In the middle of this summer of 2021 I was beginning to wonder if CHE EuroNet would ever, ever have a live, face-to-face meeting again, let alone our annual CHE Team Gathering.
In 2021 the Gathering of all our CHE Teams from Central Europe and the Balkans was to take place in Hungary in late September. But, with national border travel restrictions throughout the region making travel all but impossible and Hungary’s then-strict in-country protocols eliminating everyone without a vaccination, it looked like we were going to be back to a virtual, video event. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. That’s the sound of my teeth grinding.
Like every other organization, CHE EuroNet and I had our share of virtual meetings and trainings via computer during the ongoing Covid Pandemic in 2020-21. So much so that I began to call 2020-21 “the virtual years.” (Did you know that, in computing, “virtual” means “not physically existing as such”? That means that 2020-21 never really existed — only on my computer!). No one wanted to have a virtual Gathering!
Agron Aga, Blerta Kamberi, CHE Albania (and, of course, our Lord Jesus Christ) to the rescue! They were able, on short notice, to shift our Gathering to Albania and the coast of the Adriatic Sea! The Conference ran from September 28 to October 3 with the theme “How to be a wholly healthy CHE worker while seeking to make wholly healthy people.” The 70 attendees broke into table discussion groups to explore many of the facets of remaining a wholly healthy CHE Worker. Pastors from our CHE Teams presented very practical messages at our inspirational times on this theme, with the main point being that to remain wholly healthy ourselves, we need to make certain always that we are remaining in the True Vine, Jesus Christ. The worship team and music was truly uplifting. No one sings quite like mission workers do!
There was much free time for networking, fellowshipping, a ladies’ meeting, team meetings, swimming in the Adriatic (watch out for jelly fish!) and in the hotel pools, using the sauna, steam and salt rooms and eating great food.
Those who worked hard in preparing the Gathering believe that we achieved our goal: to send CHE workers home healthier than when they came! We praise the Lord for giving us this blessed time together with Him and each other. Hungary in 2022!