Sunday, January 14, 2007

Guyana - What we do...


Greetings from Guyana!

Each month we send newsletters that are filled with stories of what we experience here in Guyana, as well as our thoughts and reflections as to what God is doing to us and through us during these experiences. While the stories are fun to share (and we hope they are enjoyable to read!), this month we figured it would be good to explain some of the basics of what we actually do. Some of you might not know! And so, the following is a brief explanation from the both of us.

Kristen…

From Peace Corps volunteer to ELCA Global Missions personnel, Guyana has continued its lured hold on me here in the tropics. Sans snow as we are near the equator, but many coconuts, pineapple, mango and guava thrive to tickle the palate and a plethora of watercolor sunrise and sunsets to tantalize the most experienced of painters.

I currently hold the position of Director of the Lutheran Camp and Retreat Centre here in Skeldon/Corriverton. We are located just across the Corentyne River from Suriname at the mouth of the Atlantic where we live in the Emmanuel Lutheran Church parsonage. We host many local and overseas groups at the centre (the spelling due to years of British rule until independence in 1966), which houses facilities for any number of conferences, camps, mission trips and much more. In addition to my responsibilities as the Centre’s director, the lure into “outside” projects keeps me on my toes.

The following are a few of the “extracurriculars” I am involved with in the surrounding community:

· Moleson Creek Kid’s Club: Sports, Crafts, Storytelling, Music
· Guyanese Outreach Literacy Program: Games, Storytelling, Reading, Writing
· Roadside Baptist Skills Training Centre:
o Health Education Teacher
o HIV positive adult program: teaching, support, home visitation, counsel
o OVC program (orphans and vulnerable children, HIV infected/affected)
o Centre’s Nutrition Program Advisor

Brian…

In January of 2003 I received a message stating that I would be serving my seminary internship in a place called Guyana. My first thoughts were, “Guyana? Where in the world is that? Isn’t that somewhere in Africa?” And now, over four years after first hearing of Guyana, I look back thanking God for guiding me to this wonderful South American country in order to serve alongside such amazing and faithful people.

Following the internship year, I returned to Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN) in order to finish the Masters in Divinity (M.Div) degree. Following graduation from Luther in May of 2005 and ordination at Nelsonville Evangelical Lutheran Church (Nelsonville, WI) in June of 2005, I was called by the E.L.C.A. Division for Global Mission and assigned to serve as a pastor and leadership developer with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana as a long-term missionary.

Some of my current responsibilities include:

· Pastor of the Emmanuel Lutheran Parish, which consists of four congregations: St. Phillip’s, Emmanuel, Nativity, and St. Matthias
· Lecturer for the Lutheran Lay Academy of Guyana, a lay training center which empowers congregation members with skills in worship leadership, Bible study, church history, preaching, and general theology
· One of three panelists for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana’s weekly television show, “The Word for the World”, which is broadcast throughout the country every Sunday evening.

Thanks from the two of us!

All in all, we are both blessed to be in Guyana in order to serve with such wonderful people, and we know this would not be possible if it were not for your ongoing love and support. Your continued commitment and love has touched so many lives and allowed us to see all the smiles and receive the hugs as we walk alongside those we live and work with. We ask for your continued prayers, thoughts and support as our ministry expands and grows.

Thank you for everything!

With peace and love,

Brian & Kristen