Over this last year, there has been a fair amount of concern and fuss by the CMSI staff team and by other organisations in relation to the new EU Data Protection directives - and whether we would be compliant before the looming deadline of 25th May.
Thankfully, we didn’t ignore the deadline. We worked hard to implement the necessary processes to ensure that protecting people’s data continues to be second nature for all staff and volunteers.
Within my own department, I’ve spent time shredding records of previous employees and mission partners. It has been lovely to be reminded again of the many former work colleagues and overseas staff who have helped make CMSI into the organisation it is today.
"God is in the business of restoration and healing –
our future and the future of CMSI is in His hand..."
Reading through letters from mission partners to the then general secretary, telling him they were getting married (via snail mail); being reminded of the thought and effort that had gone into crafting those letters, explaining how God had allowed two people’s paths to cross at the right time and right place in their lives was touching.
Also, the STEP volunteer who had written a report outlining the good, the bad and the ugly of their 9-month overseas placement, with a few rat dramas thrown in!
Reading through some challenging reports and thinking back to all the hours, emotional energy, and sleepless nights associated with some of the more difficult discussions and decisions. Oh, my!
Memories from the past help us as individuals and as an organisation to reflect back and learn from them, mark where we have come from but also to look forward to where we are going.
There is a danger in looking back that we dwell on the past and glorify previous ways or approaches to doing things. But as I sat in my office surrounded by black bin bags full of shredded memories, I was reminded of verses in Isaiah (43:18-19):
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah is encouraging us not to be defined by our past. He reminds us that God is in the business of restoration and healing – our future and the future of CMSI is in His hands, and even at times when we feel we are trudging through a dry and parched wilderness, He will in His time, bring new life and growth.
Some unknown writer once said: 'Those who stare at the past have their backs turned to the future.'
As God’s children and as CMSI, let us hold onto our precious memories and heritage, but embrace the future with open arms as together we seek to reach out in mission and be witnesses to communities, circumstances, and nations transformed by the love of God.
Gillian is CMSI's Personnel Manager