Preparing for Take Off

Date posted: Tuesday 02 January 2018

Wasin! ("Hello" in Q'eqchi)
 
Como Park Lutheran Church and Lutheran Church of the Resurrection are looking forward to visiting our companions at Cristo Luz del Mundo in 2 weeks. I want to share the range of emotions and the questions that have followed the journey as we prepare for the trip.
 
My first thought is that I am so glad we settled on a date for the next visit on the bus ride back during our last visit.  Our goal is a visit every 18 months. It has always been difficult aligning dates that work both for ILAG and us, and having that challenge out of the way early was a huge relief. Given that, what was once 18 months in the future is now only 2 weeks away. What happened?
 
Emotionally we weren't ready. Our last visit had more than its share of difficulties. Guatemala is not always an easy country to visit. There are so many challenging considerations for the North American traveler. Food safety, crime, health issues, transportation, etc. We are grateful that the ILAG offers so much help and protection in dealing with these concerns.
 
It is easy to put behind the planning until the realization that we are only 12 months, or 9 months, or 7 months out. The time to get the first congregational task force meeting on the calendar is now. Getting commitments, recruiting new participants, following up with anyone who expressed interest in previous visits, and scheduling the meeting need to happen now.
 
The first meeting is over. The trip will happen. Do we have enough commitments? Why don't we get more new participants? Are we still on the schedule? Time to advertise! So many say they're interested but can't commit. Yes! There are enough commitments. Wait! Are there going to be too many? Divine intervention, this trip was meant to happen. 
 
The second meeting is about getting serious. We are 2 churches, 2 groups becoming one, 2 or more sets of expectations. Travel arrangements need to happen. Do we go with a travel agent or make our own arrangements? Insurance or not? STOP!! $1200!! Ok, calm down. We've committed to this visit, it will happen. I am so thankful that the rest of the delegation is flexible and can give me the latitude to make the decisions that are not easy.
 
The third meeting. Do we need a theme? Yes, we do! It turns out January becomes its own theme. Epiphany and light are shared experiences. Snow and winter are unique experiences for us to share with companions.
 
The fourth meeting. Travel clinic? Check. Music? Debra is on it, check. Activities? Food? Ruth is in charge of the shopping list. Thank you Lord for Walmart in Guatemala City! I can't believe I said that. This is the meeting to make sure all tasks have a name after the "to do" notation. 
 
The fifth or sixth or seventh meeting. Does anyone need extra packing space? Any last minute anxieties? We are all here to help! I think we are ready! Thank you Lord! Not mine but Your will be done.
 

With that, a prayer.

Adoration. Oh Lord, your creation is a marvel we can only comprehend from our human experience. It is within the human experience of our relationships with our fellow pilgrims that we touch on the glory of your majesty. Thank you!
 
Confession. We have failed to totally embrace the whole of your creation. Help us to connect with the those fellow pilgrims with whom together we can begin to discern your plan for creation, our covenant partners of ILAG, Cristo Luz del Mundo, Como Park, Resurrection, and all individuals and communities who look to You.
 
Thanksgiving. Thank you for this relationship and covenant partnership without which our horizons would be limited to the confines of our own time and place.
 
Solicitation. Make our visit with our covenant partners Cristo Luz del Mundo and Como Park Lutheran Church a manifestation of your presence in our lives.
 
Soli Deo Gloria! 
B'antiox!
Amen!  
 
Joel McDermott
Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Roseville
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