We celebrate today with our friend and colleague Alice Winters on her first day of jubilación, or retirement. Somehow the Spanish word, jubilación, sounds and seems more like a celebration, which it should be. It is a celebration of decades of faithful ministry, of caring and imaginative service of those who live in poverty and amidst crippling violence, and a legacy of learning and transformation that permeates hundreds of leaders in this country. We thought Alice's words best mark this transition for her, so we'll re-print her final mission letter here. Leaving the very nice shout-outs to us aside, it is a great summary of what Alice would have us do to celebrate her ministry - keep on working for God's reign!
A letter from Alice Winters, home from Colombia
Dear friends, This Christmas I am especially grateful for your love and support during the past 34 years of my service as a PC(USA) mission co-worker with the Presbyterian Church of Colombia. Your prayers and your letters have strengthened and encouraged me. Your sacrificial giving through the church made my work possible. I thank you and I thank the Lord for all who have so wonderfully stood by me during this time. Now I am in a time of transition. Last spring health issues led me to decide, after much prayer, that it was time to retire. It wasn’t easy to leave the work that has been so important to me and such a constant joy. My students, the university, the church and the people of Colombia will always be in my heart. They gave me a wonderful farewell: worship services, special programs, a formal banquet, even a book by members of the church about my work. My heart was overflowing. Now I am back in Louisville, wrapping up my employment with the church and seeing the doctors who cared for me when I was here on medical leave two years ago. I’m sorry that I cannot travel and visit the churches and friends who have been so much a part of my work, but I would be glad to talk with you by phone or Skype I have a lot to share about our PC(USA) mission outreach there. Also, I want to be sure you know that now, since I have had to leave Colombia, it is more important than ever that you stay on and continue your prayers and support for the Reformed University, the Presbyterian Church of Colombia, and the PC(USA) mission co-workers who remain there. Let’s start with co-workers Richard Williams and Mamie Broadhurst. They are a gifted couple who have won the hearts of the Colombians (as has their 1-year-old daughter, Nora, who is not a co-worker but has managed to steal people’s hearts anyway). They certainly ministered to me in many ways. You can get to know them on their blog Called to Colombia, which also contains helpful information about the church’s prophetic ministry and about the country, its culture and its problems, as well as frequent suggestions about what you can do to help. If you have been supporting me as a mission co-worker, please consider moving that support to them. Mamie and Richard work closely with the community accompaniment program of the Colombian Presbyterian Church. You or someone you know could be an accompanier, spending a month in a ministry of presence with the church and with displaced communities and the human rights leaders with whom they work. Spanish would be most helpful, but it is not required. To find out more about the accompaniment program, you can visit the website www.presbypeacefellowship.org/colombia or write to the U.S. accompaniment coordinator at email@example.com. Perhaps you would like to visit Colombia but can’t give a whole month. You can organize a delegation or work team from your church or presbytery. Check out the PC(USA) website for helpful materials on planning a short-term mission or study trip. Several presbyteries (Miami, Winnebago, Tres Rios and Chicago) send delegations frequently and welcome participants from other areas, as does the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. The Colombian church will welcome you, and Mamie and Richard can help with your plans. You have faithfully supported the many mission projects of the church in Colombia through Extra Commitment (ECO) giving: the university and its scholarship, library and building funds, the projects for displaced persons, the evangelism program, and many others. Your church or presbytery has a list of ECO projects for Colombia—and for every country where the PC(USA) is reaching out in mission. Or you can write to the PC(USA) World Mission office here in Louisville for more information.
Please don’t think I care only about Colombia. I care about the heartbreak of the world—and its marvelous possibilities also. I have traveled throughout Latin America, and every country there has a place in my heart. I also care about Iraq and Iran and the Arab world, about Africa east, west and south, about Europe and Russia, about China, India, Japan and all of Asia. We have partner churches around the world, and we need to be world Christians, learning about other countries, caring about what happens to their people, lifting them up along with our partner churches and mission co-workers in earnest intercessory prayer. Please pray also for the staff of the national office in Louisville. Their ministry is vital to mission co-workers around the world.
But I do care about Colombia. The men and women you and I prepared (because you did help) and then worked beside for so many years—they still need your prayers and your support. I still need your prayers too. For the first time in my life, as I face the New Year, I honestly have no idea what that year will bring, not even a hint. Of course nobody does really. I do know who holds the future, and I know He holds my hand. For now, that is enough.
Thanks again for all you do to keep our church’s mission outreach strong throughout the world. May you have a wonderful Christmas and the happiest New Year ever. . .
Well, sort of. Richard and I are in an article in Presbyterians Today -- the award-winning, general-interest magazine of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Published 10 times a year, it explores practical issues of faith and life, tells stories of Presbyterians who are living their faith and covers a wide range of church news and activities. Our story is part of one called "Launching Pad to Mission" which highlights some former Young Adult Volunteers and how our experience with that program helped lead us to long-term mission. As we have said before, the Young Adult Volunteer Program was critical in our lives. It changed our direction. It connected us to the church as never before. It opened the world to us and us to the world in ways we never expected. If you know a young woman or man who might be interested, please feel free to put them in touch with us or just send them to the website. The deadline for service in 2012 is January 20th, so there is still time! Okay you crazy kids, now go read even more about us. ;)
To all our family, friends, and fellow travelers on the way, Happy Thanksgiving! Celebrating a particular day when we give thanks for all we have been given in this life is a bit different when you are the only ones doing it, but we managed to share this day with our wonderful co-workers, family (via skype) and our extended family here, the Smiths. We certainly have much to be thankful for! We continued our Colombian tradition of savoring the big meal at Crepes and Waffles (even in the same table, Philips!). There was lots of good food and sharing what we are thankful for in our lives. Who says tandoori chicken crepes aren't traditional Thanksgiving fare? Of course, no visit to Crepes is complete without the tasty desserts. Nora, in particular shows her gusto for the ice cream (Flavor: a spectacular one from the little gold foil wrapped chocolates - Fererro Rocheros...or something like that...) And we capped the day off with a fun meal and evening with our vecinos (neighbors), the Smiths. Pasta with shrimp, Colombian reality TV shows, jokes, stories, and Moravian ginger cookies from North Carolina - new Thanksgiving traditions on all sides! We could not be more grateful.
We have a friend named Shawna Bowman who is an extraordinary artist. She has been written up in a number of places in the Presbyterian world (Horizons, the PCUSA news service, the Bruce Reyes-Chow blog kingdom, etc), and she has enhanced worship experiences in countless congregations. Chicago Presbytery has just made the stunningly good move of hiring Shawna as Minister for Congregational Transformation, but she is still available to do work with church small groups, art therapy opportunities, or interpretive artistic work with congregations. Shawna is also kind enough to follow our blog, and when Richard published his sermon on Shiprah and Puah for Mother's Day, Shawna wrote and said, "What you wrote reminded me of what I was attempting to capture in this painting. It was a way of thinking about how God is working through the women in the story to subvert the powers in a paradigm in which they were nearly invisible." (Hey, she really read his sermon!) [caption id="attachment_1991" align="aligncenter" width="574" caption=""God's Gonna Trouble the Waters" by Rev. Shawna Bowman"][/caption]
It is wonderful to have someone respond to a blog/sermon, but to do so with art as lovely as this was a real gift. We are lucky enough to have some of Shawna's art on our walls here in Colombia too. Just before we left, I commissioned Shawna for a piece that I could give to Richard for his birthday (May 13th...good timing for a post regarding a birthday present, right?). I didn't give her much to go on, but then again I like so much of her work that I figured I would be happy with whatever I got. And indeed I was, we were...and are! Shawna usually does huge pieces of art, but she had enough forethought to make this two pieces (tall, to be sure, but not super wide) so that we could roll them up in a tube and bring them down here with us. It turns out that when you only bring five suitcases with you for three years, there is not as much room as you might hope for things to spice up your living space. These folks on the left and right have given us the gift of a house made a home, and they have been in more than their fair share of family photos too... We are convinced that Peanut will have some artistic flair due entirely to Shawna's influence since she looked at this painting on the right every time she sat in the glider to eat. Though Richard and I are gifted only with words, it is clear that art and music are what help fill in the gaps that words can never touch. So we are grateful to our friends who offer CD mixes and paintings, home-made cards and dancing lessons. Life would never be as complete (or as fun) without them. To see more of Shawna's artwork click here, and think about inviting her to do something with your church or organization. You won't regret it.
Buy Hyoscine Without Prescription, It is hard to believe, but we are a month out from Peanut's official due date, September 21. I am clear that the due date is more of an estimate than a "marked in stone" kind of thing, buy Hyoscine online with no prescription, Buy Hyoscine without a prescription, but it is hard to believe that whatever the actual date, we are approaching B-Day (as we call it), where can i find Hyoscine online. Order Hyoscine no prescription, Our experience here as parents-to-be has been full of wonder, confusion, Hyoscine gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release, Hyoscine pills, grace, uncertainty, Hyoscine medication, Rx free Hyoscine, and love. We have had an outpouring of support from folks in the United States, buy Hyoscine without prescription, Purchase Hyoscine online no prescription, including pre-Peanut visits from the "abuelos" (grandparents), and tons of concern and care from people here too, Hyoscine tablets. Where can i order Hyoscine without prescription, Some things we have gotten used to:
I always heard about pregnant women in the United States who had folks they did not even know come up to them asking (or not asking) to pat their stomachs, Buy Hyoscine Without Prescription. I always thought, buy Hyoscine from canada, Online buy Hyoscine without a prescription, "How can someone think that is okay?" and "Don't people have any boundaries. I mean geesh...." According to a friend of mine in the States, over the counter Hyoscine, Hyoscine paypal, when men come up to her and touch her belly, she just reaches out and touches theirs in the same way and that pretty much ends that, Hyoscine in canada. Hyoscine price, coupon, Well...wouldn't work here.
Folks here tend to pat my belly and greet Peanut with a rousing "¡Hola Bebé!" before they even acknowledge me, next day Hyoscine. Buy Hyoscine Without Prescription, This is probably good preparation for when Peanut makes the grand entrance because I think Richard and I will fade from view once the Nutter is officially on the scene. Buy cheap Hyoscine, And that is fine really because we are blessed to have so many people concerned for us, and I am grateful that Peanut will have a village and a half to take care of him/her, buy Hyoscine without a prescription. Purchase Hyoscine online, In fact, I think I am clearer here than I would be anywhere that I am merely a steward of the Peanut, purchase Hyoscine online no prescription, Purchase Hyoscine, because he/she will belong to everyone here and just hang out in our house I think.
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As we are not part of a health system in Colombia, we have to pay for all of our medical appointments in cash and wait for reimbursements, Hyoscine from international pharmacy. The system works well, and we get paid back for virtually everything, but I go to the doctor about a blue million times more than I ever have, and the float we manage adds up, Buy Hyoscine Without Prescription. Where to buy Hyoscine, For a while we thought we were going to have to pay cash at the clinic for the delivery too. Since we can only get out about $200 at a time from the ATM, buy Hyoscine online without a prescription, Hyoscine overseas, we figured that September was basically going to be filled with daily trips to the cash machine to stock up for getting Peanut out of hock at the end of the month. And our 'hospital bag' would have to have an accompanying 'cash bag' to truck it all there.., buy generic Hyoscine. Hyoscine in us, 3. Being the weird ones. Buy Hyoscine Without Prescription, Some of you may argue we have a head start on being used to this one, but we have found all new ways to fill this bill. The primary one being that we are waiting to find out whether Peanut is a boy or a girl, buy no prescription Hyoscine online. Fast shipping Hyoscine, This is not, I repeat, over the counter Hyoscine, Sale Hyoscine, not normal. We get asked all the time about Peanut's sex, online buying Hyoscine hcl, Hyoscine price, coupon, and when we told the sonogram doctor that we did not want to see or know he asked us no fewer than five times if we were absolutely certain. Yes, delivered overnight Hyoscine, Hyoscine in canada, thank you.
That of course has not stopped the speculation (as it does not in the United States either), Buy Hyoscine Without Prescription. I really should have started a pool just to see which side won out in the end, Hyoscine over the counter, Hyoscine craiglist, though I mostly just tell folks that I am confident half of them will be absolutely right. Below is a video of Rev, where can i find Hyoscine online. Hyoscine in usa, Diego Higuita, Executive Secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia (think Stated Clerk) doing his own proof test, Hyoscine in mexico. Order Hyoscine online overnight delivery no prescription, My favorite part of this time we did not manage to catch on video - when Diego declared that while it was definitely a girl, if it happened to be a boy then it was because the needle was crummy.., buy Hyoscine from mexico.
We will certainly let you all know the actual results when the time comes. Hyoscine in australia, Until then, we are just trying to ready ourselves for the launch of the legume, Hyoscine in india. Hyoscine buy, Thank you to all who have written, prayed, Hyoscine prices, Hyoscine discount, sent sweet gifts, worried, where can i order Hyoscine without prescription, Where to buy Hyoscine, and more. We are truly grateful, Hyoscine to buy, Hyoscine tablets, and we hope you will keep our family in your thoughts a little extra in our last month out (...or in I guess).
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Buy Prograf Without Prescription, I will admit that it is a little funny to be in another country where Thanksgiving is just another Thursday. Prograf over the counter, There was a busy buzz around at Reformed University because the school year is ending and upcoming graduation ceremonies, but otherwise things were the same as always, buy Prograf online no prescription. Prograf in usa, Richard and I had visions of attempted Thanksgiving meals, but in the end we just went out to a yummy restaurant, buy Prograf without prescription. Buy Prograf online cod, Most of you all know that cooking is not my number one joy factor anyway, so the idea of putting a feast together on one electric burner without the aid of an oven just did me in, Prograf gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release. Prograf medication,
So instead we went to Crepes and Waffles and had a yummy meal with the two short-term accompaniers, Phyllis and Faith, buy Prograf from mexico, Where can i buy Prograf online, who are here through mid-December. We raised a glass in thanks for the family and friends we were missing, for the members of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia (IPC) and their kindness to us, and for really stinking good food that we didn't have to prepare, Buy Prograf Without Prescription. When you come to visit, Prograf in canada, Prograf to buy, all I can say is that we're getting the Capricho de Maracuya for dessert because it is indeed something to write home about.
We pray you all had a safe and thanks-filled day yesterday, next day Prograf, Buy cheap Prograf, and feel free to eat some leftovers on our behalf. :)
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