So this week we said good bye to one of our coworkers who headed back on furlough. It got me thinking about preparing for sharing and presenting on our furloughs. I thought in the meantime, as we were thinking through some of the questions that we will probably be asked, that I might as well use those questions for blog posts. Then at least some people will already know the answers to the general questions and at the same time I will be prepared to answer those who don’t know the answer. Can we say, “two birds with one stone”? 🙂 So over the next two months I will throw in some of these questions and if there is a question you think of, forward it to me and I will add it to the list.
What Do You Do? What Is Your Ministry?
The first 2 years that we were here our ministry was culture and language learning. However, we have now gotten to a high enough level that we are beginning our full time ministry. We are still in the process of getting an idea of what that looks like, but over the past few months it has started to take shape. We know that we will always wear many different hats, but here are some of the main pieces of our ministry…
E2 Coordination – “E2″ is what we call the time of culture and language learning. Joel is the coordinator of this time. We work with a team and are responsible to handle communication with missionaries who are heading to our field and setting up their living situation before their arrival. We help identify the church they will work with and connect them with a host family. Most importantly we disciple them through the process of culture and language learning. Pushing them and encouraging them along through this rough and difficult path.
Church Liaison – Since we are responsible to place families in churches, we have to keep up a good connection with the local church and pastors in our area. Joel especially enjoys this as it opens up opportunities to work with the local pastors and to continue to strengthen our relationships with churches and share our desire to see God’s truth brought to the villages in West Africa who have never heard.
African Missionary Training – Our long term goal is to work alongside more African believers as missionaries to the people groups who still need to hear. So Joel is part of a team who is in the process of developing curriculum for this program. He helped with the teaching of one training session, but there is a lot of work left before they are ready to offer a next round of training.
Language Consulting – I, at this moment, am getting training to coach people through learning French. All our missionaries have one on one language session after the first 6 months of French, so I meet with them to encourage them along in their learning process and help them overcome any obstacles they may be facing. I believe that the better equipped they are in their learning of French, the more prepared they will be for learning a village language in a remote context.
Service Leadership Team – Joel also serves on our service leadership team, who offers oversight to the service needs of our missionaries who live in remote locations. This means traveling around at times to their locations to get a first hand perspective of their situations and helping with the needs that they have whenever possible.
Our Local Church – We have become part of a local church and we constantly seek to stay involved in the ministry and life of our church. This has been a hard process for us over the past 2 years, but now is a great blessing to us. Our next big step in involvement in our church is learning Wolof.
These are the main parts of our ministry, but as any missionary would tell you there are hundreds of other hats we wear at different times. We always try to stay sensitive to God’s leading as we know there are times he asks to fill specific needs for a time being. We are always seeking wisdom in this area as there is no shortage of needs. However, it has been exciting over the past few months to see some of the pieces of our ministry coming together. We can honestly say without a doubt that we are right where God would have us be for the moment and it is an awesome place to be.