International Ministries

Reed, David and Joyce - International Ministries The latest from David and Joyce Reed https://internationalministries.org/teams/91-reed-david-and-joyce.rss Summer Sojourn <p class="MsoNormal"><br></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">The last time we corresponded with you we were packing our apartment and moving from Philadelphia to Phoenix, AZ.</span><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-size: 12pt;">That was May.</span><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-size: 12pt;">And so much has happened since then!</span><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-size: 12pt;">We hope you can take a few minutes to relax, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and catch up with your missionary friends David and Joyce. We’ll start with today and work our way backwards.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u>David’s in Brazil<o:p></o:p></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal">This week marks the beginning of the fourth group of students in the Masters of Theology Studies (MTS) Latino/a Ministries.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It is a collaborative program that International Ministries &amp; Palmer Theological Seminary began last year.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This new group of students is from Brazil!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>David will participate in their orientation week, and will launch our class, Spiritual Formation I, on Thursday. Please pray for everyone involved as many of the students will be translating papers from Portuguese to Spanish, and we are hoping Google Translate will give us the gist of their intended message!<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u>We’ve moved to Tucson<o:p></o:p></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal">We spent the summer in temporary housing in Scottsdale, AZ.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Twelve days ago, we moved to Tucson, AZ!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This is going to be our base of operations as we continue in our Regional Missionary role to Latin America.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Joyce’s health is still being monitored, and her immune system continues to reboot.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It is best for her to live in the U.S. right now.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But the exciting news is that International Ministries already had a mission paradigm in place to allow this to happen!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>There is a number of global and regional missionaries based in the U.S. who carry out mission around the world.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Mission in the 21<sup>st</sup> century is evolving and shifting to new models.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>IM is on the front edge of these changes, and we are thankful for their vision!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal">Our new address is:<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>6640 W. Brightwater Way, Tucson, AZ 85757.<o:p></o:p></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u>House Warming Gift<o:p></o:p></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal">A tradition in the southwest is to collect crosses and display them on a wall of your home.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We want to adopt this tradition, and we’d like to invite you to be a part of it!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We would like our family and friends to send us unique crosses that we can add to our wall.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Please put your name and the date on the back, or if the cross’ design does not allow for this, then attach the information with ribbon or string.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>If the cross represents a group of people from a particular church, then please put the church’s name. We’re hoping for a unique collection that captures the diversity and love of our faith community<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><o:p></o:p></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u>Discipleship:<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Go and Grow</u></b><u><o:p></o:p></u></p><p class="MsoNormal">The focus of our ministry is discipleship.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>How can we go deeper, and grow deeper with God?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We are training church leaders through the MTS program, through personal visits with pastors &amp; leaders in Latin American countries, through Skype calls to offer mentoring and guidance, and through one-on-one discipleship.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We’re also assisting IM in developing a discipleship initiative that will encourage all of IM to deepen spiritually as they carry out God’s Mission around the globe.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u>Conference for Missionaries (CFM) <o:p></o:p></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal">At the end of July into early August, we joined 50 IM staff and missionary colleagues for CFM at Green Lake, WI.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Our role was to provide self-care/soul-care opportunities for rest and renewal.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We led a 90-minute workshop, had many one-on-one deep conversations to offer spiritual counsel, and met with different IM staff to brainstorm how member care for domestic and international global workers could become more intentional.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u>ABW Conference for PA &amp; DE<o:p></o:p></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal">Joyce was the guest missionary at the PA/DE American Baptist Womens’ conference in Shippenberg, PA in mid-July.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>During her workshop, she shared about the women of Cuba, and had lots of great conversations with women over the course of the weekend.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She was overwhelmed by the love so many women shared with her through their prayers for her health and continued recovery.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The faithfulness of your prayers sustains her every day!<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u>Mission Summit in Portland<o:p></o:p></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal">In late June to early July we attended the Mission Summit in Portland, OR.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We were available for spiritual direction &amp; prayer, we helped staff the IM section of the exhibit hall, we got better acquainted with IM’s newly appointed missionaries, we had conversations with numerous pastors from across the country, we talked with several IM Board members, we shared Sunday worship and had the opportunity to talk about our ministry with Grant Park Baptist Church, we participated in a bike ride of over 100 American Baptists, and we attended various gatherings focused on life and ministry in our denomination.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>American Baptists are thriving and not afraid to confront tough issues!<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u>Family<o:p></o:p></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal">In early June we gathered with David’s family to celebrate &amp; remember the life of his step-father Jim Katcher.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>July 2 we celebrated our 29<sup>th</sup> wedding anniversary in Portland.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We also got to visit our nephew Michael and his family who live in Beaverton, OR.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Our son Aaron resigned from his job with the AZ Conservation Corp at the end of July.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>He and his fiancé Madeleine are now working at Kodiak Baptist Mission, Kodiak, AK.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Before they left for AK, we all visited our oldest son Ian in Los Angeles where we enjoyed the beach and sites of L.A.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">Thank you for your prayers, your financial gifts, your faithfulness to missions!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We have a great story to share with you that began in La Paz 16 years ago, connected with people in PA, and is about to continue in India.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>That’s our next journal!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Look for it soon!<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">Falling Deeper in Love with Jesus,<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">David and Joyce<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></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/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> 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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:Calibri; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; 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> Wed, 23 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/65909-summer-sojourn https://internationalministries.org/read/65909-summer-sojourn A Call to the Wilderness <p class="MsoNormal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818;background:white">“God takes everyone he loves through a desert. It is his cure for our wandering hearts, restlessly searching for a new Eden...&nbsp;The best gift of the desert is God's presence... The protective love of the Shepherd gives me courage to face the interior journey.”&nbsp;</span></i><span style="font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818;background:white">(</span><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><a href="http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7144853.Paul_E_Miller"><span style="font-family:&quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;;color:#333333;background:white;mso-bidi-font-weight: bold;text-decoration:none;text-underline:none">Paul E. Miller</span></a></span><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818;background:white">,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/6615761"><span style="font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;;color:#333333;mso-bidi-font-weight:bold;text-decoration:none; text-underline:none">A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World</span></a>)</span><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818;background:white"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818;background:white">Moving West<o:p></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white">For the last three years we have resided in the green, verdant valleys of Pennsylvania.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>When we came back on our year of U.S. assignment in June 2014, we had no idea we’d be living here for this long.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But God did!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>God provided for us as we made a vocational shift, let us be near educational opportunities to equip our new mission focus, and then we were also near medical expertise as Joyce’s health crisis unfolded.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But now this part of our journey is coming to a close.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Next Tuesday we are packing a moving van and driving it across the country to Arizona!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818;background:white">Desert Landscapes<o:p></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white">We had anticipated that the Baja Desert would once again be our home base as we lived into our new role as Regional Missionaries to Latin America and the Caribbean.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>However, that all went sideways when Joyce got sick.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>And even though she is better (more on that below), her immune system needs to reboot before living internationally full-time.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>So now God is leading us towards another desert--the Sonoran Desert of the SW! While this makes sense logistically for our international travel, we also believe God’s tug on our souls has deeper spiritual implications.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818;background:white">The Solitude of Wilderness<o:p></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white">The desert has always represented a place of dangerous beauty.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Struggle and challenge are evident there on a daily basis.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We talk about the dry, restless times in our lives as “desert” experiences.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Scripture is full of stories of people who went into the desert for wisdom and discernment.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert for forty days after his baptism (Luke 4).<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The silence of the desert will not let you ignore the voice of your inner life.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Things that were buried rise to the surface.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The journey of the wilderness is a soul pilgrimage.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>So, as we invite our international students, colleagues, and partners to go deeper with God, we are being called to the same path.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We cannot teach what we do not know.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This physical move to the desert is a parallel journey to our interior lives.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This is often how God weaves your exterior and interior lives together.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818;background:white">By Faith<o:p></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white">We had been sensing a tug to move West for some time.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But a variety of circumstances kept us in PA.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Then, after Joyce’s latest colonoscopy in early April, we felt God released us to change geographic locations.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>There is still some chronic inflammation in Joyce’s system, but her gastroenterologist said no treatment was needed, and she doesn’t need another exam for a year.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Joyce is now working with a nutritional expert to craft a diet and supplement plan to address the inflammation.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Her energy has returned and life is good!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Sustained by your prayers, and trusting in God’s further healing, we go forward by faith to embrace the next adventure!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818;background:white">Our Summer Plans<o:p></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white">We will be residing in Scottsdale, AZ for the summer while we explore long-term housing options. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>We will be attending the Biennial Mission Summit in Portland, OR at the end of June.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We have been invited to be available as Spiritual Directors/Spiritual Companions in the practice of holy listening.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>If you’re going to attend, then let us know so we can connect!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Joyce will be the featured missionary speaker at the PA/DE women’s conference at Shippensburg, PA in mid-July.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Late July into August, we will be leading self-care/soul-care workshops for our missionary colleagues at Green Lake, WI.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In mid-August David will be flying to Brazil for the face-to-face week long orientation with our next group of students in our on-line Spiritual Formation class for the Masters of Theology program through Palmer Seminary. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>A lot is going on!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818;background:white">Our Family<o:p></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white">Ian has been visiting CA’s National Parks during his free time.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>He called Joyce on her birthday from the top of a mountain at Yosemite National Park.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>He used his phone to show us a panoramic view of the valley below.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>When technology works!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Aaron is spending the next 6 months working for the AZ Conservation Corp out of Flagstaff.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>On one of his recent days off he called us from the Grand Canyon.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>So proud of them as they continue to mature into the men God has called them to be!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818;background:white">A Sacred Thing<o:p></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white">John O’Donohue, in his poem “For the Traveler” says a journey can become a sacred thing.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This is our hope and prayer for our days ahead.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>That we would intentionally listen to God’s heart and our hearts as we allow ourselves to expand and be awakened to something new.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>May your journey be full of sacred, too.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This will be our prayer for you!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white">Falling deeper in love with Jesus,<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white">David and Joyce<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818;background:white">We can receive mail in AZ at this address</span></b><span style="font-family:Georgia; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#181818;background:white">:<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white">1420 E. McNair Dr<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white">Tempe, AZ 85283<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:Georgia;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#181818; background:white"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><br></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> 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UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text Indent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Block Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Hyperlink"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="FollowedHyperlink"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="22" QFormat="true" Name="Strong"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="20" QFormat="true" Name="Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Document Map"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Plain Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="E-mail Signature"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Top of Form"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Bottom of Form"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Normal (Web)"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Acronym"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Address"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Cite"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Code"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Definition"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Keyboard"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Preformatted"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Sample"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Typewriter"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Variable"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Normal Table"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="annotation subject"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="No List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table 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UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 7"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 8"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table 3D effects 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table 3D effects 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table 3D effects 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Contemporary"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Elegant"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Professional"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Subtle 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Subtle 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Web 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Web 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Web 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Balloon Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="Table Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Theme"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 7"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 8"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 9"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" Name="Placeholder Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="1" QFormat="true" Name="No Spacing"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light 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<w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" Name="Revision"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="34" QFormat="true" Name="List Paragraph"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="29" QFormat="true" Name="Quote"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="30" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Quote"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading 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Locked="false" Priority="37" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Bibliography"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="41" Name="Plain Table 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="42" Name="Plain Table 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="43" Name="Plain Table 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="44" Name="Plain Table 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="45" Name="Plain Table 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="40" Name="Grid Table Light"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 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<w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="List Table 1 Light Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="List Table 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="List Table 3 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="List Table 4 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="List Table 5 Dark Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="List Table 6 Colorful Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="List Table 7 Colorful Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="List Table 1 Light Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="List Table 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="List Table 3 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="List Table 4 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="List Table 5 Dark Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" 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<!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> Thu, 11 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/65139-a-call-to-the-wilderness https://internationalministries.org/read/65139-a-call-to-the-wilderness March 2017 Update from David & Joyce Reed <p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><br></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><b>“The spiritual life is not an escape from reality, but an absolute commitment to it.”<o:p></o:p></b></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><b>Peter Scazzero, <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">Emotionally Healthy Spirituality</i></b><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p><span style="text-decoration:none">&nbsp;</span></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">On-Line Class Inspires Students in Mexicali<o:p></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">We have almost completed the third cohort with our on-line class in Spiritual Formation.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This group of 24 students is from Northern Baja, and had their orientation at the end of January in Mexicali, Mexico.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Here is a poem by a young man named Carlos about his understanding of prayer after he spent time in silence with God: “Prayer is more than asking, more than giving thanks and saying words.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>To pray is a waltz.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It is a merging with the Holy Spirit and God. To pray is intimacy, discovering joy step by step.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>To pray is to love and to feel loved, to always be with Christ.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This is prayer.”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Brazil and Bolivia will be the locations for our next international cohorts as the Masters of Theological Studies in Spanish enters its second year this fall.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Member Care at International Ministries<o:p></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">In February, we conducted a personnel satisfaction survey for domestic and global workers at IM.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The purpose of the survey was to create a baseline to begin to evaluate how staff and missionaries perceive member care at IM.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>What is the organization doing well?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>What are the growing edges?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Are there areas where IM needs vast improvement?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We’re part of a small team whose purpose is to help IM develop best practices and policies for member care.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Our goal is to develop a comprehensive Member Care policy that provides holistic needs of all IM personnel.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Our role specifically is to address the areas of spiritual care &amp; renewal.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Update on Joyce’s Health<o:p></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Thank you so much for all your prayers on Joyce’s behalf!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It’s now been 2 ½ months since her surgery and she feels great.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Her energy is returning, and she seems to have no dietary issues.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She has decided to remain gluten free.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The surgery did trigger some lower back issues, so she is going to visit a physical therapist next week.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>And she sees her gastroenterologist the first of April to determine when she needs a follow-up colonoscopy.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We truly believe your prayers have assisted in her rapid healing—not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Thank you for praying for a miracle!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">We’re Moving!<o:p></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Due to Joyce’s health challenges, we are going to remain in the United States for now.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>However, since we’re Regional Missionaries, this won’t greatly impact our work or slow us down at all!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In the middle of May our plan is to move to the Phoenix, AZ area.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Not only will this bring us closer to David’s family (his dad has been struggling with health issues), but also allow us to spend less money on trips to Latin America.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Flying in and out of Phoenix will be less expensive than Philadelphia for our international travel.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Initially we will be staying with family while we look for a place to live.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Aaron is also moving to AZ!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>He is going to serve with the AZ Conservation Corp in Flagstaff, AZ from mid-April to mid-September.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It’s been his desire to relocate to Flagstaff for some time, so he hopes to find another job in that area when this one ends.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Ian recently moved from El Segundo, CA to a new apartment in Santa Monica.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It seems to be a theme in all our lives lately!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>He is busy at SpaceX sending rockets into infinity and beyond.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">How to Pray for Us<o:p></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">--For our Mexicali students as they wind up this class and prepare to write their final papers.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">--Scholarships for all the students in the program. Palmer and IM are already underwriting this program, but each student still needs to pay $150 per class.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>While that doesn’t seem like much to you or me, to students in other countries it can be equal to their entire monthly salary.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>If you would like to sponsor a student, or provide funds for an entire cohort, please let us know.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">--That all the details of our move (including finances) would come together: packing, U-haul rental, driving across the country, finding a place to live, etc.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">--Joyce’s body would continue to return to 100% health.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>That whatever illness attacked her colon was totally taken care of by the surgery, so that she can resume international travel with David.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">The season of Lent is an opportunity for each one of us to fall into the mystery of what it means to journey towards Passion: the Passover Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Trial before Pilate, the Crucifixion, the Silence of Saturday, and the Empty Tomb.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>May your heart be renewed.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>May God’s grace sustain you.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span 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UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Message Header"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="11" QFormat="true" Name="Subtitle"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Salutation"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Date"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text First Indent"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text First Indent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Heading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text Indent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text Indent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Block Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Hyperlink"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="FollowedHyperlink"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="22" QFormat="true" Name="Strong"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="20" QFormat="true" Name="Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Document Map"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Plain Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="E-mail Signature"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Top of Form"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Bottom of Form"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Normal (Web)"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Acronym"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Address"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Cite"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Code"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Definition"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Keyboard"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Preformatted"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Sample"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Typewriter"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Variable"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Normal Table"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="annotation subject"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="No List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 7"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 8"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 7"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 8"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table 3D effects 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table 3D effects 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table 3D effects 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Contemporary"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Elegant"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Professional"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Subtle 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Subtle 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Web 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Web 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Web 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Balloon Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="Table Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Theme"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 7"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 8"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 9"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" Name="Placeholder Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="1" QFormat="true" Name="No Spacing"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" Name="Revision"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="34" QFormat="true" Name="List Paragraph"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="29" QFormat="true" Name="Quote"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="30" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Quote"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="19" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="21" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="31" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="32" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="33" QFormat="true" Name="Book Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="37" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Bibliography"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="41" Name="Plain Table 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="42" Name="Plain Table 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="43" Name="Plain Table 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="44" Name="Plain Table 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="45" Name="Plain Table 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="40" Name="Grid Table Light"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid 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Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid 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style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p> Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/64740-march-2017-update-from-david-joyce-reed https://internationalministries.org/read/64740-march-2017-update-from-david-joyce-reed Surprise Party! <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><b>A Surprise Party</b></span></p><p class="p2"><span class="s2"></span><br></p><p class="p3"><span class="s1"><b>TENDING A VINEYARD</b></span></p><p class="p3"><span class="s2">If you remember, at the end of last June Joyce and I dove into the process of preparing a course for a new online Masters of Theology program for Latin America offered by Palmer Seminary.&nbsp; The course we were invited to teach was Spiritual Formation and is the first course in the program.&nbsp;</span></p><p class="p4"><span class="s2"></span><br></p><p class="p3"><span class="s2">We had no idea what we were getting into! Designing this course, teaching the first two cohorts, and 35 students have dominated our lives for the past 6 months.&nbsp; At some point we each began to think, “This is not what I signed up for!” Neither of us imagined that offering an online course built on an active learning model would become so encompassing.&nbsp; It became like tending a vineyard.&nbsp; Each student an individual cultivation and the group as a whole a flourishing entity.&nbsp; With our time and hearts bent on this very active tending neither one of us imagined the fruit.&nbsp; It was just too early to be ale to lift our gaze and take in the landscape.</span></p><p class="p4"><span class="s2"></span><br></p><p class="p3"><span class="s2">Then, we began hearing from our students.&nbsp; Here is an excerpt from just one…</span></p><p class="p4"><span class="s2"></span><br></p><p class="p3"><span class="s1"><b>BECOMING EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY</b></span></p><p class="p3"><span class="s2">“I think that silence, solitude, stillness and retreat go together. When I think of this, I imagine a pause in the chaos that invades us day by day and then the voice of God appears saying: "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10) I like to imagine that scene and I have been able to apply it to my life in moments of doubt and fear. It has been liberating to be able to recognize those feelings that seem to be frowned upon if one is a Christian.</span></p><p class="p4"><span class="s2"></span><br></p><p class="p3"><span class="s2">This brings me closer to an emotionally healthy spirituality. Author Peter Scazzero says: "To the extent that we can not express our emotions, we are still unable to love God, others and ourselves.”</span><span class="s3"><sup></sup></span><span class="s2"> Anger, sadness and fear have been part of my walk and it has been a blessing to be able to recognize them, to then heal and continue on this beautiful path. My life has begun to feel that God is present and can speak from the depths of my being on a daily basis.”</span></p><p class="p4"><span class="s2"></span><br></p><p class="p3"><span class="s1"><b>GOD’S SURPRISE</b></span></p><p class="p3"><span class="s2">What began for Joyce and I as an invitation that just “seemed to coincide” with a two year focus on training in Spiritual Direction has become an invitation to God’s Surprise Party.&nbsp; When we said “yes”, neither one of us imagined the creative, transformative power that rested in an online course but we are hearing it from students over and over again.&nbsp; “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at at work within us, to him be glory…” (Ephesians 3:20-21). &nbsp;</span></p><p class="p4"><span class="s2"></span><br></p><p class="p3"><span class="s1"><b>TRANSFORMING COMMUNITY</b></span></p><p class="p3"><span class="s2">What is equally exciting is that most of these students are pastors and or teachers.&nbsp; What is transforming them is transforming their communities.&nbsp; Richard Foster shares in the opening lines of <i>Celebrating Discipline</i>, “Superficiality is the curse of our age.&nbsp; The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem.&nbsp; The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for [spiritually] deep people.”</span><span class="s3"><sup></sup></span><span class="s2">&nbsp; These students are becoming those deeper people and I can only imagine how it will influence their communities.&nbsp; I thank God for using this course as “yeast” in the body.&nbsp; How cool is that!&nbsp;</span></p><p class="p4"><span class="s2"></span><br></p><p class="p3"><span class="s1"><b>BORDERLESS MISSION</b></span></p><p class="p3"><span class="s2">What we have begun to see is a new borderless mission on God’s terms!&nbsp; Who knew God planned on using technology, a virtual learning community on the internet, to build his saints in a number of different places at the same time.&nbsp; We could not have simultaneously gathered these students or their communities all together for 8 weeks. Our physical location now matters less as God is using us in new ways.&nbsp;</span></p><p class="p4"><span style="-webkit-text-stroke-width: initial;"><br></span></p><p class="p4"><span style="-webkit-text-stroke-width: initial;">This course has helped to deepen and broaden our preparation for cultivating new areas of mission.&nbsp; </span><span style="-webkit-text-stroke-width: initial;">With the third cohort starting at the end of January, we can begin to look at providing workshops and retreats on Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Direction in places like Mexico, South America, and Cuba. I wonder what this surprise party will be like?!</span><span class="s2"></span></p><p class="p4"><span style="-webkit-text-stroke-width: initial;"><br></span></p><p class="p1"><br></p><style type="text/css"> p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; min-height: 16.0px} p.p3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} p.p4 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; min-height: 14.0px} span.s1 {text-decoration: underline ; font-kerning: none} span.s2 {font-kerning: none} span.s3 {font: 8.0px Helvetica; font-kerning: none} </style><style type="text/css"> p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; min-height: 16.0px} p.p3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} p.p4 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; min-height: 14.0px} span.s1 {text-decoration: underline ; font-kerning: none} span.s2 {font-kerning: none} span.s3 {font: 8.0px Helvetica; font-kerning: none} </style> Thu, 12 Jan 2017 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/64199-surprise-party- https://internationalministries.org/read/64199-surprise-party- The Miracle of Presence <p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p1" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s1"><b><font size="4"><u>A Presence in the Dark</u></font></b></span></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font size="4">"In the process, when we are struggling most, we can ask for support. We can ask for what we need to make it through the dark nights even if it is just the presence of another person struggling with the same voices.”&nbsp; (Christine Valters Paintner)<br><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"></span></font></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font size="4"><br></font></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font size="4">To God’s Holy People, in cities around the world, I send you my love and greetings!<br><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"></span></font></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font size="4">We are journeying into the fourth week of Advent together when the days are shorter and darker than any other time of year.&nbsp; It is a time when struggles can seem more overwhelming, and finding the courage to overcome them even more daunting.&nbsp; It is a time when parts of ourselves may want to run away and hide as we try to figure out how to merely survive.<br><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"></span></font></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font size="4">But I have learned that this is when we need each other the most.&nbsp; It is your prayers and love that have truly sustained me during this Season of Advent.&nbsp; Three weeks ago I invited you to pray for a miracle.&nbsp; A miracle of healing.&nbsp; A miracle of wisdom.&nbsp; A miracle of peace.&nbsp; Not just for me, but for other people in your lives as well.&nbsp; Are you paying attention?&nbsp; Miracles are happening! &nbsp;<br><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"></span></font></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><b style="font-size: large;"><u>The Peace of God</u></b><br></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font size="4"><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"></span></font></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font size="4">Last week I met with my surgeon and brought with me a list of questions.&nbsp; He answered every one of them before I even asked!&nbsp; He was patient, kind, wise, and funny.&nbsp; He has over 20 years of experience with the surgery I need.&nbsp; I came out of his office thinking, “Yes, if I have to have surgery, then this is the man I want to do it!”&nbsp; I felt a peace that was not of this world.&nbsp; A peace that only comes from God.&nbsp; A peace that was given to me through your prayers. A miracle.<br></font></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font size="4">My surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, December 28.&nbsp; I will be in the hospital a couple days and hopefully recuperating at home as the new year rolls in. &nbsp;<br><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"></span></font></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><b style="font-size: large;"><u>Prayers of the People</u></b><br></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font size="4"><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"></span></font></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font size="4">How can you pray for me?</font></p><ul style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><li class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-li1" style="margin-left: 15px;"><font size="4"><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s3"></span><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2">For Dr. Kirkland as he leads the surgical team.</span></font></li><li class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-li1" style="margin-left: 15px;"><font size="4"><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s3"></span><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2">For no wound infection</span></font></li><li class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-li1" style="margin-left: 15px;"><font size="4"><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s3"></span><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2">For rapid healing afterwards</span></font></li><li class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-li1" style="margin-left: 15px;"><font size="4"><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s3"></span><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2">For a clean biopsy report</span></font></li><li class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-li1" style="margin-left: 15px;"><font size="4"><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s3"></span><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2">For continued peace of body, mind, and spirit</span></font></li></ul><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font size="4"><b><u>Light in the Valley of Shadow</u></b><br><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"></span></font></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p1" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"><font size="4">As you continue to pray for me, I also ask that you pray for my husband David and his family.&nbsp; His mother Jan passed away unexpectedly this past Friday, December 16.&nbsp; There was a small family memorial service for her last Sunday.&nbsp; A larger service is planned for later in January.&nbsp; David is in AZ grieving with his brothers and sister.&nbsp; He will stay in AZ through Christmas and fly home the 26th.&nbsp; He and Ian will be together in AZ, and Aaron and I will be together in PA, and yes, it’s a bizarre Christmas!&nbsp; But in the darkest hours, the light of Christ does not go dim.</font></span></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><b style="font-size: 12.8px;"><font size="4"><u>The Legend of the Poinsettia</u></font></b><br></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font size="4">I had a dream a couple nights ago.&nbsp; There were hundreds of Poinsettias arranged all around the inside of an old cathedral.&nbsp; I asked God, “What do these flowers represent?”&nbsp; God said, “These are the Christmas miracles.”&nbsp; In Mexico, there is a legend that on Christmas Eve a young girl wanted to bring a gift to baby Jesus in the manger but was too poor to buy something.&nbsp; So she picked some weeds on her way to the church, crept down the aisle, and gently laid her offering by the manger.&nbsp; Her older brother had told her, “A small gift given in love will make Jesus happy.”&nbsp; Suddenly, her bouquet of weeds burst into bright red flowers, and everyone who saw them that night said they had seen a miracle.&nbsp; They became known as the “Flores de Noche Buena,” Flowers of the Holy Night.<br><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"></span></font></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font size="4">Don’t be afraid to pray for a miracle.&nbsp; It might not happen exactly like you planned, but miracles still happen!&nbsp; Your prayers are healing me in ways that are beyond my comprehension.&nbsp; And I pray for you, too!&nbsp; As we practice holy presence, we become sacred presents to each other.<br><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"></span></font></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><b style="font-size: large;"><u>Holy Light Dawns</u></b><br></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font size="4"><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"></span></font></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font size="4">Silent Night, Holy Night, Christ the Savior is born!<br><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"></span></font></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p1" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"><font size="4">Wrap this truth around your heart.</font></span></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p1" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"><font size="4">Breathe in the simply clarity.</font></span></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p1" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"><font size="4">Allow your soul to wake up.</font></span></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p2" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><font size="4"><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"></span><br></font></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p1" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"><font size="4">Your companion on the journey,</font></span></p><p class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-p1" style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span class="m_-5191107719942564001gmail-s2"><font size="4">Joyce (and David)</font></span></p> Sun, 18 Dec 2016 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/64036-the-miracle-of-presence https://internationalministries.org/read/64036-the-miracle-of-presence Prayer Letter from Missionary Joyce Reed <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">November 25, 2016<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">Dear Beloved Friends and Family,<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year because it gives me the opportunity to intentionally focus on gratitude.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I am so thankful for each one of you and I know I don’t express it enough!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This past year has been full of loss (some of it healthy &amp; normal, and some of it unexpected): my dad’s death, my mom’s house burning down, changes with my health, our youngest son graduating from college, transitioning into a new role as regional missionaries, and moving my mom to FL to name a few.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Through it all, your prayers have sustained us, and truly given us strength.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Although scattered around the globe, each one of you is part of our community of faith, and you weave the tapestry of love and grace that wraps around us and gives us hope.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#222222">My Latest Diagnosis<o:p></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#222222"><o:p><span style="text-decoration:none">&nbsp;</span></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">At the beginning of November, I had my third colonoscopy this year.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>(Yes, I’m an expert on this medical procedure now!)<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Despite changing my diet to vegan, gluten free and adding additional nutritional supplements, my Crohn’s Disease was still active.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In fact, the inflammation looked worse, though it had not spread to other areas.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The good news is that my biopsies still came back negative for malignancy. <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">So, what happens next?<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">This coming Tuesday afternoon (November 29) I have a CTE scan scheduled that will take detailed images of my abdomen and intestinal area.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This will allow the doctor to see if my Crohn’s is impacting any other organs, or my small intestine.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I have also undergone more blood work.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Sometime in the next month or two I will begin treatment with Humira or Remicade which will treat the inflammation but also suppress my immune system. I have an appointment in early December with my gastroenterologist to discuss the medications and treatment options.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She said it would be a 1-2 year process.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#222222">My Work with IM Can Continue<o:p></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">International Ministries is whole-heartedly supporting us during this unexpected medical adventure.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We have permission to remain in the U.S. for my treatment.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>And the good news is that our new regional role can continue no matter where we live!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>David will initially take on more of the international travel since my immune system will be compromised for a while.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But I can continue to be involved in our ministry of teaching Spiritual Formation on-line, helping IM develop member care resources, and facilitating Spiritual Formation retreats &amp; Bible studies.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#222222">How can you pray for me?<o:p></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoListParagraph" style="text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#222222"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">1.<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">I grew up believing in miracles!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>So, I would love to go into my CT scan next Tuesday and have the results show absolutely nothing wrong with me.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I know God can miraculously heal me if that is God’s desire for me.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoListParagraph" style="text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#222222"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">2.<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">However, if God has me traveling down a different path with this diagnosis, then I ask you to pray for my immune system.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>That while I’m undergoing treatment, that I would not contract any other bacterial or viral illness.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoListParagraph" style="text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#222222"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">3.<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">Pray for peace—the peace that is not of this world, but comes from our Lord &amp; Savior Jesus Christ.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoListParagraph" style="text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#222222"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">4.<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">I also need prayers for wisdom for how to keep evaluating naturopathic alternatives that might assist my recovery. What I have tried so far has not worked.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>However, there could be options I haven’t explored yet, that will.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoListParagraph" style="text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#222222"><span style="mso-list:Ignore">5.<span style="font:7.0pt &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">Also, pray for David, Ian and Aaron as they walk beside me.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>As many of you know firsthand, seeing someone you love thrust into a series of medical tests, procedures and treatments can be daunting.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>They need your love and support as well.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#222222">What you can do this weekend<o:p></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">God has impressed on my heart that I can’t do this by myself.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal">I need community to surround me.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I need each one of you!</b><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>So, if you have a cell phone, then I invite you to add an event to your calendar this Saturday, Sunday or Monday that says, <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal">“Praying for a Miracle.”</b><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This is a reminder to not only pray for me, but also for any other person in your family, church, neighborhood, or work place that needs a miracle too.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">If you’re not tech savvy, then simply choose a day and time this weekend that you will set aside to pray, and tape a reminder to your refrigerator or bathroom mirror.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">If you like to motivate people, then invite your Sunday School class, your Bible Study group, or even your entire church to participate in a 24-hour prayer vigil where each person signs up for a half-hour or one hour slot.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">Or, a model that our Mexican Baptist churches implement is to gather everyone at the church for a prayer vigil from 8pm to midnight, allowing for times of prayer, silence, scripture reading, and songs.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#222222">The World Needs Hope<o:p></o:p></span></u></b></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">It is an honor and privilege to be partnered with you in mission and ministry.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>More than ever, our world needs the hope and light of Jesus.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The power of prayer is one way where we can join our hearts and minds to transform one another with God’s grace and love.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">May we listen to each other from the heart,<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> 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UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="envelope address"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="envelope return"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="footnote reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="annotation reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="line number"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="page number"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="endnote reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="endnote text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="table of authorities"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="macro"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="toa heading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="10" QFormat="true" Name="Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Closing"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Signature"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="1" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Default Paragraph Font"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text Indent"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Message Header"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="11" QFormat="true" Name="Subtitle"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Salutation"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Date"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text First Indent"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text First Indent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Heading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text Indent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text Indent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Block Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Hyperlink"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="FollowedHyperlink"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="22" QFormat="true" Name="Strong"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="20" QFormat="true" Name="Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Document Map"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Plain Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="E-mail Signature"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Top of Form"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Bottom of Form"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Normal (Web)"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Acronym"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Address"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Cite"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Code"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Definition"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Keyboard"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Preformatted"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Sample"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Typewriter"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Variable"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Normal Table"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="annotation subject"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="No List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table 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UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table 3D effects 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table 3D effects 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table 3D effects 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Contemporary"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Elegant"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Professional"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Subtle 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Subtle 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Web 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Web 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Web 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Balloon Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="Table Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Theme"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 7"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 8"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Level 9"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" Name="Placeholder Text"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="1" QFormat="true" Name="No Spacing"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" Name="Revision"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="34" QFormat="true" Name="List Paragraph"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="29" QFormat="true" Name="Quote"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="30" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Quote"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="19" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="21" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="31" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="32" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="33" QFormat="true" Name="Book Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="37" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Bibliography"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="41" Name="Plain Table 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="42" Name="Plain Table 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="43" Name="Plain Table 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="44" Name="Plain Table 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="45" Name="Plain Table 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="40" Name="Grid Table Light"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark Accent 1"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" 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<!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#222222">Joyce<o:p></o:p></span></p> Thu, 24 Nov 2016 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/63866-prayer-letter-from-missionary-joyce-reed https://internationalministries.org/read/63866-prayer-letter-from-missionary-joyce-reed The Winds of The Spirit <p class="p1"><b><u>In Solitude and Silence</u></b></p><p class="p1">Marlena Graves in&nbsp; <i>A Beautiful Disaster: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness</i>, shared this idea: "In <b><i>solitude and silence</i></b> we can become still enough to hear the whispers of God, still enough to feel the winds of the Holy Spirit flying through our lives and observe the effects of these winds on our Spirit. We go on a retreat in the hope of delight, with the hope of savoring the good, the true, the beautiful.”<br><span class="s1"></span></p><p class="p3"><b><u><span class="s1"></span>Glimpsing a Student's Heart</u></b></p><p class="p2"><span class="s1">Its not an exact quote because it is translated from a student’s journal.&nbsp; His name is Alonzo.&nbsp; He’s from Mexico City. I added the italics because Alonzo was writing about his experience with a reading assignment about the spiritual disciplines of solitude and silence. He wrote it during the fourth week of&nbsp; the new Online Masters of Theological Studies in Spanish program offered by Palmer Seminary and supported by International Ministries.&nbsp; Joyce and I are teaching the first class in this brand new program.&nbsp; The course we are teaching is Spiritual Formation.</span></p><p class="p3"><b><u><span class="s1"></span>Laying Foundations</u></b></p><p class="p2"><span class="s1">The director of the program, Mayra Picos Lee, is a professor at Palmer.&nbsp; She wanted Spiritual Formation to be the first class in the program.&nbsp; Mayra hopes it will prepare the hearts and minds of the students to look at each class not as simply information for knowledge, but as information that continues to form and transform hearts and minds in Christ.&nbsp; This first class is laying the foundation for the next eleven classes over the period of two years.</span></p><p class="p3"><b><u><span class="s1"></span>A Direct &amp; Deep Impact</u></b></p><p class="p2"><span class="s1">This new adventure for Joyce and I as regional missionaries is a tremendous opportunity.&nbsp; We are able to participate in offering an available, affordable, and accredited online education at the masters level to students who could only dream about a masters degree.&nbsp; The impact on their lives and on churches will be direct and deep.&nbsp; One of the students is a teacher at a seminary in central Mexico.&nbsp; She is not allowed to study at the masters level because she is a woman.&nbsp; She was in tears, filled with gratitude during the residency in Mexico City at the end of August.&nbsp; She is one of nine women among eighteen students.</span></p><p class="p3"><b><u><span class="s1"></span>A Hunger for God</u></b></p><p> </p><p class="p2"><span class="s1">We will be sharing more about this experience.&nbsp; I will end with what Alonzo shared about the opening words of “the winds of the Holy Spirit flying through our lives” from Marlena Graves.&nbsp; He said, “Me llena de emoción poder decir al final de este curso que estas palabras pueden ser una realidad en mi vida.” (“I am filled with emotion to be able to say that by the end of this course, these words will be a reality in my life.”)&nbsp; Alonzo is a pastor and he says his church is hungry for the deeper winds of the Spirit.</span></p><p class="p2"><span class="s1"> </span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">What a tremendous opportunity to participate in the (trans)formation of hearts, minds, and spirits.&nbsp; We may never know what God does with it - but for now, it's a beautiful thing.</span></p> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/63434-the-winds-of-the-spirit https://internationalministries.org/read/63434-the-winds-of-the-spirit F2F or On-Line? Both Rock! <h3><u><b>Cara a Cara (Face to Face) in Costa Rica</b></u></h3><p>At the end of July all the Latino International Ministries’ missionaries gathered in San Jose, Costa Rica, to meet our new Executive Director Sharon Koh and to also immerse ourselves in the next step of strategic planning with the Responding to the Call Document.&nbsp; As Sharon begins her new role it was important for her to meet all the missionaries face to face.&nbsp; And to be honest, any chance to come together with some of our missionary colleagues is a joy-filled opportunity!&nbsp; Our first impressions of Sharon?&nbsp; Energetic, passionate, empathetic, a heart for missions &amp; missionaries, organized, visionary, skilled listener, and a willingness to be vulnerable.&nbsp; She will bring a fresh perspective and vitality to IM’s future.</p><p>As part of our new role in Spiritual Formation &amp; Renewal, we’ve also been asked to focus on how to encourage our colleagues in Spiritual care practices.&nbsp; We had the opportunity to talk with many of our missionary colleagues face-to-face as well as in several small group settings.&nbsp; Like many of you who serve in leadership positions, they are weary at a soul level.&nbsp; We talked about ways to address that weariness, how to build self-care into our routines, and how to encourage each other on the journey.&nbsp; We’re also trying to conceive how to hold regional missionary gatherings more often.&nbsp; Everyone agreed that coming together every 2-3 years would be a valuable part of missionary self-care.</p><h3><u><b>F2F vs. On-Line Education</b></u></h3><p>As part of our training to teach Spiritual Formation on-line, we’ve had to research some of the pros and cons of Face to Face (F2F) vs. on-line education. Perhaps you’ve wondered about the benefits of taking an on-line class?&nbsp; Let us share some of the things we’ve discovered!</p><p>I (Joyce) grew up with face to face education.&nbsp; I appreciated its creative and collaborative environment as well as interacting personally with my teacher and the other students.&nbsp; However, technology grows by leaps and bounds every year, and has obviously impacted education in a myriad of ways—online education being one of them.&nbsp; Having lived in Mexico where secondary education is not accessible to every person (mostly due to lack of finances), or where higher education isn’t possible (again finances but also geographic distances), I am thrilled that online education is gaining ground.&nbsp; It allows education to cut across geographical, social, economic, gender, religious and ethnic barriers and become a basic human right for everyone.&nbsp; It provides convenience and flexibility so that students can engage when their schedules permit, and also when they feel most highly motivated.&nbsp; <br>I love that you can review material by watching videos or power points multiple times so that you not only grasp the material fully but also can be better prepared for a quiz or test.&nbsp; Discussion forums allow for students to interact in a vibrant and engaging manner. A downside can be the technical issues that arise because inevitably they will.&nbsp; But members of the class seem to assist each other in answering these types of questions.&nbsp; An interactive learning environment can be nurtured and cultivated in online education that is just as effective and impactful as face to face.</p><h3><u><b>SFRM510 Formación Espiritual</b></u></h3><p>Palmer Theological Seminary joined forces with International Ministries to provide an on-line Masters of Theology degree for Latinos.&nbsp; The classes are designed and taught in Spanish.&nbsp; Spiritual Formation is the first class and we’re teaching it!&nbsp; The first group of students is from Mexico City and the surrounding areas.&nbsp; Module 1 is a residency in Mexico City which is happening this week!&nbsp; David is there along with Missionary Mercy Barnes who will be teaching Church History, and Rev. Jose Norat who will be teaching Biblical Theology.&nbsp; Other Palmer administration are represented too.&nbsp; After the residency, the remaining 7 weeks will be taught on-line.&nbsp; For our class there will be weekly discussion forums, a weekly journal, Spirituality &amp; the Arts project, the development of a Personal Spiritual Formation Plan, and a Final Paper.&nbsp; As soon as the first 8-week cohort ends, the second one begins!&nbsp; There will be a short break over Christmas, and then a 3rd cohort starts.&nbsp; Needless to say, from September through March our lives will be revolving around teaching this class!&nbsp; We’ll keep you updated as the months go by.</p><h3><u><b>Joyce’s Health</b></u></h3><p>Joyce had a second colonoscopy at the beginning of July.&nbsp; There was some minimal improvement since the first one.&nbsp; The doctor says she is still presenting like Crohn’s Disease.&nbsp; Because she has no classic symptoms, she is going to continue with a special diet and nutritional supplements and have a third colonoscopy in November.&nbsp; If there is not marked improvement by then, she will need to consider surgery to remove that section of her colon, or more aggressive drug treatments.&nbsp; She is appreciative of all the suggestions many of you have sent her for homeopathic treatments.&nbsp; She has implemented many of them, and researched all of them.&nbsp; Your prayers for continued healing sustain her!&nbsp; God does not always heal us in the ways that we pray for, but we know that God hears every prayer and healing happens according to God’s directive.&nbsp; We are learning a lot of about letting go.</p><h3><u><b>Joyce’s Mom</b></u></h3><p>Thank you to everyone who has been praying for Joyce’s mom, Mary, since her house fire in February.&nbsp; She decided not to rebuild.&nbsp; She had the remains of her house removed and put the property up for sale in June.&nbsp; Several weeks ago, it sold!&nbsp; She is tying up loose ends here in PA and plans to relocate to her mobile home in FL this fall.</p><h3><u><b>Family Vacation</b></u></h3><p>We’re wrapping up the summer with a family vacation!&nbsp; Our kids are joining us for ten days in a location where none of us live to have some R&amp;R.&nbsp; Afterwards, if you hear that we were in your area but didn’t come to see you, please don’t be upset!&nbsp; We’re being protective of our family time and are looking forward to just the four of us hanging out, laughing, and enjoying God’s creation.<br><br>Blessings,<br>David &amp; Joyce<br>7013 McCallum St., Apt A<br>Philadelphia, PA 19119<br></p> Sun, 21 Aug 2016 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/62858-f2f-or-on-line-both-rock- https://internationalministries.org/read/62858-f2f-or-on-line-both-rock- July Update from the Reeds <h3><u><b>Going Deeper</b></u></h3><p>June 21-30 we participated in our second residency for Spiritual Guidance with Shalem Institute.&nbsp; Twenty-five of us gathered at Bon Secours, a Retreat center in Maryland just outside Washington, D.C.&nbsp; Our seminars focused on topics such as Direction &amp; Discernment in Prayer, Sin and Reconciliation, Corporate Worship &amp; Spiritual Guidance, Sacred Threshold &amp; Sacred Space, Social Justice &amp; Spiritual Guidance, and Death &amp; Life and Spiritual Guidance.&nbsp; Each day began with prayer at 7:45am and usually went to 9pm at night.&nbsp; Long days with few breaks, but the content and the fellowship were so rich!&nbsp; Between now and the end of the year we will be completing our required readings, working on our final paper, continuing to participate in peer groups with other local Spiritual Directors, and practicing Spiritual Companionship with our own directees.&nbsp; Learning how to listen to the internal rhythms of the Spirit are leading us deeper into the heart of God.&nbsp; And already God is giving us opportunities to use these emerging gifts in very practical ways.<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Rhythms of the Spirit</b></u></h3><p>Rhythms is an American Baptist retreat that provides a unique opportunity to explore and practice the contemplative life together.&nbsp; Coordinated by Brad Berglund, Director of Spiritual Formation for the ABCUSA, it brings together men and women from across the country to sit with questions such as these: Do you struggle for balance between prayer and activity? Do you long for more silence and solitude in your life and ministry?&nbsp; Brad invites 3-4 American Baptist Spiritual Directors to provide leadership during these 4 day retreats.&nbsp; We were part of the Rhythms retreat offered at Green Lake, July 9-13, 2016.&nbsp; What an honor and privilege to lead workshops, listen to people’s hearts through Spiritual Companionship, and to discern God’s Spirit as we joined together with the participants. The retreats are offered twice a year, usually one on the East Coast &amp; one on the West, so we encourage you to attend one! (You can read more about the Rhythms retreats at http://rhythmsofthespirit.com/)<br><br></p><h3><b>On-line Masters of Divinity Program in Spanish</b></h3><p>We continue to prepare for the online class that launches at the end of August.&nbsp; David will fly to Mexico City August 22-26 for the residency with the first group of students.&nbsp; The director of the program, Dr. Mayra Picos-Lee, was recently interviewed about this new program for the magazine The Baptist Peacemaker.&nbsp; Our participation in this class has delayed our return to Mexico by several months.&nbsp; The reason being that our class, Spiritual Formation, is the first class to be taught in this program.&nbsp; We are expecting “bugs” with technology and curriculum as both teachers and students learn the on-line format.&nbsp; Mayra has asked that we remain stateside so that we can resolve these issues in person as they unfold.&nbsp; We will keep you posted on our new timeline.<br><u><b><br></b></u></p><h3><u><b>Joyce’s Medical Update</b></u></h3><p>Joyce had a second colonoscopy on July 6.&nbsp; We are thrilled to report that the second deeper biopsy did not reveal any cancer!&nbsp; However, she is still presenting symptoms of Crohn’s Disease.&nbsp; She is waiting now to talk with her doctor about future treatments.&nbsp; One involves taking a strong medication that basically suppresses her immune system, but may alleviate her symptoms.&nbsp; The other is surgery to remove that section of her colon.&nbsp; We don’t know if there are other options to explore yet.&nbsp; Thank you for your prayers, and we invite continued prayer for discernment &amp; also for complete healing.&nbsp; Knowing that you are holding both of us with your faithful communal witness gives us both the courage to face whatever comes next.&nbsp; And we are also grateful that God has delayed our return to Mexico so that Joyce has time to respond to this health crisis.&nbsp; Romans 8:28 reminds us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Come Alive</b></u></h3><p>We would like to close with this quote from Baptist Theologian and Civil Rights Leader Howard Thurman:&nbsp; “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”<br><br>Our prayer for each one of you is that your heart awakens to the unique calling God has placed within you.&nbsp; And if you need someone to explore how to go deeper with God, then email us and we can have further conversations!<br><br>Walk by faith, not by sight,<br><br>David and Joyce<br><br></p> Sun, 17 Jul 2016 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/62605-july-update-from-the-reeds https://internationalministries.org/read/62605-july-update-from-the-reeds God's Kitchen <h3><u><b>The Theological School Began in 2003</b></u><br></h3><p>In 2003 the First Baptist Church of Fairbury, IL sent the seed money to begin the Theological School of La Paz project.&nbsp; At that moment in time we were praying about how God wanted us to serve our partners in their desire for a theological education program.&nbsp; A Mexican family had just offered to donate land for educational purposes.&nbsp; When Fairbury contacted us with a desire to support this work at the same time, we sensed God’s leading as these resources converged.&nbsp; That same year a group came down from Fairbury to start the project.&nbsp; They dug and poured the initial foundation, and started laying block. Over the next ten years, mission teams from different churches came and built classrooms, a bathroom, and a storage area.<br></p><h3><u><b>The Kitchen Project began in 2014</b></u><br></h3><p>The kitchen project began in 2014 by a combined group from Parkesburg Baptist Church, PA and Roxboro Presbyterian, PA.&nbsp; They dug the footings and poured the foundations.&nbsp; The Mexican Baptist churches of La Paz got the walls up.&nbsp; Soon after a group of six women from Calvary Baptist Church in Newark, DE, broke gender barriers by tying rebar and getting the roof ready to pour.&nbsp; Then, thirteen years after starting the Theological School project, FBC of Fairbury returned in February 2016 for a third time.&nbsp; This trip was to wrap up the kitchen project!<br></p><h3><u><b>Fairbury's Dedicated Activity</b></u><br></h3><p>In a non-stop week of dedicated activity, the Fairbury team wired, plumbed, tiled, built shelving, painted, installed lighting and electrical fixtures, &amp; poured a counter top and a floor.&nbsp; They laughed, prayed, and ate together with our Mexican Partners. They provided a refrigerator, gas tank for the stove, wrought iron bars over the windows, purchased windows that were installed, and left enough to replace a large outside door that will seal the interior area.&nbsp; They left tired &amp; rejoicing! The new kitchen would be a ready blessing for the 10 students and approximately 800 Mexican Baptists in the 13 churches of the Southern Baja Mexican Baptist Convention.&nbsp; <br></p><h3><u><b>From Start to Finish</b></u><br></h3><p>It was a significant moment for me (David) as I stood in the middle of it all aware that FBC Fairbury was the first group to begin work on the Theological School, and--for awhile--they may be the last as most of the first floor plan is completed.&nbsp; They poured the first foundation and literally finished with a kitchen floor.&nbsp; It felt like completeness, faithfulness, and providence. God supplied what was necessary to finish what God had started.&nbsp; It modeled community working and being together.&nbsp; A space created for wholeness to satisfy hungry bodies in a place designed to feed hungry minds and hearts with God’s word.&nbsp; <br><br>As a missionary, I was humbled and proud of my partnerships with the Mexican Baptists, the members of First Baptist Fairbury, and all the other mission teams who invested in the Theological School of La Paz project.&nbsp; Thank you to everyone who made this school a reality!<br><br></p> Mon, 04 Apr 2016 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/61704-god-s-kitchen https://internationalministries.org/read/61704-god-s-kitchen A Vision for Theological Education in Ibero America & the Caribbean <h3><u><b>A Vision is Cast</b></u><br></h3><p>At the World Mission Conference in the summer of 2014 International Ministries celebrated 200 years of mission.&nbsp; Because of that celebration a large number of representatives of International Ministries’ Partners from all over the world were invited. &nbsp;Because International Ministries has invested extensively in Theological Education there were a number of directors from theological schools in Ibero-America and the Caribbean at Green Lake.&nbsp; Most of them had never met so Area Director Jose Norat invited them to a gathering where he presented this proposal:&nbsp; a theological education summit where they would gather to talk about theological education in their Latino&nbsp; context, share struggles and concerns, and talk about the future. &nbsp;It would take the next 18 months to pull together and be fulfilled by Jose’s successor Adalia Gutierrez Lee.&nbsp; But it happened!<br><br></p><h3><u><b>First Time Ever</b></u></h3><p>For the first time ever the directors of theological schools from 10 different countries in Latin America and the Caribbean met February 25-28 in Managua, Nicaragua.&nbsp; The room was lined with 27 men and women from Chile, Bolivia, Columbia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Cuba, Mexico (3 schools), Puerto Rico, and International Missionaries.&nbsp; Over the two days of gathering we focused on 4 themes: Context, Accreditation, Curriculum, and Finances.<br><br></p><h3><u>What Emerged</u></h3><p>There is far too much to include everything, but here are a few things that emerged:<br><ul><li>An overall massive decline in students seeking to attend theological schools (crisis)<br></li><li>An overall financial crisis to keep the schools training pastors, teachers and leaders (crisis).<br></li><li>An overall need to respond to the prevalence of peace and justice issues (crisis)<br></li><li>A need to rethink theological education and be creative&nbsp;<br></li><li>The need to share resources and network<br></li><li>An opening toward ecumenicism and gender equality&nbsp;<br></li><li>A need to develop spirituality and wholeness in the seminary experience<br></li></ul>I asked one pastor how the conference was for him and he said, “I thought I was alone with all of the things we are facing in Chile.&nbsp; Now I know I am not alone.&nbsp; We all share the same challenges and hardships.&nbsp; This is very helpful for me.”<br><u><b><br></b></u></p><h3><u><b>Lectio Divina</b></u></h3><p>I was invited to offer a morning devotion on the second day. &nbsp;We had spent 13 hours together the previous day and unless you went to the bathroom you were constantly listening to someone talk.&nbsp; That’s not a bad thing, but I was aware of the opportunity (need?) to introduce some silence and another kind of listening.&nbsp; I felt led to guide the group in the discipline of Lectio Divina or “sacred word.” &nbsp;Lectio Divina is a powerful experience of reading a Scripture passage three different times with a space for silence and a question after each reading.&nbsp; It often reaches deep and evokes a new awareness.&nbsp; I asked the group if any had ever practiced this spiritual discipline.&nbsp; Only a few raised their hands and most of them were IM missionaries.&nbsp; Afterward I heard from several people about their dynamic experiences in their groups of three. &nbsp;Later that day the worship team invited me to lead Lectio again in place of a sermon for the Sunday worship.<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Spirituality as Mission </b></u></h3><p>As I introduced myself to this group on day one I shared that I’m the missionary with the mission of offering Spiritual Formation courses to theological schools, and Renewal for pastors and leaders.&nbsp; Little did I know that God had planned for it to be a small part of this gathering of theological leaders as well.&nbsp; Little did I expect to hear so many of these leaders saying that they need to mature leaders of deeper spiritual awareness, and help them grow towards wholeness.&nbsp; I don’t know if they knew how that was going to happen but God did!&nbsp; During this short conference God opened the door and put deeper spirituality as mission on the table in Latin America…only God can do this stuff!<br></p> Sat, 12 Mar 2016 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/61509-a-vision-for-theological-education-in-ibero-america-the-caribbean https://internationalministries.org/read/61509-a-vision-for-theological-education-in-ibero-america-the-caribbean BIN XI (CHI) JA WOTAN <h3><u><b>Visiting Chiapas, Mexico</b></u></h3>This January 9-18 I joined a trip to Chiapas, Mexico.&nbsp; The trip was a collaborative effort with IM Missionaries Keith and Debbie Meyers and the ABC of the Rocky Mountains.&nbsp; Our purpose was to visit and encourage the indigenous pastors and leaders in rural churches.&nbsp;&nbsp; We focused on the southern part of the state and the churches that were part of CICEM, a training program for the indigenous pastors.&nbsp; In eight days we visited 10 rural churches encompassing three language groups, and we also visited students at the seminary in San Cristobal. The treacherous mountain roads nearly tore the back bumper off Keith’s van!&nbsp; I was there to listen for how God’s Spirit might desire to intertwine our lives in Christ.&nbsp; <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br><h3><u><b>What Does Your Heart Say?</b></u></h3>At the seminary I sat down with a few of the students.&nbsp; Two of them spoke about the spirituality of their indigenous people.&nbsp; They shared that their essential concept of faith is “believing with the heart and being led by it.”&nbsp; They said that in the morning when their people greet each other they ask, “Bin xi (chi) ja wotan…what does your heart say?”&nbsp; <br><br><h3><u><b>Living from the Heart</b></u></h3>As I listened, I began to understand that these are a people oriented to living from the heart.&nbsp; Each day begins anew with listening to the deep stirrings of what your heart wants to say.&nbsp; A spiritual listening that welcomes what God desires to say to your heart, and through your heart.&nbsp; “What does your heart say?” invites integration and grounding in the heart – the place where listening and knowing, believing and living all come together.&nbsp; It’s where God and your true self know each other.&nbsp; It is where these people find connection with God, each other, and the land.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br><br><h3><u><b>Becoming Heart-Centered</b></u></h3>The question stuck with me as the trip continued, and is still lingering.&nbsp; It is not an isolated idea of the indigenous people in Chiapas, Mexico. This heart question touches deep roots in our Christian heritage. Within the Biblical and Hebrew tradition the heart is the most important organ in the body.&nbsp; It is the center of being, believing, thinking, and living. I have begun to understand why the Spirit wanted this question to brood in me for so long.&nbsp; It is the question of our new role as regional missionaries.&nbsp; It is a question that touches a deep but rising longing in churches and individuals we have listened to all across the country, and now, in other countries.&nbsp; A question that nudges us to become aware of what we have lost, and the world is losing, through technology, constant motion, and rationalism.&nbsp; It is a question that invites us to become a heart centered, God-listening people again.&nbsp; Jesus said all of the law and the prophets hang on loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and loving neighbor. (Mark 12)<br><u><b><br></b></u><h3><u><b>Are You Listening?</b></u></h3>Isn’t it so like God to take me bouncing through the stunning hills of Chiapas to a quiet indigenous people to hear? God said, "David, are you listening?&nbsp; This is what I want your heart to say.&nbsp; This is my longing: I want my people to listen with and speak from their hearts again.&nbsp; I long for them to become grounded and integrated in their hearts with me."<br><br>Are you listening?&nbsp;&nbsp; “What does your heart long to say?”&nbsp; <br><br> Sun, 31 Jan 2016 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/61134-bin-xi-chi-ja-wotan https://internationalministries.org/read/61134-bin-xi-chi-ja-wotan The Give-Away Challenge <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> 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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:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";} </style> <![endif]--> <p class="MsoNormal">It was the second Sunday of Advent, and I was sitting in church enjoying a Celtic version of “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>My body was enraptured by the tenor as he paced the haunting melody to perfection, his voice harmonizing brilliantly with the soprano beside him.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>My eyes were cast down allowing the music to sweep over me.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>And then, in one of those annoying, totally inappropriate moments, my ego whispered, “Hey, have you noticed that your entire outfit came from three different thrift stores?”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Does this ever happen to you—in church?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>A sacred moment derailed as your mind is distracted by several different, totally unrelated thoughts?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">And it worked!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But in a way I didn’t anticipate.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Part of me continued to listen to the music, while another part of me acknowledged that my slacks, my shirt, and my sweater were all possible because someone else had decided to give them away.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Even my jewelry had been gifts.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Strangers had given things away so I could be clothed.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>People I love had gifted me with pieces of jewelry so that I could receive joy and beauty.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>A rose leaving traces of its scent.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The song and the giving of gifts began to merge into this creative reflection.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal">Lo, how a rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!</b></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">During the Christmas season we give away toys, food baskets, cookies, gifts . . . do we ever stop and consider what this give-away truly signifies?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Is it out of obligation?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I receive a gift so I must give one in return.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Is it out of respect?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I honor this person because of what he/she shares with me.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Is it because I’m caught up in tradition?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I’ve always given gifts at Christmas, and I can’t imagine doing it differently.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Is it out of guilt? I’ve wronged someone and this is a way to make me feel better, to soothe ruffled feathers.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Is it out of love?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I give from my heart with no strings attached. Does the significance of the gift change if it’s given by a stranger as opposed to someone I know?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">My thrift store ensemble was possible because others chose to let go of something old, so that it could become something new for me.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I was thankful to be clothed by their generosity.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I was thankful for whatever prompted them to clean out their closets!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I was thankful to have more than one outfit when so many do not.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I was thankful to be warm and covered.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal">It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter.</b></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">In Native tradition, when a person is called to a place of honor, they do not receive gifts.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>They give gifts.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This expectation is the reverse of what is common in European-based cultures.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>To receive gifts would be a focus on the individual, on the “I” instead of the “we.”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Native people give back to the community on their honoring day to keep the focus on kinship, on the eternal “we” of community.<a style="mso-endnote-id: edn1" href="#_edn1" name="_ednref1" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span style="mso-special-character:footnote"><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size: 11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">[i]</span></span></span></span></a><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Our son Aaron graduated from college on December 10.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>If we had been Native American, then it means we as his parents and, Aaron himself, would have presented a gift to all those who came to celebrate with us.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>(Blankets, baskets and beadwork are given in the Native tradition.)<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">I found this to be a brilliant, life-giving idea!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I began to ponder it in regards to Christmas.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I often think, “I really don’t need anything else in terms of worldly possessions.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>What if this was less about me receiving things, and more about giving to those who had legitimate need?”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Or, just giving for the sake of blessing others with joy!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>To me this is more than donating to provide a basket to a hungry family for a holiday meal.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Instead, how do I help sustain life all year round?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Am I committed to my community 24/7, or just when it’s convenient and anticipated?</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal">To show God’s love aright, she bore to us a Savior, when half spent was the night.</b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal">&nbsp;</b></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Anticipating the birth of Jesus is all about God’s great give-away.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>God gave his son to humanity, to live with us on earth.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Why?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>God loves us!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Desires us.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Wants to walk, to laugh, to suffer, to eat, to sleep, to learn, to seek justice, to be angry, to heal, to see beauty, to experience friendship—with us, humanity, here on earth.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>God’s love wasn’t for just one person, but for the entire community.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">But it’s hard to hold on to this message of God’s love when we let fear overtake us.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>And there is so much fear, suspicion, anxiety, and grief in our world these days.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Instead of giving love away, as God modeled to us and for us, we cling tighter to what we already have, afraid someone might snatch it from us when we’re not looking.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>And in this place of dis-ease, we regard others with mistrust, even hate, and say, “I’m sorry, there’s no room at the inn.”</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal">How Christ the Lord of glory was born on earth this night.</b></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Advent revolves around the words hope, peace, joy, and love with Christ at the center.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Colossians 1:17 says this about Jesus, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>If the light of Christ is at the center of our lives, holds us together no matter what, then what are we able to give away?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>When we step through fear (False Evidence Appearing Real), then our anxiety and misgivings have trouble finding a foothold. Galatians 5:22-23 talks about the fruit of the Spirit.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>If we belong to Jesus, then this fruit should be growing, maturing in our lives.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>And what happens to mature fruit?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It is picked and shared within the community to sustain life and health!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>During these last days before Christmas, what if you gave away a fruit of the Spirit?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>How would it change you?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>How would it change those around you?</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><u>The Give Away Challenge</u>:</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>December 20:<span style="mso-tab-count:1"> </span>Love, Joy</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>December 21:<span style="mso-tab-count:1"> </span>Peace, Patience</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>December 22:<span style="mso-tab-count:1"> </span>Kindness, Goodness</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>December 23:<span style="mso-tab-count:1"> </span>Faithfulness, Gentleness</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>December 24:<span style="mso-tab-count:1"> </span>Self-Control</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Forgive as the Lord forgave you.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>(Colossians 3:12-14)</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal">This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air, Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere.<a style="mso-endnote-id:edn2" href="#_edn2" name="_ednref2" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span style="mso-special-character:footnote"><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri;mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language: EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">[ii]</span></b></span></span></span></a></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <div style="mso-element:endnote-list"><br clear="all"> <hr align="left" size="1" width="33%"> <div style="mso-element:endnote" id="edn1"> <p class="MsoEndnoteText"><a style="mso-endnote-id:edn1" href="#_ednref1" name="_edn1" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span style="mso-special-character: footnote"><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri;mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language: AR-SA">[i]</span></span></span></span></a> The Four Vision Quests of Jesus by Steven Charleston, Morehouse Publishing, 2015, page 88.</p> </div> <div style="mso-element:endnote" id="edn2"> <p class="MsoEndnoteText"><a style="mso-endnote-id:edn2" href="#_ednref2" name="_edn2" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span style="mso-special-character: footnote"><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri;mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language: AR-SA">[ii]</span></span></span></span></a> Lyrics from “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” as read on www.oldielyrics.com</p> </div> </div> </p> Sat, 19 Dec 2015 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/60744-the-give-away-challenge https://internationalministries.org/read/60744-the-give-away-challenge Transformational Stretching <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> <o:TargetScreenSize>1024x768</o:TargetScreenSize> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--></p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> 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Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> <h3 class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u>The Stretching of Ann &amp; Adoniram Judson</u></b></h3> <p class="MsoNormal">October 9-12, 2015 we met sixteen individuals at the “Hear the Call” Retreat who were exploring a call to become missionaries with International Ministries.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>After the keynote speaker each evening, we led reflection &amp; discernment pieces for the participants.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>On Sunday evening, Executive Director Reid Trulson shared about Ann and Adoniram Judson, the first foreign Baptist missionaries called to Burma (now Myanmar) in 1812, two weeks after they were married.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The Judsons were sent to evangelize the Burmese people.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>However, first they had to learn the language. They studied with a tutor 12 hours a day! Then, they discovered that many people didn’t know how to read, so they asked for permission to start a school.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Then, they realized that they needed the Bible translated into Burmese.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>So they asked the mission board to send a printing press and someone qualified to run it!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Then, they saw all the medical needs, and requested that a doctor be sent, too. The mission board replied, “We’ve never appointed a doctor as a missionary!”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>But they found someone and sent him. The Judsons waited 7 years for someone to become a follower of Jesus.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Their original evangelistic call to start a church with new believers happened by 1822--10 years after being commissioned.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Ann and Adoniram let their initial call be stretched and transformed!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>For Ann, she served over 13 years before she died of small pox.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>For Adoniram,<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>he saw thirty-seven years of service until his death.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Reid Trulson said, “The frontiers of faith were not advanced by people of caution.”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u>The Stretching of David and Joyce Reed</u></b></h3> <p class="MsoNormal">When we started as missionaries fifteen years ago, we were called to theological education and new church development.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>During those 15 years we preached, taught Bible Studies, led prayer meetings, counseled hundreds of individuals, mentored pastors, taught theological classes, started congregations, built churches, built a theological school, hosted mission teams . . . not by ourselves, but with our beloved Mexican Baptist brothers and sisters of Southern Baja!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>What we didn’t know then, but do know now, is that God was stretching us, transforming us, and preparing us for a new ministry that is unfolding now. Most of you know that we are now Regional Missionaries in the area of Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Renewal and Vocational Calling for Ibero-America and the Caribbean.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Like the Judsons, our original call has expanded into something we could not have even imagined 15 years ago!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>At present, we continue our studies in Spiritual Renewal, while also planning trips to Mexico in January and February, and to Cuba in March.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We are anticipating meeting leaders in Chiapas, La Paz, and Santiago where we will hear their stories of stretching and transformation!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u>Stretching Hearts Towards Missions</u></b></h3> <p class="MsoNormal">Many of you have asked how we are doing with our financial support.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>So we wanted to give you an honest and direct answer.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>First, we want to thank you for your faithful support and love!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Many of you have been generously contributing to our ministry in Mexico since we were commissioned in 1999.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>While we have been on U.S. assignment, we have been trying to visit with many of you to strengthen our ties, and also to share the vision of our new ministry focus.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We’ve also been forming connections with new individuals and congregations.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Right now our monthly support is at 88% which means we have a monthly deficit of $1167.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>For those of you already giving sacrificially, thank you!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>What comes next is not about you giving more, but we do need your help.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We are seeking new donors to support us. If 12 people pledged $100 a month, or 24 people pledged $50 a month, we would reach 100%.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Ideas?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Invite your friends to get involved with a missionary’s life for the next year.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Challenge a Sunday School class to adopt us for a year.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Host a dinner and talk about our ministry, inviting<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>people to support us for one year.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Or, maybe you know a church that isn’t presently supporting a missionary.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Friends have told us, “If you don’t share your financial need<span style="color:#C00000"> </span>with us<span style="color:#C00000"></span>, then we don’t know how to respond.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>There are many generous people looking for legitimate places to donate their money.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Let us know so we can share your story!”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>So, share our story and pray with us.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>And let’s see what God does next!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u>How is God Stretching You?</u></b></h3> <p class="MsoNormal">Stretching a call is not just an exercise for missionaries.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>All of us who claim to be servants of Jesus Christ are challenged to not let our faith remain the same.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The process of transformation occurs as we have open minds and open hearts.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It is a daily choice of letting go of self, and holding on to more of Jesus.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>May the words of 2 Corinthians 3:18b bring you hope and courage:</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="text">“Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.” (The Message)</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> </p> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 10:32:01 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/60313-transformational-stretching https://internationalministries.org/read/60313-transformational-stretching Spiritual Renewal Is the New Ministry Focus for IM Missionaries Joyce and David Reed <p class="MsoNormal">Joyce and David Reed, American Baptist International Ministries (IM) missionaries, are striking out in a new direction as regional missionaries to Iberoamerica and the Caribbean.</p><p class="MsoNormal">For the past 15 years, the Reeds have been serving in Baja California Sur, Mexico, where they worked with the local Mexican Baptist Convention to start new churches, build a theological school and develop its program, and host mission teams. As of August 1, 2015, they are now embarking on a related but new ministry of spiritual renewal, spiritual formation and vocational calling.</p><p class="MsoNormal">In July 2016, the Reeds will return to Mexico to serve in their new role as regional IM missionaries working alongside local Baptist partners throughout Iberoamerica and the Caribbean. Their deepest desire is to draw pastors and lay people into a closer relationship with God through spiritual disciplines such as stillness, listening, prayer, creative worship and spiritual companionship.</p><p class="MsoNormal">"Dietrich Bonhoeffer says that people who are no longer listening to each other will soon no longer be listening to God," shares Joyce. "Therefore, part of our new work will be cultivating an environment of intentional listening."</p><p class="MsoNormal">Joyce and David will offer retreats at which pastors and leaders can find rest, renewal and resources for self-care. They will develop curricula for spiritual formation courses to be taught in theological schools and will mentor young people who sense a call to ministry. This regional ministry is rooted in the concern that Christians around the world have become a very busy people who have lost sight of the movement of the Spirit.</p><p class="MsoNormal">The Reeds are excited to discover how their new role can renew and encourage local congregations in the United States, as well as in Latin America. Last fall, they were invited to offer a workshop on Spiritual Renewal as part of one church’s Monthly Leadership Training initiative. David has also been invited to lead a regional retreat for pastors on the theme of rest and renewal. Joyce led a women’s retreat that focused on the theme of “Standing on the Threshold” and what it means to step into a deeper relationship with God.</p><p class="MsoNormal">“People in our local churches are hungry for more of God,” says David. “Our desire is to be available not only to our international partners, but also to our American Baptist churches.”</p><p class="MsoNormal">For 10 days in July, David and Joyce attended their first residency as part of the Spiritual Guidance program with the <a href="http://www.shalem.org/">Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation</a> based in Washington, D.C. Shalem's Spiritual Guidance Program draws on the rich resources of the Christian contemplative tradition to enhance and deepen the spiritual lives of those called to this ministry.</p><p class="MsoNormal">In a surprising development, the Reeds were extended an invitation to teach Spiritual Formation as part of an online Master’s-level program for students in Latin America through Palmer Theological Seminary. When a good Internet connection is not available, the Reeds will be available to travel to Cuba to facilitate Spiritual Discernment with IM partners in Cuba.</p><p class="MsoNormal">In addition, Joyce and David will travel in January 2016 with representatives of the ABC Rocky Mountain region to explore how to deepen their relationship with indigenous churches in Chiapas, Mexico, and how to encourage these pastors and leaders to deepen their relationships with God.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Please join IM in celebrating and praying for this new focus of ministry for Joyce and David as they complete their schooling and prepare to return to the field.</p><p class="MsoNormal">The Reeds are inspired by this Scripture from Isaiah 30:15: “In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength.”</p><p class="MsoNormal">Words of encouragement for Joyce and David may be sent to <a href="mailto:david.reed@internationalministries.org">david.reed@internationalministries.org</a> or <a href="mailgo:joyce.reed@internationalministries.org">joyce.reed@internationalministries.org</a>.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Learn more about their ministry and see photos and videos on their <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/91-reed-david-and-joyce">profile page</a> on the IM website.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Download a <a href="http://internationalministries.org/uploads/document/asset/53563/David_JoyceReed.pdf">bulletin insert</a> with David and Joyce Reed's ministry information, prayer requests and more.</p><p class="MsoNormal">IM welcomes comments on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/InternationalMinistries">Facebook</a>.</p><p class="MsoNormal"> </p><p class="MsoNormal">For more information, contact Catherine Nold: <a href="mailto:catherine.nold@internationalministries.org">catherine.nold@internationalministries.org</a>.<o:p></o:p></p><p> </p> Tue, 20 Oct 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/60171-spiritual-renewal-is-the-new-ministry-focus-for-im-missionaries-joyce-and-david-reed https://internationalministries.org/read/60171-spiritual-renewal-is-the-new-ministry-focus-for-im-missionaries-joyce-and-david-reed October Update from the Reeds <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> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:SplitPgBreakAndParaMark/> <w:DontVertAlignCellWithSp/> 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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-qformat:yes; 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:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">October 2, 2015</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">Dear Friends and Family,</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">On this rainy afternoon in Philadelphia, we wanted to send you an update about what’s been happening with us over the last month!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">Regional Missionary Role Begins</span></u></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">On August 1 we officially began our fourth term of ministry with International Ministries.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>And we stepped into our new role as Regional Missionaries to Iberoamerica and the Caribbean!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Our ministry focus is Spiritual Renewal, Spiritual Formation, and Vocational Calling.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">ABCNJ Regional Meetings</span></u></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">Mid-September we were invited to participate in the American Baptist New Jersey Regional meetings.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>On Friday, September 18, we participated in the Pastor’s Academy.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Four seminary presidents addressed theological education from a variety of viewpoints. Then a missionary panel that included us and the Borquists (Regional Missionaries to Asia), and a pastor’s panel responded.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It was a lively dialogue!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>The next day, Saturday, over 600 people gathered at the Hyatt in New Brunswick, NJ to celebrate the theme “Testify!”<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We had an amazing response to our presentation, and are thankful for how God is partnering us with American Baptists in NJ.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">Here’s a You Tube video link of what we shared:<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEl0nzKGV4I">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEl0nzKGV4I</a></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">Church Visits</span></u></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">We are still catching up with visits to supporting churches that we couldn’t squeeze in last fall and this past spring.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Most recently we visited Mountview Christian Church in Columbus, OH.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>You might recall that this was the church that sent 45 people on a mission trip to La Paz last June!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We had a great time reconnecting with them and sharing the new vision God is calling us towards.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>And we also connected with Crossway Community Church in Harrison, OH.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Pastor Mark Larimer and his wife Susan have also led mission teams numerous times to La Paz, as well as having spent one year as volunteer missionaries with us way back in 2004.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It is so awesome to be connected through the family of God!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">IM Debriefing</span></u></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">When missionaries come home for their year of U.S. assignment, they are required sometime during that year to have a two day debriefing with home office staff.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We had our debriefing September 21 &amp; 22.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This gave us the opportunity to debrief the last four years in Mexico, and to express any concerns.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We also shared how our new calling as Regional Missionaries is beginning to unfold.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>IM staff were extremely excited and supportive of not only what we’re going to do overseas, but also how our new skills may assist with Member Care among IM personnel.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">Continuing Education</span></u></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">We each just completed our latest paper on Discernment.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>What did we learn?<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Discernment is different than decision making.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Discernment is a following, a seeking, an invitation to listen and follow God’s heart.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It undergirds your decisions.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It is a process that involves waiting.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>One needs to create space for silence—to quiet the distractions and disruptions that constantly surround us—so that the Spirit has room to move.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>That’s just a snippet!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We also took a one-day silent retreat which is a requirement as part of our program.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>(We have 3 of these over the course of<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>a year.) We found a beautiful Quaker retreat center less than an hour from our house called Pendle Hill.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Thankful for how God is growing our hearts and minds for our new ministry role.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><u><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">Family</span></u></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">Ian flew out from CA and was able to spend Labor Day weekend with us.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It was great to reconnect with his life.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Aaron is in his last semester at Eastern.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>He’s running cross-country.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>In fact, he has a meet this afternoon in this yucky, cold rain.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>As for us, we hope to actually go on date tomorrow!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We were going to visit a Renaissance Faire, but Hurricane Joaquin and the present weather system is derailing that idea.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>So Plan B is the Philadelphia Art Museum.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Looking forward to a taste of culture!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">Thank you for your prayers, love, and support!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; <br></span></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">David &amp; Joyce<br></span></span></p> <p></p> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/60041-october-update-from-the-reeds https://internationalministries.org/read/60041-october-update-from-the-reeds Breathing Water <p><br></p><h3><u><b>Rhythms of the Spirit</b></u></h3><p>The first week of August David and I had the opportunity to attend the Rhythms of the Spirit retreat (www.RhythmsoftheSpirit.com)&nbsp; at Camp Canonicus, RI.&nbsp; This contemplative retreat is an American Baptist initiative to encourage pastors and lay leaders to explore how to deepen their journey with God.&nbsp; Since this is the focus of our new role as Regional Missionaries with International Ministries, we decided to attend.&nbsp; It would give us a glimpse of what is happening in our denomination, and expose us to a model that we could perhaps replicate in Latin America.<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Unexpected Friends from Cuba</b></u></h3><p>You will recall that six weeks prior to this, we were on a mission trip in Cuba.&nbsp; When I came home from this trip, I discovered a week later that some intestinal friends came home with me!&nbsp; One round of medication took care of one set of symptoms, but I was still plagued by stomach pains.&nbsp; Another round of tests revealed a bacteria that usually comes from drinking infected water.&nbsp; So, I began taking another medication, and headed off to the Rhythms retreat anticipating that my symptoms would soon alleviate.<br><br>Only they didn’t.&nbsp; In fact, four days into the medication, I felt worse.&nbsp; My stomach was constantly churning.&nbsp; I developed a gag reflex.&nbsp; And sometimes I felt like I couldn’t breathe.&nbsp; I had people praying for me, there were moments of relief, but I didn’t seem to be improving.<br><br></p><h3><u>Letting God Speak Through Scripture</u></h3><p>Each day of the retreat we spent an hour focusing on a passage of Scripture.&nbsp; We would read the passage, paying attention to where God seemed to be speaking to us through the story, and then reflect on how we were to apply that truth to our individual lives.&nbsp; This particular day the scripture was John 4:7-15, The Woman at the Well.&nbsp; It’s a text I know very well.&nbsp; I’ve preached it numerous times.&nbsp; I’ve led retreats on this theme.&nbsp; I’ve studied the meaning of many of the Greek words and phrases.&nbsp; I know much of the cultural context of the setting.&nbsp; And I really wondered if there was anything new that was going to speak to me from this text.&nbsp; Let me share with you what happened . . .<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Encountering Jesus at the Well</b></u></h3><p>At this point, I am no longer sitting in a chair like everyone else in the room.&nbsp; I’m sitting on the floor, against a wall, trying to ignore my stomach, and attempting to breathe.&nbsp; I listen to someone else read the story out loud.&nbsp; Then I glance at my handout and read it to myself.&nbsp; I lay my head against the wall and imagine that I’m the woman at the well.&nbsp; And instead of hearing Jesus say, “Give me a drink,” I hear him say, “Tell me your story.”<br><br><i>Lord, I’m here at the well alone.&nbsp; I’m thirsty.&nbsp; I’m seeking.&nbsp; I don’t feel like I have anything to offer you.&nbsp; I need healing.&nbsp; Physical healing.&nbsp; I want to believe I’m getting better, but I can’t see it.&nbsp; I’m worn out.&nbsp; Sometimes, I can’t even breathe.<br><br>It’s not a question of knowing you are there.&nbsp; You’re right beside me.&nbsp; I thought I was asking for the right things.&nbsp; Praying for the right things.&nbsp; I went where you called me to go.&nbsp; I went to Cuba.&nbsp; I’m trying to serve you to the best of my ability.&nbsp; And now, I’m sick.&nbsp; What’s that about?&nbsp; I’m so frustrated I want to scream! I don’t know what to hold on to, Jesus.<br></i><br></p><h3><u><b>Moving Into Silence</b></u></h3><p>The facilitator of this exercise invites us into a time of silence.&nbsp; To quiet our thoughts.&nbsp; To listen to what God may be revealing to us.<br><br>Silence.<br><br>I sit there, eyes closed, trying to breathe.&nbsp; I don’t feel anything.&nbsp; Hear anything.&nbsp; See anything.<br><br>The silence is broken when we are invited to share out loud what God spoke into our silence.&nbsp; Others in the room begin to share their insights on this passage.&nbsp; To be honest, I’m not really listening.&nbsp; And the fact that I’m sitting on the floor in a corner of the room doesn’t make it easy to hear their responses either.&nbsp; But then, from the other side of the room, a male voice rings out clearly.<br><br>“This seems like a paradox,” he begins, chuckling a little.&nbsp; “But I hear Jesus saying, ‘Breathe in the water’.”</p><p>Breathe&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; in&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; the&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Water</p><h3><u><b>Living Water</b></u></h3><p>The words hang in the air for a moment.&nbsp; Then they coalesce into an arrow that pierces my gut.&nbsp; I know those words are for me.&nbsp; Okay, they are probably for him, too, but they were also for me!&nbsp; I hear Jesus saying, “Take my cup of living water.&nbsp; Breathe it in.&nbsp; Breathe the water.”<br><br>I feel something shift inside of me.&nbsp; A truth that shimmies its way through a crack in my armor.<br><br>The session ends and we have a 15 minute break.&nbsp; I stand up to see who spoke those words on the other side of the room.&nbsp; It was Pastor Dave DeMott from First Baptist Church of Grand Junction, CO.&nbsp; A pastor we know very well.&nbsp; He serves a church that supports us.&nbsp; I didn’t find it a coincidence that God spoke to me through a person that was already a part of my faith network.&nbsp; That’s the power of community.&nbsp; A word given to you, may also be a word for someone else you know.&nbsp; God’s Spirit weaving our hearts together.<br><u><b><br></b></u></p><h3><u><b>The Unexpected Phone Call</b></u></h3><p>As the next portion of our program is about to begin, I notice that my cell phone is vibrating.&nbsp; I glance at it and see that the Urgent Care Facility in Philadelphia is calling me.&nbsp; This is the clinic where I’d gotten my diagnosis.&nbsp; Why were they calling?&nbsp; I slip out of the room to answer the phone.&nbsp; I speak with a Dr. Kate.&nbsp; “Joyce, I’m just calling to see how you’re doing?”&nbsp; Astonished, I tell her that I’m half way through the medication and that I feel lousy.&nbsp; I tell her my symptoms.&nbsp; She says, “Yes, the medicine you’re on is nasty.&nbsp; It really does a number on the stomach.&nbsp; But finish the prescription and wait a week.&nbsp; You should see a change by then.”&nbsp; I thank her and hang up the phone.&nbsp; Never, in my entire life, have I had a doctor call to check up on me—let alone a doctor from a walk-in urgent care facility.&nbsp; Who does that?!&nbsp; But our five minutes conversation alleviates some of my anxiety, and I begin to trust again that I am indeed getting better.<br><u><b><br></b></u></p><h3><u><b>God Loves Paradox</b></u></h3><p>Breathe the water.<br>I’m learning that God is mysterious and delights in paradox.&nbsp; <br>May I have the eyes to see.&nbsp; The ears to hear.&nbsp; Amen.<br><br>Epilogue:&nbsp; I finished the medication, and now, a week later, am beginning to feel better.<br><br></p> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/59564-breathing-water https://internationalministries.org/read/59564-breathing-water I Give You My Heart: Cuba Journal Entry #7 <h3><u><b>Hearts on Fire</b></u></h3><p>The last night of a mission trip is always full of emotion that lingers close to the surface.&nbsp; An intense week of hard work, cross-cultural immersion, a deepening of relationship, and little sleep is a recipe that starts the heart on simmer and slowly increases to a boil.&nbsp; By the closing worship service with El Jordan Baptist Church, many of our hearts were threatening to catch on fire—the Holy Spirit so dense you almost glimpsed a dancing flame.<br><u><b><br></b></u></p><h3><u><b>Intimate Prayer</b></u></h3><p>What captured many of us that evening was how Pastor Mayra closed the service.&nbsp; She invited everyone to stand in a circle, and then asked each member of her church to partner with a member of our mission team.&nbsp; She said, “This person is going to pray for you.&nbsp; For your life.&nbsp; For your ministry.&nbsp; A blessing for your trip home.”&nbsp; In my life as a missionary, I have experienced many mission teams and many closing worship services with them.&nbsp; Not once had I ever experienced a host church pray in such a one-to-one, personal encounter.&nbsp; Usually it was a prayer for the entire group.&nbsp; Or, perhaps prayer in small groups.&nbsp; But an intimate prayer blessing?&nbsp; My heart began to beat in anticipation.<u><b><br></b></u></p><h3><br></h3><h3><u><b>Exactly What You Need</b></u></h3><p>A young Cuban man came and stood in front of me.&nbsp; He was tall and slender.&nbsp; Very shy.&nbsp; He took my hands and began to pray.&nbsp; Since I speak Spanish, I strained to hear his words.&nbsp; But he spoke so softly and rapidly that I couldn’t quite grasp them.&nbsp; And that’s when God impressed on me, “Don’t worry about it.&nbsp; It’s exactly what you need.”&nbsp; Tears were falling; I was trembling.&nbsp; I couldn’t even name what I needed in that moment.&nbsp; Even now, three weeks later, I barely know.&nbsp; But God was directing this young man’s heart to speak to mine.&nbsp; God’s mysterious love language that binds us together in the name of Christ.<br></p><h3><br></h3><h3><u><b>Paper Hearts<br></b></u></h3><p>After the prayers, Pastor Mayra then said, “We have a gift for you.”&nbsp; When we’d entered worship that evening, I’d noticed that each member of El Jordan had a paper heart tied to a string hanging around his or her neck.&nbsp; Now, they each took their heart and placed it around the neck of their prayer partner.&nbsp; The heart had the name of both churches—El Jordan and Oakwood Baptist—and this Scripture verse:&nbsp; “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” (Psalm 133:1)<br></p><h3><br></h3><h3><u><b>Cuban-American Heartbeat</b></u></h3><p>Robert was the name of the young man who prayed for me.&nbsp; I asked him to sign the back of my heart.&nbsp; His heart, my heart, now rests between the pages of my bi-lingual Bible.&nbsp; In the stillness of the night, I can hear it beating.&nbsp; A Cuban-American metronome setting a new tempo for my faith.<br><br></p> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/59134-i-give-you-my-heart-cuba-journal-entry-7 https://internationalministries.org/read/59134-i-give-you-my-heart-cuba-journal-entry-7 If The Shoe Fits: Cuba Journal Entry #6 <h3><u><b>Old Soles</b></u></h3><p>If you have read the other journal articles about Cuba, then you know by now that an average person earns $20-$25 dollars a month. Obtaining shoes is difficult in Cuba.&nbsp; Last year’s Adidas or Nikes go for around $120 dollars.&nbsp; New Balance or Converse sell for $80--$90.&nbsp; Leather, Italian, or Brazilian shoes go for $50-$130.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Imagine saving ALL your money for four months so you can buy some new shoes…if you can find them.&nbsp; Handmade “economy” shoes sell for $12-$40 dollars.&nbsp; Typically the soles peel off&nbsp; in a few months, and the&nbsp; color washes out in the first rain.<br><br>Repairing shoes has become a widespread cottage industry.&nbsp; It is said that shoes have more lives than a cat!&nbsp; One cobbler said, “I’ve fixed shoes which their owners thought were lost cases.&nbsp; Poor people, which is the majority, try to have their shoes last, at minimum, 8 or more years—when their kids outgrow their shoes. I have yet to figure out a way to make them bigger.” <br><br></p><h3><u><b>A Second Life</b></u></h3><p>Before leaving for Cuba, our youngest son gave me an old pair of running shoes.&nbsp; They fit, and I needed some for the trip.&nbsp; It was their second life.&nbsp; I worked in them all week.&nbsp; Several days we poured concrete.&nbsp; The way I do concrete, there’s no way for me to avoid getting the stuff all over my shoes.&nbsp; It usually trashes them.&nbsp; So on Friday, I was surprised when they washed clean—I mean, no stains or clinging cement clumps!<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Felix</b></u></h3><p>All week I had been working with Felix.&nbsp; He was a young, tall, handsome, “ripped” (well built), soft-spoken Cuban&nbsp; who always seemed to have a smile.&nbsp; He lived close enough to walk to the church, and he oversaw the sidewalk project. On the last day of our trip, after finishing the mixing and pouring of 125 feet of sidewalk, that’s when I washed off the shoes for the second time.&nbsp; I walked over to Felix, and asked his shoe size.&nbsp; He said 8 and ¾.&nbsp; I looked at his feet and gave him a bewildered look. He did not have tiny feet!&nbsp; So, I showed him the tag on the inside of the tongue, and he pointed to the 28.75 and said, “Yes.”<br><u><b><br></b></u></p><h3><u><b>Beautiful Feet</b></u></h3><p>Without thinking twice, I handed him the shoes—now entering their third life.&nbsp; He received them gracefully.&nbsp; I went back to the camp barefoot.&nbsp; Right now I think my feet are pretty cool.&nbsp; Not because I gave my shoes to Felix, but because of what God thinks about that sort of thing.&nbsp; In Isaiah , 52:7 it says, “How beautiful on the mountain are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”&nbsp; <br><br>I never thought that Felix walking in my son’s shoes would make my feet rare jewels in this world, but that’s how God sees it, and this world could use more beautiful feet!&nbsp; So, how do your feet want to walk the mountain and become beautiful?&nbsp; It’s a great question to ask God.<br><br><br></p> Sun, 05 Jul 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/59049-if-the-shoe-fits-cuba-journal-entry-6 https://internationalministries.org/read/59049-if-the-shoe-fits-cuba-journal-entry-6 Four Letter Words, Part 2: Cuba Journal Entry #5 <h3><u><b>El Café (The Coffee)</b></u></h3><p>Cuban coffee is sweet, strong, and—for me—came in a shot glass each morning!&nbsp; Used to a steaming mug of java, I have to admit that tiny little jolts of morning caffeine were a cross-cultural experience.&nbsp; However, experiencing something that is the same, but different, can create a space for new perspective.<br><br>One evening of our mission encounter saw our team divided into four separate groups to share the evening meal in different homes.&nbsp; David and I, joined by Beth and Melissa, were hosted by Raúl and Isabel.&nbsp; We drove in a van for about a half hour to a modest neighborhood with muddy streets.&nbsp; The homes were tiny and constructed from a variety of materials: cement block, corrugated steel, or thatched palm.&nbsp; Raúl greeted us at the door with a huge smile, and he and Isabel visited with us for at least a half hour before serving the meal.&nbsp; There is no dine and dash in Latin America.&nbsp; The conversation is savored as much as the food.<br><br>We sat on their back patio at a small table with four chairs—their only chairs.&nbsp; Isobel sat to the side on a rickety bench and Raúl perched on the steps.&nbsp; Our meal was rice, beans, chicken, with slices of mango and pineapple—the fruit picked off the trees in their yard.&nbsp; Dessert was a Cuban sweet called Mani which is ground peanuts and sugar pressed into a bar.&nbsp; And the meal always ends with coffee!<br><br>David asked Raúl if he would show him how to make Cuban coffee.&nbsp; They use tiny silver expresso makers that sit on the stove.&nbsp; When that is ready, they pour a tiny bit into a cup with sugar and whisk it into a froth.&nbsp; The rest of the coffee is added to the sugar concoction, and then poured into teeny, tiny cups to serve.&nbsp; When your coffee comes as a cafécito (little coffee) you learn not to gulp it.&nbsp; No, it’s sweet, slow, delicious sips.&nbsp; And as you linger, conversation continues to flow around you.&nbsp; Lilting Spanish hospitality that flavors life like coffee!<br><br></p><h3><u><b>La Vida (Life)</b></u></h3><p>A common expression in Cuba is “No es fácil.” (Nothing is easy)&nbsp; After only a week, I quickly grasped the truth of these words.&nbsp; Existing on $25 a month supplemented by a monthly government ration that usually lasts a week, the Cuban people rely on a barter and black market system that insures survival.&nbsp; Pastor Maykel told us, “You might be walking down the street and see a long line of people.&nbsp; You jump in the line to guarantee a place, and then you inquire what’s going on.&nbsp; Usually it means something is being sold.&nbsp; For example, bars of soap.&nbsp; Now, you might not need soap, but if you have the means, you purchase some anyway.&nbsp; Why?&nbsp; Because eventually, someone you know will need it, and you can trade your extra soap for something extra they have that you need, and life is in balance.”&nbsp; <br><br>As we underwent projects of painting, mixing cement, weeding, etc. we realized that only a few people in our group thought to bring work gloves.&nbsp; When I asked Pastor Mayra if there was a store where we could purchase some, she just shook her head no.&nbsp; Her eyes were even more expressive, and sad, that she couldn’t accommodate us.&nbsp; Everything is in limited supply on the island, and there is so much that is not available.&nbsp; Purchasing a basic 6 foot aluminum ladder took most of a day and cost nearly $200.&nbsp; Permits to build something can take years to obtain.&nbsp; And then finding the materials adds another layer of complication.&nbsp; But I heard no grumbling or complaining about this.&nbsp; Cubans just shrug a shoulder and continue on with life.&nbsp; This is their reality.&nbsp; It is only since 2013 that they have been allowed to have personal cell phones, or a personal computer in their home.&nbsp; In this 21st technological gizmo century, that boggles my mind!<br><br>The word that I found best describes my experience of the Cuban people&nbsp; is “resiliency.”&nbsp; They are creative and resourceful—just how they maintain vintage cars from the 50’s is a great example!&nbsp; But it is their spirits that captured my heart.&nbsp; They are vibrant, and colorful.&nbsp; They laugh a lot.&nbsp; They take care of each other.&nbsp; They truly know who their neighbors are and how to love them.&nbsp; They may be poor in material wealth, but they are not poor in spirit.<br><u><b><br></b></u></p><h3><u><b>Hope</b></u></h3><p>One afternoon we visited the U.S. Interests Section of the Swiss Embassy (soon to be restored as the U.S. Embassy), and met with some of the government officials who serve there.&nbsp; One person asked, “What has been the greatest change experienced in Cuba since the historic talks between the United States and Cuba last December?”&nbsp; This was the answer:&nbsp; “The people have hope.”&nbsp; <br><br>Hope for what?&nbsp; Hope that travel between Cuba and the United States won’t prove to be so difficult.&nbsp; Hope that if Cuba becomes more modern then more opportunities in the areas of technology and communications will increase.&nbsp; Hope that foreign companies will invest in their infra-structure.&nbsp; Hope that products can once again be imported and exported between our two countries.&nbsp; Hope that tourism will rise and boost local economy.<br><br>Hope.&nbsp; Another four letter word.&nbsp; Only four letters, but it packs a punch.&nbsp; The Christians I met in Cuba were overflowing with hope.&nbsp; A hope not based on earthly treasures, but on the Kingdom of Heaven.&nbsp; A hope that is rooted in a joy that bubbles up from the wells of salvation.&nbsp; A hope that learns how to thrive no matter what the circumstances.&nbsp; Our Cuban brothers and sisters radiate hope.&nbsp; They are a beacon to the world.<br><br>I can’t help but wonder, “What four letter word defines my faith?”<br><br></p> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/59036-four-letter-words-part-2-cuba-journal-entry-5 https://internationalministries.org/read/59036-four-letter-words-part-2-cuba-journal-entry-5 Four Letter Words, Part 1: Cuba Journal Entry #4 <h3><u><b>La Dama (The Lady)</b></u></h3><p>Ninety-four miles off the coast of Key West, Florida, the island of Cuba is one of the emerald jewels of the Caribbean.&nbsp; Lush foliage, sandy beaches, and turquoise waters were first inhabited by the Taino, people indigenous to the island.&nbsp; In 1492, Christopher Columbus claimed Cuba for Spain, and she did not gain her independence until 410 years later, in 1902. Under socialist rule since the Cuban Revolution of 1953-1959 led by Fidel and Raúl Castro, Cuba has navigated a historical and political landscape with a dexterity that still amazes. Cuban writer Guillermo Cabrera Infante said, “To be Cuban is to go with Cuba everywhere.&nbsp; Cuba is a paradise from which we flee by trying to return.”<br><br>Wandering Habana Antigua (Old Havana) I understand why some people call it “The island where time stands still.”&nbsp; The buildings are muted with refined age, their colors faded like a favorite T-shirt washed one too many times.&nbsp; The plazas are reminiscent of old European cities with stone and iron-grille work popular at the height of colonialism.&nbsp; The streets are cobblestone, the outdoor cafés smudged Renaissance paintings, the beauty marred by the slight stench of decay.<br><br>I am reminded of an elderly aristocratic lady fitted from head to toe in expensive black silk with her mantilla, her long lace veil, held in place by her tortoise shell comb, her peineta.&nbsp; She walks with dignity and grace, her steps slow and distinct.&nbsp; She is forbidding, elegant, mysterious.&nbsp; Some believe she is no longer a threat.&nbsp; But when you glimpse her in the flesh, you know she is a force to be reckoned with.&nbsp; Her Caribbean blood simmers with passion, and steamy secrets.&nbsp; And when I walk her streets, I hear the echo of whispers from centuries past.<br><br></p><h3>El Moro (The Fort)</h3><p>Across the inlet from Havana are the La Cabana and El Moro Fortresses.&nbsp; They were constructed by the Spanish in the 17th century to protect the city from pirates, privateers, and the French &amp; British naval fleets.&nbsp; During that time period, a canon was fired at dawn and sunset each day to announce the opening and closing of the city gates.&nbsp; The tradition of firing the canon in the evening continues to this day.&nbsp; Our group joins hundreds of other tourists from across the globe for the 9:00 p.m. event.<br><br>Standing on the ramparts of the fort, I have a view of Havana that is postcard perfect in the softened twilight.&nbsp; As I wait for the ceremony to begin, I find it somewhat ironic that I am experiencing a tradition that was built on safe-keeping the city’s inhabitants.&nbsp; Why?&nbsp; Because one of the frequent questions I heard before leaving on this trip was, “Is it safe?”&nbsp; I suppose that question arises after years of conditioning against communism, socialism, and the U.S.’s particular relationship with Cuba.&nbsp; But I can say with all honesty, that of all 7 countries I’ve visited so far, I have felt safest in Cuba.&nbsp; Violent crime is almost non-existent on the island.&nbsp; One needs to be wary of the usual snatch &amp; grab often found in tourist areas.&nbsp; Following common sense safety, I never felt threatened or ill at ease.&nbsp; In fact, Cubans are some of the most gracious, hospitable people I’ve ever met.<br><br>When the canon goes off at 9pm, the crowd is startled despite the fact we know what’s coming.&nbsp; Canons are not demure and unassuming.&nbsp; The people of Cuba say you’re not a real Cuban until you’ve attended this ceremony at least once.&nbsp; And when an inhabitant of Havana wants to express that he/she maintains vitality and good health, one says, “I’m like the canon shot ceremony.”&nbsp; Longevity with a sonorous boom!</p><p>(This article will continue tomorrow with Part 2)<br></p><p><br></p> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/59027-four-letter-words-part-1-cuba-journal-entry-4 https://internationalministries.org/read/59027-four-letter-words-part-1-cuba-journal-entry-4 An Altar in the Wind: Cuba Journal Entry #3 <h3><u>God Is In This Place</u></h3><p>Altars are places of recognition.&nbsp; In Genesis 28, when Jacob was running for his life from Esau, he fell down exhausted and slept with a rock for a pillow.&nbsp; His dream that night was a vision of a stairway where angels were going up and down.&nbsp; God stood at the top and&nbsp; promised to give the land upon which he was lying to him and his descendants.&nbsp; When Jacob awoke he set his rock pillow as an altar and said, “GOD is in this place—truly. And I didn’t even know it!” He was terrified. He whispered in awe, “Incredible. Wonderful. Holy. This is God’s House. This is the Gate of Heaven.” From that point Jacob knew that God would be with him and provide for his needs.&nbsp; He knew that God’s promise would be fulfilled through him.<br><br></p><h3><u><b>A Vision for Land </b></u></h3><p>We sat in a tiny room.&nbsp; Three members of the board of the Fraternidad de las Iglesias Bautistas Cubanas were there to welcome us and share a vision. For the next hour we talked about the 7 and 1/2 acres we were sitting on.&nbsp; Max Hill, Regional Minister in West Virginia, has been traveling and working among the Fraternidad for the past 24 years.&nbsp; He found out about the land many years ago.&nbsp; He&nbsp; and other Cuban leaders prayed and met with the owner.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The owner said the land belonged to his mother and there was a full price offer of $30,000 US on the table.&nbsp; The Fraternidad shared why they were interested in the land. The owner shared that his mother wanted the land to be used for religious purposes and agreed to sell it to the Fraternidad.&nbsp; Max thanked him and then shared that there was a little problem.&nbsp; They did not have $30,000 dollars!&nbsp; Instead, Max made an offer of $15,000 on an installment plan.&nbsp; The man considered, and agreed!&nbsp; Surely, God is in this place and God keeps his promise of a land for his people.<br><br></p><h3><u><b>What the Dream Looks Like</b></u></h3><p>The vision for this land is to develop a facility that has a sports area, a meeting room for 400-500, a kitchen and dining room, dormitories, a chapel for worship, and rooms for classes and conferences.&nbsp; They want the facility to be open to all believers, especially the poor churches so they have access to places to meet, and are able to take theological and ministry classes.&nbsp; They want it to be open to Christians all over the island so they can foster unity—all of God’s people coming and going, “Up and Down the Stairs.” They plan to cultivate crops and an orchard so they can be self sustaining.&nbsp; They plan to cooperate with the government’s program of providing homeopathic medicines by planting medicinal plants for the surrounding community. It is a vision that totally relies on the breath of God’s Spirit.<br><br></p><h3><u><b>The Green Windmill</b></u></h3><p>In the back of the property there is a windmill. On one of the blades is written “Molino Verde” - The Green Windmill.&nbsp; That’s what they call this land and the vision God has given them for it.&nbsp; It is a staggering, God sized dream.&nbsp; A $2,000,000 dollar facility for all believers in a country where, if you think—even&nbsp; for a moment about the available resources –you&nbsp; would conclude that it is impossible.&nbsp; But we all walked away from that tiny room believing in the vision! There is something beyond what you can see, going on in this place.&nbsp; Surely, God is in this place!&nbsp; It is an awesome place.&nbsp; God keeping his promise of a land for his people.&nbsp; La Fraternidad of Cuban Baptists have seen God’s dream, and erected an altar in the wind.&nbsp; <br><br>It made me stop and ask, “Is there a dream I need to recognize, an altar I need to build, because God is in this place?”<br><br></p> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/58991-an-altar-in-the-wind-cuba-journal-entry-3 https://internationalministries.org/read/58991-an-altar-in-the-wind-cuba-journal-entry-3 Besos y Baile (Kisses & Dancing): Cuba Journal Entry #2 <p><br></p><h3><u>Greeted with Kisses</u></h3><p>El Jordan Baptist Church in Habana is a neighborhood church.&nbsp; Houses are tucked in on either side, and across the street.&nbsp; Half the congregation walks there while the other half navigates public transportation, sometimes traveling over an hour to come and worship.&nbsp; On Sunday morning, June 14, I am seated behind three elderly Cuban women.&nbsp; They have sleek, short hair cuts, beautiful olive skin, and one has multiple piercings in her ear.&nbsp; Their smiles are wide, and they grab me exuberantly, kissing each cheek with enthusiasm.&nbsp; There is no doubt that I am welcomed and wanted!<br><br></p><h3><u><b>The Same but Different</b></u></h3><p>The order of worship is familiar, yet different.&nbsp; The music upbeat and lively.&nbsp; Everyone stands up, claps, raises their hands in praise—led by the older members of the congregation.&nbsp; It is a contagious joy that hits my soul like a thunderbolt.&nbsp; God shouts into the reverberation, “Are you going to let loose and join in?&nbsp; Go ahead, I dare you!”&nbsp; I find my body wanting to move in ways that seem incongruent with my Baptist heritage.&nbsp; By the time I decide to sway, the song ends and everyone sits down.&nbsp; Have I missed my chance?<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Encountering God </b></u></h3><p>Apparently not.&nbsp; In El Jordan, there is no script of&nbsp; an invocation, 3 worship songs, and then move into prayer.&nbsp; Or, sing one hymn, pray, take an offering, sing the next hymn.&nbsp; There is an order, it isn’t chaos.&nbsp; But each element of worship stands boldly by itself and then flows into the next piece.&nbsp; I’m sure it strikes me this way because I am a stranger in a strange land, but that’s what mission trips are all about—encountering God in new and vibrant ways, experiencing the Kingdom of God with a fresh perspective.&nbsp; <br><br></p><h3><u><b>Cuban Rhythms</b></u></h3><p>My second chance comes with a Cuban Praise Song that rivals a rhythm from an album by the Buena Vista Social Club.&nbsp; Everyone is on their feet in an instant.&nbsp; I can tangibly feel the Holy Spirit’s heartbeat in the room.&nbsp; I am clapping and swaying and thoroughly caught up in praising God in a way that involves my whole body.&nbsp; I’m pretty sure my individual cells are bouncing up and down right beneath my skin!<br><br></p><h3><u><b>A Woman Dancing</b></u></h3><p>David nudges my shoulder.&nbsp; “Look at the women in the front row.”&nbsp; An elderly woman, 80 or 90 years old at least, with her hands raised, is dancing in slow, distinct steps to the beat of the music.&nbsp; Her eyes closed, a smile on her lips, she is elegance in motion.&nbsp; Her body is an offering of praise to her God.&nbsp; I immediately remember the crippled woman in Luke 13 who was healed on the Sabbath.&nbsp; Upon being healed by Jesus, she immediately straightened up and praised God.&nbsp; I think, "This is her, right in front of me, a Bible story come to life!"<br><br>It makes me ask myself: “Can I be that bold?”<br><br></p> Sat, 27 Jun 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/58949-besos-y-baile-kisses-dancing-cuba-journal-entry-2 https://internationalministries.org/read/58949-besos-y-baile-kisses-dancing-cuba-journal-entry-2 Up And Down: Cuba Journal Entry #1 <p>Jesus replied, “I tell you for certain that you must be born from above before you can see God’s kingdom!” (John 3:3, CEV)<br></p><h3><u>Planes Go Up and Down</u><br></h3><p>20 of us got on the plane. There were 2 flights on the departure and return legs of the journey.&nbsp; The planes went up, and eventually came back down in the expected ways.&nbsp; When the plane came down in Cuba, we were open with anticipation with just enough knowledge to create a sense of expectation.&nbsp; It was all new.&nbsp; That was a good way to come down<br></p><h3><u><b>Fruit Goes Up and Down</b></u><br></h3><p>At first glance, the tropical climate had produced a lush landscape of flowering plants and trees.&nbsp; Everywhere I looked there were Mangoes, Bananas, Papaya, huge Avocados and Guava. Mangoes are so abundant that there is a saying on the island, "If it is a year of the Mango, it is a year of hunger.”&nbsp; I guess it is possible for the palate to become saturated with such abundance.&nbsp; The trees grow, and the fruit comes down.<br></p><h3><u><b>The People on the Bus Go Up and Down</b></u><br></h3><p>There are plenty of people in Cuba.&nbsp; 11 million.&nbsp; They move about freely, but transportation is a real challenge.&nbsp; Cars are very expensive.&nbsp; A pastor told me that there are three things you need to decide on in Cuba:&nbsp; food, clothing, and transportation.&nbsp; If you live for a car, then you don't have nice clothes or enough to eat.&nbsp;&nbsp; If you live to have enough to eat, then you won't have a car or a motorcycle.&nbsp; So, you decide what your priorities are on the $20-25 average monthly income.&nbsp; Most people rely on public transportation.&nbsp; It is limited and irregular.&nbsp; The large double cabin buses are so stuffed that people are hanging out the doors as they go up and down the road.<br></p><h3><u><b>Staying Up, Not Going Down</b></u><br></h3><p>The people waiting for the buses line the roads.&nbsp; Some of the faces are neutral, some hopeful, some distant, some hardened by the constant struggle.&nbsp; I got the idea that it is a hard life in Cuba just from looking at the people.&nbsp; The system keeps them down as much as they work to get above it. There are different faces in the church, however. They are exuberant, joyful, hopeful....glad faces.&nbsp; It became clear in the next several days that in a place where there is so much struggle, these people of Christ are living “being born from above.”&nbsp; And they are not coming down anytime soon!<br><br>Makes me ask myself, “What do I need, really?”</p><p><br></p><p>By David Reed, Cuba Journal #1<br><br></p> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/58934-up-and-down-cuba-journal-entry-1 https://internationalministries.org/read/58934-up-and-down-cuba-journal-entry-1 Who Will Feed You When You're Ninety? <h3><u>Who will hold the spoon?</u></h3><p>Several months ago one of my missionary colleagues read an article that asked, “Who will feed you when you’re 90?”&nbsp; The article said today’s medical and technological advances to prolong human life will allow for one in every five people to live to be 100 years old.&nbsp; Therefore, how you live now—your eating, sleeping, exercise habits—will be a determining factor in the quality of your life later.&nbsp; The odds are that most of us will indeed live to be 90.&nbsp; Will you be feeding yourself, or will someone else be holding the spoon?<br><br></p><h3><u><b>How do we feed our spiritual lives?</b></u></h3><p>Most of us shift uncomfortably when we think about personal habits that might impact the quality of our physical lives.&nbsp; But what about habits that impact our spiritual lives?&nbsp; How many of us intentionally cultivate a deeper, more intimate relationship with God?&nbsp; Yes, we often say we want to go deeper with God.&nbsp; We want more of God.&nbsp; But do we strategize a way to accomplish that very goal?&nbsp; Or, maybe we just don’t know how.&nbsp; Or, maybe we try something, but we don’t stick with it.&nbsp; I’m not talking about reading your Bible and praying more, although those endeavors are certainly worthwhile.&nbsp; I’m thinking of ways to add new resources to your spiritual toolbox so that “your house is built upon the rock and not the sand” as Jesus reminds us in Matthew 7:24-27.<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Creativity grows the soul!</b></u></h3><p>This month I had the opportunity to be part of a support team that provided a new resource for the Nicaraguan Health Promoters of the AMOS Foundation that is operated under the direction of Drs. David and Laura Parajón.&nbsp; The training was offered by First Aid Arts which is a non-profit out of Seattle that uses arts-based tools (music, writing, drama, drawing, etc.)&nbsp; to equip care providers to assist victims of trauma.&nbsp; The facilitators, Ruth Peterman, Shabrae Krieg, and IM Missionary Mylinda Baits led the women in different exercises that used both their cognitive and artistic abilities.&nbsp; My role was making observations, taking notes, and recording the event with pictures and video for future evaluation.&nbsp; IM Missionary Barb Bolick assisted with translation.&nbsp; <br><br>These Nicaraguan women of faith were amazing to watch!&nbsp; They connected deeply with the idea of using the arts to help heal and transform the people in the villages where they serve. Neurological and psychological research has shown how art-based therapies reduce post-traumatic symptoms.&nbsp; Since many of these women have experienced trauma (abuse, violence, natural disasters), the workshop not only equipped them to serve others, but it also began to heal their own pain.&nbsp; I saw how the women could use these new tools to deepen relationships with each other, with their patients, and with God.<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Is art a part of your spiritual toolbox?</b></u></h3><p>All of us have experienced trauma in one way or another, to one extreme or another.&nbsp; Using art to reconnect those broken pieces is one resource you might consider adding to your spiritual toolbox. But art isn’t just for recovery from traumatic episodes in your life.&nbsp; Practicing art when you’re healthy becomes a preventative measure!&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Exploring the arts to deepen your relationship with God is not a new idea, but unless you’re naturally gifted in a particular artistic area, few of us consciously think about using “art” to go deeper with God.&nbsp; However, if you work with wood, if you make quilts, if you love to create culinary masterpieces, if you garden, if you write poems for your grandchildren, if you love to bird watch . . . all of these and more are creative opportunities to invest in your spiritual future. <br></p><p>Many of us <u>know more about</u> God through study/reflection of sermons, Bible Studies, and reading commentaries.&nbsp; But how many of us <u>know how to BE</u> with God?&nbsp; How to delight in God’s presence as we celebrate creativity which is a reflection of our Creator God?&nbsp; Artistic endeavors engage &amp; grow different parts of our brains.&nbsp; We listen and participate with God in ways that balance the deductive, rational approach we’re usually invested in.<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Awakened to newness</b></u></h3><p>In addition to Nicaragua, I also visited Seattle, WA where I led a women’s retreat while David traveled to the Dakotas to visit churches and lead a pastor’s contemplative retreat.&nbsp; These two retreats were opportunities to begin to live out our new calling as Regional Missionaries in the area of Spiritual Renewal, Spiritual Direction, and Vocational Calling.&nbsp; Both of us felt the desire to push the attendees beyond their comfortable “God boxes” to grapple with desire, passion, and risk.&nbsp; Where in your life do you long to be awakened to newness?&nbsp; And once you wake up, how are you going to nurture that part of your soul? <br><br>We all know a person we consider to be “awake”—someone who is in touch fully with God and with herself/himself.&nbsp; Roberta Bondi in her book Memories of God shares this about a woman named Jane, “There was a freedom in her that I had never seen in any woman, or any living human being, for that matter, a freedom that I had not even imagined to be possible.&nbsp; This was a woman, a woman radiating intelligence, energy, and kindness, absolutely without fear, completely at home in the world and fully, unapologetically herself.”&nbsp; This is what the deepest part of us desires: to radiate, vibrate, be fully alive!<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Spiritual Growth is intentional</b></u></h3><p>Choosing to have a growing spiritual edge does not come naturally, or happen quickly.&nbsp; You have to consciously make it happen, step by step.&nbsp; If you need more silence in your life, then you have to start with 5 minutes, grow it to 10 minutes, grow that to 30 minutes, and so on.&nbsp; If you need to practice simplicity, then you have to practice giving stuff away.&nbsp; If you need to understand community, then you need to seek places in your neighborhood where you can make connections.&nbsp; If you desire to get beyond yourself, then start looking for places to serve.&nbsp; Author Jeff Goins says, “Most growth happens this way: slowly, over time.&nbsp; You don’t see it happening—in fact, sometimes the circumstances feel more like inconveniences than opportunities—but then one day you wake up, amazed at how far you’ve come.”<br><br></p><h3><u><b>What kind of Christian will you be at 90?</b></u></h3><p>What kind of spiritual hunger do you have today?&nbsp; What you do about it will determine who you will be at 90.&nbsp; Will others be able to detect wisdom &amp; grace through what you say and do?&nbsp; Will younger generations come to you for advice, eagerly asking how to go deeper with God?&nbsp; Will you be an authentic representation of mature Christianity?&nbsp; May the Apostle Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:14 encourage and inspire us: “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and <i>become mature</i>, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”&nbsp; Amen.<br><br></p> Sun, 03 May 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/58199-who-will-feed-you-when-you-re-ninety- https://internationalministries.org/read/58199-who-will-feed-you-when-you-re-ninety- Seven Days, Seven Churches, Seven Friends <h3><u><b>Seven Days</b></u></h3><p>Last week we flew back to La Paz for seven days.&nbsp; We have to admit that leaving snowy, cold Philadelphia for sunny, warm Mexico was not too great a hardship!&nbsp; Why did we return during the middle of our year of U.S. assignment?&nbsp; To officiate the Celebration of Life memorial for our dear friend Fidel Herrera.&nbsp; Fidel and his wife Eileen moved to La Paz the same year we did: 2000.&nbsp; Shortly afterwards, they began to attend the English Worship Service we started at the request of the Mexican Baptist Southern Baja Convention.&nbsp; Fidel taught English as a Second Language for over 50 years.&nbsp; In La Paz, he taught at the University, facilitated countless Conversation Clubs, and also led English workshops for the Baptist churches.&nbsp; He and Eileen truly lived “Love God, Love Neighbor,” the two greatest commandments given to us by Jesus.&nbsp; On the day of the memorial, a 100 people gathered to celebrate the impact of Fidel on their lives.&nbsp; Mexicans, Canadians, and Americans shared memories--laughing and crying together.&nbsp; Minus the tears, it was truly a glimpse of heaven on earth!&nbsp; We are blessed to have friends and donors like Fidel and Eileen.&nbsp; Our lives and our ministry are continually shaped by people like them, and people like you.<br><br></p><h3><b><u>Seven Churches</u></b></h3><p>We also had the opportunity to have a breakfast gathering with many of the Baptist pastors and leaders during our week in La Paz.&nbsp; We met in what will one day be the kitchen of The Theological School.&nbsp; This is a special project that we are accumulating funds for in the hopes it will be completed in the next two years.&nbsp; As we fellowshiped with our Mexican colleagues, we learned that their vision for the next two years is to start seven churches along the Southern Baja peninsula.&nbsp; When was the last time you sat down with a group of church leaders and heard them share a similar vision?&nbsp; It was exciting to hear their passion about this project!&nbsp; Please pray for President Rafael Loera and the other convention leaders as they seek God’s direction to start churches.<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Seven Friends</b></u></h3><p>As we re-connected with friends over the last week, we just want to mention a few of the stories we heard that especially touched our hearts.&nbsp; <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br>Susu is starting a horse therapy ministry for physically and emotionally challenged kids.&nbsp; She has two horses and is seeking a third.&nbsp; Social services in La Paz are thrilled with her endeavor and can’t wait to partner with her!<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br>Alejandra is engaged to Gabriel and planning her first wedding after waiting for 40 years.&nbsp; She glows with the anticipation of finally being wed to a man who is also a follower of Jesus.<br><br>Oscar is working on his bachelor’s degree in Education.&nbsp; He leaves the house at 7am to teach, and then goes straight to night classes, usually not returning until 8pm at night.&nbsp; But then he helps his wife Anahis with their toddler, assists with dinner, and doesn’t start homework until midnight or 1am.&nbsp; But he said, “My family is important! I’m not going to lose touch with them during this time.”<br><br>Isai is the six-year-old son of friends of ours.&nbsp; His mom told me, “Isai prays every night for your family.&nbsp; For your safety.&nbsp; For your children.”&nbsp; Wow!&nbsp; A prayer warrior growing up right in front of our very eyes!&nbsp; It made me want to cry.<br><br>Bonnie &amp; Paul Cronin opened up their home to us and showed us hospitality extraordinaire!&nbsp; They spend their time between Denver, CO and La Paz, Mexico.&nbsp; We appreciate the way they can make us laugh and relax.<br><br>Peter Lim and his wife Sherry are volunteering in La Paz for six months pastoring Crossroads.&nbsp; Peter’s gentle nature and authenticity as he shares the Gospel nurtured our souls on the Sunday we listened to him preach.&nbsp; We are thankful for people who volunteer their gifts cross-culturally.<br><br>Thank you for your prayers.&nbsp; We are about to leave for a trip to visit churches in Western New York.&nbsp; Somehow, we think it will be colder than La Paz!<br><br>Blessings<br>David and Joyce<br></p> Fri, 06 Mar 2015 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/57463-seven-days-seven-churches-seven-friends https://internationalministries.org/read/57463-seven-days-seven-churches-seven-friends New Year: One Word <h3><u><b>One Word</b></u></h3><p>“Every January I like to choose one word as my theme word for the year,” shared Pastor Bob Santilli, the Bible Study leader of our 2015 Baja Mexico Missionary Retreat.&nbsp; “Words like hope, courage, prayer, or steadfastness are examples of ones I’ve used in the past.”&nbsp; He looked at each of us as his eyes traveled around the circle.&nbsp; “It’s a word I come back to again and again as the year unfolds.&nbsp; What is God revealing to me through the promise held in this one word?”&nbsp;&nbsp; Suddenly, the room was brimming with unspoken words.&nbsp; Possibilities.&nbsp; Dreams.&nbsp; Challenges.&nbsp; What word would be the 2015 caption for each one of us?<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Perseverance</b></u></h3><p>Pastor Guillermo Escobedo and Pastor Hernando Gonzalez have dreamed of pursuing their Master’s Degree for years.&nbsp; They each pastor a church and teach at the Theological School of La Paz, and Hernando also serves as the School’s director.&nbsp; Through scholarships and their own savings, they began their course work this January at Lacy Baptist Seminary in Oaxaca.&nbsp; Please pray for them as they undergo this rigorous course work.&nbsp; They will periodically travel to Oaxaca for on-site coursework, while completing other assignments at home.<br><br></p><h3><u>Joy</u></h3><p>Some of you are familiar with Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people.&nbsp; Every year their Operation Christmas Child sends shoeboxes filled with gifts to children around the world.&nbsp; This past year the Baja Peninsula was one of the targeted areas to receive gifts.&nbsp; Many of the churches we partner with in Southern Baja were able to receive shoeboxes for the children in their communities.&nbsp; Many of the churches we partner with in the U.S.—YOU!—were the ones who bought the gifts, packed the shoeboxes, and sent them to Mexico.&nbsp; Thank you for your generosity!&nbsp; The spontaneous, exuberant smile of a child shouts “Jesus” to us every time.<br><br></p><h3><u>Inexcusable</u></h3><p>Do you ever stay home from church because you’re too tired, it’s too cold, you’re upset with the pastor, or the pews are uncomfortable?&nbsp; Excuses can roll off our tongues.&nbsp; After Hurricane Odile last September, several Baptist churches were severely damaged.&nbsp; One was completely blown to smithereens.&nbsp; Another’s roof was gone and its cement walls comprised.&nbsp; But did this keep people from meeting for worship?&nbsp; Definitely not!&nbsp; They put up tarps, gathered plastic chairs and wooden benches, and gathered together to praise God for no loss of life.&nbsp; So what if they didn’t have walls, or a roof, or carpet, or Sunday School rooms, or a sound system, or even money in the bank . . . they still had faith . . . they still had each other.&nbsp; The Mexican Baptist National Convention and The American Baptist Churches sent Disaster Relief Funds and these churches are slowly rebuilding.&nbsp; They trusted that God would supply what they needed when they needed it.&nbsp; Their determination in the face of great odds often humbles me and reminds me of what’s truly important.</p><p><br></p><h3><u>More</u></h3><p>In 1887 a hymn was published called “More About Jesus.”&nbsp; The second stanza and chorus are as follows:<br><br>More about Jesus let me learn,<br>More of His holy will discern;<br>Spirit of God, my teacher be,<br>Showing the things of Christ to me.</p><p><b>Refrain:</b><br>More, more about Jesus,<br>More, more about Jesus;<br>More of His saving fullness see,<br>More of His love who died for me.<br><br><b>This is the word David and I have chosen for 2015: More.</b>&nbsp; We want to spend more time with God.&nbsp; We want to know more about Jesus.&nbsp; We want the Holy Spirit to teach us more.&nbsp; We want more multi-cultural diverse community.&nbsp; We want more justice.&nbsp; We want more joy.&nbsp; We want more compassion.&nbsp; We want more grace.&nbsp; We want to hunger and thirst more for the Kingdom of God.&nbsp; It’s a lot to undertake, we know.&nbsp; But we’re tired of settling for less.&nbsp; For refusing to follow a dream because someone said it’s impossible.&nbsp; For not trying something new because we think we lack money, or talent, or time.&nbsp; It’s time to be bold.&nbsp; To want more . . . more of Jesus!<br><br>So, what’s your word for 2015?&nbsp; Send us a note and let us know.&nbsp; We’d love to hear from you!<br><br>Blessings,<br>Joyce and David<br></p> Sat, 31 Jan 2015 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/57164-new-year-one-word https://internationalministries.org/read/57164-new-year-one-word Enough <h3><u>Is There Enough?</u></h3><p>Last week we skyped our Mexican colleagues in La Paz.&nbsp; We were connecting with Pastor Rafael Loera, the newly elected President of the Southern Baja Mexican Convention, as well as Pastor Guillermo Escobedo who teaches at the Theological School.&nbsp; They send greetings to you— our friends and supporting churches in the United States—and thank you for your prayers!&nbsp; They are slowly rebuilding after Hurricane Odile, and promise to send us some progress pictures soon.&nbsp; When we left for our year of U.S. assignment in June, we were able to leave enough funds to support the Director of the Theological School through the end of this year.&nbsp; We challenged them to brainstorm how they could increase the amount the convention provides towards this salary, so that the position would continue past December.&nbsp; But honestly, we didn’t know if they would have enough determination or enough resources to make it happen.&nbsp; Imagine our delight when Rafael and Guillermo told us that the convention had found a way to fund the position until March 2015!&nbsp; Yes, we know, it’s only three months more.&nbsp; But when we left in June, they had no plan.&nbsp; Now, they do!&nbsp; Trusting God.&nbsp; Trusting our partners.&nbsp; Enough.<br><br></p><h3><u>Lord, You Are Enough</u></h3><p>From September to December we were auditing a class in Spiritual Formation at Palmer Theological Seminary.&nbsp; Our hope is to translate this coursework into an appropriate cultural context so we can share it with our colleagues in Ibero-America. (Ibero-America includes all Spanish-speaking countries in North, Central, and South America, plus the Portuguese-speaking country of Brazil.)&nbsp; As Regional Missionaries we will be coordinating with Theological Schools with whom International Ministries has existing partnerships to train leaders and to develop curriculum in Spiritual Formation.&nbsp; What is Spiritual Formation?&nbsp; Offering tools to leaders about how to not only go deeper with God, but also how to sustain this level of intimacy with God.&nbsp; This is what nourishes a leader’s soul and hopefully prevents him/her from burning out.&nbsp; “Lord, you are enough for me.&nbsp; And I am enough for you.”&nbsp; (Julian of Norwich)<br><br></p><h3><u>When Is Enough, Enough?</u></h3><p>Last week we were wandering through King of Prussia Mall—apparently one of the largest malls in the United States—and frankly, it was over-whelming.&nbsp; We were constantly being bombarded by consumerism and the message of “you do not have enough.”&nbsp; This fall while we’ve been visiting churches, we were often asked, “After fifteen years of service overseas, do you still experience culture shock when you return to the U.S.?”&nbsp; At this time of year I can honestly say, “Yes.”&nbsp; Being back in our own culture reminds me again of how many choices I have.&nbsp; Choices that many other people will never have, and that I still can take for granted: jobs, education, food, clean water, electricity, etc.&nbsp; And the racial tensions that have erupted here in the last six months only remind me that not every American has the same choices either.&nbsp; It challenges me to ask the question—on many levels: “When is enough, enough?”&nbsp; There is so much need.&nbsp; And I’m only one person.&nbsp; How do I give more, invest in solutions for a better world, when I already feel inadequate?&nbsp; Honestly, am I enough?<br><br></p><h3><u>My Grace Is Enough</u></h3><p>Learning how to be enough is difficult.&nbsp; I have a history of fixing, of comforting, of accommodating, of listening, of trying to be more than or less than to please others.&nbsp; But God says, “Enough!”&nbsp; I don’t have to feel more.&nbsp; I don’t have to know more.&nbsp; I don’t have to do more.&nbsp; I don’t have to be more.&nbsp; I am enough.&nbsp; What I offer today is enough.&nbsp; If I am surrendering to Christ, letting the Spirit flow through me, then my thoughts, words, actions . . . are enough.&nbsp; I can trust.&nbsp; Be at peace.&nbsp; Not one iota more.&nbsp; Not one iota less.&nbsp; Sufficient.&nbsp; “My grace is enough; it’s all you need.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)<br><br></p><h3><u>One Child Was Enough</u></h3><p>On the first Sunday of Advent we attended Germantown Mennonite Church.&nbsp; The prelude was a song written and composed by Duane Hershberger, a member of the congregation.&nbsp; It was a haunting melody in a minor key and was entitled One Light. These are the lyrics that embedded in my heart:&nbsp; There was one light for everyone, One light was enough. There was one love for every heart, One love was enough. There was one hope for all the hopeless, One hope was enough. There was one rest for all the weary, One rest was enough. There was one child for all the children, One child was enough. Glo-ri-a. <br><br>In this Season of Advent, don’t let yourself be distracted by the message of “not enough.”&nbsp; Not enough stuff.&nbsp; Not enough money.&nbsp; Not enough peace.&nbsp; Not enough justice. Not enough health.&nbsp; Not enough talent.&nbsp; In Christ, we are enough.&nbsp; We have enough love, enough financial resources, enough courage, enough creativity, enough joy, enough hope, enough wisdom . . . one child was enough . . . to change the world.&nbsp; May You Be Filled with the God Who Is Enough!<br><br>Merry Christmas,<br>David and Joyce Reed<br><br>7013 McCallum St.<br>Philadelphia, PA 19119<br></p> Mon, 15 Dec 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/56760-enough https://internationalministries.org/read/56760-enough Deeper Water <p><b><i>“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, <br>Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me<br>Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, <br>And my faith will be made stronger In the presence of my Saviour”</i></b><br>"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" by Hillsong UNITED&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br><br><br></p><h3><u><b>A Story of God’s Leading</b></u></h3><p><br>During our last term of service we gradually became aware of God leading us to hand over the ministries to which we were assigned to our partners.&nbsp; The Theological School is now in the capable hands of the leaders of the Mexican Baptist Convention in Baja Sur.&nbsp; Crossroads is now in the capable hands of the church’s Leadership Team.&nbsp; While we continue to have minor supporting and encouraging roles in these ministries, offering guidance as necessary, we knew it was time to let go.&nbsp; As this was happening, we began to ask the question, “OK God, what’s next?” <br><br>It took some time but emerging out of the ministries of Crossroads and the Theological School we began to see that for several years God had been preparing us for a new thing.&nbsp; More frequently we were being invited to offer spiritual guidance and formation, and to mentor young people.&nbsp;&nbsp; We were hearing stories of spiritual dryness, but at the same time a deep hunger for God. People and leaders around us were telling us they were hungering and thirsting for more, and so were we!&nbsp; <br><br>Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.&nbsp; Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from him.”<br><br>Thirsty to be in and of that flowing stream, we began to investigate how to meet this need within ourselves, and how to guide others.&nbsp; Sensing God’s leading, we looked into programs that teach spiritual direction and formation so we could apply them to our own lives and our immediate context.&nbsp; <br><br>In January of 2014 our Area Director Jose Norat came to La Paz to meet with us and our partners.&nbsp; We shared what God had been revealing, and that we had looked into some programs on spiritual direction and formation.&nbsp; We wanted to ask permission to enter a program and possibly extend our US assignment a few months.&nbsp; Jose was very excited about this movement!&nbsp; He shared that he has desired to offer this ministry to the Partners of International Ministries in Latin America.&nbsp; He had seen the same need on a much larger scale!&nbsp; We realized it was “holy ground,” that God had spoken, and was calling.&nbsp; We were humbled. A new vision was set into motion.<br><br></p><h3><u><b>A New Ministry</b></u></h3><p><br>In May 2014, we received a new assignment.&nbsp; We are now IM Regional Missionaries to Iberoamerica and the Caribbean for the Ministry of Spiritual and Vocational Renewal. We are being called to lead pastors, theological students, and churches in Latin America and the Caribbean, using our training as spiritual directors, to deep spiritual renewal.&nbsp; <br><br>In this new role we will be living in Latin America and engaging national pastors and leaders with training in the classic Christian disciplines of spiritual direction, personal renewal, and vocational calling.&nbsp; We will be offering workshops and retreats as well as spiritual direction aimed at helping our brothers and sisters in the processes of discerning God’s presence, movement, and the call of the Spirit.&nbsp; The aim is that these leaders might grow a new and deeper sense of clarity, passion, and vision.&nbsp; We will be mentoring emerging leaders who sense a calling to serve as pastors and missionaries. We will develop a framework of classes on Spiritual Formation for theological schools, and train national leaders how to teach it, too. <br><br></p><h3><u><b>A New Vision</b></u></h3><p><br>This new vision comes out of our own journey with spiritual dryness and hunger, and we are finding, there’s a lot of that going around!&nbsp; We have become a people who spend most of our time focused on the outward activities of our lives and faith, instead of the interior movements of the Spirit. We tend to be in constant motion.&nbsp; Those choices come at a cost.&nbsp; Our souls are wrung out, dried up, not just by the constant motion, but by the lack of stillness.&nbsp; This situation is epidemic, and is true for our brothers and sisters in Latin America.&nbsp; <br><br>Psalm 46&nbsp;&nbsp; “Be still and know that I am God” <br>Isaiah 30&nbsp;&nbsp; “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength”&nbsp; <br>Psalm 23&nbsp;&nbsp; “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.&nbsp; He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.”<br>Matthew 22&nbsp; All the commandments are summed up in this:&nbsp; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.&nbsp; Love your neighbor as yourself” <br><br>We have been invited to become missionaries of Renewal, Restoration, and Re-discovering not only who we are in Christ, but our abiding strength in Christ.&nbsp; It is a ground-breaking work for American Baptist International Ministries.&nbsp; We strongly sense that God is leading the way and we are obediently following.&nbsp; We can’t wait to share the stories of transformed lives and faith through renewed minds! We invite you to join us in this new vision and Kingdom mission.<br><br>Your Servants in Christ,<br><br>David and Joyce Reed<br><br>7013 McCallum St., Apt A<br>Philadelphia, PA 19119<br><br>mexicoreeds@gmail.com<br><br><br></p> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/56183-deeper-water https://internationalministries.org/read/56183-deeper-water A Time to Rebuild <h3><u>Rebuild Ten Churches!</u></h3><p>“$40,000 U.S. dollars? That’s all they need? That’s not a lot of money!”<br><br>“I know,” I replied. “It’s a very obtainable goal. All we need is 400 individuals and/or churches donating a gift of $100 each and we can rebuild ten churches!”<br><br>This was a conversation I had last week while visiting American Baptist Churches in Colorado. David and I were sharing about our ministry in Southern Baja, Mexico which included a report of the recent devastation left by Hurricane Odile two weeks ago.<br><br></p><h3><u>Visiting the Churches; Hearing the Needs</u></h3><p>Two weeks after the hurricane, the President of the Mexican Baptist Churches of Southern Baja, Aaron Ramirez, was able to meet with the pastors of six churches in the cities of Los Cabos and San Jose at the very tip of the peninsula, and then with the pastors of seven churches located in La Paz, 2.5 hours further north.<br><br>He shared that one church and two missions are a total loss. Five other churches and two missions will need major repairs. A total of 50 families connected with the San Jose/Los Cabos churches lost everything--their homes &amp; all their possessions.<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Rising to the Challenge</b></u></h3><p>Baptist churches in other parts of Mexico have already sent $3,600 USD to assist their brothers and sisters in Southern Baja. The body of Christ is rising to the challenge everywhere!<br><br>We hope you will consider donating too. As mentioned earlier, all we need are 400 people to give $100 and we’ll reach the $40,000 USD goal. Is one hundred dollars too much? Then perhaps you would consider inviting 3 friends or 3 family members to join you to reach that goal—each of you could give $25.<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Be a World Changer!</b></u></h3><p>Have you ever invited someone to participate in missions? Now’s your chance! People are looking for opportunities to change the world. Here’s one way you can be a part of the Kingdom of God in Southern Mexico.<br><br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/23">Click here</a> to give electronically. (You may also look for "Hurricane Relief" on the International Ministries <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org">homepage</a>.)</p><p>Checks can be written to International Ministries with "OGHS/Mexico Relief" written on the memo line. Send them to: International Ministries, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851.<br><br>American Baptist Churches can send donations through the One Great Hour of Sharing.<br><br>Blessings,<br>David and Joyce<br></p> Fri, 03 Oct 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55807-a-time-to-rebuild https://internationalministries.org/read/55807-a-time-to-rebuild $4,000 of One Great Hour of Sharing Funds to Provide Relief for Victims of Hurricane Odile in Mexico <p>Hurricane Odile pounded the coast of Southern Baja California, Mexico, on Sunday, September 14, 2014, raging through the night and into Monday morning. The Los Cabos region saw the worst of the storm. Broken windows, downed power lines, uprooted trees and severe water damage due to flooding rate among the more minor concerns, as in some places entire villages were flattened. In the aftermath, survivors contend with homelessness, power outages, widespread looting and shortages of essentials such as food, water, gas and medical care.</p> <p>In response, $4,000 in emergency relief funding has been requested by American Baptist International Ministries (IM) missionaries in Mexico David and Joyce Reed. The grant will support the relief efforts of the Convención Regional de Baja California Sur (CRBC), a partner organization of IM.</p> <p>Aaron Ramirez, president of the CRBC, is coordinating with IM and the Mexican Baptist National Convention to raise emergency funding for this effort. He is also establishing contact with pastors in the affected areas in order to create an on-the-ground relief network.</p> <p>Ramirez reports that many church buildings were partially or entirely destroyed, with damages to the 10 most-affected Baptist churches totaling approximately $40,000.</p> <p>Guillermo Julian Escobedo Bazán, director of missions for the CRBC, led his church on the first of many trips to bring aid to Los Cabos. He writes, “We had seen destruction in La Paz but our surprise grew as we entered the city of Cabo San Lucas. It looked like it had been bombed. The city is totally destroyed. The businesses have been destroyed and plundered.” But, he says, local Christians remain hopeful. “The recovery process will not be easy, but all the people thank God for saving their lives and they trust that help will continue to arrive so that the churches and the people can recover from this.”</p> <p>Churches in the U.S. and Puerto Rico are asked to keep the affected families and their churches and their churches in prayer. Additional financial relief is urgently needed. To make a tax-deductible contribution online, <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/23">click here</a>. To contribute by mail, make a check payable to International Ministries and write on the memo line "OGHS-Mexico Relief.” Mail it to International Ministries, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 10482. You may also give through your church, designating your gift for OGHS-MEXICO RELIEF.</p> <p><b>One Great Hour of Sharing</b> is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The Committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and the development of assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering received by churches. Learn more at <a href="http://www.abc-oghs.org/">ABC-OGHS.org</a>.</p> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55797-4-000-of-one-great-hour-of-sharing-funds-to-provide-relief-for-victims-of-hurricane-odile-in-mexico https://internationalministries.org/read/55797-4-000-of-one-great-hour-of-sharing-funds-to-provide-relief-for-victims-of-hurricane-odile-in-mexico Four Days Later: Post Hurricane Odile <p><br></p><h3><u>Four Days Later</u></h3><p>It has been four days.&nbsp; Now on U.S. assignment and 3000 miles away from Baja, we are just beginning to hear from our friends – brothers and sisters in Christ from La Paz, San Jose, and Los Cabos.&nbsp; Some are getting power back.&nbsp; Many are still waiting. Food and water are in short supply and many have damaged homes, or have lost their homes entirely.&nbsp; We are still waiting to hear about certain churches in San Jose—if they are even still standing.&nbsp; We have been searching the internet for clues and have been stunned by what we have seen.&nbsp; We have been to what are now unrecognizable areas.&nbsp; We know these people.&nbsp; We know the edge of life many held onto, and how fragile it was before the hurricane.&nbsp; The pictures and videos we see tell us that their fragile life has been blown apart, and washed away.&nbsp; Many will be starting over, from scratch.<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Reports from our Mexican Partners</b></u></h3><p>We have received an email from Aaron Ramirez, the president of the convention of Mexican Baptist Churches in Southern Baja, with whom we have partnered for the last 15 years.&nbsp; He said the storm was the worst they have ever experienced.&nbsp; He shared that Los Cabos and Los Barriles were hit 3 or 4 times worse than La Paz and he has not yet received personal reports from these cities south of La Paz.&nbsp; There are churches (North of La Paz) in Loreto, Mulege, and Santa Rosalia we have not heard from either.&nbsp; But the pictures tell us of overwhelming damages and need.&nbsp; Aaron said that for the last three days in La Paz they have been without power, water, telephone, cell phones, or internet.&nbsp; He shared that many homes, especially the most vulnerable, have suffered great damage or are completely gone.&nbsp; <br><br></p><h3><u><b>Love Awakened</b></u></h3><p>But Aaron also reported, “The people are out cleaning up and there is a sense of joyful relief that the damages have mostly been material and not in loss of life.&nbsp;&nbsp; It is becoming a great occasion of awakening for the city.&nbsp; The hurricane has awakened a sense of helping each other in love.”&nbsp; Sigfredo Varela, a deacon at the First Baptist Church of La Paz said on his Facebook page, “There is great material need, but the greater need is spiritual.&nbsp; We are sharing what we have, in particular, the love of Jesus.”<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Refugees Pouring Into La Paz</b></u></h3><p>We read today that at least 50,000 people are refugees. Their homes are gone.&nbsp; They have left San Jose and Cabo San Lucas and are moving to La Paz looking for food and water and shelter.&nbsp; It tells us the situation has overwhelmed the government and social systems and it will be a while before they catch up.&nbsp; The churches in La Paz will need to strategize how to assist these refugees.<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Making the Kingdom Real</b></u></h3><p>It reminds us that this is the kind of situation where God’s love is most needed, and can have the greatest impact.&nbsp; It is now when people being Jesus makes God’s kingdom very, very real.&nbsp; It is now that these people need us to shower compassion and meet this need as best we can.&nbsp; Aaron shared on behalf of the Mexican Baptist Churches that they welcome our help with gratitude.&nbsp; He said he will send a more detailed report in the coming days and share of their greatest needs. <br><br></p><h3><u><b>How You Can Help</b></u></h3><p><b>Churches</b> can send gifts through the <b>One Great Hour of Sharing marked "Mexico Relief.”</b>&nbsp;&nbsp; Please make sure it says “Mexico Relief.”&nbsp; <br><br><b>Individuals</b> can write a check out to&nbsp; “International Ministries” and indicate <b>OGHS: Mexico Relief</b> in the memo line.&nbsp; The address to send checks is:&nbsp; International Ministries, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA&nbsp; 19482-0851. <br><br><b>A method to give on-line</b> will be available as soon as we receive word from our partners about their specific needs, both short-term and long-term.<br><br>Blessings,<br>David and Joyce<br></p> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55633-four-days-later-post-hurricane-odile https://internationalministries.org/read/55633-four-days-later-post-hurricane-odile 200 Candles <h3><u><b>Kingdom Pageantry</b></u></h3><p>The excitement was palpable as over 1000 people began to file into the 13,000 square foot tent for the opening night of the Mission Conference held July 21-26, 2014.&nbsp; My missionary colleagues and I were dressed in clothing representing the countries in which we served.&nbsp; We were handed the flags of our national partners from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East &amp; the Americas. As the processional music began, we proudly marched them down the center aisle in a burst of color and “Kingdom Here on Earth” pageantry!&nbsp; We were marking the 200th anniversary of the pioneer mission work of Ann &amp; Adoniram Judson that began in Burma in 1814.&nbsp; As I held my flag high, I could only think, “Men and women are still being called to serve as missionaries, and I’m a part of that legacy—WOW!”<br><br></p><h3><u><b>In the Presence of Holiness</b></u></h3><p>It had been ten years since I’d seen some of my missionary colleagues, and some I was meeting for the very first time.&nbsp; Being in their presence was not only inspiring and encouraging, but also humbling.&nbsp; Story after story reminded me that I am privileged to work and serve with amazingly gifted and talented human beings.&nbsp; Dwight and Barbara Bolick who serve with the indigenous Mapuche in Chile.&nbsp; Chuck and Ruth Fox who work with the Ahka hill tribe people in Thailand.&nbsp; Doctors David and Laura Parajon serving remote rural communities in Nicaragua. Ray and Adalia Schellinger-Guiterrez who started a women’s shelter in Tijuana, Mexico.&nbsp; Keith and Debbie Myers assisting in community development with the indigenous people of Central Mexico. Dan and Sarah Chetti serving at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Lebanon.&nbsp; This is just a small sample of who I was surrounded by that week, and believe me, it was holy ground!<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Every Tribe &amp; Nation</b></u></h3><p>But the ministry my colleagues and I are a part of would not be possible without the national Christians with whom we partner.&nbsp; Over 140 of these national partners were able to attend the mission conference, and their attendance was also awe inspiring.&nbsp; From Brazil, to Chile, to Nicaragua, to Mexico, to Spain, to Bulgaria, to the Republic of Georgia, to Thailand, to India, to Myanmar, to states in Africa, these dignitaries graced us with their presence and reminded us that mission is a cross-cultural, globally connected event.&nbsp; <br><br></p><h3><u><b>Theological Education Summit</b></u></h3><p>Near the end of the week, David was able to attend a historical event. All the missionaries and international guests from Iberoamerica &amp; the Caribbean who were involved in Theological Education gathered to discuss future networking possibilities.&nbsp;&nbsp; A theological summit for next March is being planned in Nicaragua to brainstorm the sharing of resources, and how to encourage the education of men and women being called to ministry in Latin America.&nbsp; David commented, “During the two hours we met, we shared struggles and successes, concerns and celebrations.&nbsp; There were so many similarities from one country to the next.&nbsp; It was obvious that God had brought us together in this time and place to vision Kingdom work together.”<br><br></p><h3><u><b>The Judsons' Legacy</b></u></h3><p>When I was in the tenth grade, I chose to write my required research paper on the life and mission of Ann and Adoniram Judson.&nbsp; Even as a young woman, their dedication and sacrifice to another part of the world impressed itself upon me.&nbsp; “I want to be like that,” I thought.&nbsp; “Risk everything for Jesus.”&nbsp; Fifteen years ago this August, David and I took that risk as we were commissioned as missionaries to Mexico. Even as I write this, I know God is calling more men and women to service around the world.&nbsp; Perhaps you!&nbsp; 200 years later, the Judsons' legacy continues to boldly call us to rise to the challenge, to say, “Here I am, Lord, send me!”<br></p> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 12:39:15 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/54981-200-candles https://internationalministries.org/read/54981-200-candles This Side of Heaven <h3><br></h3><p>Mountview Christian Church in Columbus, OH sent a mission team of 45 people to partner with us the first week of June.&nbsp; Never having hosted a group of this size, we were a bit daunted.&nbsp; Two months before they came, David began to sit down with Baptist leaders in La Paz to strategize how to receive this group.&nbsp; There was no one project that all 45 people could work on simultaneously.&nbsp; Therefore, we subdivided them into smaller teams and assigned them to various projects.&nbsp; A Mexican coordinator was assigned to each project, and given some funds to gather the resources needed at each site.&nbsp; Then, the fun began!<br></p><h3><u>Six Ministry Sites</u><br></h3><p>Over the course of a week, these 45 people accomplished the following: prepared and poured a cement floor at the Theological School, prepared and poured ½ a cement floor for a new sanctuary at Casa de Oracion , painted an entire sanctuary and did cement work at Cristo Viene, cleaned up garbage and dug a ditch for a water system at Mision La Fuente, painted/cleaned/designed &amp; welded roofing for an enclosed area at Crossroads Christian Fellowship, and poured a section of roof for staff housing at Rancho El Camino.<br></p><h3><u>Worship Binds Us Together</u><br></h3><p>In addition to their work projects, the teenagers (which comprised half the group) had a worship celebration &amp; fellowship time with the Baptist youth on Wednesday evening and Friday evening.&nbsp; Hilarious games were played, new friends made, and Christ glorified through bi-lingual worship.</p><h3><b><u>Proud of Our Partners</u></b></h3><p>By the end of the week, not only were we overwhelmingly blessed by the efforts and love of these 45 new brothers &amp; sisters in Christ, but we were also extremely proud of the Mexican churches we partner with! They rose to the occasion and hosted this group of Americans with grace, joy, and un-ending hospitality.&nbsp; We are in awe of our God who binds us all together in the name of Jesus!<br></p><h3><u><b>This Side of Heaven</b></u><br></h3><p>Sometimes, as Christians, we dream and wonder what heaven will be like.&nbsp; This past week was a glimpse of heaven on earth—people of different nationalities and different languages coming together to further the Kingdom of God.&nbsp; It’s moments like these that make serving as your missionaries an honor and a privilege.&nbsp; Thank you for the opportunity to serve and partner with you in Mexico!<br><br></p> Wed, 18 Jun 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/54318-this-side-of-heaven https://internationalministries.org/read/54318-this-side-of-heaven The Cosmic Mother: A Reflection for Earth Day, April 22, 2014 <h4><u>Discarded Trash</u><br></h4><p>As I was walking today, I noticed all the empty water bottles, beer bottles, and soda cans strewn along the shoulder of the road.&nbsp; Cast-offs of delinquent children (of all ages) too lazy to pick up their trash and throw it away properly in a garbage receptacle.&nbsp; As if they expected some cosmic mother to come along and clean up after them.&nbsp; Even those of us who would never toss an empty plastic bottle along the side of the road, usually expect the cosmic mother to clean up somewhere else.&nbsp; We consume more than we need, never replacing what we take and take.&nbsp; Expecting mother nature to make up the difference even if it will take centuries beyond our mortal lifetime.<br></p><h4><u>Caring for the Earth</u><br></h4><p>My husband decided to compost a couple years ago.&nbsp; Unless forced to, I’d probably never bother.&nbsp; I dislike the smell of rotting food, the issue of attracting cockroaches, the daily raking and turning to assist the decomposition.&nbsp; But my husband is giving back.&nbsp; Replenishing the earth that has gifted him with food.&nbsp; And by virtue of being married to him, I get the bonus of the blessing.&nbsp; His love of gardening teaches me a lot about caring for the earth.<br></p><h4><u>The Totoaba Tragedy</u><br></h4><p>The other night we had dinner at a restaurant where we ordered fish.&nbsp; When we asked what it was we were told it was Totoaba.&nbsp; It is now an endangered species but once flourished in the northern Sea of Cortez.&nbsp; The government of Mexico recently decided to commission fish farms to see if Totoaba could be successfully raised and then reintroduced into the wild.&nbsp; Our flaky, white fish—simply delicious—was one of the success stories.&nbsp; But the reason it’s practically disappeared?&nbsp; It originally spawned in the Colorado River delta.&nbsp; When the U.S. constructed Hoover Dam and altered the water flow to the shores of Mexico, it cut off the amount of fresh water needed for certain species to survive.&nbsp; The salinity of the water became too high for the Totoaba to spawn.&nbsp; This fish became a casualty of a territorial war over water.&nbsp; Unfortunately, it lived on the wrong side of the border.<br></p><h4><u>Who Is My Neighbor?</u><br></h4><p>The Colorado River Project caused devastation for many areas along the Mexican border.&nbsp; Whole fishing communities were decimated as rivers and lakes dried up like empty bottles tossed by the side of the road from their next-door neighbor.&nbsp; Jesus once told a parable that addressed the question, “Who is my neighbor?”&nbsp; As Christians we tend to keep the answer within pretty tight parameters.&nbsp; But with water becoming more and more the single most valuable resource in the world, how will those of us who have more . . . share?&nbsp; We claim to worship the God of Living Water, the one who causes streams to run in the desert, the one who we claim owns everything. Then why are we so hesitant to share?&nbsp; Instead of offering water, we begin to hoard it . . . cup by cup by cup.<br></p><h4><u>The Defining Crisis</u><br></h4><p>Water rights have been a bone of contention since the beginning of time.&nbsp; Even in the Bible there are discussions over wells and who controlled their access.&nbsp; Fred Pierce, in his book <i>When the Rivers Run Dry: Water—The Defining Crisis of the 21st Century</i> says, “The Rio Grande is drying up before it reaches the Gulf of Mexico; the Nile has been dammed to a trickle; reservoirs behind ill-conceived dams sacrifice millions of gallons of water to evaporation, while wetlands and floodplains down river dry up as water flow dwindles. In India, villagers lacking access to clean water for irrigation and drinking are sinking tube wells hundreds of feet down, plundering underground supplies far faster than rainfall can replace them—the same fate facing the Ogallala aquifer of the American Midwest.”&nbsp; <br></p><h4><u>How Do We Fight for Water Justice?</u><br></h4><p>Maude Barlow, in her book <i>Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and The Coming Battle for the Right to Water</i> shares these probing questions:&nbsp; “How will the water in the Colorado River be shared as the population in the US Southwest continues to grow? How will Israel, Jordan, and Palestine share the water of the Jordan River? How will Turkey and Syria resolve the conflict over the big dam project on the Euphrates? How do we encourage water conservation and fight for water justice?”<br></p><h4><u>What Does Jesus Expect of Me?</u><br></h4><p>I am not a politician, an ecologist, or even a decent environmentalist.&nbsp; I know that I still use too much water when I wash my dishes, wash my clothes, or take a shower.&nbsp; But I do claim to be a follower of Jesus.&nbsp; I do claim to believe in a personal God, not a distant cosmic mother who will show up, “tsk-tsk,” and sweep up my messes.&nbsp; I think Jesus expects a whole lot more from me.&nbsp; Where is Jesus asking me to conserve more?&nbsp; I live in La Paz, Mexico, one of the most beautiful, pristine areas still left on the Sea of Cortez.&nbsp; Am I doing my part in taking care of the eco-system where God has placed me?&nbsp; Am I being a good neighbor?<br></p><h4><u>Living Water</u><br></h4><p>Maybe tomorrow, when I go for my morning walk, I’ll bring a trash bag to collect the garbage alongside the road.&nbsp; Just a small task.&nbsp; But one that means I care, that I’m not waiting for someone else to improve the world I live in.&nbsp; However, while picking up trash, taking shorter showers, and recycling are all good things, they are only small pieces of a larger puzzle.&nbsp; I invite you to browse one of the websites listed below that address water ecology.&nbsp; Educating ourselves is the first step of Global Stewardship Awareness.&nbsp; Evangelism is more than just offering Jesus’ living water to thirsty souls, it’s also being a care taker of the natural resources God has blessed us with.<br><br></p><h4><u>Websites:</u><br></h4>Discovery Team &amp; Water Sanitation Project<br>http://www.internationalministries.org/projects/125<br><p>Lifewater International <br>http://www.lifewater.org/ <br><br>Equip International <br>http://www.equipinternational.com/ <br><br>Living Water International <br>http://www.water.cc/ <br><br>River International <br>http://www.riverintl.org/ <br><br>Charity:Water <br>http://www.charitywater.org/ <br><br>Water Missions International <br>http://www.watermissions.org <br><br>Center for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST) <br>http://www.cawst.org/ <br><br>Resource Development International - Cambodia <br>http://www.rdic.org/ <br><br>Hydromissions International <br>http://hydromissions.com/ <br><br>Blood:Water Mission <br>http://www.bloodwatermission.com/ <br><br>Water Wells for Africa <br>http://waterwellsforafrica.org/ <br><br><br></p> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53668-the-cosmic-mother-a-reflection-for-earth-day-april-22-2014 https://internationalministries.org/read/53668-the-cosmic-mother-a-reflection-for-earth-day-april-22-2014 Tied Together <h3><b>Relationships</b><br></h3><p>Calvary Baptist of Newark, DE sent their fourth mission team to La Paz this month.&nbsp; Two of the women on the team have been on all four trips, and one for 3 of the four.&nbsp; So, each of their trips continues to build on previous relationships while also cementing new friendships.<br><br></p><h3><b>Gabriela</b></h3><p>On their first trip to La Paz, the mission team partnered with the church Principe de Paz.&nbsp; They made strong connections with several of the children, and continued to stay in touch with them over the years through email and Facebook.&nbsp; One of the kids they connected with was Gabriela.&nbsp; Melanie said, “She ran to meet us every day.&nbsp; She was bright and full of laughter.”&nbsp; Several months before their scheduled trip for 2014, they heard heart-breaking news: Gabriela had died.&nbsp; Fourteen years old, she had been struck by a car when crossing the street and never recovered from her injuries.&nbsp; Melanie shared that being able to hug Gabriela’s mother in person, and to communicate her own grief over the loss of this beautiful young woman, was a privilege and an honor.&nbsp; Oscar Wilde said, “Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground.”&nbsp; The team experienced holy ground as they wept together with members of Principe de Paz.<br><br></p><h3><b>Joel</b></h3><p>On their second trip to La Paz, the mission team made a strong connection with Ruben and Carolina Gamez.&nbsp; This was because we weren’t here!&nbsp; David was undergoing open heart surgery in the states and we had to scramble to find others to cover our scheduled mission teams.&nbsp; Ruben and Carolina, two of our bi-lingual Mexican friends, stepped up to the challenge.&nbsp; Ruben and Carolina waited for years to conceive a child.&nbsp; And after ten years of waiting and hoping, God open Carolina’s womb and she gave birth to a little boy last November.&nbsp; Leilani shared , “Our team had prayed over Ruben and Carolina, asking God to bless them with a child. Holding Joel was holding an answered prayer. What a blessing to finally meet him!”<br><br></p><h3><b>Delfino</b></h3><p>During their first trip to La Paz, the mission team participated in a ministry called Care for Kids La Paz which provides breakfast and scholarships for children in poverty.&nbsp; Their church has since sponsored three children through this charity.&nbsp; Each time they come to visit, they make a point of visiting the breakfast program, as well as the sponsored child and his/her family.<br><br>This year they visited Yera’s family.&nbsp; She lives with her younger sister and grandparents in a small cement home with a tin roof.&nbsp; The family graciously served the team homemade tamales.&nbsp; As they visited, the team learned more about the family’s circumstances.&nbsp; The grandfather, Delfino, had been a successful businessman on the mainland.&nbsp; But then, the drug cartels moved into town and began to extort money, threatening kidnappings and murder if he didn’t cooperate.&nbsp; Eventually his son was kidnapped and the ransom demanded was exorbitant.&nbsp; His son managed to escape his captors without harm, and they all fled to the Baja, literally leaving everything behind.<br><br>They have been in La Paz for three years and Delfino, who is 70, cannot find work.&nbsp; His son is working in Cabo San Lucas and supporting the family with what he’s earning.&nbsp; Delfino said, “I want to work.&nbsp; I have lots of experience.&nbsp; I am still strong.&nbsp; But no one will hire me.”&nbsp; The team asked David how they might help him and he said, “You could invite him to participate in your work project at the Theological School and pay him for his labor.”&nbsp; So they did!<br><br>Delfino showed up every day for five days, and he wasn’t lying, he was a capable, experienced worker.&nbsp; David saw him swing a sledgehammer with more strength than college students standing beside him.&nbsp; Shy, but with a beautiful smile, Delfino captured the hearts of the work team.&nbsp; He is not a Christian, so they prayed that his time with them would not only be a blessing, but also that his experience with the other Christian Mexican laborers would open his heart towards God.<br><br>Tyler shared, “My father died a year ago.&nbsp; Delfino reminded me of my dad, his work ethic, the twinkle in his eye. He is what made the difference in my life this week. I’m glad we could offer him work beyond just sponsoring his grand-daughter.&nbsp; We offered him a way to contribute, to regain his self-respect.”<br><br>Carol commented, “Money can only do so much.&nbsp; Investment in people is another matter.&nbsp; A relationship with Delfino wouldn’t have happened without us being here in person.”<br><br></p><h3><b>To Walk With You</b></h3><p>Authors Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert in their book “When Helping Hurts” challenge us to examine our motivations when we participate in mission experiences.&nbsp; They say that we need to think beyond giving money and accomplishing projects.&nbsp; A far more costly solution is to develop relationships.&nbsp; Churches need to develop relationships that say, “We are here to walk with you and to help you use your gifts and abilities to avoid being in this situation in the future.&nbsp; Let us into your life and let us work with you to determine the reason you are in this predicament.”<br><br>This mission team spent hours learning how to tie rebar together to build girders that would support a roof.&nbsp; It was hard, demanding work.&nbsp; Nadine, 81 years old, jumped right in beside Jade in her early 20s.&nbsp; The Mexican men commented, “We’ve never seen women do this kind of work.&nbsp; They’re amazing!”&nbsp; <br><br>But this team was doing more than tying rebar together.&nbsp; They were tying their hearts together with the hearts of the Mexican people.&nbsp; David commented that all the rebar they tied together was now hidden in the cement of the roof, no one could see it, but it would support a structure for years to come.&nbsp; So too with the relationships they established.&nbsp; They may never see Delfino again this side of heaven, but because the foundation of their friendship is cemented in Jesus, they can trust God to send others to build on what they started.&nbsp; “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12b)<br><br><b>“Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love; the fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.&nbsp; Before our Father’s throne, we pour our ardent prayers; our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, our comforts and our cares.&nbsp; When we asunder part, it gives us inward pain; but we shall be joined in heart, and hope to meet again.”&nbsp;</b> (Blest Be the Tie that Binds by John Fawcett)<br><br></p> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53154-tied-together https://internationalministries.org/read/53154-tied-together What's Cookin'! <h3><u><b>Hotcakes</b></u></h3><p>For the past two years I (David) have been making hotcakes once a week for all the students and faculty at the Theological School.&nbsp; Generally there have been about 13 people and everyone eats about 4 hotcakes.&nbsp; Excluding holidays, I am guessing I've made about 5000 hotcakes on an electric skillet in one of the class rooms. Feeding students takes a lot of batter.&nbsp; They are always hungry.&nbsp; Ever wonder what God's missionaries are doing?&nbsp; Feeding people, and in lots of ways.&nbsp; For instance, during that same time I have spent about 400 hours teaching and that means about 2000 hours preparing.&nbsp; Feeding minds takes a lot of time.&nbsp; I am constantly surprised at how hungry they are.<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Whipping up something new</b></u></h3><p>During the first week of February a group from Parkesburg Baptist Church (Parkesburg, PA) were in La Paz on a mission trip.&nbsp; We spent the week at the Theological School digging footings for a new kitchen for the hungry students.&nbsp; Several in the group learned how to tie re-bar with annealed wire.&nbsp; They got pretty good after some interesting attempts.&nbsp; The re-bar is in the ground.&nbsp; I'd say they did a great a great job!&nbsp; Getting ready to feed people is a lot of work!<br><br></p><h3><u><b>Feeding Sheep</b></u></h3><p>One of the members of the group is head chef and kitchen manager at a center for the elderly. I wonder if he ever thought he would be mixing cement instead of hotcake batter!&nbsp; Jesus said feed my sheep.&nbsp; Sometimes it takes a lot of work to get that done.&nbsp; We are thankful God stirs up hearts that come to La Paz to get in on what’s cookin’ down here.&nbsp; We are still feeding students so they will have happy tummies and strong minds.&nbsp; Pretty soon we will have a kitchen and eating area to feed His sheep much better.&nbsp; It will also to provide meals for all church gatherings and celebrations.<br><br></p><h3><u><b>You’re Invited to Eat with Us</b></u></h3><p>The students want to invite you to join What’s Cookin’ at the Theological School.&nbsp; They want you to know that there are several ways you can support this new kitchen/dining area.&nbsp; A specific gift for this project will help:<br>?&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Finish construction <br>?&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Provide a Refrigerator<br>?&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; A Stove <br>?&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Tables<br>?&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Basic cookware<br><br>Contact us at mexicoreeds@gmail.com<br><br>Your Missionaries Serving in La Paz, Mexico,<br>David and Joyce Reed<br><br></p> Wed, 19 Feb 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/52737-what-s-cookin- https://internationalministries.org/read/52737-what-s-cookin- New Babies, New Ideas, New Churches <p><u><b>THE MIRACLE BABY</b></u><br>Ruben and Carolina have been our friends and colleagues in Mexico since we arrived in La Paz in 2000.&nbsp; As liaisons from the First Baptist Church of La Paz, they helped us launch the ministry to English Speaking people.&nbsp; Married in 2001, they looked forward to starting a family.&nbsp; But the blessing of a child did not immediately come and, as the years passed, was possibly never going to happen.&nbsp; We spent many tearful and painful conversations with them as they sought to understand their infertility and if they should explore other options.&nbsp; Imagine our surprise when almost a year ago we got the phone call that Carolina was pregnant!&nbsp; Like Sarah in the Old Testament, she was finally going to give birth to a son.&nbsp; Joel Abraham was born on November 16, 2013.&nbsp; He was dedicated to the Lord at Crossroads Christian Fellowship on January 5, 2014.&nbsp; A miracle baby to remind us, “Nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)<br><br><b><u>BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND</u></b><br>We had the privilege and honor of hosting three of our missionary colleagues in the last several months.&nbsp; Near the end of November, Regional Missionary Mylinda Baits came to address the topic of Human Sexuality &amp; Trafficking.&nbsp; She met one evening with a group of Baptist youth, engaging them in a creative exercise that explored their gifts and God-given talents.&nbsp; She urged each of the young people to examine their own unique calling in order to understand their strengths in ministry.&nbsp; Then she shared how God could use those strengths to minister to others in need.&nbsp; Using Judges 19 as her text, she also led a group of women in a theological reflection about Biblical sexuality, how it can be misconstrued and abused, and then had us grapple with these two questions: “How does God redeem women who have no voice? What is our role in this redemptive process?”&nbsp; She also preached Sunday morning about the bent-over woman in Luke 13, challenging us to all consider where we need to stand up and find healing in the name of Jesus.<br><br>In December, Northern Baja Missionaries Ray and Adalia Schellinger-Gutierrez visited with us.&nbsp; Adalia addressed a group of young women at a Baptist Youth Camp about human sexuality.&nbsp; Sharing from Genesis, she taught them about God’s original intent for healthy sexuality, and how do we implement that in our lives today.&nbsp; She strived to give them ways to be positive about their sexuality instead of approaching it from the usual stance of “This is what you don’t do.”&nbsp; Ray preached at Crossroads about the ministry of Deborah House.&nbsp; He shared the vision of how the women’s shelter came into being, and how it has grown in the last 12 years.&nbsp; His theological reflection and stories of hope about abused women touched the hearts of many.&nbsp; Several individuals spoke to him afterwards about volunteering at Deborah House.<br>We are honored to serve with colleagues who are committed to seeing transformation happen through the grace and love of Jesus Christ.<br><br><u><b>A PEOPLE REDEEMED</b></u><br>Monte de Sion organized on January 4 in San Jose.&nbsp; Pastor Marcos Rodas and his wife Sulema are the founding pastors.&nbsp; Marcos has a heart for starting new churches.&nbsp; He resigned from El Buen Pastor two years ago—another church he helped start—so that he could begin this new ministry.&nbsp; The church is situated near the airport, in a growing area of San Jose.&nbsp; Comprised of poor working-class families, Marcos has spent hours evangelizing and sharing the Gospel.&nbsp; His desire is to see people redeemed in the name of Jesus. David preached there on January 12 and it was a joy to fellowship with our Mexican brothers and sisters in Christ.&nbsp; There were 33 adults and 39 kids—wow!&nbsp; They have no musicians so they sing a cappella from memory—there are no hymn books or song sheets.&nbsp; Their Sunday School rooms are small square rooms with one bench for the kids to sit on.&nbsp; The teacher stands, facing them.&nbsp; There are no tables so they use the floor or the bench for crafts and coloring.&nbsp; But the lack of resources is not a deterrent or cause for complaint.&nbsp; In fact, at the end of Sunday School, before worship began, each class (preschoolers to adults) stood in front and shared what they’d learned, recited their memory verse, and often sang a song.&nbsp; They are some of the most joy-filled people we’ve ever worshipped with.&nbsp; Jesus’ love is tangible in their midst!<br><br><u><b>GOD IS DOING NEW THINGS!</b></u><br>Isaiah 43:19 says, “<i>See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland</i>.”&nbsp; Perception is the key to recognizing new things, God’s new things.&nbsp; We hope these stories give you a glimpse of how God is making a way in the Baja Wilderness. May God anoint you with wisdom and discernment as you seek God’s new things where you live and minister in 2014.<br><br>Your ambassadors in La Paz, Baja California South, Mexico,<br>David and Joyce Reed<br><br></p> Mon, 13 Jan 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/52200-new-babies-new-ideas-new-churches https://internationalministries.org/read/52200-new-babies-new-ideas-new-churches The Marriage Dare <h2><u><b>A New Church</b></u></h2><p>Rios de Agua Viva is a new church snuggled up against a mountain in a community growing on the outskirts of San Jose.&nbsp; It’s not much to look at according to worldly standards.&nbsp; Concrete block walls are slowly going up.&nbsp; Meshed wire covers areas to keep out vandals.&nbsp; The roof is a mix of metal roofing, old tarps, and discarded political posters tied together with significant gaps allowing glimpses of sky.&nbsp; The floor is dirt covered with old pieces of carpet.&nbsp; This is their house of worship.&nbsp; <br><br></p><h2><u><b>People Thirsty for God</b></u></h2><p>Pastor Israel Buenrostro and his wife Nicolasa planted this church over a year ago after resigning from their previous church Getsemani.&nbsp; The majority of people who attend are migrants from Chiapas and Oaxaca who came to Southern Baja looking for work in tourism.&nbsp; Because many of them are employed by hotels or restaurants during the day, their worship service is at 6pm on Sunday evenings.&nbsp; Geographically, economically, and spiritually challenged, it truly is a group of people seeking Rivers of Living Water for every aspect of their lives.<br><br></p><h2><u><b>Worship Centered on Marriage</b></u></h2><p>When Pastor Israel invited us to visit, the only instruction he’d given David was this: “Would you please preach a sermon about marriage?”&nbsp; David didn’t ask why; he just assumed that Israel wanted to strengthen and encourage the marriages of the couples attending this new mission.&nbsp; However, the purpose became clear when we arrived that Sunday evening.&nbsp; This was a celebratory worship service.&nbsp; Tonight the church was going to witness the marriage of two young couples.&nbsp; But their journey to the altar had all been based on a dare.<br><br></p><h2><u><b>Three Addicts &amp; A Dare</b></u></h2><p>Here was the twist:&nbsp; Rogerio and Carla had already been living together for 6 years and Concepción and Maria for 16 years, but neither had ever legally married.&nbsp; Also, three of the four had been mired in drug and alcohol addiction since their teenage years.&nbsp; In the last year, however, through a Bible Study home group led by Israel &amp; Nicolasa, all four had not only made decisions to accept Jesus as their Savior, but also the 3 addicts had agreed to rehab.&nbsp; And then, they were challenged to take a further step of faith in regards to their relationships.&nbsp; Would they now consider getting married, saying vows before God and their church community, to honor the union they were already experiencing as a man and woman?&nbsp; Would they dare to say: “I do.”<br><br></p><h2><u><b>Why Mess With a Good Thing?</b></u></h2><p>Their first response was no.&nbsp; Why mess with a good thing?&nbsp; They length of time they’d already spent together proved they were committed to each other.&nbsp; Why did they need to get married legally, and before God?&nbsp; It was a conversation that Israel and Nicolasa patiently waded through for months as they discipled these two couples.&nbsp; The couple who’d been together for sixteen years (they started going out at 15), had a several children, the oldest being 15.&nbsp; One evening Nicolasa presented Concepción with this scenario.&nbsp; “I notice that your daughter is beginning to go out with young men.&nbsp; So one day when she comes home and tells you that she wants to move out and start living with her boyfriend, you’re going to be okay with this?”&nbsp; He responded indignantly. “Of course not!&nbsp; I want my daughter to get married.”&nbsp; To which Nicolasa gently replied, “But what’s her example?&nbsp; You and Maria have lived together for years and have taught her that this is okay.”&nbsp; In that moment, Concepción’s heart and mind began to change.&nbsp; He realized that he wanted a different future for his daughter.&nbsp; Soon after, both couples agreed to get married.<br><br></p><h2><u><b>The Blessing Multiplies</b></u></h2><p>At the Sunday evening service, November 24, both couples sat in front of the congregation.&nbsp; Dressed in their finest, they joined with us as we sang joyful praise songs of faith and community.&nbsp; A leader in the congregation sang a beautiful love song in their honor.&nbsp; David preached from Ephesians 5 on theme of mutual submission, love and respect.&nbsp; And then, Pastor Israel invited them to stand.&nbsp; He first asked if any family members wanted to share, and he encouraged the 15-year-old daughter of Concepción and Maria to come forward.&nbsp; Shy and trembling she took the microphone and said, “I didn’t think you’d ever get married.”&nbsp; And then she began to cry.&nbsp; Tears of joy!&nbsp; Israel told the couples, and all parents present, that when parents decide to make a commitment to each other before God, it impacts your entire family.&nbsp; Other members of the congregation also shared words of blessing.&nbsp; Then the couples exchanged their marriage vows and ring vows.<br><br></p><h2><u><b>Committed to Prayer</b></u></h2><p>A Mexican wedding includes various symbols.&nbsp; One is a prayer cushion.&nbsp; The couple kneels on a cushion, facing each other, holds hands, and promises to daily submit their relationship to Christ, keeping Jesus as the center of their marriage.&nbsp; They commit to pray daily and to ask for God’s guidance.&nbsp; At this point in the service, Israel invited us to come forward to lay hands on Rogerio and Carla while he and Nicolasa did the same for Concepción and Maria, and we prayed over each newly married couple.<br><br></p><h2><u><b>God’s Grace Rains Down</b></u></h2><p>The service concluded with each couple receiving their marriage certificate, and then a beautiful meal prepared by various members of the congregation.&nbsp; I didn’t mention that when we first arrived that evening, another strange thing happened.&nbsp; It was raining!&nbsp; Not something we usually see at this time of year in the desert.&nbsp; A soft, steady rain that was falling between the gaps in the make-shift ceiling, splattering the chairs and benches, compromising the electrical system.&nbsp; Would the ceremony even take place?&nbsp; It was too significant an evening not to miss!&nbsp; People began showing up, the rain slowed down, chairs &amp; benches were wiped down, sound systems were moved to less hazardous locations, and the Holy Spirit swept in and took over.<br><br></p><h2><u><b>New Walls, A New Roof, New Lives</b></u></h2><p>We are also thrilled to report that a generous gift from First Baptist Church of Fairbury, IL will help to raise the walls and provide for a lamina roof—hopefully to be completed by the end of December.&nbsp; Please continue to pray for this new church, and these two couples.&nbsp; Leaving a life of addiction and clinging to a new faith in Jesus takes a lot of guts and determination.&nbsp; Accepting the marriage dare was just the first step of many.&nbsp; But oh what a glorious journey it will be!<br><br><br><br></p> Tue, 03 Dec 2013 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/51646-the-marriage-dare https://internationalministries.org/read/51646-the-marriage-dare When God Changes the Blueprints <h2>What Is God Saying?<br></h2><p>Gustavo Hirales was sitting in one of his engineering classes, trying to pay attention.&nbsp; It was a worthy degree to pursue, and one that also pleased his parents.&nbsp; But his heart wasn’t in it.&nbsp; He found his mind wandering to the youth events taking place each Saturday during the month of October.&nbsp; In the margins of his notebook, he began making notes of what needed to be done, speakers to invite, and how to organize the events.&nbsp; With a start, he realized that he had lost track of what the professor was saying and had no idea if he had missed anything important.&nbsp; Sighing in frustration, he knew he had to talk to someone and figure out what God was saying to him.<br></p><h2><b>What Will My Family Say?</b><br></h2><p>He met with David later in the week.&nbsp; After listening to Gustavo’s heart, David affirmed his call to Youth Ministry.&nbsp; He encouraged him to sit down and talk with his parents, and with his pastor, Guillermo Escobedo.&nbsp; Gustavo’s older sister, Gemenis, had also attended seminary and was now married and serving as a co-pastor with her husband in Zihuatanejo.&nbsp; So having a child called to ministry would not be a new experience for his parents, Gustavo &amp; Letty.&nbsp; But going into youth ministry would be a risk.&nbsp; There are very few youth pastors in Mexico, and there have never been any to serve in the Mexican Baptist Churches of Baja South.&nbsp; Would his church financially support him and encourage him in this endeavor?&nbsp; With trepidation and many questions, Gustavo &amp; Letty gave their son their blessing to pursue this dream.&nbsp; Gustavo then made an appointment with his pastor.<br></p><h2><b>What Will My Pastor Say?</b><br></h2><p>Pastor Guillermo Escobedo of El Mesias not only affirmed Gustavo’s call, but also said he would do everything in his power to find support for him to attend seminary.&nbsp; He said, “We want a youth pastor in our church!”&nbsp; Surprised, and completely overwhelmed, Gustavo shared the good news with David.&nbsp; A spontaneous high-5 and huge smiles were soon plastered on both their faces.&nbsp; David had been mentoring Gustavo in his youth ministry endeavors—ever since Gustavo took a youth ministry class with him at the Theological School over a year ago.&nbsp; It was exciting to see God take it one step further!<br></p><h2><b>What Does My Heart Say?</b><br></h2><p>Gustavo, president of the youth group at El Mesias, and Natalie, president of the Youth Federation for the convention worked closely together to plan the last youth event on October 26.&nbsp; Mexican race car driver Elizabeth Wayas was the featured speaker challenging the kids to consider priorities, dreams, and God-given gifts as they explored what it meant to be God’s champions.&nbsp; Over 60 youth were present and the evening ended with games, fellowship, and great music. Talking with Gustavo later that evening and seeing the joy on his face, we could see that he was achieving God's purpose for his life.&nbsp; By listening to his heart, his life was finally making sense.<br></p><h2><b>Will You Pray?</b><br></h2><p>Please keep Gustavo in your prayers as he takes this huge risk to pioneer in a career that has no precedent in Southern Baja.&nbsp; He is breaking new ground in his pursuit of becoming a Youth Pastor.&nbsp; We are humbled by his courage to let God change the blueprints for his life.&nbsp; He is an inspiration to each one of us, too, as we try to be faithful to God’s leading in our lives.<br><br></p> Wed, 30 Oct 2013 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/51164-when-god-changes-the-blueprints https://internationalministries.org/read/51164-when-god-changes-the-blueprints