Thursday, January 5, 2012

Solid Rock UMC

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to talk at my grandparent’s church.  Maybe I should say my “extended family’s church,” since half my mom’s family attends, and she grew up there.  It was my “home church” in Indiana when we were there visiting family for a weekend, and I’m pretty sure that’s where I learned to light the candles… to read the Scripture in front of everyone for Advent… and learned the game of circling all the vowels in your bulletin when you’re five to keep from being bored when the pastor uses big words.  ha.  (Then again, I still doodle or do something with my hands to pay attention when people are talking… so maybe I was listening back then after all!) 

I remember getting back at Christmas from Tanzania one year ago; my first time back in the States in a year and a half.  My first church service in the States was at this church.  And despite the fact that my church in Dar is in English, I sat there trying to hold back tears as I realized just how much I missed sitting in an American church service, where I wasn’t trying to consider cultural nuances in the sermon, translate in my mind how the message impacted me but also how it would come across to the multicultural community of people around me, which slide we were on and wondering just how technology or power failures would wreck havoc this week as I helped with media technology… and a million other little things.  Sitting back in this church – despite not having been there for a long time – was a refreshing moment of “home.”  Comfort.  Familiarity.

Anyway, back to the point.  Last week, Solid Rock UMC trusted me with the floor.  For the whole service.  They let me do the children’s mini-message (which is always fun), and then put me down for the “message.”  Thankfully, my message didn’t have to be anything profound (I’m not quite adept yet at putting together a 3-point sermon for preaching, despite all those amazing masters Bible classes I just finished…) but I DID get to tell about my experiences teaching overseas and what God is doing in Tanzania with Bible Translation.  Despite spending the latter part of New Year’s Eve nervously practicing my presentation, I actually had a really good time the next day.  Only one person fell asleep for a bit, and most people seemed to enjoy themselves and be really interested, so I figure it went pretty well. :D

I'm so thankful for the chance to spend Christmas with family this year... and to share with family and friends what God is doing around the world!

Oh, and a quick update.  Thanks to some incredible people and churches who have either up'd their monthly contributions or chosen to start giving the past couple of months, I am now officially at 40% of my monthly funds.  I am so thankful for what God is doing!  I still have quite a ways to go in order to get the required 100% I need to go back in March... or later, if need be, according to funds.  If you'd be interested in joining my team, click here for more info... or let me know how I can get connected with your small group, church, or friends who are excited to learn more about what God is doing around the world!

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