Steve and I are heading to Hungary in two weeks to work at the SHARE Family Education Conference, a gathering for missionary families with a focus on education. SHARE helps families with their kids’ educational needs, and this is sort of a boot-camp/just fun camp for all ages. Volunteers are coming from the US to help with all aspects of the conference – kids programs, worship, adult sessions, educational testing, medical needs, counseling, and tons more. We get to work with the teens.
SO EXCITED!! This will be our third SHARE conference and we are STOKED!
But I ask myself, why are we taking off work to go to Hungary to spend a week with Americans? Why are we spending our finances and our ministry partners’ gifts to do this?
In no particular order, this is where I land:
1. Because I was those teens, just 15 years ago and far less cool. I walked that same fractured existence, trying to figure out who you are in light of your unique upbringing. And it was people who intentionally reached out to me in my confused state that helped me to heal and to thrive.
2. Because helping with the teen program is one part of the overall goal of SHARE: to strengthen and equip families on the mission field, thus reduce missionary attrition. The top three reasons why missionaries leave the field prematurely are personnel issues (yup, even Christians have for real conflicts with each other!), health, and issues with kids’ education. the SHARE conference touches all three, obviously focusing on #3, but the medical and counselling volunteers touch #1 and #2 as well.
3. Because we get to serve with some of the most awesome missionaries on the planet, including my in-laws, Mike and Nancy Elwood, and the SHARE staff. SHARE consists of missionaries seconded from other organizations based all over Europe. They are highly skilled educators with decades of experience, and they love kids!
4. Because an alarming number of MKs walk away from the faith or become disenchanted with Christianity after leaving their host country. Even though they grow up in the church and are completely entrenched in Christianity, many drift away. We don’t pretend to have the answers to this highly complex concern, but if we can speak God’s truth into their hearts when we have the chance, we believe God will use that to draw them to Himself.
5. Because for whatever reason, God gave us both the experience of growing up as MKs, and if that is something He wants us to use to reach others, we’ll do it! I’m not naturally a kid person, and the fact that I feel like I’ve come alive during the last two times we’ve been to the SHARE conference is a huge work of the Holy Spirit in my life. Steve is, of course, fabulously confident at everything he does. It’s so fun to serve together!
What You Can Do
Give: We are still lacking about $1,100 in support, but we know God will provide. Here’s a breakdown of our costs:
- Airfare: $1,800
- Conference hotel: $500
- Food: $300
Online giving is not available, sadly. (It’s kind of a bare-bones operation) Gifts can be sent to the address below, and include a note with our names.
SHARE Education Services
5137 Waterford Road
Clarkston, MI 48346
Pray: Obviously, the enemy doesn’t want any this to happen. Every year, there are hiccups along the way and potential derailers. Here are some practical things to pray for.
- Pray that the teens have hearts that are open to the voice of God.
- Pray that we – all the volunteers and staff – stay healthy so we can effectively minister.
- Pray that we are good witnesses to the hotel staff.
- Pray that the Holy Spirit is present in each kids’ program, adult seminar, worship session, and goofy teen hangout time.
Stay tuned for more posts about SHARE!