Rustlings (April 25, 2016)

Several months ago, I experienced ‘a first.’ I boarded a plane, veered south and eventually landed in Cuba. In the imaginations of my childhood, Cuba might well have been Timbuktu or the Amazon jungle or the moon. It was a place I never dreamed I would go. But for one week, I explored her alleys, met her people, engaged her church, ate her food, embraced her spirit, felt her pain and experienced her joy. That’s Cuba.

I’ve publicly shared very little about this experience. While there were moving moments along the journey – and I tried to stay in the present moment, my heart and mind were continually focused on the future. First Baptist has partnered with the church in Cuba for ten years; what will the next ten years look like?

This Wednesday night, you will get to experience some ‘firsts.’ As our Cuba team shares their experiences from the 2015 Mission Trip, many of you will have your first chance to participate in the ordination of Rev. Kathy Sharp. Kathy’s ordination began with a council at our church, continued with a service in Cuba and will be completed by her preaching and our laying on of hands this Wednesday during the Cuba reflection service. As part of the reflection service, Bootie will play guitar (that’s not a first), Rolyn will be singing (that’s not a first) and I will be backing them on bass guitar (okay, that’s a first). And some of the Cuba team members will share about their ‘first’ experiences in this vibrant country.

This Wednesday evening, following our midweek meal, the children of our church will be rehearsing for their ‘end of the year’ music and missions presentation in the Fellowship Hall. I want to invite and encourage you to make your way to the Parlor for the Cuba Missions report and affirmation of ordination of Kathy Sharp. It’s a service you will not want to miss.

— Jim