Teaching is learning
Parkview features prominently these days within the bounds of the Presbytery of Sacramento, our local church district. One reason is our multicultural residency program. The second is our involvement in the planning of a two week training event for fourteen Indonesian Christian health care professionals, among them nurses, physicians, hospital administrators and chaplains from across that large country. Both the residency program and training are about practical education. The first is about how to minister and communicate to a diverse congregation. The second is about sharing insights and new developments in the care of traumatized, marginalized and vulnerable populations (e.g. the homeless, victims of PTSD, domestic abuse, injustice, human trafficking, ethnic and racial discrimination, Alzheimer’s).
Over the years when my primary vocation was teaching, I became aware that you learn a lot when you teach. This is never truer than when you are starting something new. One thing you learn is that you need the support of others. I am grateful for the support of Kansha building donors and workers, our resident selection committee (Maurine Huang, Carol Sakai, Titus Toyama and Jennifer Nishizaki) and our supervisory committee (Irene Uno, Lois Van Beers and Maurine Huang) in making our journey systematic and responsible. I am grateful to Hach Yasumura for his faithful membership of the training organizing committee, to Herning Grissom for hosting and meal organization, to drivers Tak Fukuman, Jonathan Sakakibara and Hach Yasumura and to Eddie and Yvonne Fong and their Parkview crew for preparing a meal for the visitors. It is amazing that because of these volunteers, the presenters who teach pro bono and the many volunteers around the Presbytery this group of visitors can learn so much on a small budget of only $5000 provided by the same Mission support committee that so generously supports our residency program. We have learned a lot already in this process. And when the participants arrive on Monday in San Francisco, the learning curve is bound to rise.
Chakrita Saulina, our first resident, has also become a teacher among you, teaching and learning through her four week New Testament class. You have also seen her creatively take on the task of sharing the Bible stories with our youth. She has learned that this takes specific skills, especially when you don’t know who will come up to that table. She is also bridging the residency program and the training program in the administering of the visit of her fellow Indonesians. The timing of her presence here has been providential!
But we are learning more all the time. Thanks to the diligent work of Maurine Huang we have just submitted the enormous religious worker visa application packet (with a mind boggling 27 attachments) for our second resident, Rola Al Askar, who is currently back in her home country of Lebanon. The packet is now in the hands of the USCIS, the immigration agency and we do not know what they will decide. In any case the process will take 3 to 8 months. We have learned about the challenge of handling the residency application and safeguarding the privacy of a seminary graduate who is already in our midst. As a result we are happy to announce that Ontonio Christie has been received as our third resident and he will start his one year term in October 1 of this year! You will have seen him, his wife and three children in their adopted pew on the east side of the sanctuary. If you have not welcomed them yet, this is your chance!
Please join me in praying that our efforts as a small but compassionate and committed community will have great and lasting impact. Thank you all for you consistent caring and interest in being a congregation that seeks to teach and learn simultaneously. May God bless our ministry. Aart