The Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study dates back to 1892 and has the longest history of any denominational mission and prayer book in the United States.
Today’s PC(USA) Minute for Mission from the Mission Yearbook…
Travel and the transformation of landscape are themes that resonate in today’s lectionary reading of Isaiah 35:1–10. These themes, moreover, were clearly in my mind during a winter travel seminar to Guatemala and Mexico. One particular day in the trip brought new meaning to Isaiah’s themes.
One Sunday, arrangements were made for us to visit Iglesia Presbiteriana de Ocuilapa. Our journey to this rural church in the mountains of southern Chiapas Mexico physically and spiritually transported us into the clouds. Pouring rain made the town’s roads difficult to traverse. After walking a short distance through ankle-deep mud, we finally arrived at the church, where we were greeted graciously.
Without any prior notice, the pastor and a group of leaders invited me to preach the morning sermon. Stunned and terrified, I managed to accept their invitation. Frantically scrambling through the pages of a borrowed Spanish Bible, I was able to create a very rough sermon outline during the beginning hymns and prayers. Before this point, I had moved through the trip keeping my emotions regarding the chronic poverty in the country at bay. With weak hands and feeble knees, I stood behind a pulpit in an unknown church among unfamiliar people. Looking out, I saw the faces of a suffering people who came from near and far to hear a message of hope and healing. Overwhelmed with the weight of the moment, midway through the sermon I was no longer able to control my emotions. With tears in my eyes, my academic exercise was transformed into a genuine and profound encounter with the holy.