New post from missionary Erin Mackenzie

New post from missionary Erin Mackenzie

Bienvenidas y Despedidas

Posted: 15 Jul 2020 10:21 AM PDT

Update: 53 library books cataloged Monday + 34 yesterday. Yes, I went back…this is exactly the kind of thing I have a tendency to dive headfirst into…
About Sunday, though. I left Costambar a few minutes after 9 am and arrived early for Pueblo Nuevo’s 10:30 service. Like I said in my last post, it’s so close and yet so far. 
I wanted to attend there for a few reasons. First, six individuals – three missionary/seminarian kids and three adult women – were given the bienvenida to the Lord’s table for the first time as they confirmed their faith! One of them, Esther (3rd from left), shares my confirmation verse: 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Second, Sunday was Vicar Mario’s despedida. After two years in the DR, he leaves tomorrow for a month-long respite with his family in Spain and then an experiential year at an urban congregation in Detroit. Mario arrived in the DR not long after I did and figures into one of my early experiences: community home visits during orientation

Mario got to give one last sermon in the DR, during which he alluded to the aforementioned confirmations in that the whole Church was de fiesta on account of the newest recipients of the Lord’s true body and blood. 
Rev. Joel Fritsche was so much more than a vicarage supervisor to Mario, through thick and thin. 
Ready to represent CMSCR in Detroit!
Sunday was also Ashley’s unofficial despedidaAshley arrived in the DR for on-field orientation in January but was grounded due to COVID-19 right before she was supposed to depart for her field of service in Puerto Rico. She found out on Thursday that she’d finally be able to get there…on Monday! Thanks be to God, she arrived safe and sound. Request to join her Facebook group for a video of her first impressions and continued updates on the Church’s work through her, and keep her in your prayers as she transitions to life on a different island. I’m going to miss her as a friend, and also as a Cooking Camp camper (all July and into August, I agreed to hold weekly culinary sessions for her + a missionary kid who is eager to learn her way around the kitchen)!
Courtney, Tirzah, Ashley, me, and Kate. 
Lest I forget, the congregation also recognized Rev. Fritsche for 20 years of ordained ministry on Sunday! All of this revelry, though, took place against the backdrop of the ever-present coronavirus. It was hard to look past the restrictions taped to the front windows (below), we had boxed lunches instead of a potluck, and it goes without saying that masks were ubiquitous. 
I lost track of the phases in the presidential election hubbub. Regardless, cases are on the rise. At the national level, the outgoing administration is resolved to crack down on those who violate mask and social distancing requirements. At the local church level, I can, lamentably, now say that there are members who are positive. As a result, all community home visits have been suspended, and the congregation I typically attend backtracked to holding Services of the Word only – no communion.
Thank you for your prayers that God would remove this pestilence from us and that in the meantime, His Word would continue to go forth despite it!
Until next time, blessings!