Thursday, January 22, 2009

Happy New Years! And Greetings from Lecheria.
Inauguration Day went by yesterday as we drove 2½ hours and met with another missionary couple to discuss future plans and ministry opportunities. After the whirlwind of extra activities in December and the first half of January, we are now focusing on the responsibilities that lie before us to finish well in the remaining 5 months and prepare for ministry in another area. The biggest need for the church right now is for someone to work fulltime in a pastor role. It looks like a good possibility that Alejandro Molero, one of our 3 national elders, will take on the responsibility. Another elder, Hageo, already receives half time salary.

This past Sunday night Domingo and Mimina apologized for their ungodly behavior. Sharon will resume meeting with her on a regular basis. It is a difficult thing to know how to counsel in this and similar situations.

Government offices are reopened. The efforts have begun anew in order to begin construction. Now we are waiting for the final electric, sewer, and structure calculations to be signed by a civil engineer to obtain the final approval for construction.

We have started the phase of “this is the last time that we….” The 7-10th of this month was the last time for us to attend an ASIGEO get-together in Caripe, a little mountain town where the conference center is located. It was especially helpful this time because we focused on how to develop, organize, and evaluate an existing or new ministry. Our group from church was so enthused about it that the elders decided to dedicate the following 2 weeks to planning. Each night 1 or 2 ministry areas meet. We are in the 2nd week and it has been encouraging especially to see the involvement of new people in the different ministry areas. Two areas of need are officially organized now: prayer and visitation.

Our church members participating in ministry planning

February 20-24 our church will participate in the family camp/conference held at our old stomping grounds- Camp Chuparipal! Some of our leaders are in charge of the sessions.

Now for a personal note. After Christmas we had a wonderful, but short, visit from our son, Benjamin and his fiancĂ©e, Hannah Drennan, from West Virginia. Several people from church helped us greet them by singing Venezuelan style Christmas songs with us in the airport! Then came the ultimate compatibility test for Hannah: she underwent being stuffed in our loaded down Cherokee with us for a 5 day camping trip in the Gran Sabana with a 10 hour drive at both ends. Another family from Melissa’s school joined us. Unexpectedly, the first night in the tents it poured rain and leaked terribly so the younger set ended up spending the rest of the night in an unfinished cabin!
Ben prepares to jump into a natural pool.

This past week and weekend Melissa participated in the CMUNCE at Columbia University in New York City. It provides experience in simulated United Nations sessions. She represented Russia in the World Food Summit. Heather also went to NY to visit her sister and see the sights.

Peter & Sharon