Polly and I are now in Colorado at the Mission Training Institute with thirty-seven other folk and many of their children all being trained, stretched and taught about the mission field. What an amazing gathering.
First off, I am the oldest in the group. There are a very few of us in out fifties and sixties. Most are young and in their twenties and thirties. There is an all pervading youthful energy and enthusiasm that makes this especially invigorating. From my years as a parish priest I know the value of youth and young adults. They are lively and enthusiastic, often vocal and ready to change the world. In the parish they were a minority usually and all too often “controlled” by the “elders.” Here they are the majority. Their contribution is awesome and we are only at the end of day one! There are going to be a full three weeks of this. My prayer is that I become young again in spirit. I know that my hair will still be grizzled and my body far less than youthful, but I pray to learn from them and be infected by their vibrancy.
We rode from the airport with a young man who is going to Afghanistan. He will be in a town in a valley where he wants to set up a bicycle shop, maybe even hold bike races. He will be joining other missionaries.
A couple – not much younger than us are going out to serve the Missionary Aviation fellowship to look after their computer systems in south central Africa.
A young woman is going to eastern China to work amongst Chinese Muslims. She will seek out a local “underground church” and they will become her team.
Most folk have to learn a new language, raise support and expect to spend a lifetime overseas. They will leave homes, careers, families, churches, all that is familiar and be “spliced” into a new culture where they will assimilate, raise children, bear children and God willing be witnesses to Jesus Christ in such a way as to win converts to Christ.
I am in AWE.