Our Advent calendar is full of lots of events and activities, and now we have one more exciting thing to add to it. From December 5-8 we will have a delegation of our brothers and sisters from Bethel Presbyterian Church visiting us and getting a sense of our ministries and life together. This is a CHURCH-WIDE event and we hope that everyone will find some way to participate with us! If you wish to attend dinner on Sunday December 6 at 5:30 p.m. click HERE to make a dinner reservation so we know how many to cook for. Your reservation is needed by noon on Wednesday, December 2.
Q: Who will be coming?
A: Our mission co-worker, Philip Beisswenger, will be accompanying Pastor Luis, his wife, Delia, and four other church leaders.
Q: Why on earth are they coming in December? Won’t they freeze??
A: The dates in December were proposed by the Bethel congregation because their “summer” vacation is from October – January and this would allow one of their young people to join them. Even though it will be chilly we are excited about the possibilities that this time frame opens up – we host Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Kingsport (IHNGK) that week, and plan to take a spin through Speedway in Lights.
Q: What is the purpose of this trip? Is it a good use of money?
A: We have been told that our relationship with the Bethel church is extraordinary, and exactly what the World Missions office had in mind when they drafted the guidelines for forming partnerships between congregations or presbyteries:
“our mission relationships within this country and around the world are most faithful when they proclaim and incarnate:
• Our shared grace in Christ and thanksgiving to God
• Our mutuality and interdependence
• Recognition and respect of our identities
• Open dialogue and transparency of action and
• Two-way sharing of resources, human and financial.”
The goal of our relationship isn’t simply to do projects in Guatemala with or for the church or their community. It is to be the Church of Jesus Christ together, and to encourage and challenge each others faith. Looking at the relationship this way, we recognize that they have as much to give and teach us as we have to give and teach them, and we demonstrate a willingness to open our doors and hearts to them as they have to us.
Q: What kinds of things will they do while they are here?
A: First, this is a congregation-wide event! You all are invited to join us in everything we do as it is logistically feasible. We will begin each morning in a brief time of worship, introduce them to many of our mission and outreach programs, share a meal with the congregation Sunday night, see a bit of downtown Kingsport and the area, and hopefully do a few home visits. Saturday night will include a little cultural immersion with a trip to the Carter Fold! See below for a more detailed itinerary.
Q: What kinds of cultural differences should we be aware of?
A: Guatemalans tend to be more formal than we are here. We address the pastor as Pastor Luis, and they frequently call us and refer to each other as Hermano or Hermana – brother or sister (hint: the h is silent). Also, very few Presbyterians in Guatemala smoke or drink alcohol. If you find yourself at a meal with the group we will ask you to be sensitive to this and refrain from partaking yourself.
Q: How can I be involved?
A: Join us! Here is just a short list of ways you can participate:
• Ride along with me to Knoxville to pick them up from the airport.
• Come with us on one or more of our outings.
• Come for morning worship and devotions.
• Come to worship Sunday morning for what we know will be a powerful and Spirit-filled worship service.
• Come for dinner and a program by Philip Beisswenger Sunday evening.
• Help cook our Southern-Guatemalan fusion dinner Sunday evening! Teach them how to cook Southern-style, or learn how to cook a typical Guatemalan dish.
• Help in the planning of the trip by making phone calls to arrange activities.
• Drive on our outings.
• Translate, if you are proficient in Spanish.
• Pray for them as they travel and experience the Church in North America.
• Pray for us.
Q: Who do I contact if I have more questions or want to help or come along?
A: Contact Sharon Amstutz at firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, December 5
9:00 a.m. Worship, meet with the Session, tour of church, Farmer’s Market and Carousel
Labyrinth and Community Garden
Dinner and Carter Fold
Sunday, December 6
NOTE: There will be one (1) Worship service today
10:00 a.m. Sunday School
11:00 a.m. Worship – Philip Beisswenger preaching
3:00 p.m. Southern-Guatemalan cooking
5:30 p.m. Dinner and program on Guatemala and the Presbyterian Church’s work there
Monday, December 7
8:30 a.m. Devotional in chapel
Visit KCMC, Family Promise of Greater Kingsport (FPGK), Hay House
Speedway in Lights
Tuesday, December 8
8:30 a.m. Devotional in chapel
Visit Oasis, Salvation Army, DB Excel
Dinner with IHNGK
Wednesday, December 9
Travel to Knoxville for the flight home