The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
Three years ago this month, in the middle of a polar vortex, I left the tropics of Southeast Asia and service in Malaysian Borneo in order to follow the call to serve and walk beside you in this extraordinary journey that we call Bega Kwa Bega. And what a journey it has been...
In Iringa we've witnessed the election of a new bishop, the expansion of parishes and preaching points, and the stirring of God's Spirit in the lives of our companions as they share the Good News in word and deed to their neighbors there and to us over here. Hundreds of travelers have made the journey back and forth, strengthening friendships and sharing stories as they've gone. In our offices we've created the roles of Scholarship Clerk and year-round Program Coordinator, initiated the work of 'BKB Ambassadors,' and arranged for delegations to catch the vision of what God is up to in Iringa and beyond. Along the way, after much prayer and a lot of waiting, we even purchased a new vehicle to carry us into the future.
In Saint Paul, we too have witnessed the election of a new bishop and experienced growth and change and the stirring of God's One and Holy Spirit in the lives of our communities as well. We have celebrated the lives and service of longstanding leaders in this initiative. We have welcomed new people to meaningfully engage this ministry as Cluster Leaders, Travel Coordinators, and Committee Members. We have worked hard to clarify who we are and what we are about and we've celebrated in festivals and gatherings the good things God is up to through this wide and wild network of relationships in which we are all bound.
Personally, life has been just as epic on the home front too with marriage, the purchase of a home in Saint Paul, new routines, hard losses, and the successful mixing of our canine family (Jenny's bichon, Daisy, and my springer spaniel, Kasper, are now fast friends).
Preparing to depart for my next stint in Iringa, the path ahead looks clear and life is filled with wonderful possibilities. In the coming year, we look forward to renewing relationships between companion congregations, intentionally inviting others to come along, and creating more opportunities for individuals and communities to participate in this life that we share.
As always, it is a privilege and an honor to walk beside you. Thank you for sharing the journey.
The Rev. Peter Harrits, Director of Bega Kwa Bega and Assistant to the Bishop