I can't wait to share with you two of our dreams for 2019 and how you can be involved. But first, here are the details to our St. Herman Webinar.
Each year we host a webinar out of gratitude for the many ways that you support the wellbeing of missionaries through your support of us. This year, I'll be sharing the 3 Supportive Relationships that were key findings from my multi-year research into missionary resiliency as well as the “1+5 P’s” framework I use to be a supportive presence in the lives of missionaries. I believe this will be edifying, applicable, and add value to your life today.
Now, without further ado, our 2019 dreams...
Drum roll please...
If God wills, we'll spend the spring 'ministry sitting' in Corfu, Greece! Amazing, right!?! I can hardly believe it myself!
We met Matt and Cindy Wright a year ago, when a handful of generous supporters made it possible for us to speak at a missionary conference in Montenegro. The Wrights run a pastoral care/retreat center for missionaries out of their home and have asked if we could “ministry sit” for them while they return to the states for the birth of their 1st grandchild.
The few days that we've spent in the field and face to face with our missionaries have been some of the most rich and rewarding of our entire work in missionary care. So, the opportunity to be able to offer our missionaries a 4-day retreat is a real answer to prayer. We'll be able to customize each retreat to address needs around resiliency in ministry, strengthening marriage and family bonds, and getting much needed R&R. We'll offer these first to the missionaries in our organization, and then to other missionaries in the area. We'd also love to spend some of this time developing the first deliverables based on the research on missionary resiliency.
After 12 nonstop years of ministry and education, we are also looking forward to a change of pace and finding a rhythm of life that can sustain us during these delightful elementary school years of family life. Because this is so unexpected, we also realize that we will be spending much of each day saying "Yes" to whatever and whoever God brings our way--we simply don't know how God will use this time for our good and the good of those we will meet.
On a personal level, Kriss and I were 'called' into missions as children, and we can't wait to see how this time expands Packy’s view of the world and his role in it (he turns 7 on Christmas Eve). I'm having bariatric surgery in January, and this will provide a critical time of adjusting to my new relationship with food. Ultimately, this is a time to listen--we're moving into a new season of life and we are grateful to be granted an opportunity to really listen to our own hearts, to each other, and to God's still, quiet voice.
But wait—there's more...
Our other big dream for 2019 isn't officially approved, but I want you to know what we are hoping for. If God wills it, our role at OCMC could be expanding in the future. OCMC is continually seeking to improve the quality and quantity of training and Continuing Ed that it offers to its missionaries. Through her PhD in Intercultural Studies, Kriss has gained some real expertise and teaching experience in Missiology. She would love to put this to use on behalf of our missionaries. She has put together an amazing outline for a syllabus that uses 4 questions to cover the core topics every missionary needs to understand.
What is God's Mission in the World? (Biblical, Liturgical, & Patristic Mission Theology)
What is happening in the World? (Postmodernism, Globalization, Urbanization, Migration, and other trends shaping our world + Anthropology)
How is the Church joining in God's Mission? (Wholistic Mission, Evangelism, Transformational Development, Contextualization, Church Planting Movements, etc.)
How can I join in God's Mission? (Calling, Practical skills for ministry like how to study a context (Ethnography) and develop a ministry plan, etc.)
Since you've probably never been blessed to hear Kriss teach, check out this 10-minute presentation she gave on an Orthodox Liturgical Theology of Mission earlier this fall (to hear just her presentation, skip ahead to 41:42).
I'm excited about how Kriss is going to develop this master's level course as an online-cohort model that missionary applicants can complete during the six months between the Evaluation Retreat and New Candidate Orientation. We're also excited about developing a one-day workshop version that can be offered in parishes.
Would you join us in praying for these 2019 ministry dreams?
Pray that the details for our move to Corfu would fall into place, and that we'd be sensitive to however God desires to use this time both in and through us. Pray especially for Packy and his needs during this time.
Pray for our evolving role with OCMC. Pray for all the details to fall into place in God's timing so that this can be fruitful for OCMC, for our missionaries, and for us.
Pray especially for our health. Kriss' Crohn's disease has been flaring up much of this year, and I'm preparing for major surgery (bariatric) in January.
Before we can move to Corfu, and before Kriss can develop this course, we'll need to first raise about $2,000 in regular monthly support.
I have a letter coming your way next week (if you've never gotten a letter from me, just reply back with your best address and I'll be sure to drop one in the mail to you). I'll share the story of Jack and Jill, a couple I've been walking with for several years thanks to your support. I'll share in more detail what's really involved in becoming a missionary--you are going to be amazed at the dedication it takes just to get to the field! I'm going to share exactly how I support missionaries through this process. And I'm going to share exactly how you can invest in bringing these dreams for 2019 into reality.
But first, let me know if you can make the webinar tomorrow.