Sunday, July 7, 2013
There and back in 3 weeks
Here we are just returned from a 3 week visit to Los Estados Unidos. One week visiting our family, friends and St Francis Church in Holden, MA. Then we spent 2 weeks in Missionary training at the Stony Point Conference Center in Stony Point NY, along the Hudson River just north of NYC.
Where does the time go is the perfect phrase to show the differences between our home culture of the U.S.A. and the one we now call home, El Salvador. As much as we loved seeing our family and friends, everything seemed rapido, rapido rapido (fast, fast, fast with a touch of stress). This is in no way a criticism but just a statement of fact. We had to fit into peoples schedules to see us, in official meetings we had a set amount of time with people and the clock had more importance than what we had experienced in the previous 3 months. As much as we had time to relax the increased speed of life made it hard to relax. Watching the clock entered our lives again and I’m not sure we liked it that much. Not that we don’t have schedules aqui (here) in El Salvador but there’s a sense of suave (soft, smooth, tranquil, all right, fine) in our life here. Regardless of increased speed there’s also an increased appreciation of seeing those we hold dear. We had a wonderful time with them all. Dianne and the girls had a nails day together, I sang Karaoke with mi nieta (granddaughter), fished with mi yerno (my son in law) and debated with my favorite Republican, my son Phillip. As I write this, we still and will always miss them every day as we serve so far away. Above are pictures of a Bar-B-Q we all enjoyed.
The week with our family ended much too soon and we found ourselves in Stony Point, NY at a Missionary training conference with approx. 21 other missionaries 90% of them half our ages, more on that later. I’ll be honest Dianne and I had hoped we could avoid this conference since we had already been serving in El Salvador. Luckily the Lord and our Jefe (Boss) Father David Copley felt differently. We regret feeling that way as it truly would have been our loss if we didn’t attend. The presenters and content was very good. In my opinion it was a mix of lectures (50%) and group discussions/activities (50%). This mix made the time go by smoothly and promoted good discussions and allowed for relationship building for all involved. The young adults were YASC members (Young Adult Service Corp) of the Episcopal Church http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/young-adult-service-corps. AKA, Yascers. They are just like lots of young people in their early to mid-20’s, with one major difference. They are giving up one year of their lives to serve God and his Church abroad in this world. How appropriate that this Sunday we will hear the story of the 70 being sent out. The Yascers Diaspora will span from Japan to the Philippines, Haiti to Hong Kong, South Africa to Honduras, Korea to Tanzania and from El Salvador to Panama. If I missed a destination, forgive me. The conference allowed us to meet the Yascers who’ll be serving near us and plans are underway for a Christmas get together in El Maizal, they are our missionary kids. They are young men and women of deep faith, high intelligence and driven to attempt great things in strength and courage with gladness and singleness of heart. They were an inspiring group and shed a different light on mission that I previously didn’t see.
Now we are back and will be in it for the long haul. We won’t be returning till late summer of 2014. It’s a little more exciting now because the previous 3 months got our feet wet and we really only had 4 weeks with our community of El Maizal. We had just started ESL classes and these 3 weeks away allowed us to look at what we were doing and tweak it a bit to make it better for our students and us. Our struggles with learning Espanol will slowly subside as our involvement in the community naturally increases. Our missionary training and experiences at the conference also reinforced things we knew and brought to light to things we need to remember as we continue this path.
For all Missionaries,
He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
Tom & Dianne