Since God’s love won’t stay cooped up in individual hearts, nor remain hemmed in by city limits, then we must follow where it leads, and that means out into the whole world.
International Mission: Chimbote’, Peru
A growing group of PPC members and friends head to Chimbote, Peru each year to work in the impoverished community of the parish, Nuestra Senora Del Perpetuo Socorro. They build houses, take the handicapped and disadvantaged on a beach outing, including lunch, and prepare a fish stew for 200-300 community members. They also take the generous cash donations of PPC members to prayerfully use in the care of patients of the hospital for the poor, La Caleta. These funds pay for operations, blood transfusions, prescriptions, patient transfers to larger city hospitals, patient family assistance and many other worthy causes not covered by the government medical program. These donations are also now being used for care of select patients of the Hospicio Santiago Apostal (St. James the Apostle Hospice). In 2016 they were also able to financially support the parish medical clinic as well as provide a pediatrician during our mission wwek from our group. Working with many of the same folks each year allows relationships to be built up over time. The mission becomes less about doing something for “them” and more about working together with friends. This mission takes place in late January or February. Call the church office and we’ll put you in touch with the right folks to learn more.
Each Summer, and sometimes at Spring break, our youth head out on mission trips. The High School youth mission location is scheduled on a four-year cycle. One year is a foreign mission trip, another year is out to the western US, another is an urban mission experience, and another is to a rural community. Recently, the youth have served in Haiti, Washington D.C., West Virginia, and New Mexico. Our Middle School group also travels to various locations for mission work, including Asheville, NC where they worked in a variety of community relief efforts. This past year and in 2016, our Middle School Mission trip was to CROSS which is a local mission through Myers Park Presbyterian Church. Our 2016 High School Mission trip is to the Dominican Republic.
During the school year, our youth raise money and walk in the CROP Walk; shop for, buy and deliver Thanksgiving dinners to families unable to do so; promote the Souper Bowl of Caring offering; help with the Loaves and Fishes Canned Food Drive; and pack meals for Stop Hunger Now.
We host packing sessions for STOP HUNGER NOW, an international organization seeking to do exactly what its name implies. Providence has packed well over 100,000 meals that have gone to places such as Haiti, Dominican Republic, and several areas of Africa.
At Christmas our congregation makes honorary and memorial gifts which help support a variety of organizations such as Presbyterian Disaster Response, Heifer International, Habitat for Humanity and other international aid organizations. Our youth and numerous adults have packed shoeboxes for and volunteered at Samaritan’s Purse.
Leah Preston on 2017
What is next for Leah in 2017?
In the next few months I will become Grandma to Josh and Steph’s fourth child and Jim and Becky’s second. God is good and I am truly blessed. As I travel to visit these new gifts from God I will be reconnected with people from my past.
This summer I will be at the NWMC and hope to see many of you there and hear just how God is working in and through you.
Here is some of the partners that I am looking at helping in the future.
- Providence Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, NC and Evanjafrica. My goal is to take a group from the church to visit this ministry in Mozambique. Click here for more information.
- I am looking for partners to help both at the Jack Jordan Bible School and other groups working in Gambella, Ethiopia.
- I am looking at ways to help the children at In Step in Kenya to prepare for their futures. Click here for more information.
- The Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, Synod of Harare, in Zimbabwe, needs help building a training center.
I would love to hear from you if you would like to partner with me on any of these projects.
A special thanks to all of you who pray and give and make it possible for me to serve others.
Let me know if you need more information about any of the above projects or if you have ideas on how God could use me in the future.
Serving in Love, Leah Preston
Ray and Ann Kapteyn
March 8, 2017
When I last wrote in December, I reported on my wonderful trip to Bangui, and here I am writing again to report on another trip! I just returned on Wednesday from another fruitful translation checking session with the Mpyemo translators in Bangui.
This trip was a bit different because it also included a 10-day stop in Yaoundé, the city in Cameroon where our family lived for nine years. Once a year the whole CAR group meets together for spiritual renewal and planning meetings, and this time these meetings were held in Yaoundé. This was my first time meeting with this group, and it was such a pleasure to get to know them all better. This is our third group in SIL – first the Brazil group (6 years), then the Cameroon group (9 years), now the CAR group (1.5 years so far). In each case, it’s been a joy and a humbling experience to serve alongside such quality people.
Something that amazed me about this group of people is their musical ability! At least 50% of them are accomplished musicians. Meetings often ended with jam sessions which often had a blue grass or old-time gospel flair.
Our colleague Brad Festen, pictured here playing the guitar, started feeling sick while we were all in Yaoundé for the meetings. His symptoms worsened day by day, until a doctor told him he needed a medical evacuation flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. There he was diagnosed with several blood clots in his abdomen. Please pray for Brad and his wife Maria who are still in Johannesburg. Brad has been in the hospital there for 10 days now. We’re so thankful that he is improving, but he still has a ways to go.
During our meetings I received a certificate saying that I am officially recognized as a translation consultant! This has been a long road of learning, and the learning will no doubt continue. I am especially thankful to my mentors Patricia Wilkendorf, Gretchen Harro, and Keith Beavon for all they taught me.
After the meetings in Yaoundé, I traveled to Bangui to finish checking the book of Galatians with the Mpyemo translators. This time experienced translation consultant Christoph Mueller joined us for a few of the days to help us with the tougher parts. We finished the job and are all pleased with the results!
On the home front, Ray and the children are all doing well. Ray is currently in Orlando getting training in a new type of aircraft. As usual, Ray worked hard on our house remodeling while I was gone. This time he finished the bathroom that previously had a problem with black mold. I’m so thankful for Ray and his boundless energy!
The children are all studying hard and taking advantage of all college and high school life have to offer – sports, friends, Bible studies/youth groups, political marches, and lots of learning and studying. Please pray for their health, as one child has recurring colds and flus and another child is dealing with a health issue picked up in Cameroon for which the treatment is a bit complicated (special medicine has to be made by the CDC in Atlanta).
Thanks to each of you for your ongoing support, whether you give financially or pray for us or bless of with your friendship! Here is a summary of prayer topics:
1. Thanksgiving for the SIL CAR group, and God’s blessing and care over each one.
2. Thanksgiving for the successful checking of Galatians with the Mpyemo team, and prayer for them as they travel over dangerous roads and as they now begin to translate Revelation.
3. For our colleague Brad Festen and his wife Maria, who are in South Africa seeking medical treatment for Brad. Pray for healing and for wisdom about their next steps.
4. For complete health for Anneke, Peter, and Andre.
With love and thanks,
1824 Observatory, Grand Rapids MI, 49546
For Financial Support: Wycliffe USA, PO Box 628200, Orlando, FL 32862