Read letters from Jo Ella Holman
Jo Ella Holman
Prayer request for Jo Ella
Jo Ella Holman returned to Louisville, Kentucky, on December 19 for some well-earned vacation. In January she underwent hip replacement surgery. She was on sick leave for several weeks following her surgery. After that, of course, she will be doing a lot of rehabilitation in order to gain her strength back. She intends to continue working as the regional liaison for the Caribbean, and she is confident that she will be able to fulfill all aspects of the assignment except for travel.
Jo Ella has also been accepted into the Doctor of Ministry program at Louisville Seminary, and she will start that program while in the States this spring. She was especially looking forward to attending seminars there in January and in June. Because of uncertainty about exactly how long her full recovery will take, it’s not possible right now to confirm a date when she will return to the Dominican Republic.
Depending on how Jo Ella’s recovery progresses, it is possible that she may be available for a few visits toward the end of her time here in the US. She will also be returning to the U.S. in September for a network meeting, so that might be another opportunity for a visit. Since Jo Ella will continue in her role as regional liaison, please continue to support her financially. Your gifts are appreciated!
Please hold Jo Ella in prayer during the upcoming months: successful surgery and rehabilitation in the months ahead, and a great start in the DMin program. Please feel free to email her to let her know that you are holding her in prayer during this challenging time in her life and her ministry.
Thank you so much for your support of Jo Ella, and of Presbyterian World Mission!
About Jo Ella Holman's ministry
As regional liaison for the Caribbean, Jo Ella Holman’s ministry focuses on churches in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, Curacao, Grenada and Trinidad & Tobago. She works closely with the Caribbean and North America Council for Mission (CANACOM), an organization that enables mutual mission among churches from the two regions. Her ministry involves facilitating and supporting programs of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) partner churches and organizations and implementing regional strategies. She also works with mission personnel in the region by communicating regularly with them, offering them counsel and encouragement and helping them reflect on and assess their ministries. She also works with PC(USA) congregations and presbyteries in the United States involved in partnerships with Christians in the Caribbean.
When most North Americans mention the Caribbean, the conversation is usually about tourist destinations. While the Caribbean has a thriving tourism industry, it also has many people living in poverty who are not seen by the tourists who visit these island nations. Yet faithful Christian communities throughout the region are bearing witness to Christ’s good news and tackling some of the most pressing social problems. One Caribbean nation, Cuba, does not receive U.S. tourists because of the U.S. government’s economic blockade that has been in place for half a century. Nevertheless, the PC(USA) has maintained close ties with its partner church in the country, the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba. This connection has enabled many U.S. Presbyterians to visit Cuba as part of study seminars or mission teams. These visits are aimed at deepening relationships, broadening understandings, and nurturing the faith of Presbyterians from both countries.
About Jo Ella Holman
The ingredients for mission service have been stirring for several years in the life of Jo Ella Holman. While she would never claim to hold the perfect recipe for success in mission, Jo Ella had a keen sense that God was leading her into a new dimension of ministry.
Before undertaking her present assignment, Jo Ella said: “I feel that all of my life experiences have led to the present moment of discernment and call to mission service. God gifted me with a love for learning languages and an insatiable curiosity about people and other cultures.”
Jo Ella has spent a dozen years staffing various international ministries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She worked with partnerships in the Latin America and Caribbean region until 2005, when she began overseeing mission personnel training. She also has served on the World Mission Leadership Team. Prior to her seminary study and subsequent ordination by New Hope Presbytery in North Carolina, Jo Ella was an educational specialist with international health training agencies. Her work in 25 countries has taken her to Europe, Africa, the South Pacific and the Latin America/Caribbean region.
“God has provided me the opportunity to live or work in many different countries,” Jo Ella says, “and has given me a love for the church and for the people of God’s good earth and a desire and opportunity for service through the church.”
Having worked with PC(USA) partner churches in the Caribbean for a number of years, Jo Ella has a deep appreciation for Caribbean churches and the region they serve. “Many of these churches and the people who comprise them are challenged—as are many in their societies—by poverty, oppression and injustice,” she explains. “I have been touched by the warmth and joy of the people who, despite these hardships, have remained faithful to the love of God in Jesus Christ and are a sign of hope in their communities.”
Jo Ella began her duties with fluency in Spanish, the region’s primary language, as well as French. She holds a bachelor’s degree in both languages from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), a master’s in education from UNC, and a Master of Divinity from Duke University Divinity School.
Thanks to her years of experience in Presbyterian World Mission, Jo Ella has developed an expansive knowledge of the dynamics that shape partnerships between congregations and presbyteries in the United States and Christians in the Caribbean. One of her tasks is to help U.S. and Caribbean Christians overcome barriers of language, cultural and other impediments so that they can move toward oneness in Christ, she says. “My personal hope is that, in some small way, God will use my gifts to increase and strengthen the ties among us—the PC(USA) and the larger U.S. church and the churches of the Caribbean region. It is so important for our church to know what is going on in the world and these partnerships help us to deepen our understandings, to be in relationship with others, and to reach out to each other in new and faithful ways.”
Birthday: September 15
Lisa and I are so glad to know that you will visit Charleston-Atlantic Presbytery, October 2nd. If we can assist with your visit, please email us.
I'm happy to know that you are doing such a wonderful work. My Christmas-letter to you went to your old address. Peace and blessings - Kristin