By Carol Brown

published in Family Matters eNewsletter June 30, 2016

Last week at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s General Assembly in Greensboro, North Carolina, I had a very encouraging experience. Renee Bennett, who was unable to attend the assembly at the last minute, asked me to represent Highland Hills at the Encourager Church Thank You Breakfast on Friday morning. Now, I’m not much of a morning person so I was tempted to say, “thanks, but no thanks,” but I love Renee and I love missions so I accepted.

The Encourager Church Thank You Breakfast was an event to celebrate and thank churches that support and encourage CBF field personnel. Our church serves as an Encourager Church for several field personnel including Missy Ward in Uganda, Trey Lyon in Atlanta, Carson and Laura Foushee in Japan, and Shane and Dianne McNary in Slovakia.

By taking Renee’s place at the breakfast, I had the joy of sitting around a table with Missy Ward, Trey and Jen Lyon and their two children, Gabe and Taylor, and several other Encourager Church representatives. Our breakfast conversation was lively and filled with news about the good work that these field personnel are doing in their communities.

As we finished the last of our bacon and eggs, we turned our attention to the front of the banquet room where Carson and Laura Foushee shared with the group about their ministry in Japan. The Foushees, who are completing their third year as CBF field personnel, were visiting the U.S. for the first time since leaving for Japan. They had much good news to share about the relationships that they have established and the bridges that they have built with the people in their communities in Japan. I was very proud to call them “our field personnel” and to know that our church has helped to make their ministries in Japan possible. Carson and Laura will be back in the U.S. for an extended stay in September and they are making plans to visit Highland Hills to give us a personal report on their work.

This breakfast event was meant to be a time to say thank you to churches for encouraging our field personnel but I felt greatly encouraged by those whom we were supposed to be encouraging. The field personnel that we support, and all of the other CBF field personnel serving all around the globe, are an amazing group of ministers, dedicated to walking alongside the people in their communities and bringing the love of God into all that they do. Their enthusiasm was infectious and I left that breakfast with a heart filled with gratitude for the work of “our field personnel” and for a church that is generous and committed to supporting these important ministries.