GREENFIELD — The letters came, one after another, about every week — for more than five years.

They were a reminder to young Andy Flink and his parents and brother, who’d left Greenfield to serve in China, that they were cared for and remembered in prayer.

Memories like that have shaped his own thoughts about mission partnerships. More recently Flink, pastor of Trinity Park Church in Greenfield, paused at the start of a service to share an update about a missionary family the church supports in Central America. The wife had recently been in the U.S. for medical care, and the family was traveling again. So he called on the congregation to pause and pray for the of-the-moment needs of this family.

Prayer is the theme of this year’s Mission Celebration at Trinity Park. The annual event, set for Sept. 17, will feature updates on mission work locally and abroad, as well as encouragement to those listening to consider how they might partner in such work.

This year’s featured speaker will be Hubert Nolen, co-founding executive director of Hope Center Indy, who’ll address the topic “Prayer Makes a Difference.”

The congregation will also hear from Andrea Linn. She’s part of a team through Marion-based World Gospel Mission that teaches Sunday School and serves in two cultural centers in Spain. These centers offer programs for refugees and immigrants from North Africa, such as language classes and activities for children.

Having moved from Venezuela to the United States as a child, she knows firsthand what it’s like to move to a new place. She has said that experience gave her empathy for immigrants around the world.

When Flink reflects on his own time overseas, he remembers how much it meant to receive letters or packages from people back home — or how much it meant to share specific prayer requests from afar and “when we would come back, people would ask us about (those) things.” He could tell they really had been praying.

“One of the things that I often talk about when I talk to people about missions … (is) if you just are sending money, and once a year you pray for missionaries, you can’t really call them your partners,” he said. “Partnership involves a relationship. Our missionaries are sharing stories with us, and we need to be able to pray about those things.”

That Nolen is speaking at Mission Celebration is a full-circle moment for Flink. He was Flink’s pastor when Flink was a boy at Brookville Road Community Church in New Palestine, the congregation praying for the Flinks when they were abroad. Later Flink began his years as a pastor there under Nolen’s leadership.

Trinity Park’s missions committee had already booked Nolen to speak at the event before Flink arrived at the Greenfield church in May as pastor.

Both men said while some people picture mission work as someone going abroad to conduct ministry events, missions can have a broader and more personal definition.

Flink said often, particularly if someone goes to a part of the world closed to people sharing their Christian faith, a great deal of time is spent in everyday activities and not public ministry events. People play basketball with others, or go places where people want to practice their English. They build relationships and trust, and pray for opportunities to share their faith.

“There’s all these things with relationship building that are not overtly Jesus-oriented,” Flink said. “… I care about people’s whole lives.

“I think that many times, when people think about what it is to be a missionary, they think about the outcome.”

Nolen said prayer connects to missions in several ways. There’s praying for people on the field and needs they have, but there’s also praying for the people they minister to, “for open and receptive spirits for people to receive the Gospel.” Also, people can pray as they consider financially supporting the work.

He said he plans to speak about the different ways God answers prayer, and he hopes listeners will embrace that one answer could be “You do it, because I’ve gifted you … either go or volunteer or serve in some fashion…

“I think it’s easy for us to think that ‘going’ is across the ocean instead of across the street,” he said, adding people sometimes forget the gifts and abilities they have. He said prayer can help them know what God wants them to do, how God wants them to serve.

“Doing that,” he said, “can bring great joy and purpose to their lives.”

If you go

Mission Celebration is an annual event to highlight ministry happening locally and globally. The congregation of Trinity Park Church commits each year to giving to support the various types of work. Anyone interested in hearing the speakers, though, is welcome to attend.

When: Services are at 9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. Sept. 17, with keynote speaker Hubert Nolen, co-founding executive director of Hope Center Indy, designed for victims of human trafficking to find a place to heal. Before that he was pastor of Brookville Road Community Church in New Palestine. During his years there, the church provided millions to world missions and starting churches. He was instrumental in establishing more than 70 churches globally, including in India and Brazil. He recently released a book, “Hope for a Lifetime.”

At 10 a.m., Andrea Linn will speak to the church’s Faith Groups. She ministers in Spain, to refugees and immigrants from North Africa, through World Gospel Mission in Marion. She will also work with the children in Room 10 during both services.

Where: Trinity Park Church, 207 W. Park Ave.

Also featuring: Music by Indiana Wesleyan University Praise Team