Richard and Debbie Welch—Our Guatemala Mission Workers
The Knox congregation is privileged and proud to be able to call Richard and Debbie Welch—OURS! They have been loving and faithful members of our church for many years. When they said they were considering applying for positions as PC(USA) Mission Co-Workers in Guatemala, many of us were at once thrilled and not-so-thrilled. We were thrilled that the Holy Spirit was working in them in a very special way; we were not-so-thrilled, because if their dream came to fruition we would "lose" two very special, important, highly visible and active members—friends. Of course, we are not "losing" them—they just will not be right next to us every Sunday.
Well, that time has come. Their official title is Education Consultant(s) for Indigenous People, Guatemala. So, here's the deal—we are "allowing" them to go, but on the conditions that they (1) retain their Knox membership (they had already said that they could think of doing nothing less), and (2) they promise to keep up a blog on Knox's website so that we can easily know how things are going with them. Happily, they have wholeheartedly agreed to both of those "conditions".
At the bottom of this page there is a little information on Richard and Debbie, and a description of their journey to date. We hope you find it interesting and uplifting. And, for more information be sure to check out and subscribe to their blog (see the considerations, below), so that you can be timely informed as to their challenges and adventures. Also, be sure to check out their personal site on the Presbytery Mission Agency's Mission Connections page.
Access considerations for Richard and Debbie's blog
Anyone—guests, included—can access (view) Richard and Debbie's blog, but that's ALL you can do if you are not registered and logged in. Registering on the site will allow you not only to reply to Richard and Debbie's posts, but to also subscribe. Subscription allows one to be automatically notified via email whenever a blog is updated, either by the owner posting something new to the blog, or when someone replies to the blog.
You should subscribe to any/all topics that particularly interest you, and that you subsequently wish to follow and remain current. However, you should also subscribe to Richard and Debbie's entire CATEGORY. This way, you'll be timely notified anytime anything is posted to their blog, be it an entirely new blog topic by Richard or Debbie, or someone replying to one of the individual topics.
1. If you are already a registered Knox member, friend, or ministry blogs viewer, and you are now logged in, then just click on the link at the top of the page, and you will be directed to Richard and Debbie's blog page, with full privileges.
2. If you are already a registered Knox member, friend, or ministry blogs viewer, but are NOT logged in, DO SO NOW. After you log in, you will be automatically redirected to the Knox home page. Once there, select the following menu thread: Ministries > Our Missionaries: > Richard & Debbie Welch, which will take you back to this page. Then, just click on the link at the top of the page, and you will be directed to Richard and Debbie's blog page, where you will have full privileges.
3. If you are a guest, and wish to register for the ministry blogs in order to fully participate, please fill out the ministry blog registration form, so that we may understand your relationship and can thus timely assign you to the proper membership class. BE SURE TO USE THIS FORM! You'll receive a notification email once we have processed your registration. Our processing staff consists of, well, one person, so don't panic if it takes a couple days to process your request. We promise we won't overlook you! Until then, you may use the temporary login credentials, which will at least allow you to post replies.
Temporary login credentials:
USER NAME: guestviewer PASSWORD: letmeintotheblog
If you desire to support Richard and Debbie
Some folks have asked about how they can financially support Richard and Debbie's mission work, either as individual donors or as a congregation. That's GREAT! Due to IRS rules, contributions are handled in different ways depending on whether you are making a personal contribution or are planning to support Richard and Debbie as a congregation. To contribute, simply go to the PMA's Make a Gift page, and if you are a congregation, be sure to check the "This is a donation from a presbytery, congregation or group" checkbox.
Richard and Debbie have a video!
The PC(USA) has produced an informational video for Richard and Debbie. The good news is that the video is very informative. The bad news is that it seems to be available only in MP4 format, which means that your computer or mobile device must be capable of displaying MP4-formatted video. Unfortunately, not all devices natively support the playing of MP4 files—this may require you to install an appropriate add-on or plugin. Many devices use the Windows Media Player (Microsoft OS). In its standard form, WMP does not support MP4 files. In this case, you will have to either load a special codec for WMP, or install another media player. One media player—free, to boot—that is gaining popularity due to its near universal support of the various formats is the VLC Player by Videolan.
From Richard and Debbie's PC(USA) article:
Richard and Debbie's call to mission has its roots in what they call “a curious interest” in the Presbytery of the Inland Northwest's mission partnership in Guatemala. “Over time it slowly grew into a passion and excitement about the transformative impact the partnership was having on our Inland Northwest Presbytery, our partners, and us personally,” Richard says.
Their involvement in the partnership continued to grow, and then one day they were approached about the possibility of long-term mission service in Guatemala. The suggestion took them by surprise. “But as we thought and prayed about it, the sense of call became so clear that we knew we should accept if offered an opportunity to serve in Guatemala,” Debbie says.
Richard and Debbie appreciate the thorough orientation about Guatemala they received before making their first visits there with their presbytery. "Against that backdrop, we encountered our indigenous partners," Richard recalls. “Experiencing their infectious commitment to Christ, their church, and their extended communities of faith touched our hearts on that first visit. It continues to impact us whenever we’re there.”
Richard and Debbie are firmly committed to the concept of mission in partnership. They want the church in the United States to learn how churches in developing countries grow and prosper amid scarce resources and other adverse circumstances.
“In the specific ministry to which we are called, our hope is that our relational and organizational gifts and skills will help facilitate greater childhood, vocational, and theological educational opportunities among our partners, and that these opportunities provide a potential path out of poverty,” Debbie says.
Richard and Debbie are grateful for the support they have received in their home presbytery. They’ve been surrounded by people they liken to the “great cloud of witnesses” described in Hebrews 12:1. “They’ve been an inspiration and resource to us as we’ve started out on this new journey,” Richard says.
Prior to entering mission service, Richard worked for 26 years for Triumph Composite Systems, Inc., an aerospace manufacturing company in Spokane. He was a senior manager in the company's information technology section. He holds a bachelor's degree from Whitworth University.
Debbie was the church administrator at Knox. She is also a graduate of Whitworth University.