Posted by: ritagone | June 2, 2010

The Bravery of Missionaries

Back from my cruise, resting up from my vacation.  Why is it that so often we need a vacation to rest up from what is supposed to be a relaxing vacation?  I don’t get it.  Here we were, on a cruise, which is by definition one of the most relaxing ways to vacation (i.e., no packing and unpacking suitcases, for one thing), and a cruise that is known to be pretty benign when it comes to ports of call and excursions because you are limited by locale…only three dockings on the whole cruise of a week.  For the most part, it was spectacular scenery and lots of peace and quiet.

And yet, when I got home, I found myself tired.  Maybe it’s the fact that when you’re not sleeping in your own bed, you are not resting well.  Maybe it’s having unfamiliar things and surroundings instead of your known routine and belongings.  I don’t know the answer to this, but I find it an enigma anyway.

Dorothy was right: “there’s no place like home.”  And that home can be halfway around the world from where you grew up; instead, it’s where your things are, where your sense of who you are resides.  Where your loved ones get up and eat breakfast with you, where you say good-night to them as they go off to the comfort of their own surroundings.

That’s why those of you reading this who really are far from where you were raised, living on foreign soil and adjusting to the unfamiliarity of the culture you’re embedded in, struggling with language skills and trying to find new skin to live in have my utmost admiration.  You probably spend minutes and hours feeling like Dorothy, often wanting to click your heels and put yourself back in Ohio or California or Texas, where you fit in, where you are unobtrusive and comfortable.  And yet you stay.  You know in your heart that you are where you belong for this season of your life.  My hat is off to you.  My prayers are for you.  And God surely smiles and says, “Well done!  Hang in there!  I’m here too!”

I’m a part of the committee commissioned to plan certain aspects of CONNECT, CA’s all-staff conference this coming August in Germany.  If you have not registered yet for this event, let me encourage you to do so.  For years there has been talk about changing the way we do business in terms of our conferences and gatherings, trying to make them more interactive, gaining the participation of everyone who attends so that we move away from the passage “you sit there and the speaker will enlighten you” form of meetings.  But for years we’ve reverted to the standard conference format just because there was so much else that needed to get done, this change – which requires a lot of energy and thinking and a lot more planning – was pretty much bookshelved.  But now the decision was made to go ahead and do it differently.

What better time to try a new format, with a new President and a new vision and direction for Christian Associates, with all the exciting people who are coming on board (welcome back, Ann Steigerwald! And welcome, Christine Osgood!), we are jumping in, taking a risk, going for broke.

If you miss this conference, I believe you will kick yourself with regrets when it’s over.  It’s going to be fabulous!  And not only can you attend and bring others, but everyone can participate in ways that bring out the passion and interests that are individual and personal.

So go online and register, encourage friends to come with you (I’m bringing my friend Sue Brantingham, who has been a CA supporter for as long as I’ve been involved in the ministry, and if you’re coming to CONNECT, be sure to introduce yourself to Sue – you’ll love her), fill out the questionnaire that accompanies the registration form, and be prepared for a great time.  Bring your pillow if you need something from home for security and peace of mind….but come!!

Regards,  Rita

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