From the Mission Front

Due to the Coronavirus, 2020 has proven to be a big challenge not just in the U.S. but globally as well. Earlier in the year, countries went on lock-down, travel was been suspended: and if you were able to travel
you could expect a two week vacation in quarantine when you got back.
 
This has greatly affected the mission field. Up until recently most (if not all) mission trips were postponed if not cancelled. The 2020 Church Family Missions medical/construction trip was no exception. Originally, we were scheduled to leave on April 22nd and return on May 2nd. As the date grew closer, the directors were watching protocols change and uncertainty grow. We were left to wonder if we were able to go, would we be able to be effective, would the team be at risk, would we be putting the nationals at risk, what would coming back into the States look like. In the end, it was decided to postpone the trip until the fall. Later after learning how different countries were “operating” and with virus not slowing down and no vaccine on the near-term horizon, the directors decided that it was best to push the trip off until spring 2021. The same call was made for a number of my friends serving with different mission organizations.

One thing that was going to make this trip special was one of our team members was a really neat lady that Kristal and I met at the Paul Simon concert at Harvey’s outdoor concert area two years ago. We had chatted a bit before the concert. The chit-chat rolled into talking about mission work. I gave her my (and Church Family Missions) contact info and said my usual “If you ever feel the Divine nudge….” and left it at that. We said good-bye after the show and went our separate ways. It totally blew my mind at one of the team meetings when we looked at each other like we knew each other but couldn’t remember from where. And then it clicked – Wow! Pretty crazy stuff, right? I guess it just goes to show that the mission field is everywhere.

During this whole time of uncertainty, the team has been steadfast in their willingness to go and serve. In fact, the team only has one member back out and that was due to a scheduling conflict not for fear of the virus. To my knowledge, the bulk of the team is still on board for Spring 2021. By waiting until next year, I feel that the team will be more effective. Currently, there are strict curfews and limited ability to move about Honduras and Guatemala. People, based on your ID number to move about the cities on certain days (kind of like our watering schedules) between the hours of 9am to 3 or 4pm (or something along those lines) and then back home you go. When going into a store, only one person in the party is allowed to enter.
So, even if we went, chances are our effectiveness would be greatly reduced.

While the bug has seriously upended our (and other organization’s) plans, God has used it to create opportunities for reflection.
Reflection: Well, now what, God? What will the new protocols look like for teams as they travel internationally? As things start to loosen up, as they already have a bit, is this a direction that I still feel “called” to follow? – Yes

I have been trying to stay in touch with the pastors down in Central America: Pastors Eric and Isaias in Honduras, Pastor Martin in Nicaragua, Pastors Otto, Cesar, & Julio in Guatemala. We are looking forward to working together again in the hopefully not-so-distant future. Not sure what that will look like but… Stay tuned.

God has also used this time to help foster an awareness of others in the Mission Field
who might have the opportunity to go and serve and possibly help support them.
Enter Emma Kankelborg. We (LTCPC) were able to her achieve her funding goal. She recently sent an update that she is now completely funded. COVID has unfortunately postponed her international departure as well but she is able to get to her base of operations (Florida I believe) and continue in her training
so she will be more than ready when travel from the U.S. to other reopens.

And to think, we had a small part to play when we hosted her and the rest of CRU over one summer project.

Not being able to travel has been a reminder that the Mission Front is just as much here among our LTCPC family and our community. It has been nice to call and check in with people randomly as they pop into my head.

When the field opens up again, I pray that we can go forth empowered by the scripture passage below. 

God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind
2 Timothy 1:7
Bendiciones a todo Garth

 


Other Ministries To Whom Our Church Contributes Support

National Ministries:
                       Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship – Sarah Devaney serves as area director for
                                                                                             N. Nevada and N. Calif college campus ministry.           
                       The Nevada Presbytery
                       Church Family Missions – short-term ministry to Central American countries
                                                                        via a Tahoe branch of Beyond Partnerships.
                   

International Ministries:
                       Advancing Native Missions – supporting indigenous Christian workers in Nepal and Southeast Asia.
                                                                          P.R. Misra of that organization has met with our congregation.
                       New Hope – Located in Hungary. Csilla Lesko works in publication of Christian materials/curriculum
                                            for sale, and training projects for local Christian staff.
                       4-D Ministries – Rei Abrudan works with youth and clergy training in Romania,
                                                     including summer camps and outreach projects.
                       Elam Ministries – Iranians in-country and expatriates are served through publication/distribution of the Bible
                                                     in Farsi, TV programming, Internet ministry, and magazine publication,
                                                     as well as a Bible training college in London.