Later in 2012, we will celebrate our eighth anniversary of ministry in Slovakia. I remember fondly the comment of a friend who said to us after our first return to the United States. She felt sorry for us when reading our early newsletters because she interpreted our struggling to adjust to life and ministry in Slovakia as “sad.” I look back at those newsletters and ask myself “What was I thinking?!” What I have been thinking about lately is the key word in the title of these paragraphs. For me, that word is “partnership.”
Partnership is a commitment to working with local believers and through local churches or organizations to further the Kingdom of God with a primary focus on the Roma people. This commitment gives us the freedom and privilege of investing in a variety of mutually-agreed upon and locally-led projects without demanding ownership or praise for what God does through these projects. It is a joy to see how God has blessed this commitment.
I was asked by one of our partners, “Why would you (meaning believers in the United States) continue to support us?” It is a fine question, but mischaracterizes partnership as mere financial support. Providing finances represents the easiest way to express partnership. A greater investment is needed – and that is an investment in relationship.
We are blessed to minister with so many whom we consider friends. Building upon that basic relationship, we develop a ministry partnership to maximize each of our gifts so that we can together achieve the goals we set. It is a long process, to establish partnerships, but the rewards are many. One of which is knowing that we serve with friends.