Cuban Pastor Visit Liudmila Hernandez, pastor in Central Cuba Presbytery, will be visiting our church September 8-10. She will be preaching on September 10. Come find out more about her and her life as a Presbyterian minister in today’s Cuba. She will be speaking in the Hands and Feet Sunday School class that same day. Come for a more in-depth discussion of the church in Cuba at 10am in room 11A. Thinking of Going on the Presbytery Trip to Cuba? Come hear Liudmila Hernandez, pastor in the Central Cuba Presbytery talk about what to expect on the trip and how we might partner with a congregation there.  Hands and Feet Sunday School Class, September 10. Room 11A Join us for a free Cuban Meal – Friday night, September 8, 6:00. Join us in Fellowship Hall for dinner and a presentation by Liudmila Hernandez, pastor in the Central Cuba Presbytery. Hands and Feet Class September schedule includes: September 17 & 24 - video series "When Helping Hurts"   Mission Trip to El Centro Presbytery of Cuba ​February 5-13, 2018 Space is Limited to 25 People ​Application Deadline: October 6th This trip is for you if:  You would like the opportunity to develop a relationship with our Christian brothers and sisters in Cuba and explore the possibility of your congregation establishing a relationship/partnership with a congregation in El Centro Presbytery. The estimated basic cost of the trip is $1,100, which includes roundtrip airfare from Florida to Santa Clara, Cuban visa and exit tax, and lodging, food, and transportation in Cuba.  It does not include incidentals you might have while you are there.  First Presbyterian DeLand is hoping to send a team of 5. Please pick up an application in the church office or in Fellowship Hall.   The Dates are Out for 2018 Nicaragua Mission Trip– This year you have a choice of two different weeks and two different venues. You are invited to go for one week or two. The first week will be June 16-23 at La Finca, the Young Life camp in the mountains. The second week will be June 23-30 in the town of Esteli. For those of you that prefer a city experience, Esteli is for you. If you are looking for more of a spiritual camp experience then you will want to go to La Finca. We are encouraging families to consider this year as your year for Nicaragua. La Finca makes a particularly powerful lifelong impression on the young people who attend. The cost is $675 per person plus airfare. Last year we were able to raise $500 per person, bringing the cost down to $125 per person plus airfare. Hopefully, we can do the same this year, if not more. Mark your calendars and begin saving now. Youth scholarships are available. If you would like for your name to be added to the mission e-mail list, contact Mary Hoffmann at mary100550@aol.com. Contact Kathy Ambachtsheer or Scott Schrecengost for more information.   Is There a Mission You Would Like to See Funded by First Pres?  The Mission Outreach Team will soon be beginning the process of funding considerations for next year’s mission budget. Let a member of the team know if you have a mission close to your heart that you would like for the team to consider.   News from Nicaragua and Guatemala Join us at 12:15 pm on Sunday, August 20, 2017 to hear about this summer’s mission trips to Nicaragua and Guatemala.  Traveling Team members will share with the Home Team what our church is doing in the lives of Christians in Central America and what they are doing in ours.  Come hear the good news! Mission Trip to El Centro Presbytery of Cuba February 5-13, 2018 Space is limited to 25 people Application deadline: October 6th This trip is for you if:  You would like the opportunity to develop a relationship with our Christian brothers and sisters in Cuba and explore the possibility of your congregation establishing a relationship/partnership with a congregation in El Centro Presbytery. The estimated basic cost of the trip is $1,100, which includes roundtrip airfare from Florida to Santa Clara, Cuban visa and exit tax, and lodging, food, and transportation in Cuba.  It does not include incidentals you might have while you are there.  First Presbyterian DeLand is hoping to send a team of 5. Please pick up an application in the church office or in Fellowship Hall.  If interested please contact Harland Merriam (harland.merriam@gmail.com) or Mary Hoffmann (mary100550@aol.com).  For more information about the Cuba Mission Trip, please go to our website at www.fpcdeland.org. Anne Hallum and the Alliance for Reforestation founded in DeLand at First Pres earns UN Equator Prize The United Nations is recognizing an organization founded more than 20 years ago in DeLand by a Stetson University professor.  The Alliance for International Reforestation — or Alianza Internacional de Reforestación as it’s known at its home base in Guatemala — was one of 15 organizations chosen for a U.N. Development Programme Equator Prize out of a pool of over 800 nominations across 120 countries.  Founder and professor emeritus Anne Hallum said AIR was nominated for the award, which is given out every two years, a few times over the past several years.  “Our credentials keep growing, so this year we broke through to the top,” Hallum said in a phone interview.  The organization, led by indigenous Maya women, has planted about five million trees across Guatemala and Nicaragua, but Hallum said workers and volunteers have done much more than reforest.  More than 3,000 families have been trained in sustainable farming for better crops, 875 efficient stoves to protect lung health have been built, hundreds of schools have been provided with textbooks on sustainability and dozens of small businesses have been started.  “So the U.N. was impressed,” Hallum said.  Achim Steiner, administrator of the U.N. Development Programme, said the challenges the recognized communities have faced are as diverse as the solutions the organizations have found.  “But what unites them is that each shows the power of people to bring about change while protecting the planet,” Steiner said. “By shining a spotlight on these initiatives from all corners of the world, we hope that others will be inspired by their example. Their dedication and commitment shows what is possible when communities come together to protect and sustainably manage nature for the benefit of all.”  AIR and the other 14 recipients of the Equator Prize each will receive $10,000 and the opportunity to send a representative to New York for a week-long summit during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly.  “Their main intent is not just to have a ceremony. It’s to spread the word that this is how to do it right,” Hallum said.  She cited the little progress that’s been made in Haiti despite the best efforts of various entities.  “And here we are with a small nonprofit that has planted five million trees that are still growing,” Hallum said.  AIR Inc. has previously won international awards from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, Instituto Nacional de Agricultura y Bosques, National Arbor Day Foundation and CNN Heroes.   From our trip to Nicaragua: the-last-day I have had the absolute pleasure of going to Nicaragua three times, but this year was truly special. It was incredible to see the youth of our church stepping out of their comfort zones to share with our mission team and grow in relationships with our brothers and sisters in Nicaragua. The youth were champions of the trip throughout the entire week, enduring flight delays, participating in devotions, and working hard on our job sites. This trip was amazing! -Rebekah Anderson This trip to me is all about being loved. The Nicas become your family and this happens because of the work you do alongside them but also because they are bursting with God's love. -Claire Schrecengost GOD IS EVERYWHERE!!  I couldn't have asked for a more positive, productive all-encompassing Christian experience as witnessed on our recent mission trip to Nicaragua.  Each day dawned and presented new adventures and opportunities to witness as the hands and feet of Christ in a totally different culture.  I have come to realize that the love of Christ is indeed a two way street...given as well as received abundantly!!  My cup is overflowing with memories...come, sit a spell and let's take a trip!!  Dios the bendiga!! -Coco Allison God was definitely in Nicaragua these last two weeks. Thanks to all from First Pres DeLand who supported us spiritually and financially. The notes and letters you sent were amazing. I hope you had time to follow our journey on the church's website. Thanks for being the wonderful church family that you are. -Mary Hoffmann The mission team would like to thank you all for the letters sent to each of us while on our trip.  Your letters were part of what really motivated the team to do all the hard work we’ve done over the past couple of weeks.  Your letters are what made some of us really look forward to each morning and what played a role to get us through the day.  The team would just like to let you know that all of your effort was and still is greatly appreciated.  For all of us to know that you guys were here praying for us and thinking of us while we were out helping with God’s mission really made us feel thankful and even more joyful to be there that we already were.  Your letters were another connection we had to home and it assured us that we had something good to come back to.  So thank you again for all of your thoughts and prayers while we were away. -Kyra Pienaar "This week was special to me, as it was my eldest daughter's first trip to Nicaragua. My heart was full of love and joy as I watched her fall in love with the country I cherish. She was drawn to the Nicas and never looked for the safety of our American group. When she said to me, "I want to live here." I knew that Nicaragua had stolen her heart the way it already had mine." -Michelle Bailey

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Spanish Class Dr. Bill Worden is an Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of Spanish Programs in the Department of Modern Languages and Classics at The University of Alabama. He received his A.B. in Mathematics from Dartmouth College, his M.A. in Spanish from Middlebury College and his Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from Brown University. Since 2002, Dr. Worden has taught a wide variety of courses at The University of Alabama. The level of Spanish being taught in the course is introductory, though Prof. Worden does balance out learning vocabulary with learning the mechanics of the language and the verb-tense system (you won't spend many hours filling out conjugation tables, for one). The ease of access, friendly presentation style, and balanced approach to the language are this course's greatest strengths compared to other options.    

100th Sleeping Mat for the Homeless Completed

At 10:56 AM on Thursday, February 5, a group of dedicated volunteers completely our 100th sleeping mat for the homeless. If you are available between 10:00 and 12:00 on Thursday mornings we could certainly use your help. Come and enjoy this fun, no skill needed mission. Room 11A. 100th-mat   You are Needed – Do you have a couple of hours to give on Thursday mornings to help with the Sleeping Mats for the Homeless ministry? Consider joining this congenial group for fun and fellowship as we work on this simple but worthwhile project. We meet from 10-12 each Thursday morning in Room 11A. We would love to have you join us.

What is a Manna bag?

To the ancient Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years, “manna” was the food God provided for their survival.  For us it means an opportunity to meet the needs of the hungry by providing a bag of food to our homeless friends on the street. We have all seen people on the side of the road with signs asking for assistance. We want to help but are reluctant to give a cash gift. So instead we can hand the person a manna bag that contains food, water, and a few basic supplies. The bags can be stored under the front seat of your vehicle and passed through the car window when the need arises.  The bags won’t solve the greater problem of homelessness or hunger, but giving the person a bag is something you can do for one person right now. Supplies for Manna Bags The Hands and Feet Sunday School class will begin adding mini first-aid kits to manna bags.  We will be adding Neosporin packets, alcohol wipes, q-tips, band aids, safety pins, etc. We are also looking for mini sewing kits, the kind you often find in hotel rooms.  Donations can be left in the church office. Contact Mary Hoffmann (mary100550@aol.com) for more  information. Sleeping mats for the homeless A group of dedicated people has been meeting at 10:00 AM on Thursday mornings in the Mission Room (11A) to make sleeping mats for the homeless out of plastic shopping bags.  We delivered our first batch of 15 mats to the Mercy Hour at First Methodist Church and they were very excited to get them. We will also be delivering some to a group of homeless veterans.  If we have 15-17 people on a Thursday we can complete 3 mats in a morning.  We also need volunteers to flatten and cut bags.  This can be done with the Thursday morning group if you would like the fellowship or can be done at home in your spare time-or both! Contact Mary Hoffmann (386) 747-5165, mary100550@aol.com for information. Toasty Toes Mission - It’s that time again.  Are your toes toasty and warm and dry? Some of our friends on the street cannot answer YES.  Please help the Hands and Feet Sunday School Class include a new pair of socks in each Manna Bag along with food and water.  Put your gift of a new pair of socks in the “sock basket” in Fellowship Hall on Sundays.  We all need Toasty Toes! How do we spend our mission money? Do you have a mission you are passionate about? Would you like to have the Mission Outreach Team consider it for funding? Contact Mary Hoffmann at mary100550@aol.co, and we will check it out. For those of you who followed the story of Aaron from Nicaragua and the book our church family gave him 14 years ago, this our nineth year of annual photographs. aaron We are a mission church. We are a community committed to serving others in need. As we exit our building, we enter the mission field. Nicaragua. This is our eighteenth year coming to Nicaragua. It is like a second home, for collectively we have built, repaired or renovated: homes; a Presbyterian Church [Shalom Presbyterian Church in Esteli, Pastor: Jan Carlos Guttierez]; a Vida Joven office, residence, and club house; conducted countless children and youth oriented Bible Schools; planted trees; built bio-digesters and outhouses; built trails; and performed numerous agricultural projects and tasks at the Young Life farm known as “La Finca”. We have friends here who were young children when we first arrived and now have completed school, college, married, and been blessed with children. Namibia. Talitha Kumi Christian Academy is dedicated to the education of orphans and vulnerable children in our care and from the community of Arandis. The support we provide for all the children in our care covers a wide range of needs from their home, food, medical, and dental to all their school needs. The full donation given by sponsors through His Promise Ministries goes to the support of the child. Click here to learn more. For more information contact Kathy Morganelli by email or call 386-738-7396. Guatemala. We continue to support AIR Guatemala for their truly outstanding ministries that have been ongoing for more than a decade. Click here to learn more and find the newsletters. For more information contact Anne Hallum -Wilgers, at ahallum@stetson.edu, or call 386-956-4321. Taiwan. John McCall has been serving in Taiwan for over 16 years. He spends a lot of time on trains, buses, and subways as he travels throughout Taiwan teaching courses on ministry and spiritual formation at the three seminaries of the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan. John leads groups of pastors in different parts of Taiwan that meet monthly to find encouragement and challenge.   “I have the privilege of accompanying both seminary students and pastors as they seek to be Christ’s light and salt in this land,” he says. Most every weekend John is in a different church or presbytery teaching and preaching and equipping the leadership of the Taiwanese church. Many of these churches are indigenous, located in the high mountains, on the coast, or in Taiwan’s teeming cities. Click here to learn more and read his newsletters.