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“Stretch out your hand over the sea.” Exod. 14:26

Welcome to the 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study

Richard Williams

It was a regular Tuesday morning, nothing too out of the ordinary. And then they started: first one email, then a second, then more and more. They came from across the United States, from people and church groups I didn't know, all praying for Colombia and our ministry there. I immediately went and checked CNN: Was Colombia in the headlines again? Was it a coup or another disaster? Why were these Presbyterians I didn't know sending their support and solidarity to us in another country?

That was the first time my name popped up in the Mission Yearbook, and what a treat it was to be enveloped in the love, care, and compassion of people from all across our church as my wife and I served in mission with our partners in Colombia. In the years following that Tuesday, I would eagerly look forward to our day in the book, a day to know and feel the deep connection of Presbyterians serving God’s vision for the kingdom all over the world.

I now work on the national staff of the Presbyterian Young Adult Volunteer program (so my name will still be in there!) The theme of this year’s Mission Yearbook is young adults. This will be a great year to explore how young adults are engaging in God’s mission and how we are all called to be a part of ministry with young adults. Many of our YAVs—young adults serving across the United States and around the world for one year of faith-based mission—will pop up for prayer in these pages. Several will be writing reflections, inviting us to explore with them how God is at work in the lives of young people. YAVs offer a year to serve God and to explore God’s call for their futures. They, like many young adults of the millennial generation, have a strong desire to put their faith in action. I believe we as the Presbyterian church have much to learn from and offer to young adults in this vital and formative stage of life. 

I hope you’ll be challenged in the pages that follow: challenged into new ministries and challenged into deepening the good work you and the church are already doing. And along the way, drop a note to a YAV or another young adult you know. Let that young person know that none of us are in this alone, that we are all part of God’s plan. 

—Rev. Richard Williams: YAV, the Philippines (1999–2000) and Nashville (2000–01); mission coworker, Colombia (2009–2012)  

Let us pray

O God, let the words of this book and the stories they tell form us into your people. Give us the strength and vision to follow you in your mission in every country, always in the way of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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