Thursday, November 21, 2013

Carol Bercian's visit

I had a very enjoyable time this past weekend with the visit of Carol Bercian, the director of the Tabitha Ministry in Guatemala City.  I've shared on numerous occasions about this remarkable ministry among the most impoverished who live in or near the city dump in Guatemala City.  Carol has been in the States for a few weeks, visiting a sister in Seattle as well as sharing about the Tabitha Ministry with some Baptist churches in Alabama.  Alabama Baptists had an ongoing partnership with Guatemalan Baptists for a number of years and many of those churches continue to send mission teams to Guatemala.  Carol has assisted them as she has our teams with all of the logistical arrangements.

We had a potluck dinner on Saturday evening at one of our member's home, attended by several who had gone to Guatemala on one of the 6 mission trips our church has made there.  Then on Sunday, Carol shared during the message time in all 3 of our morning services.  I was slated to preach in Blake's absence as he was leading a marriage enrichment retreat for a number of our couples down in Branson over the weekend.  I had prepared a message but anticipated that there wouldn't be too much time to share it after interviewing Carol about how the Tabitha Ministry began, hearing the testimonies of some of the lives that have been radically changed through the ministry, and then learning of some of the ongoing challenges and prayer requests for the ministry.  Carol had also brought numerous crafts that the ladies of the Tabitha Ministry had made--the sale of which provides them with a source of income and an alternative to their former lifestyle.

Following the morning services, we hopped in my car for a four and a half hour drive to Farmington, MO where Carol was able to share with more than 300 who had gathered in their Family Life Center for a Thanksgiving celebration that included thanks for the church's multiple missions efforts.  We enjoyed a delicious meal and then heard reports about efforts in the church's "Jerusalem," featuring outreach ministries enabled by the new gymnasium.  Reports about efforts in "Judea and Samaria" included a focus on the church's outreach to the Filipino community in Farmington and featured a song by a trio of Filipino women and a testimony by the leader of a Bible study group working with this community.  Carol then shared about the Tabitha Ministry as I translated for her. It was great to re-connect with several friends at Farmington and see their new facilities. 

I'm grateful for the time I was able to share with Carol, her sister, and her son who also accompanied her on the trip.  I'm looking forward as well to the next round of leadership training conferences in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala in mid-January.

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