On June 6, 2017, I proclaimed the Lord’s goals for Go To Nations, to be completed by the year 2030, in the presence of nearly 200 missionaries gathered to receive our marching orders as “THE FINISHERS”. Our next set of goals are:
Missionary children play a vital role on the mission field. God has a plan and purpose for each of them. There are lost and hopeless people in the nations in which missionary kids (MKs) serve who are waiting to experience the love of God through them.
God instructed Joshua to gather twelve memorial stones from the middle of the Jordan. Why were the stones so vital and what does that have to do with GTN?
Stones of Remembrance from 2016 in the Thailand apprenticeship lead by Natalie Mattes. Read about the beautiful way God has worked in each life!
Stones of Remembrance from the Asian region in 2016. Read testimonies of God's great faithfulness!
Stones of Remembrance from GloDev in 2016. Read the incredible testimony of God's faithfulness and miraculous provision!
Stones of Remembrance from the Africa region in 2016. Read testimonies of God's amazing faithfulness!
Stones of Remembrance from Latin America. Read testimonies of God's faithfulness!
Stones of Remembrance from 2016 from the Eurasian region. Testimonies of God's great faithfulness!
We finally arrived after a grueling summer of ministry and numerous modes of transportation to our long awaited field assignment in a far flung corner of the world. The initial team reception was heart warming and encouraging until the stark realities of glaring problems and personal issues threatened to tear our team and young church plant apart.
This month’s Member Care theme is Mutual Care. The necessity of having a Battle Buddy is no less critical on the missions battlefield than on a natural one. Partnership Development is an ideal setting to advance this model of mutual accountability.
So many of us go to the field because we feel called to a people group or a nation. We can easily show love to the hurting and the desperate. It’s not difficult to show love to children on the street or to people we are discipling in our churches or to the ones we felt God called us to in the first place. However, the challenge comes when we are asked to love those with whom God has called us to serve alongside.
As ministers, we often forget that while we are Spirit fueled, we are also Soul fired, and Body fed. As 3 part beings, when one part finishes running, the other two parts are done as well. So how do we keep all three parts in tune and running to the finish? Here are a few “trade secrets” to staying healthy in spirit, soul and body as missionaries:
What you may go through to finally sit down with a person for a support appointment can feel like a sea battle of volleying shots sometimes—making calls, leaving messages, missing returned calls, texting, rescheduling, etc. You can expend so much time and emotion on just getting the appointment that you are totally worn out by the time you actually meet! And if you are anything like me, you begin to rationalize, “there has to be a better way!”
When God called our family to join Go To Nations and go onto the mission field in Latin America, we were immediately put on the “fast track” of God’s timing. It was just nine months between accepting God’s call and leaving the United States.
In over twenty years of experience in MK-ministry, I’ve observed several parenting traits and practices that seem to have set MKs up for a healthier outcome. I’ve listed just ten of them below—whittled down from dozens more. Though the selection is incomplete, it’s a good place to start.
“Home” is a difficult word for most missionaries kids (MKs) to define. They have a passport culture which they can legally claim as their “home”. They also have the culture in which they have been raised. They have been shaped by and understand at a deep level the values, mores, and customs of their adopted country. However, they may not have that same depth of understanding of their passport culture. Sometimes parents are surprised at the things that their children don’t know about their “home” culture. So how can parents prepare their children to go “Home”?
Since we love what we pray for…. (Matt 5:44) Pray for Partnership Development and you will learn to love it. I remember a favorite author of mine saying that there were three ways to let your wife know that you love her.
Most young women remember when, as little girls, they used to run around dressed as princesseswaiting for their Prince Charming to come find them. This was followed by the dream that they would marry, play house and live happily ever after.
February? Really? I looked at the calendar in shock. Its already February the 1st?? It seems we are all so busy that time gets away from us. With February comes Valentine’s Day. It is the day we are all scrambling around to get the perfect gift. As we prepare to buy chocolates, flowers, sappy cards, and the like, I wanted to take a moment to remind us of the importance of what we are celebrating: love, and not just love, but the love God has given us in our spouses. I am going to be real with everyone. Unless you know me well you won’t know this, but I am a hopeless romantic. I love… love. I love the sappy cards. I love the romantic movies. I love the whole idea of romance. In the spirit of love and romance, let us spend a few minutes just looking at keeping the romance alive in our marriages, especially on the mission field.
First, let us make sure we know what our spouses need. What are they looking for from you? I am sure many of us have read the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. This is a great tool for us to gauge what our spouse needs from us. Do they need a hug? Do they need a gift? Do they need those ever so important affirming words, “I’m so proud of you”? Do they need one-on-one time with no else (including the smartphone) around? What about doing that little service project that means the world to them? One of the most loving, romantic things we can do is meet that little thing they look for from us. It definitely communicates love when you speak their “love language”. Ask yourself what you can do to speak their language of love.
Second, we should ask ourselves, “What did we do to catch their eye?” I know that for most of us it has been some time. In my case it has been over 25 years. How long has it been for you? I’m not talking about being something you aren’t any longer, but what is the abiding quality? My wife Sheila loved the way I entertained our group of friends, whether it was through joking, over the top laughter or storytelling. Find that thing and spend a bit of time being that for just a moment in time. We see times in the Old Testament that they built an altar of remembrance so they would not forget important “God happenings”. This is exactly what we should do in our love walk with our spouses. Don’t just build the altar, but visit it every so often to remember to celebrate the “God happening” of your spouse joining your life walk.
Finally, we should never wait for a special day for us to keep romance in the forefront of our relationship with our spouse. Don’t wait for a day in February to tell your wife you love her or to make your husband’s favorite meal. Don’t wait for your anniversary. Remember your love walk is every day. Surprise your mate on an ongoing basis with a celebration of love. Give gifts, hugs, compliments, service, and undivided time often. Do these things without reason or warning. Keeping the romance alive in your love walk will have lasting benefits in your marriage, ministry, and in your children.
Now, go find a way to love each other!
Rev. Chris Conley (with beautiful wife Sheila)
Director, Short-Term Missions
Click HERE for the Five Love Languages test online. What is your love language? Your spouses? Your children's? It's easy to find out and free.