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Casey FL

Gearing Up & Going Out by Rev. Casey Southerland (Banner 5/19)

In your life, you have likely undertaken a task which requires a certain amount of preparation in order to be successful. Many years ago, I took up an interest in backcountry camping.  I learned very quickly that specialized equipment would be needed for even a short trip into the great outdoors.  The lightweight, quick-dry version of normal things like clothing is necessary, along with a tent, boots, dehydrated food, a sleep “system,” and a backpack to carry them all.  This does not account for everything, but you get the picture.

There are also a number of skills, and quite a bit of education, required as well.  But perhaps the most difficult item to obtain, and most useful when challenges arise, is experience— exactly what every beginner is lacking.  At the outset, I “borrowed” the experience of others mainly by reading books and articles.  Later I was able to find websites.  Now, one of the most useful ways I’ve found to improve my time camping has been by watching videos called “bag dumps.”  A bag dump is when an experienced backpacker “dumps” everything out of their bag and explains what they bring and why they bring it.  Extra weight is a hindrance so everything must have a purpose.

For the past several months, Dr. Len Pine has been graciously showing me the tools and skills that have been invaluable to him over nearly two decades as the Field Director of PMU.  In April, along with Karen Pine and Jennifer Hutchinson, we spent a week together working and training in his church, office, and home.  It was a rich time to ask questions, share experiences, and prepare to transition the work from one staff and location to the next.  Going out and promoting the mission among churches in Florida, Idaho, and Montana have proven to be deeply encouraging times of on-the-job training as well.

A variety of factors, and no small number of challenges, come in to play when an agency and its missionaries are working to expand the Lord’s Kingdom in nations around the world.  Many of you are praying for this transition, and our God is generously answering your prayers.  Thank you!

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