Sunday, April 17, 2011

New Ministry Partners: Pioneers

In between those trips to the beach, we spent a week at the Pioneers U.S. mobilization base in Orlando.  They have an amazing campus located right on a lake, complete with a KOA campground, swimming pool, and plenty of wildlife!  We even found a baby alligator wandering around the property while we were there! 

Anyway, we were part of a group of 30 candidates attending the orientation with Pioneers and it was an exciting time of finding out more about how this agency's vision for ministry and core values as well as getting to know the folks at Pioneers and the other candidates there.  We thought it was a very profitable week for us and we are happy to announce that we have been accepted as members of Pioneers.  And the more we learn about Pioneers, the more excited we are for this opportunity to partner with them in ministry!  We think that the ministry among the Totonac in Puebla will definitely benefit from this relationship. 

Highlights from this trip include (but are not limited to!) kid-free time to hang out as a couple (we left our kids behind in the Midwest with my sisters!), beautiful scenery in FL, friends both old and new, focus on missions, our beautifully decorated room, an atmosphere of grace, openness and transparency, and lots and lots of laughter.  We look forward to returning as a family in June for our next week of training! 

Pioneers' Mission statement:  Pioneers mobilizes teams to glorify God among unreached peoples by initiating church-planting movements in partnership with local churches.

Pioneers Core Values:
  1. Passion for God...The Great Commandment is our motive for the Great Commission. We want to live our lives fully surrendered to Him so that all nations may know that He alone is God.
  2. Unreached Peoples...Pioneers focuses on those with the least opportunity to hear and understand the gospel.
  3. Church-Planting Movements...We want to see new believers united in fellowship with other believers, forming churches that plant churches—until all peoples are reached.
  4. Ethos of Grace...Understanding that each person bears the image of God, we endeavor to cultivate an atmosphere of mutual acceptance and respect in all our relationships, encouraging each one to attain his or her full potential in Christ. 
  5. The Local Church...Pioneers partners with sending churches to plant new communities of Christians. We also work alongside local, indigenous fellowships wherever possible. 
  6. Team-centered...Teams that are both task- and member-focused are the core of Pioneers. This is crucial since many of the world's remaining unreached peoples are in difficult and isolated pockets of the world. 
  7. Innovation and Flexibility...Reaching the world's remaining unreached peoples requires creativity and a sensitivity to the unique calling, vision, and needs of each missionary. 
  8. Participatory servant-leadership...Pioneers has a decentralized leadership structure. We are principle- rather than policy-driven, applying an interactive approach to decision making that is based on trust.

Trip to Florida...Fun in the Sun!

We've been busy!  On April 1st we arrived in Florida for our first orientation/training week with a mission agency called Pioneers.  We flew on a smaller airline that only flies on Mondays and Fridays in the spring months, so we had a day before the training started to visit with our friend Angela.  She took us to the beach and we had a great time...we pretty much spent every spare minute talking our heads off!  lol

I really did not expect Miguel to actually get in the water since it was a bit of a chilly day, but he did!  He and Angela's kids had a blast braving the waves, digging in the sand and having mud fights.  I was the victim of this particular mudball! 

After the orientation, Miguel headed south for Venezuela and I spent the weekend with Angela again before flying back to Arkansas.  Of course we had to go back to the beach again...this time I was the one who hung out with Angela's kids in the was great! 

Another highlight of this trip was getting to hang out for an evening with some of my MK friends I grew up with in Colombia.

There were other highlights, too, like the visiting owl, margaritas at Mi México, the slightly dismembered lizard the cat drug in, Spanish moss, wild turkeys and sandhill cranes, lunch with a rooster and so much more...I am treasuring these memories...