Taking the Word to the World

Posts tagged ‘Global Missions’

Who Will Farm the Land? – Guest Post by Kelley Dibble

I will never forget her face.  En route to the Manila airport, from a billboard high in the smog-bloated sky, a Filipina squinted down at me.  Deep lines etched her dry, sun-weathered face.  She stood in front of the lush Banaue Rice Terraces that Philippine Islanders call the Eighth Wonder of the World.  The billboard’s caption read something like, “The average age of the Filipino farmer is 57.  In 10 years, who will farm the land?”

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Reading the inflight magazine aboard the plane, my eyes fell upon yet another picture of the Banaue Rice Terraces in the Ifugao Mountains.  This caption read, “While rice and vegetables are still planted there [like they have been for 2,000 years], the growing disinterest among young Ifugaos means the terrace steppes are facing increasing neglect, leading to its gradual erosion” (Hemispheres).  In my heart the question stirred,  “In 10 years, who will farm the land?”

Do today’s apostolic youths mirror the attitude of young Ifugaos?  In our forties, when we began our overseas service, my husband and I were the youngest appointed missionaries in the Pacific Region.  Fast-forward fifteen years.  The Lee Sherrys, Richard Carvers, Chester Terrys, Bennie Blunts, John Cogans, Rodger Whites and David Brotts have retired from their work in the fields of Australia, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.  Who will fill the voids left by at least seven retired missionary units?

The Pacific Region-appointed career missionaries currently on the field are on average in their mid-50s as well.  Indeed, “In 10 years, who will farm the land?” Following their first deputations, the Jonathan Parkers will replace the John Cogans in the South Philippines, and Brandon Borders will take up the torch for New Zealand that his paternal grandfather, veteran missionary Floyd Borders, carried two generations ago.  Two couples in their late-twenties willingly declared like the prophet Isaiah, “Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8). Others are stepping forward going on AIM and making application for missionary appointment. The future is bright.

What, then, of a “disinterested young” generation?  The ideal scenario portrays an older farmer teaching a younger farmer, an aged missionary training a new missionary, side by side, asking and answering questions, explaining how-to, when, where and why.  Jesus said in Luke 10:2, “…The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.”  In 10 years, who will farm the land?

Are You in a Missionary Sleeper Cell? – Guest Post by Jerolyn Kelley

During the conflict in Ireland, the Irish Republican Army would plant sleeper cells in the west of Scotland.  These people were part of the I.R.A., but were instructed to live in Scotland, hold jobs and integrate into the community.  They were to appear as normal citizens.

However, when the big moment would come for those in these sleeper cells, they would receive the instruction to become part of a terrorist act . . . usually in England.  They would be sent to the front lines of conflict to plant bombs and cause terrific havoc.

Perhaps you feel that you’ve been called to missions but God hasn’t opened the door for you.  Perhaps your life circumstances or finance or your family responsibilities just don’t seem to come together to work for you.  Your consecration is deep and your desire is strong but you just haven’t received the go-ahead to enter the front lines of missionary service.

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Let me encourage you not to despair.  Apply the scriptural principle that says, “occupy until I come”.   Keep busy and dedicated in the work of the Lord where you are.  Don’t ever be caught up in the desire to win the world and forget your neighbour.  Bloom where you are planted.  If you remain faithful and keep your heart in the work of God, your time will come and you will find yourself in the frontlines of missions work.

Psalms 25.21 says, “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.”  Often these times of waiting are times of testing your burden and testing your call.  If you can be dissuaded or talked out of your desire, you may not be truly called.  That does not mean you don’t have a burden, nor does it mean you can’t be used in missions.

Some give, some pray and some go.  Without the pray-ers and the givers, no one would be able to go.  All aspects are vital and all are extremely effective.

Timing was all important during the I.R.A. operations.  Without proper timing, they could never have been as effective as they were in striking fear in the hearts of their enemy.  So, it is spiritually.  The right person at the right time doing the right thing in the right place will definitely strike fear in the enemy of our souls.  To be even slightly off in timing could have been disastrous for the I.R.A. and so it is in frontline spiritual battle.

Please don’t misinterpret this article   In no way am I condoning or admiring the actions of terrorists.  I just felt quickened in my spirit to encourage those who may struggle waiting for their visions of missions involvement to come to pass.

God knows your heart and your desire.  While you wait in your “missions sleeper cell”, be assured that you will be placed strategically in the right place at the right time.  Until then, keep yourself focused on ministry right where you are.  Allow the Lord to develop and prepare you as you wait on Him.

“It’s not the will to win that matters . . . everyone has that.  It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”

AIMing Long – Guest Post by Mike Long

AIM – France

Friends tell me I have the dubious distinction of possessing more than one green thumb. I love to cultivate things and am intrigued with the process of growth. Allow me to use two examples from the garden to describe the process by which we came to be in France as AIMers.

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Growth beneath the surface – White Roots

I have a huge calla lily growing in a pot and recently the largest leaves yellowed and died. Out of concern that my 10.00€ purchase was lost, I lifted the root ball only to see scores of fresh, white, healthy roots. Growth was happening below the surface although that growth wasn’t immediately visible on the surface.

Similarly, we’d been sensitive to missions for a long time. Indeed, that’s how my wife and I met in the mid-1990s. By 2006 I was on staff at the church where we’d come into Pentecost and I got to interact with visiting missionaries regularly. In 2008 I met John & Anne Nowacki, veteran missionaries to France, who invited me to teach in their Bible School for three weeks the following summer. With my pastor’s blessing, I accepted their invitation and went to France in 2009, returning again in 2010 and 2012. 

Life was good. I had a stable position in the city I’d grown up in and I got to go to France for a couple of weeks on a somewhat regular basis. Who wouldn’t like that?

In 2012, our church went through a rough pastoral transition and, being part of the leadership team, I was exposed to various facets of the dilemma. Like my calla lily, the largest leaves were dying and I was tempted to run for it would’ve been easier than staying. Little did I know, however, that white roots were growing beneath the surface. I decided to stay, convinced that, to do otherwise, aside from a clear call of God, would be to run straight out of His will. 

Within weeks of that decision, and while teaching in France, God made his call to clear. We were to come back and be more involved in the work.

I’m convinced that God needed to see my resolve in one situation before he would release the call to another. Over the following two years between His call (late 2012) and our arrival (January 2015), those roots continued to grow as our family applied for and was accepted to the AIM program. We would be furlough replacements for Paul & Darla Brochu.

Allow me to go a bit deeper into those two years of preparation by drawing on a second gardening metaphor: Layering.

Life Transplanted – New Roots

The process of propagating plants via cuttings or layering amazes me. You take a more or less mature portion of a plant or tree, remove bark down to the cambium layer and surround the exposed area with an appropriate rooting medium. That wound will develop scar tissue from which, thanks to photosynthesis, roots will develop. You then transplant the cutting or cut the layer from the mother plant and in either case, you have a new autonomous plant, able to survive on its own. That image gives us a good illustration of those two years of preparation.

Stripping away the bark

Here are five areas where the process of stripping something away caused us to produce new roots and to grow.

Stability: For seventeen years we lived in the same neighborhood, shopped at the same two grocery stores and never changed phone numbers. Stability brought the comfort of predictability, but as that was stripped away, we grew more rooted in our dependence on Him.

House & Home: Long before we sold our home, in order to limit storage requirements while away, we stripped away seventeen years’ worth of accumulation (involving a two-ton bin), and a new root grew. God provided a furnished house and home in France through the kindness of an unsaved landlord and our missionaries. 

School: We’d always homeschooled, but we moved to the Abeka Academy curriculum in 2013. DVD based and boasting great social proof, starting early meant it would be familiar territory when everything else for our kids had changed. French school would’ve helped them linguistically but we stripped that possibility away and saw another root form: an even closer bond between them as siblings.

Friends: In 2014 we travelled frequently, raising support both within and outside of the Atlantic District. Exciting at first, we did eventually hear: “Can we just be home with friends for a Sunday?” Social media aside, that support group has been largely stripped away, but a white root; their faith is rooted in the Lord and not simply their peer group.

Ready-made church: We came from a large vibrant church where it was easy to arrive and simply ‘consume’. That has been stripped away and in this home-missions setting, the kids are our music team, Liz leads worship, helps with Sunday School and does finances. I pastor and drive people to church as well as look after the grounds. Setting down those roots has undeniably caused us to grow, as individuals and as a ministry family.

Our family is like a layered plant. We were accustomed to being a side sprout in a much larger plant but some things have been stripped away, we grew new roots and were transplanted to the nation of France. While that process may sounds easy and inspiring, even glamorous, remember that roots only grow from scar tissue. The process did involve stretching and stretching is not always easy, but we focus on the resulting growth.

The extent to which my calla lily will continue to grow and multiply remains to be seen, but isn’t that the process of growth?  Constant evolution. Constant change. And if it is truly growth then that change or evolution is toward something bigger and better. Seeing personal development in our lives and in the lives of our children, as a result of our AIM experience, and seeing ushering lives into the Kingdom of God, certainly constitute “bigger and better”.   

Though still intimidated by the unknown from time to time, we are in the hands of a trustworthy God who, like a skilled gardener, is growing us and growing the work in France. We are privileged to be part of the work here and covet your prayers.

Guest Post – My Missions Journey by Jennifer Short

As a teen, I wanted little to do with God. Responding to a call on my life? That would never happen. I had plans. I had goals. I thought I knew the direction of my future. God was writing my story even though I hadn’t relinquished control of the pen.

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Missionaries always fascinated me, but taking on their burden was never a priority. That concept was nonexistent. When I released control to God in 2006, He began cultivating a burden deep within me. I vividly remember standing in the arena during NAYC 2011, listening to a presentation about Apostolic Youth Corps. As I heard testimony after testimony, I caught a glimpse of God’s plan for my future. In that moment, I knew an AYC trip was on my horizon.

You can say I officially started walking this missions path in 2012. Having never been outside of the United States, I decided to jump in with both feet and head to Africa–the place that stole my heart. I will never forget the sight of Mt. Kilimanjaro as we flew into Tanzania. Catching a glimpse of a fellow AYCer making a return trip, I couldn’t understand the silent tears flowing down her cheeks. She saw a country in desperate need of the gospel.  It only took ten days to grip my heart. As we taxied off the runway headed back “home,” I was the one with tears streaming down my face, the thought of leaving too much to bear. Home had taken on a new meaning in those ten days.

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As deeply as the African people touched me, God led me to the Dominican in 2013. There I learned some of the toughest lessons of my life. Through unimaginable tragedy, God taught me strength. He instilled courage like I had never known. For the first time, I truly understood what it meant to have peace that passes all understanding.

Over the next year, I continued seeking God’s will. Even though my heart was firmly planted in foreign soil, I continued making myself available in my local church. After much prayer and counsel, Next Steps felt like the perfect opportunity to further my missions journey. I questioned how I would fare being gone from my family for an extended period of time. The two month Next Step trip seemed to be the perfect proving ground.

On May 31, 2015, I stepped onto a plane and deeper into the will of God. Headed for Guam, our team of young adults eagerly anticipated what God had in store. Those two months profoundly affected my soul and my future.

The first three weeks of training felt like a Bible school crash-course. The information was priceless. Every session was jam-packed with tidbits of knowledge and wisdom we stored in our brains and notes for future reference. I gleaned invaluable understanding about missions, and about ministry as a whole. And what a privilege to sit with real-life heroes of the faith, being taught and discipled while on the mission field!

Opportunities arose each day to minister alongside the local churches. Putting our learning into action allowed God to birth a deeper desire in me to see souls born into His kingdom. He renewed the burden in my heart and confirmed His will in my life.

Through all three short-term trips, I’ve come to realize how amazing this call of missions is. He has entrusted me with this burden and daily equips me with the necessary tools. When we sacrifice our comfort, allowing God to take us outside our self-imposed security, He shows us things we would never see on our own. In that place of vulnerability, God equips us with the necessary tools to carry the burden He has placed within us.

In August 2016, I will once again plant my feet on foreign soil for a six month AIM term in Ghana, West Africa. Because I have given God complete control over the navigation of this journey, He continues to lead me to places beyond my wildest dreams.

The Insanity of God

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I’m reading Insanity of God. It has challenged my status quo mindset. It shakes up my safety, security, and tosses in suffering. It has been hard to put the book down. I’ve actually been avoiding any trip I’ve felt was unsafe. I’m challenged to change that. There is a suffering world many miles from my office door. How challenging to know young people are willing to risk all to step through those doors and we get to mentor them. I’m tempted to sometimes tell them stay safe, stay secure, and avoid suffering. How boring–and how easy to miss the mark of how God wants to lead to the waiting and the wounded. I feel revived each time I lift up my eyes and look at the whitened harvest. Looking up from safety and security; looking out to the sad and suffering. I’m amazed and surprised by the Insanity of God. Or is it insanity after all? You’d have to read the book to truly understand. Please do. You may never be the same. I hope so!

The Dreamers that Rocked my World

Three and one half minutes rocked the world. The memorable rendezvous was January 21, 2009. It was the day that, out of obscurity, Susan Boyle, with her Celtic twang, encumbered by learning difficulties and shyness, stepped onto the stage of Britain’s Got Talent in Glasgow.  She literally shocked the panel, and mocking crowd, when she started to sing eight words, “I dreamed a dream in time gone by….” One of the judges gave her the biggest yes ever awarded in three years of the contest. She captured and then liberated the hearts of millions. There have been more than three hundred million hits on the YouTube video incarcerating those short moments. Susan’s “I Dreamed a Dream” holds the global record for the most preordered albums of all time. She defied preconceptions, probabilities, and set the stage for anyone and everyone with a dream.

About eight weeks ago my wife and I stepped off the plane in Guam and met fourteen young dreamers. Over the next three weeks of classroom instruction and interaction each of you, in your own way, crawled into our hearts, and took residency in our hope for the future. Then, after we left Guam to return to the States, you continued on to a further fruitful time of ministry for another five weeks. You—we—became family. As you pack your bags and leave in the next few hours, I know tears will be flowing in Guam. But, I also know there are a few tears flowing here in St. Louis as well. We love you! We believe in you!

Next Steps participants 2015, Brother and Sister Brott (our wonderful team leaders), Brother and Sister DeGuzman and Pacific Revival Center; Brother and Sister Prieto and Apostolic Bible Fellowship; Brother and Sister Buckland (Regional Directors, Pacific); Angie Clark; other instructors; and Sister Pat Morgan (faithfully working behind the scenes here at World Evangelism Center)—thank you for all you have done to make Next Steps 2015 such an overwhelming success.

As I prayed for you this morning a song softly pumped its lyrics through my earphones, “Spread your dreams and fly away.” That’s it! Spread your dreams, all across this world, as you fly away today. Fly into your future! Fly as high as God’s Spirit wants to take you! You rocked my world. I know that you can rock the world, at large, as well!

Thank you for being the dreamers that rocked my world!

Guest Post: #IAmGlobal

For today’s post I’m reaching back to the Global Missions Service at this year’s UPCI General Conference… thinking not only about the incredible things that God did that night, but the “trickle-down” effects of that service as well.

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$4.3 Million Dollars

That’s what was raised in the span of roughly 2 hours, by 6-7,000 people in one room and more that were watching via streaming video. It didn’t happen by itself however…

The service began as many do: Anointed singing, some preliminaries and Liz & I were invited to participate in the parade of nations. What an honour! Then someone introduced the #IamGlobal offering that was about to be taken. Missionary kids began heaving inflatable globes through the audience and Liz caught a couple, with the help of missionary to Ireland, Cindy McFarland (pictured above). People or churches offering $5,000 or more would receive a small “I am Global” crystal globe. Some went up to do that but more went once the number dropped below $1,000.

Then something changed. Pastor @AnthonyMangun (Alexandria, LA) got up to preach. #WowQuote of the evening was this:

“We’re very quick to use the term apostolic on our facebook & twitter profiles, but before we use that term next, we need to also look at our bank accounts.”

… his implication: does our giving reflect the same pattern of sacrificial giving as seen in the life of the apostles?

IamGlobalSomething happened. Conviction swept in and many people gave offerings larger than $5,000…without the promise of a trinket. One person was selling a business for $150,000.00 and that money has already been received by Global Missions.

Therein we see the power of the word of God: to convict the hearts of Christians and bring about sacrificial giving for the purpose of global missions. What caused that miracle offering:  the teaching of God’s word received by soft hearts.

More than an offering

I love the name of the offering… “I am Global”,  because every time we say it we:

  1. Reaffirm our connection to that miracle offering and
  2. we reiterate the need to look for a harvest beyond ourselves.

Our Kids are Global

Kids_IamGlobal_1Liz brought back a globe for each of the Kids. They weren’t in that service, but we want them to be connected to that same spirit… to see themselves as Global.

Of course, they’ll see themselves asGlobal by virtue of the fact that they’ll be living in France for a time, but more than that, we remind them that they’re not just going to France to “watch mom & dad do their missionary thing,” rather, God wants to use them as well: whether through helping with music in the church or showing the love of God to new friends outside the church.

Prayer

  • Pray that God prepares our kids; that they truly grow to see themselves as Global. That he use them to Advance His Kingdom.
  • Later this evening we’ll be ministering in the first French service being organized byPastor Mike Noel of Life Church, in Campbellton, NB. Pray for revival among the French community of northern New Brunswick.

Thank you for your prayers… they make you part of #Revival_inFrance!