During the nine years Sally and I were in Tallahassee, we got to know Katie Yaun, a young adult who attended the church we were privileged to serve, Saint Paul’s. Katie was a dynamic young woman who approached us about making a difference with her life. “What about mission service?” she asked us. Sally talked to her about options in the Presbyterian Church and I lifted up options with the United Methodists. She ended up serving as a United Methodist Volunteer in Mission in the lakeside town of Copacabana, Bolivia alongside mission volunteers, Jeff Wasilevich and Debbie Rissing. Jeff, Deb and our friend, Katie developed projects that embodied the love of Christ with schools, associations, neighbors. When Abby and I were planning our trip and Abby said she wanted to see the Lake, I called Katie for some suggestions and we planned the trip to Copacabana.
We got to meet Jeff and Deb who now have a shop on the main square in town. We got to see the way they created community and belonging with Aymaran Native Americans, Bolivians and Expats. With tender love and care for those around them, they bear witness to the redeeming love of Christ. This “fresh expression,” as Florida now calls these “meeting people where they are” ministries, is a powerful example of making God’s love tangible to people who may not darken the door of a church.