By Brenda Smith.
Our small country church in Onalaska, Washington has been sending groups of people to the Mission ConneXion Northwest (MCNW) conference consistently for at least 10 years. When thinking
about why we are willing to travel close to two hours to attend Mission ConneXion every year, I appreciated anew the rich opportunity this conference offers. After all, where else could we expose our members, young and mature, to the vast amount of information available about fulfilling Christ’s directive to make disciples of all nations in both local ministry and foreign lands? We value the wide variety of workshops which provide ample topics relevant to all ages and interests as well as the inspiring keynote speakers, the numerous books and resources focused on missions, and the opportunity to visit with representatives of many major mission organizations. Seeing hundreds of people who are serious about intentionally crossing cultural barriers to share the hope they have in Jesus has pointed the way for our young people to have a “purpose-driven life.” MCNW has influenced some to commit themselves to full-time ministry while many others have participated in short term ministry trips. We all come away with a better perspective on what God is up to around the world and how we can join Him in pointing the lost and hurting to Jesus.
Personally, MCNW spurred me on to join a neighboring church during the summers of 2007 and 2008 on a short term missions trip to the northwestern part of Alaska. We trained teens from seve
ral villages on how to use Child Evangelism Fellowship materials during their Vacation Bible School (VBS). After the training, we supported them as they taught VBS in their own communities. It was a privilege to develop relationships with the teens we trained and, thanks to Facebook, I’m able to keep in touch with them even now.
I have also found the contacts I’ve made through MCNW to be helpful to me in my role as chair of our church’s mission board. Although I have no formal training as to be in this position, I have a heart to encourage others to be involved in fulfilling the Great Commission as well as a desire to come alongside the folks that our church sends out. It’s been helpful to network with the missions pastors of large churches in the Portland/Vancouver area as we share information to develop policies for equipping and sending out people from our own congregation.
Every year, Mission ConneXion serves as a “shot in the arm” to help keep our focus on our purpose. Thanks to all those who put in the many hours involved in pulling off a big event such as this. It causes Jesus’ name to be magnified in our local communities and to the ends of the earth!
Missions Team Chair