Asia-Pacific Region: Member Care: (n) the ongoing preparation, equipping and empowering of cross cultural ministry workers for effective and sustainable life, ministry and work.
iConnect was the name for a recent Member Care event, held for cross-cultural ministry workers across the Asia-Pacific Region. The goal was to organize an event that would allow each participant a sacred space to connect to God, his purpose and one another.
“What began as a dream, became a reality and is now a very sweet memory,” remarked Regional Director, Dr. Mark Louw. “Thanks to an extraordinary planning committee who with the help of the team identified key topics and appropriate speakers, we have concluded a historic first gathering of cross cultural servants who were encouraged, motivated and ministered to. Seeing the children play together and adults mingle with new friends from around the globe brought joy to my heart. I am so proud of the outcomes accomplished and the positive feedback received, that my mind is already turning toward the planning of a future regional gathering of cross-cultural servants in four years time. My hope is that an even greater number of our team members will be able to attend.”
The organizing team planned the event to provide information and tools according to what had been specifically requested from team members, while at the same time creating a retreat atmosphere with space for rest and team interaction. This was accomplished through worship services, workshops, round table discussions and fun-time activities.
Dr. John and Linda Seaman, seasoned cross-cultural ministry workers, now serving as DS in Michigan, shared from their heart as they spoke of ‘Knowing God.” They also facilitated a workshop exploring, “Lessons Learned from the Field” and were available for “Pastoral Visits” – a rare treat for some of the participants!
Dr. David Busic, General Superintendent in jurisdiction, invited us to explore the practice of Solitude experiencing the still, quiet voice of God in the midst of very full and demanding lifestyles.
Dr. Mark Louw, A-P Regional Director, challenged us to discover anew, the gift of Sabbath – a powerful message speaking to the rhythm of a life balanced in God. In addition, Mark facilitated workshops and a round table discussion with Marty Hoskins, Dr. Verne Ward and Dr. David Busic, addressing our philosophy of cross-cultural ministry as well as current trends in our denomination.
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The Renewal of the Mind – a workshop exploring the implications of break-through brain science and what happens when we allow God to change us – was facilitated by Monika Knausenberger, a professional counselor from Australia with a heart for cross-cultural workers. Monika also ministered through appointments for private consultation and counseling
Pursuing Peace in the Midst of a Life That Matters – facilitated by Dr. John Moore with Harmon and Cindy Schmelzenbach, integrated an understanding of the physiology of stress management with provided practical tools and a Biblical perspective on achieving peace as a lifestyle, even as we seek to reach goals of eternal significance.
Natalie Ward facilitated a round table discussion which explored resources and tools especially valuable for parents raising children in cross-cultural settings. Parents were encouraged to keep their families in high priority , offering solutions for commonly experienced challenges.
iConnect ministered to a total of 99 participants, including children and facilitators. It was a great success and we thank all who helped to organize, facilitate and participate in this event, which we all hope to see repeated in the future.
— Story submitted by Cindy Schmelzenbach