It was 35 years ago on June 6, 1982 that Nancy and I made our marriage vows to each other. It was only one day after our graduation from a discipleship school in northern California. There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then and if you have or are interested in reading our book (Roads Less Traveled), you can catch all the highs and lows in between (available as PDF or printed version through our website, www.icmcanada.org).
As we start out on the journey none of us know the twists and turns in the road ahead – which is probably fortunate or we may never have taken the first step! For us it began as youth pastors in the 80s and then starting ICM Canada in 1989 and moving with our shipping container in 1990 to Africa, site-unseen. In 2000 we moved to Berlin to train leaders in eastern Europe and were there for nearly six years.
While most readers do not see much of Nancy in the pages of the newsletter, the reality is that none of what we have been able to do would have been possible without the support and partnership of my wife. This may sound a bit trite, but it is true nonetheless. Nancy no longer travels as extensively as I do, but we make it a point to together visit each field and our ministry partners every few years.
This year Nancy was able to join me in March to visit DR. As mentioned in this Update, we were able to minister together with our friends and partners from Cuba (Raydel and Mady). She was also able to meet for the first time with our Dominican ministry coach, Carlos (Jacqueline). To maximize our time in Latin America, we continued to Bogota Colombia for a few days to be with Gary and Gail who we first met in Berlin. Gary is not only a board member with ICM Canada and partners in the ministry, but they are dear friends.
An African proverb says, “If you want to travel fast, travel alone; If you want to travel far, travel together.” We believe that a team approach is a healthy one for life and ministry and have tried to express that through our own lives. Over the years we have also developed materials to help other leaders develop teams and then equip those teams to function in healthy ways.
Years ago we began to realize that, particularly in ministry, before a team can be healthy the marriage teams need to be healthy first. Before other teams in the church are developed, The First Team needs to be strong. So our team began developing some teaching materials (“The First Team”) for the marriages of leaders. Since then it has also been used as a resource for leaders to teach other married couples in their churches.
Over the last ten years, this workshop has been taught and is continuing to be used in the various countries/languages we work in. This month Nancy and I will be travelling to Ukraine to be with Maxym and Anya’s team and teach this marriage workshop there. After our time in Ukraine, we will also be spending some time in Berlin and Magdeburg visiting Karl and Claudia and our ministry partners there.
The key to teams is to make sure everyone on the team is pulling in the same direction. When this goes sideways the very relationship that should be encouraging us to move forward can work against us. The greatest indicator of effectiveness in life is not our talent or ability but rather the quality of those around us. Of course this does not just happen by chance it takes continuous effort.
Nancy and I are blessed to have team members around the world who are part of our MCNetwork of coaches. We are also grateful for each of you who are part of our prayer and financial team. Without you the work we have been able to do over the last few decades would not be possible.