International Ministries

Banana Bread with Garlic - June 2013

June 16, 2013 Journal
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June 2013

Dear Friends.

I just finished teaching my upper-level (licenciatura) Christian Education class: Seminario en Teología y Pedagogía. My six students came from five different countries: Peru, Chile, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Bolivia, ranging in age from 28 to about 55, including Lutheran, Mennonite, Pentecostal, Evangelical, and Presbyterian. It was a wonderful experience: they were highly motivated, all deeply involved with their church, and we were able to create an embracing environment that made it possible for even the shy ones to participate freely. In the first class they established that they wanted home-made refreshments for the coffee break, typical of each country. 

For the fourth class, Sara and Heber announced that they would be bringing Banana Bread with Garlic. After the initial shock, everyone tried to be polite, since each country has different customs of food combinations. But, to be quite honest, I was not looking forward to that coffee break. I love banana bread and I love garlic, but not together! Nevertheless, everyone gamely tried it, and it actually tasted OK.

The following class, Sara and Heber gave their presentation on approaches to good teaching. I suspected nothing until they asked us what we had thought when they announced the BB with G. Turned out this was a carefully planned illustration of what they wanted to teach us! Their presentation was about how prior expectations, either good or bad, influence our reaction to a class and a teacher. After our strong reactions, they confessed that in fact, the BB had no G at all. This is a lesson none of us will ever forget!

Blanca Aida, who has a visual disability (some of you may remember me writing about her), gave a presentation on ministry with persons with disability that dramatically changed the perspective of her classmates on this subject. We also visited a home for older adults rescued from living on the streets,  modeled on Mother Teresa’s ministry. I asked the students to write a guide for their churches in how to work with seniors, and they became powerful advocates for the rights, worth, and needs of older adults.

One of the readings documented how much more students learn when they work together rather than individually. We lived this out in the class: over half of the activities they did in pairs or groups, and on the final day, when we reviewed what they had learned, I was astonished and delighted that they had retained absolutely everything they had studied.

Thanks for your participation in this ministry.


Thank you!

Thank you so much to all of you who have generously responded to the Matching Gift Drive. I am very grateful. For those who are still considering it, the Drive continues through this month, so there is still time to participate.  The information is as follows:

Dates: May 1 – June 30

Who: Any individual (not churches)

What: All gifts given toward my support during these 2 months over and above any regular giving will be doubled.

How Gifts Can Be Given:

·         Online at, where a special page has been established for the Matching Gifts.

·         By check, made out to “International Ministries,” with a note on the memo line: “Matching gift for Ruth Mooney.” It should be sent to the Development Office, International Ministries, PO Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851.

·         By phone, calling the Development Office at 1-800-222-3872, ext. 2323.