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When I was a child in East Germany in the 1950s, oranges were hard to get. This was still the case when we had our own young children in the 1970s and 1980s. But in all those years one of the special things about Christmas was that we were able to buy oranges! We labeled them “Christmas quota oranges” and they came from Cuba. We rather loved them for their juicy sweetness even though they had a leathery surface and chewy flesh inside. And we learned later those oranges were originally a variety not meant for eating, but for juice production.
I got off the train after a four-hour ride along the Pacific Ocean and headed to the exit to be met by a pastor from Bunun Presbytery, an aboriginal presbytery on Taiwan’s east coast. I was on my way to lead the fourth pastors retreat in three weeks.
Like a lot of people, I look forward to Christmas. It is one of the most meaningful times of the year. But being from the Caribbean, our Christmases are a little different than the typical American celebrations.
For the Rev. Shelvis Smith-Mather, the road to the majestic halls of Oxford University took a journey of nine years and three continents. But it is, he says, a “crazy, wonderful, beautiful story.”
“And… a long story, but the details of the many stops and starts along the way speaks to how it has come together now in God’s time,” he said.
The Rev. Heidi Worthen Gamble makes a bold promise for the February and March Travel Study Seminar to the U.S. Southern border.
Living in intentional Christian community looks different this year for Young Adult Volunteers (YAVs) in South Korea. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s two Korea YAVs — Susannah Stubbs and Amanda Kirkscey — are living in a school dormitory and a church guest house instead of the previous site model where they lived together, next door to the YAV site coordinator.
The Rev. Everdith (“Evie”) Landrau has been named the new coordinator of the Young Adult Volunteer program.
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) partners from the Assembly of Evangelical (Presbyterian) Churches in Iraq are sharing, in their own words, about the Matthew 25 ministries to which they have been called.
News outlets around the world recently reported the discovery of the first new subtype of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in 20 years. But what you may not have noticed is the Presbyterian Mission Agency was credited in the study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (Jaids).
I sat next to Rachel Obal outside of her home in rural South Sudan, listening to the story of her uncle who, as a boy, was taken from his home by Arabs to be sold as a slave near Khartoum, Sudan. Obal’s words painted a vivid picture as she spoke of how her father followed his brother to rescue him and had to witness the small boy, with hands tied behind his back, paraded in front of crowds to be sold. I could see the boy with his hands tied, his knees pressed into the dusty market ground. I could even picture his thin, brown body, still bound at the wrists, placed on a boat. In my mind’s vision, no one else was on the boat; he was a child all alone, floating toward slavery. My heart ached as I listened.