We have just come through the annual World Missions Conference at our home church, Mission Point, in Saint John, NB (Canada). From the time I was a young person growing up in the Baptist church, missions conferences have had a special place in my heart and this year was no different. Being involved in the planning, in my role as full-time Assistant to the Pastor, is a real treat for me, as it gives the opportunity to get “up close & personal” with some incredible people!!
Sis. Else Lund… “Mother Ghana”
Sis. Else Lund was appointed as a missionary to Liberia, Africa in 1962 and spent three weeks sailing to the land of her calling on a ship named the African Glen. She fulfilled a number of roles in multiple west-African nations until retiring from Global Missions in 2004… some 42 years after her initial appointment. A great deal of those 42 years was spent in Ghana and at one point, every ordained minister in the UPC of Ghana, had been taught by Sis. Lund… hence the nickname “Mother Ghana.” What a heritage.
Let’s Talk Missions!
Saturday morning, as we did during last year’s conference, we organized a brunch for anyone who either (a) felt a call towards or (b) was curious about, short term missions. It was a chance to glean from the experience of our guest missionaries who discussed a particular part of their journey toward missions followed by discussion afterwards.
Our panel: (beginning top left & clockwise):
- Rev. Jim Poitras,
(Director of Education & AIM, UPCI)
- Sis. Colleen Carter, (Missionary to Ghana, West Africa)
- Sis. Else Lund
- Lauren Summers, (Her parents, Rev. Stephan & Debra Summers are UPCI Missionaries to Cyprus)
Here are a few highlights from that panel discussion:
Colleen Carter: (Colleen spent eight years in Ghana, West Africa, under AIM appointment before receiving missionary appointment in 2007.)
“My call to missions goes all the way back to and began in childhood. As a girl in Sunday school we all had to pick a missionary to whom we’d write to and for whom we’d pray. I chose the Everett & Lois Corcoran family, at the time missionaries to Pakistan. Sis. Corcoran always wrote back and God used that connection to draw me, over time, into missions.”
Lauren Summers: Lauren was the youngest voice on the panel but a valuable one. As an MK (missionary kid) she was in Cyprus because of her parents’ call, not her own. Quiet by nature, Lauren said a LOT in a few short words: She reminded us of the need to uphold missionary kids in prayer and to encourage them whenever possible.
“Initially, I wondered how I’d fit in, what I’d do, but I loved kids and loved doing puppets and the like so I sort of found my place. Sometimes, though, it got lonely and the only thing that kept me was the fact that I’d get messages on my (Facebook) wall from friends back home.”
Else Lund: Sis. Lund spoke longer than the first two ladies, but her tale was riveting! Just two short quotes from her… one, a testimony from her past, the second… a call to those present.
“It was polio that brought our family into truth, so I’ve never regretted having polio.”
“If you have the smallest feeling or hint of a call on your life… FEED IT… PRAY!”
Rev. James Poitras: Bro. Poitras was the last member of the panel to speak, but did a superb job of tying together all that the others had shared. He began by stating that “Whom God calls, he equips.” From there I’ll pull out what is, in my estimation the…
TOP 5 List
…of things to know about the equipping process, as shared by Bro. Poitras in that brunch meeting:
- It involves work… preparation.
- It involves partnering with, or at the very least paying heed to, the apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists & teachers that God has placed in your life. He put them there for the purpose of equipping you.
- It (the equipping & preparing process) never stops!
- It involves academic preparation, spiritual preparation and ministerial preparation* (meaning: the basic needs of humanity are the same everywhere. If you learn how to minister right where you are, you’ll learn how to do it in the land of your calling).
- It is like finding the will of God for your life: …you must find the next right step and just do it. All those steps together, lead you into the will of God or, in this case, into that state of prepared-ness.
What a great time of inspiration and formation all rolled up into one! If you’ve got a call… Feed it! That’s what we’ve been doing and what we continue to do as we prepare ourselves for our departure in January.
Come back Saturday morning when I’ll have an update on our financial preparations… Exciting news that you won’t want to miss. We’re praising God for great things! We capped off the weekend by having the Poitras’ in our home for supper the night before their departure back to St. Louis. We’re thankful for their enthusiastic encouragement and their friendship and for believing in us!
See you Saturday!