This morning I sat on a couch in our office complex, looking across at a couple who have been called to, and trained for, missions. Together, we two couples form a team. We are a team of international missions consultants. Our job is both simple and complex. Simply stated, we find those called and help them get to their place of service, as I wrote a few weeks back. The complexities come in when you consider interviewing candidates, training, networking, and the entire proverbial ball of wax that is a part of sending out missionaries.
This couple--Peruvians by birth, up-bringing, and culture--was excited as we shared our vision for sending out Latin-Americans into all the world. For me, the most gratifying thing was hearing the wife ask (names omitted intentionally), "Who is on our team?" Did you see that small possessive pronoun in that? "Our." It's "our" team. She did not ask, "Who is on "your" team; she asked about "our team."
That is a great hurdle that we have crossed. We bridged a river. Find the cliche that works for you and run with it. We see one another as equals, partners in ministry. We bring to the table what each can bring, showing (trying to, at least) mutual respect and learning what we can from one another.
One important ramification is that when any of us shares an idea, it is not filtered quite as much as can normally happen in cross-cultural communication. So when I brought up some ideas as to how we may accomplish sending out missionaries, I saw their faces light up. When they shared their opinions regarding some of the details, they got to see my excitement.
It was an incubation room. An idea was born and began to grow. It is not a North American idea; it is not a South American idea. It is a mission team idea. I am excited about this for two reasons: one, the goal to send out missionaries from this country is a realistic one in the eye of those with whom we work; two, when the "product" is finally presented to the national church or churches, it won't be seen as imported from another world.
May the idea of sending out laborers continue to grow and bring fruit!