Brian and Kristen Konkol are nearing the end of their service as ELCA missionaries in South Africa, where they have been coordinators for the Young Adults in Global Mission program. To support any of the ELCA’s 230 missionaries, go to www.elca.org/missionarysponsorship.
I have already begun to hear others speak of our departure from South Africa as the conclusion of our global missionary service. I totally disagree with this assertion, for in many ways it is only the beginning. I believe wholeheartedly that God’s global mission through Jesus is about reconciliation, transformation and empowerment, thus a global Christian missionary is one who seeks to reconcile, transform and empower, by the grace of God, and for the sake of the world. I cannot see myself stopping such activity at any point, as everywhere is the “mission field,” each day constitutes numerous “mission trips” and every local action has a global reaction.
In a world that possesses division and violence, I believe God is on a global mission of reconciliation, and I plan to participate fully within in. In a world were billions of people scrape through life in spirit-destroying poverty, I believe God is on a global mission of transformation, and I plan to participate fully within it. In the midst of a world that is thirsty for compassionate servant-leaders, I believe God is on a global mission of empowerment, and I plan to participate fully within it. And so, our global missionary work has not concluded, but it will transition to something new, and by God’s grace I look forward to this new, exciting, and challenging chapter.
Kristen, Khaya, and I will return to North America and always seek to learn about the joys and struggles of the people whom we are called to accompany. In addition, we will always discern who God is and who we are in the midst of such diverse settings, and we will always consider how we may contribute to what God is doing to and through an ever-changing and increasingly complex world. We will remain mindful of the lessons we learned in Guyana, South Africa and beyond, we will hold tight to the wonderful friendships formed, and we will continue to be shaped in the years ahead alongside whatever local and global community we are placed.
And so, as we enter into this process of transitions, decisions and additions, Kristen and I ask for your ongoing thoughts and prayers, for just as so many have loved and supported us throughout the past years, we trust that such encouragement will continue in the time ahead. We look forward to this next chapter of life and ministry. We thank God that so many will walk this journey alongside us, and we look forward to all that God will do “to us all” and “through us all” in the years ahead.
Pastor Brian E. Konkol
Project Co-Coordinator, South Africa
Young Adults in Global Mission