Monday, November 12, 2018

Thankful for our Veterans

The Second World War Memorial in Washington, D.C., the Field of Stars in the Freedom Wall. We are thankful for our veterans, whom we acknowledged in worship yesterday, and for those who serve today in our armed forces.

Arabic speaking Swiss church

The Rev. Anna Shammas shares the story of how an invitation to worship led to the formation of the Arabic-Speaking United Methodist Church in Aarau, Switzerland. Photo by Annette Spence, UMNS.
By Annette Spence
Sept. 10, 2018 | AARAU, Switzerland (UMNS)

Anna Shammas was homesick and lonely on a subway in Switzerland in 2002. As a migrant from Aleppo, Syria, she was wary when another passenger began to draw pictures and talk to her 2-year-old daughter.
When the Swiss woman learned that Shammas was a Christian, she invited her to worship, drawing a map to the United Methodist church in Aarau. 

“I didn’t want to go in a false way,” Shammas says, explaining her fear of the local people who might reject her as an immigrant. Yet the invitation to worship intrigued her at a time when she was “without a friend, without language skills, without security, and most of all without God.” ...
Shammas says she was initially afraid, but her first visit to the United Methodist church in Aarau was life-changing. “I felt it was my home,” Shammas says. Even though she was not yet fluent in Swiss German (one of the nation's four official languages), church members “looked to me with love, with eyes of love. Indescribable was this experience.”
Shammas and her husband wanted to be at church every Sunday, but jobs were hard to get for migrants and they could not afford more than one bus ticket at once. So the couple decided to take turns attending church, each without the other.
Her faith flourished through the church, Shammas says. In Syria, Christianity was “my heritage, not a friendship with God.” In the Aarau church, she learned that “[God] can talk to me and he can change the situation. He does, every moment in my life. I want to hear his voice, to live together with God.”

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Sorry: Repairing Relationships with God (2018-1021)

20-21 Oct 2018, Christ Mountain Top
Praying the Psalm, Psalm 130
Children, John 13.1-15
Message, 2 Corinthians 5.14-21

Review: First week
      Initiative to apologize
      Initiative to start a difficult conversation, even when not at fault
Last week, repairing relationships with those we love
1.     Don’t count individual offenses and generalize a pattern from them.
2.     Give each other space in our comfort zone before pushing a difficult conversation.
3.     Remember your first love. Repent and do the things you did at first.
Today, with God
      Sin (our focus)
      Stuff (honorable mention)

The first thing to notice is that, just as Jesus urges us to “first go and reconcile,” even so Jesus does the same thing. He practices what he preaches.
      Washing the disciples’ feet
      “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
      “You are clean.”
Jesus declares Peter clean even BEFORE his denial that evening, three times, that he even KNOWS Jesus.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Permaculture in Malawi

View of healthy soy beans growing at Madisi Farm in Malawai. Photo by Joseph Kaipa for UMNS.
By Francis Nkhoma
Sept. 12, 2018 | MADISI, Malawi (UMNS)

Five years ago, The United Methodist Church in Malawi, with support from the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, purchased 25 acres of land about 2 miles from the Madisi church. In 2013 and 2014, a variety of crops were introduced, and a farmhouse, an office and stables were built. People learned methods of planting different vegetables, growing seasonal crops and raising livestock for income generation.

In 2015, the Madisi farm hired a special consultant, Luwayo Bizwik. As Bizwik showed villagers how to plant a variety of crops, others came to learn. That year and the next brought a bountiful harvest, healthy livestock and beautiful gardens. Villagers who once suffered from malnutrition began recovering, thanks in part to the vegetables from their gardens.

The farm has trained four village leaders and six health groups.

Who Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Message by our District Superintendent, Larry Leland, at church conference.