Date: Sunday, July 3, 2011, 11:34 AM
Dear friends in my supporting churches,
Even in the middle of war, the church has a mission. I just returned from Misrata, the besieged city in western Libya where rebels and civilians are surrounded on three sides by troops loyal to Moammar Gadhafi. I went to Misrata with a demining team from the ACT Alliance, which immediately set to work neutralizing unexploded ordnance that is killing and maiming civilians, especially children. In the coming weeks, that team will be training Libyans to systematically search for dangerous objects as civilians hopefully begin to move back into homes in the ravaged city center that are still habitable. It’s not an easy place to work. The United Nations isn’t even allowed to send in representatives yet. But I was pleased to accompany a dedicated team that represented you in working for life even as war still rages all around.
Besides traveling to Libya, in recent weeks I’ve led a workshop in Switzerland and documented the work of mission institutions in Minnesota, Michigan and Mississippi. I’m back in Oregon at the moment, having returned to the U.S. just in time to be present when Lyda preached the ordination sermon at the PNW annual conference. (http://vimeo.com/25881301)
In the coming weeks I’m catching up on some overdue writing and photo editing, then heading off anew to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and trips to Asia and Africa–all to continue to document the church’s creative work of mission in hard places.
I write to thank you for your support that makes this work possible. Having your congregation’s support not only makes my ministry financially possible. It also links me to the reservoir of prayer and spiritual strength that your congregation offers in your own community, reminding me that mission is inextricably both local and global. Our solidarity must cross all borders if our mission is going to be truly God’s mission.
Given that new occasions teach new duties, even for old curmudgeons like me, I’d like to encourage you to stay connected to me using social media. Link to my blog (http://kairosphotos.com/blog) from your church’s website. Befriend me on Facebook (http://facebook.com/kairosphotos) and follow me on Twitter (GlobalLens). Let me know if there are ways I can better keep in touch with you.
One additional request. This is the time of year that new appointments mean changes in clergy. If your congregation has a new pastor, make sure I get their email address so I can better keep in touch.
Once again, thanks for your deep commitment to mission in both the neighborhood where you live as well as in the far corners of our fascinating world.
-- Paul Jeffrey