My dear followers of the Story,
First, I must express my gratitude to you all for your constant prayers and support as I am on this Graduate Preaching Fellowship (GPF) journey. I also am immensely grateful for the GPF donors’ consideration, patience, prayers, and mercy as I recovered from the emergency hernia surgery I had in July while I was in Guatemala. They granted me an extension to complete my GPF year in Europe as originally planned.
As most of you know, I was admitted for emergency surgery in Guatemala in late July (see blog post below) and I spent the month of August recovering from surgery to bed rest to slowly walking to being able to make home visits with the elders once again. September rolled around and I was asked to do supply preaching at Solomon’s Porch, a bilingual congregation across the lake from Santiago Atitlán. I was able to put into practice all I had learned. I told Bible stories – stories most members had never heard because they were recently coming to faith. I also had the opportunity to continue visiting the elders’ center; to talk about Jesus to the children who would visit me in the coffee shop I attended daily, and to give an on-the-air concert/interview for the Guatemalan Christian radio station, La Vision Atitlán. What I thought would be a depressing month of recovery turned out to be God utilizing my presence to engage in conversations with many about Jesus. What a holy surprise!
I flew back to the states in October to serve as a Spiritual Director on a Via de Cristo retreat in Fort Smith, Arkansas. I was also able to visit my family in Arkansas and Georgia, as well as my grandmother, Betty, who is in hospice care in Texas. This brief pause from the GPF journey was such a blessing to reconnect with family, friends, and congregations who have been lifting me up in prayer.
I will be leaving for Berlin in a just a few hours to complete my commitment with the GPF. I will be spending one week in Germany (Berlin and Wittenberg) and then two weeks at the Taize monastic community in France. I can’t wait to set foot in birthplace of the Protestant Reformation, to touch the stones of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Zionskirche (Zion Church), and to speak with missionaries in Germany who are seeking to live out the Gospel in tangible ways so that the Story can again take root and flourish.
I will then travel by train and bus from Berlin to the Taize Community in France. My time with the Taize Community will be a time of intentional prayer, reflection, and processing of all the stories that I have heard this past year from my brothers and sisters in Central and South America – stories that now have a harbor in my heart. It will be a time that I can sit and intercede for all the people who have crossed my path this past year and for all the ministries and social services I have been invited to visit this past year. Know, dear friends, that you, too, are being held in prayer by a community of international believers, followers of God’s Story.
I am looking forward to all God will continue to reveal as I seek out how God’s story is rooted and growing in the lives of others. Thank you for your prayers for safe travels and for your encouragement along the Way. I thank God for each of you.
May we continue to be at awe at God’s work in the world as God’s story unfolds within and around us.