We send you all a special Christmas greeting with warm wishes for a WONDER filled Christmas season and a fulfilling new year! We share our news with you in hopes that you will respond, let us know what captivates your interest, and what has filled your 2010.
We volunteered with Partners in Mission, a part of our church (UCC), to serve at Menaul School in Albuquerque, N.M. from January 5 to May 31, 2010. We packed our van to the hilt and ventured into the unknown (for us). After spending a delightful Christmas with daughter Julie and her family in Florida, visiting relatives and stopping along the way to New Mexico to visit places of interest, we arrived at Menaul School, which serves 6th through 12th grades, many Hispanics, Native Americans and “other”. It is a diverse, small, Presbyterian private school which boasts of 95+% who further their education at college.
We worked a 40-hour week doing whatever was needed, including secretarial tasks, tutoring, collecting lunch $, chaperoning the sophomore class during their mission week at a Navajo reservation and church. Our primary task at Menaul was to help develop and market a summer camp for 1st through 6th graders. There was lots to do! We had evenings and weekends free to explore the area, learn about the culture, and go to basketball games. Pat learned to make quilted wall-hangings with the help of one of the volunteers! What a rewarding experience it all was!
We took a month to travel, explore, and to reflect on our experience as we headed home in time to welcome family visits. We enjoyed the rest of the summer by taking time each day to go sit in the park by the beach (Long Island Sound), work on projects, go for walks on the 3-mile walkway, listen to and occasionally dance to the line dancing music there every evening. (We did take line dancing classes in the fall.)
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We have been invited to return to Menaul School from January 5 to mid-June. We have decided that we will be more effective a 2nd year after having learned so much the 1st year. We will continue to market the summer camp, and attempt to get more scholarships for campers. We will also provide office support, tutor students, and work with some of the boarding students from China. (Menaul is starting an international boarding program this year.) One never knows how God will use one when serving, but – we are eager to do whatever we may be asked to do.
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May God bless you, and in return, may you be a blessing to God, as we prepare for the Prince of Peace, the One who says God loves you, the One who helps us even when we don’t recognize the gift we are receiving. Hope you will stay in touch.
In faith and friendship, Kim and Pat Cartwright