New post from missionary Erin Mackenzie

New post from missionary Erin Mackenzie

Assembled as One in the Name of the Son

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 05:39 PM PST

It’s FORO weekend in the Dominican!
Somehow, it feels like the head counts this go-round just kept climbing higher. When you’re in charge (or training your assistant to be in charge) of transportation, meals, setup, nametags, etc….and budgeting for all of the above…things seemingly spiral out of control quickly. There are a couple of BUTs, though. Firstly, said assistant is a rock star. And secondly, it’s taken me four FOROs to realize this, but when it comes down to it, the Saturday of FORO weekend is an asamblea (assembly) for what will one day become the Dominican national church if some LCMS missionaries I know have anything to say about it. When viewed through that lens, it’s pretty cool to see missionaries, congregational reps from the US and Canada, national pastors, local staff, seminary students,  deaconesses, deaconess students, and church members come together around God’s Word to learn from each other and grow together. 
Oddly enough, I think my pictures from the FORO so far make the most sense in reverse order, so I’ll start with this afternoon’s post-Vespers group shot:

This was our 2nd FORO using simultaneous interpretation headsets to ensure that everyone in attendance benefited from the presentations; yours truly interpreted two from Spanish to English. I’ve done plenty of consecutive interpreting in the past but never simultaneous, in which the presenter doesn’t pause. After observing numerous others doing it and thinking, “I could do that!,” it was easier than expected. 

A national pastor (Rev. Idjon Fritz), a missionary pastor (Rev. Jonathan Naumann), and an alliance missionary pastor (Rev. Sergio Maita). 

FOROs always include an educational element. Bishop Jamison Hardy’s presentation on Biblical, servant leadership was a highlight for me – engaging and applicable to everyone in the room. 

The FORO kicked off in earnest with yesterday’s cultural excursion. It was hard to come back down the Puerto Plata Cable Car with clear views like these and cool breezes, but lunch at the Kreys’ beach house was calling. 

Turtles sunning themselves – and the first time I’ve seen the fountain on! – in the lagoon, one of numerous attractions at the top as if the view isn’t enough. 

We stopped at the Chocolala chocolate factory on the way to the cable car. This reads “Chocolate isn’t a food, it’s a medicine – an antidepressant.” –ANONYMOUS

Sampling the goods after a brief walk through the woods to see how cacao grows and what else grows in a similar climate zone. 
The FORO continues through Monday early afternoon. Pray that the forecasted rain holds off for tomorrow’s planned walk at the botanical garden and family BBQ at the seminary, and also that the missionary team stays healthy. It’s always a joy hosting our valued partners, but the stress and fatigue have gotten to a few of our ranks!

Until next time, blessings!