We have truly been blessed with this year of preparation with our two sending churches. I can now add Dr. Phillip Slate to our list of “challenging weekend speakers.” Cedar Lane asked Dr. Slate to come speak with the elders and missions committee members on how they can be more effective in foreign mission work. Greg and Kyle worked very hard to compile a document including dates of field work, missionary and church data, and interviews of various representatives of Cedar Lane’s mission history. Dr. Slate, who spent 10 years as a missionary in London, works with churches in a process to find what is working, not working or things that need to be done in order for mission work to become more effective.
It was neat for me to sit in this meeting and hear each of the mission work representatives speak before the room on how work is being done, what has already been learned from past mistakes, and openness to what can be changed for the future. Cedar Lane has a long history of missions. Currently, they support missionaries in Romania and the St. Vincent Islands. The representative for the work would give a recap of what is going on in the work, the committee would ask questions, and then Dr. Slate would interject his thoughts. Some of the questions that he posed were “How often do you visit?”, “Do missionaries submit a yearly action plan?”, “How receptive are the people there?”. Some of Dr. Slate’s comments that stood out to me were, “Every work has to be done in the context of that culture,” and “Teach an infant church how to serve—not to just be evangelistic but because that is what Christians do.”
What can we reflect upon regarding God’s work in Arequipa five years from now? It sure is fun to think and dream about.