Recently, I have been asked this a few times; “What do you do as Mission Leaders?”
My response was “Many things!”
One of our key responsibilities that Monic and I share is for the well-being of our missionaries.
Let me explain further….
Mission life is segmented into a 6-week transfer cycle.
Each cycle starts and ends with arrivals & departures of missionaries.
In between our days are regularly filled with preparation, planning, training sessions, conferences, leadership meetings, travel, medical issues, phone calls, zoom sessions and much more, not forgetting of course, our precious regular catch-up time with family time too, via Zoom!
Professionally, as a coach and counsellor, one of my favourite things to do in life has always been 1-1 coaching sessions. During the 6-week cycle, every missionary in the mission (currently 51) has personal 1-1 time with each mission leaders. In mission lingo, they are called interviews, but essentially, having sat through thousands of coaching sessions, that is exactly what they are.
The last few days have been filled with these sessions.
Each interview (mini coaching session) begins and ends with prayer.
In between, we slow down, talk, laugh, cry, catch up, share, consider, counsel, challenge, soften, teach, learn and ultimately, we listen.
In fact, we listen a lot.
Then we listen a little more.
Some time ago, I shared a thought about the word “listen”.
The word has six letters. Rearrange them and the word “silent” is formed. In Dutch the six letters become even shorter, with only four “stil”
Frequently, I find as I listen, oftentimes a missionary will suddenly go quiet. Years ago, I used to feel a little awkward when the first quiet spell sets in, but now I understand that these are the moments of real inspiration, when they are thinking.
I don’t know what they are thinking, only that they are thinking!
Experience has taught me that it is in these very quiet active times, when the least seems to be happening, that the most is actually happening.
In those quiet moments one missionary recently shared this verse of scripture, found in Psalms 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God…” Regularly, we hear the whisperings of the Holy Ghost to guide each of us in our missionary work. It is beautiful, reassuring and fills our hearts with love and pure knowledge.
Learning to be still
To listen and to be silent (still) are inseparably connected.
These short interview sessions are by design an opportunity to learn, to listen and grow.
What I have learned most in my life has come in many ways, but the largest part has come from listening to those with much greater experience than me. Generally, it tends to be those who have lived longer and learned many important things that I needed to know – one of which is learning how to be quiet, to be still and to listen.
Now however, we are being taught frequently by those much younger than ourselves. Daily we find, tender mercies from the Lord, as He has prepared these young people (18 to 26 years of age) to preach the gospel to the world. Indeed, it is a mighty miracle.
We are off to do some more mini-coaching sessions.
Please choose to slow down, be quiet, learn to listen, listen to learn, then you too will hear the whisperings of the spirit of the Lord.