Missionary moments
Written by Ana Gobledale
March 2003

Ana Gobledale

These voices from our Global Ministries missionaries are supported by the UCC's Our Church's Wider Mission offering.

"Be sure that you do not become proud and forget the Lord your God who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves." —Deuteronomy 8:14


Upon seeing people dressed in red, white and blue and saying "God bless America," John asked, "Why not say, ÔGod bless the world?'"

Our 15-year-old John recently moved to the USA with us from his home in Haiti.

Ruth and Charles Wallace
Recently returned from Haiti


The worship service is in full swing at our outside amphitheater and everyone is invited to greet their neighbor with a sign of peace. Mrs. Kuze shakes my hand and says, "Peace be with you." Then she starts to cry, "May God give us peace!" I hug her, as she sobs, "Stop the war. Please stop the war!"

I find myself in an awkward position as an American in Asia.

My friends do not know how to talk with me any more, because I represent a people who have suddenly begun to talk as if they live on another planet.

How will we mend our broken relationships with the peoples of the world?

Nancy Molin
Asian Rural Institute
Nishinasuno, Tochigi-ken


Families left their farms to move to the city to participate in the fever of trade at little stalls in corners, on sidewalks, in the entrances of established businesses filled with belts, televisions, radios, hair dryers, music cassettes. New taxes mean the merchandise spends days, weeks, even months under the improvised roofs of the stalls. Traffic fumes and smoke cover the unsold caps, sweaters and slippers. Many people circulate but don't buy.

A pastor of the Christian Church helps the community reconsider its future and people decide that it is necessary to return to their farms.

"The land gives us everything we need. If people can no longer sell, the future of this area is in agriculture," they say.

There is no doubt that trade in the streets will continue being an income source for many families, but brothers and sisters of the churches of Ciudad del Este of the East realize that it is necessary to diversify.

Angel Rivera-Agosto
and Joan Figueroa-Rivera
Latin American Council of Churches

Sri Lanka

Sinhala and Tamil, who have never been to the Jaffna Peninsula, are coming to see this once forbidden land within their own country, Sri Lanka. There have been very big changes here since the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam signed a cease-fire agreement.

With the opening of the A9 motor road that connects Jaffna and Colombo, the Uduvil Girls' College guest rooms are seldom empty as families return to visit relatives and their former homes for the first time in 7, 10, even 20 years.

New telephone cables connect us to the rest of the world at any hour of the day or night and 18 new electrical generators provide 24-hour electricity, most of the time. Money is pouring in from around the world to help rebuild and resettle Jaffna.

Yet there is another side, quiet reports and the whispered rumors of forced child conscription, extortion of funds, and military re-supply.

Grace Bunker
Church of South India, Jaffna