Missionary gathering helps renew, strengthen ministries across globe
Nearly 400 missionaries gathered before the 30th General Assembly and Conventions in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, at nearby Butler University for revitalization and encouragement. The 5-8 June gathering was the largest gathering of Nazarene missionaries in the last 40 years.
Global Missions Director Verne Ward hoped that by gathering the missionaries in this way, God would work in their midst to help renew and strengthen them in their ministry.
Jenny Isaac, a missionary who serves in Vanuatu with her husband, Peter, experienced exactly that.
“Listening and learning how God moves powerfully through the lives of my partner missionaries serving in other parts of the world as they share their testimonies of persecutions, challenges, they face in the mission field inspired me to push forward in the spiritual battle,” Jenny said.
Jenny pointed out that the presence of so many missionaries from around the world created a diverse atmosphere. Worship was led and sung in unison in each person’s language.
She said it reminded her of Revelation 5:9-10: “And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.’”
“I was encouraged that a time will come when we will all come together as one to worship God in Heaven, just like we did in Indiana,” Jenny said.
Following the worship services, evening messages from former missionary Samantha Chambo and Ward challenged attendees while reminding them of the greater purpose of the church.
During the gathering, smaller, TED talk-style plenary sessions in the morning focused on hospitality and evangelism. Some missionaries also shared testimonies of how God had been faithful to them during difficult times.
“It also enabled me to gain clear insight or picture on how to pray for my coworkers,” Jenny said.
During the afternoons, the missionaries were free to gather outside and catch up or have heartfelt ministry conversations.
Thaís Sitoe, a Nazarene missionary in Angola, shared her experience at the gathering through a personal testimony published on the Africa Region website. She called it a time to “nourish those who nourish.”
“Christian leaders, in our case missionaries, are the ones who set the table to present Christ to the world, knowing Him and making Him known,” Sitoe said. “However, due to work fatigue, the demands and pressures of the missions field, and even a certain neglect of our well-being, we commonly serve meals to others while neglecting our own nourishment.”
Because of the generosity of several donors, missionaries did not need to pay to attend, making it possible for any missionary to participate if they attended General Assembly.
Sitoe and her entire family attended, allowing opportunities for her children to socialize with other children growing up in similar lifestyles. Over 70 missionary kids were in attendance during the weekend.
Sitoe says she was comforted through prayer and uplifted through teachings and conversations shared around the table.
“We shared dedicated prayer time and reaffirmed our commitment to continue walking together with the Lord and with one another,” Sitoe said. “We remain united with brothers and sisters from many countries, working collaboratively for the advancement of the kingdom of God until He returns.”
Due to the success of the event, Global Missions hopes to make the gathering a regular event in the future.