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Grateful in the Midst of Many Transitions

A Letter from Jo Ella Holman, regional liaison for the Caribbean Region, serving in the Dominican Republic

November 2019


Write to Jo Ella Holman

Individuals: Give online to E200376 for Jo Ella Holman’s sending and support

Congregations: Give to D507535 for Jo Ella Holman’s sending and support

Churches are asked to send donations through your congregation’s normal receiving site (this is usually your presbytery)

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Dear Friends,

In this Thanksgiving season I am very grateful for my colleagues in mission service in the Caribbean and for the many gifts given and received in this past year.

In Cuba, we celebrated the four years of service by David Cortes-Fuentes and Josey Saez Acevedo at the Protestant Ecumenical Seminary in Matanzas and with the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba. In his role as visiting professor, David was asked to teach courses in Advanced Greek, New Testament, Homiletics, Pentecostal Studies and directed several thesis projects. Josey taught theological English classes at the seminary and also worked with several of the congregations in Matanzas Presbytery in their Christian Education activities. By the end of their four years, the Seminary had prepared a Cuban faculty member to take on the advanced courses that David had been teaching in the interim.

David and Josey are in the U.S. now in transition to new assignments in the Dominican Republic in January. Josey will join the Christian Education team of the Iglesia Evangelica Dominicana (IED) in developing curricula and training Sunday school teachers. David will begin a new regional position in the Caribbean as a theological educator and curriculum consultant. As such, he will be based, with Josey, in Santo Domingo, but available to consult with partner church seminaries and to teach short courses on a variety of subjects in his areas of expertise.

Also in transition are Jenny Bent and Mark Hare, with daughters Keila and Annika, from the Dominican Republic to Costa Rica. For the past seven years, Jenny and Mark have served faithfully with the IED in their initiative of Community Health Evangelism (CHE). At the national level, they and I have joined our colleagues from the IED in a national CHE Commission. This body has planned and overseen the training and follow-up of trainees in a strategy of outreach by local churches within their communities. Mark and Jenny have lived in the southern region of the country, in Barahona, giving particular support to the congregations and CHE trainees in that region.

We send Jenny, Mark, Keila and Annika off with our prayers and best wishes for their new ministry at the Universidad Bíblica Latinoamericana (UBL) in a community garden and teaching project on the campus. We hope CHE will continue to be part of their ministry.
In Haiti, mission co-worker Cindy Corell continues serving with FONDAMA, a network of farmer organizations that are advocating for changes within Haiti that will improve the lives of Haitians, particularly in rural areas. She also maintains strong ties with PC(USA) partner church, the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti (EEH), with whom we have partnered for over 50 years. Haiti has been in turmoil for most of the past two years, with nationwide protests over corruption, charges of the misappropriation of billions of dollars of development funds and calls for the President to resign. In September, World Mission asked Cindy to come to the U.S. for a while, where she continues to advocate for the Haitian people and to share the stories of our Haitian partners and their ministries.

And I continue to serve, now in my ninth year, as regional liaison for the Caribbean, based in Santo Domingo. This year, I was privileged to participate in a regional activity that included partner churches from Cuba, Curaçao, Jamaica, Guyana, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dominican Republic. It was a Calvin Institute symposium to renew worship liturgy and music in a cold Grand Rapids, Michigan! In July, I was in Puerto Rico with the Hispanic/Latina Presbyterian Women, which is always a delight, and got to know many PC(USA) leaders in Puerto Rico. I visited partners in Cuba and also attended the marvelous Cuba Network meeting in New Orleans. Presbyteries and congregations welcomed me to Southern Kansas, Long Island, Savannah, Puerto Rico and Louisville.

It has been a full year, blessed by the friendships and shared ministries with Caribbean partner churches and organizations, mission co-workers and YOU in our Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). All of us who have served in the Caribbean thank you for your prayers, friendship, and ongoing financial support, without which we could not continue to serve. I am in my final year serving as a mission co-worker and look forward to retiring at the end of 2020. I shall appreciate your prayers for this upcoming year of transitions. We hope the new regional liaison for the Caribbean will be called prior to the end of my term next year for some shared time.

I am immensely grateful for your support this year and humbly request that you continue that support next year. I thank you in advance for your faithfulness.

Gratefully yours,

Jo Ella

Please read this important message from Sara Lisherness, interim director of Presbyterian World Mission

Dear friend of Presbyterian Mission,

Greetings in Christ! As the interim director of Presbyterian World Mission, I am grateful to have the opportunity to thank you for your continued support of PC(USA) mission co-workers.

The enclosed newsletter bears witness to some of the many ways in which God is at work in the world through long-standing relationships between global partners and the PC(USA). These partnerships are nurtured and strengthened by the presence of mission co-workers in over 40 countries; you are an important part of this partnership too, as you learn about and share how our church is involved in global ministry; as you pray for our partners and mission co-workers; and as you take action to work with others for God’s justice, peace and healing.

I write to invite you to continue joining us in partnership in three ways. First, your prayers are always needed. Please pray that God will continue guiding the shared work of the PC(USA) and global partners as we engage together in service around the world. Pray, too, for mission co-workers, that they may feel encouraged in the work they are doing under the leadership of global partners.

Second, please consider making a year-end gift for the sending and support of at least one mission co-worker. There is a remittance form at the end of this letter and an enclosed envelope so that you can send in a special year-end gift.

Finally, I encourage you to ask your session to include one or more mission co-workers in your congregation’s mission budget for 2020 and beyond. PC(USA) mission co-workers’ sending and support costs are funded by the designated gifts of individuals and congregations like yours; your gifts allow Presbyterian World Mission to fulfill global partners’ requests for mission personnel.

Faithfully in Christ,

Sara Pottschmidt Lisherness
Director, Compassion, Peace and Justice Ministry
Interim Director, Presbyterian World Mission

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