We spent the last 2 weeks of January in Germany at the GO conference held by our sending organization, Operation Mobilization, with other OMers who are new to the field where they are serving.
It was a busy time of digesting material about the Core Values of OM and discussion to prepare us for the experience ahead as we move to new countries of different cultures with new job roles and spiritual warfare to be waged. Here are some of the “highs” and “lows”, if you will, to give you a taste of our time there.
Highs of the GO Conference
- Building relationships with new friends – networking with other OMers and building that support base.
- Sharing a Coke and discussion with the OM Director and his wife – listening to their insights about serving in ministry as a couple. Basically we were told, “You’re the most important team”, so we need to make our relationship a priority over many things that crowd in (not rocket science but encouraging to hear him say).
- Listening to George Verwer (founder of OM) speak about his passion for those who don’t know Christ and the marginalized who are suffering– such a blessing to share in his legacy through involvement in OM and all it has stood for all these years and to see his utter humility regardless of all God has done because of His faith and willingness to obey.
- Buying food in the German grocery store to take back to Italy with us where we can’t find them or pay dearly for them (Peanut Butter, BBQ sauce, Cream Cheese, Heinz Ketchup, Asian noodles, various spices)!
- Receiving new information and helpful reminders – about everything from culture shock, to the immense importance of the Word of God in our lives, to our need to trust Him in all things, to the joy that it is to be a part of the international body of Christ and worship our Savior together.
- Worshipping through music in English – there were several times of corporate worship in song and not only was it great to be able to do so in my own language but it was inspiring to listen to the choir around me of people from all over the world who have given their lives to full time ministry.
- Arriving “home” – though it’s still a little strange to call it home, it was so nice to have a place we could call our own to come back to!
Lows of the GO Conference
- Leaving our new home – it was difficult to have to pack up and go to the conference just 2 days after we’d moved into our apartment and began to feel settled.
- Battling Fatigue and a Sickness – Erika was sick off and on throughout the conference which resulted in a trip to a German doctor’s office and lots of time resting in bed.
- Sliding around on the windy roads in the Alps – though Jon did a fantastic job getting us back to Italy from Germany despite the icy, foreign, roads and non-winterized vehicle.
- Sleeping in bunk beds and sharing a bathroom – our accommodations were clean and warm but not exactly comfy for a couple.
- Scraping frost off the car windows with our fingernails – since we had no scraper in the team vehicle we’d driven to Germany.
Hopefully that gives you a glimpse of what we’ve been up to. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of busyness as we continue to unpack, purchase the new things we need for our place, and arrange it to make it our home! More to come soon on that front.