EDITOR’s NOTE: Every year, each of the four main regions of TWR’s global ministry holds a national partners conference. Regional and international leaders of TWR join representatives of the ministry’s national partners for a few days to learn from one another, encourage one another and report on how the Lord is moving in their respective countries and around the world.
Mariette Oosterhoff is TWR’s marketing and communications director for Latin America and the Caribbean, but this month she’s taking part in the national partners conference for the Europe and CAMENA Regions. (CAMENA stands for Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.) Mariette is a native and resident of the Netherlands.
Mariette kindly agreed to post a daily blog sharing with twr.org readers some of the news emerging from the Europe and CAMENA national partners conference. Check in regularly this week for engaging updates.
The map overwhelms me. I see countries, regions – each, of course, with different cultures and governments. Am I really on my way to a conference where people from all these regions come together? What on earth should we talk about?
My Dutch home is on this big map, too, in Northwest Europe. Does that mean I feel comfortable and know all about my neighboring countries and regions? Not really. So, if you are an American, Asian or African and you read this, we are not very different.
In a couple of hours, I am about to meet people representing a wide swath of the planet – from Russia to Algeria, from Jordan to Turkey to Denmark and Italy. What do we have in common? This week, one name will connect us with each other, one King, who is king above kings, presidents and cultures: His name is Jesus.
Amid voices of hatred, dictatorship, terrorism, war and fear, Jesus’ voice can be heard. I feel honored that this week, I can meet with people who work daily so that Jesus’ voice will be heard in distant places. Places like Turkey and Yemen, where you almost need a magnifying glass to find the small number of Christians, places where Jesus’ voice is rarely heard in public. How great it is to know that there are people who courageously find ways to proclaim Jesus!
This afternoon I will talk with an individual who is working for TWR in Russia, which again appears to be growing more restrictive of religious expression. Web pages are being blocked, and a new law limits the sharing of faith in homes, online or anywhere else. From this interviewee, I hope to learn who our Russian listeners are and what TWR is doing to overcome these barriers and keep sharing hope.
Although it looks overwhelming, getting to know all these regions in the map above, I will do what I learned as a young girl. Just take it one step at a time. One conversation at a time. Will you join me? Please pray for the conference that is taking place right now. Pray that we can overcome culture and language barriers to encourage one another and learn from each other, all in the name of our Savior, Jesus.
To be continued!