A letter from Kristi Van Nostran in El Salvador
January 17, 2013
I send warm and sunny greetings from San Salvador after returning from a fabulous visit with family and friends in the Vancouver/Portland area over the holidays. Some of the highlights include several merry gatherings with good food and great conversation, celebrating Christmas Eve service at Northminster Presbyterian Church in the company of my parents and all three siblings, a weekend spent laughing and reminiscing with my beloved grandparents, a Sabbath from all things technological (didn't turn on the computer for two whole weeks!), and even a little SNOW; pretty much everything one could hope for when "home" for the holidays. I hope your Christmas celebrations were also as joyful and your New Year as filled with hope!
Above I have included a link to the 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study. What began as a simple prayer calendar to pray for foreign missionaries on designated days has grown and expanded to the current resource for daily devotions as well as for deepening one's knowledge and understanding of where and how Presbyterian World Mission is contributing to God's work throughout God's Creation. Today, January 17, 2013, we lift up God's mission in El Salvador and I would ask you to join us in prayers for peace in the midst of violence, for hope and empowerment in the face of helplessness, for compassion where indifference has reigned, and that as co-workers with God we might remove the chains of oppression and break the yoke of injustice (Isaiah 58:6). We read last week in Isaiah 42 the great prophecy of the Lord's Servant: I, the Lord, have called you and given you power to see that justice is done on the earth. Through you I will make a covenant with my peoples; through you I will bring light to the nations. You will open the eyes of the blind and set free those who sit in dark prisons (Good News Translation).
May we all heed this call to be the servants of a just and loving God whose deepest desire is that all would enjoy the peace and plenty of God's kingdom; may we be the answer to the prayer on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
Above is a glimpse of what I was up to in 2012...
Here is a bit about my Mission Interpretation Travel in 2013.
At the end of every three-year term of mission service, as mission co-workers we are asked to spend several months in the U.S. visiting churches to share about the ways we have been participating in God’s mission in our part of the world. This means I have the blessed task of preparing for a season of visits to churches, presbyteries, and other groups in 2013 before returning for another term of service with Joining Hands Against Hunger in El Salvador. I plan to be based in Vancouver, Wash., from April through mid-June, after participating in the Ecumenical Advocacy Days event in Washington, D.C., April 5-8, and based in Southern California throughout the months of August and September. It has been a joy to get to know you and build relationships through letters and online communications, and I would love to visit in person if you would consider inviting me.
If you are interested in having me come share with your congregation, presbytery, community organization, etc., please let me know as soon as possible so I can begin to work out a schedule. I hope to coordinate visits on a “first come, first served” basis, while also trying to be a good steward of time, money, and fuel by grouping visits together geographically. If you know of other churches or interested groups in your area, presbytery or synod, I would appreciate your help in making connections!
I am eager to share about my role in Presbyterian World Mission and the wonders God is doing in Central America, particularly in El Salvador. I love to participate in worship leadership—preaching, giving a “minute” for mission or a children’s message, leading a Bible study or Sunday school class. When possible, it is best to have space other than or in addition to Sunday morning worship to share with greater depth and focus and give a fuller picture of what God is doing through Joining Hands in El Salvador, and midweek engagements are excellent as well. I am happy to work with you in planning topics and format(s) that best suit your community’s interests and situation, for example:
· Sunday school (any age group)
· Special event (potluck or otherwise)
· Youth group
· Bible study
· Men’s or women’s groups
· Prayer breakfast
· Campus ministry
· Mission committee meeting
· Presbytery or synod meeting
· Church camp or vacation Bible school
A note on expenses:
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) pays my salary while I’m on interpretation assignment, so I neither need nor expect any kind of honorarium. My food, lodging, and travel expenses are not covered, however, and I will need your support in meeting those needs. The specifics can be discussed as we plan, but please know that I will try to group visits by region and share the cost of airfare or car rental among several churches or organizations whenever possible. I am also happy to work with you if you have frequent flyer miles to donate for airfare, or a borrowed car, bike, metro pass, etc., available for transportation within the area. If you would like to invite me but cannot provide for my travel, please consider working with other churches or groups in your area to combine activities in the same week and share costs. If that is not possible, let me know and I will look for other ways to cover those expenses.
Thank you for your faithfulness in supporting me with your prayers, notes, and financial gifts; they are truly essential in sustaining me and making my ministry possible. I look forward to the opportunity to share with many of you in person this year!