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“While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.” —Luke 24:51

Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study
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Welcome to the 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study

Sara Lisherness

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. [God] has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of the sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Luke 4:18–19 (CEB)

This familiar and beloved text marks the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus understood that his calling was to minister to the most vulnerable of his time.

As Jesus’ disciples, we too are called to share the good news of his love in word and in deed. We are called to do unto “the least of these”—our neighbors in need—as unto Christ himself (Matt. 25:40).

Who is our neighbor? Our neighbor is a young father who comes to a food pantry because there isn’t enough to feed his family. Our neighbor is a young girl in Southeast Asia, sold into slavery so her parents can feed her siblings. Our neighbor is in prison, caught for selling drugs to feed his habit. Our neighbor is homeless, living in temporary shelter after a devastating tornado. These may not be the neighbors who first come to mind, but they are among the neighbors who Christ calls us to love.

We share Christ’s love with our neighbors when we support our local food pantry, but also when we advocate for a living wage so parents can feed their families. We share Christ’s love when we provide a safe alternative for young girls who are caught in the snare of sex trafficking, but also when we demand that the “hospitality” industry agree to guidelines that make trafficking more difficult.

We share Christ’s love when we offer Bible study to those in prison, but also when we walk with felons as they seek to reenter society. We share the love of Christ when we show up in the aftermath of a disaster, praying with those whose lives have been destroyed, but also when we stay long after other relief organizations have left, helping people restore and rebuild their lives and communities.

The stories in this year’s Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study highlight the many ways that we, together with sisters and brothers in this country and around the world, share the good news of God’s generous love for the world both in word and in deed. I pray that these stories will serve as signs of hope, as inspiration as we all seek to follow Christ to the corners of the earth.

Sara Pottschmidt Lisherness, director, Compassion, Peace, and Justice

Let us pray

Gracious God, thank you for the love we have known in Jesus Christ. As Christ’s disciples, may we recognize our neighbors near and far. Inspire and equip us to demonstrate and proclaim the good news of your love, your justice, and your peace in all that we do. Amen.


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