This week most of our Three Worlds team was in Cairo, Egypt for our annual Staff Meeting. Not with us were Daniel, Christy and Sofie Kihm who are still in the USA and raising funds to join us next year in the Netherlands (Holland). We were also missing Zach and Audrey Langford who are also in the USA raising funds for their new assignment in the U.K. The next time we have our Staff Meeting, we hope to have them with us.
The Staff Meeting is a very intensive time together that focuses on the overall goals and strategy of Three Worlds. It is very much a time of business. There's not much sharing, or dealing with personal issues. That is for a different kind of meeting---a retreat. These meetings are very intensive. We begin at 9Am and go to 5PM and then return for more meetings from 7pm to 9pm. Last night's meeting didn't end until 10:30 PM.
We cover a massive amount of issues during this time: Recruitment, budget issues, tax laws, property issues, media presence, relationships to churches in the USA, an in-depth review of what is happening in all of our mission-fields, report from each 3W team member about what they are doing with an opportunity for others to speak into it, and we look very closely at our 3 main goals and review everything we've done throughout the year:
We look at the 3W prism which focuses our regional goals into a top 3:
1) Engaging young people in cross-cultural ministry
2) Supporting empowered and ACCOUNTABLE leaders under 45 years of age
3) Creating inner-connectivity in the CHOG throughout the region and beyond.
We look at all the work that we've done in detail and see if we really are accomplishing 1, 2, and 3 in the work that we are doing. This is my favorite part, because each year, we see that, yes, indeed, we really are finding concrete ways to engage the young generation, support leaders at critical times, and the region is experiencing ever-higher levels of connectivity.
Under our system, all of the missionaries work regionally and have the opportunity to speak into each other's mission-fields as well as speak into the work we are doing as Regional Coordinators. I love this because the whole team--every member and every mission-field, gets more refined as we process together. New ideas are generated, new connections are made, and we add to each others' work exponentially. And all of our 3W missionaries are all so full of ideas and bring a lot of varieties of expertise to the table, so I find myself learning a lot and getting a lot of great ideas that we latch onto.
So many great connections have been generated: Between Hungary and Bulgaria, between Bulgaria and Germany, between Germany and Italy, between France and Holland, and on and on and on. Three Worlds serves as a mechanism to create that inner-connectivity and strategically empower great work being done throughout the region.
Despite the long meetings which went all day long, there was a lot of laughter and great sharing. The team chemistry is wonderful and that too takes intentionality and a common ethos.
It's also been nice to see our MK's (missionary kids/Third Culture Kids) have such a good time being together and relating to each other. We're proud of all of them.
And it was great getting to spend the Sunday service with the Cairo Christian Fellowship where the Oldhams are the pastors. Our team is very much interested in being an encouraging presence in our churches from Rome, to London, to Egypt.
One of the most surprising things that came out through the meetings is how many of us have great stories from the past year that we simply cannot share on the internet or even in newsletters. There's various reasons for this: security concerns, sensitive issues pending as we solve problems, prejudice against Christians in some regions of Europe, and being sensitive to the privacy of those we deal with in Europe--especially when there is so much skepticism about people in our line of work. There are so many great things we CAN'T Report on, or that we have to wait months and even years to unveil. But we really proceed with maximum caution in this region. We have, for instance, a number of new initiatives that we have been working on for over a year that we hope to unveil in the coming 6 months. There's a lot of stuff like that too.
But all in all, we focus a lot on the long-game, collecting up micro-wins as we go that we believe will have huge pay-offs in the future. In many cases, we are already seeing the fruits of our labor pay off after 2 years of working with this 3W approach.
A Special Thanks to the 3W Teammates here in Cairo: the kids who were patient with the long meetings, the team mates who stayed engaged despite the long sessions, and who made a big effort to be here. And the most thanks goes to the Oldhams for hosting this event in their new home only 10 months after arriving here. They are fabulous hosts. I look forward to being back here in 3 weeks for the 3W Roundtable with our donors.
And to the Langfords and the Kihms, we missed you guys and are anxious for you to add your input and experience to all of the work we are doing in this region. And to the Varners, thanks for all that you did during the start-up phase and we wish you and your growing family the best. We all missed you.