Feature

I Highly Recommend . . .

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You casually overhear friends enthusiastically describing a recent experience. Maybe it was the two thumbs-up dinner in a good restaurant or an attraction they enjoyed on vacation. When you inquire about it, your friends recount memorable details and you listen with interest. This personal review carries more credence than a promotional brochure or a sound bite on the radio. The conversation finishes with, “We recommend it highly. We think you would like it, too.”   

Now, I know you didn’t ask, but please permit me to make a personal recommendation to you from an encounter that recently impacted Marina and me. It’s not about a restaurant or a tourist attraction. It is much bigger. It is about some very impressive people you will be meeting later this year.

In July, Marina and I were guests at a “reentry” conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for all of our Alliance international workers who had just returned to the United States after four-year terms overseas. (We were invited to present a daily pastoral message to the group.) Their six-day, schedule-packed conference, known as HAMS (Home Assignment Ministry Seminar), is hosted by our U.S. C&MA National Office each year to assist our returning international workers in reconnecting in the United States during their year at home.

We were privileged to hang out with our international workers all week and hear some of what is happening in God’s Church around the world. One night, we gathered in a large circle and listened to our international family spontaneously share stirring stories from overseas. Some told of dramatic breakthroughs in people’s lives, often after they had been ministering in their respective countries for many years. Others recounted unbelievable stories of God’s intervention. Several shared vulnerably of straining days in the dark places where they know God has called them to serve. Marina and I were overwhelmed by their courage and their faith. They exemplify humility and selfless passion for others.

At every HAMS, our international workers are debriefed and updated on what is happening in American culture and our churches as well. The time together helps them to be more effective communicators when they visit our Alliance churches in the ensuing months.

And that is where you will be able to meet them. I urge you not to miss the chance to connect with them when they show up at your church later this year or next year. These are remarkable people. They are true heroes we really want our youth to know and admire. Most importantly, they show us a tangible side of loving God as well as loving the people that He loves all over the world.  

When they come to your church, let them impact your church family. Let them impact your family. Please don’t take a pass on it. I encourage you to show up for the events your church will host. Being around these people is big. I highly recommend them to you. Two thumbs up.

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