Stories, inspriation and perspective 

  • MONGOLIA - FPC PARTNERSHIP CONFERENCE  - MARCH 2013
  • CUBA - THE LAYERED TRUTH - APRIL 2014
  • INDIA - REFLECTION BY MIKE BRAY - NOVEMBER 2013
  • COLORADO SPRINGS - LIFE NETWORK 2014

 

FPC Partnership in Mongolia

DCC in Mongolia

March 26, 2013

DCC’s partnership with First Presbyterian Church  of Colorado Springs (FPC) has continued to grow and deepen. 

In 2011 FPC invited DCC to facilitate a partnership retreat with their global and local ministry partners. Present there was a leader from their Mongolian ministry partner Campus Crusade for Christ. That leader motivated the ministry to repeat the experience in Mongolia with the entire CCC staff and local partners! 

FPC came alongside them in this endeavor by funding and participating in the conference with 15 leaders who have actively partnered with them in Mongolia for the past 7 years.The 4 day conference in Ulanbataar was powerful as perspective shifting concepts, biblical foundations for Kingdom connections, and meaningful conversations occurred around the tables. 

We are humbled to be a part of such paradigm shifting conversations and eternally grateful to have been invited to speak into this vibrant partnership! FPC leader, Susan Buenger shared this:

“If you want to go fast, go alone….if you want to go far, go together.” Tom Yaccino

Having encountered the partnership material in several contexts now….I find that I have learned more each time, and that God has buried in my heart different insights and treasures.  Our recent partnership conference with our brothers and sisters in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia was no exception.Tom’s gentle guidance and insights provided healthy perspective, as well as rich discussion.  We have food for deeper thought and tangible ideas to apply to all of our lives of interaction, not only to our Kingdom partnerships.

The First Pres/MCCC partnership is about seven years old, and in general, it seems healthy. In retrospect, it is only through God’s grace that we have come to this point. We didn’t begin with a defined or well articulated plan, and we had few developed concepts of healthy partnership.  We prayed, put in place a few ideas and jumped in! We are so grateful for the leading of the Spirit! In these years both groups have experienced various struggles and indeed suffering. 

By supporting and loving one another through these, we have a unique bond. In the last year, both FPC and MCCC have undergone significant leadership transitions and resulting opportunities and challenges.  Our time together at the conference afforded a unique and rich opportunity to hold up our partnership, toss it around, look at it from different angles, and to evaluate what was healthy and what could be tweaked. The greatest blessing was to do this together, with our MCCC friends.  We thank them for their trust and willingness to walk with us. 

Grateful, encouraged, challenged, stunned, thankful, motivated, and in awe begin to describe the experience of our partnership conference…really looking forward to what God will do, how far he will take us…hold on!

 

Mongolia Campus Crusade for Christ Contry Director, Bataa, shared this:

It has been honor and such an eye opening experience for me personally to be part of Partnership conference you have conducted us in Mongolia. Now I will be able to communicate with others when need arise. Also It has made me aware of the major friendship and the commitments the “First Pres Church” have with us. It will definitely help explore further synergies for the mutual benefit to both MCCC and other partners. Because had good personal relationships with our Colorado friends. Wider perspective and appreciation of what the Colorado friends do in Mongolia.

Tom, God used you to minister and refreshed us to realize not only importance of having kingdom minded partnerships in us also importance of gaining back our first love with Him. Many reflections and thoughts are still in process in my mind after the conference. Same time having good time of evaluating our past mistakes we often thoughts that’s the right way to do. I as a new and young Christian leader in Mongolia, I want to commit myself fully to God and seek His kingdom everyday, pray and ask Him to guide and lead me through His Spirit not through my might.

Thank you again, brother.

Your friend in Christ and Mongolia. Bataa.

We are passionate about partnerships that build community and Oneness and that represent the Kingdom here on earth well!

Contact us for more information on how we can serve your church or ministry in this relationally oriented form of missions!

 

The Complexity of Cuba

The more I know about Cuba, the less I understand.  It is a country layered in complexity.

One thing stands out like a neon sign:  there is a poverty there.  Not a need-food-stamps poverty.  There is a collage of poverty that includes poverty of the mind, poverty of trust, poverty of meaningful work, poverty of fun, poverty of involved fathers, poverty of food, toilet paper and hand soap.  Collage is a good word picture because you never get the full picture of Cuba,  just partial pictures piled one on top of another, juxtapositioned, covering part of the truth or part of the history.  There is more food today than there was, but often not enough.  Books are hard to come by.  Many thousands of people, I think hundreds of thousands are unemployed.   With Communist Block Informers in the neighborhoods, trust is a scarce commodity.  Truth is elusive.

Carlos Eire, now a Yale Professor, was one of the 14,000 children airlifted out of Cuba after Castro took power.  He and his brother left Cuba, without their parents and were delivered to the welfare system in Miami.  These are his words:  "The long and short of it is that (after Castro took over) the legless woman disappeared from the church steps because begging became illegal.  Did she receive enough to eat or get adequate care for her drooling boy?  I don't know, but I suspect not.  Nothing else I saw at that time, and nothing I've heard from those few relatives who still live there leads me to believe that the Revolution could give anyone anything adequate to meet their needs."  Those are strong words.  Nothing he saw  led him to believe that the Revolution provided anyone with anything adequate to meet their needs.  I think that is a fair picture.

NPR interviewed people in the US asking What is poverty to you.  Ann Valdez of NYC describes poverty as, "Being stuck in a black hole....being held back from enjoying life, almost to the point of not being able to breathe."  This description helps us understand what poverty means in Cuba.  It is not just having a lack of food or work or access to information.  It is a lack of hope.

Here are a few personal snapshots of Cuban poverty.  Carmina was our intelligent, sometimes funny, outspoken, wonderful translator for our time there.  She is in her late 40's.  She is single because two of the men she was seriously dating disappeared one day.  They defected to the US and did not dare to tell her of their plans.  So she found out when they stopped showing up.  She is alone, tied down with the care of her aunt and mom who are housebound in the second floor apartment she shares with them.  She is responsible for their care, but lacks disinfectants for skin care, adequate supply of adult diapers, a blood pressure cuff or glucometer for diabetic care,  consistent access to medications.  She is responsible, alone, struggling to do the best she can in a terribly difficult situation.

Another snapshot is of the mothers in Cuba, the "ladies of the house" as Pastor Benito kindly calls them.  Marion, one of the church psychologists, says they bear the greatest burden. They are the responsible ones.  They need to find food and the required school uniforms for their growing children, medicine when they are sick, find work, clean, do laundry.  Most of the husbands have abandoned their families.  The mothers are often alone, often feeling the burden of failure to provide for basic needs.

These snapshots are familiar pictures.  People around the world face some of these universal issues.  But poverty has a personal fingerprint.  In Cuba, it is these problems, plus the poverty of trust and hope that is crushing.

Yet, in the midst of this poverty are two radically different men of God, Pastor Benito and Reverend Mendez.  Both are wounded healers, men with stories, men who’ve suffered from being men of faith in a Communist country.  They carry the burden of watching the young men of faith and talent leave Cuba for a better life somewhere else.  But with the hope of God, both men are accomplishing feats that are changing lives around them.  In this oppressed island country, the work of God continues to pop up in unexpected places.  In the face of poverty, God meets needs.  As God provided manna in the desert to the Israelites, and brought water from the rock, and rained down quail, He comes into Cuba and is light into their darkness. 

Written by Jan Barnes, whose recent mission time in Cuba offered an opportunity to look at the collage of poverty and see that God has not forgotten the Cuban people.

 

 

Mike Bray, reflecting on his experience at the Kalimpong Compassion Child Development Center:

During our last mission trip to the Kalimpong Child Development Center (KCDC), one 14 year old girl shared her faith and explained "My mother died when I was 4 and then, I don't know why, but my Father left me.  I thank God for the KCDC and my teachers who helped me to meet Jesus."  Her story is not uncommon with the other nearly 300 children who attend the KCDC.  We have the opportunity and great blessing to assist the Saints that work with these children by building out a 4th floor that will provide a place for all children to worship together and a place for the children to practice and perform their music.  Our partner Rev. Mathias Subba reminded us that music is the "universal outreach to young people."  My prayer is that with joyful hearts we can help to provide this young girl and her fellow students at the KCDC with the tools (4th Floor auditorium) to further their faith in our Lord Jesus.

 

Life Network

Jessie* walked into our office with her head down and her heart heavy. She was married and had two other children – but the thought of a third was overwhelming. The circumstances in her life were just too much for her and her other pregnancies had been rough. Abortion seemed easy and quick. Her husband agreed. Following her positive pregnancy test, we talked at length with Jessie about her options and offered her an ultrasound. During the ultrasound, she and her husband saw a clear picture of their baby – but still left our office with plans to follow through with their scheduled abortion. As a staff we prayed for Jessie over the next few days. When we followed up to see how she was doing, Jessie shared that she went to the abortion clinic but sat in her car – unable to have the abortion because she kept thinking of the ultrasound photos of her baby. She came in to see us again and has asked for our help. We rejoice in knowing that we have the opportunity to walk through Jessie’s pregnancy with her and ultimately celebrate the birth of her baby.

 

Thank you for your donation. Your support makes this possible and lives are saved and changed as a result. Please continue to keep Jessie and other clients just like her in your prayers. Each day we stand on the front lines, welcoming men and women through our doors, praying for opportunities to serve each one. Thank you for partnering with us!

 

Blessings,

 

Diane Foley, MD

 

President/CEO