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.

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Mission Crossroads 19 decided to go because she was so eager to eventually return to Latin America. God has a way of sending us where we don't think we want to go. Ellen and I met in 1995, during the orientation and community-building phase of the Reconciliation and Mission program. Following orientation, I served for eight months with the South Albuquerque Cooperative Ministry in New Mexico, while Ellen served during the same time in Honduras with the Christian Commission for Development. is program was one of many experiences for lifelong learning for us. e program helped me see the difference between U.S. government policies and the individuals and groups in the U.S. who are interested in learning about Central America and are deeply concerned for a more just world. For Ellen, the experience was a starting point to learn about "mission in partnership." Her vision of mission as a one-way street was turned on its head. We now understand mission as seeking mutual relationships between people who often come with different world views, cultures and levels of privilege — relationships that ultimately lead all involved to learn, to love and to serve one another. Mission is about discovering where God is already present among the people, and going outside of my comfort zone to serve my neighbor in my community or across the world. In God's mission we must ask ourselves, "Can I be vulnerable enough to let the people I believe I'm serving serve me?" Our participation in the Reconciliation and Mission program ended in the summer of 1996, but it was the beginning of a long-distance courtship that led to our marriage in 1998. God does indeed have a way of sending us where we don't think we want to go. I am a pastor, and I moved to Nicaragua in 1997 to continue my theological studies. Ellen moved there later that year to serve with a faith-based nonprofit, and for us to get married. We thought we'd be in Nicaragua for a couple of years, but Ellen ended up serving several more years as a PC(USA) mission co-worker with the Council of Protestant Churches of Nicaragua. During the same years, I discovered a call to serve the Evangelical Methodist Church of Nicaragua. In 2008, 11 years after Ellen packed her wedding dress in a carry-on bag and moved to Nicaragua, our family moved to the U.S. to follow Ellen's call to serve Presbyterian World Mission at the national church office in Louisville, Kentucky. Shortly before leaving Nicaragua, a Nicaraguan friend and colleague told us, "We now send you as missionaries from Latin America to the United States." How true those words have become! Ellen's work with church mission leaders in the U.S. continues to be her calling. I felt I was more needed in Central America, and reluctantly followed Ellen to the U.S. so she could fulfill that call. en I discovered my vocation as a pastor of Hispanic/Latino immigrants in a new worshiping community of Mid-Kentucky Presbytery. Both Ellen and I minister to and are ministered by this vibrant community of some 30 families. Together, we all are participants in God's mission, which is much wider and richer than Ellen or I ever dreamed of or imagined when we started on this journey of service. The Rev. Elmer Zavala is pastor of the Presbyterian Hispanic/Latino Ministry of Preston Highway, a 1001 New Worshiping Community of the Presbytery of Mid-Kentucky. Ellen Sherby is coordinator of Equipping for Mission Involvement with Presbyterian World Mission. MAKE A DIFFERENCE Support mission in partnership. pcusa.org/donate/E132192 Bill Grady, Elmer Zavala, Ellen Sherby and Clare Crawford participated in Reconciliation and Mission, a 10-month mission experience that brought Central Americans and U.S. citizens together in fellowship and learning, followed by service in each other's countries. The Rev. Elmer Zavala leads the Presbyterian Hispanic/ Latino Ministry of Preston Highway in Louisville, Kentucky. Ellen Sherby

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