Sunday, February 12, 2017

Reflections Requested

Anointed for Service


In 2013 my pastor, Dianne Doten Morrison of Christ UMC sang a song during an anointing service for my first mission ministry.  She sang again at the anointing ceremony led by Pastor Colleen Wierman of Grawn United Methodist Church in December 2016, as I prepared to serve at La Posada Providencia in San Benito, TX.  The Holy Spirit continues to use the truths of the words of her song in my life and service.

L'chi lach to a land that I will show you.  
Leich l'cha to a place you do not know. 
L'chi lach on your journey I will bless you. 
 And you will be a blessing, you will be a blessing, you will be a blessing. 
 L'chi lach.

The song is based on Genesis 12:1 when God says to Abram, “Go forth to the land I will show you.”  Hebrew words, L'chi lach meaning, "Go forth" and lech l'cha meaning "Go for yourself.'  This is because when God sends you on a journey it is not only a journey for God.  It also contains the meaning of a journey of self-discovery, self-direction and personal choosing.


Our Journeys

I praise God for this journey.  God’s intentions for each of us is beyond our imaginations.  My devotions this morning from E. Stanley Jones’ book The Way to Power and Poise (page 79) emphasized the necessity of giving our all.  “For God can only give All to all.  We offer “some” and expect God to overlook the reservation and give us all.  But the heavens are silent.  They open with only one key-all.”


My Ongoing Calling

Blogging as I Go

In July of 2013 when I started my GBGM Volunteer in Mission experiences, I created my blog and named it www.considerourcall.blogspot.com.  I am so thankful for you who read this blog as we consider our calls together.  My heart is warmed by the love and Spirit of Hospitality extended to me in so many places by so many people during my journey.

Refugees




Since 2013, God’s Holy Spirit has show me the plight of refugees during my journeys.  I served with and for refugees in countries overseas and refugees from many countries in the US. 







My call, our call it to serve Jesus by serving those in need.


Refugees in Traverse City


In November 2016, my interest in refugees expanded as I attended conferences in Lansing about refugees in Michigan.  I discovered that Traverse City, my hometown, had recently been designated as a city to resettle Unaccompanied Minor Refugees.  Bethany Christian Services in Traverse City has the task of finding foster care homes for these youth.  Call Bethany Christian Services if you want to help 231 995 0870 in the foster home aspects of this process.

Working closely with Bethany Christian services, Northwest Michigan Welcoming Council (NMWC) has been formed.  You are invited to be a part of this important group.  Their Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/NWMichiganWelcomingCouncil/.  If you would like to be in the email loop for this group send a note to: nwmichiganwelcomingcouncil@gmail.com


Now I'm a Winter Texan

Before starting to serve refugees at La Posada Providencia in San Benito, TX, I did not know the term Winter Texan.  Winter Texans answer God's call by serving at La Posada.  February flowers are beautiful.

This ministry has been serving refugees and immigrants in the valley for 27 years.  Statistics have been updated, La Posada has provided refuge for more than 8500 people in crisis from more than 80 countries worldwide . 

They are fulfilling Scripture’s mandate Matthew 25:35.  To learn more, view their web page https://lppshelter.org and watch the video on the web page.  In addition, check out their Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/LPPShelter/ to see the work God is allowing here.  If you are a Winter Texan, or from the area call and schedule a tour of La Posada, 956 399 3826.

This is an amazing ministry.  I have never seen anyone work harder than the sisters here, Sister Zita, the director, and Sister Margaret are sisters of Divine Providence. Sister Therese Cunningham is a Sister of The Holy Spirit.  They are on duty 24/7.  I have learned a lot from their examples, their hospitality and their love, for the refugees, each other and me.


My Daily Joy!

Time really goes fast.  I have been here a month already.  My daily schedule involves being a helper to Sister Therese, originally from Ireland in the classroom.  She plans lessons for students at many different skill levels.  It has been fun for me to see students progressing.  It is fun to see people from many different nations working hard to learn English!  For some English is their third or fourth language.  

Last week I worked with a women in her 30’s who she speaks three languages, but had never written her name.  Praise God with me for the joy of teaching and seeing amazing results.  

Sister Therese does a great job of exposing the refugees to United States culture.  It is a thrill to hear our class say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.  To watch the refugees carefully raise and lower the flag each day.





Hospitality: Stories, Stories and Stories!


Meal times are special times.  Eating together as a family gives everyone time to get to know each other to share stories.  The numbers here fluctuate, but friendships develop quickly.  


Before and after each meal we work together to prepare and clean.  

Of course some would rather play in the cupboard than eat.  It was a joy seeing this little one take his first steps.



Connections

Praising God for connections made here.  Another volunteer that comes once a week mentioned that she works for an agency here in Texas that shelters unaccompanied minors.  They were looking for organizations hoping to move the minors in their shelter into foster family homes.  Bethany Christian Services is now connected with upbring, https://www.upbring.orgIt was fun realizing God was using me to making connections between my service here and what is happen for refugees in Traverse City.  Experiencing God!


Offering Opportunities to Be Blessed

I am working closely with a United Methodist Deaconess, Cindy Johnson.  I attended her church in Brownsville the first Sunday I was here.

  She volunteers here at La Posada one day a week.  Together we are reaching out to churches in the area.  We are bringing the needs of the refugees and the mission needs of La Posada to the churches in this area. The potential of blessings because of "Yes" to volunteer ministry at La Posada.


How fun it is for me to feel the Sisterhood of United Methodist Women Units as I visit groups here in the valley.    




The Wall at Brownsville

So VERY Sad!





Saturday, February 4, 2017

NO SIDELINES

PARTICIPANTS


We are called to participate! 

Romans 12:1-2
1 Therefore I urge you, brothers, on account of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 Do not be confirmed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

It is important to allow God’s Holy Spirit to renew our minds.  As Ephesians 4:23 states, “to be made new in the attitude of your minds”

In our “Christian” United States, this has been and continues to be Scripture’s call to each of us.

E. Stanley Jones’ Abundant Living on page 288 notes these prayer thoughts.  “God, as we begin the adventure of living out each stage of life, give us insight and imagination that we may make each stage distinctive and beautiful. 
Help us not to waste our time in useless regrets, or in reaching for the moon:  but help us to beautify the hours as they come and go, and to press the “signet ring of Eternity” upon each passing moment, Amen,”

La Posada Providencia Participants

We invite you be off the sidelines, be involved with La Posada as we serve immigrants and refugees.  

Join the ministry of La Posada.  Let's answers our call  to love our neighbors as ourselves.





May God continue to open our eyes, hearts and minds so we see what the Holy Spirit is doing in all aspects of our lives, cities, nation and world.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

La Posada, God at Work

La Posada Providencia Is…

La Posada a shelter for refugees and immigrants. It is in San Benito, Texas.  The address here is  La Posada Providencia, 30094 Marydale Road, San Benito,TX 78586,



 The La Posada answers the biblical call to “Welcome the Stranger.”  See their web site for inspirational insight into their services, https://cdpsisters.org/la-posada-providencia)


 Main Task

Their web site indicates that La Posada provides a safe, nurturing environment to immigrants, asylees, and asylum seekers who have come to the United States seeking safety, protection, and a better life. All shelter residents are in the process of seeking legal refuge in this country. La Posada has welcomed people from more than 70 different countries.





La Posada's Extended Goals

On the web site, you will read that their goals extends beyond shelter to helping their clients adjust quickly to United States’ culture.  Clients participate in life skills and English language lessons and receive personalized case management and transportation.

I teach English as a second language under the guidance of Sister Therese of The Convent of the Holy Spirit from Ireland.  My main tasks are involved in helping to offer these extended goals.  Each day clients are offered the opportunity to learn English and are exposed to the culture in the United States. 

Our lessons this week included prepositions denoting position.  Students learned to read and understand such prepositions as: at, across, in, on across, under, below and above.


Since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday was this week, we learned why our country celebrates his birthday as a national holiday. 

Like those who marched with Dr. King, my prayer is that these new citizens of the United States will “overcome some day.”

To Think About

As noted above, the English lessons I taught this week were in part the prepositions of position.  “On and In,” the concepts in these small words were part of a study from an E. Stanley Jones’ book, The Way to Power and Poise.  On” also showed up as part of the United Methodist Women Daily Prayer Calendar and Bible Reading Guide.  These resources helped me to realize the difference between “on and in” as they relate to the Holy Spirit.



When Samuel anointed the shepherd boy David as king, the Spirit came on him for the task of his kingship.  However, in the New Testament we have the truth that the Holy Spirit is in us. 
The Bible tells about the difference the experience of Pentecost made on Jesus’ disciples.  With the Holy Spirit in, they became contagious Christians transforming the world.





The Holy Spirit precipitates a crisis!  The Holy Spirit convinces of us sin, not believing and not making Christ the center of our lives.  Convinces us of righteousness, the righteousness we might have had if we had totally surrendered and walked our way, in the Way

Let’s praise God that because of Jesus on the cross, evil met its match and is defeated.  “The ruler of this world is judged.”  


On our way, in The Way, let’s pray for immigrants and refugees!

Consider sending gifts and donations to La Posada Providencia (address above).

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Rule or Ruin

I continue to read books by E. Stanley Jones.  He was my mother’s favorite author, and a famous Methodist missionary and preacher.  Below are my reflections on my reading of the ideas on p 54 titled Destiny in Directions from the book, The Way to Power and Poise.

Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end.  Jesus declared, “I am the Way! 

John 16:13 The Holy Spirit will declare to you the things that are to come.  Certain ways fit in with God’s ways, and the future is with them- reality backs them.

We can live ahead of the times, when we are receptive to what the Holy Spirit reveals to our hearts.  In Jesus, the past, present and future is revealed to us.

Destiny is morally discerned, certain events are bound to follow certain causes.  Everything that fits in with Jesus is destined to rule, and everything that does not fit in is doomed to ruin

The Way of Jesus is always the Way and every other way is not-the-way.

Because of Jesus, evil has met its match, and has been defeated.  All evil we face has the footprint of the son of God on its neck.


Let’s live as a convincing demonstration of Christ’s transforming Power

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Travel Travel Travel

Praising God for the Journey

Christmas 2016

Christmas with my son and daughter-in-law, Ed and Gale, in Michigan.  Glad I do not have to be out in the back yard!  Glad I am heading south!

Because Ed and Gale  were willing to taking me to and picking me up from Metro Airport in Detroit.  I was able to spend the New Years Holiday with my sister and her family on Bainbridge Island near Seattle.  

Spending Gift cards is a part of the after Christmas Tradition.

My nephew, Holden, and sister, Molly, are great shoppers!











Thank God for GPS and Gale

I started my trip to Texas on January 3rd.  Gale, my daughter-in-law programed my GPS and was on phone rescue duty during my whole trip.  I could not have done it without her.  I am so VERY thankful for all your prayers for traveling safety.

Dallas: Missional Wisdom Foundation

I planned a visit with Missional Wisdom Foundation (MWF) www.missionalwisdom.com in Dallas.  Yes I did take some wrong turns, but with God, Gale and GPS I made it to the meeting.

 It was exciting to learn how God is using Missional Wisdom Foundation.  I came away with ideas that will enhance ministry in Traverse City

Missional Wisdom Foundation is in ministry in several states.  Please check out their web site.  I know you will be blessed.

The only down side was the Dallas Traffic!



Reaching My Destination:  La Posada Providencia

I am blessed to be part of this ministering community.  
Praise God with me that we have the opportunity to pray for and act on behalf of refugees and immigrants
For the first three months of 2017, I will be serving at
 La Posada Providencia, 30094 Marydale Road, San Benito,TX 78586,
(
https://cdpsisters.org/la-posada-providencia)


La Posada Providencia answers the Gospel call to “welcome the stranger.” Founded by Sister Carolyn (now Hilary) Hooks, La Posada provides a safe, nurturing environment to immigrants, asylees, and asylum seekers who have come to the United States seeking safety, protection, and a better life. All shelter residents are in the process of seeking legal refuge in this country. La Posada has welcomed people from more than 70 different countries. Their goals extend beyond shelter to helping their clients adjust quickly to United States culture. Clients participate in life skills and English language lessons and receive personalized case management and transportation.
As people of faith, we are in this together.  Your help and prayers are needed. 
Please pray for immigrants and refugees! 
Consider sending gifts and donations to La Posada Providencia (address above).

During my service at La Posada, I will remain available via my phone, 231 649 0930, via email address: randie.clawson@gmail.com , via blog www.considerourcall.blogspot.com  and via my Facebook page. 



Old Year Brings Possibilities To The New Year

In The Light And The Light In Us!

On a page titled "With" or "In." E. Stanley Jones indicates in his book, Power and Poise the following important ideas 

The average Christian lives under the ought rather than can. 

When totally surrendered to God, the Holy Spirit comes in, so that our living becomes faithful, and loyal.  The Holy Spirit functions in us.  


The author quoted Chesterton, "if the natural will not submit to the Supernatural it becomes the unnatural."

E. Stanley Jones goes on to say, "Jesus was perfectly surrendered and hence perfectly natural.

Are we living like Jesus?  Are we living a natural, supernatural Christian life?



Church Women United



I praise God for the stamp of eternity on the good work this organization does in our community.  

Church Women United is a racially, culturally, theologically inclusive Christian women’s movement, celebrating unity in diversity and working for a world of peace and justice.  Church Women United empowers women of faith to advance social justice in their local communities and globally.  We believe in a more just and cooperative future, grounded in the love of God.  Impassioned by the Holy Spirit we act on behalf of women and children throughout our global community

Active last year even more action in 2017 working for justice for all.

United Methodist Women

The United Methodist Women Units in churches across W. Michigan Conference creatively make the Love of God an experience through their meetings and projects.

This United Methodist Women  co-sponsors a Keep Making Peace Day in East Lansing at University United Methodist Chruch, on April 1st.  Information and registration is at http://msuwesley.org/kmp2017.   
The topic this year is Confronting Michigan’s Climate Change.  

Everyone is invited to this important event. 


Before During After Incarceration (BDAI)


We started this organization in July of 2016.  We are raising awareness and taking actions with and on behalf of the Incarcerated, Previously incarcerated, their families and friends.

We continue to meet the Third Tuesday of each month.  Check our Facebook Group page for meeting times and places, https://www.facebook.com/groups/BeforeDuringAfterIncarceration/.  It would be great to have you be a part of this important organization.  We need volunteers.

Some tweaking of our justice system is needed to bring a just justice.

Northwest Michigan Welcoming Council

In November 2016 I traveled to Lansing and attended two events about immigration and refugees in Michigan.  I learned a lot!  The most exciting thing was that our federal government had authorized Traverse City as a place to resettle unaccompanied refugee minors.  Bethany Christian Service is the agency administering the program.  A group of local residents have formed to help extend the Welcome.  We are calling ourselves, Northwest Michigan Welcoming Council.

 Northwest Michigan Welcoming Council



Please consider being part of the Northwest Michigan Welcoming Council (NMWC).   We are a group of local residents raising awareness of the needs of refugees and coordinating efforts to welcome refugees to our area. 

Facebook:
Email:

Bethany Christian Services has been designated by the Federal Government to resettle unaccompanied refugee minors in our area.  They are in urgent need of foster care homes.  For specific details, please call Jamie Staley of Bethany Christian Service, 231421.6494.  In addition to foster care homes, Bethany will have many other ways to help refugees. 


Northwest Michigan Welcoming Council will:

·       Raise awareness of Bethany Christian Services’ role and needs as Unaccompanied Refugee Minors are resettled in Northwest Michigan. 
Current Urgent need, foster care homes. 
·       Provide understanding of the process through information, networking, advocacy and partnerships in Northwest Michigan.,
·       Join our hearts and hands to express kindness and smooth the integration processes.  As refugees see the beauty of our area, they will experience the collective beauty of our souls.
·       Participate in events with newcomers to hear their stories, their hopes, and their dreams.
·       Explore all possibilities as we work together so that through our combined efforts Love Peace and Justice will continue to flourish in Northwest Michigan.

More information will be posted on the Facebook Page.  If  you, or someone you know wants to be in the group’s email loop, let us know via email.

Let's help make Northwest Michigan their home sweet home!


 







Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Human Being - Human Doing




ACTION AND CONTEMPLATION

Praise God with me for the rhythm and flow of our lives.  I praise God for the gift of time and energy.  Daily renewing of our hearts and minds through his presence in us and in our culture.  Paul in the scripture reminds us, "In whom we live and move and have our being." 


West Michigan Conference of United Methodist Church


I was able to attend and serve at the Annual meeting of the  West Michigan Conference.  My service with World Council of Chruches as an Ecumenical Accompanier Program Palestine Israel, EAPPI was the topic of my display, http://www.eappi-us.org/.






United Methodists for Kairos Response

A group of United Methodists have organized to answer the urgent call from Palestinian Christians in Kairos Palestine: A Moment of Truth.  Our call is for effective action to end the Israeli occupation and achieve a just peace in the Holy Land.

I traveled to Des Moines, Iowa for a planning meeting.  At their sculpture park, the reflecting exhibition gave new dimensions to a Selfie.  

 


.

United Methodist Women 

Quadrennial in Grand Rapids

It was my joy to share the sisterhood of United Methodist Women.  Many members of the W. MI Conference of the United Methodist Women were able to attend this event.




Contemplating Economic Justice

I gave my reflections from attending the United Methodist Women National Seminar, Interrupt Indifference Jesus Justice and Joy.

There is much to do to achieve social justice in our country.

Each of us must realize the modern day idols that call to fill our lives.  We repent and turn making the kingdom Jesus established our priority.






A Family Note-

My son and his wife, Ed and Gale, are interested in horses.  Gale took me to meet one of the horses she cared for.  Certainty beyond my comfort zone.  However the horse loved me! I admit it was my first positive horse experience.  

Sisters and Sister- in Law, Janet and Donna.  We were able to celebrate Donna's birthday.  Something we could not do for years because Donna was a missionary in Africa for many of here birthdays.

Center Lake Bible Camp in Tustin, MI

Donna and I were able to attend the 60th anniversary celebration at Center Lake Bible Camp http://www.centerlake.org/.  We were campers during the first year of operation.

The cinnamon rolls, a camp specialty, are still as good as they ever were.




 Before During After Incarceration BDAI

Before During After Incarceration is the name given to a group that is part of the ongoing efforts to ensure that the Grand Traverse Area will be a place where all can flourish.

The main working groups are:
·       Families, Housing, Life Skills, Transportation Group
·       Release Referral Program Group
·       Mental Health and Addiction Group
·       Advocacy Communication and Membership Recruitment  Group
·       BDAI Book Club Group
·       Restorative Justice Group

We meet the third Tuesday of each month.


Continue to Pray for Our Cities, States, Nation and World