The Villager Voice ~ from Alan

This must be the week for Mission Trips.  I’ve been following a group from the Norfolk (CT) Congregational Church, UCC, as they’ve been working and playing with the good folks at Simply Smiles - at the Cheyenne River Sioux reservation in La Plant, SD, where we went last year.  The group is led by the church’s pastor, The Rev. Erik Olsen, who is the brother of my good friend and former associate, Rev. Tara Olsen Allen.  Erik posted a number of photos, and it was great to see so many familiar faces among the kids at the reservation.

Further to the south, at the Simply Smiles orphanage in Oaxaca, Mexico, I’ve been watching a mission team from the Shepaug Valley High School, where my daughter Clare attended for three years when we lived in the Region 12 area of Connecticut.  I will admit, I didn’t recognize any of the youth or adults in the group - it’s been 19 years since we lived there - but I do still love the connections between the different chapters of life, and that Simply Smiles does such great work that it attracts a wide swath of volunteers.

Of course, I write this on the eve of our own church trip to Volusia County, FL to do some reconstruction work on homes that still sit in disrepair following two consecutive hurricanes a few seasons ago.  We’ll be staying at a UCC church in Holly Hill, on the Intercoastal Waterway, and working on a house just a couple miles away.  Think of us and pray for us as we build community among others and ourselves.

And finally, thank you, thank you, for all the support you continue to give us, in every way.  We surpassed our Go Fund Me Goal of $2000 (with the matching funds of a friend, our total raised was $3200), and of course you were equally generous with our Chili Cookoff and Car Wash.  But of equal value have been your encouragement, your enthusiasm, and the fact that, to a person, our congregation recognizes just how much mission and outreach are integral to our church and our ministry. We will bear you all with us as we travel and work, and we know you will hold us in your hearts in the coming week.

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