Rev. Samuel Macias and Family raise the bar when it comes to putting their trust in God as they make the move to the CTC from Mexico to serve the congregation of La Trinidad and help better equip the conference to minister to and with our Hispanic brothers and sisters in our communities.
by Virginia O. (Ginger) Bassford*
I believe in the itinerant process – the process by which United Methodist pastors are moved. It was the final and most difficult piece of UM doctrine and polity of which I was able to grab hold. The only way I could comprehend it was to believe that when God called me into ordained ministry, God did not ask for some of my trust – God asked for all of it. Which includes the part where I am able to control where I work, where my family lives and where our children went to school. Do I like giving up that level of control and trusting? No. Not at all. Make no mistake, I did and do not like it. Do I think itinerancy serves a purpose? You bet I do. For the simple reason that it keeps me dependent on God!
And, even in my firm conviction of the purpose and value of itinerancy, I cannot imagine doing what Rev. Samuel Macias, his wife Saby and their three girls are doing in order to serve God.
You see, they are putting all of their trust in God at a whole different level from what I described. They are packing up whatever they can fit into suitcases and leaving their home – their furniture, dishes, toys, family heirlooms and knick-knacks, all those things that make a house a home – as well as their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends in order to established between the . They are leaving behind all they know to come help us learn how to do ministry with immigrants and Latinos/Latinas in a way that is fruitful and vibrant. They are coming from as missionaries to Central Texas.
Can you imagine leaving behind your culture and all the comforts of home in order to serve God in a new mission field? I know there are some “why yes I cans” out there, but for many of us the idea stops us in our tracks.
What the Macias family is doing is an example of a strong belief in the itinerant process and in a covenant relationship! I don’t have the courage to reciprocate by offering a month of my time in Eastern Mexico. (Please, hear the whine) I get really homesick!
Rev. Macias, Saby, and their girls Sophie, Saby and Samy, will be here for a pre-move trip beginning today, Friday, April 25. During their stay, they will meet their congregation at LaTrinidad for the first time. Just like most Methodist pastors, they will tour their new mission field and the parsonage. They will begin to learn where the Christmas ornaments are kept and where the sacred cows are located. I cannot begin to imagine what this will be like for them.
A chief reason for sharing this with you, is just in case you see the Samuel and/or his family out and about next week with me, Rev. Dawne Phillips, Rev. Gary Lindley or Rev. Margret Fields, please stop and great them with a hearty “Hola!” And while you are at it, maybe pause and quietly ask yourself, “How is it with my soul? Is my relationship with God strong enough to help me trust God as much as Rev. Macias?”
And then… perhaps each of us will ask what else would we be willing to do to make such a move for minimum compensation? Would we be willing to endure the ridiculously complex immigration process and fill out, assemble, sort, (but DO NOT STAPLE) more than 100 pages of applications, forms, documents, pictures, identifications, certificates and diplomas? It took more than 65 hours of high-quality administrator time to gather and pull the family’s immigration application paperwork together. That was before it went to the attorney, was translated into English and three to four additional documents were added. And all that happenedbefore it went to Congresswoman Kay Granger’s office and another two documents were added. Think about all of that the next time you think that Charge Conference paperwork is cumbersome!
Rev. Macias and his family are not a super-hero family – nor would they be comfortable with even the slightest notion of such. They are people just like any of us, striving to do the best they can to follow after God. I must say however, I admire them more than my words will ever be able to express for all they have done before they even arrived.
Please be in prayer for Rev. Samuel Macias, Saby, Sophie, Saby and Samy. I invite you to welcome them into our conference family and into our hearts. It seems like the very least we could do.
Watch for more from the Macias’ visit here on ctcumc.org in the coming week.
* is the District Superintendent for the North District of the Central Texas Conference and a regular contributor to ctcumc.org.