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A Missionary Respite

Hundreds of personnel grateful for preparatory training time in Missouri.

More than 900 missionaries serving, or about to serve, with the Assemblies of God around the world gathered in Springfield, Missouri, in June to prepare themselves for ministry. Pastor Jeff Peterson and the leadership team at Central Assembly of God hosted all events for Assemblies of God World Missions.

The earliest arrivals, 83 new missionaries and 78 missionary associates, were in place for nearly two weeks of missionary training and pre-field orientation. About 350 veteran missionaries who are in the U.S. to raise support before returning to their fields swelled the attendance for the final days of missionary renewal.

Nearly half of the attendees were missionary kids, who followed an active schedule of events geared to their different age groups. Central AG is a block west of the AG National Leadership and Resource Center, where AGWM is headquartered.

"It has been very helpful to have our staff so close to Central Assembly's facilities and a big cost and time savings in not having to move our staff offices to a remote location," says AGWM Administrator Keith Kidwell.

"When our missionaries walk through Central, they can see that missions is rooted in this church's history," says Rick L. Johnson, Personnel and Member Care director for AGWM.

Events throughout the various gatherings connected participants with pastors, district leaders, and AGWM leadership.

"Serving as a missionary is really all about layers of accountability," Johnson says. "Missionaries have accountability to their local church, to their sending district, to their supporting churches and individuals. They have accountability to AGWM. When they get on the field, they're accountable to that field fellowship of missionaries and the local church. The blessing is, there is a lot of prayer covering, spiritual support, and a lot of valuable relationships established."

Missionaries welcome the opportunity to participate in this annual gathering.

"The spiritual emphasis in all of the services refreshed our souls," says Michael Mills, missionary to Uruguay. Of one of the prayer gatherings Mills notes, "When we all prayed together in clusters, I sensed the coming of a strong rain. I felt like we have experienced the dusty part of mission work around the world and now we are going to experience a deluge of the Holy Spirit's out pouring anointing all around the world."

"We are so grateful for the investment of AGWM and all its staff," says Nick Krake, missionary to the Pacific island nation of Palau. "Coming from a country where our family is the only AGWM family on the field, we couldn't have been more blessed. Connecting with our larger missionary family, our leaders, and support staff has been encouraging and refreshing, and I believe it will be a great foundation for the year of itineration we have ahead. There aren't sweeter words to hear than 'welcome home' from those who believe and support the call the Lord has put in our lives."

Photo credit: Timothy Meacham

Scott Harrup

Scott Harrup is senior editor at Convoy of Hope. He previously served as managing editor of the Pentecostal Evangel.