A letter from Donald Wehmeyer in Mexico
Greetings from Donald and Martha Wehmeyer
Martha and I wish you a most blessed day.
You are reading what will most likely be our last newsletter before leaving on home assignment. Our travel date is July 19. We go to Austin, Texas, where the Austin Presbyterian Seminary has kindly lent us a small house for the months we are in the United States. Almost immediately, on July 21, we are off to the New Wilmington Missionary Conference. This is one of the oldest missionary conferences in the U.S. and we have never been, so we are quite looking forward to it! Martha and I will lead a workshop: Building Cross-cultural Relationships. Having lived in a bicultural marriage for over 30 years, we are confident that we know a whole lot about what NOT to do, but just what TO do is on our agenda for the next 30.
Graduation at San Pablo Seminary is tomorrow, so the pictures you see were taken tomorrow! We had a very successful year at the school. I was happy to be teaching two new courses: Diaconia and Liturgics, level 4. Diaconia concerns all the service work of Christians and includes stewardship. Indeed, it was one of the cornerstones of the ministry of John Calvin in Geneva but has been largely neglected in the Reformed Church (Presbyterians) over the past 200 years! Liturgics, level 4 is just about the two sacraments and the two almost sacraments. The two almost sacraments were ordination and confession; Calvin advocated the first and Luther the second, but since everyone agreed on just baptism and the eucharist as sacraments, we have just those two.
Next up is the great news that we will have the ceremony to elevate the congregation where Martha and I have been serving as part of our Seminary work. (All the clergy teachers also pastor churches so as not to have an “ivory tower” faculty.) This congregation, Door of Salvation, has been a blessing to us. Martha and I planted the mission about 20 years ago. When we left for home assignment it was turned over to another pastor. Then I was assigned several other churches, but in 2008 we were asked to return. It turned out great and we doubled the membership, trained five elders and three deacons, and amply demonstrated that “high church” Presbyterian liturgy can succeed in Mexico! My only regret is that I could not get the music minister to understand why it is important to teach how to chant the psalms. If your church is not chanting psalms, ask yourself, Did Jesus read or sing the psalms? However, all in all it has been a joy to watch a congregation take on a specific identity, and now they are well placed to offer a much more complete liturgy than is the norm in Mexico.
In the last letter I mentioned we will be in the United States for about a year. We do want to visit as many churches as possible. However, so far only a few have given us dates to visit — so if you do not tell us, it just might happen you hear a knock on the door and we will be ready with our missionary show-and-tell stuff. Foretold is forewarned! My email is open 24 hours a day: firstname.lastname@example.org. The PC(USA) address is email@example.com, but I have had a terrible time trying to access it so it would be wise to send your mail to both addresses.
Also: Martha and I really need to get our support donations up so we can go back to Mexico. There is an ECO number (E200420) to which you or the missions committee can send funds to help us continue to be your ambassadors south of the border. We understand the economy in the U.S. has not done well, but one-half the population of Mexico is totally ignorant of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Without the teaching of new leaders that statistic will not improve. Here is our pledge to you. We will be just as active as you want us to be in the ministry of your church. We can get online to visit a Sunday school class, write emails, make DVD recordings. Whatever will help you to encourage international mission in your congregation, we are willing to do it!
Donald and Martha
Mérida, Yucatán, México