Sunday, December 29, 2013

Revealing comments by US partners & the Latin Americans

Multicultural team of professors being taught by Dr. Plueddemann at Ligonier Camp (July 2013)
Said by US partners
Said by Latin Americans
How are things going in Mexico, Lisa?

(I served in Mexico in the 1980’s)
I have never met any North Americans who are as proud of their city as you folks from Pittsburgh!
There are other churches in the Pittsburgh area supporting you?

(Six churches support me, all from Pittsburgh)
I didn’t know you were Presbyterian.
(Since CCI/LA is interdenominational, we don’t emphasize our church background.)
How long have we been supporting you, Lisa?
(North Way Christian Community & Memorial Park sent me out as their missionary in separate ceremonies in the Fall of 1982 and I arrived in Costa Rica to learn the language Jan.11, 1983. Since then, North Park started supporting me in 1984, then First Pres. in 1986, then Union Pres. In 2004, and finally Elfinwild in 2011.
I had no idea that so many churches and individuals backed you.
I thought you only worked in Honduras.

(I live in Honduras, but actively develop leaders in all nine countries where CCI/LA has national associations—Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru & soon in Paraguay).
These churches have displayed great trust in you; they give you funds when they don’t even see you but once a year and they trust you to do what you say you will do. It’s good we’re here to show them the results.

Has it been that long?

(Many supporters remember those first years I served in Mexico and can’t believe 30 years have passed.)
So many people congratulated us and spoke admiringly of our work as Latin Americans on the front line ministering to needy children. It was strange to be celebrated here. That rarely happens in our countries. We had to leave our own countries to fully appreciate what we are a part of.
I am a banker and understand ROI. As chairmen of the Mission committee of Union Pres., I feel like we have gotten a great ROI as I see the publications and hear the first-hand testimonies of what our church has been a part of.

This is far bigger than I thought it was!

This is far bigger than I thought it was!
Both sets of people said the same thing. Neither of them had ever seen all of CCI/LA’s publications together and arranged to show how leadership in Christian camping was being developed in layers, from the stage of being campers to becoming professors of instructors who in turn trained camp counselor who serve campers, an entire learning cycle.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Lisa’s two worlds become one

The Leadership Summit in Pittsburgh was a dream come true for me because my two worlds became one.

I have lived and served in Latin America for thirty years. I started when I was twenty-two years old and so apart from Mirna Sotomayor and my husband, no other Latin American with whom I work really knows the world in which I grew up in. I feel like an “ahistorical figure” in Latin America, like I dropped into Latin America and no one knew my roots, my family, my upbringing, and the role my churches and friends have played in my spiritual journey. Every day I lived and traveled with my Latin friends on the streets of Pittsburgh (really the North Hills), I felt more and more known.

Below you will find a short video (1.24 min.) of the tour I took the team of Latin Americans on.
(here is the link from in case it's not visible from the blog:

Lisa's tour down memory lane (visits to her Pittsburgh homes growing up)

Here is a sampling of their impressions:
  • Don’t despise rambunctious kids. Lisa was quite rambunctious and look how well she turned out. (Gloria, Mexico)
  • Why would she leave such a nice neighborhood? It must have been a call from God. (Rixy, El Salvador)
  • You can clearly see her healthy foundations; she was well invested in by her parents, church, and youth leaders. (Robert, Panama)
  • As a child, she never could have imagined returning to these woods she played in forty years later with people from Latin America in tow. We can’t visualize the future—good thing! (Duglas, Guatemala)
  • Don’t forget your past because it can be inspiring to others. I feel closer to “my professor” for having seen where she grew up. It’s important for me to understand the person whose leadership is so influential. (Alvaro, Bolivia)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The team of Latin American's close encounter with Ligonier's "Vomit Comet" and other adventure activities

During the Pittsburgh Leadership Summit this past summer, one evening, all but two members of the group made our way into the woods of Ligonier Camp and Conference Center to the Giant Swing—affectionately called “Vomit Comet” for reasons you can imagine. After a thorough briefing on the numerous safety measures related to wearing a helmet, harness, and how we’d all protect one another’s emotional safety through a full value contract (encouraging one another both verbally and with body language) we were prepared to be pulled up high into the air, then the “flyer” would pull a parachute like cord, and be released to sang into the air.
During the debrief afterward Karina (Argentina) shared the following: “I wanted to challenge myself to take another step of faith since I have already done the Trust Fall. As I was strapped in, pulled up high (just beyond my comfort zone) let loose and swung high and low, I extended my arms to fully feel my faith step. As I mediated on this, I realize that my faith today was based in part on the foundational safety briefing we had. And I think just like their safety measures gave me a firm foundation to trust the system, likewise my time in Scripture and studying God’s Word gives me reasons to trust, it solidifies His trustworthiness.

I wanted time to slow down since I was living a dream these days the team of Latin Americans was in Pittsburgh this past summer. Each day was pregnant with new concepts forming in the minds of the Latin Americans. I saw connections being made between theories like power distance (link), low and high context cultures (link), and problems at home and church. I saw how the evening activities we participated in at Ligonier Camp connected with things we were learning during the day with Jim. Without a doubt, I am a firm believer in experiential education and found myself delighted daily in the discoveries we were all making. 

I trust you will enjoy this 5 min. video composite of pics and video clips of our team at Ligonier, making connections and learning through our experiences.
Adventures Latin American team had at Ligonier Camp

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Just because Lisa says so?

Interaction between Victor Hugo Martinez from Monterrey, Mexico and Dr. Plueddemann:
Jim Plueddemann questioned Victor Hugo: “You traveled to Cuba to teach them about recreation, but why did you bring non-competitive games there? Just because it says so in the books Lisa wrote?"
I was watching this exchange with delight since I have been a “victim” of Jim’s challenging dialogues for years and have benefitted enormously. 

Victor Hugo reacted passionately, leaning in as he spoke:
“Look, Professor Plueddemann, this is how it happened."
"A Cuban guy traveled to Mexico and there he found one of our camping magazines so he got in touch with the president of CCI LA/Mexico via email. Then our president put together a delegation to do a training in Cuba. My wife and I took our 20-volume Games Encyclopedia and although the Cuban leaders initially rejected the idea of substituting their annual camp soccer tournament with cooperative games, after the training camp they were all convinced. They came to that conclusion once they noticed that there had been less discrimination against the women who were no longer just cheerleaders but participants. They told us the story about how one of their churches had canceled having any camps whatsoever ten years prior because their pastors had gotten into a fistfight during a heated soccer match. After attending the “hand-on” training camp where they experienced a camp program that created an environment of camaraderie, full participation, free of rivalry, discrimination, hostilities, and ridicule, these pastors re-initiated their yearly camping program. They invited us to return each year to do the training and each year they invite more and more churches to send their leaders to attend. We have been doing this for four years. “
Leaning back in his chair, Victor Hugo concluded: “That, Professor Plueddemann, is why I believe in and teach purpose-driven recreation.”
Jim smiled and reminded us all of the need to be conversant in the vision that drives us. 
If you have the opportunity to promote our 20-volume Games Encyclopedia to Spanish-speaking people, please direct them to where they can place their orders or have them get directly in touch with me at

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Operating in one’s giftedness-Alfredo preaching & Lisa teaching

I watched Alfredo move to the pulpit and delighted in his gift of preaching. He speaks with such authority, passion, and clarity. It was a double blessing that he was able to use his gifts in one of my home churches—Memorial Park Evangelical Presbyterian Church.  I loved how others affirmed those gifts in him as well.In this pictures, Alfredo leading the team of Latin Americans to bless the congregation and the pastors of Memorial Park Church
Alfredo and Carlos Baca giving the call to worship. 

Alfredo did a superb job translating both the words and spirit of Dr. Jim Plueddemann's teaching.

Memorial Park Church morning service led by our team of Latin Americans
I was invited to preach for the first time ever in all four services.

I prefer teaching but appreciated the privilege of speaking to over 1000 church members.

This is the link to hear our sermon on July 14, 2013 at Memorial Park Church