One Alongsider reflected: “That was a WONDERFUL Gathering! Thank you to all who have been praying and to all who made it possible. We had a great time and I can say I feel so refreshed – something I sorely needed!”
Alongsiders are involved in front-line ministry and cross-cultural missions seven days a week. They count it all joy to spend themselves for the gospel, but spend themselves they do. One of the missions of Alongside Ministries is to care for Alongsiders and one of the ways we help fill their spiritual and emotional tanks is through our biennial Gathering of the Alongside clan.
Imagine a week in which all your physical needs are met. Local chefs prepare three healthy squares a day. Three multinational young people care for the fifteen children. The only responsibility you have is your shift to help do the dishes. Each morning spiritual director and AMI Board Trustee Kathy Crosby leads you in lectio divino flowing into worship and prayer. Then follow personal sharing and prayer for individual members, their families and their ministries in small groups. Each evening Alongsiders from different countries share about their countries and the needs and concerns and praises for that country. The evening prayer is for those countries. In the afternoon, there are long walks and talks with friends who really understand what you are experiencing, because they are also.
The Cloyd family hosted the Gathering of Alongsiders, their families, and Alongside Board members. The event began with three Alongsiders competing in the Paris marathon. What a metaphor! Missions and ministry are not a sprint, but a distance race of living the gospel in a cross-cultural setting. Then the clan convened in Waldersbach, in the northeastern Alsace region of France for a rich and regenerating week of worship, prayer and coming alongside each other in their lives and ministries, plus a delightful tourist run to historic Strasbourg, France. It was a week of refreshment for families and personal renewal for individuals.
A thoughtful Alongsider summarized: “The Gathering was a wonderful time of fellowship and encouragement. It was amazing to hear stories of what God is doing throughout Europe. We left encouraged to do two important things:
- Pray…prayers from Acts, prayers that are bold and prayers that seek to bring the power of God’s Kingdom into our world in a greater way, prayers for the harvest, prayers to combat the darkness in Europe, and prayers for the strength to preach and proclaim the Kingdom of God.
- Keep the faith…we are called to live by faith. The task to which God has called us is so big that it can only be done by Him. And we can only be a part of it if we have the faith to risk it all!”