New post from missionary Erin Mackenzie

New post from missionary Erin Mackenzie

Anything but Plain-O

Posted: 11 Feb 2020 10:32 AM PST

Last week’s unconventional short-term team was a welcome distraction from ~ recent events ~. I’d also like to point out that this is the first group to come to Santiago for which I didn’t abandon Courtney by leaving the country! Rather, we co-hosted ten individuals from Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Plano, TX, that spent a long weekend doing what we call “mission education.” In lieu of a traditional work project, the group took a deep dive into just about every aspect of the DRLM’s work of spreading the Gospel, planting Lutheran churches, and showing mercy. They toured ministry sites, participated in church and school activities, and got plenty of face time with missionaries, students, and local leaders. Even in just three full days, I don’t feel like we skimped anywhere with the exception of not road-tripping to Kilometer 28 or Santo Domingo. Take a look:

The team explored the many institutions that operate out of Palmar on Friday, beginning with Concordia Lutheran School. 

They met the residential students at Concordia the Reformer Seminary after lunch…

…followed by a presentation on the seminary itself, from director Joel Fritsche (whose brother-in-law, ALSO named Joel, is the pastor at Lord of Life!). 

Culture meant nothing other than cigars, cigars, and more cigars! Remembranza Cigars is a small, family owned operation that offered an equally educational but more laid-back, intimate tour than the the world renowned La Aurora Cigar World.

The GROUP did some serious loving on US (the entire DRLM family) all weekend, even treating Courtney & I to dinner at Santiago’s finest restaurant on Friday night!

Pueblo Nuevo and Licey were highlighted on Saturday. The day began in Pueblo Nuevo with an overview from Joel (wearing his OTHER hat as church-planting pastor)…

…followed by deaconess Caitlin introducing her deaconess students, a children’s Bible lesson, and a walk through the neighborhood that ended in a brief home visit. 

After a mofongo feast in Moca, Revs. Sergio Fritzler and Yban Navarro had the chance to hold up their efforts there, in Villa Dura, and finally at Lamb of God Lutheran Church in Licey. 

The team worshipped at Pueblo Nuevo on Sunday and enjoyed fellowship, pastelitos, and quipes afterward. 

Sunday night’s team BBQ turned into a Superbowl party! Courtney had all the missionary kids convinced they were Chiefs fans until one of the team members, a 49ers fan, managed to sway a few over to her side. 

Caitlyn (far left) was a joy to have on the team! She was the youngest by far and was encouraged to spend some time with the GEOs and I (even ditching the rest of the team once or twice!) as she discerns where God might be leading her in the future. 
I heard several team members comment that they had seen photos of certain places or people in missionary presentations and newsletters but that coming was a whole different ballgame. It made my heart sing every time! My hope is that they left equipped to tell the story of what God is doing through His humble servants in this place, and that He will open doors for the saints at Lord of Life to partner in our efforts with their time, talents, and treasures. 

Until next time, blessings!