Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Unity in Diversity

What do you get when you stick Koreans, Australians, Americans, a Canadian, Filipinos, New Zealanders, a Faroe Islander, and Germans all together in one big room?  That would be our NTM regional missionary conference. One of the coolest parts of our job is getting to work with brothers and sisters from literally all over the globe.
We spent three days together, doing everything from singing to business meetings, with teaching and a lot of ministry updates in between. For those of us who work in support roles, it's really encouraging to hear what's happening in the tribes--knowing that we are a small part of a very big team. 
And we all have different gifts! Brooke used her love of baking to bless the ladies who came. She cooked for literally an entire day-- and the result was delicious. Belinda, a good missionary friend in town hosted the party at her house, and she and Brooke worked together to make a very special get-together for the missionary ladies. 
Belinda spiffed up her house all pretty, and was a great host, while Brooke did what she does best---make food that looks and tastes heavenly! It's cool that they were able to work together, each getting to do what they love. 
In case you're wondering why they are pictured in the bathroom...here's a little background: While Brooke was up to her elbows in flour and going crazy trying to cook up a cornucopia of culinary deliciousness, she got a hold of Belinda and wrote: "Really questioning my sanity right now…knee deep in flour and sugar….hahaha"    Belinda's response: "Your reward is in heaven!!! While you're knee-deep in flour, I'm scrubbing baseboards and cleaning toilets! :) (which I MUCH prefer over using an oven!)"
Brooke's response: "Ughhh…see this is why we’re a good team…  thank God I’m in the kitchen and not scrubbing toilets!  Haha"
So, that's why they took a picture together with the food and together in the bathroom...God uses very different people with very different gifts and different likes and dislikes to accomplish great things together!  
And, all the ladies had a fun time. Many of them live in the tribe where get-togethers like this are a rare occurrence. Check out Belinda's cool blog post here.
And, we were blessed with...child care! While we sat in meetings, a group of volunteers ran the kids program. There were lots of kids, and LOTS of willing helpers. 
Brian got the chance to do something he loves--sharing from the Word. He spoke on 1 Peter 2--and had a great time. Hopefully the folks listening did too. :) He also got to lead music and give an update on the language and culture program.
Our kids LOVED the children's program. They got to hear great Bible stories, learn about caterpillars, butterflies and metamorphosis, do fun crafts, sing, play games, skits for the parents, and as Skye said, "I had SO FUN!" 
Then, for lunchtime, the helpers piled the kids into the mission vehicles and brought the happy crew to the meeting place. In case you are wondering, kids carseats are pretty much non-existent where we live.  
Here are some of the young ladies who helped with the kids program. There were several other helpers too-- and they were ALL greatly appreciated.
And, here's one of the coolest parts of our conference. This is a tribal couple. They are believers, and are partners with some of our missionaries, but the missionaries can no longer live in the tribal area So, every month, this tribal couple travels 12-14 hours both ways to visit the missionaries. They work long hours together, checking Bible lessons and fellowshipping, and then they take the new lessons back to the tribe to teach the tribal people in their village.
This is the song they sang for us-- I can't remember it all, it's in a tribal language we don't know, but it's called "No Reason" and basically the premise is, "There's no reason I shouldn't praise You!"

And for us, looking around at all of our team members, we definitely can agree with that. We have people from all over the world, all of us very different-- different first languages, different skills and different gifts, but God is using our very diverse team to bring the Gospel to those who otherwise wouldn't have the chance to hear. We have a lot of reason to praise, and many reasons to thank God. 

And one of the coolest is this: that tribal couple who are themselves a part of the missionary team--bringing the Gospel to their own people. 

We serve an Awesome God, and we get to do it with some really special people!

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