Mission Crossroads

SPR 2017

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/776898

Contents of this Issue


Page 6 of 23

Mission Crossroads 5 father. eologically Belhar proclaims unity, reconciliation and justice, which makes sense as Reformed, decolonizing theology. e work of mission has helped to spread and plant the seeds of the Reformed tradition in many places like South Africa and Venezuela. But it is justice that makes the work of the family of God possible. My life story does not begin in mission, but perhaps it is because of mission that my life has a particular transformational message for our life together as a national and global church. I was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, into a household of global theologians. In 2011, I gave a talk at the Biblical University of Costa Rica, where the excited librarian found records and photographs belonging to past students who just happened to be my grandparents. In the early 20th century my paternal grandparents came from Venezuela and Guatemala to Costa Rica to study theology. My grandfather was trained as a pastor and my grandmother as a Christian educator. eir parents had converted to Christianity a generation earlier, and this Protestant rooting took shape through theological education. My father had been aided by Presbyterian missionaries in Venezuela so he could attend a Presbyterian college in the U.S., since the Venezuelan university he planned to attend had been closed by the government. On the other side of my family, my maternal grandfather in Pennsylvania was an ordained Presbyterian elder, and my mother grew up in a Protestant family, with a Protestant worldview. Hers was a poor farming family, and Presbyterian pastors helped my mother financially to attend a Presbyterian college and later a Presbyterian seminary. My parents met and married in college and attended seminary together to prepare for a life of ministry and mission. e month of my birth, my father, a Venezuelan national, was ordained as a national pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Venezuela, his first pastorate. My mother, a U.S. national, waited more than 30 years after receiving her Master of Divinity degree before being ordained and sent into the mission field in Latin America, where she had moved in 1965. My mother was a theological educator in Colombia and Venezuela, and later in Spain. My father served the PC(USA) in Colombia in the late '90s as an educator and rector of a seminary, which at that time was shared by Presbyterians of Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador. My parents' official mission work continued to Spain, where for seven years they both taught at the Evangelical United eological Seminary on the outskirts of Madrid. When I was a teen we, as a family, lived in the U.S. for the first time because my parents were doing doctoral studies. I learned about Southern and Northern Presbyterianism, and the history of prophetic, post segregation ministry in the U.S. My mentors were pastors who led protests and gave prophetic sermons, and a Mexican- American Presbyterian leader who guided me into leadership and mission. rough the predecessor to the Presbyterian Mission Agency's Young Adult Volunteer program, my spouse and I were Diaconal workers in Colombia and Venezuela in the early '90s. Much of the mission happened after I was an adult, but my birth story and childhood and my mixed heritage identity were shaped by mission and ministry as well. My story of how mission shaped my life and that of my family and church is a story of transformation. If mission has led me to a journey of transformation, transformation itself has been my journey. In God's family there is no hierarchy of power based on culture or country. We are all one in Christ sent to be in relationship with people—all people. CONNECT WITH MISSION PARTNERSHIPS IN SOUTH AMERICA Support the work of Dennis Smith, regional liaison for South America, and his wife, Maribel. pcusa.org/donate/E200481 Photo courtesy Princeton Theological Seminary Matilde Moros is a theologian and professor in the Humanities Department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.

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