Dear partners in prayer,
This is a public prayer mail for March 17, and I am sending this out instead of our usual monthly newsletter, as it is a bit of both.
Happy St. Patrick's Day.
The mission trips over the past few months have been excellent, and this trip has been totally awesome. Ordination processes are bearing fruit. The Lord is blessing what we are doing, and I praise God for those who have been coming alongside to help. Every day is a new adventure. Every day is a walk of faith, and we are making a difference.
This week's selective overview:
A summary of my current Belizean mission trip highlights as of the time of this writing:
Made two transforming presentations at the diocesan clergy retreat relating to the second and third temptations of Jesus and our antidotes to the same temptations (Matthew 4).
Made helpful comments during the teaching at the diocesan Anglican elementary school principals' retreat. Bishop Philip and the participants appreciated the comments. Poignant. On target.
Mingled at a holiday party I was invited to, after just getting off the plane (by then, it was about 18 hours since I had first left home to begin my trip), and got to know several new people, two of whom said that they "had to meet me". In separate conversations, they launched into deep theological and philosophical topics and pastoral issues of importance to them, and wanted me to share with them. We had a great time. This was important for each person. And, at this point, because of what we were discussing, I simply assumed they knew who I was, but then, in the separate conversations, each person asked me, "so what do YOU do?"....
At a televised conference about the emotional health of fractured families, the Holy Spirit nudged me to ask a question that produced very helpful immediate concrete suggestions for people in those situations, among the viewing and listening audience. It was an awesome and electric moment. The panelists came alive, focused, enthused, and the program moved.
Led a parish Bible study on knowing Christ and reaching out with him, including on-target applications for a parish in the midst of clergy transition. The clergy and lay people found this really helpful.
Made a transforming presentation on "leaders as stewards", at the diocesan Stewardship Commission commissioning, connecting our stewardship of money in the family, with stewardship of money in the parish, and with stewardship at the diocesan level. It really touched people's lives, and the wind of the Holy Spirit really moved people. They felt liberated to serve the Lord and make a difference. The Bishop added me to the Stewardship Commission....
Created the Diocese of Belize Web site, found HERE, and by doing so, solved a major communications problem that had been plaguing the diocese for about two months or so. Bishop Philip has asked me to become more continually involved in the diocesan Web site development....
Made unscheduled hospital visitations with Bishop Philip; it is always a blessing to touch people's lives and pray for them; there was an appreciable difference in several patients when I prayed and/or counseled them. It can be overwhelming, but it is an important ministry.
Helped a small business owner plan a potentially important next step for the growth of that business, a step which could help the person provide more jobs for people and benefit the economy in Belize. My being there for that encounter was called an answer to prayer by the business owner; I was the right person at the right time. It all started when Bishop Philip and I simply planned to enter the establishment briefly and then move on. And while waiting there, I simply asked a question of the owner.... Praise God. May the venture turn out well.
Several people have sought me for advice or just to be a person who would listen, at all levels of the diocese.
Enjoyed the fellowship of quite a few folks in Belize, some of which I had never met before or only in passing. And for those who I have been continuing to have relationships with, as I keep coming back with each successive trip, we go deeper into each other's lives. It is like a spiritual wind that blows through.
Is this trip making a difference? Absolutely. Thank you, everyone, for making it possible.
1) For the balance of my trip to Belize this week, and for longer range plans. Your prayers and support are very important for making such a difference.
2) Pray that our parish and presentation visitation schedule in the U.S. be the Holy Spirit's schedule.
3) Pray that the Holy Spirit would guide and supply the needs of: faculty, family, finances, plans, programs, diocesan plans, and parish visits.
Shaw+, and on behalf of Julie+
I pray for you, everyday.