By Alicia and Jeff Lee
As we prepared for our very first mission team, we found ourselves hoping that we had learned enough language to keep things running smoothly and we accepted the fact that this is Macedonia so things weren’t going to go the way we had planned! These are the reasons we asked the team to come ready to be flexible and they quickly learned and adopted the typical Macedonian phrase “no problem!”
Our prayer in the months and weeks leading up to their arrival was that they would have the opportunity to experience Macedonia the way we’ve experienced Macedonia in our first two years and that their coming would enhance and deepen the relationships we’ve developed among our partners and friends. We came to Macedonia as learners with the desire to live life alongside of the people of Macedonia.
We’ve done a great deal of learning in our time in Macedonia, we still are. So, we asked the team to come willing to learn about the diverse religious, ethnic, and cultural context we live and work among. And we asked them to come with the same purpose we came to Macedonia with, to develop relationships with the people of Macedonia…not just do things. This has been an important factor in developing ministry in Macedonia as people in this region tend to expect that Americans are just here to fix something or teach them something they couldn’t possibly know.
We couldn’t have hand-picked a better team to serve as our very first team! Marcus and Ruth Anna Driggers, Dr. Barry Moak, Laura Horton, and John Moore came with open minds prepared to learn, open hearts willing to embrace our partners and friends, and open arms ready to serve among the people of Macedonia. On multiple occasions, and from unlikely sources, we were complimented on the respectful approach they took to learning, the spirit in which they embraced new experiences, and the attitude with which they served.
In our follow-up conversations with our partners it was clear that they didn’t know what to expect from these folks from Texas but the impression they made was indelible. Coming with the purpose to learn and develop relationship has built trust among our partners in Macedonia and in the US. Our conversations quickly shifted to future planning and dreaming of what we could do together in partnership! Our prayers were answered.
We couldn’t do this work without your encouragement and support! Thank you for expressing your love and compassion for the neglected and marginalized people of Macedonia through prayer, financial support, and short-term mission teams! We look forward to how our partnership will continue to be used to show and share the love of God with the people of Macedonia!
Alicia and Jeff Lee are Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel serving in Macedonia. For more about the Lees and their ministry, read this recent profile via CBFblog titled “Confronting Poverty and Injustice — CBF field personnel in Macedonia face challenges, focus on reconciliation”