30 March, 2012

Back from conference

    We're back home again. Great conference (aside from having to deal with a cold). A good size, we're about 65 people, not including kids. It is always a pity to say goodbye after these events, but we're tired and I'll be glad to be in my own bed tonight.
One of our sons with an MK friend at conference.
    Each year the boys get older, the easier it is. We heard no complaints about the food, though it was quite different to what they are used to. We didn't have to force them to bed early and miss lots of sessions due to sleep needs. There was a great kid's programme and whenever there was spare moments, they were outside playing on the spacious grounds with other OMF kids. It is very cool that all of them have children their age amongst the East Japan OMFers. We felt a little sorry for the couple of girls amongst a tribe of boys (16 of them), but the girls seemed to manage okay. I noted that it was a little bit like hanging out with cousins at a family gathering!
    Our jobs are quite "on the edge of ordinary" even within our mission. OMF Japan is mostly about church planting and most people are either doing it, or training to do it, or a mission leader in one capacity or another or specific mission support worker (e.g. medical advisor). Our ministries are support ministries: education of kids and editing a missionary magazine. Our ministries support not just OMF missionaries, but a wide range of missionaries from different agencies. We don't fit into any neat category of ministry that OMF has, but are glad to be included in their fellowship anyway. And indeed we are very warmly included as part of the group.
    It was great to be given a chance to give a short explanation of what we do to everyone (in fact everyone had that chance). One veteran missionary came up to me told me she had no idea that that was what I was doing. I think it was helpful for people to understand other people's work  just a little bit more. Many of us only see each other once a year, it can be difficult to develop friendships across generations on that basis, but gradually, after six years in this region, it is happening. We were encouraged on several different occasions to mingle with/pray/talk with people who we don't know well and that was a good exercise.
    I'm very aware that we're at the end of several weeks of various family members being away. I know that some families have that happening all the time (thinking of one family in Thailand, particularly). However I'm trying not to compare myself or my family to anyone else, because I know that that path doesn't help me one little bit. We're not used to it, several people in our family don't cope well with the changes that family-member absences bring about and it's been stressful (and I've also made mistakes in my editing job partly as a result of it all). But change is good for us, it helps us to grow and remain flexible and adaptable.
Outdoor "public" bath (steep hill theoretically
preventing accidental trespasses)
    We're facing a lot of change within OMF Japan in the next few months. Just a couple are a change in our field leadership (happens roughly every 10 years) and a change in our regional director (as our current director goes on home assignment with his family for a year). But the longer we remain in mission, the more we see that change is actually a constant in this profession. Even if we ourselves remain in the same place, with the same jobs, there are always changes around us as people come and go.
    Well, enough rambling. I'm off for a shower (missing the conference venue's onsen – hot bath, it was fabulous) and probably an NCIS episode with my husband to wrap up the evening!



1 comment:

Deb L said...

OMF conferences.... I even remember this even though I was a little girl.

NCIS - we too are fans! Nothing like an NCIS episode on the couch with the man that you love (I mean my husband, not Gibbs you understand!) at the end of a long day.