Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A look back - 2014

It has been an honor to have been a part of God’s work in the world this year through our service at SIM USA here in Charlotte.

With two missionary couples heading
to Japan.
Stan has been coaching several missionary appointees through the fund-raising process. The first family he coached arrived in Japan in September, fully supported!

Stan has been meeting with pastors to build relationships in an effort to develop partnerships with local churches who have missionaries going out with SIM. He is planning a February conference here for mission’s pastors from around the country. 

Stan praying for the Gospel Music
Team heading to Japan
Stan joined with mostly African-American staff from SIM in logistical support at the National African American Missions Conference in Virginia. While there, he also spent time training a Black Gospel Music ministry team which later went to Japan to share the Gospel.

A portion of the Member Care Team
Faith has been overseeing a sizable increase in the number of staff the SIM USA Member Care Department. In September they moved into a newly remodeled suite of offices created to be the Member Care Center. 

Both of us have participated in the screening of missionary candidates at 3 SIMStart retreats. Faith has taught the basics of Member Care and introduced the concept of Resilience to missionary appointees at 3 SIMGo training programs.

Missionaries who are experiencing challenges that require the support of specialists fall under Faith and her team’s responsibility. Some are restored to field ministry while others need to delay their return or end their overseas service.  Each one has a unique and confidential story with its share of joys and heartaches. 

Meeting the plane carrying two SIM
doctors and David Writebol
In August and September, Faith was a key member of the crisis team caring for the needs of our missionaries who were evacuated from Liberia due to Ebola. We both met two groups of evacuees at the airport and escorted them to the SIM campus where they were able to debrief, receive tender care and be kept out of the press limelight. 

One of our Asian Access
families at our Charlotte home.

Throughout the year we have enjoyed hosting ten Asian Access Japan missionaries and their nine children as they've come to Charlotte for debriefings and meetings. We are blessed to have an ongoing connection with our historical ministry family through the Strategic Partnership between Asian Access and SIM.

This year we have also been blessed to add the titles of Grandma and Grandpa to our names—we were able to see the little man in November when we were in the UK  for Faith to attend an SIM International Personnel Workshop.

As we have embraced these new opportunities—some planned and some not—we have found the Lord to be our strength and our shield. He has directed our paths as we trust in Him. We have experienced joy in our service.

Thank you for walking with us!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Say "thank you" tonight at your Christmas Eve service!

Having been a pastor's wife for many years, I am particularly sensitive to the people and their families who give up a "traditional" Christmas so you can have one.

Below are some schedule examples from churches we have connections. Picture yourselves serving in most or all of the services and the affect it might have on you and your family.

Church 1
3:00 - All Age Christingle Service
4:30 - All Age Christingle Service
6:30 - Carols by Candlelight
11:15 - Midnight Communion
9:00 - Holy Communion
10:30 - All Age Christmas Celebration (with Holy Communion afterwards)

Church 2
Christmas Eve Services:
Family service at 4 p.m.
Candlelight service at 8 and 11 p.m

Church 3
Christmas Eve Candlelight Celebrations:
5:00 pm 6:30 pm 8:00 pm

While for many, it is a service that comes from a grateful heart, for others it is difficult. It becomes a demand that competes with that "ideal" family Christmas. There will be some in their families who resent the services, the season, and you--the folks these services are created to bring into worship and affirmation of faith.

So this Christmas, would you decide to express thankfulness to them, and to their families?

Would you pray for those who are bringing you the Christmas Eve experience, and ask God to affirm their acts of faithfulness?

Would you pray for their families, that they will capture the vision and joy for the work God is doing in the hearts of those who may not darken the door of the church except at this time of year?

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.… Luke 2:10, 11

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I'd love to tell the story...

In November I attended the SIM International Personnel Workshop in the UK. Member Care is organizational separate from Personnel in the US office, but often integrated in other offices. This workshop gave me an opportunity to meet people from both sending and receiving offices of SIM around the world. It has expanded my understanding of how we interface with other parts of our multinational organization.

I was asked to present the session on Resilience at the Personnel Workshop (pictured above) and appreciated being able to facilitate conversations on this subject.

One of the challenges of having a ministry that is focused on caring for missionaries through the storms of life is that I cannot fully tell you the story of what I've been doing...

Now that I'm near the end of my first year as the Director of Member Care for our mission, I've been reviewing the variety of situations that have come my way. To have a colleague say that I have had some of the most difficult cases he's ever seen, makes me realize that there is a reason why I feel a bit run down right now.

I need to be reminded that most of the missionaries we have serving overseas are well-adjusted and serving from a heart committed to love and obedience to Christ.

I also come to the end of this year grateful for God's amazing gift of staff to round out the care that we can provide our missionaries.  I cannot express how thankful I am to have a team where people are working in their strengths and passions, and we value each one's contributions. We have plenty of room to grow as a team, and life promises to never be predictable!

Thanks for praying for me, for us, even when we can't be specific.