Barb Wooler, Director of Crisis Response for Encompass, contacted new global worker Jo with a promising proposal. Barb asked Jo if she was willing to fly to Western Asia to meet with some young ladies who were in similar ministry contexts. The purpose of the trip was to build camaraderie and enjoy some fellowship with those traveling the same road.
After several hard months of roughing it through cross-cultural transitions in Germany, Jo took a breath of relief at the thought of sharing some time with others who would “get” her experience. She was excited to go, but she wondered, “Would this be worth interrupting my new life and routine?”
A few weeks later, Jo flew to Western Asia and met up with Kelly and Sarah. After the first few hours with them, Jo said, “Wow! I can’t believe how refreshing it is to be with people who know exactly how I feel. Kelly and Sarah are both single women, learning a new language and culture, and trying to disciple Muslims and refugees. They can understand exactly how I feel.”
Along with the inside jokes and shared experiences, what was truly profitable in this time of fellowship was to hear how these two women were struggling in the same ways as Jo. Oddly enough, when you hear another person share struggles that you can personally relate to, it can be really strengthening.
On top of the “You too?” moments, it was enriching for Jo to hear some new perspectives from Kelly and Sarah. They were doing similar ministry, but they had new insights which Jo could never have seen on her own. When you’re flying solo, it’s easy to default into an echo chamber. But, when you take on the vantage point of others who are staring at the same picture as you, it leaves you more complete than you were before. It’s empowering!
Eventually, the young women were joined by Ivy, a seasoned Encompass global worker. She shared with them as many stories as she could muster hoping to inspire their ministries. For several years, Ivy has lived in the Muslim world, reaching the refugees and the marginalized of society. At the end of the day, Jo was greatly impacted by Ivy’s missional wisdom. On the other hand, Ivy was honored to see such passionate women taking up the mantle.
After the weekend, Jo returned home with a smile. She said, “The trip was beyond amazing. It was a lot of socializing in four days, but everyone left re-energized.” Through the camaraderie of fellow global workers, Jo was made afresh, more excited, and equipped for the challenges that lay ahead! Was it worth it? Absolutely!
Jo’s mission in Germany is to care for refugees, physically and spiritually, in any way that she can. Being an immigrant herself, she can relate in some way to the struggle of being the outsider. This work is hard, but it is an opportunity to drastically impact lives with the love of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” There is a great need for global workers! We need people, like Jo, who are willing to reach the refugee. At Encompass World Partners, we believe that we can go further in mission together. Jo has been able to go further because of her connection to people like Sarah, Kelly, and Ivy. But, she can go even further with new teammates!