; </div><div><br></div><div>*Translating a sacred conversation for my sister DeDe and my friend Nancy, both bravely grieving the loss of a child and sharing a story of parenting surviving children. Through tender tears and heart wrenching honesty, a fierce friendship was formed despite language and distance barriers. I was humbled to be a part of making it possible. The gift of grief: a humbling harbinger of hope.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>&nbsp;*Watching parents, children, and friends enjoying the memorial park as it was intended: a long-term investment in the lives of children and adults to provide a safe place to grow and dream. As we strengthen healthy relational connections through education, art, worship and play we can prevent many of the risk factors inherent in trafficking situations. The gift of play: an imaginative initiative.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>&nbsp;* Laughing with abandon on a number of occasions ranging from embarrassing language foibles, treacherous traffic, exhausted late night silliness and spontaneous multi-generational games played both without and on a new playground. The gift of joy: a sweet healing nectar bubbling up, out and overflowing.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>&nbsp;<i><b>"The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish."</b></i> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;John 1:14-The Message </div> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 11:10:50 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53237-gifts-of-grace-memorial-park-complete- https://internationalministries.org/read/53237-gifts-of-grace-memorial-park-complete- "Echando Raíces" Putting Down Roots <p>Lately my soul has been longing for spring. Today it was satisfied. &nbsp;I hear tomorrow will be cold and rainy again, but today, I choose to rejoice. &nbsp;On Sunday morning and Tuesday night, the faith community where we have been “echando raíces” or putting down roots here in Olympia, WA, surrounded me with prayer, sending me into my next traveling season that starts tomorrow. &nbsp;Just like with spring, my soul has been longing for Latin America and by Friday afternoon, my hankering for gallo pinto and warm Costa Rican hospitality will be satisfied. I will join my sister and a group of folks from Woodbury, MN to install and dedicate a memorial playground for the families of Rincon Chiquita de la Guacima de Alajuela. It will be the culmination of a long project, lovingly undertaken by many who have invested time, money and talent so that kids can have a safe place to play and grow. &nbsp;Feeling excited about this life-giving and liberating project together with the opportunity to be with good friends I’ve missed, I push back the twinges of sadness that come with having to leave loved ones and the daily routines here. Traveling for weeks at a time with only a short time in between will be my new routine for the next several months. It is a challenge to put down roots as a sojourner, but not impossible. Most things worthwhile require some sacrifices, but also bring deep joy. &nbsp;It took us years to “echar raíces” in Latin America and coming back to the States felt at times like ripping parts of my heart out. &nbsp;Being able to travel back to Costa Rica as well as build new relationships here in the US and all over the Iberoamerica and Caribbean region has allowed God’s people to “echar raíces” in me. Those roots deeply impact the way I see the world. &nbsp;They continue to stretch, shape and transform my once wounded heart into a whole one. &nbsp;My world and my heart just keep getting bigger.</p><p>&nbsp;I rode my bike today for the first time in too long, moving my “stuck to the computer screen” body, so that I could breathe deeply, stretch my muscles, and enjoy God’s beautiful creation. Spring in the Northwest is my favorite time of year. I love the budding trees, the flowers blooming, and the crisp cool air: all the sights and smells of new life. &nbsp;I also suffer from pollen allergies, making spring my roughest time of year. &nbsp;After my ride, my eyes began to swell; itchy and feeling like my eyelids were made of sandpaper. I was miserable until I found relief in a nice shower and eye drops. I could decide to never ride again, but the benefits far outweigh the suffering. The folks in La Guacima face enormous daily challenges to offer life-giving alternatives in their community, but together with their friends from far away, they are “echando raíces” of love in the hearts of many. So glad they included me. &nbsp;My heart is overflowing. Tomorrow will have more challenges, but for today I choose to rejoice. &nbsp;Thanks for “putting down your roots of love” so that all hearts might grow more in love.</p><p>Rooted in Christ,</p><p>Mylinda</p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p> Wed, 12 Mar 2014 17:16:24 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53005-echando-ra%C3%ADces-putting-down-roots https://internationalministries.org/read/53005-echando-ra%C3%ADces-putting-down-roots 2013 My Year in Review <p>Here is a photo montage of my year deepening friendships across cultural and geographical lines:&nbsp;<a href="http://youtu.be/gGPyKSdTBWU">http://youtu.be/gGPyKSdTBWU</a>&nbsp;Thanks for your part in making it a great year. You will see images from Costa Rica, Spain, Mexico, Washington State, Nicaragua, Illinois, Montana, Kansas, Chile, California, Guatemala, Massachusetts and Indiana. You'll see many of the people I met and love, though not everyone I love could fit in this 2 minute video. May you see God present in and through your past, present and year to come.&nbsp;</p><p>Blessings and más bendiciones,</p><p>Mylinda</p><div><br></div> Tue, 31 Dec 2013 07:44:07 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/52056-2013-my-year-in-review https://internationalministries.org/read/52056-2013-my-year-in-review 2013 Litany of Thanks <b>My 2013 Litany of Thanks</b><div>&nbsp;It has been a busy last three months with travels, teaching, and transitions, but tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I love our family’s tradition of artistically articulating our thanks through homemade placemats and hand turkeys. In my early morning ponderings, with a few quiet moments between breakfast, coffee and sending Gary off to work and getting the laundry machines free for the frenzy of returning young adult children’s loads, I write my personal litany of thanks, “getting my creative on” as we call it in our house. Hope it encourages you and yours.&nbsp;</div><div>Blessings and thanks from one who is blessed and thankful, Mylinda&nbsp; </div><div><br></div><div>For waking me up this morning, for life and breath and a new day, <i><b>I’m thankful, O God.</b></i>&nbsp; </div><div>(A common phrase taught to me by my friends from Limon, Costa Rica)</div><div><br></div><div>&nbsp;For the daily “I love you” “I love you more” exchange, <b><i>I’m thankful</i></b>.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;(A ritual sometimes face to face and other times via skype or long distance call)</div><div><br></div><div>&nbsp;For the cozy cottage near Steamboat Island, WA that has become “home” for now, for the mobile home in Calimesa, CA that welcomes the “daughter who left” back home to hug her family tree, for the villa in Antigua, Guatemala that oozes sacred space for story sharing with women friends who celebrate my many “heart homes”, for the guest rooms in Seattle, Guatemala, Massachusetts, Indiana, La Paz, Mexicali, and Chula Vista that make room in “their homes” for my rest to make glad my heart, <i><b>I’m thankful.</b></i>&nbsp; </div><div>(I’ve laid my head on 10 different pillows over the past 3 months)&nbsp; </div><div><br></div><div>For new and old friends whose heart language is Spanish sharing their truth, courage and faith with me through their stories, <i><b>I’m thankful.</b></i></div><div><i><b><br></b></i></div><div>&nbsp;For new and old friends whose heart language is English who check in and ask how I’m adjusting to my new job, who invite me to coffee or to speak in their pulpits, who engage me in deep conversations about justice, community, and grief, <b><i>I’m thankful.&nbsp; </i></b></div><div><b><i><br></i></b></div><div>For significant and silly conversations, ones walking through open-air markets in Central America with Mayan teenagers, others in Indianapolis joking around with Chin refugees from Burma or with open Bibles around plastic Costco tables with Mexican friends, <b><i>I’m thankful</i></b>.&nbsp; </div><div><br></div><div>For tears of vulnerability courageously shared, <b><i>I’m thankful.</i></b>&nbsp;</div><div>(I’ve witnessed them in the eyes of a recovering exploiter of people, heard them over the phone with a lonely grandma, and in the voice of a distraught one day and jubilant the next, young adult experiencing the emotional roller coaster of relationships and career possibilities)&nbsp;<br></div><div><br></div><div>For deer in the backyard, sunrises and sunsets, stars, thick fog and glorious sunshine, volcanoes, snow covered mountains, fireplaces and candlelight, ancient ruins and new seminary classrooms, friendships that go way back and those just beginning, belly laughs and tired sighs, chaos and calm, tasty food and shared tea, homemade applesauce and spicy pozole, warm blankets in bed and a shared jacket while sitting close in a cold Tijuana church, explosions of fall color on the East Coast, contrasts of blue ocean against tan desert in Mexico and evergreen abundance back home in Washington, smell of my husband’s cologne and apple cider, art work appreciated and created together, Sunday afternoon phone calls from my college boy son, Scrabble games and Karaoke night potlucks that my Mom enjoys now a year after her life-threatening stroke, powerful women and men preachers, quiet and thoughtful comments spoken at just the right time, forgiveness given and received, grace lived out in everyday acts of service and kindness, impromptu piano concerts by a homeless guest at Table Grace, thank you’s spoken and sent and walks with friends, veggie scrambles and farmer’s markets, sweat from long bike rides, yard work, brick and mortar construction and overcoming writing project procrastination, for God’s love acceptance and grace, and for YOU, <b><i>I’m thankful</i></b>.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>&nbsp;Now it’s your turn, for what are you thankful? </div> Wed, 27 Nov 2013 04:38:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/51508-2013-litany-of-thanks https://internationalministries.org/read/51508-2013-litany-of-thanks Safe and Sacred Space <p class="MsoPlainText">Victims of violence often are at a much higher risk of being trafficked than others. In August I had a chance to be in a safe and sacred place to hear some of the stories that compel me to speak out against this major risk factor. I'm grateful to colleagues Ray Schellinger and Adalia Gutierrez for the opportunity to connect with the women at Deborah's House, a safe place to heal.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoPlainText">Honoring her story, their stories, sharing space, and holding sacred their sufferings, has me undone. When she said, “I wasn’t wanted.”, “I was told often that no sirve para nada (you’re worthless).” or “They called me “Puta” (whore), my gut wrenched though I’ve never been hit. &nbsp;Over and over again, for three continuous days I sit, I listen, and I hold company. I look into her eyes and try to mirror her beauty, her intelligence, her strength, her resilience, and her unfathomable worth. It is hard to convince someone of her glory in an hour when she has a lifetime of insults and lies telling her the opposite. &nbsp;She mentions that little by little she is beginning to feel safer now and that she thanks God for Deborah’s House where she can heal. &nbsp;She feels God’s love for her expressed through the caring people who make Deborah’s House a home. &nbsp;</p><p class="MsoPlainText">“C” is kind and gentle, sometimes too accommodating.&nbsp; She works hard, has saved money, taken care of people, been taken advantage of and stolen from..&nbsp; As a child she was told she was ugly, had funny hair, she was not worth much.&nbsp; She tried to be good, to be helpful, to find acceptance, but no matter what she did it never seemed good enough.&nbsp; She tries to see the best in others, but that hasn’t always worked out for her.&nbsp; Her first husband beat her badly, so much so, that she ended up in the hospital for months with internal injuries and ruptured intestines.&nbsp; Once recovered she moved north to Tijuana where she found work and was making a new life for herself.&nbsp; Compassionate by nature, she met and married her second husband, a soccer referee who had only one arm. She understood what it felt like to be picked on for one’s physicality.&nbsp; At first he treated her well.&nbsp; In public they appeared to be the “perfect couple”, but inside of their apartment was a different reality. He began accusing her of infidelity, going into jealous rages, throwing her against the wall, kicking and hitting her and calling her cruel names. She would not be allowed to leave the apartment alone and when he left he would lock her inside. He often threatened to kill her if she acted unhappy in public or tried to tell anyone what was really going on.&nbsp; She spent her days vacillating between figuring out a plan of escape and thinking of ways to make him happy again so he wouldn’t get angry again. At times she hated him for what he was doing to her and other times grateful for each acts of kindness he expressed, giving her hope that he might actually change someday.&nbsp; No matter how kind she tried to be, how hard she worked to do everything right, he would rage and beat her down with his words and fists; always careful, though, to only hit under the clothes, never on her face or arms so that others might not suspect anything.&nbsp; After a particularly bad beating, “C” found her opportunity to escape when he was out and forgot to lock her in. 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Name="Bibliography"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoPlainText">It was hard for her to admit that she often feels sad and wonders why God has allowed so much pain in her life.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I couldn’t answer her “why” questions, all I could do was hold her and honor her sobs.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Somehow that seemed to be enough for the moment. When I told her how smart, strong and beautiful she was and that I believed that even though God rarely removes our pain, he can always redeem it, she smiled through her tears. Our connection was a sacred gift that I won’t soon forget. I was reminded of a song that someone taught me. It goes: ”How could anyone ever tell you, you are anything less than beautiful? How could anyone ever tell you, you are less than whole? How could anyone fail to notice, that your loving is a miracle? How deeply you’re connected to my soul.” Later on in the day I heard her humming. I was so glad she has found a place to heal. <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoPlainText">Thanks for sharing sacred space with me,</p><p class="MsoPlainText">Mylinda</p><p class="MsoPlainText"><br></p> Thu, 19 Sep 2013 13:49:06 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/50415-safe-and-sacred-space https://internationalministries.org/read/50415-safe-and-sacred-space Interrupting Rivers of Suffering <h1><b>“Interrupting Rivers of Suffering”</b></h1><p>During a recent training on sexual exploitation and trafficking of youth, I heard this phrase to describe our task in the anti-trafficking movement and it has stuck with me. &nbsp;I also heard the following statistics. When researcher Melissa Farley interviewed 954 women across 9 countries involved in street level prostitution she discovered that:</p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>71-95% were physically assaulted while being prostituted</p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>63-75% were raped</p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>75% were homeless at some point in their life</p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>68% met the criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder</p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>65-95% were sexually abused as children</p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>88% experienced verbal abuse and social contempt</p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>and 89% <b><i>wanted to escape but did not have other options for survival</i></b></p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>&nbsp;(Farley 2003)</p><p>This reality is not the “Pretty Woman” myth used often to justify prostitution or the buyers and sellers of people in it. &nbsp;The commercial sex trade is a common social practice on every continent, is predicated on systematic discrimination, is inherently harmful for most people on the supply side and is perpetuated by the “demand” for commercial sex. &nbsp;Commercial sexual exploitation, a form of human trafficking, is one of the most destructive ways of discriminating against and denying the humanity of millions of God’s children. &nbsp;As people of faith who believe that all are created in and reflect God’s image, I believe we must work to interrupt this river of suffering experienced by our most vulnerable family members.&nbsp;</p><p>I was reminded of the imperative of investing early on and protecting children before rescue and restoration become the only and unlikely options. &nbsp;When chaos hits family, it is usually the kids who bear the brunt of the burden. &nbsp;Justice demands that we look out for the little ones and call to account those who hurt them, but sadly many are sacrificed to feed drug and sexual addictions. &nbsp;Because it makes us feel uncomfortable, we may find it hard to discuss healthy sexuality in the church, but lament or criticize when teens get pregnant or internet pornography is used as a sick sort of sex education. &nbsp; Somehow we have to start reflecting deeply about our beliefs and biases in honest and upfront ways so that those that steal life can be stopped and those that affirm life can lead us. &nbsp;This will help interrupt the river of suffering and build bridges to true freedom.<br></p><p>When I was in Chile this month visiting my inspiring colleagues, Barb and Dwight Bolick, I heard many stories of struggle and challenge, but also saw evidence of transformation and new life. &nbsp;My Costa Rican friend, Cora and I received warm hospitality, shared numerous communal cups of máte tea, saw beautiful landscapes, learned about economic development projects creating viable options for survival. &nbsp;Barb introduced us to the leaders of the Talita Cumi Girls Club Project that she created, based on the Seven Classical Christian Virtues. These dynamic women are investing in the lives of impressionable pre-teens, reminding them of their true worth as children of God and not as sexual objects. &nbsp;Some of the stories that they shared with me broke my heart, but also reminded me of how important consistent support and intentional friendship is to interrupting suffering, providing safe people and a safe place to grow. I was privileged to lead an accessible participatory art workshop for the leaders, affectionately called Tías, giving them a new skill that can be taught to their girls. &nbsp;Freedom comes with having choices and practicing those choices. Inherent in the art form that we practiced together during the workshop is the multiplicity of patterns. Letting go of our fear of perfection and exploring the many creative options possible provided a taste of freedom. After the first taste, we were inspired to look for new patterns and even create some of our own. Like this art form, the disciplines of the classical Christian virtues, practiced over time will open up new streams of life for young Chileans. The Tías are interrupting the rivers of suffering by pointing out the life-giving gift of relationship with Christ and living into His purpose for their lives.&nbsp;<br></p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Another interruption of suffering from my trip to Chile came from watching Dwight. &nbsp;I was moved hearing Dwight’s passion for the indigenous Mapuche people, their culture and their quickly disappearing language. &nbsp;When we lose a language, we lose culture. When we lose culture, we lose a reflection of the image of God. Hearing the stories of loss, witnessing the discrimination and prejudice towards them, and sorting through the complex and conflicting relationships all drive this passion. I won’t steal his reflections about the Mapuche’s word for the changing of the seasons because that is his story that I eagerly wait to read, but I can say that I was inspired by his solidarity with and respect for his brothers and sisters inside and outside of the Christian faith.</p><p>Someone once said that the real work of life happens in the interruptions. &nbsp;Some of my most memorable interruptions (in other words, joys) during this last trip were:<br></p><p>*being present with and watching Barb minister to a Mapuche family during a family medical crisis &nbsp;</p><p>*spending time with Katy, Boyden, Bailie, Jack and Will, missionary kids in Costa Rica and Chile.. I enjoyed creating and giving each of the kids their names written in tangles (an art form introduced to me by my friend Bernice Rogers)</p><p>*having impromptu art classes with 8 year old Will</p><p>&nbsp;*seeing Doña Cora’s first airplane ride, first touch of snow, and millionth Gallo &nbsp; &nbsp; Pinto, but made for the first time in Chile</p><p>I pray that you will actively look for ways to interrupt suffering as you partner with the God who builds bridges of freedom through love and grace.<br></p><p>August has me in Green Lake, WI for the Embrace the Cause Call Retreat, in California celebrating my Mom's 72 birthday and visiting the Gonzalez-Barnes family and ministries as well as Tijuana, Mexico with the Schellinger-Gutierrez family learning about border issues and helping out at Deborah's House, a safe haven for families who have experienced violence. Thanks for your prayers.</p><p>Yours on the way,<br></p><p>Mylinda</p><p><br></p><p>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><br></p> Mon, 05 Aug 2013 15:19:55 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/49757-interrupting-rivers-of-suffering https://internationalministries.org/read/49757-interrupting-rivers-of-suffering Traveling Mercies <p><span id="en-NIV-16090" class="text Ps-121-8" style="position: relative; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">&nbsp;</span><span class="text Ps-121-8" style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic; position: relative; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">"The&nbsp;<span class="small-caps" style="font-variant: small-caps;">Lord</span>&nbsp;will watch over your coming and going</span><br></p><p><b><i><span class="indent-1-breaks" style="font-family: monospace; font-size: 0.42em; line-height: 0;">&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span class="text Ps-121-8" style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; position: relative;">both now and forevermore." Psalm 121:8</span></i></b></p><p>People often wish others "traveling mercies" when they are about to go on a trip. Since my new regional ministry involves lots of travel, I am beginning to observe and appreciate these mercies more and more.</p><p>What are the traveling mercies I've experienced lately?</p><p><i><u>Recent praises and mercies :</u></i></p><p>*<b>Riding Against Traffic with Garrett Zambrows</b></p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space: pre;"> </span>I had the joy of riding tandem with Garrett for 62 miles from Topeka, KS to Overland Park, KS. It was hot, windy and <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>wonderful to spend the day pedaling as a part of Garrett's campaign to bring awareness to the plight of millions <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>exploited through human trafficking. My 62 miles feels like a drop in the bucket when compared to the 12,000 he hopes <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>to log in the next five months, but we believe that every little bit counts. I hope you'll get a chance to hear his story as he <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>rides through your neck of the woods. Check out his progress at&nbsp;http://www.ridingagainsttraffic.org/</p><p>*<b>Mission Summit, Overland Park, KS</b></p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Conversations with old and new friends, worshipping with close to 1000 believers from Burma/&nbsp;Myanmar, spending <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>time with fascinating young people from across the US who were a part of the Ignite Team and the Regional Youth <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Representatives, and feeling the electricity of God's Spirit move in and through our American Baptist body fed my soul <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>and encouraged my spirit.</p><p>*<b>Impromptu Dessert distribution</b></p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Following a gathering at Emmaus House in Olympia, WA a group of 10 of us took donated desserts out into the streets, <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>parks and neighborhood surrounding the church to bless whoever happened to be there. Some accepted our offering <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>with joyous appreciation while others thought us strange and a bit sketch. Chloe, my 7 year old friend and I won't soon <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>forget the night we went out to share a bit of joy with strangers, just because. &nbsp;</p><p>*<b>Call to Costa Rica with Judson/Hacienda Heights group</b></p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="font-weight: bold; white-space: pre;"> </span>I was sad not to be in Costa Rica when friends from my home church in California were helping paint a mural for the <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>playground project in La Guacima. One of the hardest things I've had to get used to is not being physically present for <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>all of the activities that my Costa Rican friends are involved in. Through Skype, though, I was able to talk with the <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>pastor of the church and with the my friends, checking in on their progress, the budding relationships and how they <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>were seeing God at work. It wasn't the same as being there, but in God's mercy and through technology I could still <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>connect and be a part of making new cross-cultural friendship connections.</p><p><b>*Visit from the Klatts</b></p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="font-weight: bold; white-space: pre;"> </span>Just a few days after my skype phone call with the folks in La Guacima, we had a special time of visiting with Bob and <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Cindy Klatt from Woodbury, MN, friends we had met in La Guacima as part of a sister church relationship there. <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Providing the Klatts hospitality in our WA state home while they were traveling through the northwest, allowed us to <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>reconnect with friends who love our Costa Rican friends almost as much as we do.</p><p><b>*Indian dinner with Evangeline and Gershom</b></p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="font-weight: bold; white-space: pre;"> </span>We had been trying to get our new friends from church to come to dinner for many months and it just never seemed to <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>work out, until last week. Just 6 months after marrying, Evangeline and Gershom moved from their home in India to <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Olympia, WA for Gershom's work. Knowing what it is like to be strangers in a foreign land, we wanted to reach out to <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>our new friends. When I promised to make Indian food for them, my daughter thought I was crazy and they skyped <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>family at home in India that they didn't know what to expect. It all turned out fine. They liked my homemade naan and <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>curry and we enjoyed a beautiful time together making new memories. We learned about their culture and they ours, <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>without ever having to leave "home".</p><p><i><u>Upcoming adventures in July and August that you can hold up in prayer with me:</u></i></p><p>*<b>Costa Rica &amp; Chile</b> July 19th-29th:</p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>I will stop by Costa Rica on my way to and from Chile to pick up Doña Cora who will accompany me to learn from the <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Bolicks and their Chilean friends about forming Girls Clubs, yarn production cooperatives, and bee keeping, all ways <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>that transformation is happening in the lives of people. I look forward to a time of learning from and mentoring &nbsp;women <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>leaders who are making a difference in their communities.</p><p>&nbsp;*<b>Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Youth Training, Olympia, WA</b> July 30th</p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>I will join other service providers from Washington State to:&nbsp;</p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Understand the social and cultural factors that contribute to sexual exploitation</p><p>&nbsp;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Explore the harm, violence and trauma experienced by people in the sex trades</p><p>&nbsp;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span> Learn and practice useful tools for identification and intervention</p><p>&nbsp;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Consider personal and societal beliefs and biases about people in the sex trades</p><p>&nbsp;<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span> Develop a victim-centered and coordinated response to sexual exploitation</p><p>*<b>Embrace the Cause, Green Lake, WI</b> August 9-12</p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>I will provide artistic and liturgical leadership for the worship gatherings during this discernment retreat geared towards <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>helping people explore and affirm &nbsp;a mission call&nbsp;</p><p>*<b>Birthday party for Mom</b> August 16th</p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>When I told my Mom that I'd like to treat her and her friends to a homemade birthday lunch, I did not expect the reaction <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>I got from her. She was giddy like a school girl and told me that she had never had a real birthday party to celebrate her <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>special day. She went out and bought invitations, special table clothes, and party favors to give to her 14 invited guests. I <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>pray that her 72nd birthday will be a special one and that she'll feel loved and honored the way she deserves. I'm <span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>grateful to be able to be there with her.&nbsp;</p><p>*<b>Immigration and trafficking vulnerability study week</b>: August 18-24</p><p>This trip will include a Border Detention Center visit and interview with Rick and Mercedes Gonzales-Barnes in El Centro, CA/ visit and interviews with Deborah House residents and the border wall in Tijuana/ possible visit with colleagues Tim and Patty Long August 18-24</p><p>May you know God's watching over your comings and goings and experience His mercy as you celebrate them each and every day.</p><p>Yours along the Way,</p><p>Mylinda</p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p> Mon, 15 Jul 2013 09:04:05 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/49504-traveling-mercies https://internationalministries.org/read/49504-traveling-mercies Ankle to Ankle <p><i><b><span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); ">"</span><span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; ">By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ I appeal to all of you, my friends, to agree in what you say, so that there will be no divisions among you. Be completely united, with only one thought and one purpose." 1 Cor. 1:10 Good News Bible</span></b></i></p><p><span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">In May I had the privilege of visiting the health organization&nbsp;</font></span><span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">AMOS in Nicaragua and&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">team teaching with former student and ministry colleague from Costa Rica, Ruth Vindas. I was asked to do a series of workshops on communication and creative Bible study in the rural community of San Onofre as well is with their health promotion staff in Managua. By working with my colleagues Drs. Laura and David Parajon, I was able to contribute to their organizations' goals as well as meet some of my own to investigate key&nbsp;vulnerability</span><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">&nbsp;factors in the exploitation and trafficking of persons in the Nicaraguan context. By inviting Ruth along, I was able to encourage her leadership, help her build networks of support and mutual learning and spend time with someone who feeds my soul. It was a win win all the way around.</span></p><p><span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">A key factor in the fight against human trafficking is prevention. AMOS has been&nbsp;investing in a group of young people who will in turn reach out to outlying communities. By building strengths, encouraging honest communication and enabling community cooperation, we can equip the most vulnerable to discern healthy options and speak truth to the coercion and manipulation of traffickers. By building strong networks of support around the common vision of life and whole health as God intends it for all of us, these young people will lead their communities in transformation. I felt honored to have a part in that transformation.&nbsp;</font></span></p><p><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">In Managua we led workshops for the quickly expanding staff of AMOS. We gave the group of 35 leaders a challenge to walk across the room together. Sounds easy enough, right? The catch though, was that they all had to have their ankles touching and could not separate. If they did separate, the whole group would be forced to begin again. After much laughter, yelling and&nbsp;</font><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">a number of failed attempts, leadership surfaced, ideas were shared and tried and the group accomplished their task with much rejoicing. We all learned how important it is to listen, to learn from our mistakes and to move forward together. As we worked through a number of challenges together, I was blessed to see relationships deepen, lights of understanding spark, and creative responses as they put into practice what we'd been learning together. &nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">In my work as a regional missionary, I work alongside a variety of people all doing different ministries, but with one common purpose, to glorify God and proclaim Good News. It takes good communication and focused energy, but in the end there is much rejoicing. Sometimes it feels like holding onto a ring of water, tricky and certainly difficult to control, but beautiful to observe when it actually happens. Thanks for being partners in the Gospel and holding on to Hope with me.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Yours on the Way,</span></p><p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Mylinda</span></p><p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><br></span></p> Wed, 22 May 2013 04:44:03 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/48403-ankle-to-ankle https://internationalministries.org/read/48403-ankle-to-ankle Why Ride Against Traffic? <p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>887</o:Words> <o:Characters>5061</o:Characters> <o:Company>International Ministries</o:Company> <o:Lines>42</o:Lines> <o:Paragraphs>11</o:Paragraphs> <o:CharactersWithSpaces>5937</o:CharactersWithSpaces> <o:Version>14.0</o:Version> </o:DocumentProperties> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> 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mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> </p><p class="MsoNormal">Why Ride?<o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>This summer, 26 year old Garrett Zambrows is embarking on a 12,000 mile bike journey crisscrossing the United States to raise awareness and funds for anti-human trafficking efforts being done around the globe.&nbsp; The folks I work with in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as others in Indiana and across Europe will benefit from his sweat, sacrifice, and storytelling.&nbsp; Some might ask why a recent college graduate would embark on such a crazy, strenuous, logistically complicated, lonely at times, and lengthy adventure while his contemporaries are scrabbling for jobs or grad school acceptance, wondering how they’ll pay back student loans, getting married or other “normal things”.&nbsp; I’ve got to think and believe that in the end it will be worth it. &nbsp;&nbsp;Garrett will not only be helping others, but he will learn valuable life-changing lessons along the way.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>As he is preparing himself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually for the ride, he is discovering how much he’ll need to depend on others to accomplish this task.&nbsp; His parents, church community, college friends, family connections, American Baptist and other denominational family, International Ministry missionaries and colleagues, and numerous other players will need to cooperate and work together to pull something like this off.&nbsp; It has become bigger and more complicated than anyone imagined, especially Garrett. Like the folks he’ll be supporting through his efforts, Garrett will struggle to communicate the complex dynamics of the modern day slave trade to the audiences that gather to hear him. He will be confronted with his own complicity and conflicting beliefs and behaviors, like all of us who honestly explore our part in the problem.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>As he rides past by billboards, strip clubs and truck stop XXX shops tucked quietly between soybean fields and farm supply warehouses, he’ll need to deal with the distorted sexual culture that drives the commercial sex industry. He’ll fight the message that encourages young men like himself to see women with price tags, as objects, and less than the priceless human beings that they are.&nbsp; On the long and lonely stretches of highway with no Internet or television to numb his senses, he’ll most likely groan from the fatigue and feel the pain of overworked muscles. Hopefully in those moments he’ll be able to empathize with the exploited that are forced to work with no rest, their bodies beaten into submission, used up and then discarded when they no longer serve to fill the pockets of their pimps and patrons.&nbsp; His heart will have time to break open, allowing God to hold it together, heal it with grace and use it to love the way it was formed to from the beginning.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>Not only will he experience the pain and struggle of the journey, he’ll be moved and inspired by the beauty of those who come alongside him on the way.&nbsp; He’ll be surprised by the generosity of people who open their homes, who fill his stomach with good food, who provide equipment and supplies to make the actual ride easier, who offer their website expertise and logistical and organizational skills, and those who spread the word and open doors for speaking opportunities and relationship-building.&nbsp; He’ll be overwhelmed by both the stunning landscapes and the simple kindness of careful motorists who give him space and safety. He’ll be touched that strangers will follow him on Facebook and arrange their schedules to meet him and hear about his story.&nbsp; He’ll appreciate a shower and bed more than he ever has before. He’ll be surprised by grace.&nbsp; He’ll expend a ton of energy and will receive way more than he ever imagined.&nbsp; The vulnerable, nameless exploited ones long for the same things. Generosity, being remembered, simple kindnesses, their stories being heard and their humanity honored are all ways that they long to see God. All of us involved in anti-human trafficking efforts are blessed when we do these things.&nbsp; Much energy is expended, but way more is received. We can all be surprised by grace.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>Hopefully his Biking Against Traffic adventure will teach Garrett and all of us some valuable life lessons.&nbsp; We each have a part to play. We can all contribute something to make the world a better and kinder place, and when we work together for good, depend on one another and pay attention to what really matters, we’ll be changed.&nbsp; I’m riding my bike more these days so I can join Garrett on a couple of his days. Perhaps you’d like to join us on June 20<sup>th</sup> for a ride starting out from Topeka, KS and ending up in Overland Park, KS for the Mission Summit? Or in early September when we ride from Olympia, WA to Portland, OR?&nbsp; If my mental math is correct, that is less than 1% of Garrett’s entire ride. Small in comparison to what he is attempting, but every little bit counts. The power of coming alongside and contributing what we each can, will make a world of difference. Think about ways you can be a part. Consider hosting him for a night, riding alongside to his next stop, handing him a cliff bar or energy drink along the path, gathering your youth group or college friends to hang out with him while he is in town, calling your local radio station and setting up an interview, providing a spare tire or repair kit when needed, donating money in honor of a loved one, or any other little bit you can do to help.&nbsp; I’ve added the link to Garrett’s webpage so you can see his proposed route schedule and see where you might be able to be involved. &nbsp;<span style="color: rgb(0, 153, 51); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 16px; white-space: nowrap; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">www.facebook.com/</span><b style="color: rgb(0, 153, 51); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 16px; white-space: nowrap; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">RidingAgainstTraffic</b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>IM colleague Debbie Kelsey and I are humbled by Garrett’s gesture of solidarity with our ministries. We often are overwhelmed by the generosity and creativity of many of you who support us. Your partnership encourages us as we log the travel miles reconnecting with friends around the globe working towards freedom for all of God’s children.&nbsp; Thank you for each of your little bits that adds up to overwhelming grace.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">See you along the road?</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Mylinda<o:p></o:p></p> <!--EndFragment--><p></p> Mon, 29 Apr 2013 06:28:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/47982-why-ride-against-traffic- https://internationalministries.org/read/47982-why-ride-against-traffic- Bound <p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>738</o:Words> <o:Characters>4209</o:Characters> <o:Company>International Ministries</o:Company> <o:Lines>35</o:Lines> <o:Paragraphs>9</o:Paragraphs> <o:CharactersWithSpaces>4938</o:CharactersWithSpaces> <o:Version>14.0</o:Version> 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From quiet reflection will come even more effective action..” Peter Drucker<o:p></o:p></i></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p><b><i>Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” John 21:12</i></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>I was in a new country with a new group of people and no specific responsibilities for leadership. For an active yet timid person like me, I was grateful when Debbie asked if I’d be willing to pitch in to get things set up at the church that was hosting the European Baptist Federation’s Anti-Trafficking Conference. So where is the first place I head whenever I need to feel comfortable? The kitchen. With a simple, “¿Puedo ayudarles? Can I help you?” I was able to use my Costa Rican accented Spanish to connect with two lovely yet frazzled Spanish women in charge of setting out a 6:00pm supper for 50 when they typically don’t begin eating until past 8:00pm. They were accommodating us out of love, but appreciated the extra hands. &nbsp;I appreciated their willingness to let me help.&nbsp; As we cut veggies and cheese, we shared knives, smiles and our stories. I began to feel “at home”. &nbsp;Those first couple of hours of working side by side set the stage for the rest of the conference and for the building of new relationships.&nbsp; By the end of the three days in Sabadell, Spain we were bound. Bound by a common love for good food and fellowship. Bound by the grace of a God who created and loves each of us. Bound by a common commitment to see people set free. Bound to continue working together across borders and cultures, to show up where we are and dream along with God for a world transformed.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>At the end of the conference I was again grateful when Debbie asked me to lead a time of reflection, (I guess I need to be needed). I wanted to provide a safe place to ponder how God had shown up for each of us throughout the event.&nbsp; I invited us to express in words or drawings our image of God’s dream or story as well as the stories of others that touched us during the conference. As we prayed, drew, wrote, sang, wove and created together, significant sharing happened. When given permission and enough time to ponder, these folks, who daily pour out their lives for others, were listened to, affirmed, encouraged and prayed for. &nbsp;I wrote down the words, “empty chair” because I was touched by a photo essay shared of the meaning of the empty chair as a sign of protest in the UN.&nbsp; Others drew pictures of fruit bearing trees or penned words like “hope,” “freedom”, and “can anyone hear them?” When invited to weave our stories into what represented God’s Story, there were so many reflections that the participants had to help each other seeing that we couldn’t do it all by ourselves. The workshop participants are all involved in significant ministries of action on behalf of the most vulnerable, but don’t often take the time to renew their own spirits. Our hosts, “the kitchen ladies”, joined in this activity and spoke words of testimony and truth to all of us. In feeding our bodies, our souls were fed as well.&nbsp; They, like Jesus, knew what we needed to keep moving forward.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>As I begin this new journey as a regional missionary for Iberoamerica and the Caribbean, I’ll be new in a number of countries, working with new groups of people and not always knowing my way around or what my specific responsibilities are, but I know that if I show up and ask how I can help, I’ll meet God there.&nbsp; In this new role I get the chance to meet with and learn even more from amazing colleagues like those at this conference: Terry Meyers in Bulgaria, Lauran Bethell in the Netherlands and all over the world, Debbie Kelsey in Europe, and Joyce Reed in Mexico. In a couple of weeks I head to Nicaragua to be with IM colleagues, David and Laura Parajon, to support their work with AMOS and learn from village leaders how they address issues of exploitation and trafficking in their contexts.&nbsp; I trust that I will help <b>and</b> learn.&nbsp; As we do more collaborative work, each offering what we can, I believe we will be engaged in even more effective action.&nbsp; One way that Jesus encouraged his disciples to keep moving forward and follow Him was setting the table and feeding them breakfast, but he also invited them to contribute with their own caught fish. Maybe that is how I can help as a regional missionary to my Latin American friends, setting a safe and hospitable place where stories can be shared, vulnerability honored, but never exploited, and freedom and dignity lived out in everyday gestures of love.&nbsp; Your prayers and support are what hold me up, a weaving of sorts that intertwines with the common grace we have in Christ. Thank you for adding your story to mine and allowing God to make something new, useful and beautiful out of us.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>Stay tuned for an update about Garrett Zambrows' 12,000 mile Ride Against Traffic and my, very small in comparison, one on the way to the Mission Summit in Overland Park this June.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p>Bound to and blessed by you,</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Mylinda<o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <!--EndFragment--><p></p> Fri, 19 Apr 2013 04:26:47 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/47811-bound https://internationalministries.org/read/47811-bound Bicyclist Raises Funds for IM’s Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:RelyOnVML/> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> 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mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-size:16.0pt"></span></b><span style="font-size:12.0pt">College senior Garrett Zambrows will appear at the ABC Mission Summit/Biennial at the American Baptist International Ministries (IM) exhibit to raise awareness for his cross-country biking trip. The trip is designed, in part, to raise funds for IM missionaries Debbie Kelsey’s and Mylinda Baits’ anti-human trafficking project</span> </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"></span><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Zambrows’ journey called “Riding Against Traffic!” is designed to spotlight the global problem of trafficking in human beings.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Funds raised at the Mission Summit/Biennial will go for the anti-trafficking mission work of Baits and Kelsey.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Additionally, funds raised by Zambrows will support CASA for Kids, which helps abused and neglected children in Indiana.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span>Zambrows, age 25, will graduate with a film degree from Purdue University in May 2013. </span> </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"></span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Zambrows will begin his journey on June 3 and will be biking for five months, riding a total of 12,000 miles. Zambrows will rely on the hospitality of others during the trip for housing, food, showers and other amenities.</span> </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">When asked why he is so committed to anti-human trafficking ministries, Zambrows explained, “First and foremost, Jesus calls us to do two things:&nbsp; love God and love one another. I haven't figured out loving God 100%, but loving my neighbor is something that has immediate empirical evidence. Nowhere in any definition of ’love’ is the exploitation of someone for physical or sexual use included. Human trafficking isn't an example of loving our neighbors, and I can't help but feel that I need to do something about it.” &nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">“Garrett’s ride is a unique opportunity for you and/or your church to grab your community’s attention for this topic,” commented<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Kelsey. “Believe me, young people are passionate about this!”</span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri"></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"></span><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Zambrows will be riding a stationary bike at the IM exhibit to symbolize his cross-country trek.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>All attendees are invited to stop by and learn more about his passion for the anti-human trafficking efforts of Kelsey and Baits.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>His cross-country itinerary will be available.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Along the route, Zambrows is seeking speaking opportunities in churches and with the press, accommodations in peoples’ homes and bike riders to accompany him on portions of the trip. For more information, contact </span><a href="mailto:dkelsey64@gmail.com"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">dkelsey64@gmail.com</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">.</span> </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"></span><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">The American Baptist Mission Summit/Biennial</span></b><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> is June 21-23 in Overland Park/Kansas City, Kansas.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>For registration information, go to </span><a href="http://www.americanbaptists2013.com/"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">http://www.americanbaptists2013.com/</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span> </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNoSpacing"><i>For more information, contact Catherine Nold: catherine.nold@abc-usa.org</i><br></p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">&nbsp;</p> <p></p> Fri, 19 Apr 2013 03:46:36 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/47809-bicyclist-raises-funds-for-im-s-anti-human-trafficking-efforts- https://internationalministries.org/read/47809-bicyclist-raises-funds-for-im-s-anti-human-trafficking-efforts- Missionaries Comment on International Women's Day <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--></p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> 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QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">March 8<sup>th</sup> is International Women’s Day.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We invited your women missionaries to answer this question: <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u>How have women leaders impacted you?</u><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></b>Their answers are printed below and they will also appear on International Ministries Facebook wall throughout the day.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Some of the missionaries have taken this question to their own Facebook wall.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Jill Lowery is living in the United States right now, and wrote that she is missing the observance of International Women's Day back in Congo.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Kihomi Nzunga reported last year about parades in the streets in Haiti.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Mayra Giovanetti in Nicaragua has written a journal in tribute to International Women’s Day.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>(<a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/47187-women-gaining-momentum-mujeres-ganando-impulso-">Click here</a> to read it.)<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>And Mylinda Baits shared <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dnq2QeCvwpw&amp;feature=shar">this link to a song called "One Woman"</a> from the United Nations that is a shining example of the global community working together.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Originally called International <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">Working </b>Women’s Day, this annual event has a different focus depending on the country and culture.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In some places it is a general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women, while elsewhere it lifts up women’s economic, political and social achievements, and examines the struggles of women worldwide.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The day has lost its political flavor in some regions and has become an occasion for expressing love, similar to Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u>How have women leaders impacted you?</u></b></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><br><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">I'm so thankful for the many women leaders that God put in my life, starting with my own mother.&nbsp; I could name several more of them, but wouldn't want to forget anyone.&nbsp; What they all have in common is their passion for the Lord and faithfulness to serve Him, even in the most difficult circumstances.&nbsp; Their example encourages me to try to do the same.&nbsp; </span></p><p class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin"> <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">Jill Lowery, missionary in the Democratic Republic of Congo</i></b></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Women leaders have impacted my life by showing me that I am not limited by my gender but rather I have been gifted with unique abilities to show God's grace and love. &nbsp;Others have also shown me that I can do anything I set my mind to!</span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Kristy Engel, missionary in the Caribbean and Iberoamerica</span></i></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family: Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family: Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">My seminary professor Carol Schreck invited me to do a first person narrative of the bent-over woman in Luke 13 as part of a worship service celebrating women in ministry.&nbsp; The physical act of portraying a bent-over woman, and then being set free to stand up in Jesus liberated my soul that evening.&nbsp; It marked the beginning of letting go of all the "bent-over" places in my life. It is a story I go back to over and over when I feel overwhelmed by physical &amp; emotional wounds, as well as by legalistic restrictions imposed on me by the Pharisees in my life.&nbsp; Later, I asked Carol why she chose me to enact that woman's story.&nbsp; "Lots of reasons," she responded, "But mostly because you needed to be set free."</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family: Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"> </span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Joyce Anderson Reed, missionary in Mexico</span></i></b></i></b></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Dot Yoder was my favorite teacher. &nbsp;I took elementary school art classes from her at the Agnes Irwin School. &nbsp;She instilled in me a love for creating art that continues to this day.&nbsp;One day in early elementary school, I painted "The Parting of the Red Sea". &nbsp;It consisted of a field of red paint on the left third of the page, another field of red paint on the right third of the page and the blank, white paper in the middle. &nbsp;Mrs. Yoder laughed and laughed and said it was, "just perfect!".&nbsp;&nbsp;Come to find out later that Mrs. Yoder was a committed Christian believer and sang in the church choir. &nbsp;Memories of her warm, tender smile and encouraging spirit hover over my shoulder even now when I paint and when I teach art classes for our girls at the New Life Center. &nbsp; Mrs. Yoder passed away in 2005, and I never told her how much I loved and appreciated her. &nbsp;So here's to Mrs. Yoder. &nbsp;You made a difference in my life!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-font-family: Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Kit Ripley, missionary in Thailand</span></i></b></i></b></span></span></i></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Manay Ruth Corvera once told me “everything you put on the table should have beauty - this is a good life rule as well!” &nbsp;Manay Ruth dedicated her life to releasing the hidden potential in others, to helping people help themselves. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;She adopted our young family in the Philippines and cared for us as friends and colleagues, even becoming an honorary grandmother to Elena and Asa, our children. &nbsp;She is a strong, fierce, loving, woman of God.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Today Manay Ruth is now retired.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She was the Founder and Director of the Katin-aran Center, the Christian community outreach program of Central Philippine University. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>Manay = honorific meaning respected, beloved, admired.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Mercy Bedona was my dear sister and colleague in the Philippines. &nbsp;She was a female Barnabas who encouraged, guided, and mentored others in their personal and professional growth. &nbsp;She was a committed, visionary leader in both the local church and the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, urging us all to live out kingdom values. &nbsp;As my dear friend, she walked with me through some dark valleys.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Mercy and I served together at Central Philippine University, the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, and Community Christian Church in the Philippines. &nbsp;She went to be with the Lord in January 2012. &nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-font-family: Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Ann Borquist, missionary in Brazil</span></i></b></i></b></span></span></i></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">My mom was a single parent for most of my early years so she taught me never to give up, the importance of education and the strength received through my relationship with God and the faith community. &nbsp; Later as a young woman growing up in the church in Puerto Rico, I was surrounded by many female role models. They taught me to acknowledge and respond to my call. God gives us what we need at the right time. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Around that same time I heard a woman preach at our church and what stands out with her was her appearance. You could hear the passion for ministry in the sound of her voice; you could see her confidence by how she stood and presented herself. I don’t remember her sermon but do remember that she wore a beautiful scarf. She taught me that public speaking is part of a complete package. The final woman I want to mention is my daughter as she shows me her willingness to meet each challenge head on, sometimes with fear and uncertainty but she continues the journey. She reminds me that the call to serve will continue even after I become a memory.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">I have met many women in ministry who have influenced me in so many ways; yet the main lesson that is repeated is the dedication, compassion and love they demonstrate to the people they serve and with whom they serve. Some are young while others wear gracefully the trophies of age; yet all of them have taught me that the struggles I have encountered are not new and that I am not alone on this journey. They are my teachers, partners and friends and part of the great cloud of witnesses. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Mercy Gonzalez-Barnes, missionary in Mexico</span></i></b></i></b></span></span></i></b></p><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><br></span><p></p><p><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Women leaders gave me opportunities to try my hand at leading, encouraging me and giving me constructive criticism as I learned.&nbsp; <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>Women leaders working out of feminine strength taught me that I have unique contributions to make just because I'm female.&nbsp;</span> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Debbie Kelsey, missionary in Italy</span></i></b></i></b></span></span></i></b><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family: Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"></span></i></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">As a young seminary student, I had little, to no previous exposure to women in leadership, let alone those pursuing pastoral ministry. My first roommate was a graduating senior, Joan Friesen, who now serves the churches of the Indianapolis region as their executive minister. As I observed her in her studies and interactions with people, I got a glimpse of a life called out to serve within and outside of the church. Joan continues to this day to be a person who calls out the best in me, stays connected in tangible ways, and lives a life worthy of the Gospel to which she was called.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Mylinda Baits, missionary in Costa Rica</span></i></b></i></b></span></span></i></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="background:white"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin;color:black"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="background:white"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin;color:black">On this International Day of the woman, I think of so many women who have changed their world. But they all stand in the background, almost as a backdrop to one woman who changed my life. Her name was Carol Kimbriel. She was not a simple woman. She was a mother and a housewife, a leader in her church, and the financial manager of her husband´s business. But most importantly for me, she was my mentor. She was my best friend´s mother, who somehow in her busy life, found space for me. She encouraged, me believed in me, and “straightened me out” when I needed it. She changed my life and she is the inspiration for the <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">Talita Kumi</i> Girl´s Clubs ministry, matching young girls who need some encouragement, with women who are always willing to make a little extra room for one more.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin;color:black"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Barbara Bolick, missionary in Chile</span></i></b></i></b></span></span></i></b><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin"><br></span></p> <p></p> Fri, 08 Mar 2013 06:25:18 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/47218-missionaries-comment-on-international-women-s-day https://internationalministries.org/read/47218-missionaries-comment-on-international-women-s-day You Are Set Free <p>"<span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">When Jesus <i><b>saw her</b></i>, he <b><i>called her</i></b> forward and said to her,&nbsp;</span><span class="woj" style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">“Woman, <b><i>you are set free</i></b> from your infirmity." Luke's Gospel Chapter 13 verse 12</span></p><p><span class="woj" style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">This Sunday I had the honor of preaching at Peninsula Baptist Church in Gig Harbor, WA. The fine folks there have been faithful friends and supporters, not only of me, but of many of our International Ministries missionaries throughout the world. As we explored Luke 13:10-17 together we saw the kingdom of God in new ways. As we bent our bodies during the reading of the story, we felt for a few moments a small connection with the woman who suffered being bent out of shape for many years before Jesus changed her point of view. We, too, like the synagogue leader, were called to a new perspective, a new way of seeing people, and a new way to live and glorify God. We were reminded that Jesus spoke freedom into the woman's life before he healed her, seeing, calling and proclaiming her true character and identity before she stood up straight and glorified God in the sanctuary. In Luke's Gospel telling, this transformational event, was a picture of the kingdom in between two parables about trees. I picture it like a hammock strung between two trees. Throughout Luke's retelling, Jesus trys to explain to His followers what the kingdom of God is and how to see the world from God's perspective, but it is this <i>event</i>, this healing <i>moment</i>, this <i>picture</i> portrayed in real lives that captures our attention. Jesus not only sees the woman that no one else really sees, He calls her out, bringing her to the forefront and reminding her and all those present, of her true identity as a daughter of Abraham, a child of God, a reflection of grace and a redeemed vessel created to glorify God.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span class="woj" style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">In my travels lately back to Costa Rica and most recently to Deborah's House in Tijuana, Mexico I saw kingdom glimpses in women set free, glorifying God with their transformed-by-grace lives. Whenever I see Doña Cora, her gentle spirit inspires me to keep investing in women who can make a difference in their communities. Though Cora never had the privilege to study formally in school, she said to me recently, "I am learning new things everyday." As a the leader of the candle co-op at El Centro de Transformación Mariposa in La Guacima, Costa Rica she has learned to create a variety of beautiful candles, lead a team of other women to manufacture and sell their creations, and contribute support to a ministry that invests in children and families in her community. Her beautiful life and the art she produces give glory to God, a picture of kingdom to me.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span class="woj" style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Edith stopped by the church when I was there in Costa Rica and hugged me for a long time, tears welling up in her eyes. &nbsp;Though no longer living in the community, she visits her friends there from time to time. She mentioned that on tough days she remembers my hugs, my encouragement to use her gifts with children to make a difference in the world, my believing that she was better than she believed herself to be, and that having a Mylinda hug again reminded her of God's faithful love that never leaves her. Her touch, our 'God-with-skin-on' encounter was a picture of kingdom to me.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span class="woj" style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">When Adalia asked if I would be willing to share something with the residents of Deborah's House (a residential shelter for women and their families recovering from domestic violence) during my visit to the US/ Mexico border last week, I was honored and stumped about what to bring. Along with my other trips planned for this year, I came to learn <b>from</b> my colleagues and their ministry partners what God was doing in their neighborhoods and how I could be a part of helping <b>them</b> proclaim freedom for women and children in their contexts. I stopped by a flooring company and they let me scavenge through their throw away pile where I found broken pieces of marble and granite. Armed with two very heavy plastic containers filled with rock, we headed over the border to create something beautiful from brokenness. In the process of making stepping stones for a future prayer garden at the shelter, working in teams of two, the women became more and more confident and giddy in their work. We reflected about the lessons we can learn from this art project. Many shared their stories of broken dreams and painful places where they felt just like the jagged edges of their rocks. They also saw how God was reforming their lives and taking what was thrown away and making something beautiful out of them. Creating together and seeing the joy in their proud faces was a picture of kingdom to me.</span></p><p><span class="woj" style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Your partnership in the good news of Christ's freeing transformation is a picture of kingdom to me. As I travel this year in Costa Rica, Spain, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Chile and Mexico, and share with supporters in Washington, California, Montana, Illinois and Massachusetts, I'd appreciate your continued prayers and support. <br></span></p><p><span class="woj" style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><br></span></p><p><span class="woj" style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Thanks, <br></span></p><p><span class="woj" style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Mylinda <br></span></p><br> Tue, 12 Feb 2013 14:51:55 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/46842-you-are-set-free https://internationalministries.org/read/46842-you-are-set-free January 11 - Human Trafficking Awareness Day <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> 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font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";} </style> <![endif]--> </p><h1 style="margin-top:0in;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:6.0pt;margin-left: 0in;background:white"><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial; color:black">Friday, January 11, is Human Trafficking Awareness Day</span></h1><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;color:black;font-weight:normal; mso-bidi-font-weight:bold"><br><b>Human trafficking</b> involves recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving individuals for the purpose of exploiting them.&nbsp; This is done through the use of force, coercion or duplicity such as a false promise of a better life in another country. <br><br>The United Nations crime-fighting office announced that 2.4 million people across the globe are victims of human trafficking at any one time.&nbsp; While some become domestic laborers, 8o% of trafficked persons are exploited as sexual slaves.&nbsp; They are trapped in lives of misery and cruelty; as those who follow the Prince of Peace, we dare not ignore this horrendous abuse of God's precious children. <br><br>Many of your American Baptist missionaries are working to end human trafficking by proclaiming release to the captives and helping the oppressed go free.&nbsp; <br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/109-bethell">Lauran Bethell</a> – global consultant on Human Trafficking<br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/96-smith-karen">Karen Smith</a> – Thailand<br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/71-kelsey">Debbie Kelsey </a>– Italy<br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/92-ripley">Kit Ripley</a> – Thailand<br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg">Annie &amp; Jeff Dieselberg</a> – Thailand<br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/82-myers-terry-and-tom">Terry Myers</a> – Bulgaria<br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/45-baits">Mylinda Baits</a> – regional missionary for Iberoamerica &amp; Central America<br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/107-mann-lori-matt">Lori &amp; Matt Mann</a> – development workers in Laos<br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/566-nambu">Jonathan &amp; Thelma Nambu</a> – Philippines<br><br>The Nambus are brand new, having joined International Ministries in December 2012 to work in the Philippines sharing the Gospel among women caught in prostitution.&nbsp; They will work in partnership with others to create&nbsp; prostitution-free societies around the world. <br><br>Please pray for all the missionaries and volunteers.&nbsp; Their ministries can be dangerous as they work to help trafficked women and children, and oppose those who exploit them.&nbsp; Learn more about their ministries by reading their journals posted here on the IM website.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br><b><br>Mission Projects to Fight Human Trafficking</b><br>International Ministries has seven mission projects that help those caught up in human trafficking.&nbsp; There are projects to provide care packages to imprisoned maids in Lebanon, to create an outreach center in the heart of the red light district in Thailand, and to help women in Mexico learn sewing skills so they have an alternative way to support themselves and their families.&nbsp; To see the full list of mission projects related to human trafficking <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/ministry_focus_areas/human_trafficking">click here</a>, then scroll down and you’ll see them on the right side.<br><br><b>Podcast Series on Human Trafficking</b><br>The American Baptist Women's Ministries of our own denomination also has an excellent online resource called “In Their Shoes: Women Walking with Women Worldwide.”&nbsp; This podcast series highlights through interviews the work of women engaged in addressing the exploitation of women and girls around the world in positive, life-affirming ways.&nbsp; We encourage you to visit <a href="http://www.intheirshoespodcast.org/">www.intheirshoespodcast.org</a> for some of these informative and inspirational stories.<br><br><b>Additional Information</b><br>The Faith Trust institute, dedicated to ending sexual and domestic violence, recommends a number of online sites to learn more about human trafficking and how you can make a difference, including: <a href="http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/news/2011/01/11/jan-11-national-human-trafficking-awareness-day/">The Not For Sale Campaign</a>, <a href="http://humantrafficking.org/">Humantrafficking.org</a>, and <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/human_trafficking/human_trafficking">the FBI site on Human Trafficking</a>. <br><br><br><i>“Every faith community can take action as well, by educating their congregations, by joining in coalitions that are bound by a love of God and a concern for the oppressed.&nbsp; And like that Good Samaritan on the road to Jericho, we can’t just pass by, indifferent.&nbsp; We’ve got to be moved by compassion.&nbsp; We’ve got to bind up the wounds.&nbsp; Let’s come together around a simple truth -- that we are our brother’s keepers and we are our sister’s keepers.” </i><br>&nbsp;President Obama in a 2012 speech on ending human trafficking.</span><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black;font-weight:normal; mso-bidi-font-weight:bold"></span> <p></p> Tue, 08 Jan 2013 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/46295-january-11-human-trafficking-awareness-day https://internationalministries.org/read/46295-january-11-human-trafficking-awareness-day The Light still shines <p><em style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 26px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">“the light shines on the inside of the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it”</em><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 26px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">&nbsp;(</span><a href="http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=00159muIUVPr33y2vpLss_LJPRpqPDoFQDXZHlT2wxTomwnQVNdIqodNRFojK2BTe65zFZkK4HnhLBmsHf2brizr0AAko78A8KCxK1n9laM4jf9kAku01MOZH7nosFygdsMHJSFTu-MoJg0fFRElKwotEIg0CplfP2NZS4uZs_lNMfQnJrH3WFDJue1PtV9JCVdFlLds2nNOlE=" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 26px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">John 1:5</a><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 26px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">).&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 26px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Advent always reminds me of the great gift we have in God coming to be with us in Jesus. God entered into our messy, broken and many times painful world and brought light to shine on it's beauty. &nbsp;Incarnation or "God with us" transforms our ordinariness into art. &nbsp;When we learn to see God's light inside of our lives, we have hope and that hope reflects beauty inside of and inspite of the barbs that surround our everyday living.</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; line-height: 26px;">I felt a poke of sadness thinking about not doing our annual Christmas Open House in Costa Rica this year, but I saw the light shining brighter when I heard that the church there had a Christmas Open Church instead and reached out to even more people than we could have. &nbsp;This is what they wrote on their facebook page about it.&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'lucida grande', tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; text-align: center; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Hace un año estábamos celebrando con los hermanos&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.facebook.com/mylinda.baits" data-hovercard="/ajax/hovercard/user.php?id=1715179040" aria-owns="js_10" aria-controls="js_10" aria-haspopup="true" id="js_11" style="cursor: pointer; color: rgb(59, 89, 152); text-decoration: initial; font-family: 'lucida grande', tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; text-align: center; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Mylinda Baits</a><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'lucida grande', tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; text-align: center; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">&nbsp;y&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.facebook.com/gary.baits" data-hovercard="/ajax/hovercard/user.php?id=100000085524793" style="cursor: pointer; color: rgb(59, 89, 152); text-decoration: initial; font-family: 'lucida grande', tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; text-align: center; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Gary Baits</a><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'lucida grande', tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; text-align: center; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">&nbsp;su tradicional open house. Este año la iglesia quiso continuar con esa hermosa tradición que ustedes nos enseñaron, compartiendo con los hermanos de la iglesia y amigos de la comunidad, el amor y la solidaridad cristiana. (Translation: A year ago we were celebrating with Mylinda and Gary Baits in their traditional Open House. This year the church wanted to continue this lovely tradition that you taught us, sharing with the brothers and sisters of the church and our friends from the community, love and Christian solidarity.)&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; line-height: 26px;">We are gearing up for a smaller version of our Casa Abierta this year in WA and will have a new community of friends to welcome in as well as both of our young adult kids home with us. The light shines still.</span></p><p><font color="#222222" face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="line-height: 26px;">As this year of US assignment is ending and I begin the new journey of traveling throughout Latin America and the Caribbean investigating and articulating the stories of my sisters there, I long to see the light &nbsp;shining in the darkness. I will hear both stories that pierce my heart with sorrow and show courage,&nbsp;tenacity&nbsp;and creativity that will inspire me. I will meet folks who've been wounded, exploited and overlooked as well as those who heal, encourage and nurture life in the midst of countless obstacles. I will get glimpses of "God with us" in the faces of children learning, men honoring, and women creating. I am so thankful for the many ways that the light still shines through you and me, when we are open to letting God in.</span></font></p><p><font color="#222222" face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="line-height: 26px;">May you welcome the God who still comes to us every day, entering into our world and shining a light that cannot be overcome. Glory to God.</span></font></p><p><font color="#222222" face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="line-height: 26px;">Anticipating beauty,</span></font></p><p><font color="#222222" face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="line-height: 26px;">Mylinda</span></font></p><p><font color="#222222" face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="line-height: 26px;"><br></span></font></p><p><br></p><p><font color="#222222" face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></font></p><p><font color="#222222" face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></font></p> Wed, 12 Dec 2012 13:37:23 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/45909-the-light-still-shines https://internationalministries.org/read/45909-the-light-still-shines Embraced by Grace <p></p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <p style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align:justify"><strong><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">Psalm 107:29-32 -</span></strong><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">&nbsp;<em><span style="font-family:&quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they were quiet; So He guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the children of God. Let them extol God also in the congregation of the people, And praise God at the seat of the elders.</span></em></span></p> <p style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align:justify"><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align:justify"><em><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">I am writing this update from my Mom's hospital room in Palm Springs, CA. All is quiet now, the emergency situation calmed and hushed so I have time now to give thanks for all of God's lovingkindness. Following a Sunday morning service where I preached in Ottawa, IL on &nbsp;Oct. 28th, I&nbsp;received&nbsp;a call that my Mom had been taken by ambulance to the hospital. A new friend noticed my worried expression and quickly gathered some folks to pray for my family and my worried heart. 2am the next morning my sister informed me that Mom had suffered a brain bleed and was facing emergency surgery and asked if I could get there asap. God's grace embraced me in the many loving ways I was cared for throughout this familial storm. From the helpful and compassionate flight booking agent to the understanding ABW leaders and churches planning on my missions presentations who rearranged their schedules, from the phone calls from my kids, husband and friends to the rides to and from the airport, I felt grace's embrace. I was able to arrive 30 minutes before my Mom went into brain surgery, one that was complicated by her chronic weakened heart and lung condition. We gathered around her bedside with the pastor who baptized her 40 years ago, very aware that it could be the last time we shared life together. Good good-byes were interspersed with jokes and laughter, and God held us all in a surreal hug. As friends from all over the globe prayed for us, we heard from the doctors that Mom had survived and did well throughout the procedure. We praised God at the bedside of this well-loved elder. Now the long road to recovery lays before us, the storm has stilled, the waves of anxiety hushed for now, yet we are still in need of grace's embrace, now more than ever. Grace to love each other well in the day in and day out of caring for someone who spent her life caring for others. Grace to see the unique contributions of each one and work together to each do what we have the power to do. Grace to readjust expectations and grace to forgive when readjusting is just too hard.&nbsp;</span></em><span style="font-size:10.0pt"></span></p> <p style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align:justify"><span style="font-size:10.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align:justify"><em><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">In order to be here in California, I've depended on grace. Grace offered when I had to cancel speaking commitments. Grace offered when I can't be with my husband and kids back home in WA. Grace offered when fatigue and multi-tasking rob me of kindness and compassion towards others. In between hospital visits, house-cleaning and welcoming my niece's new baby into our world, I received notice of the many gifts of financial support given to my ministry in Latin America, reminding me that I am truly blessed by grace, able to build strong networks of support across Latin America at the same time nurturing those that have shaped and held me over the years. Thank you for being part of grace's embrace.</span></em><span style="font-size:10.0pt"></span></p> <p style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align:justify"><span style="font-size:10.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align:justify"><em><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Verdana&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">Mylinda</span></em><span style="font-size:10.0pt"></span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> 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