Ellie and I are celebrating another year of marriage this month and Silas, Timothy I are all celebrating birthdays. It seems the years continue to pass nearly has fast as the days! How can we be sure that every day has significance and is used in a way that honors God? I'm not sure that I have any answers for you. But I have been thinking a bit about what is valuable and trying to make these ideas practical for a group of people in our church as we discuss Christian leadership for 6 weeks. This is a course that I'm offering because of a couple from Angola who approached me a few months ago. They realized that God is preparing them here in Budapest for when they return to Angola and they want to be ready! This is a challenge and blessing for me as I also consider "What is God preparing me to do in the future?" I want to also be ready and I believe that what we are doing now in ministry must also be salted with continued growth, focused learning and intentional intimacy with Christ in order to hear and respond to His continued call on our lives.
The course I am teaching on leadership at church is just 6 weeks long but we are looking at 3 big topics: Who is the leader and what are the distinctives of Christian leadership? What skills does the leader need to develop? How does the leader carry out God's vision for the future? It's been an exciting discussion so far!
Paul will also be speaking at the next Romanian teachers conference for ACSI on April 6. The topic here is on "collaboration for improved learning". This is partially a response the needs we see in Christian education today and a growing burden of teachers to model quality relationships for their students and with their students. God has called us to community and fellowship and we are privileged to enjoy fellowship with Him through Christ and with each other because of Christ. This is what the world is searching for and is not able to find outside the forgiveness of Christ and its transformative power in our daily relationships.
Thank you for praying for the recent International Educational Leadership Conference here in Budapest! This was a unique and significant event that brought together leaders in Christian education from about 80 organizations and 32 countries! Paul was able to welcome people to the event, lead the music for each session, host the online event platform, participate in a panel discussion and have many good conversations with people from Germany, the Netherlands, Pakistan, India, Romania, Russia, Egypt, Spain and Nigeria. God is doing amazing things in these countries through Christian education and opening possibilities to work together for more effective ministry in the future. As we looked at the challenges and potential for real collaboration, we see that school leaders still have many struggles but these are being addressed through the prayers and practical support of the global Christian community.
Here are a few comments from the participants:
- To attend IELC was one of the best learning experiences in my life. I really enjoyed each part of the conference. It was very well organized. The ACSI Europe Team is amazing and doing things in the best way possible. I was able to learn how Christian leaders should be working with other Christian leaders. I loved the session by brother Laci about Partnership and Fellowship. I have definitely improved myself in many ways by attending this awesome conference.
- It was very inspiring to meet with people who show so much dedication with regard to Christian Education. The personal contacts, the inspiring stories, also stories about hardship and trial can be very inspiring when you realise these people only continue because of God's faithfulness.
- The testimonies were really powerful and encouraging, as well the fellowship meant a lot for me. I feel always packed with energy, ideas and motivation.
- Personally I also feel the urge to work harder in Holland. To make more and better use of all the privileges we have received. Because it was quite humbling to see the great difference between our circumstances and those of some of the other teachers and to realise that we do not necessarily have more impact with our schools on society!
Each school had opportunities to evaluate their current perspectives on partnership and discuss how to apply new perspectives with their colleagues and new friends from other countries.
Several workshops and 1 panel discussion provided practical and meaningful strategies for partnerships between schools.
Please continue to pray for our daily ministries and activities. Paul continues to lead and prepare online courses for teachers and speak at events. Ellie continues with her responsibilities at school as a teacher aide, working with teachers, students and parents. Silas and Timothy are growing quickly and involved in many activities related to school and church.
Please pray for Paul as he prepares for 4 weeks in the US in May. He will be visiting several families and making new connections for partnership in the southeast region. Pray for Ellie and the boys as he is away.
Please pray for our continued financial support. We are very grateful for your committed and faithful giving during these years! God has graciously provided for our needs through you and we continue to trust Him for His provision and presence each day.
Thank you again for your continued commitment to us and the ministry God has called us to share in Europe! Ellie, Silas, Timothy and I continue to pray for you and appreciate your communication with us through email, Facebook and other formats!
Giving is possible online through our website. Connect with us on our US phone, 1 239-234-4606 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember that we are 6 hours later than Eastern Standard Time ;). Thank you!
In the Journey of Joy,
Paul, Ellie, Silas & Timothy Madsen
Serving in Europe with RCE International