Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mission Summit 3

Our Presbytery's Worldwide Mission Partnership Summit in early February was a breath of fresh air; the keynote address delivered by Rev. James Tankersley of Laguna Beach Presbyterian Church was not only inspiring and uplifting, it was totally re-energizing! Jerry shared about the transformation that has happened in his church in the last 40 years since he first came to it. In the early days, he didn't know if he had came to "build a church" or to "bury it." Later, when things were going well and he wondered if he should make the "career move" ("we have the illusion that we're not successful or making any progress unless we act, move, change places") a still, small voice told him "Wait and see what I will do." Since then, LB Pres. church has grown and become a pioneer in many of the challenges facing our nation such as AIDS ministry to victims and their families, homeless ministry, elder care, etc.. The stories he shared were moving, especially one about worshiping with a community of lepers in Miraj, India. His closing line, "You haven't been blessed until you've been touched by a leper" moved me so deeply that tears were rolling down my cheeks. Interesting historical snippets piqued my curiosity and kept my attention. For example, Jerry was on the team that planted Irvine Pres. Church and Trabuco Church.

The breakout sessions included serving the homeless in Orange County, AIDS victims orphans in South Africa, human trafficking, and changes taking place in LRP missions. The phrase "toxic charity" caught my attention (again) along with some buzzwords from my days as a professor and National Science Foundation grant reviewer: "Collaboration" for building "communities of practice". The Communities of Mission Practice (see graphic to right) that Tom Cramer and Colette Cozean, reporting on Dallas II, shared with us during their breakout session, stimulated much discussion and questions.

The most exciting aspect of this year's Summit was the Exhibit Hall, imho :). I had gone to last year's summit hoping to connect and learn about the missions partners of the churches in our presbytery. I was disappointed that didn't really happen. The planning team though was most responsive and organized the first Exhibit Hall and guess what? Christie and I shared about Pravaham, India along with many others: Refuse to Do Nothing, South East Asia Partnership, East Africa Partnership, Family Promise. It is really nice to see the diversity of missions in our presbytery churches.

I had signed to be on the Summit Planning Team last year but had not been able to attend after the first meeting in Spring. I had also signed up for the Pravaham exhibit then. God was faithful and sent me Christie to help with it. Christie loaned materials to display and was there with me, Lucy mailed brochures, and it all worked perfectly. I even remembered to bring and give away for free the jewelry made by the students, and the last 2 printed copies of my book; royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Pravaham. One lady didn't want to take anything for free and so she gave me $5 for the necklace she took. All we asked in return for the free jewelry is for people to pray for the student when they wear the jewelry made her;  Christie gave a picture of the student who made the jewelry and people loved that (more here). It was delightful and such an answer to prayer (thanks Marilyn, Arlene, Senthil for praying faithfully in the background) that so many wanted to learn about Pravaham! In fact, I had barely set up the table, when a pastor walked up asking, "Where do I sign up to go on a mission trip to India?" I had to scramble for paper and pen. Please keep Pravaham in prayer, especially if a short term mission trip is part of God's will for us. May we do God's will.

Related:

Los Ranchos Presbytery.

Mission Summit 2. When Helping Hurts  http://myeyesonchrist.blogspot.com/2012/02/missions-summit-2.html.

Missio Dei: A Gardening Story. http://myeyesonchrist.blogspot.com/2009/09/missio-dei-gardening-story.html

Pravaham: A Community for Peace and Justice, South India.

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