One Great Hour of Sharing

oneWhen you give to One Great Hour of Sharing you are assisting in the empowerment of others as they move past emotional, physical, and spiritual misfortune. Your help gives hope.   Join together on Palm Sunday, March 29, and make a generous offering to One Great Hour of Sharing using the special offering envelopes in your bulletin that day.

Your gifts support vital ministries like Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Presbyterian Hunger Program, and Self-Development of People.  These ministries respond in times of natural disaster helping neighborhoods and families re-build their lives, they help communities gain access to clean, pure drinking water, they improve sanitation facilities that reduce disease, they educate children and provide job skills to men and women enabling improved economic self-sufficiency.

Give to One Great Hour of Sharing to support these Presbyterian Mission Agency ministries as they strive to help all of God’s people find resilience, hope, and faith in the face of challenging circumstances.

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Mission Team Departs

 

DSC_0238Our Dominican Republic team left Nashville on November 1st to  serve with our mission partner, Solid Rock International, through November 7th at la Clinica Cristiana de la Salud Integral in San Juan de la Maguana near the western border shared with Haiti.  Our 8-member team consists of 2 internists, 3 nurses, 1 pre-med student, and 2 others with incredible servants’ hearts.  This team will spend their time travelling to remote barrios away from the clinic to provide services to both children and adults.  These daily clinics involve basic health exams and assistance with medical conditions such as high blood pressure and vitamin/iron deficiencies as well as parasite infections.

Ready for Mission Service?

First Presbyterian Church (FPC) offers mission service opportunities throughout the year.  You can learn about serving locally by contacting our Missions Office (615.298.9593) or by checking out any of the ministries funded in our mission budget that appear here.  Each of these organizations offers volunteer opportunities for groups or individuals and range from one-time to ongoing opportunities.

If short-term travel abroad appeals to you, we are presently accepting registrations for trips to the Dominican Republic (Nov 2014), Jamaica (February 2015), Haiti (February 2015) and East Africa (July 2015).  Read more about any of these trips from the links found here.

If you’re ready to register for a trip with FPC , click here.  For trips available through our partner, The Outreach Foundation, check out their offerings online as well.

Pray for Cuba Mission Team

Cuba Flag MapThe Cuba mission team will visit our in-country partner, the Dora E. Valentin Reformed Presbyterian Church (DEVIPR), in Matanzas province from May 16 – 23, 2014.  They will visit various outreach and home mission churches of the DEVIPR, the ecumenical seminary in Matanzas, and other church partners in Havana as well as the Cuban Council of Churches.

Blessings in the DR

2013 DR Surgical Team

Greetings from the Dominican Republic.  We started the day seeing many potential surgical patients and completed several surgeries this afternoon.  Several other members of our group were able to go out to a “barrio” and provided general dental work and primary care to the Dominican people.  During our devotion tonight, we were able to talk about the many blessings that we have experienced in our time spent in the DR this far, here are a few:

-holding a newborn baby

-translators

-the many talents that are present on this trip

-the support and education from our colleagues

-Nicole, the medical coordinator, who has transformed the clinic in the 2 short years that she has been here

-being more aware and thankful for what we have at home

-all of the connections between team members and how we have all come together for this mission 

-the many benefits of modern medicine

-overcoming obstacles and being able to work with what is available to us

-successful procedures with great outcomes 

We’ll keep ya posted!

Keep us in your prayers!

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Sanctuary Dedicated in Kenya

The East Africa Mission Team dedicated its second sanctuary in as many Sundays on July 28, the Kiboko Church, part of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa.  The new sanctuary replaces the wooden structure below that will now be used for school classrooms.  At the dedication, the pastor and members of the congregation were challenged to enroll 50 children so that The Outreach Foundation might return to build more classroom space for them.  

Members of the mission team enjoyed a wonderful dedication and worship service and enthusiastically supported the special auction offering that took place at the end.  Members and visitors were given a chance to purchase bananas, beans, sugar cane, chickens, goats and sheep.  A nanny kid (female goat) was bought by one FPC member and donated to their guide so he could add to his own herd.

Members of the team head off on a 2-day safari on Tuesday with most of them returning to Nashville on Friday, August 2.

John the Evangelist and Mike Baron in front of old Kiboko church

 

Kiboko mabati dedication #1

 

Kiboko mabati dedication #2

Sanctuary Dedicated in Rwanda

Sunday, July 21 was a joyous day of celebration for the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda and the community of Busanza as together, with members of the FPC Nashville East Africa mission team, a new sanctuary was dedicated.  The Busanza congregation is a mission church outreach of the Kanombe Parish in Kigali.  The FPC team helped complete the final painting of the sanctuary and some of the landscaping to ready the facility for Sunday worship.

Busanza dedication- #1

Busanza dedication- #4

Busanza dedication- #3

 

East Africa Mission Team Departs

Thirteen members of the East Africa Mission Team left Nashville today and will meet up with another in Chicago for their trip to Rwanda and Kenya through August 1st.  While there they will work on church builds with both the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda and the Presbyterian Church of East Africa.  They will also visit partner organizations serving widows, orphans and the poor supported in our church’s mission budget.  Please keep this mission team in your prayers.

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Worship, Praise, Song: Our Ministry in Cuba

cuba-photo-3Worship, Praise, Song:
Our Ministry in Cuba

On Friday, May 3, Nick Bergin, Raphael Bundage, Diane and Larry English, Jaylon and Judy Fincannon, Stuart Gordon, Susan and Bill Kirby, Libby Marley, Keith Moore and Pam and Mike Shampain traveled to Cuba to celebrate the tenth anniversary of our relationship with our Cuban brothers and sisters. The seed of this relationship was planted in 2003, when Dr. Todd Jones and the Rev. Rob Weingartner made an exploratory trip to visit with the Presbyterian Church in Cuba. This trip resulted in First Presbyterian Church’s partnership with the Dora E. Valentin Church in Varadero, Cuba. From the beginning, David and Lucille Cole were the team leaders; as of this trip, 66 FPC members have traveled to Cuba at least once. When repeat visits are added, the total approaches one hundred participants.

cuba-photo-2This year’s principle goal was to share the Gospel through music, led by members of our choirs. Those members sang at the Sunday worship service at our sister church in Varadero, with hymns in both English and Spanish. The Rev. Stuart Gordon read his sermon in Spanish and was thanked with applause from the Dora E. Valentin congregation. Songs also were shared at a senior-citizen center, a special-needs school and with several children’s choirs. The choir participated in a workshop at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Matanzas, where they sang with and for the seminary’s choir. They met and sang with the Presbyterian Women and while in Havana they participated and sang in a musical workshop with the choir from First Presbyterian Church of Havana.

cuba-photo-1The trip’s music was highlighted by a final evening at the Anglican Cathedral in Havana, sponsored by the Council of Cuban Churches. The event was organized by Joel Ortega Dopico, who is the Pastor of the Dora E. Valentin Church and currently serves as President of the Cuban Council. The evening included performances by adult and children’s choirs from Havana as well as an interpretive dance presentation. The voices from the FPC choir sang hymns in English and Spanish. In addition, Libby Marley and Bill Kirby offered solos. The final song of the evening, offered for the congregation of over 300 people, brought together all the choirs to sing, “We Are Marching in the Light of God,” in Zulu, Spanish and English.

Just as each one has received a gift,
use it to serve one another
as good stewards of varied grace of God.
— 1 Peter 4:10

Thanks be to God,
Pam and Mike Shampain

Haiti: We Cannot Understand

“Hey, you! Hey, you!” Children’s voices follow our tap-taps as we drive over ‘sleeping policemen’ (monster speed bumps that are the primary means of traffic control on paved roads in Haiti) and turn onto Rue David, the street where we will live for the next 5 days. Rue David is a narrow, dusty lane of giant potholes, teeming with life. Small stores, the size of packing crates, line the way. People of all sizes are everywhere. We pass the gate to the Doctors without Borders compound…during the daylight hours there’s always a line waiting for medical care. After sundown, people still wander about…often sitting at makeshift tables lighted by candles…right against the edge of the street. When we turn into the metal gate of Escole Le Chretienne Des Freres Unis, the chaos of daily life outside the compound wall gives way to calm, orderly activity. 

At the time of our Saturday arrival, the courtyard is empty and quiet, until the church choir and musicians arrive for one last practice. Sunday morning, beginning as early as 6:00 AM, the compound begins to fill with families coming to worship. Early each weekday morning, children fill the compound. Standing in rows before their teachers, the young students sing, pray, pledge allegiance to their country’s flag, and hear announcements and encouragements from the headmistress, Madame Jacqueline Dorleans. These are the children from the slums that surround the compound. Some are still living in tents or makeshift shelters. Very few have enough of anything. At school they will receive a hearty meal, vitamins, medical care and an education. Because only 20% of school age children have access to an education in this poor and disaster damaged country, school is a privilege that is not taken lightly. Parents bring the children to school, some walking or riding a bicycle several miles each day. Fathers carry smaller children on their shoulders to keep them out of the dust and mud of Rue David, and wipe their shoes clean before leaving them for the school day. The students must come to school in clean, tidy uniforms. Each wears a backpack with books and assignments. Older children look after their younger siblings. Children, being children, there is noise and laughter and movement, but there is also order and intensity of purpose.

Read the rest of Susan Doughty Otto’s firsthand account here and see more pictures of FPC members serving in Haiti here.

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