A letter from Marta Carriker in Brazil
…I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be (Philippians 3:12b, NLT).
Dear friends and family,
Interpretation Assignment (IA) is the name of the time we spend in the U.S. after a term of work in another country, in our case, in Brazil. It should be a time to interpret the mission of our church to the congregations we visit. But it is also a time to learn from the congregations about what God is doing in this country, a time of receiving your interpretation of how our church has fared during the last few years in the ministry God has called us all to be involved in.
I have to say this IA has been very encouraging to us. In the midst of turbulence caused by churches leaving the denomination we have found that many are doing their best to remain faithful to God’s call to be a blessing where they are. Some of the highlights of this time for us were the New Wilmington Mission Conference in Pennsylvania, where we had the privilege to talk to high school students for a week, and share our story with other age groups as well. I confirmed my suspicion that many of the high school students attending that conference had already taken part in short-term mission trips to other parts of the U.S.A. or abroad. That indicates to me a desire on the part of their parents to teach them to serve others, as Jesus taught us. Some of these students are already taking the road of longer involvement in missions. For example, some of the students who came to Brazil as part of the summer service of that conference are now involved full time in ministry. When asked which was most important, short-term or long-term mission involvement, the students we talked to answered “both” every time. I agree with them, short-term mission trips are like sowing a seed, long-term mission work is like dedicating your life to working the soil, planting the seed, watering the plant and, God willing, seeing the fruit of your labor. After 35 years of ministry in Brazil we can see the fruit, and we are so thankful to all of you who made it possible!!!
Another wonderful experience for us was to meet other missionaries and members of our staff we did not know before, both at that New Wilmington conference and at our own sharing conference in Louisville. The dedication of these people, their faithfulness in doing their best sometimes in less than optimal conditions, in countries where poverty seems to be growing, need is pervasive and challenges are great, were quite an inspiration to us. We thank all of our colleagues for sharing their story and our staff for sharing their gifts with us. We pledge to pray more and hope to do as faithful a job.
Finally, I want to mention the churches, the wonderful brothers and sisters who received us so well in so many congregations, providing us time to rest and learn, wonderful meals, irreplaceable friendship and care. You are the best! It is plain to see your commitment to Christ through all that you do, living out your faith and being a channel of God’s grace to those around you. Thank you!
As we prepare for another term of service in Brazil, we leave renewed by what we have witnessed here. Yes, there are challenges before us, but the presence of our God with you and your response to his love were evident to us. Please pray for us for God’s direction and empowerment.
Tim and Marta Carriker
The 2012 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 27
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