Mission Crossroads

SUM 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/826794

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Page 11 of 23

10 Summer 2017 encouraged to wrestle with Scripture and context. For the first time, I heard them relating the gospel to justice." Mission co-worker Karla Koll and her UBL faculty colleague, Nidia Fonseca, led the workshop. Tracey says everyone left the event excited about the possibility of more classes. Karla and Nidia returned in January to lead a three-day session, the first of six learning opportunities scheduled over the next two years. Leslie says the network is enthusiastic about the role the co-worker will play in facilitating theological education and mission partnerships. She notes she has seen network members grow in their relationships with Honduran Presbyterians and in their understanding of partnership. "You are not just sending money away," she says. "You are part of the ministry." Pat Cole is a communications specialist with the Presbyterian Mission Agency. W hile their formal preparation for ministry is modest, Presbyterian pastors in Honduras possess an abundance of "faith seeking understanding." Unfortunately, educational opportunities to help these faithful pastors gain understanding — and fulfill the motto of St. Anselm of Canterbury — have been limited. However, more access to theological training is on the horizon, thanks to the collaborative work of the Presbyterian Church of Honduras, Presbyterian World Mission and the Honduras Mission Network. A new mission co-worker position has been created to coordinate theological education opportunities and to facilitate partnerships between Honduran and U.S. Presbyterians. e position was developed at the urging of the Presbyterian Church of Honduras and was prioritized because it fits squarely into World Mission's focus area of evangelism through leadership development. e position will likely be filled this year. e Honduras Mission Network, which stepped forward to help secure critical funding for this position, was a key player in making it a reality. e network was inspired by the commitment of Honduran pastors and their hunger for theological education, says Leslie Belden, convener of the Honduras Mission Network. "ey have a lot of social capital and they work hard," she says. "eir commitment to Jesus Christ makes our commitment pale in comparison." Leslie is parish associate at First United Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and stated clerk of the Arkansas Presbytery. Arkansas and two other presbyteries, Tampa Bay and Carlisle, anchored the efforts to fund the mission position. Network members raised funds within these presbyteries and identified individuals, congregations and presbyteries across the country that had been involved in mission in Honduras. ey worked with the Mission Engagement and Support staff to invite Presbyterians to make a gift in support of the position. ey also provided input to World Mission about how this position could make the network's involvement in Honduras more effective. "When the co-worker is appointed, he or she will find Honduran Presbyterians are eager to learn more about what it means to be Reformed," says Tracey King-Ortega, regional liaison for Central America. However, she emphasized in a prayer letter last year that it would be wrong to impose on them a North American perspective on being Reformed. e role of U.S. Presbyterians, she says, is "to walk with them as they wrestle with Scripture and define their Reformed identity for themselves." is style of learning was used in a 2016 exploratory workshop for Honduran Presbyterian leaders held by Costa Rica- based Latin American Biblical University (UBL). "ey loved how interactive the workshop was," Tracey says. "ey have been accustomed to being given information to memorize instead of Honduras Mission Network helps provide critical funding for a new mission position Pat Cole Virginia Lopez is looking forward to more theological studies. PROVIDE SUPPORT Support the new mission co-worker position in Honduras. pcusa.org/donate/E200535 Karla Koll

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