—Veteran Spain missionary Kent Albright
Kent was referring to BMM’s Pause Conference, a triennial, weeklong enrichment event held for BMM Europe and Africa missionaries on February 6–11, 2023, in Málaga, Spain.
“Everyone sang with all their heart”
On many mission fields, missionaries have little to no access to the kinds of spiritual refreshment available to Christians in North America. That’s what made Pause so meaningful to the nearly 70 missionaries who attended this year. BMM’s Africa and Europe Field Administrator Steve Gault described the event’s worship music sessions, led by Jonathan and Melodee Whitman (Italy), Liz Ransom, and Steve’s wife, Beth: “Everyone sang with all their heart. It was almost otherworldly how worshipful it was. Most missionaries don’t get to sing in English with a larger group like this, so this was really a special opportunity.”
Dr. Jim Tillotson (president of Faith Baptist Bible College & Seminary) was keynote speaker. As a former missionary himself, Dr. Tillotson understands missionaries’ needs, and he spoke on topics such as “God’s Prescription for Ministry Ailments” and “Mentoring Your Family on the Mission Field.” The sessions made a big impact: “Our missionaries soaked in the Word,” Steve said. “They let it wash over their souls. They left fed and encouraged, which is Pause’s primary purpose, along with fellowship and rest.”
The last time Pause was held was 2018. Because of ongoing pandemic restrictions, the conference planned for 2021 had to be delayed until this year. The delay was tough, but it added to the sweetness of this year’s event. Pause encouraged, equipped, and restored our missionaries in ways they truly needed. For them it’s a vital tool that helps them stay sharp and strong in their ministries. At the end of the hour-long fellowship times between sessions, Pause leaders had trouble getting people to stop talking with one another. They relished the “cross-pollination” of sharing ministry ideas as well as burdens and joys. Dr. Jeff and Sherry Newman (BMM’s Safe Haven for Missionary Soul Care) likewise ministered to each person.
Forty-one missionary kids attended, and 10 volunteers from five US churches put their heart and soul into making their sessions enriching and memorable. The youth workers brought gallon-sized Ziploc bags filled with goodies customized for each child, putting smiles on the face of each MK. Children from infancy through the teen years were lovingly cared for. The teen workers even played football in the rain one day with the 15 teens attending the conference. Parents were overwhelmingly grateful for how their kids were ministered to. Some of them have no one on their own fields to watch their children for this length of time so that they can receive this ministry-enriching refreshment.
The next Pause conference is scheduled for 2026.
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