What They Bring with Them
“I had the first person pass away since I have been here and will be doing a funeral when we return from conference.” – Jason
“Monday before we left we made several calls dealing with an issue with one of our families in the church.” – Timothy
For Village Missionaries, there is never a “good time” to get away from ministry.
Each summer, missionaries share the many struggles they experienced in the days leading up to conference. A long-time church member passes away the day before conference. A board member leaves the church. A devastating fire burns the church to the ground. Still others receive a phone call on the way to conference that makes their hearts drop – a church member has been convicted of a felony.
Some missionaries considered pulling a 180-degree turn so they could go deal with the issue, but they made the difficult decision to attend staff conference.
Because conference was specifically designed for these moments in ministry. When Village Missionaries face physical and emotional exhaustion, they arrive to find brothers and sisters who can grieve with them and encourage them. Conference provides refreshment for missionaries.
What They Find
“Having just returned from our V.M. Staff Conference at Green Bay, we are so thrilled to be part of the V.M. family and to have a supporting church standing behind us. It was good to re-connect with fellow missionaries, to hear their stories, to pray with and for each other and to be blessed through the ministry of the speakers.” – Ed
When Tim and Susan Heath began ministry 34 years ago, they were thrilled with the idea of staff conference.
“When we were younger and had a couple of kids, we were thinking, ‘Oh my goodness! We’re going to get away and get refreshed, and it’s free?’ It was just great,” said Susan. Through the years, they developed close friendships and looked forward to encouraging each other every year. Today, as seasoned missionaries, Tim and Susan seek out younger missionaries to encourage in their ministries.
Like Heaths, Michael and Kimberly Krutsch look for ways to encourage those coming to conference burdened in ministry.
“In times past, we have been physically and emotionally exhausted before conference,” said Michael. “This year, we came to Cannon Beach excited about what God is doing in the church. It was our turn to be a listening ear for others and to pray for them.”
Parents aren’t the only ones who need the encouragement of friends at conference. Kids are missionaries, too!
“There is a lot of pressure on a pastor’s family, especially on the kids,” said Village Missionary (former VM kid) Katie Walker. “Most people don’t understand this, unless they’ve experienced it. Being able to spend time with other kids who are in the same types of situations is nice, especially if you’re at a field where there aren’t many youths.”
Staff Conference is just as much for the kids as the adults, and we’ve seen amazing thing happen in the life of VM kids through the week at conference.
For Tim and Susan’s son, Micah, conference was a time to build deep friendships with other young men his age. Before social media, conference was often the only time each year he could see these friends. It was difficult to wait that long to see his guy friends, but it was torture waiting that long to see Andrea, the Village Missionary kid he’d fallen head over heels for in junior high.
Micah and Andrea are now married and serving in full-time ministry in France. And this year, they came back to staff conference to volunteer with the kids program!
When they Leave
“God spoke to us through His Word and we were reminded of great truths that are so vital to the ministry He has called us to.” – Aaron
Many Village Missionaries who leave staff conference are still physically tired, but their spirits are soaring.
The same struggles still await them back home, and they may still be waiting for God’s direction in how to begin dealing with them, but they are at peace.
The acronym R.E.S.T perfectly describes what we hope to achieve for each missionary.
Renewal, Encouragement, Strengthening and Training.
Over the course of 5 days, Village Missionaries share their struggles with fellow Village Missionaries. They pray, cry and laugh. The find time to sleep, simply sit and enjoy God’s creation and enjoy undisturbed time with their family. Missionaries are strengthened through the teaching of guest speakers and receive additional training through panels and books.
When Village Missionaries get home from conference, their circumstances are often the same as when they left, but their passion for reaching the lost and shepherding the flock is stronger than ever.
How You Can Help Provide Refreshment for Missionaries
A week of rest and renewal has immense benefits for Village Missionaries, but its impact goes beyond the mission family. Renewed Village Missionaries are better prepared to deal with the struggles of ministry, which means they will last longer in their churches. They will preach and teach with renewed passion, and they will love people in the same way they have been loved at conference.
When you give to provide REST, entire congregations and communities are impacted for good!
Will you give a one-time gift to help provide this REST for Village Missions families today? Will you provide refreshment for missionaries? Your generosity will renew a Village Missions family and help keep passionate, loving leadership in country churches.Interested? Read more about the Importance of Staff Conference!