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Waiting to Go: Four Workers, One Church, One Vision

Waiting to Go: Four Workers, One Church, One Vision

Alice* had heard how conflict within cross-cultural teams can often cause workers to leave the field. So, when she saw how the church she attended during her college years prepared and sent workers to the field, it made a lot of sense to her. This fellowship’s model, focused on training groups of people to live in intentional communities and then sending these groups as cross-cultural teams, resonated with Alice and piqued her interest.

A trip to visit a long-term worker in the Far East caused Alice to think more concretely about the possibility of going for a longer term. That same year, she and fellow church members Annie and NJ all participated in a short-term trip to the Far East, teaching English to middle school and high school students and gaining an understanding of how they could be involved in ministry in that region.

Alice later approached Annie, NJ and Stephen, also from the church, about going overseas together for a longer term. In July 2019, these four young people took a vision trip to the Far East, during which they visited four cities and multiple long-term workers, including two couples serving with Christar.

Afterward the “Far East Four” settled on a target city and team: They chose to join Jessica and Will, one of the two Christar couples, in their work! The team of four met with their church leadership to get their blessing, then applied to join Christar.

This is not the first time this church has seen a team come together to serve internationally. Over the past two decades, several groups of church members have been launched into ministry together. And, in the 45 years since this church was founded, it has helped about 200 members begin full-time ministry.

The pastor, Fred, spoke of how this multicultural fellowship wants to support cross-cultural workers well. From hosting the Perspectives course to providing opportunities to serve at home and overseas or offering a special retreat for those considering full-time vocational ministry, the leaders of this church invest much in congregants.

Throughout the Far East Four’s journey to the field, the church has built into this team, training and preparing them in numerous ways. Not only did each of the four go on one or more short-term trips before pursuing longer terms of service, but they also attended the Perspectives course at their church together.

“From the very beginning we decided among ourselves that having a close relationship with our church leadership during this process was a high priority for us,” Alice explained. “If our church leadership had said no, we wouldn’t be planning to go.”

Several of the pastoral staff at their church have been involved in preparing them to go overseas, including one who has met with them periodically for about a year to look at their goals. These trainers have been going through books with the Far East Four, working on team building and providing emotional care, which the team has found very helpful and encouraging.

In January 2020, the Far East Four took part in the New Personnel Orientation with Christar, planning to leave for the field in August 2020. However, because of the pandemic, their plans are now up in the air.

Despite this unexpected challenge, NJ said everything in the pre-field process has been an unexpected blessing—including how God led the team to its target location. Annie added that seeing God move in a lot of hearts, from those of their church leadership to their own, has been an amazing experience.

The team still seeks to go to the Far East when conditions permit, and there they hope to begin an agricultural business that opens doors to share the gospel. The four are also praying and discussing with their church leaders about possibly switching from mid-term to going for a longer term.

In the meantime, they are not waiting idly to go overseas. The four of them currently serve as the leadership team for an outreach that hosts biweekly English Corners to help international friends practice their English. “The goal is ultimately to share the gospel with our friends and do one-on-one meetings to go through the Bible together,” Stephen explained. “We hope and pray that they too may know their Creator God, who is rich in mercy.”

As they minister where the Lord has placed them for this season, the four are grateful for the ongoing encouragement and investment of their church leaders. And, they eagerly look forward to what God has planned for them as a team.

“I’ve felt a sense of disappointment of not being able to go,” Stephen concluded. “The uncertainty can be scary, and you fear and wonder a lot. But I know that God’s plan is exciting … and to be present in where I am and take hold of what the day has in store and live to honor Christ with it.”

Participate by Praying:

  • Pray that each member of the Far East Four will have peace and trust the Lord completely as they continue facing uncertainties regarding their timeline of service.
  • Ask God to help the four continue to support each other well, so that they as a team can be a witness to those around them.
  • Pray that the people group among which this team is planning to serve overseas would grow a strong desire for spiritual truth.

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