As 2022 comes to an end we wanted to share a recap of some of the things that happened at KMUSA this year.
From Keith Wilkins, Director of Training, “This year in KMUSA Training, along with our always ongoing training of individuals to equip them for the field, we organized and led a weekend-long retreat for those in our pipeline. Thirteen missionary candidates came together with our KM Base Team to prepare for the field. Many of our training sessions are carried out online, but we also held in-person training events in Minnesota, multiple ones in Tennessee and Missouri, as well as in Germany and Romania!”
From Jon Gainer, Director of Eastern Europe Expansion, “It should come as no surprise that the director of Eastern Europe Expansion is thinking more about Ukraine than anywhere else. This year has been a whirlwind of organizing support for Ukrainian refugee efforts. Kontaktmission set up a Refugee camp in Pitesti Romania. In addition to this, we have several future missionaries walking through the training and preparation steps (known as the pipeline) for becoming full-time missionaries in Ukraine in 2023.”
From Amanda Blankenship, Executive Administrator, who wears a lot of hats for us, “Part of my year was spent managing the GoConnect program for 2022. We had 15 interns and short-term tripsters serve in Europe this year and we’re already lining up summer trips! I also continue to manage and track the progress of our new missionaries as they prepare to serve full-time on the mission field. We praise God for these new missionaries with a burden to serve Him! Another area of ministry I was involved in this year was managing a new fundraising tool, as well as helping with general office duties and donor management. I’m excited to see how God uses our team in 2023!”
From Clay Elliott, Director of Prayer and Member Care, “Prayer Ministry has been quite active this year. We continue to write articles on prayer related to missions. These are going to be turned into devotional books in the future. We have started the Prayer Thought Podcast, and it has gained a pretty good following so far. Another new and exciting thing is the creation of Zoom Prayer Meetings in many different countries where our missionaries serve.
The Member Care Ministry keeps me in great conversations with new and potential missionaries as well as existing missionaries on the field. I get to encourage and equip our missionaries via Zoom meetings. I continue to work on the Member Care Checklist with newly onboarded missionaries and also do formal and informal counseling sessions with our missionaries serving all around Europe and beyond. There’s never a shortage of things to do, and I’m excited to see what the Lord will do in the coming year!”
From Madison Grohler, Social Media Coordinator, “This year we decided to focus on storytelling. From our Worldview Magazine to our social media we got the opportunity to share many stories from the field. These stories captured journeys, recipes, fears, goals, and so much more of short-term trips and long-term mission work, and as we look to 2023 I am excited to collect and share more stories as we expand our social media presence in new platforms. We have some exciting topics lined up, so I encourage you to plug in and share with your friends.”
From Rob Harris, KMUSA Director, “2022 was a year of growth, of unique challenges, and of huge opportunities for Kontaktmission USA! The greatest challenge turned out to also be the greatest opportunity for ministry, and that was the conflict in Ukraine. KM USA had many opportunities to get involved in responding to the needs of Ukrainians in a variety of ways. I am incredibly proud of, and very thankful for, all our missionaries, our incredible Ukrainian team members, and our resilient US staff for responding so well. Kontaktmission in Europe responded powerfully, too, and we collaborated with them for meeting some really big needs. That response is ongoing today.
Now we’re really looking forward to a new year, 2023! The mission opportunities keep presenting themselves, and we’re working with new people all the time, which is obviously very exciting! The new year will start off right, with the sending of new missionaries the Bales family to Scotland, a brand new KM country. (That puts us at 62 countries.) Our USA office is already putting together vision trips and internships for the spring and summer for new potential missionaries.
The big picture of Kontaktmission is always developing and changing. In fact, we’re in the middle of a multi-year process of completely re-working how KM International is organized. But we’re of course completely committed to staying focused on our clear values – always sharing Christ and “living called,” always thinking creatively and responding flexibly to new situations, and always teaming up well with local believers, missions, and churches everywhere.
With that, I’ll wrap up with my final words for 2022… THANK YOU! Thank you for being a part of what happened in 2022 and for staying with KM through the challenges and opportunities of 2023! God has blessed, and we expect Him to continue. Thanks for sticking with us through it all!”