Inspiring updates from Multiply’s Global Lead Team
Bruce Enns, General Director
One of our missionaries, Einer Zuluaga, was recently quoted as saying, “Mission starts with friendship.” Is it true? Maybe my own friendship with Einer serves as an example.
I met Einer and his wife, Girlesa, in 2004 when I was visiting Panama with a team from our church. They had been sent from their home in Columbia to serve as missionaries among the Wounaan and Embera in Panama. During the past 18 years, I have visited Einer and Girlesa in their home in Panama several times, and they, in turn have visited me and my family in Canada. We have eaten many meals together, prayed together, laughed and cried together. We have become good friends.
Einer and Girlesa have also introduced me to many other in Panama who have become precious to me, people like Ricardo, Octaviano, Obdulio and Alina, Rite, Heremes and many more. They have likewise been introduces to my wife, Lisa, and my children. In fact, we took our family there for Christmas in 2015. Our many years of partnership and many trips have also created countless friendships within our church family in Canada, Forest Grove Community Church in Saskatoon, where I pastored for 21 years.
My trip to Panama in 2004 was a part of the beginning of a partnership between Forest Grove and a network of Indigenous MB church in Panama, which continues to this day. It builds on decades of ministry by MB missionaries (through Multiply) long before our church got involved. For us, it’s also connected to our long-term relationship with Trevor and Joan Godard (also with Multiply) and their ministry in Columbia more than 20 years ago when they first met Einer and Girlesa and discipled them. We now have so many meaningful connections to what God is doing in that part of the world. That’s what happens when you make friends and become a spiritual family.
One of the passions that I bring to my new role with Multiply is to help local churches connect to the global context. We can get so focused on the issues within our own context that we need our eye lifted up to see the bigger story of God and what he’s doing in other parts of the world. Church patnership can help us do that, especially when that relationship becomes a friendship.
Visiting Panma over the years, I have had the privilege of serving in different ways, building, teaching and supporting. But more than anything, I appreciate what I’ve received from my brother and sisters there. They have taught me so much. They have helped me understand the kingdom of God so much better. We have not only shared meals together, we have celebrated together, grieved together and wrestled together in our shared faith. All of these things are the fruit of fellowship.
God, help us as leaders and churches to build more friendships globally that will lay the foundation for mission partnership. Lift our eyes so that we can see beyond the issues of our local context and embrace your bigger story and join in with what you are going around the world. For your glory and honour. Amen.