Monday, September 19, 2011
Winslow UMC is a small church about 30 miles south of Fayetteville, Arkansas. It's been around a long time. It was also my very first pastorate. One of the members, (now deceased), Jack Stockburger, taught me how to be a pastor, how to do funerals, how to visit the elderly--things they don't teach you in seminary. This was 1986 and I fell in love with that church and its people. They were rural, mostly poor, but pure in heart and passionate about their faith. They have followed my career and several have even come here to Maisha Na Maji. Some came even before we had a mission here and helped build the first Methodist church in Bunda. They have supported our mission with financial help as well over the years far beyond what anyone would hope to expect. Yesterday, I got the message that that church was sending the money for the hand-cranked wheelchair for our scholarship student at Bunda Teacher's College. We took his measurements today and will start the process next week (it takes about four weeks to get one custom made). I cried when I got the message. Karen cried almost all morning. It may be a small church, but it has one of the biggest hearts in all Methodism. They are part of who I am and always will be. A member of the board of the One Book Foundation, Rev. Gary Lunsford, has also been a pastor there and made several trips here. One of the guest cottages is named in his honor. God bless you Winslow United Methodist Church. You still send the light of Christ's love across the continents.