"It keeps the mission perspective alive in our lives."
Have you ever wondered what the mission partners are doing? Have you thought about how your family, small group or network can support the mission partners of St George’s? Robin and Debbie Carmichael have had the privilege over the last few years of keeping in touch with those abroad and on mission within the UK, and communicating with the congregation here at St G’s to share the stories of God at work. They have been such a blessing to our long-term mission partners over the years and are now stepping down from their official role. To give insight into the work they’ve done, they took time to share their story with us.
What is involved in the role?
Keeping in touch with the ‘Big 5’ in whatever way is appropriate; email, letter, skype, phone, seeing them when they visit Leeds, etc. Also, keeping them in our prayers both personal and at St G’s. Another responsibility is to draw them to the attention of the congregation as often as possible; supporting them when things get difficult in their work or location and sharing their ups and downs.
What interested you in getting involved?
We have been abroad ourselves; Tanzania in 1971-77 and 2003-5. We know how much it means to have frequent contact with someone from St G’s, not just the financial support. The prayers of the whole congregation mean a great deal.
What has been the highlight?
Getting close to these rather remarkable people living in cultures that are demanding in various ways, who are doing the work they do in obedience to God. Being more closely connected with parts of the world where overseas workers or mission partners are working. eg, central Asia and the Arab countries. Hearing what it is like to live these places as Christians, which is very different from visiting. For example, Jane Barlow (now Jane Smelt) in the gulf until her marriage in 2004 and Andy Buckler in France.
Where have you seen God at work abroad?
So often they are equipped with courage and grace when many others would have given up long ago. Hugh and Heather Nelson lead a tiny Church with only 5 members at first and now after 10 years they have 15. They have had frequent complaints from a neighbour about the noise created b their ‘happy clubs’ (language classes for kids with a bible story at the end). Just recently they have rented a new property and at last can welcome the children into the Church. They have just heard that they can also rent the flat above the hall which is a direct answer to their prayers of many years!
How has God been working in your own life?
It keeps the mission perspective alive in our lives. We are more in touch with them all, some of whom we knew as Church members before they went abroad. It would be very easy to forget about praying for them without this strong link and we wish others could join in too! Being responsible for keeping in touch with our 5 long-term mission partners and making sure we at St George's pray regularly for them has been a small but hugely rewarding job. The job has given me the opportunity of getting to know them on a personal level and I have felt connected to them and their work in a way that has enriched and blessed me, and I’ve sensed that I’ve been valued by them too.
Anyone interested in taking on this role should contact Stuart Roberts firstname.lastname@example.org
NEXT EVENT: Xchange Xtravaganza Chance to network, hear special guests and share a meal 7pm // 19 July // Church Centre
To find out more info on mission at St George's click here.