Tuesday, March 20, 2018

On The Road Again, Soon!


The bittersweet reality of departure haunts each ending of mission service experience.  I have been a winter Texan two years and I have told God it is OK with me if I have that designation again next year.

Reality of chores waiting in Michigan is requiring focusing and prioritizing.  Praise God with me that my Daughter-in-law, Gale, has offered to fly to Texas and is going to drive/ride with me cross-country.


We all have the same amount, but how often it seems to stand still or fly!  Walking in 80+-degree weather while in Texas, January thru March is one of the joys.

Some white pelicans show up in San Benito every 3-5 years.  This was the year and I was blessed to see them!

God continues to teach me life lessons because of my “yes” to ministry. 

 Circumstances are gifts for listening and growing in understanding God’s Providence and Prevenient Grace in our lives.


We are having a national conversation about guns.  It is a needed conversation.

At the same time, it is morally responsible to include in the conversation the number of deaths occurring because of the guns of war.  

How many of the bullets bombs and drones  that killed people worldwide have USA stamped on them or were produced by our military industrial complex?

Statistics of 2017, guns of war.
Start of conflict
Cumulative fatalities
Fatalities in 2017
·       Current phase
23,065[n 1]
·       Iraqi Civil War
North America

Jesus shows no partiality to country or persons,
we are all called to nonviolent living,
“Love Your Enemies.”

Saying “Yes” to Serve at La Posada

Tuesday in Texas is the title of the newsletter produced by La Posada where I served.  The statistics below show the realities as of Tuesday 3/20/18.

Present Client Census: 19 Clients representing 9 different countries

6  Women:   3-El Salvador, 1-Mexico, 1-Congo, 1-Guatemala
5  Children:  2-El Salvador, 2-Congo, 1-Guatemala
8  Men: 1-Mexico, 1-Eritrea, 2-Cuba, 1-Nigeria 1-USA, 1-Cameroon, 1-Congo

These are names and numbers to anyone who reads this, however, to me, now; they are people who received God’s Prevenient Grace at La Posada.  I have had the privilege of seeing Christ in them. 

It was my privilege as Sister Therese leads us in the opening of each day of school.  Each day we say the pledge of allegiance and sing together, God Bless America. 

As part of the cultural orientation in January, Sister Therese taught about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  I loved hearing these suffering asylum seekers singing, “We Shall Overcome.”

It was my joy to see the progress as everyone worked hard to learn English.  For some it was their third or fourth language.  With the young students each week, we were worked on learning the alphabet.  I discovered that for one eight year-old English is the third language going into his head. 
Serving at La Posada was my joy, joy, joy down in my heart.  We also sang This Little Light of Mine.  It is fun watching everyone do the motions and enjoy singing together. 

It is a worshipful soul re-commitment for me as I heard the multi-national singers' voices singing of God’s light.  “Jesus gave it to me, I’m going to let shine.  

The residents are here because of bombs, bullets and violenceJesus is the answer.  

May rivers of justice flow from each of our choices in our 24/7’s! 


Finding Family at First United Methodist Church of San Benito was a joy.  

The United Methodist Women's Unit visited La Posada.

The discussions in the Sunday school class were opportunities to ponder perspectives.

The first Sunday I attended, I was invited to sit in the "Michigan Row."   I also was invited to join them for lunch after church.  

I also attended some events where most live, at Sun and Fun!

My Added Journey

I have added another “Yes” to God and am studying to becoming a Certified Lay Minister, CLM, with the United Methodist Church.  I still have CLM course work and other requirements to complete.  An area of my training, interactions with an established congregation, will be accomplished in the family of God that is the Grawn United Methodist Church.  As I learn and serve in the capacity of a Certified Lay Minister, CLM, I look forward to growing in community with all at Grawn United Methodist Church.  Part of my service will be as the Peace with Justice Coordinator for District 2 of the Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church. 

Pray and Act for Peace with Justice 

[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_armed_conflicts#10,000_or_more_deaths_in_current_or_past_year

Saturday, March 17, 2018

As They Were on Their Way They Were Cleansed.

"As they were on their way they were cleansed."  Luke 17:14

I will be leaving S. Texas at the end of March.  Every going out has created cleansing opportunities in my soul.  Again, during this mission service, I am converted and reconverted in areas where I did not realize my need.  

My daily prayer includes, “God, show me my blind spots.  I am now adding to that prayer, “God, I need your Holy Spirit’s empowerment so that I live into the lessons you are teaching me.”

It was my joy on March 10, 2018 to be a part of the Spiritual Retreat of the United Methodist Women of the El Valle District of the Rio Texas Conference.  

I was privileged to tell how United Methodist Women shaped my faith journey.   

My involvement with United Methodist Women started with a 2012 United Methodist Women’s Ubuntu Journey to Sierra Leone. 

  As I read some background for this journey, I read the story of Beatrice Gbanga.  My heart was strangely drawn with a longing to meet Beatrice Gbanga while in Sierra Leone because of my reading of her story.” 

She had fled Sierra Leone's civil war to settle in Atlanta, Georgia.  In Atlanta, despite her Master’s degree from England and her decades of service as a nurse in Sierra Leone, she had to take a low-paying job as a night parking lot attendant in down town Atlanta.  With children to support, both financially and emotionally she did what any of us UMW would do.  She worked double shifts to raise enough money to sponsor her three youngest children's entry into the United States. 

I felt outrage at how she was treated here.  Our immigration system gives no credit to the college education elsewhere, even education in Great Britain.  After the war, through an offer of our General Board of Global ministries, Beatrice Gbanga answered God's call and took her skills back home to Sierra Leone, (http://www.umcmission.org/Learn-About-Us/News-and-Stories/2011/August/Answering-God-s-Call-in-Sierra-Leone)

It was a joy to meet Beatrice Gbanga and Bishop Yambasu while in Sierra Leone in 2012.

As I prepared to talk on March 10, 2018, I realized for the first time that God’s Prevenient Grace was at work in my heart because of Beatrice’s story.  That story starting my awareness of the injustices in our immigration system.

 Prevenient Grace is a theological concept I first heard about on my Emmaus Walk.  
It is Divine grace that precedes human decision.   

Over 9,000 people from 80+ different countries have experienced God's Prevenient Grace moment by moment at La Posada. 

All shelter residents are in the legal process of refuge in this country.  Tears and hope are the living reality!

As United Methodist Women, we know our call is to ACT FOR JUSTICE. 

 The Holy Spirit living in us is equipping us to be the salt and light to our society.



We are Holy Trouble Makers.  Like our foremothers, we are making trouble for the evils in our society. 

We continue actions of Resisting Evil!  

Pictured with me is Cindy Johnson a UMW Deacon from Brownsville, TX.  Cindy is the person who connected me with La Posada in 2017.

UMW Immigrant/Civil Rights Initiative Facebook page is a resource for learning about the US broken immigration system, https://www.facebook.com/groups/UMWimmigration/?ref=bookmarks .  

The Holy Spirit is active in our world.  UMW helps us realize where and we join in.  Are we ready to keep step with this bishop, Bishop Minerva Carcaño, and others acting for justice?

Hear the Urgent Call, 
Join the Holy Spirit's Action.  

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Classroom Repurposed

La Posada Providencia's E-Newsletter
Is published each Tuesday.  

Consider signing up for this Newsletter at the link below.

Velma’s Hair of Illusions Donates Haircuts for Clients -

Published Tuesday January 23, 2018

An afternoon visit by Velma Trevino and her daughter Crystalina E. Sanchez, owner and operator of Velma’s Hair of Illusion, was no illusion but a reality for La Posada’s clients this past Sunday.  

Nine clients left our make shift Beauty Salon with a new look: haircut, styled, and pampered.  

Velma says her shop has been open for 39 years at 1290 W. Highway 77, San Benito, TX.  and adds “Thanks be to God.”  And our client says “Thank you God for sending Velma and Crystalina.”

May this act of service by Velma Trevino and her daughter Crystalina E. Sanchez inspire all of us.  

Inspired us to Pray, Serve and Donate!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Now- La Posada, San Benito, Texas

Serving At La Posada Is a Grace Gift from God.

Praise God with me for the privilege of serving immigrants and asylum seekers at La Posada, https://lppshelter.org.  If you want to read a personal story from one of the 9000 previous resident, see https://lppshelter.org/la-posada-welcomes-our-9000th-client.  

From their web site, you can sign up for their Tuesday in Texas Newsletter. 
If God stirs your heart, the La Posada web site offers an option for donating. 

I have been at La Posada for over one month.  I left home on December 23 spent Christmas with my Son and Daughter-in Law, Ed & Gale, in Howell Mi.  Praise God with me that I was able to leave so that I drove to Texas between snowstorms, I had 1889 miles of clear highways Michigan to Texas!  On my way here, it was a welcome site to see flowers blooming at my motel in Houston.

Methodist teaching includes the concept of Prevenient Grace, the divine Grace that precedes human decision.  Believers, through the things they say and do as God’s children, are privileged by the Holy Spirit to be part of God’s Prevenient Grace in the lives of others. 

Daily I see God’s grace expressed at La Posada.  Sometimes in words.  
God is with the immigrants and asylum seekers in their struggles, are we?.  Are we, with undivided resolve, ministering to the needs of immigrants and asylum seekers in our cities, and country?

Every weekday I am in the classroom teaching English.  My small group consists of students from many different countries.  All are working hard to learn English.  For most immigrants and asylum seekers here, English is a second language.  For others, English is their third, fourth or more language.   

The classroom and the variety of other activities make my service at La Posada a daily joy!  

Being here often brings to mind the title of a United Methodist Women’s National Seminar I attended in 2015 titled, Interrupt Indifference Jesus, Justice and Joy

Joy is mine as I learn from and with all here. 

Let’s let Grace interrupt us into fervent action!
Please Pray for Immigrants, Asylum Seekers and

Those Who Serve Them.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Then and Now Pondering-Realizing


I chose “Realize” as my pondering word this year.  I continue praying, asking God to show me my blind spots. 


I did not realize the Tradition of Christianity on feeding the poor.  Thomas Aquinas, “in case of need all things are common property.  The implication is that there would seem to be no sin in tanking another’s property, for need has made it common… since… there are many who are in need.  While it is impossible for all to be succored by means of the same thing, each one is entrusted with the stewardship of his own things, so that out of them he may come to aid of those who are in need.  He stated, “It is morally permissible for the extremely impoverished person to take what he or she needs for the substance from the person with plenty.  His main point is about the rights, the claim-rights, of the poor.  Going back in our Christian Tradition, Ambrose (340-397):  “Not from your own do you bestow upon the poor man, but you make return from what is his” 

Also Basil of Caesarea (330-379):
Will not one be called a thief who steals the garment of one already clothed, and is one deserving of any other title who will not clothe the naked if he is able to do so ?

The bread that you keep belongs to the hungry; that coat which you preserve in your wardrobe, to the naked; those shoes that are rotting in your possession, to the shoeless; that gold which you have hidden in the ground, to the needy.  Wherefore as often as you were able to help others, and refused, so often did you do them wrong. 
John Chrysostom stated, “This also is theft, not to share one’s possessions.  Perhaps this statement seems surprising to you, but do not be surprised.  Scriptures say that not only the theft of other’s goods but also the failure to share one’s own goods with others is theft, swindle, and degradation.

The rich man is a kind of steward of the money that is owned for distribution to the poor.  He is directed to distribute it to his fellow servants who are in want.  Therefore, if he spends more on himself than his needs require, he will pay the harshest penalty hereafter.  For his own goods are not his own, but belong to his fellow servants. 

I beg you remember this without fail, that not to share our own wealth with the poor is theft from the poor and deprivation of their means of life; we do not possess our own wealth but theirs.

It is not about the moral failure of the rich, but about the moral injury to the poor who do not enjoy that to which they have a right.

What Are We Willing to Sacrifice for Justice?

An article asks this question on the United Methodist Women's Web site.  HTTPS://WWW.UNITEDMETHODISTWOMEN.ORG/NEWS/MLK2015, What Are We Willing to Sacrifice for Justice?  by Janis Rosheuvel and the Rev. Dionne P. Boissière


The statistics are provided on their web site.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Returning, Pondering, Still Returning

Returning from The Valley March 2017


The month of March is too early to return to Michigan for San Benito,  However, as always home has some perks that even cold weather does not diminish.

I live in a relative new subdivision, The Meadows.   There are no trees to block the beauty of the sky.  

When my son, Ed, went for kindergarten  registration they asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up.  He said, "I want to help God paint the sky!"  Ed and his wife, Gale, are still paining happy colors into my life.  

God is doing a great job on the sky!

Garden Pondering

It is a two year tradition to have a garden.  I call it my jungle garden because it does not need attention.  When my brother Jim and his wife Janet come, they identify which plants are weeds and we pull them out then,  

I had no idea how much joy I would get from the jungle gardens on four small parts of my yard.

From dirt to Beauty!  Is that true of our transformation as God created humanity from the dust of the earth.  God continues to care for us and we return to the beauty of God's original intent for each of us, "very good".

We are creatures that can know God and love each other.

Even some home grown tomatoes.

Did you find the butterfly?

The Fun of Summer

In July I attended a conference of Christians for Biblical Equality, https://www.cbeinternational.org    with my sister Donna in Orlando.  Inspirational messages and workshops.

Of course  some Disney shopping. 

I related to this sign at Mammoth Cave.  I am on a self guided DISCOVERY TOUR.  I am thankful for the Methodist tradition that teaches that God is within us and providing insights.

This trip driving back from Orlando was filled with Social Justice pondering.

Seeing the historic reality at Mission San Luis set me to wondering what the God of reconciliation have for me to do in the return of flourishing to all.

Spending time at Birmingham Civil Rights Institute caused a lamenting heart.  I was alive then when this was happening.  I asked myself why I was not there to struggle with the oppressed.  That is what Jesus said he come to do, set the oppressed free.  Realizing anew that we are called to be salt and light so that our society does not continue to repeat the injustice of our historic past.

We have a lot of work to do!

More Fun

What fun, thousands of people had at Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore coming together to watch eclipse?

Sisters, sister-in-law and Chocolate Cake.
Wish we lived closer, S. W MI, WA and FL.  

Spiritual Formation Methodist Tradition

This beautiful window in the Chapel of Central United Methodist Church has special significance to me.  I shared it with my four siblings.  The purple iris was my mother's favorite flower.  We have not identified which of us is represented in the four sheep.  Glad none of them were black!

It is in a room just off the Chapel where I attend an accountability group.  This type of group was started by John Wesley.

The spiritual growth in sharing life and thoughts with others in this group has been a huge help.  If you want to know more,  search accountability groups at   https://www.umcdiscipleship.org .

My personal reading is a large part of my personal spiritual formation.   If you want to see what I am reading, send me an email: randie.clawson@gmail,com or a Facebook message.

Grand Traverse District of United Methodist Church

I am a member at Grawn United Methodist Church.  It is part of the Grand Traverse District of the United Methodist Church.  Last year and again in June 2018 the Michigan United Methodists will be meeting for our annual conference at the Grand Traverse Resort.  There will be over on Thousand participants.

I am praising God for an opportunity to study for and become a Certified Lay Minister in the United Methodist Church. A process of change!

One of the joy's is that Rev. Anita Hahn, District Superintendent, in September, extended a call to me to be the Peace with Justice Coordinator for the district.

It is my joy to be able to talk to district members.  I met many at the Main Event Meeting in November.

Surprise Party

My Balance and Core Gym group, at Centre Ice Fitness, gave me a surprise party on my 75th birthday.  Am I really 3/4 of a century old?

It was a few days early and  just a few days before I returned January 2018 to La Posada,  https://lppshelter.org, in San Benito TX,. 

I am spending three months serving immigrants and asylum seekers.  I am teaching English, doing some office work and enjoying being a "Winter Texan."

Our circumstances, if we pay attention, give us opportunities to return to God's intent for everyone, human flourishing in all aspects of life.