This morning I was thinking of all the many churches and churchy opportunities that I’ve had, growing up in a very devout Christian home. I played in a Christian band called The MentoneTones, that took me to lots of churches, so did my sister’s singing group called “Sounds”, in the early 1990’s. Then again, being a missionary means I visit new churches almost as my job.
I was touched more than once yesterday at the 7:00 am kick-off of Missions Week at the church where I am a member and official missionary: Trinity Church in Redlands. I see that people invested months into the welcome of us missionaries, coming home from the country where we serve sometimes battered and discouraged, or just tired. Our Mission’s Pastor at church, and his Administrative Assistant, both helped bring together a breakfast orientation with welcome baskets, then after that meetings with our Missionary Care Team to help us know how they can help missionaries continue successfully in the place where they are serving. The Care Team really went to efforts to have members who have been missionaries or counselors, to make sure the team was made up of people who can understand what a cross-cultural missionary is going through in their country. This team is even giving us missionaries a retreat the to the desert, where we can talk and debrief and be encouraged to face our mission with new vigor and renewed sense of purpose. In my case, I’ve had the stress of losing my sister to cancer. My sister was my co-worker, my only sibling, and the one person in the world with both the same calling and same up-bringing as me. To lose her is understandably devastating, and the Care Team understands that. I am so glad that my church gets it. That missionaries go to the ends of the earth on a mission from God, and we face opposition. That is tiring and wears your zeal down when you allow one thing or another to fester. I’ve had the difficulty of fund-raising, of putting together my wedding, and of my sister fighting cancer this year, all while serving an evangelical church in a small town in Spain. Some days it seems it would be easier to take the hardest job in America than to manage all of these life issues from overseas. But what I see from Missions Week at my church, is that the church does care about my hardships, and they have organized themselves extremely well to be my saftey net. I’m so thankful that setting out in the adventure of getting married and moving my bride to Spain, I have the Missionary Care Team standing with me and offering good counsel. Praise God for giving me a good church.
Friday March 4 is my 30th birhtday. I will be one of the missioanries presenting at the All-Church International Dessert at 6:00 pm in the main santuary.
I will be at my Missionary Display this Sunday, March 6 from 8:00 am- 1:00 pm in the Kiosk of Trinity Evangelical Free Church, Redlands, CA. I will be singing in Spanish and speaking at the 11:15 am Spanish Speaking Service as well. Then all the missionaries will have an interview time in the main sanctuary on Sunday night from 6-8pm.