Dear Friends of The Antioch Partners (TAP),
Our last newsletter shared about TAP as a growing community. This month we feature TAP’s distinctive as a caring community.
Caring For Partners
One question we ask of applicants to The Antioch Partners is, “What has drawn you to TAP?” Frequently the response comes, “Your commitment to member care.”
Many of you know some of the incredibly gifted, mature, cross-culturally invested people with whom we have the privilege of serving. Yet, even very mature servants realize that they are not in this mission-kingdom venture alone. Jesus wasn’t kidding when he called us to love one another. Paul and other New Testament writers flesh that out in practical ways, calling for us to bear one another’s burdens and to encourage one another day by day.
From the beginning TAP has taken this seriously, knowing that the greatest resource in mission is people.
People like Lisa who gave up a job she loved in Chicago, sold her home, said good-bye to family and friends and moved to Lima, Peru, last year. Lisa is answering God’s call as a follower of Jesus who is an occupational therapist. Previously, during a short term trip to Peru with a group that gives away wheelchairs, Lisa realized that some of the children wouldn’t need wheelchairs if they had access to therapy. She took that to prayer and what came was an invitation from a growing evangelical church in Lima to join them in developing a ministry with people who live with disabilities.
In May we had the privilege of spending a week and a half with Lisa, meeting some friends and colleagues, experiencing the challenges of getting around Lima on public transport, and seeing her in her element working with children with disabilities in a state-run orphanage. Lisa is improving her Spanish, learning her way around, navigating new relationships across cultures and discerning where, amongst the many needs and opportunities, God is calling her to spend her time, energy and gifting.
Earlier this year we drove to the Northwest to visit face-to-face with other TAP Partners (missionaries) who were back in the US for education, support raising, and visiting churches and family. We spent a couple of days with the House family who will be returning to Thailand next month where they are teaching in a seminary and coordinating relief and development with refugees on the Thai border. Then we visited the Taylor family who is transitioning after their first term in Swaziland to join a community development ministry in Zambia. We also met with the leadership of the Taylor’s home church and talked together about how TAP and the church share the responsibilities of care and accountability for our Partners.
Caring With Sending Churches
Working with sending churches, such as TAP Partner Debi Elliott's church in California, is an essential part of member care. Offering workshops to the support teams of our Partners in their primary sending churches, we talk about what member care is and how in practical ways we can care for, keep in touch with and support the people we’re sending out in mission from our churches. How do we change “out of sight, out of mind” to “gone, but not forgotten”? We know the greatest resource in mission is people.
An Opportunity To Care
TAP has been equipping, sending and supporting people in mission for seven years. We have close to 70 people, including children, who have been appointed to serve as TAP Partners around the world with three couples ‘in line’ to be interviewed as we write this. Who knows how many Partners (missionaries) we’ll be serving a year from now? By faith we are planning to bring everyone together for 5 days of worship, spiritual refreshment, learning and fellowship in our first All-Partner Retreat in October 2015.
Our goal is to have such a retreat every three years. As this has not been part of our Partners’ budgets, TAP is committed to cover the costs for this first conference. This is a huge undertaking with significant costs for travel, room and board for up to 120 people. We ask you to join us in praying as we seek God in the planning and fundraising for this Retreat. If you or your church would consider making a special gift to The Antioch Partners, please contact us at email@example.com
. We would love to share more with you about this gift of a sabbatical retreat for our Partners.
Serving together in Christ,
Anne & John Wheeler-Waddell
Member Care Coordinators
The Antioch Partners