On Friday and Saturday Evan and I attended MissionConnexion. It is a huge mission’s conference, held every year in the Pacific Northwest. There are booths from many different organizations as well as Christian Universities. Some of the booths Evan and I were particularly impressed by were:
There were also 125 workshops to choose from as well as large plenary sessions. We enjoyed, and in some cases, were quite inspired by the workshops and sessions we participated in.
We took workshops separately and together. We would be happy to share what we learned if you’re interested. But, for this post I wanted to focus on what touched and inspired me.
Firstly, in the session with Dr. Miriam Adeney, speaking on Global Christianity, we heard three amazing stories about the power of God to work in His timing through those who are called to go. These stories are so wonderful I don’t want to diminish them by trying to shorten them to fit in this post. So I have made a separate post for them, link here.
Another class that I found particularly helpful was the class on Missionary stress and care. Though much of the content was discussed at Wycliffe training, I was still able to glean some new ideas on how to deal with stress and how to ask for help. Missionaries are not invincible. It is important for us to remember to communicate that fact to our friends and family. We want to be able to be real and vulnerable so we don’t burn out/breakdown completely.
I learned that 94% of missionaries experience trauma on the field; 86% experience multiple traumatic events. This can take the form of experienced trauma and vicarious trauma. If missionaries are not allowed to deal with these stresses and trauma, much like a soldier coming back from war, everything from our health to our psychological well-being is at risk and often times will not manifest itself until they are in a safe place, like furlough in our home country. As part of our preparation I have compiled a list of ways in which you, our friends and family, can help in missionary care. Link here.
I or Evan would also be happy to converse more on this subject anytime.
The most intense class Evan and I took was entitled: Trespassing…Continue at your own risk. It was led by a good friend of ours and her friend. The purpose was to better understand the significance of the land, and how to be covered when entering into unknown spiritual territories. Papua New Guinea is a territory that has an unbroken line of spiritual darkness. Much of the practice has changed in the last 20 to 50 years (like cannibalism and headhunting), but the spiritual foundation for them is largely unchanged. We were grateful for this class in helping us to recognize signs as well as ways to protect our family. We were given anointing oil by our friend and we fully intend to connect with her prayer group Rea’ International so we can be covered even more with all your prayers. We feel that we cannot take one step without prayer and we are so grateful for you all.
The final few things I want to share about the classes we took are from the workshop I took called: Carving God’s Message into People’s Hearts. It was a class that was showing how art could be used as ministry. I have felt for some time now that, while my primary call is to be the wife of Evan and the mother of my boys, I have been searching for another way for me to minister. I was excited as I felt inspiration rise in me as Paul, the speaker, shared his heart, encouraging us all to find that thing that “puts light in our eyes” and do it as well as we can. I still don’t know exactly how my gifts will end up being used by God, but I am even more excited to get to PNG and find out.
In closing this post I want to share the lyrics of a song we heard during the worship time. It was written by Kate White and called We Will.
If we open up our hearts
If we open up our ears
We will hear the voice of God calling our names
If we open up our hands enough
To grab hold of the cross
We will feel the touch of God ignite the flame
We will rise, with a burning heart to serve the living God
We will run, with a passion for the lost and lonely ones
We will go, to the trenches of a world that's filled
with need-We will live out the calling of our God
Let us count the cost of Christ
Let us give our very lives
Let the people be awakened to His cry
God has given us a vision
So much greater than ourselves
It is pounding in our chest, we can't deny
Holy God reveal yourself
Holy Spirit fall
We await your purposes
Responding to your call