I have a few highlights from this first quarter to share with you about our work in missionary care. In January, I was in England for a class on Urban Church Planting and tacked on a trip to visit our Missionaries in Albania. It was great to visit with them and to experience their life. While I could talk about that trip and each of them for pages, I want to share one story about Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald that encapsulates what mission work is all about.
Dr. Jeffrey is a church historian who teaches at the seminary. He took me to a 2nd Century Roman amphitheater where early Christian Saints were martyred to lions, and shared with me about Albania’s rich Christian history from the very first century!
Later we visited his classroom at the seminary. From the window I saw the rebuilt St. Vlash Church. In 1967, it was the first church to be destroyed as busloads of university students descended upon it. In the 20+ years of communism that followed 1,600 churches were destroyed or desecrated! (Albania is smaller than my state of Kentucky).
Dr. Jeffrey’s missionary work is reminding these young Albanian Seminaries of their robust Christian inheritance that stretches two millennia beyond the tragedies of their recent history. Doesn’t that seem like pretty vital work for God’s Kingdom? I’m so grateful to be a part of the support that makes such work possible.
This first quarter, I was also blessed to introduce OCMC’s missionary care program to five missionary applicants during OCMC’s Spring Evaluation Retreat. At this point, I begin meeting with each of them regularly as I walk alongside them through the candidacy process.
You can put yourself in their shoes—seriously contemplating entrusting their life to the care of God and in service to his Church and World in such a radical way. They wrestle with everything you and I would wrestle with: their kid’s future, the friends and family they will leave behind, if they can do it… At the same time, they overflow with pure love for God, His church and world. It’s a beautiful moment in their life, and it’s an honor to bear witness to it and to be a part of their journey.
We are very blessed by the many ways that our supporters make this work possible. This quarter, our prayer team nearly doubled; we gratefully received significant donations from a Sunday School Class and a few new supporters; and several of our regular supporters increased their support! I’m hopeful that as our support base increases we’ll be able to increase the support we’re offering to our missionaries.