Several people have asked…if you’re going to Japan why did you just go on a missions trip to Malaysia? Yes we are aware that these are different countries.
Quick explanation: Each year MTW gathers missionaries from a specific area of the world (this year was Asia – Pacific) for a retreat. These retreats offer a time for missionary families to take a weeklong respite from their busy ministry schedules to relax as a family, attend seminars, and generally pursue some mental, relational, and spiritual health. While the parents are in seminars MTW provides a time for the teenagers (aged 10 to 18) to hang out together as a youth group. We served as a part of the 21 person Global Youth and Family Ministries (GYFM) team that put this on. This team is a dream team of youth ministry folks and it is a privilege and honor for us to work with them!
Each day the 57 missionary kids would gather together in a large room for games, fellowship, worship, and time studying the Bible together. This year Brooks was the evening speaker – and shared stories from the book of Judges. He challenged them to live their lives as “billboards” for God – letting our lives and actions point people to worship the living God and live counter-culturally.
We loved singing with this youth group. The kids had grown up all over Asia Pacific – and have grown up speaking many different languages. But when we would gather as a large group we could join together and praise God with one voice. As the week progressed several missionary kids joined our worship band on the keyboard and drums!
In the afternoon we would divide up into small groups by ages. This provided a time for these teens to share their unique experiences together. Because they have grown up cross culturally and often in areas where there are not thriving churches, providing an opportunity for genuine fellowship with Christian peers is very important for them. Creating space for these relationships to develop is one of the most important aspects of our GYFM ministry.
Riva's small group of 8th grade girls - these girls will be in the same small group at the next area retreat!!
But as all youth events go we left plenty of room for craziness…
We also were able to get in a day of sightseeing around Singapore!
Overall the week was exhausting but so incredible. We were able to spend time with our GYFM team and our team that we will serve on in Japan! We met so many amazing missionaries from all across Asia Pacific and heard stories of how God is moving in great ways all over the world! We were able to see new friendship formed among missionary kids and old friends reconnect!
Please pray for these teenagers as they travel back to their homes, enter back into school, and continue to serve God overseas by living as billboards for God in their countries. And continue to pray for us that we would raise support quickly so that we can move to Japan and be able to provide more opportunities for them to gather together and encourage one another! Wouldn’t it be great if they didn’t have to wait 4 more years for the next Area Retreat to see each other?!
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