Thursday, February 16, 2012

Christian Associates

I know I have been talking about them a lot lately, but we have received some really good news through the organization yesterday and I am anxious to tell you more!

Forbes and I were invited to attend their Engage session.  We will be traveling to Denver in May for this four day event to assess the organization, and for them to assess us.  During this event we will be subjected to rigorous psychological testing--ok, it probably isn't that bad--and evaluations to discover if we are a good fit for this organization.  They want to know about our faith and our calling, and we want to know if their values align with our own. 

After Engage, we will be given the "green light" to move forward with planning for the mission field if they accept us.  This is a really exciting interview and we are so very anxious! 

Why do we like Christian Associates so much?

Forbes and I have had the opportunity this past week to sit down with Richard Wilson, a staff member on the Europe Advance Team.  Through this conversation we were convinced we had stumbled on an amazing, Christ-driven organization.  Their objective is to spread the gospel and plant churches Internationally.  Many organizations are doing just that.  What we love about CA is the intentional way they approach this, by first discovering the needs of the people and building around those needs.  Often in home churches, Bible studies, and even through local missions.  This is exciting to us because we believe that we are the hands and feet of Christ and therefore spreading the Gospel can be done productively through serving people's basic needs and simply showing the Love of Christ.

Our Skype call on Tuesday further solidified our commitment to Christian Associates!  CA is a communal movement, just as Christ intended it to be.  The Church is defined as the people not a place of worship, therefore when CA talks about planting churches, they don't simply mean to build a large worship center, but to disciple to others.

I felt very strongly in the beginning that I wanted to serve in a third-world country, and the potential does exist with CA.  However, the more we hear about their projects, particular in Europe, the more we are inspired to work in other regions.  Did you know in France right now, only 2% of the population call themselves Christians?  The church is dying in Europe and not only can we meet the basic needs of people in the cities, but also revive a nation with hope and joy.

Next Steps

As aforementioned, Forbes and I are attending Engage in Denver.  This is a scary endeavor because we will need to come up with over $350 by March 1, and then still have to purchase plane tickets and the rest of the fees in March!  Of course, this is the alternative to attending Engage in Brussels--which would be fantastic!  Their mission in Brussels is quite outstanding from what we hear.  Alas, Denver it is.

If given the green light, over the next year we do intend to travel with CA quite a bit before going full time.  We will be attending several mission and vision trips to discern where our place will be.  These include a conference in Chicago and perhaps a mission trip to France this summer.  In the fall we are also hoping to attend one of their regional meetings where we will meet directors from several different missions altogether.  That meeting will likely be International as well. 

Meanwhile, we will be in constant prayer, discerning God's will and timing.  We are open to placement anywhere in the world but want to find a location where our unique gifts and talents can be used to glorify God.  Of course we will also be raising support for full time mission work through all of this as well.

It is a scary and unknown future, but I am more certain of this than I have been of anything else.  I know this is where God is leading us and I am excited for this future!

What do you think?  Will you keep us in prayer? 

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