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Pastor Sebastián is my kind of pastor. Stout and strong, with a perpetual smile on his face, he greets us on Sunday morning as we arrive at his Presbyterian church, tucked away in the tiny village of Ruíz Cortines, Chiapas, Mexico. The congregation is one of seven he pastors throughout the nearby villages, some of which have buildings, others of which meet under the shade of a tree.

As the crow flies, it’s 8,116 miles from Birmingham to Mwandi Mission in the western province of Zambia. Unfortunately, you can’t take such a direct route; the IPC 2018 Mwandi Mission Team’s journey covered 12,000 miles and took several days to complete. Why would anyone travel so far by planes, trains, boats and buses when there are worthy missionary opportunities blocks from our church? The people of Mwandi.

Stop and listen closely. Do you hear God’s call? Many of you are already listening and responding to God’s call to love our neighbor. It doesn’t take age or sage wisdom to hear His call, just an openness and willingness to be guided to where you are needed.

Do you want to make a difference and give back to your community this holiday week? Check out our list of volunteering ideas for you to try on the Fourth of July.

I trust you all are finding fun, relaxing ways to spend these summer days, whether you are out of town or enjoying yourselves locally. Summer is a quieter time at IPC in some ways, but it’s anything but boring! Let me share with you some of the exciting things that have been happening around here lately.

"I am a masterpiece created by God. Made out of wonderful love.” These are the words to a favorite chapel song at the Summer Learning Program. On Monday morning, we welcomed 86 of God’s masterpieces through the gates of the Children’s Fresh Air Farm for a summer of reading, math, enrichment, and chapel. It has been a wonderful first week.

We shed tears all morning this morning. We led the Mwandi Hospital Chapel this morning, focusing on a passage from Philippians 1:1-11. Each member of the team spoke words of love, thanksgiving and respect to the workers at the hospital, acknowledging our bond as brothers and sisters in Christ. Each team member also voiced a prayer for the hospital and mission as we prepare to take our leave. We sang and prayed together and shed tears as we bid farewell.

This time has been precious. The time has flown. One more day on this sacred ground.

The money you give to PMUAB helps support the IPC Social Service Fund, which offers financial assistance primarily to our STAIR, CFAF and Open Door families in times of crisis.

Rev Susan A. Clayton recounts traveling with IPC member Barry DeLozier and Ru Waddell of World Renew into the bush to visit the village of Andosi, one of the many villages in the Mwandi District to receive food relief and water projects in the wake of the devastating drought in 2015, in this blog post.