Gratitude precedes redemption….. Thanksgiving precedes the miracle….
And now they are snuggly packed in a 22" Samsonite and headed with great love and care to the hills of Appalachia in Tennessee and North Carolina. Who are they for? I have no idea. I do know that the women of Dorcas Circle who knitted them with graceful hands are quite sure that God will use them, and us, in His own way. Vacuum sealed comfort.
In a few hours my mom will pick me up and take me to San Antonio to meet a Delta plane headed east. There I will join a group of 23 women from around the country in Asheville, North Carolina to embark on a 10-day itinerary. We will hear local historians and Appalachian women tell about the unique history and culture of the region, tour and fellowhship with local organizations serving women, children and families, and see the evolution of PC(USA) mission and ministry programs in rural Appalachia.
The Presbyterian Women's USA Mission Experience is a triennial trip that focuses on understanding the history and culture of a region, the ministry of the church there and the challenges faced by women and families living in the area. Two previously explored areas of our country have been in South Dakota (understanding the Lakota people and other Native American groups) and El Paso, Texas (with an emphasis on immigration). This program is a response to the long established Presbyterian Women Global Exchange Program. Making connections to world wide needs and concerns in our own country is also an element of the USA Mission Experience.
Facts about Appalachia:
Appalachia is a 13-state region that stretches along the Appalachian mountain range from southwestern New York to northeastern Mississippi. The Appalachian Regional Commission, established by Congress in 1965 to support economic and social development in the Applachian region, covers 406 counties. During Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” in the mid-1960s, 219 of those counties were identified as “distressed.” In 2005, 82 of those counties were still considered “distressed.”
And so I am off! Happy that there are not TSA flight regulations regarding an abundance of gratitude and thanksgiving, for I would surely be over the limit allowed.