New post from missionary Erin Mackenzie

New post from missionary Erin Mackenzie

I’ll be in St. Louis for Christmas

Posted: 15 Dec 2019 09:00 AM PST

I keep hearing the song “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” and wondering if I should be singing along or not. 
Since I moved to the DR, I’ve been as conscientious as possible about referring to Santiago as home. Studying abroad in Spain taught me that home is more than a place, but both St. Louis and Santiago could make a case for the title. St. Louis is where I grew up, where my parents, siblings, most of my extended family, and many of my friends still live, and where my most treasured belongings are safely stored. Santiago is where I live and work now, where I’m surrounded by my missionary family as well as Dominican and expat friends, and where my house is outfitted with a mix of essential belongings I brought with me and things I’ve acquired as I’ve settled in over the past 16 months. 
So the verdict’s still out. Maybe I shouldn’t be so strict about saying I’m going to be in “St. Louis” or “the States” for Christmas. Regardless, both are true. I left Santiago Thursday, but it’s only the 15th; I’ve already been to Kirksville, MO, for my sister’s graduation…
I stayed with her and one of her roommates at the “LuHo.”

Friday night featured two quintessential Kirksville experiences: “train bridge” (pictured…no, we didn’t see any trains) and the Dukum (“Do Come”) Inn. 

Truman State University’s newest alumna! She’ll go straight into a year-long Master’s program and graduate again at this time next time with her M.A.E. 
…and I’m writing this from Lambert Int’l Airport en route to a Short-term Volunteer Coordinators Conference in the Czech Republic. It’ll be the first time I and the missionaries who do my job in other regions are together in person. It sounds like an odd time to have a conference, but we work largely with congregations that go on mission trips, which no one does during Advent. Furthermore, Europe is a commonly selected location for events that involve OIM staff representing multiple regions. Pray for safe, uneventful travel and that the Lord would bless our fellowship and guide our discussions as we seek to further improve and streamline the LCMS short-term mission experience and align it ever more with spreading the Gospel, planting Lutheran churches, and showing mercy. 
I’m currently watching them plow the runway and de-ice planes, but Lord-willing, I’ll get to Prague early tomorrow morning and get to spend a day with Peter and Lucy Hoffmann, fellow members of my St. Louis orientation cohort, in Olomouc before traveling to the conference location. 
Until next time, blessings!