Thursday, March 27, 2008

Farewell from Mark Harmon

Dear Friends,
As I sat in the back of church this past Sunday, I noticed Fridah. She was sitting on her daddy’s lap, playing with a microphone. I couldn’t help but smile. I thought back to over a year ago when I first heard about her. Tim, now her daddy, had gone on a mission trip to a farm in Zambia. Our church partners with this farm and we’ve sent several teams to work there. I was blessed to be able to go in Feb. 2005. Anyway, back to Tim. He had gone over with a group in the summer of 2006 and worked on the farm for several weeks. Tim and his team arrived at the farm the same day as Fridah, July 28, 2006. As Tim tells it, he was awakened in the wee hours of the morning of August 5 and God told him not to leave Zambia without Fridah. As Tim would tell you, that pronouncement has many problems associated with it. First of all, Tim’s kids are late teens and he and his wife have been looking forward to being empty nesters. Second, the Zambian government doesn’t go easy on folks from out of the country who are trying to adopt. Third, there was still some of Fridah’s family in the picture in Zambia. Those are just three of the most noticeable hurdles that come to mind right now. In what is a testimony to God’s faithfulness to Tim and in another way, Tim’s faithfulness to God, after many trials, tribulations, starts and stops, Tim was able to bring Fridah home June 12, 2007! The story, in its entirety, is way too powerful for me to try to do justice to in this short letter. This is all just a prelude to what I was thinking this morning.
I looked over at Fridah and thought, "Wow, how different her life is now from what it was a couple of years ago." She was living in poverty in Zambia with very few prospects of the kind of life that we in America have. Her mother had died and her remaining family thought it best that she be taken to the orphanage at the farm. It is also amazing to me how God’s timing is so perfect. Tim and his group arrived at the farm on the same day as Fridah! Not a coincidence. What astounds me at a deeper level is how God has gone to such great lengths to bring us into His family and care for us in a similar way. I had to sit back and just say thank you, knowing that God had replicated in Fridah’s adoption a process that He has carried out millions of times with those of us that know Him and call Him, Abba…Father.
I am grateful to God that I’m part of His family. I am also grateful for the brothers and sisters that he has let me get to know better over the years here in DC. That is why there is a bitter sweetness in this letter. I want you all to know that I am leaving CSM and DC to take a job in Nashville, TN working with young adults with special needs that are aging out of the Tennessee school system and need another avenue for hope and fulfillment in their lives. While I will miss DC, CSM, my church, and my extended family in the city, I am excited about the challenge and opportunity I see in this new venture. God has slowly been preparing me for a change, and though I may have balked at the suggestion that I look at something else for awhile, I now see His hand in the preparation, just like I see it in the events of Fridah’s new life in Fairfax.
Some of you have supported me for more years than I've been with CSM and some of you have supported me as a result of a CSM connection. I feel that I have been blessed so much by you and wanted to share this news with you so that you can pray with me for the new chapters that await me and CSM-DC.
I remain as always,
Alive and Grateful,
Mark, CSM DC City Director

CSM is grateful to Mark Harmon for over 28 years of service to the city of Washington DC (14 of them with CSM), the groups that came to serve, the staff he mentored and his heart for people. We wish him the best as he sets off on this new chapter of being Jesus' hands and feet in Nashville.

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