February 2016

Newsworthy in Battambang

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If a newspaper can publish a collection of random snippets about everything in general and nothing in particular, so can this blog!  What follows is a collection of random snippets about life in Battambang – the city in Cambodia we currently call home.  Enjoy!

The weather

In general this year, we haven’t experienced much of a cooler season, except on two occasions, each of a few days’ duration, when the morning temperatures have been around 15!  This unusual happening caused us to dig deep to find the only thin blanket we own.  Most of the time we don’t even need a sheet on top of us when we sleep!

Such “cold weather” was enough to make the locals all reach for hats, scarves, gloves and jackets! At the hospital, patients were bundled up under  blankets  and many of them kept their head covered in an attempt to feel warmer.   Many of the knitted hats made by the ladies of the St Christopher’s knitting group came into their own and were very warmly received – excuse the pun! Caregivers congregated outside in the sun when ousted from the wards due to doctors’ rounds. This was such a contrast to most of the time here, when we all try hard to avoid the sun as it is just too hot!

Traffic lights

Battambang has just had traffic lights installed at several locations around the city.  The lights are the fancy variety which tell you how long it is until the light changes for the direction you want to go.  This is pretty amazing, since Battambang is Cambodia’s  second largest city and it has taken this long to get them here!  Mind you, their existence doesn’t necessarily mean a lot to the locals who are just as likely to ignore them in the same way they disregard traffic rules! One popular trick at intersections is to avoid the lights and duck off through gas station forecourts or bypass them by going onto the footpath!  One complicated intersection near the hospital,  with roads in five directions is now much more manageable. As an interesting aside, the Khmer phrase for traffic light is “plerng stop” which is literally “light or electricity stop!”

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were in town!

Yes, Battambang was the scene for a movie currently being made, directed by Hollywood’s Angelina Jolie who, with her husband Brad Pitt and adopted Khmer son, Maddox, was seen around town – not by me, I might add!  The movie is “First They Killed My Father” and is set in the 1960s. It is based on a non-fiction book  published in 2000, written by Loung Ung, a Cambodian author and survivor of the Pol Pot regime.  It is a personal account of her experiences during the Khmer Rouge years.

Buildings in the central town area were retrospectively refurbished to look as they did then.  Many of them now have French signs on their frontages.  Huge car transporters rolled into town carrying cars of the day, joined by big trucks carrying other scenery and effects to recreate the times accurately.

All this excitement in town caused huge disruption and rush hour traffic – yes, we do have a small rush hour here! – ground to a halt due to the closure of bridges and streets where filming is took place.  Venturing out anywhere needed careful thought and it was advisable to have a couple of alternative routes, albeit round about, planned in advance.

A word from Angelina about the movie: “I was deeply affected by Loung’s book [‘First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers’]. It deepened forever my understanding of how children experience war and are affected by the emotional memory of it. And it helped me draw closer still to the people of Cambodia, my son’s homeland.” Angelina Jolie Pitt.

Meanwhile at the hospital

My programme continues with its usual mix of tragedy and delight.  I frequently ponder about the range of emotions I see and sometimes experience during the course of a working day.  One minute I am moved to tears seeing a small girl with severe head trauma as a result of coming off a motorbike not having worn a helmet.  She has just been sent home as the hospital can’t do anything for her.  A nurse said to me today, “Only God can help her”.  Please join me in praying that He will, indeed, do a miracle and restore this little girl to her family.

The next minute, I witness delight on the face of a young man finally able to go home after a very long stay in hospital due to the severity of his leg injury – also sustained in a motorbike accident.  “I can walk!” he says as he goes past me on his way to the gate and back into the real world.

Monks and jigsaw puzzles

Would seem to be an unlikely mix – but mix they did the other day in the women’s ward!  I went into the ward with a group of Youth with a Mission volunteers who came to spend time with the patients.  We took in a puzzle for a long-term patient to tackle, then went to deliver a game to another patient.  When I went back to check on progress with the jigsaw, I was somewhat surprised to see that a visiting monk was joining in the task of trying to complete the puzzle!  Khmer people don’t usually do jigsaw puzzles and the logic and methodology  needed to complete the task aren’t usually part of their skill set.  I usually have to explain how to go about doing it.  Not this time!  The monk was doing a great job.  You would have thought he does puzzles like that all the time!

 

What a variety of situations we encounter in our lives here! Hopefully this glimpse of life in Battambang will provide a peek into our world and help you picture more accurately where we are and what we are doing.

 

This was originally posted to the McCormick’s blog. You can sign up to receive email notifications from them by visiting their blog and filling in your email address on the right side of the page (scroll down a little to find it). Click here.

Rains from Heaven

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“God did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” (Paul’s words at Lystra, recorded in Acts 14:17)

“Thank you LORD!”  That’s what the Christians of Kondoa have been exclaiming every day. Thank you,  every one of you who prayed for rain to fall in abundance. Almost every day we have a massive thunderstorm, with sheets of rain drenching you instantly if you get caught out. The bridge is still holding, while the chocolate waters swirl below. Crops are thriving. Peter has worked long and hard with hoe and slasher in our large garden area, while all who pass by give different advice on when the crops will be ready.  The roof of our house has sprung several leaks, and there are discussions whether the whole ceiling should be replaced.  We nod enthusiastically, as the roof is filled with bats, pigeons and lizards.

We have a small number of students at Kondoa Bible School this year. The girls’ sewing class has had to be postponed until June because of lack of sponsorship and new first year students for the Two year Bible course have been put on hold until August to align course starting times. That leaves 13 Three year course students (only one female!) and six Two Year course students who are halfway through their course. There is very little available money for maintenance of buildings and repairs of desks and chairs. However, the teaching staff is enthusiastic and the students are really happy to be back. Because of the bad roads caused by the rain, and sickness in some families, they are actually just dribbling back now.

We’ve had a break and we did get away to Dodoma for two days (!) for Christmas. It was so good to stay with Richard and Christine Kanungha, friends from long ago. Richard is now a Canon and in charge of a large church in Chamwino, Dodoma. The services were amazing – great music, preaching, and fellowship. Several of the older members of the congregation remembered us from Makole days in the 80’s and 90’s when Chamwino was part of our parish. While in Dodoma, we got the CMS vehicle sorted out with two new tyres and shock absorbers, so that was good.

During the holidays, Peter translated into Swahili a small book on Grief and has permission from the original publisher to print 200 copies here in Tanzania. Right now, a member of staff is proof-reading it. There are few practical books like that available in Swahili, and nothing on grief so please pray for the completion of this project. Chris enjoyed a research project on Music of the Bible, and did some song writing as well.

This year’s Bible School timetable includes Peter’s continuing teaching of ”Worship” and Chris’ teaching of English, as well as a new subject for KBS – that of “Kufundisha,” basically ‘how to teach.’ Chris (known here as Mama Pendo) is enjoying the challenge of that and learning heaps too – seeing how important it is throughout the Bible and relating that to our situation here.

Our lovely Bible School cook, Mama Tembo, woke up two days ago with no voice, but no other symptoms of a cold. Yesterday afternoon, four of us decided to pray for healing for her. After each of us had prayed, Mama Tembo started praising God, still in a whisper, then remembered and confessed that she had disobeyed God the day before her voice had disappeared. She had not done what God had asked of her and instead had been gossiping with others. As she repented before God, her voice slowly returned, just a crackle at first, but getter stronger and stronger.  Praise You, Lord! This was very meaningful for her, for she knows that God wants her to be a spokeswoman for him, and He has high standards!

This coming weekend, Peter and I have been invited to Kidoka village again. Peter will be preaching in the service which will include the commissioning of Sarah Mwaluko, one of last year’s graduates, to be the Catechist of the Parish. We look forward to that but not to the travel. The roads are in a shocking state, we hear. Students travelling back to Bible School have had to get off the bus with all the other passengers and push it out of big holes and up the hills. Others had to wade through some water where a bridge had been washed away and board another bus to reach Kondoa. Every day is an adventure here.

Please remember to pray for Peter (known as Mkuu – Chief!). There are so many decisions every day and problems that land in his lap. Pray for finance to become available for the Bible School, so we can get repairs done and also prepare for future plans for the School. Pray for all the teaching staff, for vital and Spirit-filled teaching. Pray too for safety on the roads, especially in the wet season. Even here in the town, we very nearly got swiped off the road and into the ditch by a screaming motorbike! But we sleep well and are in good health and are so thankful for that.

Finally, it is time to share this bit of news that has been mooted by Bishop Given for a couple of months now. He has asked that Peter be ordained, and after a lot of prayer and discussion, we agreed. It is certainly not something that Peter has sought, but after digging our toes in for a while, we realised that this is a door that God has opened and we should be ready to go through. The ordination is set for June 19, here in Kondoa.

Marching for Kingdom Restoration (Snapshot 2016)

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The following is one of the articles from the 2016 NZCMS Snaptshot Magazine, our annual publication that gives you a ‘snapshot’ of NZCMS today. If you didn’t receive a copy please request one from office@nzcms.org.nz 

During the war, Angee Santa lost a lot. She lost children, family members and her land. At one point she lost all hope – she attempted to kill herself. Along with her son, she turned to alcohol and became addicted. Drinking compounded her mental health struggles.

I sit with her now as she calmly sorts beans under the shade of her grass roof. It’s hard to imagine the drunken chaos she describes. Angee is hard to forget. She loves bright clothing, shiny headscarves and chunky jewellery. She speaks with passion. Her legs are swollen, scaly, and almost elephantine due to an unusual medical condition. Sometimes it’s hard for her to walk, but her eyes always dance.

Angee isn’t the only member of our Community Organizing group with a story about alcohol. Last month we buried Rose Lam’s eldest son. For months he wandered out of reach of his family, drinking and drinking. He failed to take his HIV drugs. Rose stayed by his side in hospital for a week while he died. Then there’s Abalo Helen looking after her struggling brother. He regularly steals her money to buy alcohol and comes home in a drunken rage, yelling and breaking her things. Isaac’s mother, Florence’s son, Miller’s brother, Paul’s neighbour. I could go on and on.

Twenty years of violence, displacement and loss has left so much brokenness here in Gulu. Money-hungry vultures prey on brokenness. Northern Uganda has the highest rate of alcohol consumption in the country, and Uganda has the highest rate in East Africa. There’s no regulation. Bars are open 24/7, and alcohol isn’t only sold in bars but in every tiny shop that sells everything from toothpaste to batteries. Worst of all, 40% strong spirits is sold in tiny plastic sachets of 100ml for 20c(NZ). The ethanol is imported from Kenya by various Ugandan companies who add flavours and colourful packaging. Forget the 50c mixtures; these are so cheap children buy them and slip them in their pockets to take to school. It doesn’t take many to knock you out.

Where is God amongst this brokenness? Where is God’s Kingdom? So often this world seems like a kingdom of capitalism. The king is the company and the ‘rule of law’ is the free market. And yet Jesus teaches us to pray to our Father, ‘your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in Heaven.’

I love the Message translation of Colossians 1, which tells us that through Jesus’ death “all the broken and dislocated piece of the universe, people and things, animals and atoms, get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies.” While the Kingdom is not fully here yet, sometimes we can see God starting to put things back together again. We can see the ‘vibrant harmonies’ of the Kingdom peeking through.

 A couple of years back Angee came to know Jesus. God gave her the reason and the strength to stop drinking. This year, she walked into our little church to our group’s strategy meeting, ready to join our fight. Our small Community Organizing group, ‘Wakonye Kenwa,’ is about finding strategic solutions to address problems facing our community. We want to be part of God’s Kingdom project, putting back together just a little piece of the broken and dislocated universe. Specifically, we wanted laws regulating alcohol, including a ban on plastic alcohol sachets. So we tackled Gulu District’s local government.

Members like Angee walked around our community collecting data and personal stories about the impact of alcohol on people’s lives. We submitted a big report to the district government and lobbied till they agreed to start writing the law. As it turned out, government can be a slippery bunch. Keeping the law making process moving and making sure our major demand (the sachet ban) was included in the law proved the hardest part. So we started collecting signatures for a petition calling for a sachet-alcohol ban. We made friends with the biggest local radio station who let us run a six week series featuring former alcoholics from our group and the wider community. Each week we pushed for the ban on sachets.

It hasn’t been an easy year! Part way through the campaign, Angee spent a week in the mental health wing of the local hospital. Her son, who she thought had left his days of alcohol abuse behind him, got raging drunk again, resurfacing her past struggles. We visited her in hospital. Her usually spirited eyes were dull, staring blankly. She spoke about haunting voices and an uncontrollable sorrow.

The year was difficult for others in our group as well. The day before we filmed our short video calling for a ban on sachets, Paul’s neighbour died of alcohol poisoning. He spoke about it in the film. When Josephine’s hut was burned down by a drunken person, she told me she was thankful that at least the anti-sachet petitions she was collecting were stored in another hut, safe from the fire. For me, working closely with local government in Gulu has been like wading through a bureaucratic swamp of incomprehensible, head-ache inducing inefficiency.

Our campaign climaxed with a march through the streets of Gulu to present the 9500 signatures we collected to the district council. We invited the major religious and cultural leaders of the district to lead the march. That day I got to see the members of our group proudly marching through the streets, followed by hundreds of supporters. Only two weeks after returning home from hospital, struggling with her swollen legs, Angee made it all the way carrying her sign. No one chanted louder than her! The district chairman received the petition and with the media’s cameras rolling, publicly declared that the law would be passed by the end of the year.

I believe we’re starting to see moments of God’s transformation. Moments where broken, dislocated pieces of our universe are starting to be put right. Moments where people’s love for the King leads them to work to see the Kingdom grow in the here-and-now. Gulu’s new law banning sachet alcohol is on its way. Angee doesn’t define herself by the losses of her past, her disability, the drinking, or the demons in her head that still return to haunt her. She is God’s person, who marched boldly through the streets of Gulu demanding justice and praying ‘God, today your will be done.’

A day in the countryside

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The door opened and I was greeted by a sauna like kitchen as the pulpo (octopus) boiled away on the old cooker. I had been invited for lunch at the family home of my friend. Her Mum greeted me and gave me a tour of their small, modest home. She proudly showed me photos of her children and grandchildren and in her bedroom I saw her collection of saints that she prays to. I barely understood her as she spoke a mix of Portuguese, Spanish and the local language. Help!

We ate the pulpo with potato and toasted with our drinks to life, according to her Mum a short life for her but long lives for us. It was a real honour and answer to prayer to be invited into a family home here and have a small taste of what life is like in a very small rural village.

Please pray for this family, that their hearts would be softened so that they too can know the incomprehensible love of God.

Future thoughts

I’ve just started what I’m hoping is my final semester of full time Spanish study. I am by no means fluent but I have a lot more words, grammar and understanding than when I first stepped off the plane. Praise God! So now my mind has turned even more to what will happen next! I’m hoping in July to complete a small Intensive Course and use it to prepare for an official exam to assess all areas of my Spanish ability.

Each Region of Spain is very distinct in its culture, traditions, foods etc. and so as I’ve learnt Spanish I’ve been learning the local culture as well. This region of Spain has many towns of over 5000 people where there is no known Evangelical Christian presence, so I have begun to think and pray about whether God wants to send a team into one of these towns and whether I should be a part of this team.

Pray with us and for us that we can have lots of God’s wisdom & guidance  and that we can know how to be sensitive to the people, culture & history of this Region.

(Photo by Dani Vázquez on Flickr.)

Reading Between The Lines: 7 Things Missionaries Aren’t Telling You

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By Rebekah Barnett.

The following is re-blogged from weaverthreads.wordpress.com. Thanks for letting us share!

When I first approached my parents about guest-writing their prayer letter, I was grateful they (albeit tentatively!) agreed. It’s been 5 years since I’ve been to the Philippines. Now that I’m married and not involved in their work, it’s easy to forget what life was like on the mission field. That’s why I’m writing this: it’s for me as much as for you, to remind us both to read between the lines. Maybe you’ve kept up with their prayer letters and wondered what a missionary’s life is really like. Perhaps you hesitate asking missionaries questions about their personal life for fear of prying. As the daughter of a missionary and now the wife of a youth pastor, I can tell you some of my family’s struggles are unique but most of them are not.

So here are 7 things missionaries aren’t telling you.

1. They love what they do, even though it’s hard. This is one of the biggest reasons missionaries don’t share more. I’ve seen my parents work to the point of exhaustion and shed tears of frustration, but none of it is for your sympathy or praise or even a pat on the back from the mission. Eric Liddell said, “I believe God made me for a purpose. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Missionaries do what they do because it’s their passion and calling. As my dad always says, “Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.”

2. It’s not easy to go deep. If you’ve ever moved, you know how difficult it is to connect deeply or establish close friendships with others. It’s simple to host a Super Bowl party or spend a weekend at the lake if you have an established group of friends. Due to extensive moving and traveling, however, missionaries don’t have that. Their work and personal networks are not only broad but one-and-the same. That is why it can be challenging for them to develop relationships beyond a certain level.

3. It’s not a 9 to 5 job. It’s a 24/7 calling. A missionary can’t come home at the end of the day, drop his briefcase, and leave work behind. My parents’ office is their home, and sometimes they get the most done during the distraction-free “after-dinner shift.” Doing ministry is like carrying a heavy backpack around all the time. Even when you zip it shut, the weight is still there.

4. Guilt-free family time is a luxury. You hardly hear about where the Weavers go or what they do to relax, do you? Because going to the beach or seeing a concert hardly sounds like “mission work.” Just like you, missionaries need some free time (but rarely take it) in order to have the energy to work.

5. Writing doesn’t always come easy. I cannot tell you how many prayer letters my parents have thrown out! (I remember using old drafts as drawing paper when I was a little girl.) You read their final product and many of you have commented over the years how creative their themed letters are. But those are hard to write and take a lot of time and effort.

6. Words of encouragement go a long way. Have you ever received a raise? Or perhaps you’ve had a co-worker compliment you when you were having a bad day? These experiences can seem more foreign to the missionary than their mission field! That’s why relational support like thoughtful emails, small packages, and coffee dates can mean just as much as your financial support.

7. They depend on you. What would your life be like if you lived on 50% of your income? My parents and many other missionaries do just that, but do not like mentioning it. “Why?” you may ask. Well, if you got a pay-cut you probably wouldn’t broadcast it in the family Christmas card. It’s personal stuff! Besides, even if it’s true, telling already-generous supporters you need more just feels ungrateful. Fortunately, in addition to “Pray, Give, Go” there’s also “Share.” Missionaries love it when you tell others God is at work, because when you do, you’re reaching people they could never reach without you! You may not be able to give more, but you can inspire more to give by sharing their ministry with a friend, inviting them to speak in your Sunday school class, or sharing their updates on social media. It might not feel like you’re doing much, but trust me, keeping the supporter family grapevine alive and well truly matters!

 

What do you think of these ‘7 things missionaries aren’t telling you? Share your thoughts in the comments below. If you’d like to read more of Rebekah’s work, she blogs at rebekahopeful.blogspot.com

Lausanne’s Renewed Engagement in Global Mission

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By Michael Oh and Justin Schell.

The following article is an update from the Lausanne Movement, highlighting the impact and implications of the large gathering in Cape Town in 2010. We thought you’d appreciate knowing what’s happening in this movement which unites evangelicals in mission around the world, especially since Kirstin and John from the NZCMS staff team as well as Zane from the NZCMS Council will be participating in the Younger Leaders Gathering this year. (To learn more about the Lausanne Movement, watch the video above.)

This article originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of the Lausanne Global Analysis and is published here with permission. To receive this free bimonthly publication from the Lausanne Movement, subscribe online at lausanne.org/analysis.

 

During our 40th anniversary year, leading up to the leadership meeting in Vevey in May 2014, the Lausanne leadership prayerfully produced a fresh articulation of what we hope to communicate as our vision for engaging in global mission in the next 40 years.

Fourfold vision

Though our mission has not changed, we now communicate it this way: Connecting influencers and ideas for global mission. We then wrestled with what that mission looks like in reality. Or to ask it another way, if by God’s grace we were to succeed in this mission, what would the world look like? Out of that process emerged Lausanne’s fourfold vision:

Cape Town fruit

All of this is fruit from the Cape Town 2010 Congress (CT2010). The one thing that everyone involved in planning CT2010 was 100% agreed upon was this: CT2010 must not be simply another conference. The value of any gathering lies primarily in the resultant impact—the enduring worth—of the gathering. Especially in an age where technology and globalization have made it possible to ‘gather’ vast numbers of people from all over the world easily, it was essential that Cape Town bear fruit that lasted.

Now we are well on our way. The low-hanging fruit of Cape Town was the potential to collaborate on the more than 30 critical issues that were identified as crucial for the global church to engage in mission. In these five years, existing global networks have been strengthened and accelerated, and new global networks have formed around several of these issues.

Issue networks

Leaders, thinkers, and practitioners are working together to engage on topics as diverse as Islam, mission to and by the disabled, the arts in mission, and cities. They are indeed bringing Kingdom Impact in Every Sphere of Society.

In March 2015, over 300 leaders in diaspora mission gathered in Manila, Philippines, to help produce a comprehensive textbook on Diaspora Missiology. Gatherings on Islam in Ghana, Children at Risk in Ecuador, Jewish Evangelism in Jerusalem, Creation Care and Mission in Jamaica, Care and Counsel as Mission in Germany, and others have resulted in tangible strategic resources and partnerships. As always, the fruit of Lausanne grows best on others’ trees, but no one could have imagined what rich fertilizer CT2010 would prove to be!

Each of these issue networks is growing, gathering, planning, and working together in their spheres of influence so that the world might know Christ. They are all at different sizes and stages of development, but the potential is so exciting. Some of the best fruit coming from these issue networks can be seen right here in the Lausanne Global Analysis (LGA)—our bimonthly publication designed to bring seminal and timely biblical reflection and strategic analysis to evangelical leaders around the world.

As always, the fruit of Lausanne grows best on others’ trees, but no one could have imagined what rich fertilizer CT2010 would prove to be.   Regional networks

At the same time, the Lord has allowed Lausanne to help strengthen and renew regional networks as well:

In East Asia, house church leaders are being equipped to lead their congregations in global mission. In English, Portuguese, and Spanish speaking Africa, the Mission Africa Trust Fund (MATF) has been launched. MATF has described its raison d’etre like this: ‘Africa has moved from a missionary receiving continent to a missionary sending continent. The time has come for the African church to become a mission giving church.’ Can you imagine what the world will look like in ten years if abundant prayer and timely service were to cover this initiative? Latin America has played host to two very important gatherings in 2014—on the critical issues of Global Theological Education and of Prosperity Theology, Poverty, and the Gospel—helping chart the future course for developing Christian leaders, and addressing an errant teaching that has ravaged the church worldwide.

As regional engagement grows, so has a natural and wonderful consequence: namely, the translation of key global mission resources into more and more languages, making the fruits of CT2010 accessible to even more Christian leaders around the world. The Cape Town Commitment has been translated into at least 25 languages (and maybe more), and the LGA is being translated into several languages as well. The Lausanne Global Classroom initiative will deliver ongoing missiological education to the seven major languages of CT2010.

The longer view

This is just a taste of the fruit of CT2010. However, we are not only concerned with the low-hanging fruit that has come out of this historic gathering. Cape Town also reminded us of the desperate need to take a long view in the work of global mission. Nearly 40 years after the first Lausanne Congress, Cape Town offered a stunning picture of the fact that global mission must be a multigenerational undertaking. Neither Billy Graham, nor the late John Stott, was at Cape Town. The young, passionate Latino leaders of 1974, Samuel Escobar and Rene Padilla, were now sharing from nearly 40 more years of experience. Alongside of this, new voices spoke into the global discussion, and perhaps the biggest shock of all is that it was a North Korean high school girl who provided the most profound moment of the entire gathering.

Next generation of leaders

Lausanne has always had an interest in seeing the next generation of mission leaders emerge. Lausanne has hosted two global (Singapore 1987, Malaysia 2006) and several regional and national Younger Leader Gatherings (YLG). However, with the generational transition in leadership apparent and under way on stage at CT2010—even two and a half years before a younger leader named Michael Oh would be appointed as Executive Director/CEO of Lausanne—it was clear that change in global mission leadership was coming. We believe that Lausanne will have a unique role in that transition: namely, to help see generation after generation of Christ-like Leaders for Every Church identified and empowered.

In 2016, in Jakarta, Indonesia, Lausanne will host the third global Younger Leaders Gathering. Some 1,000 younger leaders from more than 150 nations will gather for what, as we resolved for Cape Town, must not be simply another conference. The need for Christ-like leaders for the church is too important to be content with a week of meetings and speakers. These younger leaders will certainly hear from and engage with their more experienced counterparts, but they will also take part in creating the future that God is bringing into existence.

In 2016, in Jakarta, Indonesia, Lausanne will host the third global Younger Leaders Gathering. Some 1,000 younger leaders from more than 150 nations will gather for what, as we resolved for Cape Town, must not be simply another conference.

The participants will take part in ‘laboratories’ where their greatest passions and inspirations and the world’s greatest needs will intersect. They will receive encouragement and coaching on how to initiate the next generation of missional networks, organizations, businesses, and ministries. Historically, we have seen these eternity-shaping initiatives launched out of Lausanne gatherings (300 such networks came out of Manila 1989 alone), but this is the first time where we will actively nurture such undertakings. We are excited about the kingdom initiatives waiting to be birthed.

YLGen

Again, the need for Christ-like leaders for the church is too great simply to be content with a week of meetings and speakers. The YLG will not be the end of Lausanne’s engagement with these younger leaders. The gathering will actually launch a ten-year initiative called Younger Leaders Generation (YLGen).

Those who attend the YLG, as well as other younger leaders, will be connected in mentoring communities and receive critical mission education through Lausanne’s Global Classroom initiative. These are just two of the ongoing opportunities. It is often easy to get people excited about a big event, but there is no other Lausanne initiative that excites us as much as YLGen. We truly believe that if you want to change the world, you must change its leaders.

Wittenberg gathering—toward a greater partnership

Besides highlighting the multi-generational nature of the church, Cape Town also reminded us that global mission is too important to ignore and too difficult to do alone. Regional networks, issue networks, and generational networks are all manifestations of God’s people connecting for global mission. We want to share with you, for the first time, about an upcoming event that we ask you to pray about and fast over. It is our hope that the event results in powerful partnerships aimed at seeing the Gospel for Every Person andan Evangelical Church for Every People become a reality.

In 2017, Lausanne will be hosting a gathering in Wittenberg, Germany. That year will mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. While we certainly will celebrate the faithfulness of God over these 500 years, we also understand that the gospel, the good news that Martin Luther and others worked tirelessly to defend and articulate, has yet to reach billions of men, women, and children.

The gospel the Reformers championed must continue to be heralded throughout the world. In light of this, Lausanne will be inviting 70 of the most influential mission leaders to Wittenberg to pray and plan toward a greater partnership in global mission. For more than a year before the gathering, they will be engaging in a process of prayer, discernment, reflection, and interaction.

We have much to be thankful for. However, there also remains much to do. May we continue to sense a holy, joyful urgency to engage in global mission! It is too important to ignore and too difficult to do alone. Would you pray for these networks and initiatives? Would you pray and act toward seeing this fourfold vision become a reality, for the glory of God and that the world might know Christ?

Michael Oh is Executive Director/CEO of the Lausanne Movement. He is also the founder and Board Chair of CBI Japan, which includes Christ Bible Seminary, church planting efforts, and various outreach ministries, including the Heart & Soul Cafe, in Nagoya, Japan. Michael holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and Harvard University.

Justin Schell is Director of Executive Projects for the Lausanne Movement. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, he has served in leadership with a variety of mission and mobilization organizations for 15 years. Contact Justin at jschell@lausanne.org.

New Home and New Ministries

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When we wrote our last update in October, we had just finalised our new church plant partnership and had found a new house to rent. Now, a few months later we have moved in, furnished our new home (our previous places have been furnished), and are now starting to feel settled in our new neighbourhood.

We have also begun to contribute to the ministries in both the mother church and the church plant. Along with attending the regular weekly meetings we have been mostly focused on getting to know who everyone is, and have started to visit or meet with different people as the opportunity arises. In particular we have been getting to know the young couple we are working with in the church plant, and Murray has begun doing a Bible study with them each week in preparation for them to do the same with others in the future.

We are particularly enjoying having people come to our home for meals, which is something that we have not done much of in the past few years. Over the Christmas weekend it was a joy to have nearly 20 people sitting around our table at different times.

 

Meet the team

Erion and Gena lead the mother church. Gena is kept busy with their six year old son Abi, and three week old daughter Lois. Erion is bivocational and gets his income by working full time for the Prison Ministry, and as a consequence many of the members of the church are either former in-mates, or have family members in prison. Erion is also a gifted musician – you can listen to his latest song using the words from Romans 11:33-36 here.

Elton and Mariana lead the church plant. Elton is a ‘jack of all trades’ and it looks like he’s just found a good job. His role in the church is voluntary. Mariana has nearly completed her Social Work degree and is praying for work where she can use her new qualifications. Their daughter Ema is two years old.

 

Baby Ambrose

Féy arrived in Wellington in perfect time just hours after the arrival of baby Ambrose, our latest grandchild. She will be with them for the next few weeks. We are so delighted to have a new grandson!

A book Out From St Martin’s

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By Stewart Entwistle. 

Why is it that the stories of missionaries (or Mission Partners) seem to have been written a hundred years ago, involving people in countries we’re unlikely to ever visit, and makes them seem to be super spiritual or other worldly?

Does anyone ever write anything about anyone who you could have heard of, could have met at your local church, and is really just like other people in the fellowship? Well yes they do – but not all that often!

But just recently a book was launched at the morning service at St Martin’s Anglican Church (Spreydon, Christchurch) which actually fits those criteria. Out from St Martin’s contains sixty two stories from people who have been associated with that church in one way or another, who have followed the leading of God to serve overseas. Yes, some of the authors are oldies, but all are ordinary Kiwis. It is interesting to note, that from a NZCMS point of view 37 of the stories are of those who served within the fellowship. Bishop Brain Carrell described a particular time when the Rev Roger Thompson was Vicar, “As a Crucible for Christian Commitment”.

There are short-termers who served for a few months, and long-termers who gave a lifetime of service, each telling their unique story of how God equipped, sustained and protected them during that service.

Nicky Gumbell, the founder of the famous Alpha Course, wrote “We all have a story to tell. Every family has stories. Every church has its own story of what God has done. Every Christian has a story – a testimony. All of us have access to the great story of what God has done in Christ”.

What will your story be like? Is it going be like the sixty two recorded in this book? Will it include time spent serving in cross-cultural mission, whether in New Zealand or overseas?

By the way the book is an easy read, inspirational and challenging!

 

Copies may be ordered by emailing lynatwyn@icloud.com or writing to: Lyn Smith, 49 Wyn Street, Hoon Hay, Christchurch 8025.  Cost: only $25 per copy (plus P&P: $5 for 1–2 copies).

Get Low: 3 Lessons On Leadership

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By Peggy Kelley. 

The following has been reblogged from Risecampaign.com.

 

There are so many articles, books and quotes about leadership floating around these days. I find myself cringing over most of them. Sometimes the word leadership itself is off-putting. I picture older men with fancy watches and glued on smiles, ready to dole out tedious jobs to unimportant underlings.

But there are a lot more ways to be a leader, I know. I realized a few years ago that I have some leadership gifts, but it was a confusing revelation because those gifts are paired with other traits which don’t appear to mix well with being in charge of a group of people.

For a few weeks in August I was able to test out those gifts while co leading just a small portion of an outreach in Thailand for a Discipleship Training School. I didn’t go in thinking,“how can I be a good leader?” so much as, “Lord, help me do right by your children.”

I discovered several interesting things about Leading.

1. Leading is not about being the most aggressive, or even the most assertive.

Being from America and growing up as I did with a single mom, I have learned the how and why of both. No one else will do it for you, right? Being aggressive is like spice in food and it’s best utilized in advocating for others. Walking with Jesus, though, with His unique example of love, I find that particular leadership style easily squashes the real goal of community.

Charging ahead often sacrifices relationship for efficiency.

While being decisive is an important part of leading, I also want to note here that the leadership quality that counts is not the ability to come up with the right decision, but the wisdom to recognize and choose that decision, even if it’s proposed by someone else in the group and doesn’t serve the leader’s personal desires.

 

2. Leading leaves room for people to make mistakes.

This is a lesson I learned while teaching. People learn things best when the question is their own and they’ve gotten their hands dirty to find the solution. I’m always available for giving advice (believe me, I often have to tell myself to wait to be asked or at least ask if it’s wanted) but if I’m too eager to tell someone The Way It Is, I may keep them from discovering it more deeply for themselves.

Obviously there is a place for giving advice or I wouldn’t be writing this blog post, but even what you take away from reading this will be just a line or two that you were probably already chewing on in your mind.

 

3. Leading means laying down your life.

This was the biggest thing God kept repeating while I was in Thailand. First through Philippians 2:1-11 and then through of Mark 10:42-45. Jesus laid down his life and invites his followers to do the same.

If you think being the leader means being the Big Shot with the heaviest vote, please resign right now and spend a while cleaning bathrooms without getting credit.

The whole point of leading people is to help them grow into who they were made to be. You might think it’s about a particular project or product, but it’s always really about the people. They might be made to take your job. Let’s hope they are, and that you spend your gifts pouring into that potential.

Often we are led by people who use their position to get what they want. What grows in us, because of that, is the desire to be our own boss, if not to simply replace the person in charge. What follows is this cycle where the person in charge gets their way and everyone else must obey until they, too can get out from under that tyranny to take hold of the reigns for another round of tyranny.

But friends, leading is not actually about Being In Charge and it’s especially not about Getting Your Way. Leading is about being the first to sacrifice, the first to do what is wise and loving for the good of others. Leading is about showing people the way forward and helping them go farther, grow more, be more. Leading is about initiating vulnerability, being trustworthy, being honest when it’s painful and persevering when others want to give up.

If we follow Jesus and walk in his example, our lives will not be about building influence, but about continuously laying down our rights.

After all, the only legitimate Big Shot that walked on earth laid down His heavy vote to help us go where we couldn’t, and be who we weren’t. His life is the leadership model I’m looking to follow.

 

Opportunity in Papua New Guinea

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The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea (ACPNG) requires the services of an experienced Administrator with strong leadership skills to fill the role of a Provincial Secretary currently based in Lae. The Provincial Secretary reports to the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea. He or she is the chief administrative officer of the Anglican Church.

For more information, including details of the responsibilities and required qualifications click here.

 

(Image: Symmetry in the Forest by Hadi Zaher on Flickr.)