We just recently finished up our 2014 World Missions Conference at GRIBT. It has always been one of, if not the favorite event of the year for me. It has always been special to me. It’s one of those events that I can remember about all the way back to when I was a kid. I was always so excited for missions conference week! I loved the atmosphere of Missions Conference services, the guest preacher, and even the international dinners. There’s just something special about it all. You can feel it. And this year was no different! Although, we don’t have an international dinner!
I loved seeing all the missionaries coming in and getting to meet them, seeing their videos, learning about their stories. Even as a youngster, I wanted to meet these special guest missionaries, get to know them, be around them. I knew there was something special about these families. You can see their commitment, their love, their passion. And I looked up to the Missionaries.
I still look up to Missionaries. They are great men and women of God who follow God’s call to a foreign country or domestic state that other than maybe a survey trip, have never been to before. They learn that culture, fall in love with the people, and want nothing more than to be in that place, teaching and preaching Christ.
As a husband and father, I look up to them with a different kind of respect. Here are a few ways:
- For hearing and heeding God’s call to go. Often, they are already serving the Lord in a local church. They have their ministry, their home, their family, their life. And even in the busyness and groove of their ministry life, they still hear that still small voice and say, “Hear am I Lord, send me.” And they go. They put their comfortable American ministry position behind them and go.
- For living in a minivan (or the cool missionaries in an SUV!). They pack up their vehicle and travel from church to church, living out of their vehicle seeking support until enough is raised to get them to their field.
- For their children. It hit me this year like never before. As I watched one of our missionary’s kids in our nightly kids program, Passport Kids World, I saw him trying to fit in, make friends, and get to know the other children in our class from our church. Then I realized, he’ll leave here in a few days, go to another church, and do it all over again. Try to fit in, make new friends, get to know them, then move on.
- For how they present their ministry and field. They present it like it’s the first time they ever have. Even though they’ve done it a thousand times, they talk about their field and vision as if it’s the first. From the heart, with passion, conviction, and often tears.
Missionaries, are awesome. And as always, I got to meet some awesome couples and families at our Missions Conference this year! Here is the list of who we had with us. I was able to get to know each of them a bit last month, and was very impressed with each.
Julie Alexander: Liberia, West Africa | www.operationliberia.com
Tom and Rosa Balzamo: Norwich, CT | www.thebalzamoreport.com
Joe and Donna Childers: Grenada, West Indies | childers2grenada.com
Ahmet and Rachel Hernandez: Thailand | www.gospeltothailand.com
Jared and Joy Kleman: United Kingdom | theklemanfamily.com
Josue and Rebekah Ortiz: Mexico | www.seedplantersmexico.com