Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen

June 21, 2019

Dear Friends,

The world really is smaller than we think.  Yesterday, Elder Steve Hyman told me that he called William Hunter to ask him a question, and when William answered his cell phone, he told Steve that he was in Mexico!  William is a part of the mission immersion team from our congregation who are visiting and working with our PC(USA) mission partners, Frontera de Cristo on the Mexico/Arizona border.  Then, yesterday, I picked up the phone in the church office and the voice on the other end of the phone said, “Ellen, this is Mark Adams, calling from Mexico to give you a good report on your team!”

I am grateful to be part of a Christian denomination that is connectional.  That means that all PC(USA) congregations agree to share in government, mission, benevolences, curricula and in discipline with each other.  And to be connectional means that we can be all the way down in Mexico and be with Presbyterian brothers and sisters in Christ.

We learned late last week that there have been some murders in the area where Frontera de Cristo works that are related to disputes between drug cartels.  Jodi Beckham, Mark Adams and the rest of us had some frank and serious discussions about what should happen.  But, Mark and the rest of the Frontera de Cristo folks, who live and work in this world every day, decided to tell the group the whole story, to get guidance from the law enforcement folks on both sides of the border, and to allow the group to decide if they wanted to sleep in Mexico or to sleep in Douglas, Arizona.  Mark Adams told me that when he met our team in Arizona and they were talking about Forest Lake Presbyterian Church, they told Mark that our mission was to “Transform Head, Heart and Hands in the service of Christ!”  And, then they decided unanimously to cross the border and to follow their original plan to sleep in one of the churches that Frontera de Cristo began on the Mexico side.  

What Mark said to me was that the whole group’s decision to cross the border, “with their whole bodies – head, heart and hands,” was a ministry of presence to the Mexican Christians who had prepared to host our group.  Our group crossed the border with their whole selves to be present to the good and powerful work of transformation that Frontera de Cristo is doing in Mexico.  Way to go Church!!  Our group is taking a risk. Although every day it feels like just driving around Columbia entails some risk as well.  It is rare that an evening news goes by that doesn’t detail some drug or gang related violence in our own city.  So, if we are going to take risks, I am proud to be part of a group that takes risks for the purposes of Christ.

Frontera de Cristo works to establish Presbyterian Churches, to support economic development that will allow people to remain in their home towns and feed their families, and they also operate a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program that works for both recovery and to teach job skills to recovering addicts.  That kind of work is worth a few risks.

Want to know more?  Plan to come to church at 10am on Sunday, June 30th in the Fellowship Hall to hear a report from our mission team.  And, in the meantime, please pray not only for Mark Adams and Miriam Maldonado (his wife) and the good people of Frontera de Cristo, but also for our team:  Jodi Beckham, Lizzy Beckham, Carter Grant, Kathy Vousden, William Hunter, Michael Ryker, Paul Van Wyke, Paul Rogers, and Garrett Lash.

See you in worship!

Ellen Fowler Skidmore

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