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Partners in God’s Mission

A letter from Dennis and Maribel Smith Mission co-workers based in Argentina since 2011 (previously in Guatemala) serving as regional liaison for South America

December 2020

Write to Dennis Smith
Write to Maribel Smith

Individuals: Give online to E200481 for Dennis and Maribel Smith’s sending and support

Congregations: Give to D503801 for Dennis and Maribel Smith’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 Partners in God’s Mission,

In October, after seven months of lockdown, Argentina finally opened airports to commercial flights. On Oct 12, Maribel and I jumped on a plane in Buenos Aires with our two Siamese cats and flew to Oregon to begin a new chapter in our life’s journey.

After 43 years of service, I retired as a Presbyterian mission co-worker on Oct. 31, 2020. Through your friendship, prayers and financial support you have been our partners in mission for much of that time. Thank you!

As Maribel and I settle into life on the south coast of Oregon, we have been looking back and unpacking memories and reviewing lessons learned.

There was a time when we thought of mission as something Christians do – a function of our devotion or our commitment. Little by little we learned that wherever we went in mission, God was already there. In some mysterious way, every people of every tongue – despite our common brokenness – were embraced by common grace. We came to understand that we were called as servants of God’s mission – not the mission of a particular local church, or even the Presbyterian Church (USA).

In that sense, we learned that our God was too small – too specific to our language, our history, and our position in society. To walk alongside those of a different culture, a different lived experience – and specially to walk alongside those on the edges of our society – broadened our understanding of how and where God is present in this world. Indeed, we came to understand that our salvation was bound up in the salvation of all of humankind.

We learned that our task as mission workers was not to be God-bearers but to be fellow pilgrims discerning how and where God is present in every time and place. And how God was calling all of us to faithful service in building the common good. Christ is our model and Christ is our companion on the journey.

This is a strange time to begin this new chapter in our lives. Pandemic denies us the freedom even to be able to embrace friends and family. The U.S. and so many other countries are confronting deep divisions, grief at lost loved ones, social unrest, natural disasters – all exacerbated by COVID-19. It is a moment without closure, fraught with uncertainties. But this is the time in which we live.

As we enter Advent, Maribel and I wanted to send you this, our final mission newsletter, celebrating that the God of Hope continues to be born here, in human history. We thank you for all that we have shared together. We thank God for all that is to come.

Please keep in touch. Dennis’ personal email is densmithfam@gmail.com; Maribel’s is maribelperez64@gmail.com.

Under the Mercy,

Dennis & Maribel Smith


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