3 Things We Want Our Supporters To KnowPosted on August 15, 2016
My wife Meghan and I have been missionary youth workers in Germany this past year. Our daily cross-cultural reality serving with Young Life Military/Club Beyond includes living among Germans and serving local American military teens and families stationed overseas.
We wouldn't be here without the generosity of our supporters, to be sure. Leaving the SF Bay Area suburbs for a season, we've seen God show up in our lives. Along the way, I've realized and learned some things that we'd want our supporters to know.
1. Missionaries are like gardeners
During our 10 months in Germany, I've noticed that spiritual growth often happens slower than I'd like. Not every kid we've gotten to know has been a spiritual success story. What I didn't realize is that making that call is often out of my hands.
Gardeners are familiar with seasons. There's a season for sowing seed, for planting, for waiting, for pruning and for harvest. Initially, I got excited thinking about the harvest, that one-time decision where someone gives their life to the Lord. And yet in the life of faith, I've noticed that God often works in more mysterious ways.
There have been times I've sown seeds - sharing a Club Talk group message with stories of Jesus. There have been seasons of waiting as well - for a background check to clear for instance. What we get to do as missionaries, like a gardener, is more the work of the unseen - mopping up kitchen floors, the preparing of meals, giving kids rides, or studying the Bible behind closed doors. As with any crop, the work that is done under the soil makes the fruit more amazing at harvest time. God calls us to be faithful in the planting and the watering, watching to see the results He brings about.
2. Connection with supporters makes a huge difference
I often think of our support team as a group of partners. On the field here, we have noticed that this partnership is vital. Receiving packages or letters, a text or Skype call goes a long way to encourage us. Likewise, sending out newsletters and updates of God's work here strengthens that partnership from Germany as well.
Living overseas has meant that at times we miss out on events back home. It's a sacrifice that comes with the call. On the other hand, we've felt the prayers and encouragement from friends and family that make a world of difference in multiplying the work God is doing here. Check-ins go a long way too.
3. Being a missionary goes beyond geography
A missionary is one who is sent. At Cornerstone Fellowship, I heard one of the pastors encourage his youth group teenagers saying, "You are the pastors, you are the missionaries." His hope was to help them see themselves as cultural change-agents and not merely church attenders.
Meghan and I have been in the reality of a missionary lifestyle - support raising, newsletter writing, and building local relationships in Germany. On good days and bad days, we still come back to the basics of needing the Word and prayer. Jesus promised us abundant life (John 10), but also reminded us that He is the bread of life and that communication with him is necessary to strengthen our spirit.
I've learned Jesus calls me to reach out to others with His love, and He wants me to encourage others to do the same. Geography is the place God has put us in. Wherever that place is - Bay Area or Germany - He has given us what we need to be salt and light, the flavor and illumination the world is looking for as we stay close to Him.
Special thanks to our guest writer-Eric Ford!
You can find out more about the ministry of Club Beyond here. If you're reading this, and want to support the Ford's in prayer or financially, they would love to connect via email at email@example.com.