Recent Blogs


It's been fun (though I've been staying up way too late these past two weeks!) to watch portions of the Olympic Games from Brazil. In addition to the breathtaking moments of victory and the sometimes heartbreaking moments that lead to a loss, I've enjoyed hearing about the roots and backgrounds of the individual athletes. In each case, someone had to sense that young athlete's potential and support him or her in their dreams and in the long, slow, training process to become world-class.

Pastor Reflections

If you stopped by church this week you no doubt noticed the rumblings and patter of feet going from one spot to another as Vacation Bible School ran through each morning.

It was fun to watch the excitement on the faces of the kids and the energy carrying them from one learning station to the next as they took bible stories and mixed them up with life, and summer; discovering in deeper and deeper ways the ways in which their lives are captured by wonder and held by a love we know as God.

Changing Lives

Last Sunday, an hour before worship began, a holy moment was taking place in the north section of the church parking lot. It might not have looked especially "holy" to onlookers; they would have simply seen a group of teens and adults, dressed in very casual clothes, stuffing suitcases and equipment into vans, then pausing for a circle of prayer before they hopped into their vehicles, and started off, with the parents, siblings, spouses and friends who stayed behind waving good-bye.

Fifth week at UPAVIM

This was my fifth and final week at UPAVIM. The past few days were full of good-bye hugs, photos, and food. On Monday, I had dinner with Carrie, one of the Sister Parish coordinators that I met during the delegation last year. It was great to catch up with her and tell her about my experiences at UPAVIM. On Wednesday, I had a second meeting with the consejo del hermanamiento (the UPAVIM committee in charge of the Sister Parish connection). We continued planning ways to improve communication between our two communities, including a "pen pal" email connection between youth. I hope that my presence here has helped strengthen the relationship between DGFUMC and UPAVIM. On Thursday, the women had a goodbye party for me, which was bittersweet. 

Fourth week at UPAVIM

There were lots of good things happening at UPAVIM this week! In Reforzamiento, the younger kids were working on the days of the week (in Spanish and English) and writing the letter i. They colored iglesias (churches), iguanas, and indios (Indians). Since they are still strengthening their finger muscles, writing dozens of letters can be tiring. With the older kids, I am still working on parts of speech. I asked them to choose a book and make lists of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns. After several lessons, they understand most of the categories well, and it is fun to see how excited they are when they correctly identify "el dinosaurio" as a noun and "jugar" as a verb. I have really enjoyed getting to know these students, and I love when they yell "¡Hola, Seño Clara!" when they see me around the neighborhood.

Third week at UPAVIM

It has been another busy but fun week at UPAVIM. On Monday, I had a nice meeting with the women in charge of the hermanamiento (our Sister Parish connection between DGFUMC and UPAVIM). I gave them some updates about our church, including special summer activities like camp and mission trips. We also discussed ways to improve communication between DGFUMC members and the UPAVIM women. We will try to send more updates and photos via email and Facebook (I am always happy to help translate). In addition, we are going to try to set up an online "pen pal" program for the youth. I will collect the names and email addresses of the 4th - 6th graders at UPAVIM that are interested, and then I will connect them with youth from our congregation. It will be a great opportunity for them to practice English and Spanish, respectively, and to learn about each other's cultures, interests, and daily lives.

Second week at UPAVIM

Hello again from Guatemala City! It has been a busy week at UPAVIM. The big news for the clinic is that we received a delivery of much-needed medications! We purchased these medications through donations from DGFUMC, via Guatemala Connection and the MJC (missions, justice, and community) Work Area. Dr. Hector, Nurse Johana, and the directors of the clinic committee are very grateful for our church's generosity, and they are excited to see the pharmacy's shelves much more full than usual. We still have about half of the donated funds left, which we will use to buy more medications and supplies for the clinic.

New Meaning for the Future

A week ago at this time I was just arriving back from Wesley Woods, still savoring the crisp Wisconsin morning air, bright blue waters of Lake Geneva, and boisterous voices of children and teens that are all a part of our congregation's annual church camp.  

It was, as always, a joy to work with John Smoke and Howie Snyder, and the great team of volunteers from our church; to enjoy seeing the campers zoom down the slip-and-slide, take turns kayaking, or share stories of the day over the dining hall tables.

First week at UPAVIM

Hello from Guatemala City!

The weather is great up here on the techo ("roof," actually the 4th floor of the UPAVIM building), and I have a nice view of the La Esperanza neighborhood. I am sharing the volunteer living space with Elena (who works in the clinic and the Montessori classrooms), Matt (one of the English teachers), and their two sons, Sam and Michele (who attend 1st and 3rd grade at the UPAVIM school). They gave me a warm welcome on Monday and they've taught me many useful skills, like how to wash my clothes by hand, how to take the bus to the market, and where to buy the best bread and fruit. I've also met three of the four young women that teach English, but they live in a house nearby, not on the roof.


The scripture this Sunday is John 5:2-18 and tells the story of Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath who had waited 38 years to be healed as he lay by a pool of water. I hope to tease some meanings from it for today as we listen to Jesus ask the guy, "what do you want?"

Thank you to everyone who came out Monday evening to hear the Pure Sound Youth Choir from Bethany United Methodist Church in Austin, TX, a small, but powerful ensemble of singers.


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