Friday, September 27, 2013

Celebrating history

Bob grew up in California and I in the Midwest, where something that was built or happened 100 years ago seems like nearly-ancient history. This month we have been traveling in the Eastern part of the U.S., and have been amazed at the long and rich history that we have encountered through some of the churches we have visited. It has been a fun season to learn more about the history of our country and celebrate how God has been at work here.
We visited Lower Marsh Creek Presbyterian Church in Gettysburg, PA – one of the first early churches that we had encountered. The church was founded in 1748, their sanctuary was built in 1790, and the church continues to be a thriving witness to Christ in the community. We were also blessed to have a member of the church give us a guided tour of the Gettysburg battlefields…more extensive and well-marked than I expected!
P1200653Sanctuary of the Lower Marsh Creek Pres. Church, built in 1790
Gettysburg Battlefield with LindaOn the Gettysburg Battlefield with our guide, Linda
A few days later, we were in Lewes, DE, where the church has existed since at least 1692. The church building seems nestled into its graveyard that surrounds it, with some marked graves of soldiers from the Revolutionary War.
Lewes De lighthouse
We spent a few days in Washington, DC visiting people as well as a few of the memorials and museums. It was my first time to visit any of the museums in DC as an adult, and we realized we were barely able to scratch the surface of taking in the rich history that is there to learn. We went through the Holocaust museum – which is a powerful and sobering experience. Then, we went to the American History Museum, and discovered that with only a few hours you have to choose just a few sections of the many exhibits they have on American History! We enjoyed seeing some of the monuments at night …a really different perspective than seeing them during the day! In keeping with our savoring of historical things, we went to eat at “Gadsby’s Tavern” in Alexandria, VA, purportedly one of George Washington’s favorite places.
FDR memorial bread line
Remembering the bread-lines of the Great Depression at the FDR memorial
We have now worked our way south through Virginia and North Carolina, noticing Civil War battlefields and other historical sights along the way. Bob has been collecting recommendations of books about the Civil War, and enjoyed learning from some of the enthusiasts we’ve met. We made a stop in Hampton, VA to see a small museum that contains cultural artifacts from Kasai in the 19th century, collected by William Shepherd. We are currently in Montreat, NC, and have enjoyed seeing elements of the history of the Presbyterian Church in Congo, and spending time with missionaries who served there and remember the rocky days of Congo’s shift to independence.
Montreat Heritage Center sep 2013
Visiting the Montreat Heritage Center with our colleague from Congo, Pastor Mboyamba.
We met there former missionaries Hugh and Ellen Ferrier and Tom McCrutchen

Remembering and celebrating both American and African history seems to help give us perspective as we get grounded in Congo. The events of the past and God's faithfulness through the ages reminds us that God IS at work in Congo and that there is hope for the future!

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