Well, my friends, it has been a while since I posted an update. Too long, as some of you have been pointing out recently. Though I am back in the United States raising support, this does not mean that I am taking a pause in ministry; rather, ministry just takes a different form as I report back to my senders what God has been and is still doing in Belize, and how they can be a part of that.
Things have been going well. Although few firm commitments have come in so far (and I need such firm commitments before I can return to Belize with any hope of being there long-term), I have been making and re-making many connections with churches and individuals that will be fruitful for future ministry in Belize. Let me give you a rundown of where I have been, and what I have been doing:
Dec 25 : I flew back to Indiana to be with my folks on the tail end of Christmas day. I was soon out the door to head to St. Louis.
Dec 27 - Jan 1 : I served at the SAMS-USA booth at the Urbana 12 Missions Conference, making connections with students and young adults interested in serving short-term and long-term as missionaries, or in support those who go to the mission field. I was also able to build relationships with SAMS staff and missionaries, and with their mission partners throughout the world.
Jan 6 : I was honored to preach at the church in which I grew up: Alliance Bible Church in Richmond, Indiana, for their Sunday morning service. My text was Psalm 90, and I focused on what our message needs to be to our own generation in light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jan 10 - 11 : I went to Chicago to bail my personal library out of customs. It had arrived from Argentina, sent by my friends who had taken the time to send them off to me. By God's grace, they arrived when I was in the area, and they are now safely stowed with my parents for the time being.
Jan 13 : I had the blessing of preaching at Christ the King Anglican Church in Dayton, Ohio, and sharing with them about my missionary work in Belize. The text of my sermon was taken from Luke 2:41-52, on the incomprehensible wisdom of Christ's mysterious revelation. It was great to touch base with so many old friends, especially the rector Fr. Wayne McNamara.
Jan 16 - 19 : On the 15th, I flew out to Reno, Nevada and the next day drove over the Sierra Nevada with some clergy brothers to California, to attend the Napa Valley Clericus. We had an amazing time of worship and fellowship with over a dozen other clergy from all over the United States and beyond. The theme of the retreat was on "growing the traditional congregation", and we focused in particularly on the importance of the ancient catechumenate for forming new Christians and bringing them into the life of the church.
Jan 20 : I was privileged to preach and share about the mission with Christ Church of the Sierra in Reno, Nevada. I preached on John 2:1-11 and the transformative power that comes when Christ reveals his glory. Though a small congregation, they are poised to move into a new facility, and are already a tremendous light in their city and beyond. I was blessed by the time spent with everyone there, but especially with Fr. Ron Longero and his family whose passion for what God is doing on the mission field is contagious. I'm so grateful to have spent the time with them.
Jan 21 - 23 : It took little urging for me to swing by Fresno, California after my time in Reno, Nevada. Fr. Longero drove me down to stay with Bishop Menees and his family there, and as always I was blessed by the time of fellowship with these dear friends. Bishop Menees was then gracious enough to take me part of the way to San Diego, where he boarded a plane to Washington, D.C. for the March for Life 2013, and I hopped on a train and arrived at my destination, tired but content.
Jan 27 : This past Sunday I got to visit with two congregations. I spent the morning at Christ the King Anglican Church in Poway, California, and though I happened to arrive on the date of their Annual General Meeting, I was warmly received and blessed by their worship. After lunch, I headed up to the Anglican Church of the Epiphany in La Mirada, where I was pleased to serve as deacon in the service and share with the congregation some details about the mission in Belize. Their response to what I shared was overwhelmingly positive, and I look forward to being in touch further with this very young congregation about how they can continue to be involved in the future!
This about sums things up here at (what I hope) is the midpoint of my time back in the United States. Over the next few weeks, I do have a few more visits planned:
Feb 3 : Anglican Church of the Resurrection (San Marcos, CA)
Feb 5 - 8 : TruthxChange Thinktank (Escondido, CA)
Feb 9 : DWA House of Delegates Meeting (Newport Beach, CA)
Feb 10 : Holy Trinity Parish (Ocean Beach, CA)
Feb 13 : Holy Spirit Anglican Church (San Diego, CA)
Feb 17 : Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church (Yuma, AZ)
Feb 24 : Grace Anglican Church (Oceanside, CA)
All this is to say, I've been keeping busy! Please keep me in your prayers, particularly that God will provide, and I will be back in Belize very soon, serving the people to whom he has called me. May God richly bless you all!