Monday, June 29, 2015

Year of Mission

Watermelon sculpture
Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church has always supported mission work in one form or other.  Our annual budget includes a line dedicated to PWS&D.  Our Sunday School supports a foster child, we sponsor the warm toes project for Our Place and members of the congregation have donated hundreds and hundreds of items to the Compassionate Warehouse, just to name a few of our outreach endeavours.

  While all of those projects have continued quietly in the background, this year specific mission projects have been in the forefront of our collective conscience.  Just last month we had Rev. Joey Cho from Cedar Tree ministry speak to us about his work among First Nations in Cowichan.   Earlier in June, Rick Wismer brought us an update on the Blue Bus ministry.  But our biggest event this year has been the mission trip to the Dominican Republic.  
     Many individuals donated personally to this undertaking, but as a congregation we started fund-raising with a strawberry social last July.  We collected bottles all fall and winter, held a concert, gave a dinner and participated in an auction in support of our DR team.            We prayed for them, held a commissioning service for them and welcomed them back with grateful hearts on their return.  On Friday, June 26 there was a DR night with pot luck dinner and a final presentation from our team.  
    Max presented a slide show of the highlights of his trip.

   Then invited us all to sample the Dominican Republic dishes prepared for us.  Although our team ate a lot of white bread and peanut butter sandwiches while they were away, the dinner they laid on for us was much more interesting -- plantain casserole, potato salad made with beets and lots of fruit. 

    According the Max, the rule on the mission was to try everything so we all tried the exotic foods and found them very tasty.

 Linda Cliff gave an excellent presentation on how to sponsor a student in the DR.  It can be done, collectively or individually, there is tax receipt, and you choose the student you wish to support.  The amount of sponsorships varies from about $20.00/ month to over $100.00 depending on the student, the school they attend and their grade level.  See next week's blog for complete details. 

   The experience of being missionaries certainly had a profound effect on the individuals who went.  But what has it meant for us as a church?  How has this "year of mission" changed us?  

   I believe the massive effort put into fund-raising for a hands-on mission has drawn members of the congregation closer together. Common cause tends to bring focus.

   I believe the success of the mission has given our congregation courage.  The financial hurdles looked immense when we began, but they were met and surpassed ahead of schedule.  Next time we're handed a challenge we'll feel more confident in our ability to meet it.

  I believe our youth have shown themselves to be capable, responsible and committed to God's work in a way we've not witnessed before.  

  I believe the DR mission has opened us to new possibilities, encouraged us to think big and joined us in a unique way with other mission-minded Christians on the Peninsula and in the greater world.

   What about you?  Has the year of mission affected the way you think about SPPC?

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