By Chris Treneer
It has been a privilege to partner with Mike through these years that he has led the Navigator Worldwide Partnership. We have had the blessing of knowing and serving amazing and dedicated people in many parts of the world—hearing their faith stories and meeting the people they serve, sometimes in very difficult situations.
I have been especially encouraged by the quality and number of women who are co-laborers in our Navigator movement. Many of them are wives and mothers, juggling the demands of family life as they pour out their lives for the Gospel. I think of two women in particular whose commitment to Christ has challenged and blessed me and whose stories illustrate the faith and courage I have seen in many places in the Navigator work around the world.
Grace and her husband are Navigator leaders in an African country. The last time I was in their country, Grace and her young-adult daughter drove many miles on difficult roads to see me. They brought with them a widow and her daughter. The widow’s husband had recently been fatally shot in front of them because of his witness for Christ. I listened to them share their continued desire to show the love of Christ to others, even in the midst of such danger and heartache. I am so thankful for Grace and the way she and her husband are pouring out their lives to care for and disciple people like those two.
Then there is Susan. In the 1980s, she and her husband pioneered the Navigator ministry in Malawi, in southern Africa, and then served the U.S. Collegiate ministry. Later, they moved to a small, needy country in central Asia. Susan and her husband learned a difficult language and won the hearts of the local people. Having established a team and the beginnings of the Navigator work there, they have now taken up the challenge of leading the Navigator ministries throughout Eurasia.
It is an amazing privilege to serve and encourage women like these.
Encouragement is essential. In 1 Samuel 23:16, we read that when David was in great difficulty, fleeing from Saul, Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. I have prayed to be a person like Jonathan, helping and encouraging others in such a way that they find strength in God through prayer, face-to-face visits, emails, and text messages.
I have also been encouraged in times of need by many others in our Navigator work. For example, I have appreciated the opportunity to share what I am learning from the Bible with groups in many contexts. But it is not easy for me to speak to groups. I will never forget how nervous I was before speaking at a U.S. Navigator women’s conference in San Diego, and the way friends ministered to me by praying before I spoke.
There have been pressures and demands, which have felt exhausting. But the Lord has given strength, grace, and wisdom as He promises. I have grown in trusting Him.
A significant source of strength and encouragement for me has been time in the Word and in prayer with Mike’s team. I’ve been impressed by the care taken by the International Executive Team (IET) to ensure that their leadership is aligned with the Word. At times we have wrestled with difficult and complex issues together, but always we come to the Bible to seek the Lord’s mind for each situation.
Mike and the IET have also given me the flexibility I need to contribute fully to our work while also serving my family. This has been particularly important when grandchildren in the U.S. and England were born, and so that I could support our daughter, Anna, in our granddaughter Claire’s battle with leukemia. It is wonderful to feel the support of the worldwide Navigator family as I have sought to be the wife, mother, and grandmother that God wants me to be. It is profound to know that many are praying for me and are reaching out to encourage me, just as I have tried to encourage them.
A good summary verse would be Paul’s experience with the believers in Rome. Paul writes, ". . . that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith."
Chris Treneer co-labors with her husband, International President Mike Treneer. Chris served with Mike in Kenya for 16 years, after which time Mike led the European work. They have lived in Colorado Springs since 2005, when Mike became International President.