What in the World Is a Village Nomad?
By David Hernandez, District Representative, Great Lakes
A Village Nomad is a name I like to use to describe the ministry of Village Missions District Representatives as they travel about rural areas visiting small town and country churches to encourage and help rural pastors serving with Village Missions.
Here is a definition of nomad found on Dictionary.com:
A Village Nomad is:
1. “A member of a people or tribe.”
First, District Representatives are all members of the body of the Lord Jesus Christ, His Church.
Second, we are also members of Village Missions missionary team.
“Village Missions exists to glorify Jesus Christ by developing spiritually vital country churches in rural North America. We fulfill this aim by placing missionary pastors in small town and rural churches that might otherwise have to close, and in doing so, preserve the Gospel presence in over 220 communities across the United States and Canada.”
Third, we are a tribe of people who love the Lord Jesus Christ and serve Him as District Representatives for Village Missions. Currently 7 District Representatives serve rural churches and country pastors in the United States and Canada with Village Missions.
My wife, Joann, and I serve the Great Lakes District by ministering to country pastors and the churches they shepherd.
All District Representative visit country churches and pastors in small towns and villages. That’s why we use the word “village” to represent the ministry of a District Representative with Village Missions.
2. Although each of us has a home, we don’t spend as much time as most people in their homes, because we “move about from place to place” as we visit rural churches throughout the districts we serve.
The Great Lakes District we serve covers 9 Midwestern states: Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and part of Kansas. In these states, we are responsible for the Village Missionaries and flocks that have partnered with us to promote the gospel in their communities.
Our nomadic journeys are done “usually seasonally and often following a traditional route or circuit.” Twice a year we travel about visiting with our Village Missionaries/Shepherds, church families, and church boards, encouraging and helping to assess “state of the pasturage” and the condition of the flocks.
Now, I know when we think of nomadic people many pictures flood our minds. We think of temporary huts, baggage laden ponies or camels, and perhaps a yak or two following behind the sojourners. Well, kindly clear these images from your imagination. Our traveling is by automobile and usually we stay for a night or two with our missionaries before heading out to the next church. We are thankful to the Lord for that we don’t have to live in a hut or smell of a herd of yaks during our excursions. When time and distance allow, we will travel home for a short time to prepare for the next expedition. We make our visits in the fall and the spring of each year. These visits take several months each when combined with our visits to schools, interviews with candidates and prospective churches, and special meetings with missionaries.
3. We will give updates on what the Lord is doing in Village Missions and how God is working in other country church families that have partnered with us.
Of course, as we travel over many rural miles between churches, from pasture to pasture, we are often looking “for food supply”, which in the Midwest is not difficult to find.
As mentioned earlier, we travel about the district visiting Bible schools, seeking to recruit Missionary/Shepherds willing to serve in rural communities and country churches. We travel to interview possible candidates for shepherding, and we travel still more to assess the flocks and pastures of country churches who have expressed interest in partnering with Village Missions.
I think we have enough in common with the definition of a nomad to be considered “Nomads”. Hence, “Village Nomads.”
We are thankful to the Lord to be Village Nomads.
We have personally served with Village Mission for almost 18 full years. The first 15 were as Village Missionaries serving a mission field in a rural area of Ohio and ministering to a group of believers in a little chapel building in the middle of either corn or soybean fields (depending on the year). We experienced joys and sorrows with the Lord’s people in that community and found many opportunities for the Gospel in the surrounding area. In Ohio, we saw the Lord do many wonderful works, but now as Village Nomads, we have the chance to see God’s working on a larger scale.
As Village Nomads, we see and hear the great stories our God is doing throughout rural communities in the Midwest. There are times we miss the ministry on the field, but now we can come alongside new and, most often, younger missionary/shepherds, so they can continue bearing fruit for the Lord Jesus Christ over many years.
At times, we would like to be home a little longer, but Joann and I get to work together as a team, ministering to our missionary husbands and wives. We have opportunity to; travel about the beautiful countryside of the Midwest and appreciate first hand God’s creative diversity in both nature and cultures, meet the wonderful believers in our Lord Jesus Christ living in the heartland of America and hear their own God stories, have the privilege of meeting the hardworking and friendly people of the rural Midwest.
We also see the ravaging face of sin that scars all people and takes its own form in rural communities. We are then reminded that it is only through the glorious gospel of our blessed Lord Jesus Christ that there is hope for the world.