A letter from Farris Goodrum on home assignment from Brazil
Greetings from Decatur, Georgia. We are enjoying our home assignment here at Mission Haven, just behind Columbia Seminary. Decatur is very near to Atlanta, Georgia, and is a very nice and convenient place to live while in the States. We have lived at Mission Haven many times over the years, and always feel very much at home here.
We are enjoying visiting our supporting churches, and many other churches, to share about our work as mission co-workers in Brazil. First Presbyterian Church of Savannah, Georgia, invited us to be the mission speakers back in October and we had a wonderful time there. This church invites missionaries each year to spend several days with them and to present programs throughout the week. It was a challenge to us to prepare programs for a number of different settings, and we enjoyed the challenge. There were programs for the whole church, a youth program, an opportunity to share at a luncheon with area pastors, as well as informal times with the mission team at a wonderful dinner in the home of church members and at outings to local restaurants. Rev. Stephen Williams invited Thelma, who was ordained in Brazil last year, to help lead communion during the Sunday morning worship service. We also enjoyed sightseeing tours in Savannah, a visit to a museum where a church member’s art was on display, and a visit to Tybee Island. The people of the church did so much for us, and we felt like we really got to know that congregation while we were with them. We appreciated the many opportunities we were given to share about our work in Brazil.
Another interesting experience was in the Presbytery of Detroit, where each year Fran Anderson organizes a mission conference throughout the month of October. I had participated in this conference several times in years past, but Thelma had never been, so we were pleased that both of us were able to make the trip this year. I enjoyed reconnecting with friends I had made in years past, and Thelma and I were able to make new friends as we visited churches in the presbytery. We were treated with wonderful hospitality and had a very nice time.
We have been members at North Avenue Presbyterian Church, here in Atlanta, for many years, and we always enjoy the meaningful services at this church and the excellent music program. This past Sunday the Advent service of Lessons and Carols, led by the senior pastor, Rev. Scott Weimer, and the director of music and the arts, Melinda Clark, featured choirs and orchestra and hymn singing and was an inspiring program. Not too long ago Melinda Clark asked me to present a piano concert at North Avenue after lunch on a Sunday afternoon. I enjoyed preparing a program of hymn arrangements, and researching information about the hymns that I played. I began with an arrangement of my own of a Brazilian hymn, and then played several arrangements of traditional hymns that are sung in the churches in Brazil as well as here in the United States. It was a pleasure to play for an appreciative audience, many of whom we have known for years. Thelma and I look forward to sharing specifically about our work in Brazil during the Sunday school hour at North Avenue for two weeks in a row in January, and we have scheduled many visits to other churches for this same type of program throughout the coming semester.
Our son Michael has gotten a job at a restaurant here in Decatur and has recently been accepted at Georgia Perimeter College, where his classes will begin in January. Joel is doing well in the 9th grade at Decatur High School, and I am enjoying some courses in creative writing, which I am taking at Emory University. Thelma’s sister and two nephews are visiting from Brazil, so she is enjoying showing them around the Atlanta area and having them here in the States for the first time. A Brazilian friend of ours from Vitoria will be visiting in March, and we look forward to having him with us also.
Thelma joins me in sending fond greetings. We hope that you are enjoying the holidays, and we wish for you a very merry Christmas, and much joy in the New Year!
Sincerely, in Christ’s service,