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Embracing the Helplessness

For John and Shari Jones, their first eight months of serving in France have been a valuable lesson in embracing helplessness.

Often, it’s the small moments that are the hardest. One Sunday at church, a little eight-year-old girl came prancing up to John and Shari at the end of the worship service. She looked at John and began to chat up a storm, repeating the words cache-cache. John struggled to comprehend, searching his brain for the French he had accumulated in past classes. It was a long time before he realized the girl wanted to play hide-and-seek.

At first, this conversation discouraged John. With all he had to offer, he found himself in a place where he could not even converse with a child. Then John remembered the cross-cultural training he received with Encompass World Partners in Atlanta. They had taught him that in moments like these he needed to embrace the helplessness. When we are weak, God is strong.

Even with so many years of experience, ministry in this new context has been stretching and humbling.

It was after 24 years of pastoral ministry in Marion, Ohio, that John and Shari followed the Lord’s direction to join the staff at the Château de Saint Albain in France. It meant moving an ocean away from their family and leaving behind the roles they had filled so effectively.

In spite of the challenges, the Joneses are thriving at the Château, and every day that passes, they feel more thankful for their cross-cultural preparation.

“Without the preparedness Encompass provided, it would have been so much harder to overcome those first couple of months in the field.” –John and Shari Jones

It’s difficult when you can’t confidently speak the dominant language in a culture, but John and Shari continue to lean on their Encompass training. They are embracing the learning process and have begun to enjoy this part of their adventure. On their hardest days, they can hear their Encompass trainers repeating the phrase “be a learner” over and over.

Jones France

Consider This:

At Encompass World Partners, we desire to help individuals, global workers, and churches engage God’s global mission in meaningful ways. What makes cross-cultural workers effective? A call from God? Yes. Prayer and financial support? Absolutely. But the foundational work to equip them for thriving ministry begins long before they arrive on the field.

Cross-cultural training gives a valuable global perspective, and Encompass desires to not only provide that for those they send, but also for individuals and churches right here. Would you consider looking to the nations and engaging with one of our upcoming initiatives?