In the missionary world we tend to call people that are not living in a village doing direct church planting work, “support missionaries”. A ton of different jobs are jammed into that little title, but today I wanted to give you a glimpse of a few and how they have affected us since our arrival in Burkina, 9 months ago.
Not long after arriving we had one of the leadership couples come to visit. Along with our co-workers we sat down and had multiple meetings discussing strategies, questions we had, things we should discuss as a church planting team, etc… We also included a time of sharing what God’s teaching us and singing (in English! What a treat!). It was a time of not just getting clarifications and guidance from our leadership, but also an encouraging time of refreshment. Because we are new at this, it’s so important for us to have others who have gone on before share their wisdom and keep us accountable.
We’ve actually had a second official visit from another leader in our mission just last month. This time it was to debrief this past term on the field, as we prepare to go on furlough (home assignment) soon. It’s good to be able to share openly both the highs and lows of what’s been happening and get advice and just a listening ear.
We are thankful for our leadership and their guidance.
We also had a security team visit (which conveniently included Cameron’s Dad). What I appreciate about them, is that they are not here to just take us out of ministry the minute something happens (at least they try not to do that unless it really seems necessary). But instead they’re here to give us ideas of how we CAN continue to work in less than ideal conditions by being wise in going about it. Sometimes when working in higher risk areas we can still stay and work and live, we just need to do it a little differently. They gave us a lot of practical ideas we have begun to implement, that can help keep us all safer.
CHILD EDUCATION CONSULTANT
Our friend…who also happens to be our field’s education consultant, is a trained teacher with experience to back her up. For me having her to run to when I’m drowning in curriculum options thinking about homeschooling the kids next year, or having her see my kids work and reassure me that they are indeed learning has saved me headache and time. Sometimes missionary kids face unique education experiences, like our kids who have done US public school, homeschooling, 2 different African private schools and will once again homeschool. I really appreciate having someone who can guide me through helping my kids learn in two languages and cultures.
Our education consultant observing Gracia doing her homework.
Last month a language consultant came and sat in on 2 of our language sessions. She was able to give us some fresh ideas of activities we can do, encourage our language helpers, and give us an idea of what level we’re at in Jula. Included in a language consultant’s job is language evaluations, this becomes especially important when we want to see if we’re at a high enough level to begin teaching and translating. I truly believe that if we had had to learn French, and now Jula without any consultants, it would have taken us longer.
As a bonus, sometimes consultants travel with their kids, much to our kids’ delight!
Now this is just a scratch on the surface, today I only shared about those who have physically come here to visit us, but there’s so many other support workers. I think of the people that make sure our money gets into our account, that keep a guesthouse in Senegal for when we travel there, that plan conferences and trainings, that send us useful medical information, that keep our contact info up to date, that help us with paperwork, and a million other things. We have people doing behind the scenes work both in West Africa and Stateside. Thank you all for what you do! Even if we don’t always notice the behind the scenes tasks, God sure does!