Tuesday, March 28, 2017

From This Valley


Part of the worship service that I enjoy is the call to worship.  I attended the Wesley United Methodist Church in Harlingen TX on March 19, 2017.  

Pastor Jeana Leann Martin provided this call to worship based on John 4.  La Posada Providencia is part of this congregation’s ministry.

Leader:            Jesus Christ encountered an outsider at a well and did not turn away!
People:           He met her where she was!
Leader:            God, encased in human flesh, saw a need and offered living water!
People:           Jesus met her where she was!
Leader:            He offered her living water, freedom from al that bound her!
People:           Jesus met her where she was!
Leader:            Jesus, God poured out, sees us, hears us…Jesus does not turn away!
People:           Jesus meets us where we are!
All:                  Thanks be to God! Amen!

The Valley

I have met Jesus here!  As a “Winter Texan”, I did many things.  I enjoyed the warm weather.  However, serving immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers was the reason for my coming and remains my focus.  I am discerning next winter’s mission ministry

A Lenten Reflection speaks to these issues.

Leaving La Posada Providencia


Parting is such sweet sorrow” is a line from the play Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare; Juliet is saying good night to Romeo. Their sorrowful parting is also “sweet” because it makes them think about the next time they will see each other.

Leaving La Posada is also a sweet sorrow.  My soul is filled with pleasant memories of everyone here. 

The “sweet” part of the reality here is that although we may never see each other again we go in the loving providence of God.  Everyone experiences God’s love in tangible ways as La Posada “welcomes the strangers: in accordance with Matthew 25. 
God Loves each of us and is on our side


I first posted this poem to my blog in 2013 as I departed from my service with World Council of Churches in Jerusalem.  Now, another layer is added

United Methodists in the Valley

During my time in “The Valley,” it was my joy to visit fourteen different United Methodist Churches.  This was a connection with a purpose, bringing information about La Posada to the congregation members.  Much work is being done on behalf of refugees. 

How fun it was to see congregation members come to La Posada for tours and to hear of their plans to volunteer.  Congregations took up special offerings for La Posada.  It is inspiring to see these United Methodist congregations answering God’s Matthew 25 call to welcome the stranger.

Women United Methodist Women Deaconess, Cindy Johnson, attended churches with me as her schedule allowed.  She also volunteers at La Posada each week.  Her language skills are an advantage.   I had the joy of speaking at one of the UMW unit meetings.  Seeing good being done for La Posada through women’s groups was an added blessing.

Going Home

I have the option of going home.  This option is not the reality of the asylum seekers at La Posada. 

When I served in Harrisonburg, VA last winter, this poem was recited at one of the events.  In my opinion, it should be required reading.  It was written by Warsan Shire  she is a Kenyan-born Somali poet, writer and educator based in London. 

Returning Is a Process

I am thankful for my daughter-in law’s help.  She is my go to GPS guide.  On the way, I stopped in at the offices of the Rio Texas Conference Mission Vitality Center in San Antonio.  I learned a lot.  Perhaps you can join me in considering some possible future mission ministry as a “winter Texan.”

I am finishing this paragraph in Oklahoma City, OK.  My GPS did not find the hotel.  Gale, from home used street view and led me here via a long phone conversation.
I am here to take a course offered by UM Path 1.  The course is training to understand ethnic diversity and reach multiethnic populations.  Developing cultural competence will help me as I serve people for around the world.

Trusting God and the prayers of many people, I will drive in from somewhere in Indiana to attend the 2017 Keep Making Peace event in Lansing, MI on April 1.  Lansing is only an hour from my son and daughter-in-law, Ed and Gale’s home.  They have invited me to spend time with them after the event. 

Finally back in Traverse City April 2.  Then I really get busy!

Thoughts to ponder:-

"Even in the moments when our very being is shouting out that we must rest, hide, or quit, we are called to be like Mary….to rise up, to commit to the long work of justice and healing, even in the face of our own insecurities, fears, and fatigue.”
From An Ignatian Solidarity Network Series: I Come To Do Your Will

From the Valley

 “Now, to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:21-22