Natalie Howard – Final Missionary Newsletter

 

 

 

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News from Natalie:
Serving the Lord in Latin America & the Caribbean 

Dear Partners in Mission, 

It is with great thankfulness to you that I am writing. With your support over the past two years, I have now successfully completed my service as an LCMS GEO missionary. The Lord kept me in His care during my service overseas, and blessed me with experiences that challenged what I thought I was capable of and filled my heart with pure joy as I saw him work in and through the mission. With His guidance, and your prayers and encouragement, I was able to serve and live in ways I never imagined possible in order to proclaim and further the spread of the gospel.

You might be wondering, ‘So what’s next?’ Truth is, I’m wondering the same thing. I have recently returned to my home in Wisconsin and am living with my family until the dust settles and I gain some direction on what to do in this new, but familiar context. I remind myself that God is good all the time and directs the paths of his followers when we walk with Him.

Interested in a visit? I may be available to schedule a visit to your congregation in the near future to talk about my experience. Or, if you are in the area and would like to grab coffee and hear about how the Lord was and continues to be at work in the mission field of Latin America & Caribbean. If you wish to stay in contact with me, please send an email to natalieh5454@gmail.com or reach me by phone: (262) 355-5454.

If you are looking to continue supporting mission work in the LAC region, these missionaries could use your support!
Proclaim the Good News of Jesus by clicking HERE
Many thanks for going on this journey with me. May the Lord bless and keep you!Hugs,
Natalie
Spending quality time with Valeria, a Castillo Fuerte attendee in La Victoria, Peru.
Leading a Team to Peru

Going through missionary orientation before departing for the field, one of the things I was told was to ‘Expect the unexpected’. This piece of advice rang true numerous times throughout my service. One of those times being when I was asked to lead short-term team to Peru.

This sort of thing was not part of my ‘job’ as a business administrator or previous experience I held, but in missions you are given opportunities to serve and our ‘job’ is to step outside of our comfort zone and know that God goes before and behind us to further the spread of the gospel.

Before becoming a missionary, I had served on three week-long mission trips to Guatemala. But I had never dreamed of serving as a team coordinator.  Overall, it was one of the best experiences I had and an accomplishment that I am most proud of. I would do it all over again if I were asked!

I was able to visit Peru for a short three day trip during the twice annual FORO partner meeting before orchestrating the team’s efforts a few months later. I had never been to Peru or even South America prior to that first trip. I found the spoken Spanish to be much easier to understand, and just about everything differed from the culture of the Dominican Republic, a place I had very much grown accustomed to.

We saw the Lord working in and through the work of the team from Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church of Mequon, Wis., (not far from my home church– imagine that!) The team successfully taught English, bible stories, music, games, and crafts to children ages 4-14 at the Castillo Fuerte mercy center in La Victoria. They also gave health talks to parents of the children and members of the community. At the beginning of the weeklong VBS type program, there were about 30 children that participated and by the end there were nearly 70. Every day, interested parents came to enroll their children in the program. 

In the evenings, after full days of traveling using public transportation and teaching very enthusiastic children who spoke a different language, the team taught three levels of adult English classes at the mission house in San Borja until about 9 p.m. at night. There were upwards of 60 participants in the adult studies. Some students even traveled an hour and a half each day to attend. 

The week after the team left, the weekly bible study of three attendees jumped up to a total of 18 attendees. Thanks be to God that we were able to share His truth and see almost immediate fruit of our labor.

Want to serve on a short-term team to Latin America? Contact Volunteer Coordinator Erin Mackenzie at erin.mackenzie@lcms.org for information about upcoming trips.

Short-term mission team from Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church of Mequon, Wis. posing with congregation members of Iglesia Los Olivos in Peru.
‘Hasta Luego’, not Goodbye
The Dominican Republic and the other countries that I had the greatest pleasure of serving alongside will always take up a huge place in my heart. The people I met, the dear friends I made, and experiences that I had I will cherish for the rest of my life and have changed the way I look at the world. It pains me to move onto the next chapter and enter into a season of unknown– But it is sweet to be reunited with my family and loved ones at home and know that I will always have a second-family in the Dominican Republic, as well.
God is faithful and has a plan better than anything I could dream up. I pray that he uses the sum of language, skills, and experience I’ve gained to grow His church in the chapters of life to follow. Who knows, maybe He will call me back to the LAC region in the future.My dear missionary and church family at Pueblo Nuevo threw a birthday and farewell party for me before I left. But that wasn’t all of the excitement during my final week in the Dominican Republic. John, my now fiance who I had been seeing long-distance for the duration of my missionary service, surprised me with a visit and asked me to be his wife. I joyfully accepted! Below are some photos of me during that last week in my favorite place with beloved brothers and sisters in Christ.
Become a Mission Partner
Please Pray For: 

  • Good health and safety of missionaries serving around the world 
  • All missionaries serving in Latin America and the Caribbean–May they hold fast to God’s call to serve Him in this way and be encouraged in our work to advance His Kingdom in various countries
  • Missionary workers to heed God’s call to join the harvest field overseas
  • Comfort and peace during my transition back to the United States
  • New opportunities to serve and love on God’s people in this new context
Follow my journey on Facebook at Natalie Howard Missionary
Read more about my ministry in the DR by clicking the link icon below.
Copyright © 2018 LCMS Office of International Mission, All rights reserved.
Thank you for subscribing to “News From Natalie”.
Interested in continuing to support God’s work in the Dominican Republic? Visit www.lcms.org/missionarysupport# or send a tax-deductible donation (Memo: Name of Missionary) to:
LCMS P.O. Box 66861 St. Louis, MO 63166-6861
Or to my friends at: Mission Central 40718 Highway E-16 Mapleton, IA 51034My mailing address is:
Stateside:
Natalie Howard
1524 Hickory Ct.
Port Washington, WI 53074
Natalie.howard@lcmsintl.org
Facebook: Natalie Howard Missionary

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