Posted: 12 Aug 2013 10:49 AM PDT
Since we are currently in Anaheim on our way to Mexico, we figured it was time to post an update!
It's been two months to the day since we started working for Global Fellowship. Over and over again God has confirmed that this is where he wants us. The more we talk, the more excited we get about Global Fellowship being who we are and what we do for the long haul. If you've read our blog for any length of time, this is a new tune.
In fact, we just got done attending the Global Leadership Summit (at a satellite campus). It's two days of some of the nation's most prominent leaders and leadership-thinkers giving 30-minute TED-style talks on leadership; specifically leadership in church/missions. These leaders-of-leaders espoused on how the ideal leader should lead (often, but not always, bringing it back to Jesus - the obvious Ideal Leader). Session after session Jenn and I walked away saying, "I am so glad we're at Global Fellowship, where Don & Kathy Oates can lead us! They do so many of things the speakers say you should do!" It was a super encouraging and affirming time (not to mention, we learned A LOT!).
Now we're headed down to Mexico for a week or so. We'll spend the time with Jorge & Maty Vazquez, our key missionaries in Mexico. Every single day we're there, Jorge will be taking us to a different town or congregation that he is actively involved in leading. In fact, I'm hoping to do a 4-week follow-up trip next summer because that's how long it would take just to VISIT all the places that Jorge has sent Church-planters! This week, we're sticking around his hometown of Ajusco, Baja California (only about 2.5 hrs south of Tijuana). We'll get to meet some of the young men he's mentoring. We'll get to see the Bible Training School he currently teaches in, and see the plot of land that he dreams of making into the new, larger school. We'll visit the migrant camps where he intimately ministers and boldly proclaims the words of Life (if I'm able to do the longer trip later, I'll get to meet pastors who were once migrant workers hoping to cross into the US for fame and fortune, but, now, because of the hope they have in Jesus, have returned to their home villages to proclaim Him!). We'll also get to see the churches that he's planted in the area, including his church that he pastors.
It is incredible to be in this line of work. All over the world and every day of the week, we get to talk with and pray for pastors who are doing more ministry most of us Americans even think is possible for a single person to accomplish, while also having solid, flourishing families. And usually lots of kids. It just blows me away and keeps me constantly humbled.
This trip to Mexico is vital to our role in Global Fellowship of caring for our missionaries. Having faces to names, places to descriptions, tangible stories to define the mind-blowing statements -- all this lets us care for our missionaries more specifically and more meaningfully. We have greatly enjoyed talking with Jorge and Maty on the phone many times, and even meeting them face-to-face while they were recently visiting. Being in their home, seeing the men and women who know Christ because of their faithful service, breathing the same air and eating the same food -- there isn't a price that can be placed on the value of such a togetherness. There is something meaningful, irreplaceable, and powerful in a simple hand-shake and looking someone in the eyes. Essentially, we get to do just that for an entire week with the Vazquez's ministry. We are so excited!
We sincerely pray that our whole lives will be filled with interactions and intentional meetings like this. These learning-posture trips hold infinitely more value to the enabling and empowering of our missionaries than any other trip, support group, survey, or project we know about. You who support us financially and pray for us faithfully play a vital role in making it happen. If you're in Stockton, we hope to breathe your same air and share a meal with you at the beginning of October (more details to follow).
Pray for us as we're in Mexico, that we will indeed have a learning-posture. We call this an eyes-open, hands-ready trip. Our objective isn't to build a building or save the planet; it's to build resolute relationships that will be a launchpad for years to come. And, by the grace of God, to be an encouragement to the few who do the work of many.