You may recall that for the past few years, we have participated in an international group of global workers called The Refugee Highway Partnership.
The Refugee Highway Partnership is a network of Christ-followers who share a common passion to see the Church minister amongst those who have been forcibly displaced – including the refugees and asylum seekers who arrive in Europe.
As a Christian network, The Refugee Highway Partnership seeks to connect and mobilize leaders, churches and organizations to effectively engage with refugees.
The Refugee Highway name comes from the well-worn paths around the world that refugees travel upon; water and land routes leading to safety and the simple hope for a normal life. These paths make up the refugee highway. Like any highway, there are entry ramps, crossroads, roundabouts and exits.
Every continent on the globe finds itself connected to this winding network of roads. For many refugees and asylum seekers, the final destination will be Europe.
The people who work to serve in this way need special training and benefit from special outreach and conferences aimed at equipping them for the specific tasks involved in caring for refugees and asylum seekers, people who have lived through (and are still living in) various forms of trauma and crisis. It is emotionally taxing work.
In January, the Refugee Highway Partnership - Europe leaders reached out to Billy and requested that he lead a seminar on self-care that is specifically aimed at global workers who deal with these situations on a daily basis. The issue is compounded by the fact that workers now find themselves not only dealing with the stresses and strains of refugee work, but also with the ever-present issues of Covid restrictions and constant exposure to a very transient population that is under-protected and has very few resources for health care.
(*side note* The idea of self-care that Billy is teaching is NOT about bubble baths and spa days and flavored coffees. Those things are all nice, and the word 'self-care' has evolved in some sectors to be defined as that, but that form of care will not lead to resilience and keeping global workers holistically healthy for their work. Billy's teaching touches on a four -fold method of caring for ourselves physically, mentally, relationally, and spiritually.)
Billy put together a seminar for the RHP and had 46 global workers from all over Europe. It was very well received! In fact, he has received numerous emails and contacts afterwards thanking him and asking for more resources regarding care for global workers and people who work with refugees. One group in Norway even asked if they could use his seminar information and translate it to Norwegian for their organization because they had never heard of the concepts that he taught and they thought it was very important information. So awesome!
In March, he will be leading a 5-Day virtual workshop on Self-Care for global workers and ministry workers. He has many people already signed up from various countries and organizations. To learn more about the work that Billy does with La Posada Training and Care, check out the website at laposadaspain.com
It's always good to revisit your values and your "why", and we did just that this week with our team and our volunteers that serve at La Mesa Turquesa. As a group, we talked through what each statement meant to us and how we see that being lived out at La Mesa. Here's a quick look at what we value (a translation of the poster):
All of the La Mesa Turquesa statements for why we run the center the way we do has it's roots in the statutes of our non-profit and in the distinctives, values, and mission of TMS Global.
I was particularly happy that one of our volunteers raised his hand after about 45 minutes of discussion and said, "I think these values are all great, but I think we need to talk about WHY we value these things. Why do we think these things are important?"
This was the perfect segue to the WHY... because all people are created in the image of God. All people are His creation and He cares about all of them. It doesn't matter what color, what race, what country or culture or religion. It doesn't matter why they fled their country of origin. It doesn't matter is they have a job or if they are living on free meals and clothing from the church clothes closet. We don't judge if they are Catholic or Muslim or Russian Orthodox or atheist. They are children of God, created in the image of the Creator. And so, they have immense value - to our God, and to us.
In my USA life, I was a teacher in Texas for 15 years. I was also a professional photographer, a soccer mom, a horsewoman, and the neighborhood hospitality queen. I did "Joanna Gaines farmhouse style" before Chip and JoJo were even a thing - we restored an 1884 Victorian farmhouse in small town Texas and did shiplap walls until I thought I'd go crazy. I taught at NASA, scuba dived with astronauts in training, and studied animals at Sea World for educational purposes. I've tried just about everything, because I have an insatiable need to know if I can do it! Never underestimate a Texas girl in cowboy boots!
In 2006, my husband Billy and I became cross-cultural workers (CCWs) with TMS Global. For five years, we served in three rural Quechua Wanca villages in the Andes of Peru. And when I say rural, I mean RURAL - like no potty! I spent my days in Peru learning to live a Quechua lifestyle in a rustic adobe house - cooking Peruvian foods, sewing with Quechua women, raising my chickens and goats and pigs, and planting my gardens. Now I live my life in small town Spain, serving other cross-cultural workers via teaching and training and care, and helping displaced people to navigate their new reality in Europe.
I'm passionate about fostering personal growth, growth in community, and growth in The Kingdom. Walking alongside others and helping them to use their unique design, their gifts and strengths and maximize their abilities to fulfill their God-given purpose - that's what makes my heart sing!