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Pre-Departure Orientation: Equipping and Encouraging Before the Field

Pre-Departure Orientation: Equipping and Encouraging Before the Field

After all the training, support-raising and waiting, it’s finally time to go. Christar’s Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO) is designed to equip and send off these workers who have completed the hard work of building support teams and completing training and other pre-field requirements.

Below, Christar worker Joy* shares how she and her husband, Sam, were encouraged and equipped by their long-awaited Pre-Departure Orientation as they neared the end of a particularly long journey to the field.

We both grew up in Ohio. But the way in which the Lord drew both Sam and me into a relationship with Himself was very different. I came to faith at a young age, and not long after, had the desire to serve the Lord as a missionary someday. Sam, on the other hand, grew up in a broken family, and though familiar with church, did not truly choose to follow the Lord till his early 20s, when the Lord grabbed ahold of his heart and opened his eyes to his need for a Savior. A few years later, through a worldwide Perspectives [on the World Christian Movement] course, Sam also developed a desire to serve the Lord among the least-reached.

Uniting our hearts together in our pursuit of the Lord, Sam and I were married, and our journey to serving overseas together began. From the start of our marriage we partnered with Christar, being most excited about the emphasis on prayer and high regard for Scripture the organization had. Each time we talked with members of Christar, we always sensed the deep love for the Lord the people connected with Christar had, further solidifying our desire to be part of the work the Lord was accomplishing in the world through Christar.

Our road to the field was a lot longer than we anticipated. Over our 13 years as appointees, each time we got together with the people of Christar, we were encouraged and [our] passion for serving the Lord overseas was fanned into flame again and again. When the Lord finally gave us the green light to actively pursue the field and our time to attend Pre-Departure Orientation PDO arrived, we were excited, encouraged and overjoyed that we were finally getting to attend. [Our invitation to PDO signaled that], not long after, we would fly with our three sons to West Africa!

A few months before we were scheduled to attend PDO, however, our journey took another twist. I was found to have a large, benign tumor behind my right eye on my pituitary gland, and it needed to be removed. As we communicated this news to Christar, still holding on to the belief that God had opened the door to move to Africa, we were encouraged to continue to move forward with our plans to come, work on scheduling the medical appointments needed and pray.

Sam and I arrived at PDO in June, in between doctors’ appointments and surgery scheduled for the end of July. Not knowing how the Lord would choose to work in the coming months, we were met with love, support and encouragement when we arrived [at the Christar Mobilization Center] in Richardson. Over the two weeks Sam and I were at training, we were surrounded by sincere prayer and encouraging words.

We were able to talk with workers and hear more stories of obstacles the Lord had helped others overcome as they followed Him. God was teaching us that we needed to depend on Him before we arrived in Africa! God’s ability to heal me was never questioned, but we understood that if the Lord would have me undergo surgery, His love for me and our family was no less.

With this life lesson, along with teaching sessions about life on the field, what to expect once we arrived, how to help our children and valuable ways to impact a new culture for Christ, Sam and I left PDO with renewed vigor and strength for what was ahead. After leaving PDO, the care and concern from the people at Christar continued, as we got many reminders and messages that we were being prayed for, and that God was in control.

While our family did have to postpone our original [departure date] so I could have surgery and then a short recovery time, we have continued to see the Lord’s faithfulness and provision. We left for Africa two months later … arriving with more confidence than ever that this was where God wanted us, knowing this was all by His design. As Sam and I reflect on our time at PDO, and all the bumps and bruises we got on the way, we would not have changed a thing, even if it was not how we would have planned.

The Lord taught us in a tangible way that He works through our weaknesses, and that as the Body of Christ, we help, support and love others in all seasons of life. The sincere care and concern our family received from Christar, and the lessons Sam and I learned at PDO, continue to stick with us now as we serve the Lord in West Africa. We are reminded that even in the toughest situations the Lord is with us and provides for us to serve Him where He has called us.

“The sincere care and concern our family received from Christar, and the lessons Sam and I learned at PDO, continue to stick with us now as we serve the Lord in West Africa.”

Participate by Praying:

  • Ask God to continue to use Pre-Departure Orientation to encourage workers before they leave for the field and equip them to live and serve in places where few know Christ.
  • Pray for wisdom for Christar staff as they come alongside these workers on their journeys to the field.

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