Journey to Hope

TWR Canada President Ray Alary blogs each Thursday, telling behind-the-scenes stories and ministry updates you won't find anywhere else. Come back weekly to read the latest, or sign up to get Ray's blog delivered directly to your email inbox.

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  • Apr12Wed

    Invaluable Skills and Experiences of Missionaries

    April 12, 2017 by Ray Alary
    Filed Under:
    Canadian Ministry, Missionaries
    Left to Right: Ray Alary, Carol Hawkins, Jeremy Mullin, McDaniel Phillips
    Left to Right: Ray Alary, Carol Hawkins, Jeremy Mullin, McDaniel Phillips
    I have worked in TWR Canada’s home office in London, ON for almost 8 years, but before that I spent 22 years on the field; 9 years on the Caribbean island of Bonaire and then 13 years in various offices in Africa. Without those years in the field, I would not have the vision for the ministry I do now. God used those years overseas to equip me for the work I do now.

    There are four missionaries working in our home office in London. Jeremy Mullin has been a career missionary since 2002 and did a 5year term prior to that. He served on the Caribbean island of Bonaire (a small portion of our time overlapped there) and then 6 years in Vienna, Austria before he returned to Canada.

    Carol Hawkins and her husband Rick spent 23 years overseas working for TWR Europe in the Netherlands. They returned to Canada in September 2016.

    McDaniel and Blossom Phillips have served with TWR on the field for 29 years. They worked on Bonaire (where we met), in North Carolina, and in Singapore where McDaniel was seconded to the Singapore Bible Society before returning to Canada.

    The four of us sat down and talked about what our experiences in the field as missionaries brought to our current jobs that was unique.

    For McDaniel, who now coordinates our Discipleship Essentials ministry, his years on field gave him the opportunity to connect and partner with local churches across denominational lines. Working closely with local churches gave him a glimpse of the growing need to connect churches and organizations beyond media. Those years developed in him a passion for bible ministry and missions and equipping believers in their day-to-day lives. “God birthed in me a passion to facilitate unity in the body so the gospel would be revealed.”

    Carol Hawkins’ return to Canada was very timely as she was able to step into a recently empty role for a seamless transition. In the Netherlands, Carol was part of a team that produced program schedules for TWR Europe. Being able to see the impact of TWR Europe’s radio programs helped her have a passion for the work. Being a foreigner in a different culture and learning the language allowed her to appreciate the challenges overseas missionaries face and bring that knowledge and those experiences into the work here “Through my experience as an overseas missionary, the Lord has increased my passion to share Christ, on top of a solid foundation of TWR ministry, which allows me to share from the heart with TWR Canada donors.”   

    Jeremy worked in IT (information technology) and brings his studio recording and sound quality technical experience to the Canadian office. His experiences overseas with studio recording and sound quality has been vital to loading content onto the media players and in-house broadcast recording in the TWR Canada studio.

    I agree with everything my friends have said. The years I spent on the field gave me insight into the needs of believers in the various places I’ve worked in, and to know which questions to ask for the regions I’m less familiar with. The vision I have for TWR Canada is birthed out of an understanding of the gaps in ministry on the ground. Take Discipleship Essentials, for instance. This was an idea that came out of seeing an urgent need for more discipling programs. Evangelism programs are great and necessary, but there was a gap in our discipleship ministry I wanted to see filled. A president without field experience as a missionary would have a harder time seeing those gaps and needs on the ground.

    We all agree that working overseas has given each of us a broader perspective of Christianity. Christ came for every tribe and people, even if they don’t worship the way we do in the West, even if they don’t dress the same way, learn the same way, etc. Whether we had to learn a new language, a new culture, found ourselves a minority in a foreign culture, there’s a humility and sensitivity created through those experiences that not only enrich our ministry here, have uniquely equipped us for the jobs we are doing.

    I want to thank the Lord for the life he has allowed me to live, the experiences of all of us who served overseas allow us to continue to impact the world effectively while serving in our home country of Canada.

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