Sunday, August 26, 2007

Global Impact Conference at FBC Oviedo, FL

I returned this week from a Global Impact Conference (GIC) in Oviedo, FL. So what exactly is a GIC? Well, it's a missions conference, in this case, put on by a mega-church near Orlando.

Some missions supporters might be thinking right now, "ok, I can see missionaries going to missions conferences while on furlough, but to leave the field to go to Florida? What's up with that?"

Our region allows each team of missionaries to participate in one mobilization opportunity per year outside of its geographic area. FBC Oviedo has come down to work with our team on multiple occasions, including three times since I have been in Porto Alegre (PoA). So, the minister of missions at the church invited me to come and represent our team and see how we can partner together more closely.

I left PoA on Monday and arrived in Orlando on Tuesday around lunchtime. During the trip, I had several lenghty layovers and was able to get some good, undistracted writing time in on my worldview documents for our upcoming Strategy Coordinator training. On Tuesday night, we had a general orientation meeting and told about our schedule for the week. We had time during the day on Wednesday to put up our booths before supper. Then we worked our booths for about two hours before the big missions worship service that night. We entered the sanctuary follwing the flags of our respective countries, and had the chance to particpate in the service with a missionary speaker and several missionary testimonies from current and former members of the church. Thursday was a hard, laborious work day at - you guessed it, Epcot :) That night, I had a chance to have dinner with "The Trailblazers," who were the volunteer team from Oviedo that came to work with us in May. We discussed the work and the follow up, and began to make some tentative plans for returning to PoA.

Jeff eating with "The Trailblazers"

On Friday, I was able to get some much needed writing done, and we had a senior adult missions lunch and and evangelism banquet that night with a 911 survivor from India who is now a full-time evangelist. On Saturday, all of the missionaries met together to talk about our ministries and how we could network better together. That night, I had an opportunity to speak to two separate home fellowships made up of combined SS classes. I showed a brief video on our work and was able to speak for about an hour to an hour and a half on our work in PoA. I left them with videos, bookmarks, and information sheets on our work. On Sunday morning, I met with three more classes. These small group times were very helpful, as they gave face-to-face interaction with church members and allowed them to ask questions in a very personal setting. I met two professionals who seem extremely interested in coming down to work with us in some innovative new ways. I also had extensive opportunities to discuss some ministry opportunities in English as a Second Language (ESL) with several missionaries, as well as with the head of the ESL program of the church, who has prior short-term experience in PoA. The week concluded with a prayer service on Sunday night where each of the missionaries was prayed over by name.

Jeff and Chris, one of our "Trailblazer" Volunteers - notice his RS teeshirt!

All in all, it was a very positive week. I can realistically see the possiblities of at least 4 volunteer teams coming to work with us out of the fruit of conversations I had. In addition, I was able to distribute several DVDs, as well as hundreds of bookmarks and information sheets to promote prayer for our people group. So, was it time well spent to pull a missionary off the field? I think that can be answered with a resounding yes - and not just because I got to ride "Mission Space" at Epcot.

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