Last week the board of our mission arrived in Madrid and the spent a week with the Spain field. They came with WorldVenture Go Team members, so all total there was about 20 guests in Madrid. We had the privilege of attempting to make their stay comfortable and giving them reports on our ministries. As you can imagine, quite a bit of organizational and administrative work went into the week, so you might ask why the board members and their spouses would sacrifice their own time and money to travel so far, and all to simply hold meetings in Madrid?
Way more went into this trip than simple meetings. By coming to Spain, the board expressed their desire to know up close and personal what missions is like, and from the perspective of the long term missionary. We enthusiastically affirm the value that our mission has for making decisions on the basis of mission field needs and not just the home office goals or objectives. If a mission works the other way around, American values and culture can get in the way of effective Gospel advancing ministry in the country of service. From our experience, WorldVenture has always operated with a field led vision, but the visit from the board to our own field showed us even more how this is the priority.
The board also set aside time to hear the stories of each and every Spain field member. In the mornings, before they addressed the meeting agenda for the day, they patiently listened to our 30-60 minute presentations. After we shared, they affirmed us and prayed over us. Many of them encouraged us and asked for prayer cards and our emails. I think that in a way, they were reminded the reasons for the decisions that they make. They don’t just raise their hand to vote on a number for a budget, but actually serve as advocates and guardians for missionaries. Now they have first hand experiences with us to put faces and names with those decisions.
Finally, the board learned about the great needs in Europe. The difference between hearing about secular humanism and seeing it up close is hard to exaggerate. As we introduced the board to Spanish church leaders, they heard first hand testimony of how the secular philosophy permeates Spanish life. They also had a chance to see exciting ministries that our teammates have helped create.
All this to say–their visit was well worth the time, money, and energy invested!