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Mission Yearbook for March 03, 2015

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 22:00





Courtesy of Douglas Orbaker


On my way to meet a visiting mission group, I had bought a newspaper. When I sat down to read it, Ezekiel, one of the boys hanging around, picked up the sports pages. He read an article aloud, not perfectly but quite well. But when members of the mission group asked about his age and grade in school, we discovered that this boy who had just read the newspaper as well as most adults was 13 years old but only in the first grade!

His teacher agreed that Ezekiel is very bright, but she said he gets bored in school and therefore doesn’t come. He has never completed a school year. Later, as we talked to Ezekiel, he told us he was stupid and couldn’t do well in school. Besides, sometimes his parents needed him in the fields, and he wasn’t smart enough to bother with school.

That week the group worked to convince Ezekiel that he was not stupid and that he could learn very well. He read us articles from the newspaper and, with translation help, learned the multiplication tables from one of the teachers. He mastered them quickly. Members of this group were the first people ever tell him that he was smart, not stupid—the first to praise his ability to learn.

The day we left, the bus passed the school. All the children came out to wave to us. Leading the group, taller than any of the kids around him, was Ezekiel. We all pray that he is still in school.

—Rev. Douglas Orbaker, former PC(USA) mission coworker serving with the Council of Evangelical Churches in Nicaragua

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) People in Mission

Council of Evangelical Churches of Nicaragua (CEPAD): Carlos Cardenas Martinez, disaster mitigation / risk management training, Justin Sundberg, partnership facilitator / delegations coordinator, Rev. Renee Sundberg, team ministry


CEPAD: Damaris Albuquerque, executive director • Interchurch Center for Theological and Social Studies (CIEETS): Jairo Arce, general director • Moravian Church in Nicaragua: Rev. Cora Antonio, superintendent

Presbytery Partnerships

Presbyteries of Giddings-Lovejoy, Lake Michigan, Missouri River Valley, and the Pacific, with CEPAD

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Emily Collins, OGA
Judith Coons, PMA
Jacob Cordova, PMA

Let us pray

For children who learn in schools, for teachers who help them learn, and for the many ways all of us learn of your world, we give you thanks, O Lord. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 34; 146
First Reading Jeremiah 2:1-13, 29-32
Second Reading Romans 1:16-25
Gospel Reading John 4:43-54
Evening Psalms 25; 91

Mission Yearbook for March 02, 2015

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 22:00



The church in Luyanó is building an underground cistern to provide more clean water to the surrounding community.


Photo by P. P. Daniel Izquierdo Hernandez


For many years the church in Cuba was not allowed to work outside its walls—no outreach ministry was permitted by an atheistic government that assumed all needs could be provided by the state. After the ’90s, the global situation changed and our churches were once again involved in programs to help the communities. Our service was again visible to the society.

Lately, the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba (IPRC), in association with the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Matanzas, is working with the Living Waters for the World ministry of the PC(USA)’s Synod of Living Waters. We recently hosted the first Operators Conference of the Cuban Living Waters network, which includes, among others, about 10 different Presbyterian congregations. Testimonies were consistent about the tremendous impact of the free distribution of clean water in surrounding neighborhoods. The ministry brings a lot of new work for our congregations, but we are aware of the need and are trying to meet it with the help of partner churches abroad.

Cuban churches have many needs in terms of infrastructure, buildings, and other materials; nevertheless, we have taken up this new ministry with courage and a willingness to serve. After the cholera outbreak in several cities on the island, the ministry showed what great benefits it can provide despite the many challenges that come along with it.

—P. P. Daniel Izquierdo Hernandez, general secretary, IPRC, 2013–2014

Let us join in prayer for:


Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba (IPRC): Reinerio Arce, moderator, Daniel Izquierdo Hernandez, general secretary • Evangelical Theological Seminary: Reinerio Arce, rector

Presbytery Partnerships

Presbyteries of Baltimore, Cascades, Central Florida, Chicago, Long Island, Mission, Santa Fe, South Louisiana, and West Jersey, with the IPRC

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

T. P. Coleman, PMA
Charelle Collins, BOP

Let us pray

Compassionate God, may the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba keep its commitment to serve rather than be served. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 119:73-80; 145
First Reading Jeremiah 1:11-19
Second Reading Romans 1:1-15
Gospel Reading John 4:27-42
Evening Psalms 121; 6

Mission Yearbook for March 01, 2015

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 22:00
Minute for Mission: Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary


On June 30, 2014, after 45 years of membership, Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary disaffiliated from the historic consortium known as the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) of Atlanta. Why? Because the religious environment has changed. We feel called to bring a new kind of seminary into existence—one that is innovative and helps students anticipate the 21st-century reality of Christian ministry at home and abroad.

What are some of the hallmarks of the changing environment to which we are responding? Virtually every mainline Protestant seminary in the United States is seeing a decline in enrollment. Nearly half of all seminary students want to serve but are not especially interested in ordination. And those whodo prepare themselves for ordained parish ministry soon discover that declines in denominational membership have resulted in fewer opportunities for traditional ministry. The situation is especially acute for African American students who would like to serve historically black churches but find that only about 50 of the approximately 400 African American Presbyterian congregations in the country can afford full-time pastoral leadership.

Meanwhile, traditional residential theological education has become increasingly expensive. Many seminary graduates today embark on their careers saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of debt. This debt load isa hindrance to their ministries. Further, technological advances are leading to huge shifts across the board in higher education.

Our seminary’s move away from ITC sets the stage for us to become a leading institution. We are now freed to be creative and nimble in our response to the theological needs of today’s church leaders. Already, our bold move is generating new energy and excitement about the seminary’s future. We invite you to take this journey with us!

Paul T. Roberts Sr., president, Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary

Let us pray

All-knowing God, as the psalmist has written, you bless us with new mercies every day. On this day, we are particularly grateful for the newness of life, for the freshness of your Spirit, and for the challenge of embracing the changing winds in your creation. Grant us faith enough to believe your Word. Grant us wisdom enough to discern your word to us. And grant us courage to stand on your promises. Amen.

Sunday Lectionary and Hymns

Gen. 17:1–7, 15–16
“Peoples, Clap Your Hands!”
GTG 261, PH 194

Ps. 22:23–31
“We’ve a Story to Tell to the
HB 504

Rom. 4:13–25
“Standing on the Promises”
GTG 838

Mark 8:31–38
“Take Up Your Cross,
the Savior Said”
GTG 718, HB 293, PH 393

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 84; 150
First Reading Jeremiah 1:1-10
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 3:11-23
Gospel Reading Mark 3:31-4:9
Evening Psalms 42; 32

Mission Yearbook for February 28, 2015

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 22:00



Luc Celestin helps Barnes, his grandson, put on his shoes in front of the family house.


Photo by Cindy Corell


Luc Celestin sets a godly example in Haiti. He has worked the land for most of his 63 years, having planted his own crops after he married Malia 40-some years ago. He taught his sons to plant and harvest crops and care for livestock. After an illness left him unable to walk without a limp, he took up carpentry. Each day he rises before the sun to build caskets and school benches and furniture.

But neither farming nor carpentry or even fatherhood completely defines Luc Celestin. Above all, he shines as a servant of God. He and Malia raised eight children, remaining firm in their expectation of hard work, education, and family time. And at the center of the family lies a strong foundation of faith.

Every night, Papa Luc calls his family to the dining room table. Someone leads the others in an a cappella hymn. Papa Luc prays aloud, then each one prays an individual prayer aloud and at the same time. They then say the Lord’s Prayer in French and sing the Doxology before someone reads the chosen psalm.

After everyone has recited a passage of Scripture, Papa Luc prays again—and the prayers end as they pass the peace and bid goodnight. Then Papa Luc sleeps, only to rise early again: to work, to pray, to keep the faith.

Cindy Corell, PC(USA) mission coworker, Port-au-Prince

Let us join in prayer for

PC(USA) People in Mission

Episcopal Diocese of Haiti (EEH), Joining Hands Network Haiti (FONDAMA), and Farmers’ Movement of Papaye (MPP): Suzette Goss-Geffrard, facilitator for Presbyterian response • FONDAMA: Cynthia Corell, facilitator • MPP: Mark Hare, agricultural technician


EEH: Rt. Rev. Jean Zaché Duracin, bishop, Rev. Kesner Ajax, partnership program coordinator • FONDAMA: Chavannes Jean Baptiste, coordinator • MPP: Chavannes Jean Baptiste, coordinator

Presbytery Partnerships

Presbyteries of Charleston Atlantic and Greater Atlanta, with the EEH; Presbyteries of the James and the Peaks, with FONDAMA

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Patrick Cole, PMA
Lucy Coleman, PMA
Octavia Coleman, PMA

Let us pray

Thank you, Lord, for opportunities to share our gifts and learn from one another. Please give us the strength and courage of Papa Luc Celestin, who teaches us to remain faithful to you while working hard to care for the rest of your children. We pray all this in your precious Son’s name. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 43; 149
First Reading Deuteronomy 11:18-28
Second Reading Hebrews 5:1-10
Gospel Reading John 4:1-26
Evening Psalms 31; 143

Mission Yearbook for February 27, 2015

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 22:00
Dominican Republic

Continued from February 26

The project began with demolishing the dancing stage. As the group worked, the community warned them that the local voodoo priest had buried items in the stage as symbols of his curses that held the community bound. They begged us to retrieve and destroy these items. We found them, removed them, and burned them. Immediately the community members began to come to the construction site to work alongside the Dubuque group. The liberation they felt was evident.

The community center is now training women to make jewelry and furniture and will soon be starting a cleaning-supply production business. Thanks to Pastor Alejandro’s vision and a helping hand from the Dubuque team and their sponsoring organization, the Foundation for Peace, the San Joaquin community and the lives of its residents are being transformed from darkness into light by Christ. The center demonstrates what can be accomplished when Christ’s church partners together across borders.

—Kristin Hamner, former PC(USA) mission coworker, Dominican Republic

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) People in Mission

Dominican Evangelical Church: Jenny Bent, community health program consultant


Dominican Evangelical Church: Rev. Xiomara Rosario, moderator, Rev. Miguel Angel Cancu Drullard, executive secretary and coordinator, volunteers in mission

Presbytery Partnership

Presbytery of Shenango, with the Dominican Evangelical Church

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Deb Coe, PMA
Susan Cohn, PMA

Let us pray

God, we praise you for the work happening in Batey San Joaquin and throughout the Dominican Republic. We thank you for a strong and active church in this place that cares deeply for the needs of the hurting people in its community. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 22; 148
First Reading Deuteronomy 10:12-22
Second Reading Hebrews 4:11-16
Gospel Reading John 3:22-36
Evening Psalms 105; 130

Mission Yearbook for February 26, 2015

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 22:00
Dominican Republic


Dubuque Theological Seminary mission team with Pastor Alejandro and community members


In May 2013, Dubuque Theological Seminary brought a mission team to Batey San Joaquin,  Dominican Republic, to participate in a radically transformative project. A local leader, Pastor Alejandro wanted to transform a disco club where drugs and prostitution were rampant into a community center where women would develop viable options to provide for their families’ needs.

Continued on February 27

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Anita Clemons, FDN
Rev. Clayton Cobb, BOP
Christopher Coe, PMA

Let us pray

Gracious God, you have called us to bring your good news to all people. Help us to minister faithfully in our congregations and neighborhoods to your children of all ages, so that all will know of your love. In the matchless name of Jesus. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 27; 147:12-20
First Reading Deuteronomy 9:23-10:5
Second Reading Hebrews 4:1-10
Gospel Reading John 3:16-21
Evening Psalms 126; 102

Mission Yearbook for February 25, 2015

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 22:00
Caribbean Islands

In 1999 a young Baptist minister left Grenada to study clinical pastoral education (CPE) at the HealthCare Chaplaincy in New York City. He hoped this training would help him better serve in his volunteer ministry with the terminally ill at the local hospital in St. George’s.

His training began at Brookdale University Hospital, Brooklyn, where he worked primarily with persons with HIV/AIDS. He then transferred to the New York Presbyterian Hospital, Manhattan, for a one-year CPE residency. Toward the end of the residency, he traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to interview for a residency as a hospice chaplain. The interview went well, and he was scheduled to start in a few months. Then the doors started to close.

The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education told him he needed to get a new visa in order to start the new position. However, when he applied, US Immigration Services did not process his application because he had sent $15 more than required. After a number of other stumbling blocks appeared, he decided that it was the Lord’s doing because God wanted him back in Grenada.

He arrived in Grenada in October 2001 and on his first Sunday home attended the local Presbyterian church, which he had only attended once before. When the two were introduced, the missionary pastor said to him, “Now I can leave.” Less than a year later, with the help of the Caribbean and North America Council for Mission (CANACOM), this young minister became the congregation’s pastor as well as the moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Grenada (PCG).

You see, it was the PCG that was at risk of dying, and God wanted him to minister to the PCG rather than in a hospice in New Mexico. And that young man—me—is today the longest-serving minister in the history of the PCG.

—Rt. Rev. R. Osbert James: moderator, Presbyterian Church in Grenada; former chair of CANACOM

Let us join in prayer for:


Caribbean and North America Council for Mission (CANACOM) • United Protestant Church of Curaçao: Johannes Cornelis de Lijster, chair • Presbyterian Church in Grenada: Rev. Dr. Osbert James, moderator • Guyana Congregational Union: Rev. Valeska Austin, gen. sec. • Guyana Presbyterian Church: Rev. Kayshena Dyal-Khusial, moderator • Presbyterian Church of Guyana: Rev. Maureen Massiah, moderator • United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands: Rev. Norbert Stephens, gen. sec., Mrs. Rose Wedderburn, deputy gen. sec. • United Theological College of the West Indies: Rev. Dr. Marjorie Lewis, pres. • Church of Scotland in Trinidad: Rev. Garwell Bacchas, moderator • Presbyterian Church of Trinidad and Tobago: Rt. Rev. Brenda Bullock, moderator

Member Churches of CANACOM

Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba, Reformed Church of Surinam, United Protestant Church of Curaçao, Dominican Evangelical Church, Presbyterian Church in Grenada, Guyana Congregational Union, Guyana Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church of Guyana, United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, Presbyterian Church in Trinidad and Tobago, Presbyterian Church of Scotland in Trinidad and Tobago, PC(USA), Presbyterian Church in Canada, and United Church of Canada

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Elder Tim Clark, FDN

Let us pray

God, we thank you that you are always a step ahead of us, preparing us through our circumstances for ministries of which we are yet unaware. Help us to trust you even when we are unable to trace you. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 5; 147:1-11
First Reading Deuteronomy 9:13-21
Second Reading Hebrews 3:12-19
Gospel Reading John 2:23-3:15
Evening Psalms 27; 51

Mission Yearbook for February 24, 2015

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 22:00


Alida with her children


Courtesy of Wilfredo Peña


Our congregation, Jesus of Nazareth Presbyterian Community, is located in a semirural area outside the city of Barquisimeto. In the Valley Breezes neighborhood lives Alida González, a 41-year-old mother of four we met four years ago.

That day, Alida was preparing to entrust her children to her sister-in-law. Alida lives with chronic anemia, hepatitis, diabetes, and hypertension. And kidney failure has sent her to dialysis three times a week the past four years.

Soon after, Alida began attending our worship services. Her children had been receiving homework help at the church for some time. Shortly after she joined us, she made a choice to follow Jesus, or, as she likes to say, “the way of the Word.”

Alida has become a role model. Her whole attitude has changed since she chose to follow Christ. Her face no longer reflects her daily sufferings but joy and vitality instead. And it’s not only her facial expressions; she also encourages the other dialysis patients to keep living and working.

Alida’s health problems are matched by precarious economic conditions. Her family’s income is minimal. Although her kidney failure prevents her from being very active, she is always doing something and sells small items from her home. Thanks to a fund set up through donations from a friend of the congregation, the church can purchase medicines for Alida each month.

—Rev. Wilfredo Peña: pastor, Jesus of Nazareth Presbyterian Community; moderator, Presbyterian Church of Venezuela

Let us join in prayer for:


Presbyterian Church of Venezuela: Rev. Wilfredo Pena, moderator, Rev. Lorena Bulmes, executive secretary

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Cathleen Clancy, PMA
Martha E. Clark, PMA

Let us pray

God, we give you thanks for Alida’s life, which demonstrates how with Christ we can face even life’s most difficult situations. We ask your merciful healing for her in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 34; 146
First Reading Deuteronomy 9:(1-3) 4-12
Second Reading Hebrews 3:1-11
Gospel Reading John 2:13-22
Evening Psalms 25; 91

Mission Yearbook for February 23, 2015

Sun, 02/22/2015 - 22:00

Read in Spanish



A fun competition in a park near the Nueva Vida Center for Holistic Development, Bogotá


Photo by Ana Narvaez


For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matt. 25:35–36)

This text reminds us that we are agents of change in our church and community; that we can help to improve the quality of life of children and young people, along with their families. Our mission also compels us: “The Nueva Vida Center for Holistic Development, through acts of social justice and the proclamation of the good news, is committed to helping children and youth overcome difficult life circumstances.”

We are, each and every one of us (tutors, food preparers, pastors, lay leaders, ministers, directors), the people who ensure that these families do not lack the affection and love necessary for happiness. Our accompaniment is personalized through visits to the children’s homes; group meetings and training activities at the center and in the church; fellowship groups; and spiritual retreats and camps outside Bogotá that offer a change of setting, contact with nature, and a chance to thank God for all that we enjoy.

We also motivate and inspire young people to pursue professional careers, so that they can improve their circumstances and inspire others as a living testimony to the God of mercy and love.

—Ana Narvaez, coordinator, Nueva Vida Center for Holistic Development, Bogotá, Colombia

PC(USA) People in Mission

Presbyterian Church of Colombia: Rev. Dr. César Carhuachín, professor of biblical studies and theology, Reformed University of Colombia


Presbyterian Church of Colombia: Elder Helis Barraza, moderator, Rev. Diego Higuita, executive secretary • Presbyterian Church of Colombia, Reformed Synod: Elder Martha Raquel Niño Durán, moderator • Reformed University of Colombia: Rev. Milciades Púa, rector

Presbytery Partnerships

Presbyteries of Chicago, Miami Valley, San Fernando, Tres Rios, and Winnebago, with the Presbyterian Church of Colombia

Young Adult Volunteers

Margaret Coons, Brittany Sova, Samuel Susanin, and Kara Watkins

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Jocelyn Chung, PMA
Sera Chung, PMA
Danielle Cioffi, BOP

Let us pray

Gracious God, we give you thanks for allowing us to be a part of building a kingdom in which all people are equal. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 119:73-80; 145
First Reading Deuteronomy 8:1-20
Second Reading Hebrews 2:11-18
Gospel Reading John 2:1-12
Evening Psalms 121; 6

Mission Yearbook for February 22, 2015

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 22:00
Minute for Mission: Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico

The Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico’s primary purpose is the training of pastoral and lay leaders for service in the ministry and mission of God’s people in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States. As an ecumenical center for theological education, it represents five Protestant denominations, including the PC(USA), by covenant agreement.

At age 33, Megh Goyal began putting his dreams into action when he flew to Puerto Rico to teach agricultural engineering. An avid and curious learner, Megh found a Christian community and enrolled in a course for lay pastors offered by the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico. The course opened his mind to how Christian ministry can be empowered by creative, critical, and careful biblical interpretation. Through this class, Megh understood that there was a place for him at the seminary. “In the faculty, I could see not only people who were well-versed in their respective disciplines but also people who modeled a way of living that was a faithful expression of their call to ministry,” Megh says. With this conviction, he entered the MDiv program even as he continued to learn the Spanish language.

Like Megh, many others have joined this community of learners where calls are discerned and where dreams of what is possible in the world are forged. Whether they are second-career professionals like Megh or recent college graduates, students come, as one says, “with a heart for the church and a heartbeat in the streets.” The seminary stresses contextualization, attending to both the needs of local churches and the larger social reality that congregations are called to engage in order to transform. As the first Spanish-language theological institution accredited by the Association of Theological Schools of the United States and Canada, and the only Protestant Spanish-language institution to have that accreditation, the seminary attracts students from around the world.

In his agriculture classes, Megh teaches ways to improve cultivation methods, because he is convinced this effort will ultimately alleviate starvation. He also has used the tools he acquired at the seminary to pastor a congregation for many years.

Let us pray

Gracious God, give us humble hearts so that we can recognize the gifts of others and encourage the use of those gifts for the edification of your church. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the one who teaches us your ways. Amen.

Sunday Lectionary and Hymns

Gen. 9:8–17
“Save Me, O God; I Sink in Floods”
GTG 478

Ps. 25:1–10
“Lord, to You My Soul Is Lifted”
GTG 420, PH 178

1 Peter 3:18–22
“Ah, Holy Jesus”
GTG 218, HB 191, PH 93

Mark 1:9–15
“O Love, How Deep, How Broad,
How High”
GTG 618, PH 83

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 84; 150
First Reading Jeremiah 9:23-24
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Gospel Reading Mark 2:18-22
Evening Psalms 42; 32

Mission Yearbook for February 21, 2015

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 22:00


Conrado Olivera, director of Joining Hands Network Peru, speaks to the press.


Courtesy of Jed Koball


The New Year was supposed to mark a new era. After more than a decade of advocating for environmental responsibility on the part of a lead smelter in the town of La Oroya, where 99 percent of children suffer from lead poisoning, stricter emissions standards were to take effect. But they did not.

Why? An $800 million lawsuit against the State of Peru filed in an international court by the US owner of the lead smelter argued that the regulations would cost him profits, thus violating his rights as a foreign investor provided by a US-Peru free trade agreement.

But the lawsuit would not be the final word. On a sunny day in Lima, our partner Joining Hands Network Peru, together with courageous community leaders from La Oroya, stood before news reporters to launch a global campaign, “No Greater Rights for Foreign Investors,” challenging the extraordinary rights provided to foreign investors through free trade agreements.

Today, in support of citizens’ rights to breathe clean air and determine their own laws, our Peruvian partners, in prayerful partnership with Presbyterians in the United States, have gained the support of a growing number of congressional representatives in the United States and Peru to ensure that free trade agreements protect democracy of, by, and for the people.

Jed Koball, PC(USA) mission coworker, Lima

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) People in Mission

Evangelical Presbyterian and Reformed Church in Peru: Rev. Sara Armstrong and Russell Edmondson, delegations and partnership coordinators • Joining Hands Network Peru: Rev. Jed Koball, companionship facilitator


Evangelical Presbyterian and Reformed Church in Peru: Rev. Adrian Fernandez, president, Luis Pastor Leonardo Ventura, secretary • Peruvian Evangelical Church: Rev. Ricardo Alcarraz, president, Rev. Enrique Augusto Alva Callup, secretary • Joining Hands Network Peru: Conrado Olivera, executive director • Theological Faculty of the Evangelical Theological Education Association: Rev. Efrain Barrera, executive director

Presbytery Partnerships

Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy, with Joining Hands Network Peru; Presbytery of San Gabriel, with the Evangelical Presbyterian and Reformed Church in Peru

Young Adult Volunteers

Kyle Coombs, Rachel Heideman, Sara LaLone, and Andrew Newcombe

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Rev. Laura Cheifetz, PPC
Mickie Choi, PILP

Let us pray

God of all peoples and places, we thank you for the spirit of courage that you grant to our partners and share with us so that we might join our voices in pursuit of a world where people come before profits. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 43; 149
First Reading Deuteronomy 7:17-26
Second Reading Titus 3:1-15
Gospel Reading John 1:43-51
Evening Psalms 31; 143

Mission Yearbook for February 20, 2015

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 22:00


Pastor Eliézer (top right, with guitar) leads singing during fellowship with youth at his home in Tarija.


Courtesy of Sarah Henken


We arrived in the city of Tarija in January 2012 and found ourselves in a context devoid of the gospel message. Many young adults, adolescents, children, and families did not know the gospel of Christ. Living in this city, we came to know its social context and daily life.

Tarija is well known as the city of wine and flowers. It is a college town, where many young people arrive each year to study. It does not offer much else of interest to them aside from parties. We believe that Tarija needs the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is very rewarding to proclaim the gospel and to see the prophecy that Jesus speaks in Luke 4 fulfilled in our days. In our church, we have seen cases of young people healed of the blindness imposed by sects, young people freed from captivity to vices, and young people who receive the good news of the kingdom of God. Those who were lost and later found the light of God now proclaim peace and the good news of the kingdom.

As a church, we want to live every day in the paths of compassionate discipleship as we follow Christ and demonstrate love and mercy. In this way, we strive to be family for young adults, adolescents, and others. We know that ministry begins in our homes and extends to the other areas of our lives.

—Eliézer de Lima Pinheiro, PC(USA) mission partner from the Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil serving with the Independent Presbyterian Church of Bolivia

PC(USA) People in Mission

Joining Hands for Life Network (UMAVIDA): Chenoa Stock, facilitator


Independent Presbyterian Church in Bolivia: Rev. Augusto Mamani, president • UMAVIDA: Wilhelm Pierola, president, Clotilde Loza Q., coordinator

Presbytery Partnerships

Presbyteries of Cascades and San Francisco, with UMAVIDA

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Nancy H. Cavalcante, PMA
Sandra Charles, PMA
Rev. Eric Chavis, FDN

Let us pray

Lord, bless your church in Tarija. Work in the lives of these young men and women and in all the community, that the ministry of this church might honor and glorify Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 22; 148
First Reading Deuteronomy 7:12-16
Second Reading Titus 2:1-15
Gospel Reading John 1:35-42
Evening Psalms 105; 130

Mission Yearbook for February 19, 2015

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 22:00

Manuel Pastén tells how his home in Paihuano was very, very poor. His family was large, and there was little to eat.

One day in 1958 he jumped onto the back of a truck and embarked on an adventure that took him to the city of Vallenar. Not knowing anyone, he began to walk the city streets. He met a gentleman pulling a cart and told him his story. Although they had just met, the gentleman invited Manuel to accompany him to his home. He gave Manuel a place to sleep and a job in his ironworking shop and fed him for several years.

This generous gentleman was Avelino Araya, an elder of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Vallenar. Avelino and other church members shared the gospel and the love of a vibrant faith community with Manuel.

Manuel still shares this testimony of Avelino’s compassion and of a faith community who was willing to extend a risky, warm welcome to an unknown youth. Manuel explains that this is how he encountered Christ.

My mother knew Avelino well. She tells me how this gentleman served God and his neighbors with all his heart—so much so that back then our church was known in the community as “Don Avelino’s church.”

Avelino also regularly visited the sick at our local hospital. He often accompanied the dying: consoling them at the moment of their death, offering them God’s forgiveness, and assuring them that the God of peace was waiting to embrace them. My mother remembers that they departed with the tranquility and joy that only God’s Spirit can offer.

—Rev. Patricia Cruz, secretary of the synod, Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Chile

Let us join in prayer for:


Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Chile (IEPC): Rev. Dr. Jorge Cárdenas Brito, moderator, Jacqueline Troncoso, executive secretary • Evangelical Theological Community of Chile: Rev. Dr. Daniel Godoy, rector • Presbyterian Ministry to the Roma: Rev. Carlos Hernandez, coordinator

Presbytery Partnership

Presbytery of the Pines, with the IEPC

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Devan Caton, FDN
Stephanie Caudill, PMA

Let us pray

Creator God, teach us to take risks. Teach us to see our neighbors with compassion and tenderness and to receive them into our homes and churches. Teach us also to be instruments of your peace, today and always. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 27; 147:12-20
First Reading Deuteronomy 7:6-11
Second Reading Titus 1:1-16
Gospel Reading John 1:29-34
Evening Psalms 126; 102

Mission Yearbook for February 18, 2015

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 22:00
Ash Wednesday Minute for Mission


Angolan choir at First Presbyterian in Havana


Photo by Christine Coy Fohr


Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and God will say, “I’m here.” . . . The Lord will guide you continually and provide for you, even in parched places. He will rescue your bones. You will be like a watered garden, like a spring of water that won’t run dry. (Isa. 58:9, 11 CEB)

As we gathered for worship at First Presbyterian in Havana, Cuba, the overflowing congregation burst into celebration. Its pastor, Hector Mendez, had just recognized a member who was celebrating her 100th birthday. Strong, and smiling from ear to ear, she stood from her seat to welcome the congregation’s applause.

What had she experienced in this place, we wondered, in those 100 years? Once a bustling congregation, its numbers had dropped following the revolution. For years, the congregation was simply Hector and four faithful members.

On this sunny morning, the fruits of their prayers were evident. Members filled the sanctuary—many standing in the aisles or behind the pews. There was the church’s baseball team—boys ranging in age from four to 18—and the church’s Tai Chi ministry. A youth choir of 20 teenagers led our worship. A choir of 30 Angolan medical students provided the anthem. Young and old, gathered to worship God, now filled this place. Just think of all that this faithful disciple of Christ had seen in her 100 years.

Christine Coy Fohr, consultant for mission leaders, Presbyterian World Mission

Let us join in prayer for

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Yudelka Castillo, PMA
Rhonda Cates, BOP

Let us pray

God of grace, as we prepare for this season of Lent, equip us with perseverance. Use our brief lives for your glory. Empower us as your disciples, that even when the land is parched, we may know your presence with us, transforming what seems barren into life overflowing. Amen.

Revised Common Lectionary for Ash Wednesday

Joel 2:1–2, 12–17 or Isa. 58:1–12
Ps. 51:1–17; 2 Cor. 5:20b–6:10
Matt. 6:1–6, 16–21

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 5; 147:1-11
First Reading Jonah 3:1-4:11
Second Reading Hebrews 12:1-14
Gospel Reading Luke 18:9-14
Evening Psalms 27; 51

Mission Yearbook for February 17, 2015

Mon, 02/16/2015 - 22:00
Brazil, continued

In 2014 the World Council of Churches repatriated to Brazil thousands of documents that had been used to write Brasil: Nunca Mais (Brazil: Never Again), a book documenting state-sponsored repression and torture during the 1964–1985 military dictatorship. Three key actors in gathering the evidence and writing the book were Catholic Archbishop Paulo EvaristoArns, Rev. Jim Wright, and Rev. Charles Harper.

Both Wright and Harper were the Brazilian-born sons of Presbyterian missionaries; both became PC(USA) ministers. Wright became a PC(USA) mission worker in the land of his birth. Harper worked on the human rights desk at the World Council of Churches.

The repatriation of these documents came at a time when the recently formed National Truth Commission had begun gathering evidence to try to understand why most Brazilians did not oppose the military dictatorship.

In 1964, in the depths of the Cold War, Brazil was an authoritarian society. The military was able to convince politicians and business leaders, the media, and religious groups that our core values were threatened. Many also felt that their traditional authority was at risk.

Brasil: Nunca Mais describes the ways many religious groups persecuted those who refused to accept the logic of authoritarianism, forcing them—if they escaped detention and torture—to live like pariahs, even if they escaped into exile.

One of the most urgent tasks faced by the National Truth Commission is to help us understand how the military dictatorship produced in so many Brazilians an ideology of victimhood. Many truly felt that Brazilian society was under threat and that even torture was justified against those that the state identified as “the enemy.”

Because the voice of authoritarianism is still strong in Brazil, even in our churches, understanding why so many bought into this ideology must be a higher priority than vengeance against the perpetrators. If we do not let the commission’s work play out, the voices of the tortured will remain in silence.

—Rev. Derval Dasilio, United Presbyterian Church of Brazil

Let us join in prayer for:


Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil (IPIB): Rev. Aureo Rodrigues de Oliveira, moderator, Rev. Roberto Mauro de Souza Castro, executive secretary • United Presbyterian Church of Brazil (IPU): Anita Wright Torres, moderator, Wertson Brazil de Souza, first secretary • Ecumenical Post-Graduate Program in Sciences of Religion (PGCR) of the Methodist University of São Paulo: Dr. Jung Mo Sung, dean, Rev. Dr. Helmut Renders, director • School of Higher Theological Studies (EST): Rev. Dr. Oneide Bobson, rector

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Rev. Molly Casteel , OGA
Dahiana Castillo, PMA
Sharon Castillo, BOP

Let us pray

Creator God, grant us wisdom and strength to understand power as serving all in justice and love in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 42; 146
First Reading Deuteronomy 6:16-25
Second Reading Hebrews 2:1-10
Gospel Reading John 1:19-28
Evening Psalms 102; 133

Mission Yearbook for February 16, 2015

Sun, 02/15/2015 - 22:00

Read in Portuguese



Nídia Mafra (Bugra) and Tim Carriker baptizing an AIDS patient


Photo by Marta Carriker


Nídia Mafra is known as missionary Bugra all over Brazil. She started her ministry among the hippies in Florianópolis in the late ’70s, spending time with them at the central plaza and becoming their friend in order to share God’s love incarnationally. After a while, several of them came to Christ and quit drugs. As a result, Bugra’s life was threatened by the drug dealers. She had to leave the plaza, but she eventually started the Shiloh Project, which still ministers to chemical dependents and their families. Over the years, Bugra has trained many others to reach out to the excluded, those the church seems less likely to focus on. She continues to share her story in churches throughout the country and to work with youth to prevent drug abuse.

Most recently Bugra started ministering to AIDS patients, who are now visited weekly by her team at Nereu Ramos Hospital in Florianópolis. Many ex-hippies also became missionaries throughout Africa and Latin America. In Italy, the Shiloh Project founded a church for marginalized persons who could find no room in traditional churches.

I see Jesus in Bugra. Like him, she is willing to cross boundaries. She sees people in need of God’s love, people who are weary and without a shepherd, and reaches out to them. She is compassionate and prophetic at the same time. It is people like Bugra who God’s Spirit uses to make a difference in our world.

Marta Carriker, PC(USA) mission coworker, Florianópolis

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) People in Mission

Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil (IPIB): Rev. Dr. C. Timothy Carriker, curriculum designer, education consultant, Marta Carriker, delegations coordinator •United Presbyterian Church of Brazil (IPU): Dorothy Gartrell and Rev. Gordon Gartrell, church planters and trainers, Farris Goodrum and Rev. Thelma Goodrum, seminary professors/evangelism and social outreach, Center of Theological Formation Richard Shaull

Presbytery Partnerships

Presbyteries of East Iowa and Mississippi, with the IPIB

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Toni Carver-Smith, PMA
Suzanne Case, PMA
Debbie Cassady, PILP

Let us pray

Father, open our eyes to people you love who seem beyond our awareness. Give us compassion to include them in our lives. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 5; 145
First Reading Deuteronomy 6:1-15
Second Reading Hebrews 1:1-14
Gospel Reading John 1:1-18
Evening Psalms 82; 29

Mission Yearbook for February 15, 2015

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 22:00
Minute for Mission: Health Awareness and Prayer for Healing

Back in 2001, people from National Capital Presbytery, its Lewinsville and Immanuel congregations in McLean, and Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church had a dream—to build an affordable assisted-living facility in northern Virginia. This determined group overcame many roadblocks, including county requirements, complaints from neighbors (“There might be too much noise!”), and more. God faithfully answered prayers, and in fall 2007 the doors of Chesterbrook Residences, the area’s only multi-income assisted-living facility, were opened. What a joy for so many who had worked so hard to make this a reality!

I have been volunteering there for over a year now and see firsthand the compassionate care provided. They truly are addressing the body, mind, and spirit of the residents. Families can rest assured that their loved ones are being cared for with the utmost respect. The facility is beautiful and welcoming. It provides many activities and amenities, but what would all of that be without the incredible staff? Surely, God has assembled these “angels of mercy,” who give lovingly and compassionately to all in their care.

Members of Lewinsville and Immanuel Presbyterian also enjoy giving their time to play games with the residents, help with crafts, and staff the store. What a joy to watch and also be a part of such a loving community!

On Health Awareness and Prayer for Healing Sunday, we are reminded that ensuring community health requires everyone to get involved. We work together to secure a place at the Lord’s table for everyone—a place where the gifts of all God’s people are valued, supported, and affirmed. For more information on this emphasis, visit.

Betty Ann Keiber Yurkewitch, RN: faith community nurse, Lewinsville Presbyterian Church, McLean, Virginia; member, leadership team, Presbyterian Health Network, Presbyterian Health, Education, and Welfare Association

Let us pray

Gracious and loving God, we are grateful for the witness of those who worked together to make the dream of Chesterbrook Residences a reality. We ask that your healing presence would surround the residents and that your love and guidance would support the staff and volunteers. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sunday Lectionary and Hymns

2 Kings 2:1–12
“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”
GTG 825

Ps. 50:1–6
“Come Sing to God”
GTG 805, PH 181

2 Cor. 4:3–6
“Guide My Feet”
GTG 741, PH 354

Mark 9:2–9
“Lord, the Light of Your Love is
Shining” / “Shine, Jesus, Shine”
GTG 192

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 103; 150
First Reading Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
Second Reading 2 Corinthians 3:1-9
Gospel Reading John 12:27-36a
Evening Psalms 117; 139

Mission Yearbook for February 14, 2015

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 22:00


Elena Ramirez and Alicia Franco grinding corn


Photo by Carola Tron


Elena Ramírez and Alicia Franco live in Colonia San Gustavo, a rural community in Entre Ríos, Argentina, where many small farmers struggle to make ends meet. Elena and Alicia are proud that the grinder given to their community 15 years ago by ecumenical partners is still going strong. They use it to make everything from corn, sorghum, and soy flours to chicken feed.

Elena and Alicia are part of a diaconal project of the Waldensian Evangelical Church of Río de la Plata (IEVRP) called Accompaniment of Farm Families. The project enables women from small farms to share, reflect, and train together.

In a time of increasing individualism and social fragmentation, the project has allowed them to lift up traditional values such as biodiversity, sustainability, and integrity. It also allows them to deepen their common roots in the Christian faith. Together, they have developed strategies that allow them to resist the pressures to sell their small farms to the agricultural conglomerates that are always hungry to usurp more land.

Together, they learn how to get their products to market. They also explore good nutrition (for people and animals!), canning, herbal remedies, and handicrafts—all rooted in the biblical values of caring for creation and living life abundantly.

—Rev. Carola Tron, vice moderator, IEVRP

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) People in Mission

University Institute ISEDET: Rev. Kathleen Griffin, professor of church history


Evangelical Church of Río de la Plata (IERP) / Reformed Churches of Argentina (IRA): Rev. Carlos Duarte, president, Rev. Sonia Skupch, general secretary, Rev. Gerardo Oberman, IRA president • Waldensian Evangelical Church of Rió de la Plata (IEVRP): Oscar Oudri, moderator • Church of God Association: Rev. Miguel A. Benitez, president, Rev. Jorge Julio Vaccaro, general secretary • Regional Ecumenical Advisory and Service Center (CREAS): Humberto Shikiya, executive director • University Institute ISEDET: Elsa Agüero, rector and academic dean

Presbytery Partnership

Presbytery of Tres Rios, with the IERP

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Jackie Carter, PMA
Sylvia B. Carter, PMA

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 104; 149
First Reading Isaiah 61:10 - 62:5
Second Reading 2 Timothy 4:1-8
Gospel Reading Mark 10:46-52
Evening Psalms 138; 98

Mission Yearbook for February 13, 2015

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 22:00
Latin America and the Caribbean

In Latin America and the Caribbean, our partners have heard Jesus’ message of compassion and justice and are bringing much-needed hope to some desperate situations:

•  in Jamaica, where the church cares for women who have been held captive in sex trafficking and works to end this systemic exploitation;

•  in Haiti, where our partners work with farmers’ organizations to restore dignity to working the land, increase food security for vulnerable people, and bring new life to depleted soil;

•  in Cuba, where the church promotes interfaith dialogue and action for the public good as well as reconciliation between our two governments;

•  in the Dominican Republic, where the people struggle over the rights and obligations of citizenship for themselves and for immigrants.

Perhaps in Latin America and the Caribbean more than any other region in the world, the US economy, trade agreements, immigration policies, and presence exert tremendous influence—for ill or for good. We have the privilege and joy of walking with regional partners in their ministries. And we have work to do in our own society, where policy improvements often bring positive change for all in this hemisphere of the Americas.

Jo Ella Holman, PC(USA) regional liaison for the Caribbean

Let us join in prayer for


Alliance of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches in Latin America (AIPRAL): Gabriela Mulder, president, Rev. Darío Barolin, executive director • Evangelical Center for Pastoral Studies in Central America (CEDEPCA): Judith Castañeda, general coordinator • Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI): Rev. Felipe Adolf, president, Rev. Nilton Giese, permanent executive secretary

Presbytery Partnership

Presbytery of St. Augustine, with the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Sofia Carreras, PMA
Charlene Carroll, PMA
Eden Carroll, PMA

Let us pray

Loving God, may we seek your face when our eyes are drawn to lesser things. May we seek your kingdom first and hold fast to the vision Jesus proclaimed, even in the face of the kind of outrage Jesus encountered. For we seek always to follow your ways, for the sake of your reign, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.


Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 51; 148
First Reading Isaiah 61:1-9
Second Reading 2 Timothy 3:1-17
Gospel Reading Mark 10:32-45
Evening Psalms 142; 65

Mission Yearbook for February 12, 2015

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 22:00
Latin America and the Caribbean




In the fourth chapter of Luke, Jesus initiates his public ministry by reaching back to the prophet Isaiah to frame his mission: “to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (vv. 18–19). All are signs of the reign of God that Jesus will proclaim in word and deed. And the mention of “the year of the Lord’s favor” connects his announcement to Hebrew notions of sabbatical and jubilee—years in which the community gives rest and tangible relief to the poor, the oppressed, the stranger, those enslaved by debt, and even the land itself. Together, these practices helped to restore the relationships among the people of God to their proper balance. (continued on February 13)

In Latin America and the Caribbean, our partners have heard Jesus’ message of compassion and justice and are bringing much-needed hope to some desperate situations.

Continued on February 13

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) People in Mission

Amanda Craft, regional liaison for Mexico and Guatemala, Presbyterian World Mission,
Rev. Sarah Henken, regional liaison for the Andean countries, Presbyterian World Mission,
Rev. Jo Ella Holman, regional liaison for the Caribbean, Presbyterian World Mission,
Tracey King-Ortega, regional liaison for Central America, Presbyterian World Mission,
Dennis Smith, regional liaison for the Southern Cone and Brazil, Presbyterian World Mission,
Maribel Pérez-Smith, team ministry, Presbyterian World Mission

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Rev. Timothy Cargal, OGA
Elder Olanda Carr Jr., FDN

Let us pray

God of compassion and justice, we pray your blessing on the churches and people of Latin America and the Caribbean. May your Spirit anoint these brothers and sisters in Christ and us to proclaim good news to the poor and release from all that holds people captive, so that we may do your will. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 97; 147:12-20
First Reading Isaiah 60:1-22
Second Reading 2 Timothy 2:14-26
Gospel Reading Mark 10:17-31
Evening Psalms 16; 62


Presbyterian Mission Yearbook

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