CBF Field Personnel / Field Personnel / offering for global missions

A Light On My Path

A night with pastors in our home

By Brooke, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel

My family has had the wonderful honor of helping with ministry on a remote island in our country for the past several years. Many of the villages on this island do not have electricity, and we get to watch as light is finally brought to their churches by students and teachers from a local university who bring solar panels, lightbulbs and light switches and install lighting for the first time in the church.

During that time, we also work with the children of the church, giving them a morning or afternoon full of skits, songs, games and Bible teaching. They run, play and laugh. They sing songs, some with tunes familiar to our American ears, that they learned in Sunday school at the top of their lungs,. They listen intently to the stories being told, sitting on the dirt floor, rough wooden benches or uncomfortable plastic chairs. They love the skits we put together, using bed linens as boats, water and big fish.

Often times at those churches, we are greeted with a welcome dance or song of the native culture. To see these kids dancing, sometimes with sword in hand, singing or yelling in their mother tongue is a sight to behold! At the end of the afternoon, the pastor or elders of the church shine with hospitality. We receive a drink of warm tea, some snacks full of local flavor and a fabric, delicately woven by the grandmas of the village. What a special gift!

Traditional houses along with traditional fabric hung in the background

This past summer, we had the opportunity to return hospitality to some of these people. A Christian university in our town hosted a pastors’ conference. People flew in from islands all over this country to participate from morning to evening in a week of pastoral training, full of workshops and classes. When we found out that our pastor friends and their friends were in town, we quickly planned an evening at our house just for them. We hunted around the city to find snacks that would give them a taste of our hometown. We found fabric that represented the traditional batik on our island. We pulled out the old coffee maker to make sure they had a warm drink to greet them when they arrived.

At the beginning of the evening, we sat around the backyard, under the stars and the strings of lights, getting to know each other a little more. We sat on mats, in beanbag chairs or camp chairs. Then someone saw the child’s guitar we have, left from a time when one of our own kids had the idea to become a musician. That began a lovely evening of worship singing. We sang songs in English, songs in this country’s language and songs in these pastors’ native tongue.  We listened as some broke out in a harmony that would rival any church choir. We sat and enjoyed each other’s company. We relished being together, learning from each other and worshiping as a body of believers.

Nothing beats laughing with good friends and ministry partners

Brooke and her husband, Mike, serve as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel in Southeast Asia. Learn more about their ministry at www.cbf.net/brookemike.

The Offering for Global Missions provides for the long-term presence of field personnel like Brooke and Mike. The theme for this year’s Offering is “A Place at the Table for Everyone.” In Luke 14, Jesus teaches us to invite those least expecting and, in society’s view, perhaps least deserving of invitation. CBF field personnel serving in countries around the world invite and are invited to the table as they cultivate beloved community, bear witness to Jesus Christ, and seek transformational development.

Learn more about the Offering for Global Missions and access free digital and print resources at www.cbf.net/ogm.

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