Last week, the 2014 Youth Ministry International Summit took place at the Greek Bible Institute in Athens, Greece. Every two years we invite all of our trainers from around the world and their families to a meeting for encouragement, strategy, and prayer. It has always been a powerful time, and this year was no different.

Nathan and I went to the Summit while the rest of our family stayed in Florida. We went a little early. Since I was responsible for planning the event, we needed a few days to be sure all of the logistics were in place to receive the 5 other families that would participate.

The first day was set aside for reports about each field that YMI is working in. As always, the highlight of the Summit was listening to each trainer talk about how God has been working in their family and ministry, see the pictures of the students and youth workers being trained, and praying for each field while seeing the passion these missionaries have for the people with whom they are working.

We also had some time for talking about the future of Youth Ministry International and some other time for missionary care. Sandwiched in the schedule were fun times of play at the Acropolis and a beach on a Greek island.

During the missionary care section, I had the opportunity to talk about Culture Shock and especially the topic of “Background stress.” Background stress are those little things that are constantly in the back of your mind as you live in a different culture. It is what makes simple things such as going to the store or the bank feel like monumental tasks regardless of how long you have lived there. I tried to help our missionaries understand that those things are important to acknowledge for their long term health.

Overall, we had a great time. The food was great, and of course being together was so fun. I was so happy to have brought Nathan with me. I wanted to have some special father/son time with him, and I hope he had a great time. I think he did. When we were coming home, he said, “This was the best 12 days of my life.”