I just finished reading an inspiring report written by one of The Outreach Foundation’s partners in Jordan, the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC). For the past few years, with your generous gifts, The Outreach Foundation has supplied funds for MECC’s ministry with some of the 2.7 million – million – Iraqi and Syrian refugees who have sought a haven in this country which, admirably and with great dignity, refers to them as “guests.” MECC’s “hands and feet” for this ministry has been the Greek Orthodox Church which has been faithfully ministering to these refugees and bringing them glimpses of Hope and Light. The following excerpts and photos are taken from that report on their Winter Appeal, which focused on the “Orthodox Initiative (OI).”
We're saddened to announce the recent death of the Rt. Rev. Bernard Muindi, former moderator of the Presbyterian Church in East Africa, former pastor of the Riamukurwe Parish at Nyeri, and visionary advocate for the needs of vulnerable children at Nyeri and beyond. His daughter, Anne, shared with us that the scriptures he selected for his funeral service are Joshua 1:1-9 and 2 Timothy 4:1-8. He has indeed fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. Please hold his widow, Eunice, in your prayers, along with all his family and the parish and denomination that he served. The following letter was sent to the Presbyterian Church of East Africa from Executive Director Rob Weingartner:
Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus, Savior and Redeemer of God’s elect,
We have had some very busy months here. I have been teaching at both San Pablo and the Mints program. Mints is a non-residence program that has become popular in many countries. Here in Mérida, I had nine students (four pastors and five lay folks) for Soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) and now with the same group I have just started Patristics (theologians from the first seven or eight centuries of church history). The picture here is a few of the students at Gethsemane.
I was officially installed in the Seguidores de Cristo (Followers of Christ) mission church as pastor for a period of up to three years. In the Mexican Presbyterian church, pastors are installed for one year (pastor oficiante), for three years (pastor comisionado) and up to five years (pastor instalado).
May is the wild card month for the Xpujil region’s agrarian communities. With immeasurable toil, families have cleared their land and are ready to plant. But sowing seed must wait until the rain returns. So, the farmers wonder. Will soaking rains come in May or in June? The good news is, some rain has already fallen – enough to refill our nearly empty guest house cistern. But more is needed.
Here is a worthwhile prayer: Lord, send the rains that refill family cisterns and farmers’ hopes.
May is also festival time in the county seat, Xpujil. Two weeks of games, rides, food stands, and men who hawk blankets, pots, utensils, and pans with their voices electronically amplified to eleven. Eleven is also the volume level setting for the nightly concert/dances which begin, appropriately, at 11:00 p.m. and last until the break of dawn.
"Do more with less" usually means to be (more) productive or creative with less money or resources. Business “guru” Bloomberg muses that: “The traditional view, from both the organization’s and employee’s perspective, is all about what employees need to do to help organizations accomplish more with fewer resources.” (Yea…. like that is gonna work!)
I just finished reading an in-depth report, written by one of The Outreach Foundation’s partners in Jordan, the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC). For the past few years, and with generous gifts from churches and individuals, TOF has supplied funds for MECC’s ministry with some of the 2.7 million – million – Iraqi and Syrian refugees who have sought a haven in this country, which, admirably and with great dignity, refers to them as “guests.”
Today is our last full day in the Holy Land. Words can't begin to describe what a profound experience this has been...and we're saving the best for last. The Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus pronounced the characteristics of blessedness in the Kingdom of God, Church of the Multiplication where he fed the 5,000 Jews then 4,000 Gentiles, capped off by a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. My deepest thanks to The Outreach Foundation and our wonderful leader Marilyn Borst for the experience of a lifetime.
The stones we've seen are good and worthy of remembering, but they are dead stones. It is the people here, Palestinian and Israeli alike, who witness to the risen Lord that are the living stones. And it is their story of hope and constant faith with which we return, and from which we draw strength for our witness and walk.