Thursday, May 29, 2014

Born Into Mission/MANN

Last month’s blog took me on a memorable journey into writing and the when, why and what. I will continue in this direction, looking specifically how my life has been influenced in mission work. Recently I was invited to write a paragraph of introduction after accepting the invitation from my denomination’s mission and service to be conference mission interpreter. In reflection I can see where this could turn into an essay, but I will begin with the thoughts that started me writing about this topic. 
I was steeped in mission from the get-go: from childhood memories of my mother rolling bandages for the Red Cross, to my parents holding fund raising house parties in their farm house to raise money for an on-site ambulance and other necessities during the war. My mother’s loyalty to the WMS (Women’s Missionary Society) was rooted deeply in her keen interest of her cousin, Dr. Walter Strangway’s service in the United Church of Canada hospital in Chassimba, Angola, Africa. Mother joined with others to raise money to buy beds, mattresses and coverlets through church teas and to encourage generous contributions from interested people.
This dedication to missions continued personally in my rural church through  Mission Band in which I both attended and then gave leadership. Later, the “Ella Rees Mission Circle” organized by our minister’s wife, was held in the town church. It was here that we learned about missionaries in foreign countries, how to write letters to them, and ways to cut material to form quilts and blankets.
At this time, my heart was in overseas ministry: I was going to Africa. Needless to say, this didn’t please my father who thought every farmer’s daughter should find a nice young farmer to marry. In the end, family life won over; although I married a nice young steamfitter.
Training as an overseas worker was no longer available to me with a small family. My passion for missions continued to be fed through connections with Dr. Walter; Muriel Bissell, a missionary from the Elora United Church (1964) serving in Zambia (adjoining country to Angola); and later several women missionaries with whom I corresponded for many years.
I could never figure out why a woman could serve as a missionary and go halfway around the world, but could not serve in ordained ministry in her own country. When I heard on the radio in 1968, that women could be married and ordained in our denomination, I began to take lay ministry seriously, hoping that one day it would lead me onward. And it did; I was ordained in 1982 and have served the church in this capacity for more than thirty years.  
Now, I begin this new chapter in my life of service. Although I still hope to continue to supply occasionally; as Mission Interpreter I will serve the conference and focus on ‘God’s Mission, our Gifts’.
“What does the Lord require of us, “Do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:9). Aggie Macphail series (Brucedale Press) A Rare Find (Castle Quay Books) LittleRedBarn Kid’s Farm Stories (Previously MeadowLane)


Tracy Krauss said...

Thanks for paving the way so to speak

Peter Black said...

Donna, yours is a wonderful story of God's missionary call being worked out in your life, keeping the home fires burning in support of those on the field. Thanks for sharing it.
The 'sender' and the 'sent,' like the sower and reaper, have a stake in the harvest.
Every blessing and success to you in your conference role as Mission Interpreter. ~~+~~

Donna Mann said...

Thanks Tracy and Peter for your encouragement. So appreciated.

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