Checking In

I’m checking in tender.

Great Cities Missions is an organization that equips and sends mission teams all over central and South America. They host a missionary conference called “Connections” every two years for men and on alternate years for women serving in this part of the world. Even though we aren’t associated with Great Cities, they graciously invited us to participate in this conference. Chase, Justin, and I were able to go to Sao Paulo, Brazil in early October and were greatly blessed by our time there.

One of the things they had us do at the conference was in our small groups of 5 or 6 guys, we did what they called “checking in.” Each person checked in by taking a minute to share with the rest of their assigned small group which of these six emotions they were feeling at the time: sad, angry, scared, happy, excited, or tender. It turns out that after a week, none of us can agree on what “tender” really means. Chase says it means emotionally vulnerable, but my group used it as a sense of fondness.

I was expecting more of a time of recreation and relaxation. It turned out to be more of a week-long counseling session for missionaries. It was somewhat emotionally draining. But, after it was over I actually felt more refreshed than I think I would have if it was just lounging around for a week. They brought in a leadership team of about 15 older men for the conference, some of whom are highly trained Christian counselors. After a year of culture shock, this was exactly what I needed to untangle some of the kinks in my rope.

It was so nice to be around 50 other attendees at the conference who understand the stresses and trials of missionary life. I found several new friends and hope to keep up with them over the coming years.  Yesterday we got a message from the Cusco, Peru team saying that one of the members from the church there may be moving to Arequipa and was looking for a place to worship. This connection is only possible through the contact made with the Cusco team at the conference. Shout out to the Cusco Peru Team, Concepcion Chile Team, Niter Brazil Team, Jonathan Hanegan, and all the guys from my connection group who might be reading our newsletter for the first time this month.