The 2018 Emmaus Global Strategy Conference was an absolute treat to be a part of. Convened in the ideally positioned Hohegrete Christian Retreat Center not far from Cologne, Germany, this “get together” of many of the Emmaus country directors and associates had so many benefits. When I was first invited, I have to admit that I dismissed the opportunity. As a small office run by my wife and myself, the time involved to travel 32,200 kilometres return from Australia, and attend a three-day conference, seemed out of the question. However, God had a grander plan, and through some ‘not so gentle coaxing’ from Jim Fleming, and the required funds becoming available, we found we had less excuses not to attend. I am so pleased I did!
It was not only an opportunity to meet the people from all over the world whom God is using to His glory through the Emmaus ministry, but it was a time to share ideas and strategies that will enhance the effectiveness of the ministry worldwide.
As various conference delegates shared initiatives and how they were utilising the resources available through Emmaus in their fields of service, there was an abundance of information to inspire and encourage all who attended.
It is impossible for me to share in a few words all that I gained from the conference, but the following captures the highlights for me:
Fellowship. There was a good balance and utilisation of time so that delegates could hear and learn from each other, but could also just chat together, with the result that new and lasting friendships were made.
Family. For many who work somewhat isolated, or individually or in small teams, it was great to be made aware of just how big the Emmaus family is, and yet how connected it is. Although the name is Emmaus International, it now has the feel of a close family.
Fervency. The conference was inspiring, because I don’t think it matters how vigorously one may start off the race, weariness and even disappointment can slow the steps of the most fervent “runner.” For me, who has only been on the Emmaus team for a couple of years, to have the opportunity to sit beside someone who has been with the ministry for over 30 years, was indeed inspiring. To hear what God has done over 75 years, and the plans and developments in place to see the ministry grow and flourish into the future according to God’s will, gives us every reason to want to push harder, reach further, and gather in the harvest God would give us.
Faithfulness. A stand out highlight for me, was the diversity of people and skills God uses. As diverse as those were at the conference, it seemed that the most common denominator was faithfulness – faithful to God’s calling, and faithful to the task given. I felt this was epitomised in the presentation by Brother Martin Vedder who brought to us the history of the ZAM ministry; the life and service of this faithful Brother left a lasting impact on me. It was with godly humility that he wisely instructed us that we are not to attempt God’s work alone. Rather as we network, and fervently ask God to provide the right links, the right partners with the right skills and giftings, the right opportunities, and the right timing, we will see that anything is possible!
It is my desire as the Lord leads and provides these things learnt and modelled at the conference, that we can grow the effectiveness of the Emmaus ministry in Australia. It is our prayer that through the Emmaus resources, many, many more precious souls will be made aware of God’s salvation plan, and that God’s people will connect the Bible to their daily walk so they can thrive rather than just survive.
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