“We are ordinary Christian ladies,” says Rebecca Wendland, “committed to serving Christ as a priority, following our husbands in their ministries, living in faith, daily trusting that our God will provide and follow through on his promises and give us what is needed to cope with whatever may come our way.”
Wendland, who has spent 14 years in Malawi, Africa, with her husband, Robert, was one of 24 world missionary wives who gathered together in Athens, Greece, from Feb. 23–27. This conference, the first of its kind, was funded by the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society.
As Julia Wagenknecht, a member of the conference planning committee who has spent time on many different world mission fields, explains, “The theme for our precious four days together was ‘(En) Courage in Christ,’ and that theme weaved into areas of family life, ministry, and cross-cultural experiences. Many hugs were exchanged along with stories of blessings and challenges from those recently new to a mission field to some who have spent 30-plus years in world mission service.”
Throughout the weekend the women had opportunities to tour the sites of Athens and learn the history of Greece while making historical connections to biblical stories and the spread of the early Christian church through the Bible study on the book of Acts led by Andrea Wordell, who served with her husband, Brad, in Asia for many years.
“Having a devotion ‘on location’ of certain Scripture references—such as the Bema in Corinth—was profound as it deepened my understanding of the meaning in context,” says Wendland. “Studying the Word with the other American WELS women was so precious because we don’t have those opportunities very often.”
In addition to sightseeing and Bible study, the conference included worship, breakout sessions, and time for the women to get to know one another.
Susan Nitz, who serves alongside her husband, Paul, in Malawi, says, “By the end of the conference, it seemed as if we were all close friends instead of strangers, and it was evident that the goal of our conference had been met—to make connections with sisters in Christ serving in distant places and form friendships and relationships that will certainly continue after our brief four days together.”
Wendland notes that the group has been keeping in touch since the conference ended through an instant messaging smartphone app. She says, “I am so encouraged by the ladies as we all pray for each other. It is wonderful to get to know the women and their varied ministries. Some have sent updates and pictures from their latest programs, which are inspirational. Some are sharing photos and updates of daily ministry and living. We’ve recently ‘traveled through Russia’ as Luke and Jennifer Wolfgramm made a road trip to deliver supplies to a far away congregation. It brings a sense of togetherness in our united world mission work that we have never known before.”
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Volume 104, Number 5
Issue: May 2017
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