Monday, September 24, 2012

Missionary Interview

We discussed everthing from homeschooling on the foreign field to sports in missions. Here is a preview of the interview. 

 Missionary Michael Andrzejewski: "Most of our readers know that we made the decision to put our kids into the public school system here. It was a tough decision, but one that we feel like was right for them. You guys have been on the field a good bit longer than we have, and homeschool your three boys. From both Joe's and Dani's perspective what are the biggest challenges you have faced with homeschooling on a foreign field rather than in the United States?"
Danielle - I totally understand the difficulty of this decision. Each family has to do as God leads them in this area. Homeschooling was something the Lord put on my heart when I was an undergraduate studying to be an elementary teacher. To me there was no greater ambition than to teach my own children to read and write. When we came to Spain and had our babies, we learned that homeschooling was not illigal but nor was it a legal. There were no laws for or against it. We decided not to put our boys into the school system at all here in Spain, so that we wouldn´t have to pull them out to homeschool later on. We had heard that many familys who have chosen to pull their children out after being in the school system inorder to homeschool have had much more negative attention and often court hearings. I often wish we could have put our children into kindergarden and primary school for the language sake, but they are getting Spanish down with tutors, extra class work, and extracurricular activities in the city such as sports and music. Homeschooling in Spain is becoming more recognized, however there are still many strikes against it as it is not  the norm. We are so excited to have started our 9th year of homeschooling.
Missionary Michael Andrzejewski: Last summer we took a short, three month furlough, that in some respects was about 2 months too long for me. Given all of the factors involved (being absent from the Spanish ministry, travel costs, need for rest, need to see stateside family, etc.) how do you feel about furlough in general and what do you think is the best way to do it?
Joseph - Honestly at this point I would love to go back to the States for a furlough.  I can´t wait to do it again.  I feel as the years go by, the more I need to take a step back and seek God´s face, and find some refreshment in the ministry.  I love our city, Gijón, Spain, I love the way the work in the community is going, as a missionary /pastor, the lack of spiritual interest, of course among the lost people but more so among those who profess to be saved, weighs heavy on me and messes with the mind, it causes struggles with doubt.  So furloughs for me are welcomed =).  I guess I would say furlough´s are best done when there is a strong two to three family team of pastors or missionaries working together.  There is no need to worry about who will continue the work, there would be minimal change-up for the work since the families staying would be regular workers, not new ones coming in just for the furlough, etc.  A team of two to three families who are in every true sense of the phrase "of one mind" I believe definitely helps to have a smooth furlough.  That is something we need. 

Missionary Michael Andrzejewski: Tell us a little about your vision with Be Strong. The building itself is a place where the church meets, but it is also so much more than that. In telling us, be sure to include how the surrounding community has responded.

Joseph - We arrived in Spain in 2000.  We started our church planting effort in Gijón in 2005, in a small 35 square meter office.  God did bring a number of evangelical people and it wasn´t hard to outgrow our place.  We were terribly limited by space.  We needed room for a kitchen, nursery, and kid´s club activities.  But our small church could not afford a bigger place, so we were kind of in a "catch 22".
 Meanwhile, I needed to be honest with myself and admit I was trying to plant a church as if I was living between East TX to Northern FL.  I am not against handing out tracts, we handed out tens of thousands of tracts in mailboxes, streets, door to door, in towns, etc.  While noone ever responded, most people got annoyed, and there was no possibility for follow-up, I would routinely tell myself, "Well, I did my part, that´s all I can do, I´m suffering the reproach of Christ."  But deep down I knew that I couldn´t say that in spending some hours in my office, going out three to four days a week to pass out tracts, and having church services, that I was doing the work of a missionary.  Was I really having an impact in society?  Do my encounters with people always have to bring so much scorn?  Plus, I was only reaching "stray evangelicals", not the lost.  And many of those "stray evangelicals" quite honestly brought grief, divisions, and problems. 
It was through conversing with a missionary in Auschaffenburg, Germany, that I began to really identify barriers that needed to be removed in European mission fields. .... READ MORE  

We so appreciate Michael and Nina Andrzejewski and their ministry in Barcelos, Portugal. Please, take a moment to get to know them and pray for their ministry, as well. 

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