Partners in Ministry


Burton Family Christmas Photo

When we lived stateside, we visited family at Christmas, shopped for gifts til we dropped, and baked more than any family could eat. We also tried our best to make sure our kids understood that while those things were fun additions to our holiday, Christmas is really about the gift of Jesus.

I never realized how much the traditions and some of those “trappings” meant to me until I no longer had them. Relatives are too far to visit. Shopping and baking here are challenging. In a way, that has been a gift. We are more grateful than ever before for things we used to take for granted.

As I celebrate and thank God for the gift of his Son, I’m also thankful for the many people who pray and support our ministry with MAF so that my family can be the “hands and feet of Jesus” to the people of Congo. I thank God daily for our ministry partners and pray for them, but the week before Christmas something happened that added another dimension to my gratitude.

I had spent a longer than usual day volunteering at a local ministry and left for home late and tired, wondering how I would find the energy to feed and nurture my family. When I reached home my son had done his school work. My husband had folded the clean laundry, washed the dishes, and helped my son with his math homework. God reminded me in that moment that my husband and children are also partners with me in ministry. God called all of us and has a plan for each one of us here. We all sacrifice and help make it possible for each other to do what God has called us to do here.

At Christmas, and throughout the year, I thank God for sending his Son to fulfill the angel’s proclamation to Mary that He would save his people from their sins. I also thank Him for planting me here and for all of my ministry partners, including the ones right here with me.

“I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers.” —Philemon 1:4


Would you like to partner with an MAF missionary family? There’s still time to give a gift in 2014.


  • Linda Popkes says:

    Amen! Thanks for keeping Christ in your Christmas celebrations. So often the “stuff” of the world gets in the way.

    • Nancy says:

      Thank you, Linda!

      • Carolyn says:


        The highlight of our Christmas season was doing a play at the assisted living/nursing home where we have ministered for nearly 12 years. It took me 68 years, but I finally got to play Mary. (Of course, I felt I shouldn’t wear my glasses, which made for some interesting moments.) Joseph was in a wheelchair, and one of the wise men used his walker. They all loved it. The lobby was packed with residents and family members. THIS is Christmas – sharing the miracle of the birth of Jesus, and in this case, making it visually REAL in a place that is often so sad and discouraging to the elderly people who live there. We all suffer from the “trappings” of Christmas, but in the end, it comes down to moments like this – ministry, family, and our sense of connection with believers all over this world who are amazed once again at the overpowering love of Almighty God to part with His Beloved that we might be set free from our sins. Much love to you in the New Year. And keep on writing – every word you write touches me right in the heart.


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