(For photos of the 2010 conference, click here)

Avant Conference in Kansas City

September 8 -12, 2015

We had a wonderful Homecoming Conference and banquet. Speakers for the conference had great uplifting and helpful messages. The Bible theme was based on Ephesians 4:11-12 (plus context and other text of course)., Dr. Jean Barsness spoke at the banquet.

Avant Office Building and Training Center

Someone calculated that the missionaries and retirees present had collectively served almost two and a half millenniums!

There were also field reports and Q&A sessions.

No matter where you sat, these eyes were watching you!

Retiring and incoming staff members were recognized by Avant President, Scott Holbrook while pictures were projected on the screen.

Other missionaries received service awards.

Special prayer for Avant's first missionary to Portugal

At meal times and in the pauses, we had ample opportunity to chat with fellow missionaries. Frank and Marie Drown (below) are well-known to many for their ministry in Ecuador. Frank played an important role in the search for five fellow-missionaries killed by Aucas in 1956. Anyone who has read "Through Gates of Splendor" or seen the film "End of the Spear" has heard of the Drowns.

The lady below right is the mother of Tim Zimmerman, Director of King's Brass.

Friday night was the Annual Avant Banquet, held in the Embassy Suites Hotel of Kansas City. President Holbrook greeted everyone and introduced the program which included special music, videos and a fascinating glimpse into Avant's past by veteran missionary, Dr. Jean Barsness.

Avant leaders gave conference participants a special treat. We filled two tour busses and visited many of the seven places where the mission was situated in its 120 year history. Most of the buildings are long gone and we could only see the locations.

We stopped at a nice Christian coffee house for refreshments. The Ecuador missionaries were surprised to find a former MK working at the counter!

Does the sign mean people or coffee beans? Either way, it's overload!

Time to continue the tour. We are off to 7th and Euclid where many of the older missionaries went through a five-month "probation," now called "Candidate Orientation".

The location is now a parking lot!

The final stop was a cemetery where the bodies of a number of former missionaries were laid to rest. They are now with their Savior in Heaven!

We felt humbled and honored to have the privilege of serving in the footsteps of such giants of the faith! Our time of prayer will long be remembered.