By Javier Perez
The new Global Missions tagline reads: “Because presence matters.”
So, how much does presence really matter? CBF Global Missions has a rich history of missional innovation and service because we have God’s radical love in our missional DNA. Our culture of service, innovation and radical presence became evident last year, as we endeavored to finalize our first-ever annual impact report.
Beyond the incredible numbers which, truth be told, were astounding even for field personnel, there is a larger story of what Annette Ellard and Steve Clark, field personnel serving in Louisville, Kentucky, rightly termed “relentless presence.”
In a recent conversation I had with Annette and Steve, their conviction that presence matters was made abundantly clear. Here’s what they told me when I asked about their work among refugees from Burma:
The Karen and other refugees from Burma often struggle to address the challenges of daily life in America. They sometimes need to turn to someone who knows them for short-term assistance to solve a specific problem. But many refugees from Burma in Louisville, Kentucky, struggle with substance abuse, mental illness or other complex life challenges. Typically, underlying trauma is the steering force behind their struggles. Often, accessing help is too difficult, even when someone is willing to seek help. These individuals and families need long-term, intensive, trauma-informed case management from relentless advocates in order to overcome the barriers to effective treatments and lasting recovery and to move closer to the full life that God wants for us all.
In a world marked by metrics of efficiency, progress and return on investment (all important things), the presence of field personnel is a reminder of God’s relentless love. They, in turn, become “relentless advocates,” so that the individuals and families they serve “overcome the trauma of their pasts, gain strength to live more confidently each day, and prosper mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually as they move toward the full life that God wants for us all.”
This, friends, is how much presence matters, and this is how much your contribution to the Offering for Global Missions matters.
Give to the Offering for Global Missions and help sustain the long-term presence of CBF field personnel.
Javier Perez serves as Director of Global Missions Programs & Impact for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, where he provides strategic direction for Global Missions programs and strengthens organizational impact in accordance with CBF’s mission distinctives.