Missionaries in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq
Elmarie and Scott Parker are Associates for Ecumenical Partnerships for the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) of the Presbyterian Church USA. PSPC supports their missionary work through PMA.
Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq have become known to most Americans as countries dominated by political and religious conflict, war and violence. Few know that a small Christian community in this region is trying to bring hope and healing to the Middle East. PC(USA) has been involved in the region for 150+ years, and maintains close ties with its partner churches, some of which were founded by PC(USA) missionaries.
As regional liaison, Elmarie strengthens ties between PC(USA) partner churches in her region and Presbyterians in the U.S. She facilitates support for partner programs, relationships, and practical ministries that grow from these relationships. Elmarie often serves as interpreter and guide for visiting groups, so they can have a first-hand experience in seeing the region, interacting with the people, and understanding the importance of Christian ministry there.
Scott Parker serves with the Middle East Council of Churches. As writer in residence, he communicates the experiences and views of the people and Middle East church to Presbyterian constituents in the US, helping to build connections and foster dialog. He also leads efforts to respond to children traumatized by unrest and war in Iraq and Syria who now live with their families in Lebanon. Out of this effort has come “Strong Kids, Strong Emotions,” a play-based program that seeks to develop emotional and spiritual resiliency.
Missionaries in Guatemala
Carl and Lisa Norton, previously members of PSPC, work in the San Lucas region of Guatemala where they partner with orphanages and children’s homes to provide love and care to displaced and special-needs children, host Bible groups, and teach reading. PSPC supports their missionary work through Commission To Every Nation (CTEN).
Recently, working with a local pastor in one of the poorest villages in their area, the Nortons expanded their ministry to include 1) providing scholarships for children to go to school, and 2) caring for foster children in their home. In this village, many of the children don’t go to school because their family cannot afford the cost, and many mothers don’t seek work because they are afraid to leave their kids alone who are not in school.
Keep up with the latest news from the Nortons on their blog.