International Ministries

2014 to 2015 Threshold Ponderings

December 31, 2014 Journal
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I wish I could take language

And daub and soothe and cool

Where fever blisters and burns,

Where fever turns yourself against you.

I wish I could take language

And heal the words that were the wounds

You have no names for. 

-Julia Cameron

 This poem written by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist Way puts words to some of my feelings about writing this year-end recap and update. As is often the case, I have put off writing because I fear that my words won’t be adequate, won’t dip down deep enough, and won’t be articulate or clear. I fear the impact of words spoken too quickly, but know the power of a timely truth told. I long for lasting healing, but know that hurt is inevitable at times. This last year and particularly these last few months have been tricky to say the least. The stories I’ve read about in the headlines and heard from those who I am privileged to share life with, have at times moved me to tears or to deep laughter and at others, caused me to shake my head in anger and disbelief. It is hard to sort and sift through the layers of confusing data to make sense of our world today, but I am convinced that I must try in order to live into the Hope and grace to which I’ve been called. I am deeply grateful for you and to God for the many ways I have glimpsed undaunted beauty breaking through the brokenness of our beloved world.

In this past year I have:

made art and made mistakes,

designed accessible worship for many while excluding others unknowingly,

been a coward and been brave,

felt frustration and felt elation,

said just the right thing in the right moment in just the right way and then didn’t say anything when I should have or said too much or something unkind when I should have just stayed silent,

noticed and paid attention to many overlooked people while turning a blind eye or deaf ear towards others.

I committed acts of goodwill as well as harm.

Thanks be to God for mercy and grace that covers the whole mixed bag, or as a wise friend recently reminded me, “You are already forgiven, redeemed and made new.”

"From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace."

-      The Gospel of John 1:16

 Graces from 2014 that I received:

 *The culmination and celebration of the Memorial Playground in La Guacima, Costa Rica with my sister DeDe, and friends from Woodbury Baptist Church of Minnesota and Mansion of Light Church of Costa Rica. I saw how God continues to bring new life and deep connection through loss, especially in translating poignant conversations between the two Moms who lost children to disease and auto accidents (in whose memory the park was dedicated). Seeing them interact with the children as all of us enjoyed the new playground was and is a sustaining grace to me. 

*Leading the design team for worship at the All Staff Gathering and Call Retreat during the 200th year celebration of missions through International Ministries ABC-USA, I felt in sync with my artistic giftings in caring for the souls of and collaborating with my colleagues.  

*A trip to Mt. Saint Helens in WA state where I witnessed in nature the slow, but indomitable power of life being reborn after destruction in the new growth 30+ years after its eruption.

*New creativity, skills and relationships gained from working with these amazing organizations: First Aid Arts (formerly named ArtsAftercare), Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship, BuildABridge International, Training for Change, and International Christian Alliance on Prostitution. I continue to be amazed at the common threads in story and purpose that we are discovering together.

*An uncomfortable, yet healing, “Undoing Racism in the US” workshop that helped me to see my own racism and personal benefit from an unjust system. I recognize that I don’t know what I don’t know. I learned that when racial misunderstandings occur, regardless of intent, if harm is done, I need to accept responsibility and acknowledge pain. Reconciliation and repair of relationship is possible when we are humble enough to listen, honor and hold each other’s stories without justifying our own or dismissing the experience of the other. I still have lots to learn, but I am committed to the work over the long haul.

*Finally, I received grace in a number of impromptu as well as planned mentoring conversations with young adult women who are exploring God’s call to service and ministry on their lives. As my wise friend the Rev. Marlene Dell from Limon, Costa Rica once said, “We are meant to mid-wife dreams for one another.“

"The whole of creation is standing on tip toe to see the full revelation of the children of God" -Romans 8:16.  

 As I look to 2015, I have a full year of travel, trainings and transformational opportunities ahead. Please pray that God would be honored in all of this.

 January: Costa Rica check in with partners and accompaniment of students from Purdue University Baptist Foundation.

February: First Aid Arts Healing Arts Toolkit Training and workweek at Deborah’s House in Tijuana, Mexico with Emmaus House from Olympia, WA

March:  Bolivia: Arts in Ministry training with House of Hope ministries in Cochabamba and visits with IM colleagues in Santa Cruz.

April: IM missionary collaboration on adaptation of the Healing Arts Toolkit with AMOS in Managua, Nicaragua

Keynote and Bible study leader for ABW Women’s Conference in Richland, WA

May: Participate in the International Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers with Dan and Sharon Buttry in Kiev, Ukraine.

Facilitate an arts-based resiliency workshop at the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship Colleagues Conference in Spokane, WA

Facilitate art making and speak at the Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church’s Women Retreat

June: BuildABridge’s Annual Arts Institute in Philadelphia, PA

Training for Change’s Advanced Training of Trainers in Philadelphia, PA

ABC-USA Mission Summit in Overland Park, KS

July: Baptist World Alliance Gathering in Durban, South Africa

September: Creativity and Empowerment workshops for women with CICEM in Oaxaca, Mexico

October: Follow-up with AMOS in Managua, Nicaragua

November: Training with Talita Girls Club leadership in Temuco, Chile

 I stand on tiptoes expecting to see God at work in these coming days.

As I always say, “We hold our plans lightly, trusting that God’s plans are best for us.” Thank you for being one of the graces in my life,