A letter from Ryan and Alethia White prior to service in Germany
Salaam (peace) and grace to you,
Sometimes the voice of God is overshadowed by the bustle and demands of life. In the past two years, despite a comfortable life in Pasadena, California, we felt a sense of desperation to listen for what God might be communicating to us as we considered a new path in life. However, our daily schedule seemed to leave no room for such sacred space and as time went on, we began to wear out. Then one day in the midst of a particularly busy week, it came to us—we needed to quit both of our jobs in order to help create that needed space we were so desperate for and to be able to free ourselves for where God might be leading us.
Sometimes such decisions are made with a bit of reassurance that there is support and resources at our disposal so we feel a little bit safe in the midst of uncertainty. In other more extreme situations, there is no such reassurance and we are driven to such measures out of a dreadful desperation that life can simply not continue as it has been. Perhaps this desperation always means upheaval, leaving one community and coming to know another, meeting new challenges in unfamiliar contexts. With God’s grace, after some time, it brings hope.
At the invitation of the Iranian Presbyterian Church of Berlin, Germany, we go as mission co-workers to assist two PC(USA) personnel in their pastoral and immigration assistance work with the Iranian refugee community. As relational reconciliation is a passion of ours, we hope that our presence and communication can contribute to reinterpretation of Iranian-American relations, provide a listening presence among the refugee community, and foster connections between Americans, Iranians, and Europeans. We recognize we have a lot of learning to do and ask for prayers as we adopt two new languages and two new cultures and introduce our young daughter to life outside the United States.
A Bible passage that has been inspiring to us throughout our marriage and especially as we begin this new journey is Romans 12:11-13: “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” We ask for prayer that we serve in this position with hope, patience, and faithfulness. We look forward to offering hospitality as we come to know a new community among the Iranian refugees in Berlin.
We plan to depart for Berlin in January 2014. Beginning in September, we will be engaged in our Sending Interpretation Assignment, traveling up the California coast to Seattle and from there to Anchorage, Alaska. We will then be located on the East Coast through the end of the year. We hope to visit churches and presbyteries to share our story of God’s call for change in our lives and call attention to the work already being accomplished by our global partners in Berlin. We would be pleased to add you to our community of U.S. supporters. Please contact us if a visit is of interest. We will receive a salary during this time of itineration, so we neither need nor request any compensation. Funding for our travel, lodging and meals is limited, however, so we ask that you would help us meet these needs, as you are able. We are open to home stays, if that is something you would be interested in. World Mission is able to help in some cases.
Our contact information is below:
Email: email@example.com (or use the "Write" links below)
Your partnership is invaluable to us as we recognize that we cannot do this work alone. We welcome your encouragement, correspondence, prayers, and financial support through which we feel reassured of God’s presence and the strength of global community.
Thank you for supporting us as we begin this journey into the work of God’s global mission. We hope we can have the opportunity to visit you and stay in contact to share more about this work and to learn from the experiences of your community.
Ryan, Alethia, and Ariella
The 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, Germany, p. 283
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