Sunday, February 27, 2011

Valentine's reprise

I just found a great picture of all the kids who were temporarily on the
trampoline during the Valentine's party (long enough to get a picture) and
then we chatted on the grass:)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Boeing in Zambia

Being from Seattle, I have come to appreciate how Boeing has helped our
economy. I saw the other day of a new contract that Boeing got. That is
great. Didn't know if you knew they also built mini-bus airplanes as well?
Well, apparently they do in Zambia.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sometimes a name fits

I was heading out to Kanyama a few weeks ago to pray for one my pastors'
wives who has been sick. We were on a Mzungu (white person) time schedule as
I had to be back for class, and we hit some really nasty traffic. So, we
decided to go the back way. Bordering Kanyama is a compound called
Chilboyea. It has a reputation for being very poor and rough place to live
in. Now, I have been through some poor compounds and seen a lot of hard
things, but I was totally unprepared for the type of poverty I experienced
during that short drive. From the smell to the pollution to the just
desolate, sad, depressed feeling I had driving through their was really
powerful and overwhelming. The sewage was so bad that we had to drive
through 3 feet of water (hopefully that was all it was), past pigs wallowing
in the street, and people just looking, I don't know, sad, I guess. We had a
few pastors in the car with us. I asked, What does Chilboyea mean? He said,
"Desolated streets. The people have left this place and moved on." I
couldn't believe how perfect that name fit for what I was seeing,
physically, mentally and even spiritually. Thankfully, we have a pastor in
this place, struggling to love the desolated ones. But, it is hard and
feels very fruitless. Pray for our pastors, please.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Breakfast Club

Every Thursday I am meeting with four of my pastors from my class for
breakfast at my house. It has been a continual highlight of each week. Each
week is so different and that isn't just what I choose to make (I made
pancakes and eggs this morning!) The above picture was a morning where we
actually didn't eat, but prayed for a good length of time. Today we spent
the morning talking about culture. It started when my wife walked out to
give me my coffee. I got up to get the coffee and said to her with a smile
on my face, "Do you want to walk out on our knees and give me my coffee?"
She laughed and said, "No." I went on to share with the pastors in
Stephanie's presence about my first experience where a pastor's wife brought
out food to me and this pastor on her knees. The pastors said that only
still happens in the villages, that in the city like Lusaka, cultures begin
to blend and new ideas and cultures are formed through learning and talking.
But, then my wife went over and picked up the finished plates and standing
amidst the sitting pastors, asked them a few questions to be polite. I
found out later after she left, what she thought she was doing to be polite,
was actually a huge Zambian no-no. A woman never stands when in the
presence of seated men. They were not offended at all, but it was shared
only to have a laugh and get a little insight into their culture. This led
to a long hour conversation on culture that in the midst of it wished I
could bottle up and just throw it on to the blog. Culture is everything and
as one pastor said, "When you grow up in a small village, all you know is
what you learn when you are little." This pastor was sharing how he
couldn't talk to his mother-in-law until they had their first baby.
Literally. Not one word was spoken between the two of them until they had
their first baby. Another pastor shared how he has never put his arm around
his mother. And another shared how when a daughter comes of age, puberty,
the father and the daughter do not talk. If they need to communicate, they
will either pass a note or communicate through someone else. Anyway, it was
very interesting to hear how different cultures are so different. And the
well is so deep. Just when I think I am beginning to understand the Zambian
culture, I learn more and more and more. It is just a reminder that if you
want to be a missionary in Zambia or in your neighborhood, we have to learn
the culture before we communicate the good news if you want long term
ministry.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Remember - Learning to Live what we already know, Part II


I hereby resume my weekly Wednesday reflections on “remember.”  Hope you enjoy! If you want to read the first one, you can find it here.


Remember.  This word has caused me more problems in my life.  Whether it is forgetting to tell my wife about that conference that I am doing tomorrow; the promise that I made my daughter yesterday; or where I put my keys, my wallet, or my mind, for that matter.   This word has caused me many problems here, in Zambia, as well.  There is grace for the Mzungu’s, (the word for white person in Zambia), who don’t know cultural principles, and there is grace for those who know them but forget them, as well. But, whether it is saying “good morning” when I meant to say “thank you,” or showing up on time for a program when I should have remembered that it was going to be African time, I am learning that I could avoid a lot of problems if I could just remember.  Well, it is one thing to be early when I could have been on time, or forgetting to tell my wife that  someone we know had a baby, but it is much more drastic when we forget God in a similar way. 
I know from the Bible that God is sovereign,  in control, and no one has more power than Him. 

Yet, I find myself, at times, full of fear.  I know that God is good and works all things for good. Yet, I worry, fret, and spend my time in anxious reeling.  I know that God is faithful. Yet, when one thing doesn’t go my way, I wonder why God has forgotten me.  Truly, God has not forgotten me, rather I have forgotten God.  God has never failed his promise and never forgotten his covenant. There has never been a time when God was not good, faithful, loving, merciful, kind, patient, or wise.  God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. What He is, He will always be; and what He always will be, He will be to all who love Him.  Therefore, if God is all that He is, all the time, then the most important thing for me to do, is to just act as if all of those things were true, all the time.  If all his promises enable me to interact in the divine nature, then truly, the most important thing I need to do, as a Christian, is to act on what I remember. 

The problem is simple. I just forget. Often... Far. Too. Often.

But, I do not think I am alone. How many of you have heard of a verse like this before?
Is 41:10 – “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
It is pretty clear.  We are not to fear because God is with us; He will strengthen us, help us, and uphold us by his untainted, pure right hand.  This is a tremendous promise.  Yet, have you feared something this week? Are you fearing something now?  God commands us not to fear, and, with that commandment, He makes a wonderful set of promises.  We know He will follow through and keep those promises; He has to.   In fact, most of us have seen evidence of Him keeping these promises, over and over again. And so, why do we just forget?

Or, how about this verse: Php 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Again, God’s Word is pretty clear.  The command is clear; do not be anxious. The promise is clear; we will have peace that will transcend not only all understanding, but any problem that could be possibly arise.  And, this peace will guard your heart and mind, so that the thing you need most can happen; namely, that you can stay in Christ Jesus. Yet, we worry, a lot.  Why? Because God is not faithful? No. Because God is not good? Well, no.  Why do we worry? Because we forget. We forget that peace is a prayer away. We forget that God commands us to trust Him for our own good. We forget that we are not sovereign, all-powerful, or all-knowing.  We forget that we cannot control tomorrow, today, yesterday, or even gravity, for that matter.
I could go on, but, I won’t.  I think the point is made.  We are really forgetful.  We forget His promises. We forget His character. We forget how He has worked in our past. We forget how He wants to work all things for good in our future. We forget that joy is found only in Christ. We forget. We are forgetters.

The Bible is full of promises about God’s character, and His blessings. We know these promises, at least enough of them to change our life for good.  Yet, when the temptation lurks, the struggle comes, or the trials sideswipe our lives, it is too easy to forget God and all that He means to the life we are living.  It is too easy to live as if God, His promises, His commands, and His love for his children do not even exist. 

And so, it is my belief that most sin is rooted in forgetfulness.  
Check out these verses:
Dt 6:12 – ”Be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
Dt 8:11 – “Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.”
Dt 8:19 – “If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.”
2 Ki 17:38 – “Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods.”
Ps 103:2 – “Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—“
Is 51:13 - “I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass, that you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction? For where is the wrath of the oppressor?”

I’m not sure how you are doing right now. Are you discouraged? Bitter? Tired? Angry? Jealous?  Confused? It just may be that your biggest problem right now is that you are forgetting to live what you need to remember the most.  Maybe we just need to learn to live what we already know…




Monday, February 21, 2011

Pastors praying for the sick

One of the goals of our Pastors Leadership Development ministry is to
encourage pastors to serve not only their churches, but also their
communities. One of the ways we have done that is by arranging hospital
visitations for the pastors. I accompanied Patson Sakala (second to right)
last week to the Ngombe clinic to pray and minister to the sick who were
waiting to be seen by the doctor. So far we have 5 pastors in our ACTION
Pastors College who are committing once a week to visit their local clinics
to pray with the sick through the ministry that was introduced and initiated
by Luke Whitfield. It has been a great source of evangelism as well as a
few pastors have seen. What better way to get people into your church who
have been healed and/or prayed for at a clinic! Tonight we are taking the
next step by going to the Ngombe Pastors Fellowship to encourage the pastors
gathered there to also commit to visiting their clinics weekly to pray for
the sick and hurting. Please pray for us to this end!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Jo-Jo making your day

This picture is dedicated to my mom who has been through a painful four days
with a heart procedure and many complications. I know this can't take away
the pain you are feeling right now, but hopefully Jo-Jo's smile can bring
you some joy. I love you mom and my children love their Magga. We are
praying for you!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dresses to make their day

A month or so ago, I posted this link on our blog about dresses that were made out of pillowcases by a couple people at church. Well, we finally delivered our first bunch to Rhoda’s old orphanage. Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, they LOVED them.  In fact the director of the orphanage told me that they were in need of some new clothes as they had worn their clothes out. The girls didn’t even have any dresses to wear to church. Now they do.  We also dropped off a few bags of our old clothes as well.  It was a sweet moment to see their joy and to reunite with the orphanage again.

 

 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How the Poor are making me Rich

I was giving Patson a ride home yesterday after class. I asked him how he was doing. He said, “Oh, I have been very busy. It’s going to settle down now though. You may have noticed that I have been falling asleep in class. Even reading my notes. Last year, my kids couldn’t go to school because I had no money. This month I was working extra hard so I could send my kids to school.”

I shook my head in silence, humbled.

Later he said, “God is so good. I tell you what, he really loves us. He cares about every little detail. Even driving here, he cares about every detail of our lives. Even us here talking. He cares. He cares about everything we are going through.”

I shook my head in silence, smiling.

“I keep thinking about the things you said to me, Steve. God cares more about the children than I do. It helps me because I can get so anxious about the school and the children (he has a community school of 40 children and no outside support except for his job which he gives a majority of it away to support the school.) That has really helped me. I tell you that.”

I shook my head in silence, amazed.

I came here to minister, to give my life away. They (the poor ones) are the one’s who are ministering to me (the rich one), giving me in return a new life, one that is profoundly more rich and full.

I shake my head as I type this, thankful...

If you want to hear more about the lessons from these pastors, click this link to hear a sermon I preached during my home furlough on prayer, as taught by the pastors...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Having a baby in Zambia.....

At the Valentine party we had today, we learned that it was our little friend Silas' first birthday. And so we celebrated with a cupcake with a candle.

And that reminded me of Stephanie's unfinished and unpublished blog that she wrote a year ago about this experience of Silas' birth...

So I asked her to finish the blog so we could post this picture and the blog...

So, from the mouth of Stephanie, a first-hand witness account of having a baby in Zambia...

I have a Zambian friend here who just had a baby. I was privileged to be able to help her a bit during this time and I thought her experience would be helpful and interesting to you as you realize some of the cultural differences surrounding childbirth here in Zambia.
So, my friend, Given, was given two different due dates. One was in February, and one was in March. She really had no idea which was more accurate. So, as the month of February began I decided that I would like for Given to have a phone, so that in the event that she were to go into labor she could call me and I could help her to the clinic, or help with her other daughter. (Given is a single mom.) Thankfully, I gave her the phone when I did because she used it about 3 days later to call me and say that she was experiencing some bleeding. She had gone to the clinic and they had sent her home. The next day she called me to say that her waters had broken. I told her that she MUST go to the clinic right away, even though she was not yet experiencing any contractions. She was hesitant to go to the clinic like I was telling her because she was not yet READY! When I asked her what she meant, she told me that there were many supplies that she was required to bring with her that she had not yet purchased for the delivery.
Here is what she told me that she needed in order to go to the clinic to have her baby: a bucket to hold the placenta and soiled rags after birth, surgical gloves used for examinations, a clamp for the umbilical cord, several chitenges (2 meters of cloth worn by African women as a sort of wrap skirt), and several "plastics" or large garbage bags to put down on the bed while giving birth. I had given her the "plastics" along with some baby blankets, some of Johanna's baby clothes that I had brought over for her (although none of it was newborn size or boyish), Given was absolutely thrilled. You see when you don't have anything at all, and you are wondering how in the world you are going to afford clothing for your new baby, you are thrilled with anything pink and girly even if you know you are having a boy. Given was one of the few Zambians who knew from her ultrasound that she was having a boy. To Given, God had just provided for her child....praise God he allows us to bless others with what he has already given us. Back to my story......
Given was distressed that she didn't have all of these things for the delivery and so I told her that Miriam (my house helper) and I would leave right away and would go and get her what she needed and that we would meet her at the clinic. Miriam and I went to the local grocery store and bought a bucket and some food and clean water for Given. (Here you supply your own food when you are in the hospital. Or, your family provides it for you, but in Given's case we were her family.) We then went to the pharmacy or "chemist" as it is called here and bought 4 pairs of surgical gloves and several umbilical cord clamps since the chemist said it was good to have more than one in case one is defective. We arrived at the clinic in Ng'ombe compound only to find that Given wasn't there yet. When we called she was just leaving her place because she wanted to get some washing done before she left. We waited for her for about 30 minutes until she finally showed up. I would've offered to pick her up, only I had never been to her house, she always came to my house.
She was seen fairly quickly by the nurses at the clinic, and they immediately told her that she needed to go to UTH (University Teaching Hospital, the main public hospital in Lusaka) because there were no doctors there who could handle her case. This obviously upset Given, who was bravely crying in the backseat as I drove her to her place to gather her belonging for her trip to the hospital. She already had a suitcase packed with all the precious clothes and blankets I had given her a few days earlier not knowing she would be needing them right away. We drove to the hospital, and checked her in. She was taken upstairs and was asked if she had any cotton wool. (Cotton wool is used to absorb a lot of the fluids present....) She told the nurse that she didn't have any cotton wool because she had needed to use it because her waters had broken already. They told her that they couldn't help her until she had some cotton wool. So, Miriam and I got into the car and started to drive to find another chemist. (The hospital pharmacy was closed because it was the lunch hour.) We found the chemist, bought the cotton wool, and headed back. Miriam went back inside with the cotton wool. Anyway, to finish the story, she was in the hospital all that night, all the next day, and finally had the baby the next night. Crazy!!! She had a little boy and I asked her what his name was and she said, "I want you to name him." I laughed and said, "no, that's okay," but I later realized that she was serious. So, I told Steve that he should help me and he came up with Solomon or Silas. We gave her the choice, and she chose Silas. I started this blog a year ago and am just finishing it today.....because Silas just had his first birthday today. Praise God that he is one of the small percentage of babies that make it through their first months in Zambia. As you can see he is a healthy boy!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine's Day party...

Thought you might appreciate a few pics of our valentine party of all our
friends and their children in the area. A great time of games, snacks,
crafts and hanging out with buddies. There aren't a whole lot of other
social options for the little ones in Lusaka so you better believe it was a
highlight. I even sported my pink shirt for the occasion.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Spontaneously Routine

A couple days ago, I was at the pharmacy to get something for Steph.  I saw a white guy getting fitted for a back brace and among everything else, bought lots of medicine. I thought, “ I should pray for this guy.”  I was praying before I went to the store that I would get opportunity to redeem the time and share my faith. What better way to evangelize someone than to heal themJ?  Even though he was ahead of me, I only had one item and they put me ahead of him. So, I waited in the store a bit. But, the process took him awhile.  And so I left the store, waiting outside. But, as he exited the store, he started talking to this lady. So, I thought, “Well, I tried.”  I went the grocery store for about 15 minutes or so, getting the items I needed, I loaded them all in my shopping cart, and walked back to the elevator. I had parked on the upper level.  I opened the elevator, and rolled my cart in.  It is a pretty small elevator and it is a tight squeeze for a grocery cart and other people. As I was facing the back of the elevator, I felt someone enter the elevator, forcing me to move the cart and my body to allow him to enter. I was a bit annoyed to be honest. As I turned around to  face this intruder, I realized it was, yep, you guessed it, the bad back guy.  He had a pizza.  He had apparently taken his back medicine up to the car, saw the pizza place, came back down, ordered his pizza, waited for his pizza, got his pizza, walked back to the elevator, and got on to the elevator, barely, with some guy and his shopping cart. What he didn’t know was that guy was about to ask how his back is feelingJ  I did. I said, “How is your back feeling?” He looked at me with a freaked out, “how did you know look?”  After I explained that I wasn’t reading his mind and saw him at the Pharmacy, he shared how he fell down the stairs or something. I wasn’t really listening because I was so amazed at God’s providence in the whole thing and how for sure he was going to get healedJ  After we got out of the elevator, I said, “I am Christian, and I have seen people get healed of bad backs before. Can I pray for you?”  He was all for it.  As I put my hand on his back, he put his arm around my back.  I prayed a healing as a prayer I could pray. And... Well, nothing really changed. It was a bit awkward actually. But, on the way out, he asked me about myself. He later shared that his dad founded the Reformed Christian Church.  He was a member there. But, I don’t think by the way he smelled or looked (not trying to judge here) that he was going there anytime lately.  So, who knows what all that was for. Maybe he is healed now? Maybe he was encouraged to get his life back with God through the crazy providence? Maybe it was just for me, to show me that God really wants to move in cool ways if I would be willing to love and care God’s love and care for people in bold, risky ways? 


Why should a trip to the grocery store have to be routine anyway?

Let’s get bold in our askin’! 

 

 

 

 

Steve Allen

ACTION Zambia

www.aliveinafrica.com

 

 

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Student Teaching Students

One of our students, Bruce Kaumba, went to the U.S. last year for a few
months to train at SIFAT (Servants in Faith and Technology). He came back
with some great training, especially in the area of Community Development.
When Tracy, my teaching partner, suddenly had to go home for a few months to
deal with family illnesses, he asked Bruce to teach our students for two
weeks what he learned about community development in the states.

So, Bruce started yesterday and it was a very encouraging session. He
started with talking about the importance of meeting needs in the community
by asking the community what the needs were. He went through a sample survey
and each pastor had to work through what the needs were in their own
community. What I loved about it was the emphasis on getting to know the
needs of the community around by doing a simple survey listing the most
important needs in priority of importance. On this survey was sanitation,
water, food, housing, school fees, etc... It was fascinating listening to
the students share what were the most important needs they had in their
community and to see the light go on in how they as a church can reach out
to the community around them.

One example that Bruce shared was how he has organized his community to fund
a water hole. It wasn't a government or group that is bringing it to them
but a church implementing and organizing the community to help themselves.
It is a community effort to bring water to themselves so he is going around
the community, raising money, working together and they will have a water
station soon. Anyway, Bruce will be teaching for two weeks. This could be
a very important couple weeks for our students and I would appreciate your
prayers.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

We Allen's had a busy day today watching three extra little ladies of some
friends of ours who were moving. We had a blast playing spoons and making
projects. But, that isn't what I want to blog about. Today I went with my
friend Luke to pray for one of our pastors in our program. Patson's wife
Patricia had been suffering with some pretty intense stomach pain for a
while. So, we went to their house way back in the compound and into the
church/school that he built. After finding out from Patricia what was
wrong, Luke began to ask some questions. He asked if there was fear she was
struggling with and then begin asking about dreams. He uncovered a lot of
struggles going on in her life that were both physical and spiritual. The
Holy Spirit gave him insight into situations that were more than just
physical and she was so surprised that he could know things that he or she
did not know. (Often here in Zambia, physical pain is a result of something
going on spiritually. Maybe that is even the case in America as well. It is
always good to think spiritually in these times, at least that is what I
learned/am learning.)

Then Luke said, "Before we pray, I feel like the Spirit is saying that there
is one more person in your family who is also struggling with fear and who
also has problem with nightmares. Patson and Patrica looked at each other
and both said together at the same time, "Joyce." So, they brought her in to
the room. Joyce, a pretty little 10 year old, was understandably shy and
nervous. Luke kneeled beside her and began to tell her that she was in God's
hands and that no one could do anything to touch her because God would
protect her. Right then, I had this sense that we shouldn't just assume that
she was a Christian. So, I stopped Luke mid-sentence and said, "Do you want
to make sure she is a Christian?" He stopped and said, "Yes, good point."
We looked to Patson and said, "Is she a Christian? Are you seeing any fruit
of the Spirit to signify that she is?" They both said, "No. She is not a
Christian." Luke came back to sit by me and said, "Why don't you help her
Steve to become a Christian." I was instantly reluctant because I didn't
want to take Patson's place as both father and pastor. But, Patson said
something like, "No, Steve, one thing you don't know is Zambian pastors
don't know how to do this very well." In essence, what he was saying was
that they knew how to pastor other people's children, but no their own.

Well first of all, that was a huge insight and helped me in terms of
thinking on how to help this cultural issue with pastors and their own
families that I had no idea about. But, secondly, I had a chance not just to
lead her to Christ, but to help model how to do that for Patson. I asked
for the Spirit to help me and I was given the amazing privilege to lead her
into a relationship with Christ through her father as a translator. It was
awkward, not really cultural and with words I have learned over the years.
It was what it was. But, she prayed the prayer and even better, we were
able to encourage her in her life. I saw something of a picture of her
teaching one day in this classroom we were in. We prayed over her future as
well. Anyway, that was amazing and we hadn't even prayed for Patricia yet.
So, Luke wanted the whole family in so he brought them in and they all held
hands. Then Luke and I prayed for her, for her stomach and her teeth that
had been hurting. And guess what, her stomach pain was healed! I know this
was real because she said her tooth still hurt. Sometimes when we pray for
Zambians we wonder if they are telling the truth. If they are just trying to
make us feel good after we pray... Well, in this case, we could see it. Not
only was just healed from stomach pain, but I am confident that her dreams
and fears were dealt with as well. Anyway, it was a really blessed hour we
spent there... (Note: I just got a text from Patson that Patricia is free
from the pain and Joyce slept through the night.)

Please continue to pray for Patson and Patricia who are on the leading edge
of community development through their church and community school. Truly, a
light on a hill!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Berries for life

We had three girls show up at our house the other day. They could see the
berries over our wall, and so they asked if they could pick some. These
berries are pretty tart and we don't really like them. So, of course, we
would love for the girls to come and take them. They will either sell them
or eat them or both. It is a great way to make some kwacha. I noticed as
the girls were walking through our gate that two of the girls were sharing
shoes. One had one on the left and the other had the other on the right. So,
we decided to give them an extra pair of shoes. While looking for shoes we
also found skirts and a few shirts. They welcomed these gladly,
enthusiastically and with a bit of pushing and shoving. Afterwards our
girls had fun with their girls jumping on the trampoline. It is these kind
of moments that I love when our kids can be missionaries, too. When they
left, they said they would come back "tomorrow." And they did. I think by
9:00am:) Our girls were busy with school and so the girls picked and then
left. But not before laying on the trampoline for a little while. Anyway,
just a cool moment of connecting and giving...

Friday, February 04, 2011

30 ways to stay alive to missions

I saw this at Desiring God... Thought this would be a great thing to re-post on our blog!

Enjoy!

 

1) Place a large laminated map in your church's lobby and ask every person to sign their name or initials on the nation for which they are burdened to pray regularly.

2) Host a visiting national pastor for a week or two of ministry and interaction with your church.

3) Budget for your pastors to make at least one cross-cultural ministry trip each year.

4) Identify a good book & study guide on global missions and lead your small groups through a church-wide study.

5) When your church sends out a short-term or long-term cross-cultural team, hang a national flag representing that country in your church lobby or sanctuary as a reminder to pray each week for the team or missionary.

6) Publish a list of recommended missions books and bios, and have the books available at the church.

7) Incorporate world-aware prayers into your worship services, and encourage the formation of an accessible, missions-focused prayer group in the church (perhaps based on the book Operation World).

8) Visit your missionaries. Have people help them move, and regularly send teams to minister to your missionaries and potentially aid in the work. Missionaries are usually more inclined to share needs with a visiting church member than their field supervisor.

9) Commission individuals and teams when they go, and set up an avenue for them to report on their work to the rest of the church.

10) Reach out to internationals in your own city. Invite them to dinner, ask them to come and fix a dinner for the congregation to share the foods of their nation, help them improve their English, teach them how to use public transportation in your area, etc.

11) Dedicate a week of the year to missions at your church, incorporating things such as special messages from guest speakers, ethnic dinners, documentaries on particular nations and people groups, missionary testimonies, and prayer meetings.

12) Send groups to local and national missions-focused conferences.

13) Take advantage of global events. When a crisis happens, address it in your services, pray, raise money, send a team. As a pastor, before church services always check websites like CNN, BBC, etc. to see if there is world news that the congregation should know and for which they should pray that very day.

14) Clearly distinguish between missions and evangelism, and continually preach the need for both. (The difference is also well-defined in the book, Let the Nations Be Glad.)

15) Develop a succinct and memorable statement of your church's vision for missions, and post it in a visible place in your church. Have it printed weekly on the church bulletin until everyone can say it from memory.

16) Adopt a particular people group as a church, and direct specific prayer, giving, and service towards them. Set an annual goal of sponsoring at least one theological book in the heart-language of that people every year. (Contact Desiring God International Outreach for advice and plans for books.)

17) Set goals with your church on how to be involved in missions (this many people sent this year, this much money given, etc.).

18) Preserve (or establish!) the position of Missions Pastor at your church.

19) Hire an intern for your church from another country. While they may only be able to come on a student visa, your church could still offer an honorarium or stipend for expenses.

20) Attend or host the Perspectives course; or, as an alternative, direct your people towards the Let the Nations Be Glad DVD. It presents most of topics in the Perspectives course in six sessions.

21) Incorporate books and activities into your youth program that foster a cross-cultural missions mindset.

22) Buy in bulk and sell at cost large world maps that members of your church can post on their walls at home.

23) Distribute guides for the “30 Days of Prayer” programs for people from other major world religions, such as this one for Muslims.

24) Observe the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, which happens every November and is sponsored by Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors.

25) Offer foreign language courses to your congregation that correspond to the people you desire to reach, whether locally or abroad.

26) Have a weekly missions focus in your church bulletin with famous missions quotes (like the ones in this PDF), statistics about nations and people groups, updates from your church's missionaries, etc.

27) Deliver a biographical message on the life of a great missionary (or lead your people in some other way of hearing their story). See, for example, John Piper's biographies of Adoniram Judson and John Paton.

28) Feature links on your church's website to other missions-related websites.

29) Encourage your congregation to subscribe to a world news source (such as a magazine, newspaper, or podcast) or to make it their Internet browser homepage. Some recommended sources are BBC, World, and, for this year, the White Horse Inn podcast, which is focusing their 2011 broadcasts on the Great Commission.

30) Attend, or perhaps even host, events and dinners put on by missions organizations in your area (Wycliffe, International Justice Mission, World Vision, etc.).

© Desiring God

 

 

Flaunting the Humbling

So, here is a sweet picture of praying at the recent Garland wedding when I
was home and if you are observant you will notice two things: 1 cool and 1
not so cool!

The cool: I emailed my wedding message to my kindle and used my kindle as my
notes. Yeah, that is way, way cool.

The uncool: Notice my tie was tucked into my pants? What is up with that?

Great, great wedding nonetheless and I am forever using my kindle whenever I
preach or do weddings. Go Kindle!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Our trip home...

We have been home for two weeks, but with no internet, I couldn't properly
document our trip... Thought you would appreciate seeing our little one's in
transit!

5+6=a lot

We had our friends, the Williamsons, over the other day for soup. We have
five kids. They have six kids. Needless to say there were a lot of kids
running around the house. We had a great time reconnecting...

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Internet is back...

The internet is back and so are we... (The picture is appropriate as the
internet feels a bit like that flower. Breathe to hard, or get to
comfortable, and away it goes. But we are VERY thankful to have internet
again. Kam is going to be blogging here really soon!) Stay tuned and brace
yourself for a flurry of blogs coming up to get us caught back up with all
that has happened since we have been back... Overall we are doing well,
having completed our first week of teaching last week (My teaching the
pastors and Stephanie teaching her sheep!). The clan seems to enjoy being
back, and have after school activities every day of the week, including
their favorite Horseback riding on Tuesdays. I have loved being back with
my pastors but as I shared before, the struggles haven't ended. One of my
pastors almost died over the holidays but recovered miraculously from his
sickness, three others are struggling to make ends meet. But there have been
victories as well, churches growing, community schools starting up again
with increased students and progress in life and families. They show up
every week, smiling faces, ready to learn, thankful for ACTION and we are
thankful for them.

Sigh

Well, Neal this is for you! When we got back from America, we found a big
bubble in our hardwood floor. So, we had someone more knowledgeable come
and fix it. When they uncovered the floor tiling, they found, you guessed
it, dirt. They built the entire floor on compacted dirt with maybe a little,
I mean, little concrete mixed in. Who needs a sandbox anymore. We got one in
our living room! We all are just shaking our head at the craftsmanship. The
contractors who came in did their best to coat it with concrete and resand
the tiles. It is a bit like a bandaid but there are not a lot of other
options.