Emcc22

Reflecting on EMCC 2022

Relationships in a world of conflict and chaos

Loving God, your neighbour, yourself, your enemy

I am grateful. EMCC-2022 was a wonderful opportunity to connect and reconnect with like-minded member care workers that have been away from each other for far too long. We had a great time together!

The theme for this year’s gathering in Budapest was “Relationships in a world of conflict and chaos: Loving God, your neighbour, yourself, your enemy”, and the invitation stated: “The world seems to be increasingly polarized, with relationships characterized by animosity and divisiveness even in the church and mission. How do we embrace and foster authentically loving and sacrificial relationships in our teams and communities?”

The devotionals were based on Romans 12, and I thought I might share a few snippets in this post, including some of the quotes that were shared.

On loving God, even though we do not always understand him or his ways:

“If knowing answers to life’s questions is absolutely necessary to you, then forget about the journey. You will never make it, for this is a journey of unknowables—of unanswered questions, enigmas, incomprehensibles, and most of all, things unfair. Our challenge is to love Him for what we do see, and trust Him for what we cannot see.” (God at Your Wit’s End, by Marilyn Meberg).

“Obeying God is worked out within well-defined boundaries of God’s revealed will. But trusting God is worked out in an arena that has no boundaries. We do not know the extent, the duration, or the frequency of the painful, adverse circumstances in which we must frequently trust God. We are always coping with the unknown. Yet it is just as important to trust God as it is to obey Him… When we fail to trust God, we doubt His sovereignty and we question His goodness. In order to trust God, we must always view our adverse circumstances through the eyes of faith, not of sense.”  (Trusting God, by Jerry Bridges)

On loving your neighbour, even when he/she is unlovable:

Because God is love, freeing us from hate is high on his agenda. Many people behave as though love were predicated or dependent on agreement. But nowhere in Scripture does it say that loving one another will be an outgrowth of agreeing with one another. Love is an unconditional command.

“Dear Lord, I pray that your Spirit will break through the many barriers that divide nations and people. Let there be unity among us who inhabit this world. Give us the strength to transcend our physical, psychological and cultural differences and recognize that it is your Holy Spirit who unites us by making us all participants in your own divine life.

Let your Spirit open our eyes and ears to your ongoing presence among us. Let us recognize you when we serve each other, work together, and unite our talents to build a better world and usher your kingdom into people’s hearts. Without your Spirit we are powerless, but with and in your Spirit, all things become new. Let your Spirit enter into our hearts so that together we can prepare the day of your glorious return, and praise you, thank you, honour you, and love you, all the days of our lives. Amen.” (A Cry For Mercy, by Henri Nouwen)

On loving your enemy, even though he’s out to get you:

We who hated and destroyed one another—who would not live with men of a different tribe on account of their differences—now, since the coming of Christ, live in harmony with them. We pray for our enemies and endeavour to reach out to those who hate us and persecute us.” (Justin Martyr, a first century Christian who was killed for his faith by the Romans, describing the early Christian community.)

“Be meek in response to their wrath, humble in opposition to their boasting. To their blasphemies return your prayers; in contrast to their error, be steadfast in the faith; and for their cruelty, manifest your gentleness. While we take care not to imitate their conduct, let us be found to be their brethren in all true kindness.” (Ignatius of Antioch, writing to the persecuted Christians in Ephesus in the 2nd century.)

On loving yourself, even though you find it hard, and caring for yourself:

Being attentive to your own legitimate needs to replenish yourself is not an act of selfishness; it’s an act of wisdom and good stewardship, enabling you to be all the more effective in caring for others and meeting their needs.

“My busyness reveals my vanity. I want to appear important. Significant. What better way than to be busy? The long hours, the crowded schedule, and the heavy demands on my time are proof to myself—and to all who will notice—that I am important. If I go into a doctor’s office and find there’s no one waiting, and I see through a half-open door the doctor reading a book, I wonder if he’s any good… I live in a society in which crowded schedules and demanding conditions are evidence of importance, so I develop them. When others notice, they acknowledge my significance, and my ego is fed.” (The Contemplative Pastor, by Eugene Peterson)

May God help us as we continually rise to the challenge of loving him, our neighbour, our enemy, and ourselves.

Picture of Jonathan Ward

Jonathan Ward

Board member of Member Care Europe, involved in the Federation of Francophone Evangelical Missions and its member care network (www.resam.fr), and he serves at a retreat centre in France dedicated to caring for pastors and cross-cultural workers (www.pierresvivantes.org). He and his wife Rachel were raised on the mission fields of France and Angola respectively. They have three adult children.

Picture of Jonathan Ward

Jonathan Ward

Board member of Member Care Europe, involved in the Federation of Francophone Evangelical Missions and its member care network (www.resam.fr), and he serves at a retreat centre in France dedicated to caring for pastors and cross-cultural workers (www.pierresvivantes.org). He and his wife Rachel were raised on the mission fields of France and Angola respectively. They have three adult children.

So, what are common themes that people put in their “Go Bag”?

The Church needs to lift its eyes and realize that we are the possessor of hope.

You can be a whole person even though your heart is divided.

About a third stage described as "the doing" and what we can learn through it.

A pattern for sustaining ministry in the frantic world of the twenty first century.

A book to encourage and equip single mission workers.

Designed to assist and encourage people who live overseas.

A work-book for those considering a cross-cultural marriage.

Christian Quartier

He is married to Simone and is father of 3 adult TCK. He is passionate about strengthening, resourcing and empowering cross-cultural Workers and their families through debriefing, critical incident debriefing and brief counselling. Restoring a sense of peace (shalom and wholeness) in their lives when that peace has been disturbed or shattered is at the core his ministry. He is also active in membercare training and consultancy.

Scott Shaum

Scott Shaum‘s deep joy is living life with his wife, Beth, their three sons and wives, and three grandchildren. That and really good food shared amongst a bevy of friends; or in solitude with a stack of books. As Associate Director of Barnabas International (20 years) and an ordained pastor, the Father’s goodness in his life is reflected as a pastoral, companioning presence with other shepherd-leaders scattered globally and locally. A scary-tough decade resulted in authoring The Uninvited Companion: God’s Shaping Us in His Love Through Life’s Adversities. He has contributed to Trauma and Resilience (ed. Schaefer and Schaefer) and Tender Care (Barnabas Books). You can find his latest rambles at tendingscatteredwool.com.

Gary W.

Gary W. left the US in 1983, following a call from the Lord to serve overseas, and served as a tentmaker in France until 1988 and then in Switzerland where he lives now. As a professional, he worked full-time as a research chemist and in later years as an IT specialist. In terms of ministry, he has served mostly in pastoral settings with services of teaching, preaching, counseling, and inner healing. Since taking an early retirement in 2013, he has done short-term ministry trips in eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia. He joined OM in 2017 and has been doing pastoral care for workers in Asia through short visits and online. Gary is married to Beverly and they have five adult children.

Cathy Thompson

Cathy Thompson is a missionary kid with degrees in Physical Education, Anthropology, and Cross-Cultural Leadership. She has further studies in Ministry Leadership Development, Member Care, Conflict Management, Counseling, Child Safety and Forensic Investigation. Since 1992, Cathy has served with Pioneers as Team Leader in Hungary and since April 2009 as Area Leader for East Central Europe. Cathy also serves as Pioneers’ Child Safety Officer for Europe, as a member of several working groups on training and leadership development, and on the executive team of Shoulder to Shoulder. She is committed to seeing teams work well as they incorporate singles, couples and families into multicultural teams.

Charley Warner

Charley Warner has been involved in member care in Eurasia since 1992. He and his wife, Cheryl, serve with Barnabas International and live in Irpin, Ukraine. Charley is also a board member of Member Care Europe.

Suzy Grumelot

Suzy Grumelot has served with World Team in urban church planting in France for the past 35 years. In 2012, with French partners, an historic new church was birthed in central Paris. In addition to discipling women and overseeing Bible studies, Suzy is involved with training, networking, prayer, and mentoring of new believers and church planters. She serves on the executive team of Shoulder to Shoulder and is the co-author of Sacred Siblings: Valuing One Another for the Great Commission.

Amrei Wehmeyer

Amrei Wehmeyer has been working with DMG interpersonal and TEAM in Portugal since 1991. She is currently leading the Member Care Center ReCanto da Fonte in Lourinhã on the Silver Coast of Portugal. Amrei also serves on the board of Member Care Europe.

Barry Danylak

Barry Danylak is an international speaker, author, and pastor-theologian with expertise on topics related to singleness, marriage, sexuality, and family in the biblical and modern world. Barry serves as Executive Director of SEE Global, a ministry based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada that equips church leaders around the world. He is ordained and has served as a pastor for over 10 years with the Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada. Barry holds a PhD in New Testament with the Divinity Faculty of the University of Cambridge and is author of Redeeming Singleness: How the Storyline of Scripture Affirms the Single Life, Singleness in God’s Redemptive Story, and a forthcoming book, Paul and Secular Singleness in 1 Corinthians 7, scheduled for release by Cambridge University Press in 2024.

Maria Techow

Maria Techow is a Clinical Psychologist in Denmark with a heart for mission. In her working life she is the head of department for Psychiatry & Existence, and Competence Unit for Expats at Center for Family Development. She has been working with mission organizations for more than 13 yeas, screening candidates for the mission fields, offering crisis counselling and online therapy and helping families in their re-entry process, among other initiatives leading TCK groups for years. She is the co-author of the book: GO! My personal guide and diary before, during and after moving abroad, an interactive book for TCKs. The book is as a starting point for conversations between children and their parents, for children’s groups, in schools and across cultures and border. She is the mother of four, a writer and a speaker in various Christian settings. Maria is also a board member of Member Care Europe.

Evi Rodemann

Evi Rodemann lives in Hamburg, Germany and works as a theologian and event manager. She engages in the international work of the Lausanne Movement and the Mission Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance as well as being the CEO of her own organisation LeadNow. Her focus is the younger leaders generation. She has a Master in European Mission and Intercultural Christianity and currently works on her PhD researching event impact. www.evirodemann.com, www.leadnow.center

Rafael Năstase

Rafael Năstase is a missionary who served with his wife Alice, seven years in Republic of Moldova, being involved with Operation Mobilisation (OM) in church planting, discipleship and mobilizing churches for missions. Returning in his home country, Romania, he stepped in the leadership position from 2007-2019 as National Director of OM. Now he coordinates the church relation department of OM in Romania and is the national member care facilitator. Rafael has a BA in Philosophy and Journalism and got a master in Theology at Baptist faculty. Being born in a Romani (Gypsy) family he is passionate working towards getting his doctorate in ecclesiology and ethnography at the University of Bucharest, researching on the role of the church in transforming Roma communities. Rafael also serves on the board of Member Care Europe.

Sonja Pichler

Sonja Pichler is a happy single, born originally in Germany and has been living in Switzerland since 2010. During her time in Switzerland, she finished her studies as a counsellor; currently she is responsible for Member Care in OM Switzerland. In the international setting of OM she is involved in the Face2Face courses, both German and English. For the AEM in Switzerland she ministers in the annual debriefing week for intercultural workers. Sonja also works for a local church and as a licensed counsellor, both part time. Her professional qualifications are Psycho-Social Counsellor, Trauma focused counselling, Supervision (in process). She simply loves to see people thrive in who they are and who they are becoming. Her recreational oasis she finds in reading, walking and journaling (Bullet point and Bible Art). Creativity is one of her big resources.

Mihai Lundell

Mihai Lundell has helped to form national member care networks in countries like Romania and Italy. He served for over 20 years as a missionary and country director for the mission One Challenge in Romania before he and his wife Tammy accepted a new challenge in Genova, Italy caring for and coming alongside local pastors and Christian leaders. As a member of the European Member Care Board, Mihai works to build Member Care awareness and networks in eastern and central European countries that are just beginning to understand the need for MC. He is passionate about building bridges between new and old generations and making sure the voices of Eastern Europe are heard and respected. He is a former investigative journalist for WCCO television in Minneapolis with a doctorate in missions from Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN and a masters in child psychology, trauma and developmental disorders from the University of Minnesota. Currently he collaborates with the Gaslini Institute in Genoa Italy in child trauma counseling and serves as an advisor for the Association of Christian Counselors in Italy.

Sarah Hay

Sarah Hay has a background in HR, initially in the National Health Service, UK and then in Nepal with International Nepal Fellowship for 3 years, where she also began member care for expatriate mission workers. After returning to UK and starting a family, Sarah began working as HR and Member Care Manager with European Christian Mission Britain, where she’s been for almost 15 years.  This continues to involve her in the recruitment and preparation of new workers, their member care whilst overseas plus debriefing and re-entry assistance when they return. Since 2015, Sarah also became Course Leader of the MA in Member Care at Redcliffe College, before then developing a new MA in Staff Care and Wellbeing at All Nations Christian College following the college merger. She has the best of both worlds in being a member care provider but also an equipper and encourager of member care students across the world. Last but by no means least, Sarah is married to Rob and has two sons who are now both at university. Sarah is also a board member of Member Care Europe.

Jonathan Ward

Jonathan Ward is involved in the Federation of Francophone Evangelical Missions and its member care network (www.resam.fr), and he serves at a retreat centre in France dedicated to caring for pastors and cross-cultural workers (www.pierresvivantes.org). He and his wife Rachel were raised on the mission fields of France and Angola respectively. They have three adult children. Jonathan also serves on the board of Member Care Europe.