MTW has a big event that brings much of the world together every 4 years, kind of like the Olympics except without the sports, or the medals, or the whole T.V. thing. I’m talking, of course, about MTW’s Area Retreat. This year it combined MTW missionaries from Central and South America with those serving in Africa and it just happened a little over a week ago. It’s a weeklong event complete with morning and evening worship services, updates from missionaries, break-out sessions and the opportunity to connect with missionaries you haven’t met before.
By far, the highlight for me was getting to know and learn from other missionaries. One of the missionaries I got to spend some time with was Andy Warren, who I first met at another MTW training in February. He and his wife, Bev, have been missionaries for over 30 years and have been in Ethiopia since 1996. They have devoted their lives to easing the suffering of AIDS patients both in this life and sharing the hope of salvation for the next. Among other things, they shared with us about what it takes to last 30 years as a missionary.
One of the most helpful conversations I had with Andy was about partnering with nationals. It’s easy for missionaries to do all the work themselves, especially since navigating different cultural dynamics can be so confusing and frustrating. Andy, though, stressed the importance of collaboration and shared helpful tips and principles on how to build trust with a multi-national team. The nuts and bolts of our work is different but when I grow up, I want to be just like Andy! You can find out more about his work here!