David & Joyce Reed on Opening Night
Processional of Flags #1
Processional of Flags #2
Joyce & Missionary Colleagues
The excitement was palpable as over 1000 people began to file into the 13,000 square foot tent for the opening night of the Mission Conference held July 21-26, 2014. My missionary colleagues and I were dressed in clothing representing the countries in which we served. We were handed the flags of our national partners from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East & the Americas. As the processional music began, we proudly marched them down the center aisle in a burst of color and “Kingdom Here on Earth” pageantry! We were marking the 200th anniversary of the pioneer mission work of Ann & Adoniram Judson that began in Burma in 1814. As I held my flag high, I could only think, “Men and women are still being called to serve as missionaries, and I’m a part of that legacy—WOW!”
In the Presence of Holiness
It had been ten years since I’d seen some of my missionary colleagues, and some I was meeting for the very first time. Being in their presence was not only inspiring and encouraging, but also humbling. Story after story reminded me that I am privileged to work and serve with amazingly gifted and talented human beings. Dwight and Barbara Bolick who serve with the indigenous Mapuche in Chile. Chuck and Ruth Fox who work with the Ahka hill tribe people in Thailand. Doctors David and Laura Parajon serving remote rural communities in Nicaragua. Ray and Adalia Schellinger-Guiterrez who started a women’s shelter in Tijuana, Mexico. Keith and Debbie Myers assisting in community development with the indigenous people of Central Mexico. Dan and Sarah Chetti serving at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Lebanon. This is just a small sample of who I was surrounded by that week, and believe me, it was holy ground!
Every Tribe & Nation
But the ministry my colleagues and I are a part of would not be possible without the national Christians with whom we partner. Over 140 of these national partners were able to attend the mission conference, and their attendance was also awe inspiring. From Brazil, to Chile, to Nicaragua, to Mexico, to Spain, to Bulgaria, to the Republic of Georgia, to Thailand, to India, to Myanmar, to states in Africa, these dignitaries graced us with their presence and reminded us that mission is a cross-cultural, globally connected event.
Theological Education Summit
Near the end of the week, David was able to attend a historical event. All the missionaries and international guests from Iberoamerica & the Caribbean who were involved in Theological Education gathered to discuss future networking possibilities. A theological summit for next March is being planned in Nicaragua to brainstorm the sharing of resources, and how to encourage the education of men and women being called to ministry in Latin America. David commented, “During the two hours we met, we shared struggles and successes, concerns and celebrations. There were so many similarities from one country to the next. It was obvious that God had brought us together in this time and place to vision Kingdom work together.”
The Judsons' Legacy
When I was in the tenth grade, I chose to write my required research paper on the life and mission of Ann and Adoniram Judson. Even as a young woman, their dedication and sacrifice to another part of the world impressed itself upon me. “I want to be like that,” I thought. “Risk everything for Jesus.” Fifteen years ago this August, David and I took that risk as we were commissioned as missionaries to Mexico. Even as I write this, I know God is calling more men and women to service around the world. Perhaps you! 200 years later, the Judsons' legacy continues to boldly call us to rise to the challenge, to say, “Here I am, Lord, send me!”