Neckties

Laila and I left the morning of this publication on Delta Airlines headed to the Dominican Republic for an 8-day mission trip.  This journey began with Daniel Oscar and his family living in Cleveland TN. I serve on the Pentecostal Theological Seminary board. While attending board meetings I met Daniel and his family.   We invited Daniel and his family to visit us at Covenant Church. A relationship developed that bonded our families.   Daniel is now Church of God Educational Director for the Dominican Republic. He has invited Laila and me to participate in the Bible college commencement. I will be keynote speaker. In addition, we will be visiting pastors' families and participating in leadership training.   By email I asked Daniel about bringing neckties for ministers. He affirmed. Last Sunday Covenant folks brought neckties, hundreds of neckties, a suitcase full of neckties. I think a few wives might have contributed neckties they did not like.   Allow me a story of neckties from another mission trip.   Phyllzs and Wayne Wozniak were serving as educators in Peru. Phyllzs is my sister. Laila and I did a mission trip to Peru.   We traveled into the foothills of the Andes Mountains to speak to indigeneous pastors. The starting time was 2 PM on a Wednesday. A few pastors were present. We began.   The door kept opening with another pastor joining us. Another. Another. The attendance grew.  I was puzzled by the odd timing of arrivals.   It was late in the evening when we completed the training. Time for the neckties.   I thought surely we had made a huge mistake. No pastor wore a necktie. Many of the pastors wore peasant clothing, almost like farmer's clothes. Nothing fancy. Their shoes or sandals were not Sunday dress.   Wayne translated that the pastors wanted to wear the neckties when they left, but there was a problem. They had never owned a necktie. We allowed them to choose a necktie. We had to tie the necktie for them. Then we gave them a gift of money.   Out the door they eased into the evening.    Wayne explained to Laila and me. Most of the pastors had walked to the meeting. Some had left after their Sunday services and been walking for three days to arrive for the ministers' training. When they left with their neckties they would have to walk until late Saturday to arrive home for Sunday services.    One pastor I interviewed explained that there were mountain passes he chose to negotiate by night. When I asked why, he answered: "The footpath is very narrow. A person can fall thousands of feet."   I offered to purchase him a flashlight.    He explained: "Oh, no. a flashlight can cast shadows. It is better when dark to trust one's feet to feel the path."   I cherish the memory of seeing a Peruvian pastor leaving in native dress wearing a fancy necktie, sandals on calloused feet, with a Bible in his hand and taking a love gift to his family. I imagine him high on the mountains with his feet searching in the darkness for the path---wearing a necktie!   Never forget that little things mean a lot.   Stay tuned. Go daily to Covenantchurch.net or Covenant Church on Facebook for reports of our missions adventures.   Much love Pastor Bare