Sunday, January 28, 2024

Congregational meeting and Dave Mann's retirement

When we began attending UALC in 1974 we met a young couple who were students at Luther Seminary in Bexley, Dave and Pam Mann (although she might have been his fiancĂ©e still). He was hired to be the Middle School minister. He had long blond hair and played the guitar. He's also a great organist.  He was sort of in an out -- he became our missionary to Cameroon in Africa. Instead of raising support as many missionaries have to do, our church kept them "on staff." We watched their four children grow up and eventually they returned to the U.S. (must have been some culture shock) where he rejoined our local staff with the usual ministerial responsibilities. In a few years he took a position at Institution Univers in Ouanaminthe, Haiti for about a decade, then returning to UALC where he was in charge of our international ministry. Bob participated in the Haiti short term ministry for 10 trips and taught in the school there.  Pam is a fabulous artist and contributed to so many of our in house art projects and quilt ministry, and also for many years she was a leader in the church's aerobic classes.  They retired at the end of 2023, and today was the celebration for their years of service and best wishes for their next adventure.

Dave and Pam were in Haiti during the terrible earthquake in 2010, and although Ouanaminthe was not hit, his school took in many students from the damaged area.  On his Facebook page he wrote:
"The day began with an all-school worship service. I was privileged to give the message. It was not difficult to find the word that would be right – Ours is a God who knows how to transform evil into good. The story of Joseph which is a key piece of my Bible curriculum in the 10th and 11th grades demonstrates this teaching. As I began to quote Genesis 50:20, many of the students completed the verse with me aloud. And, of course, the cross of Jesus is the ultimate proof that our God is a redeemer. Joseph’s story was not finished when he was in prison. Jesus’ story was not finished in the tomb. Haiti’s story was not finished on January 12th. Our story is not finished today. Our God will have the last word.""
On Easter Sunday 2018 Dave preached and told this story about John and Ali which I recorded in my blog.
"John was having a very busy day, and he passed a black man on Route 23 going north who’d had a flat tire and was attempting to flag someone down. John felt the Lord tap his shoulder but proceeded on as he had a busy schedule. Then he felt a firmer tap, so he turned around to help the stranded motorist. Not only was the tire flat, it was ruined. Not only was it ruined, but the man, Ali, had no money. So John paid for the tire himself, and then installed it for Ali. When they were finished, Ali told him he’d been waiting for two hours and no one had stopped, so why did John stop? “Because I serve the King,” John told him. Then Ali said, he’d like to know about this King that John served. Last Easter Ali was baptized a Christian and joined our Lutheran church. Dave told him that he would experience rejection and even hate from his Muslim community, but God’s love, through John had touched him and he came to know the living Lord."

Bob with Pam and Dave in Haiti in 2008

Bob and Pam at the quilt show at UALC in 2019 

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