CHRISTMAS RETREAT BANQUET HALL
Each missionary husband had the opportunity to stand and introduce himself and his family. Probably 70% of the missionaries who attended were missionaries right from Germany.... many to the military bases and numerous families to the Germans themselves. I believe that nearly 15 other countries were represented as well, including three missionary families from Ukraine! (And all of us from Ukraine were first-timers to this event!)
Our biggest surprise came when we met the guest speaker.... who came all of the way from Mexico! Bro. Mike Patterson and his sweet wife Becky are dear, dear friends of the Sloan family. The Pattersons, Sloans, Ashcrafts, and McCoys (I've added some maiden names here).... well, that is another story all in itself, but these friendships go back three generations, as partners reaching Mexico for three generations now! Mexico, Ukraine..... what are the odds of us meeting up with them in Germany?! Well, certainly God's army is spread all across this world!
DR. MIKE PATTERSON, MISSIONARY TO MEXICO
It was also special to see the Klaus family, another of those families we met at a Missions Conference on the deputation trail and were able to see again here seven years later.
We especially enjoyed finally getting to meet another missionary family to Ukraine that we had heard of but never met... the Tim Bagwell family. Funny how it took getting us both to Germany to meet at last! (But we are separated by 900 miles in Ukraine!)
TIM AND JENNIFER BAGWELL & CHILDREN, MISSIONARIES TO L'VOV, UKRAINE
We also saw several other missionary families that we did not know personally, but those for whom we have been praying many, many years since we have been supporting them financially through our home church.
Our meal was served very sacrificially to us. At least a dozen of those who worked in the back while we sat and enjoyed ourselves were people who flew from America to serve for this very evening. I was absolutely stunned when I found out that people had bought tickets to come to Germany just to serve us missionaries. Among those people included a mother and her three talented, young adult daughters. There was also a church group who came with their pastor. And, truly the most humbling for me was to know I was being served by Bro. and Mrs. Darrell Moore, the missions director and his wife at First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. I watched as this dear couple mopped floors, served, and became servants in the purest form for us.
DR. AND MRS. DARRELL MOORE, MISSIONS DIRECTOR AT FBC OF HAMMOND, IN
As we sat at the meal that was kindly served to us, and then through the message, I became sincerely overwhelmed by the culmination of what was represented in that room. So many of the missionaries in there had stood and given testimony of being on the field more than 30 years, and it just moved my heart so deeply that I was humbled and brought to tears. At the end of the message, Pastor Lancaster called on David and I to sing. The tears were already flowing when we began singing, "I Am Not Ashamed (of the Gospel of Jesus Christ)." David and I both wept through the entire song as we stood so humbly before so many worthy servants of our Lord.
Thank you, Pastor and Mrs. Lancaster, for hosting this truly incredible conference. We are humbled, overwhelmed, and encouraged by the things that our eyes have witnessed these last couple of days. One day in Heaven, I am sure we will find out how many missionaries have come to this conference discouraged and defeated, but left feeling refreshed and ready to fight the battle for our Lord once again.
TOM AND DOTTIE LANCASTER, PASTOR OF HOSTING CHURCHLord, please find us faithful as well, after 30+ years of ministry!