“We can’t say we saw statistical results right now,” Jack said. “But what we did was try to bring people together.”
From Australia to Thailand to Nepal, Jack and Mary-Margaret Morris had a trip of connecting and forming partnerships. A recent college graduate accompanied them on their journey.
“The 5½-week trip wasn’t your normal missions trip,” Jack said.
This was a different trip for them. Rather than going in with a preaching and teaching agenda, the Morrises’ itinerary was solely focused on connecting their resources and tending the ground for partnerships across the countries.
Their first stop was Australia, where they previously pastored for 15 years. They reflect on their years there as a time of forming relationships; not only with the church body, but also with neighbors and friends from other religions. Jack said that they have always tried to practice friendship evangelism and that to be able to talk to someone about the gospel, you first need to get acquainted with them.
Upon their recent return, they have continued to connect with the people they ministered to.
In Thailand, they connected with a young woman named Ruth who is teaching self-defense for women in a high risk area for human trafficking. Some of these women make it across the border and do not realize that they’ve already been trafficked. Ruth is a certified international trainer and her team has trained almost 4,000 young girls and women to safely defend themselves. Along with self-defense, her team teaches other skills, including English, sewing, and computer.
Ruth flew to Bangkok with the Morrises to meet Somnuk and Lily Montrelerdrasme, where Somnuk serves as overseer of Thailand. Here, they connected and discovered that there are two Church of God congregations near Ruth. The hope is that a partnership develops between the Montrelerdrasmes and Ruth.
Next, they went to Nepal. Their main purpose in going to Nepal started because of an encounter with two waitresses they met at a local Cleveland Asian restaurant. After talking to them, they learned that the girls are from a Hindu background and are attending Lee University. A relationship quickly formed and it was not by coincidence that Dan Winters, who started an internet training for people in Nepal called Jesus Saves, was with them at the restaurant. Winters had not been to the Nepal site yet. But once the girls heard the Morrises were going to Thailand, they immediately got excited and told them to go meet their parents in Nepal.
Jack contacted the father, and both parents met them at the airport and continued to host them during their visit there. The girls now call the Morrises grandparents, and they refer to them as granddaughters.
In addition to getting to know the girls’ parents, the Morrises visited the site of the new Church of God training center and met with the overseer of Nepal. They were able to connect the overseer with other ministries/people in Nepal.
They then took a nine-hour bus ride to Pokhara, where they were able to minister in churches in the Jesus Saves network. Following the Nepal visit, they flew back to Australia for a three-day wrap-up.
“We can’t say we saw statistical results right then,” Jack said. “But what we did was try to bring people together.” The Morrises knew their purpose in going was to sow into relationships that take time.