Mission Crossroads

FAL 2018

Mission Crossroads is a three-time-a-year magazine focused on worldwide work of the PC(USA). It offers news and feature stories about mission personnel, international partners and grassroots Presbyterians involved in God's mission in the world.

Issue link: https://missioncrossroads.epubxp.com/i/1024538

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Page 7 of 23

6 | Fall 2018 Rediscovering mutual mission in times of crisis U.S. and Middle East pastors partner in prayer and action for refugees in war-torn Syria Tim McCalmont The Rev Tim McCalmont (right) preaches at the Presbyterian Church of Homs, Syria, with the Rev. Mofid Karajili interpreting. Elmarie Parker even years ago, as pastor of a Presbyterian church in Costa Mesa, California, I found myself praying for peace to overshadow our broken world. About that time, I became friends with a Presbyterian family who had moved into our community from Homs, Syria. As my friendship with the Jarjours grew, I learned about the crisis in their homeland and how it was impacting their church in Homs. I asked if they would put me in touch with their pastor, at which point he and I began exchanging emails, sharing mutual concerns about our congregations and praying for one another. In those conversations, I learned what had happened to their sanctuary and fellowship hall, and to the old city around the church. e attacks had been waged by radical groups and had scattered the congregation. e pastor was attempting to serve the people of his church, keeping them together during this crisis. For me, this was no longer just a sound bite on the evening news; it became a personal concern for a friend, a colleague and a brother in Christ. I learned that Presbyterian World Mission was forming a new mission network related to Syria and Lebanon. So I decided to fly to Louisville, Kentucky, to attend the network's organizational meeting, and I invited my new friend Arfan Jarjour along. At the meeting, I learned about mission co-workers Scott and Elmarie Parker, serving in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. e Parkers had joined a number of others from congregations who shared our concerns. We heard reports from the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL) and the Near East School of eology, both partners with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), each making a significant impact on mission in the Middle East. It was then I decided to commit my time and energy to this urgent work and to help facilitate the formation of partnerships between churches in the PC(USA) and Presbyterian churches in Syria and Lebanon. Soon I agreed to travel to the region and meet our partners firsthand. God helped raise the funds through our church and the Presbytery of Los Ranchos, and away I went. e trip was life-changing for me. I met resilient, faith-filled people and saw how they had stepped up in violent times and served those in need around them. We talked about ways we could assist them in bringing help and S

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