Sub-Saharan Africa Update | Patrick O'Connell
From July 2015 to July 2016 NewThing Director Patrick O’Connell apprenticed NewThing’s very first Regional Director (of what will eventually be eight), Matt Millar. Upon completion of his training Matt, and his wife Kui, took a 6-month detour to Toronto, Canada where they have been tasked with soaking up as much knowledge and wisdom as they can in order to learn how to equip cross-cultural church planters. After this time spent learning and growing, they will head to Africa where Matt will be the Regional Director overseeing the 40+ countries that make up the Sub-Saharan Africa region.
This 6-month detour is important because NewThing is now sending church planters all around the globe through the Global Residency Program. This trend will only rise as we continue to expand on the global scale and NewThing wants to be ahead of the trend. As a cross-cultural couple that has lived in four different countries, Matt and Kui will step into the role of NewThing champion for cross-cultural training.
Currently, Matt and Kui are living in, and helping to run, a refugee home in Toronto. Here they interact with numerous cultures from around the world as they share a kitchen, bathroom, and living space. Learning to understand other cultures and navigating cultural conflict happens there on the job. Not only are they navigating conflicts, but also sometimes they handle communication difficulties from language barriers as some of the residents are in the process of learning English.
In addition to this, they are spending significant time with missions organizations like the Liebenzell Mission and MissionPrep. These organizations are actively engaged in training pre-field missionaries. Liebenzell trains young men and women from Germany, for a period of 6-12 months. Each of these young people have committed to serving in numerous global locations. MissionPrep runs two week intensive trainings for missionaries and missionary families from the US and Canada who are ready to enter the global mission scene.
Having men and women who can navigate the cultural waters of our ever increasing globalized world, and be a bridge for others from different backgrounds, is vital to the expansion Kingdom and the unity we seek within the Church. We are excited as Matt and Kui continue their journey in equipping church planters all over the world.