Let’s transForm missions and transform the world
Posted on September 20, 2012 by VMMissions Staff
When Shawn and Laura Green first tested their call to long-term missionary service through a one-year internship with tranSend, they discovered that nearly 50% of the support needed for their service was already in place. The tranSend grant fund was ready, covering up to 50% of the cost of one year internships for up to 10 persons per year. Shawn and Laura became involved in ministry in local churches, improved in language and became more acquainted with their host country and culture. God nurtured in their hearts a sense of call to long-term missionary service. They plan to return to Italy early this next year.
VMMissions’ transForm program is a support initiative intended to provide up to 50% of the support for long-term workers similar to the way we now support tranSend internships. VMMissions is creating a hybrid support model, combining the best of the new and the old. VMMissions’ transForm missions program addresses a weakness in the current “relational giving” model, that longer-term workers may find increased challenge in their support network at precisely the time when their service is becoming most fruitful. I expect that transForm will play a part in transforming the world.
Transforming the world is an ongoing process, applying Holy Spirit and Biblical insight into current needs and contexts. As such it is always new, and yet probably never completely novel. West Liberty (Ky.) Mennonite Church was birthed as a Virginia Mennonite Conference congregation in 1980. Its predecessor congregation, Crockett, was birthed in 1949. Hardly new. What is new in the West Liberty congregation is a tornado that devastated the town and community on March 2, 2012.
Earlene and I visited West Liberty recently and saw the lingering affects of the tornado. Much of the town is still in ruins. The local elementary school is destroyed. We heard stories of members seeing neighbors homes “blow up.” Miraculously, only 6 lives were lost, but still, six lives! The West Liberty congregation is working hard in response to the needs of their community. They also need help from others. MDS has responded. VMMissions has designated 50% of Penny Power to assisting this congregation as well. Mutual Aid, we call it, and it too is a kind of hybrid, combining the gifts and abilities of a local congregation with the help of the larger church. In the process, this church and its community will experience transformation.
Two kinds of transformation, and each plays its part in God’s larger plan. Both give each Virginia Mennonite Conference member an opportunity to participate—for God’s Kingdom and Glory!