Photo (L to R): Aaron, Nicole, Ruth (Aaron's next door neighbor), and German XZ community member
On Thursday, we headed off to the airport with Kelley Philips to pick up Aaron and Nicole Varner. Aaron and Nicole make up the youngest part of our Three-Worlds team. Both are in their 20's and its exciting to see them involved in cross-cultural ministry. Aaron has been living in Berlin for just under a year, and he and Nicole just got married this past July. They were kind enough to let us stay in their flat while they were on their honeymoon.
Both of them are highly intuitive, very smart young people with great business and organizational skills. We're really excited to have them here. They will be a part of the XZ Berlin minstry which is based here in Berlin. This community reaches out to the people of Berlin in love and service. In addition to that, we will be using them regionally, dispatching them to places like France, England and Egypt to meet the young people and help to create ways to re-vitalize ministries in Europe and the Middle East. We're sending them to London in a few weeks to lend support to the church there.
This is an example of the way we are changing the use of our missionaries. Instead of them being tied to one country or one ministry as the sole gatekeepers, we are instead using our missionaries to work in some kind of local supportive ministry, but to also have a regional presence where they can help to tackle the CHOG's most pressing issues: the lack of youth involved in church and ministry, the lack of emerging leaders under 40, and a lack of inner-connectivity. Without these 3 challenges being addressed, there's not much point in doing anything else. Consequently, we are using all of our missionaries to strengthen these things not only in the area where they serve, but in our whole region of Europe and the Middle East.
We want the actual needs on the ground (and in the region) to drive how our missionaries are used, as opposed to just slipping them into a default model whether that is helpful or not. We're excited to have such sharp team members who can not only speak into the needs of the younger generations, but they are from that generation themselves.
Welcome Aaron and Nicole!
Photo: Arriving at Tegel International Airport.
Photo: XZ community members decorated their home in anticipation of their arrival.