Member Testimony: Conversations
Member Testimony: Conversations
Captain Greg Horn
A message from the Pastor- As I was thinking about what to write this month, this testimony from Cpt. Greg Horn, a physician from the Army Medical Corp arrived in my inbox. He shared it in church on May 26, but I wanted the congregation to have a chance to read it, too. While Greg writes of the profound influence of Dennis Prager, you will note that the way had been paved by countless conversations and contacts prior to his exposure to Prager. I am a firm believer that God’s grace works in the world and in us to prepare the way for us to come to God in faith. Just remember that your influence, your conversations may pave to way for someone to come to faith. Now read Greg’s story. It is powerful! Love, Pastor Martha
I could accurately be described both as having been born into faith and coming to the church late as an adult. I was baptized just after birth, attended a Catholic primary school until I was 8, and had not only attended weekly services but read the Bible multiple times before I was 10. But faith is “the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1) and should “not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:5). It is a continual process, a verb, and at some point I stopped.
As I learned about history and science on my path through advanced education, I made the same mistake that so many thinkers of the past have made. I began to think that mankind could reason it all out with logic, that faith was a crutch used to prop up the bits of the world’s origins that we couldn’t yet explain. People who clung to their faith I viewed as seeking an anesthetic for times of doubt, grief, or crisis. I thought how silly it must be to need a grand director to the world who intervenes in our lives. During this time, conversations on faith didn’t interest me much but I had noted how all of the people I chose as friends happened to be people of faith.
Furthermore, as I went through my medical training I had some truly remarkable experiences. I saw children born including my own. I spent time with homeless veterans bound to a ventilator and confined to a bed awaiting their inevitable death. I worked 48 hour shifts in the trauma center tending to those who suddenly and unexpectedly found themselves clinging to life. And more than just witnessing these people, I spoke with them and many of them talked about their faith.
My skepticism was stubborn but my return to the church had begun and it accelerated with the most unlikely of advocates, an Orthodox Jewish talk radio host named Dennis Prager. The writer of The Rational Bible, Prager argues that belief in God is rational because creation itself “rationally suggests a Creator.” He pointed out on one radio show how the fundamental constants of the universe must be tuned just as they are for our existence to be possible. Intrigued, I read more from a physicist who agreed that a millionth of a trillionth more gravity and the whole of everything would have never expanded to create planets and stars but remained a dense ball of nothingness. A similarly infinitesimal fraction less gravity and there would have been no great coalescence into planets, just a cloud of dust in an endless moat of darkness. The same impossible balance exists for the charges of protons and electrons, the nuclear forces, the speed of light, and a hundred other constants of the universe that we are totally ignorant of but remain absolutely vital to our very existence. The belief that organisms and DNA formed out of swirls of acid in a primordial pool randomly combining without the hand of the divine now seems profoundly unscientific to me.
In another radio hour, Mr. Prager discussed the origins of morality. He talked about how now the majority of people “rely on their own heart” or sympathies to determine right and wrong. He reported that this is superficially moral because such people have an aversion to violence and hate. However, there is an arrogance to elevate one’s own self to believe their heart knows better than thousands of years of accumulated wisdom and the words of God. Truthfully, “the heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9) and many great evils from the Holocaust to the Chinese “Cultural Revolution” have been produced from mankind’s belief we can work out what’s right on our own. God is necessary for morality, as Mr. Prager says because “without God these terms are no more than personal and subjective descriptions of actions we like or dislike.“
Finally, Mr. Prager spoke about what he called the “miracles of everyday lives.” He described the miracles of a sunrise or that any one person would be born, the product of an unlikely union of parents and reproduction. It is a miracle that we continue to draw breath and that we can enjoy civilization. He talked about the million miracles we write off to chance and coincidence every day. Shortly after listening to his words I was part of a miracle I could not deny. I held my infant son as he turned blue and stopped breathing, his face swollen and distorted. Michael has an allergy to peanuts that we could not have known about in advance. His airway closed and an ambulance would never have arrived in time to save him. I gave him medications and hoped and prayed but I also knew that those who suffer anaphylaxis at home almost never live. He did. Later that night, after the adrenaline faded, I held Michael in my arms and thought about how many other miracles I had seen. How many I was part of but had not recognized because of my narrow vision.
I thank God that he “so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16) and I thank him just as much that I did not have to give mine. I thank God for giving me medicine to alleviate pain and help others to live. I thank God for the everyday miracles all around us that make up our universe, allow us to live beside each other morally, and to enjoy a sunrise. I thank God for the simple work that Mr. Prager did to advocate for faithfulness on his talk show and that my ears truly heard him during my drives to work so that I could begin to regain my faith.
Two AWARE groups had to cancel. We are proposing two options for coming on an AWARE group this year: One from July 5-13 and the other from Nov. 29-Dec. 7. We hope you will give this careful consideration. If you decide to come, please try to bring a friend (friends).
Why come on an AWARE (Mission work/study) team? We think you will find that the experience may deepen your faith in a new and different way. In part, because you get to know humble people who have a great faith. You will begin to build relationships with the wonderful people who make up GYTTE and with others whose lives have been touched by GYTTE. If you have been here before you will have a chance to deepen relationships. You will learn a lot about GYTTE, Puebla, Mexico and ancient history. You will learn directly about the reasons why people have to migrate to the US. And you will have the chance to meet new people from different churches.
Schedule: On these groups Saturday, Sunday, ½ day Monday and ½ day Friday will be Educational Tourism with four nights at Hotel Gilfer in doubles, next to the Zocalo. Arrival at the Tree of Life farm Monday late afternoon, Tuesday – Rural Day of Work/Learning, Wednesday and Thursday are work days, Thursday night – church, Friday – final reflection and return to Puebla. Monday to Thursday there will be learning opportunities in the little town and at the farm.
Educational Tourism Options: Tlaxcala (Government Palace and Murals, Museum) and Archeological site/Pyramids of Cacaxtla-Xochitecatl (ancient ruins and preserved paintings), Puebla: Zocalo, 500-year old churches, museums (many options), Ruins and Church of San Francisco, Tunnels, Artist and Toad neighborhoods, Cholula Pyramid (largest foundation in the world) and purchase of artisanry. What we do will depend on the composition of each group. For example, on Monday we could visit other ruins as we go to Tlancualpican.
Work options: For those new to GYTTE the first day will be work that allows you to learn about the lives of rural families. Others may begin other work that day and continue Wednesday and Thursday. The July group will likely work on the Tree of Life Farm. The November group will work on a straw-bale home.
AWARE experience cost: $1,300 includes $1,000 for AWARE experience (program, lodging, meals, transportation, entrance fees, interpretation) and $300 contribution for a project like a straw-bale house, with a minimum of 6 people. Please reserve by May 15 for the July group and by August 15 for the November group by making a $300 deposit. Make your check payable to Trucksville UMC and write GYTTE and date of group on the memo line. Please send GYTTE an email stating you have sent your deposit, thanks. firstname.lastname@example.org
Mail the check to:
Rev. Marian Hartman
SWB District office
40 Knob Hill Road
Trucksville, PA 18708
Airfare to Puebla, or Mexico City and bus to Puebla
is not included, although someone will meet you at
the airport to ride the bus with you to Puebla.
Everyone will need to arrive and depart on days
indicated, although perhaps on different flights. Onceyou commit to AWARE we will send you lots of orientation materials!
When we have a group of at least six, we will have an on-line orientation meeting to answer questions, etc.
Thank you so much for considering an AWARE experience with GYTTE!
In God’s love,
Nan, Miguel, Clara and Ivonne
View more photos here
View more photos from Sunday School here
How well do you know your fellow congregants? Do you feel like RUMC is your family? Sometimes we can get so caught up in our own lives, that we miss an opportunity to be a part of a community. For the next year or so we will be introducing you to each other through Member Spotlight! And we want to hear from you! Who do you want to learn more about! Send us your nominations and we’ll have you all knowing everyone in RUMC by next year!
The Lattie Family
HOW DID YOU MEET?
Our family is from Kingston, Jamaica. Ray, a Machinist and Claney, an Economist met at their community church – Braeton Methodist Church located in St. Catherine. Our marriage in 1998 was quite unusual, as our families, though Christian, worshiped on the two days on which weddings are traditionally held - Saturday (the tradition in the Methodist denomination), and Sunday (the tradition in the Adventist denomination). So, we agreed to get married on a Wednesday morning, which was witnessed by very close family and friends who could be absent from their routine of work or school. We are both from large families, so our children usually enjoy family gatherings with aunts, uncles and cousins.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY.
Our children are Caleeb (18 years), Rhea (15 years) and Ryan (10 years). We had pets while living in Jamaica, as Ray is very fond of dogs. Our dogs were named in common with family initials: Clifford, Russ, and Rambo. He also had birds and fish. But with adjusting to life in Maryland, we haven’t adopted any pets in our family. Caleeb, our first son, goes it of state to college. Frightening for us as parents, but placing before him new horizons! I guess the fun is that we will get to visit North Carolina more frequently this year.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY
Evie is almost 4, Clark is 22 months and Grant is 1 week old. We have a large Labradoodle named Marshall who loves his human brothers and sister!
TELL US WHY YOU LOVE ROCKVILLE!
The children like visiting the Rockville Town Center. The quiet surroundings are also appreciated. Rockville seems so central to most places, and it’s easy to get to. Our special place however, is the Church which we have joined. Although we may be challenged with remembering all the names, this congregation has served a special purpose - to welcome families from across the globe! We note that since we have attended RUMC, we have seen families move to other countries, returned to their home countries, and have welcomed new families who relocated to the Rockville community. Likewise, our family has been welcomed and blessed by the fellowship at RUMC. Our children serve in two ministries: VBS as counselors and during worship as acolyte and crucifer.
WHO IS THE MOST IMAGINATIVE IN THE FAMILY?
Ryan is the most imaginative. He describes himself as super imaginative! He loves to draw, and very creative .
ANYTHING YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH THE CHURCH?
Some Jamaican Culture: Expectations for those who live in a foreign country (‘Merica) In Jamaica we speak a dialect called patois. It is a combination of English and Spanish - reflecting the influence of people from Europe who occupied the territory during our history. A famous writer describes the expectations of going to or living in a foreign country and returning to Jamaica. The expectation is that you will speak differently (changed language - twang), have a changed look (physical features more refined) and dress differently (suit and tie - pass di riddim coat, a gold chain)! We have given you a taste of our Jamaican dialect below. We hope that you can get the gist from reading the patois version. If not, we can recite it when you have time - we can share it in native patois at a ‘penny concert’ (a small gathering where performances are used a community fund-raiser - people pay for others to perform)!
Noh Lickle Twang,
by Louise Bennet
Me glad fe sei seh you come back bwoy
But lawd yuh let me dung,
Me shame o’ yuh soh till all o’ me proudness drop a grung.
Yuh mean yuh goh dah ‘Merica an spen six whole mont’ deh,
An come back not a piece betta dan how yuh did goh wey?
Bwoy yuh noh shame? Is soh you come?
Afta yuh tan soh lang!
Not even lickle language bwoy? Not even little twang?
An yuh sista wat work ongle one week wid ‘ Merican
She talk so nice now dat we have de jooce fe undastan?
Yuh spen six mont’ a foreign, an come back ugly same way?
Bwoy yuh couldn’ improve yuhself!
An yuh get soh much pay?
Not even a drapes trouziz? or a pass de rydim coat?
Bwoy not even a gole teet or a gole chain roun yuh t’roat!