Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Video update from the field for November


Click the video to play, then click it again to see the wide screen version.

For more information about our work or how to join our team please check out http://www.jessenfamily.info/

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The first 10 days in Thailand have been days of contrasts and extremes

The first 10 days in Thailand have been days of contrasts and extremes. Here are just a few of the things we have…

found: the training center where we will be working, the famous Night Bazaar (several blocks of street vendors selling everything from home d├ęcor to fried bamboo worms) , the “Wal-mart” of Chiang Mai, the emergency room where Jenni was treated for a kidney infection, an English speaking church, a home school group, a home to rent and a scooter to ride.





eaten: traditional Thai food in the night market and traditional happy meals at McDonalds, a variety of exotic fresh fruit smoothies, authentic Indian food and less authentic Pizza Hut. (No, we haven’t gone so far as to try the fried worms yet…perhaps I’ll send an update on that in a few weeks)


seen: God’s hand at work in explicit ways of protection and provision, friends from Woodland Park here in Thailand and friends from Woodland Park on Skype, a baby elephant walking down the street with its trainer, people worshipping devoutly at Buddhist temples, as many as 5 people riding on a moped and more lizards that Maverek can count.

experienced: excitement about the exotic things we are seeing and grief over those we long to see, pulling away from the comforts of our home and pulling into the comfort of one another, public transportation in many various forms, beautiful days of mild temperatures and beautiful people with mild tempers, uncontrollable laughter at fish eating the dead skin off our feet at a “fish spa” and the sometimes overwhelming exhaustion of jet-lag.

Next week we will celebrate KJ’s 40th birthday, hopefully move into our rental home, begin language learning in earnest and navigate the shadowy waters of obtaining visas that will allow us to stay in country, work legally, and have a bank account.

Most fun you can have for 3 bucks.
Stay tuned at http://www.jessenfamily.info/ for more frequent updates, photos and life with us on the field in Thailand.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

How God used the Jessens in 2010

Can you believe our transition to Thailand is only 48 days away! When God laid this transition on our heart less than 5 months ago, we were scratching our heads. So much to do, so many places to go, before the move! Well, God has done some pretty cool things in the past few months and we just want to take a moment to share some of those with you with this short video.

Through your prayers, support and God knitting it all together:
3022 people heard of Jesus,
970 made Him their Lord and Savior,
18 churches were started,
11 churches were built up,
493 believers were discipled and trained.

All for His fame and glory.

In His grip,
the Jessen family


for more information on our work check out www.jessenfamily.info.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Closing a chapter in Peru

This last campaign returning Huancayo, Peru was difficult for many reasons. For one, it was backed up to my campaign in India and I travelled directly from India, over the North Pole to Chicago, then to Miami before on down to Lima. Secondly, as the Lord has called us on to Asia, we have no idea when and if we’ll return. It was hard to see pastors and leaders we’ve taught, prayed with and walked alongside process the news we won’t be returning. Now of course the work there will continue. The work has been handed off to someone else who will help to equip and serve those brothers. But still, of all the South America, that is one of our favorite places.
As the Lord has changed and moved our focus after six years of using sports to build relationships, play ball and share Jesus it was a little sad to “officially” use sports for the last time. Oh, sports are still a great tool, and we’ll teach and use it in Thailand, but it won’t be our main focus. But God in His provision allowed one last opportunity for me. As I was travelling to each mission point checking on the work we visited the sports team over lunch. Noticing some young men shooting the ball around, a pickup game was started. Let me tell you, a full court game at 11, 000 will always take your breath away. But a good time to shooting, passing and laughing provided the opportunity for us to get to know these guys. After the game, over a 3 liter bottle of Coke, I told them of the story of Jesus. Where those guys were once strangers, just players on the court, they are now my new brothers in Christ. God is so cool to allow us to use our gifts and skills to further His Kingdom. Those six men are now being plugged into a local church where they can continue to learn, grow and maybe one day they’ll use a basketball game to win souls.
What a week to see 32 North American partner with 6 mother churches to start 6 new works and strengthen 2 others. Amazing to see 599 hear the Good News and 398 trusting in Jesus. Even more exciting was the focus on discipleship as 127 home follow up visits were made and 247 people came to evening cell group meetings. Oh what a privilege to see God at work.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Am Second in Peru

If you are on the web at all you may have heard of it www.iamsecond.com. Powered by e3 Partners, I am Second is a movement that is impacting lives around the world. Using an innovative marketing campaign promoting iamsecond.com, visitors to the website are presented with inspirational videos and opportunities to learn about a relationship with Christ, grow in their spiritual walk and/or get involved in their local community. The I Am Second Expedition to Peru was about us as North American believers stepping out to take the Gospel to those who are still lost in their sin, encouraging Peruvian believers and putting Jesus first in our lives. Oh the lessons God had in store of us.
During the evening time of sharing stories from the day and during the morning team times, team member after team member came to the realization that they are nothing without Christ. That they can do nothing on their own. That even though they were believers, they still put their wants, their comforts, their plans above Jesus’. During this trip of seeing God move in mighty ways, even INSPITE of them, they realized that they are second, and Jesus is first in their lives.
So in the spirit of I Am Second where personal stories are key, check out this link where you can hear their stories, in their own words at http://sportreach.blogspot.com/.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pray for India

In wrapping up some of the highlights about the new work in India, let me just give all the glory to God for all the great things He has done. Even in the remotest of places He is building His church (Matt 16:18), calling people to Himself. What an incredible privilege to be a part of it. To see men stopping their work in a storefront, gathering around to hear the name of Jesus for the first time. To see them marvel at the Bible in their language as they take their first peek into His story. To see a young man run from that storefront to gather his family, bring them to the road and wait for us to pass by, gladly welcoming us in. To see a man from the Indian army walk out to greet us, buy us a soda then invite us to his home. All ready to hear the Good News. But also glory to God for the times we were rejected for His namesake, homes that closed their doors, the villages that said we were not welcome or the hostile crowd that threatened to beat our national workers. When serving our Lord it’s all good…the bumpy roads, the hard, the hot, the rejection, the rejoicing, the praying, the encouraging, the singing and laughing. All good. All for His glory.
Through your support and prayers, doors were opened for 1607 to hear the true story of Jesus Christ. 363 baby believers are now in the hands of local pastors and leaders. Pray for them as they develop deep roots and learn to obey the commands of Christ. Pray for what God is doing in the state of Assam for the unreached Hindus and Muslims. For the unreached tribals like the Boros, Karbis, Deori, Kocharis and Rabhas. Pray that a church planting movement would sweep through each of these people groups so that, as promised each tribe, tongue and nation will be represented before the throne, all for His glory.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Husbands, love your wives

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27)

At the end of a long day, a rain storm began to pound us with large, warm drops of rain. In order to find shelter we entered into the home of one of the local believers we’d been working with all day. As we settled in to wait out the storm I began speaking with the owner “John”. The Lord had blessed “John” with a good job, nice home and a wonderful wife and two daughters. However, you could see the burden he was carrying as he shared with us that even though he had been a Christ follower for four years, his wife was still a Hindu. He told us, how for all that time, he’d been praying that his wife would come to know Jesus. Praying for four years!Realizing that the Lord had placed us in the home for a purpose, I asked him to call his wife so two ladies on our team could share with her. It was a sweet time as the thunder crashed outside and rain thumped the metal roof, the Lord removed the blinders from his wife’s eyes and she prayed to receive Christ. Oh, I wish you could have seen “John’s” face as his smile beamed with joy. With his arm around his wife he said, “Before today we had two gods in our home, now we both serve one God.” As time came to leave I challenged him with the verses above, that his love for his wife would be a testimony in their village. After sharing their plans to seek baptism and destroy the idols in their home, they stood on the porch, waving goodbye, a changed family. A family united by God and saved by His redeeming grace.

For more information about the work God is doing in and through us check out http://www.jessenfamily.info/.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"We all have darkness in our hearts"

For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (Rom 2:14-16)

Why is it wrong to steal, lie, murder or the many other things we know are bad? Why do we have the innate knowledge of these things? Yes, of course, our parents (should) teach us these things but where do they come from? This is a very important question because as we share the Good News of Jesus, a major part of the “good” is that our sins can be forgiven. Ok, what is sin? Well, just the things I mentioned, those things that are wrong, and we know it. They are wrong because the offend God and His nature. This is the reason Jesus died on the cross, to pay the penalty for our sins. To truly understand the grace we have been given through Jesus, we have to understand that we have broken God’s laws and need forgiveness. Romans 2:15 tells us that God has written His law on our hearts, and when we do something that we know is not right…we get that little feeling inside that tells us this isn’t right. Ok, ok, enough of that, get on with the story.
Well, it was another hot, sunny and humid day as we approached an unreached village. Our presence in the village drew a large crowd right off the bat and we spread good seed while handing out many Bibles in their language. There seemed to be a potential here in the village but the doors weren’t quite open yet. As we walked deeper into the village, an older lady was sitting on a bench along the path, and she loudly slapped the wood and said sit down. “I want to hear why you are here.” She was an animated and boisterous woman who commanded the villagers’ attention. Two of the ladies in our group jumped at the chance to sit and share. The first shared her personal story and the other began to tell about Jesus. Now remember, this village is unreached, having never heard of Jesus or what sin is. As the story unfolded and the North American shared the “problem” that separates us from God, she brought up sin and what it meant. You could see this usually smiley and loud lady process the words she had just heard. As these words sank in she said, “Oh yes, everyone has darkness in their heart.” Exactly, because God had written His law upon her heart! Knowing her sin and the need for forgiveness she intently listened to the remainder of the story then in front of everyone confessed with her mouth that Jesus was Lord and her Savior. Amen. As that happened the key to that village was unlocked. We refer to what Jesus called the “person of peace” in Luke 10:1-6 as we instruct teams to pray before entering villages. The lady was open to the Gospel, had a reputation in the village, had a circle of influence and was helpful to open doors in the community. Once this woman came to Jesus, doors and hearts were open throughout the village resulting in many coming to Christ.
So, even in the remotest villages in the far corners of the world, over bumpy and dirty roads, down narrow paths, hearts are being prepared, fields are being plowed. They are ready to hear about the saving grace of Jesus. Will you go?



For more on the work God is doing in and through us check out http://www.jessenfamily.info/.


Friday, August 20, 2010

"I want to follow Jesus"

The state of Assam in northeast India is rural, humid and hot. Just as the weather climate is hot, so are the political and spiritual climates. Many different people groups are all vigorously fighting for their own rule and their own state. Deadly battles with police are daily occurrences. Persecution among the believers is also a large problem with converts from Islam and Hinduism being beaten or kicked out of their villages. But even in the midst of these tremulous times God is on the move in Assam.

In late July the team we took to India was focusing on reaching out into villages to share the Gospel of Christ. Many people had never heard of Jesus and were excited to hear of a God who came down to earth to save them. In one Muslim village a team member told the true story of Christ to a small crowd and while no one publically responded, in the crowd was a young man that felt God touch his heart. We’ll call him “David”.
Several months earlier another man in that same village had accepted Christ and had not hidden it from the villagers. “Jake” was a restaurant owner in the village and persecution had already begun through people no longer visiting his business. He remained strong in the faith as the only village believer. Knowing “Jake” was a believer; “David” visited him to seek counsel on how to respond to the Good News he had heard. They prayed together and decided to find the local pastor and North American team the next day.
After an exciting morning out in the villages we gathered as a team for lunch. Upon arriving I was informed that two men had walked five miles to find us and the pastor was speaking with them. After being brought up to speed I spent the next hour talking, discipling and praying with the men. What a special time as we discussed God’s faithfulness, our security in Christ and that He’d always be with us. As we concluded the time the pastor said he would follow-up with them in a couple days and they’d discuss baptism. Curious to know more, “David” asked how that works. After hearing he said, “I have made up my mind, I want to follow Jesus. I’d like to be baptized today!” Wow! How exciting….and actually a little bittersweet. In America when someone wants to be baptized to show obedience to Christ, it is an exciting time. Family and friends gather to celebrate the event. In persecuted countries like India, it is a celebration but at the same time it makes a HUGE statement. Once you are baptized that is the point of no return. Family will disown you, friends may beat you, neighbors will run you out of your home, jobs are lost, all they know can change. For what? For obedience to their Savior.
Now we Americans don’t really know how to process that, we are free to make choices and have rights and we’ve put those rights into our American Christianity so we can feel safe and comfortable. But the Bible never promised those things. This type of persecution is no surprise to Jesus. The Bible tells us that we will be persecuted, families will be divided, and we will be hated for His namesake. Are we willing to give up everything to follow Jesus? “David” knew all this and was ready to follow Christ no matter the cost.
We hopped in the vehicles and went to a local school where there was a concrete cistern. We used buckets from the local well to fill up the make-shift baptismal one gallon at a time. We climbed in as excitement built and after a few words I baptized my brother “David”. What a privilege to share the celebration and symbolism of new birth and then to challenge the local pastor and his friend “Jake” to help “David” become a disciple of Jesus, teaching him to obey the commands of Christ.
Throughout the rest of the week I was able to see and pray with these men several more times. As you can imagine their determined faces are etched in my mind and I continue to pray for them regularly. As I was leaving I told them that the Bible tells us we are a part of a family, the family of God. And if in God’s will we never see each other again on earth, we will rejoice the day we meet again in Heaven. What a cool day that will be.
Got a note from the local pastor just yesterday saying “Jake” now hosts a prayer and worship time in his small hut. “David” and “Jake’s” daughter also attend. Please pray for this small church that it would develop deep roots and change the entire village for Christ.


For more on our work check out www.jessenfamily.info.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Working with unreached people in Asia


For the past four years Jenni and I have been praying for a work among an unreached people group (UPG) and the Lord answered those prayers this past month. After many months of prayer, training and planning a team of 10 set out for East Asia (Feel free to email me for the specific country if you don’t know, but for security reasons we just use East Asia). The “Catamount” are an unreached people group living in remote mountain villages. There are just over 100,000 registered in the minority group and there are currently only around 80 known believers. The “Catamount” have combined Buddhism, ancestor worship and animism into their primary form of worship. As part of a strategy of “Meeting needs and Sharing Christ” our team took on several project in the villages.

Water project
The local school had a water cistern that had a sagging top with no access to the water and a drain that was 12 inches above the bottom not allowing the cistern to be cleaned out which led to stale and stagnant water. Our team worked to remove the old top, pour concrete for a new top and filled in the bottom with a foot of concrete to allow for proper drainage. This opportunity led to sharing with a lead teacher and a couple students but also spread news of goodwill to every home.
Greenhouse project
Due to the high elevation of the village, during the winter time vegetables are hard to grow. The use of a greenhouse allows for families to produce fresh food to supplement their regular diet of pig fat or to sell the products at market for income. The team built two greenhouses. One was built for a crippled man and another for an elderly woman and her daughter. Both raised the profile of our meeting the needs in the village and provided opportunities to share with the new owners and their families.
Eye Glasses
Two teams took reading glasses and went home to home asking if there was any one who needed glasses. If so, they would give them the appropriate strength of reading glasses, then stay in the home to visit. Many times even if no one needed glasses they were still invited into the home. This approach also made for a very natural follow up visit about their previous conversations and glasses.
One of our contacts on the field was a Journeyman who had been working in this village for the past three years. She said that she had never seen this village so open. In the past, once a conversation moved to the things of God they either got up and left or changed the topic. Through prayer and our awesome Savior who desires this UPG to be reached, 95 people heard the story of Jesus Christ. 24 times our team returned to homes to follow up of those gospel presentations and go deeper.

Since I’ve been home the Lord has reminded me of Romans 10:13-15,17
For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!""...So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. "
Please join us in praying for the “Catamount” people and maybe the Lord is calling you to Go and tell.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pastors conference in Peru

In May KJ had the privilege to travel to Peru to teach a Leadership Development conference. During this time 9 pastors and their congregations were taught a Biblical model for prayer, evangelism, making disciples, gathering new believers, developing leaders and multiplying. After the two day conference each pastor responded to the challenge to spend the next two months praying, preparing and planning to start a new church in an area that currently doesn’t have one. A team of North Americans will arrive in late July to walk side-by-side with these Peruvian brothers and sisters to walk the streets, visit homes and share the Good News. Please pray for the harvest in Peru and for these pastors as they lead in their area to make disciples.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Humbly serving our Lord in Thailand









What drew us to e3 Partners was the focus on training nationals, establishing churches and connections to opportunities in unreached areas. Since joining e3 God has graciously continued to grow us, teach us and give us experience on the field in these areas. Immediately upon getting involved, I felt called to the unreached people in Asia but didn’t have a specific people group in mind, however during times of prayer and meditation Thailand kept coming up. In sitting in on the Asia group discussions at the 2009 E3 World Conference, someone suggested that I read Back to Jerusalem (afterword referred to as B2J). Immediately the B2J vision resonated with Jenni and me. Last year the Lord began to put a call on my heart for a longer term stay in Asia and after we returned from 3 months in South America last summer I felt more and more drawn to Chiang Mai, Thailand but for no specific reason. My faithful and loving wife was not prepared to discuss such an assignment so since then I’ve prayed that God would either prepare her heart or remove this burden from mine. Three weeks ago during a trip to China, the Lord did a work on my wife’s heart and she knew that He was confirming this monumental step for our family. With fear and trembling, we prayed and awaited further direction.

The Connection
Two months ago I was, at last minute, pulled into a meeting in Colorado Springs with a Chinese pastor who I had heard of before. His church in East Asia has grown to approximately 20 million members today. This pastor has been imprisoned for years at a time on several occasions, tortured and slandered more than any other Christian leader in China, yet he remains a faithful and humble man of God.
During the meeting, this pastor laid out the vision of B2J and the importance of training Chinese missionaries and developing leaders. He shared of his vision of a project in Chiang Mai, Thailand. My heart jumped as he explained that they were working to develop a training center to train B2J field missionaries who would be sent along the southern Silk Road. When asked, I shared who e3 Partners were and what our mission was. This pastor was immediately interested as he had often trained on the same things that e3 emphasizes. Several weeks later, after reviewing the e3 materials he mentioned he really liked our training material. Upon returning home from a recent trip to East Asia, this pastor contacted us and asked to meet regarding an urgent matter.

The Project
Wednesday, April 7, 2010, Jenni and I met with our Chinese brother and his translator. The pastor shared in more detail his plans for training missionaries outside China including the project in Chiang Mai. His goal is to develop a training center there that would begin with training 20 missionaries, for 3 months, 3 times a year. His ultimate goal is to continue to create these training centers along the Silk Road until 100 to 200,000 Chinese missionaries have been trained and are on their way back to Jerusalem. He asked us if we’d be able to help. We, in return, shared how the Lord has been preparing our hearts. We rejoiced and prayed that God would continue to guide us in next steps.

The Proposal

Jenni and I have been assigned by e3 Partners to partner with Back to Jerusalem for two years in Chiang Mai, Thailand with the following goals in mind:
* Help to develop B2J missionary training
* We would teach various courses
* Coordinate other teachers in various topics
*Assign and/or lead B2J missionaries in on the job training (i.e. short term mission trips) to the Chinese refuges in northern Thailand with the goal of establishing churches and raising up more workers to be trained
* Help to develop a training center prototype that could be reproduced by national leaders along the Silk Road
* Be available to receive short-term mission teams in Thailand and other East/Southeast Asian countries

Summary

If you are like ourselves you may be asking, why the Jessens? That has continued to run through our minds many times over the past few weeks. As we have confronted this question and our own inadequacies with tears and prayer, the only thing in which we can boast is in our weakness. We don’t have the most experience, we are not the best teachers or trainers, we are not the best missionaries. But we are willing. We are willing to give God our small offering of loaves and fish and wait to watch Him do great things. What we do know is that Jenni is a prayer warrior. I have the gift of administration. We are faithful and obedient and feel God is leading our family in this direction and look forward to seeing God use our inadequacies for His opportunities. We are excited to be involved in laying the foundation for equipping national missionaries to reach the lost between China and Jerusalem and be a part of Christ establishing His church for His fame and glory.

For His Glory, The Jessens

How can we help you get to Thailand?
We are so glad you asked!

We need prayer as there is lots to do to move the other side of the world. Prayer for unity and collaboration in developing a training center. For health and protection for our family. To be on our newsletter/prayer list you can email join-jessen-ministry-partners@lyris.e3partners.org to receive our updates.

Would you be willing to pray about a one-time gift to help us get to the field in Thailand?

God has so clearly led throughout this process, with things dramatically falling into place on after another. We have no doubt that He has arranged for the necessary funds to be provided as well. If God is putting into your heart giving toward our transition to Thailand, for setting up a home, training, a new laptop, supplies and other necessities, then feel free to head on over to www.e3partners.org/jessen-support to find out how to partner with us on this amazing journey.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Visiting an unreached village in East Asia*

Heading out from base to a different village we went northwest and were quickly overwhelmed by the majesty of the Himalayas. The shear steepness of the mountains was breathtaking as we switched back and forth down 5000 feet to the Yangtze River below. Once we reached the bottom we crossed a 200 foot high bridge and then began the ascent up the other side. Paved road soon changed to cobblestone, with no guardrails and plunging drop-offs.

Travelling with us this day was Missy*, a 21 year old “Catamount”* who has a violent history of abuse. She gave her life to the Lord several years ago and cannot get enough of learning the Word. Her heart is to learn so she can reach her family and her people. On the way there she told of a dream she'd recently had where she saw her father, presently not a Christian, taking a stand for Jesus.

After four hours of travel we arrived at Missy’s village which is a large “Catamount” village with a couple believers. A water project completed by North American believers has given access to visit and work in this village. Walking into her parent’s home we found ourselves sitting around the typical “Catamount” kitchen with a fire and tea being poured. They were very happy to have us there. The “Catamount” people are very welcoming and are honored to have guests. When people visit, tea, sunflower seeds and other snacks are a must. If they are glad you are there they might butcher a chicken and feed you dinner. If they consider you an honored guest then they will butcher a pig. Both are very generous and costly gifts; a chicken is the equivalent of one week’s wages and a pig, the equivalent of 6 week’s wages. After sipping on tea and catching up I heard the sound of a squealing pig outside. Yep, they considered us honored. Very honored.

Out in the courtyard we saw the entire process from squealing to ready to cook. Back around the fire, we, the honored guests were served the best parts...like the feet and the liver. Glad it was dark. Ham and beans followed as conversation picked up.

With dinner finished and tea still flowing we were joined at the fire by the village chief, the village shaman, the local area communist leader and Missy’s parents. The communist leader was an older man who had served in the army and fought many battles and lost an eye in the service of chairman Mao. With his face glowing in the fire light, he began to slyly attempt to discredit Americans, Christians and Jesus. The conversation was in a different language so we were getting updates on what was happening on the side but I was overwhelmed with God’s presence and the need to pray. I began praying God would do something big, reveal Himself and hard hearts would be pierced. As the communist’s propaganda increased, Missy’s father spoke up. In a calm, quite, yet strong voice he began to defend Jesus. He said he had been reading the Bible and believed Jesus did exist, did live on earth and did die. Our American contact jumped in and shared the gospel of Jesus. What an amazing privilege to see Missy’s dream come true and to see God glorified. I believe and pray it will only be a matter of time when Missy’s father begins a personal relationship with the Jesus whom he defended.

Villages of unreached people are scattered all over the mountains of East Asia. Many are friendly, many are open but they have not yet heard.

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Romans 10:14-15



Please consider praying, giving or going to take the Good News to the unreached.

*(Names, location and people group have been changed for security)










Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Working in the Jungles of Peru

After a long cold winter heading to the jungle of Peru was a breath of fresh air. Okay, maybe fresh is an exaggeration... more like 90 degree 100% humidity air. Our sports team of 10 joined a medical team to work with four mother churches to help each begin a new church. The four areas were in squatter villages where living conditions were very poor but the people were friendly and welcoming.

A typical day was to go home to home in the mornings sharing Christ alongside a local church member. For many people the news of Jesus Christ was new as they had never heard the whole story before and for those who had heard of Christ had a desire to know more and more about Him. Many times our team would spend and hour or more talking with and discipling families. After lunch our team would set up for a time of sports which drew people of all ages. In the evenings we would have an evening service or training time.

One of my favorite moments on the trip was our second location, where during our time of sports, a massive downpour started. That didn't stop the young men playing soccer which turned out to be a hilarious slip fest. However due to the large amount of rain the roads were flooded and that meant only the faithful showed up to the evening service. The delight was that the 12 that were there were hungry to learn how to use the Evangecube so I had the precious privilege of teaching how to do evangelism. After the end of the time the very humble pastor asked the group to stay later to begin to strategize how to use their new evangelism tools to reach their neighborhood during the upcoming Holy week.

As a leader of many short-term mission trips I always like to say that the trip is usually just as much about the people that go as the people we reach. It was very cool to see a mom and two teenage sons be stretched into obedience and by the end of the week serving boldly. Or the young married couple on their first mission trip who wanted to serve together. Or the young man who is pursuing a career in missions. God is always at work in each of us so that ultimately He'll be glorified.

In the end our sports team did 361 in home visits where 145 people gave their lives to Christ. We also had a great time building relationships, sharing Christ and beginning discipleship in our sports clinics with 510 people in attendance. With the Holy Spirit guiding us we were privileged to see Jesus build four new churches who are now well on their way to making disciples and reaching their neighborhoods.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Working ourselves out of a job...

That is certainly not the mindset of many people these days but as missionaries that is what we are called to do.  The Lord has given us the privilege to train and equip national pastors and their churches.  Through Leadership Development Conferences (LDC) we, by God’s grace, train them in prayer, evangelism, making disciples,  developing leaders and multiplying new churches.  Shortly after an LDC our short-term teams arrive to provide on the job training and  walk alongside our national brothers and sisters as these activities are MODELED.  As the week moves along we slowly begin to turn it over to them by ASSISTING them as they do the work of disciple making.  Then we step a little further back and WATCH providing praise and suggestions afterwards.  As they embrace the Great Commission and begin to personally get involved in reaching the lost in the community we then LEAVE them to continue the work while we move on to start the process all over again in a different location.

                When we are in Lima, Peru our home church is Eterna Roca.  We have been in relationship with this church for the past 4 years.  We worked in their local area, they’ve come with us when our North American teams have come, we’ve prayed with them as they moved to a cell group model and we’ve helped train them in evangelism and making disciples.  We love this body of believers.  As we were returning home this past August, the pastor said he appreciated the heart we’ve shown to reach the lost and they were going to begin praying about going on mission to reach their country….on their own.  Not without Christ of course, but without the assistance of North Americans.  They began praying.  A couple months later I got an email and the pastor mentioned that they had been praying and the Lord had led them to a location in the jungle that would take a 30 hour bus ride each way.  So they began  raising funds for the project as they continued to pray.  Then the day came to ask who will go?  Of this small church of 100 people 30 members raised their hands and committed to going.  30!  Almost a third of the church!  They continued to pray as they prepared, made plans and trained.  Last week Eterna Roca took that mission trip to the jungle where they did evangelism, made disciples, encouraged the local believers and made a difference for the Kingdom in that area by helping to start 6 new cell groups!  You see that’s the goal, train and equip then let them go.  Following Paul's model we do stay in touch, provide additional training when needed, encourage them, but we’ve removed the mindset that it takes North American involvement to do missions work.  We love Peru, we hope the Lord allows us to continue to work in other areas, but He has also allowed doors to open where we can begin working among unreached people groups in Asia.  Once we, the Church, reach all nations then Christ will call us home and we’ll be out of a job.  I’m good with that.

 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Praising what we saw in 2009

As we looked back at 2009 over the past couple weeks we were completely amazed.  Here’s what we are praising the Lord for as we look back at 2009:

Equip.
With your help, we saw 263 national leaders equipped in 2009 with the training, materials, Bibles and sports equipment to reach their own communities with the love of Christ.

Evangelize.
Your support allowed us to work with teams in 6 locations in Peru and Ecuador, seeing 7354 hear the amazing good news of the Gospel.

Establish.
We became first hand witnesses as Matthew 16:18 came to life. Truly, Jesus built his church! In 2009 we saw 32 new churches spring to life. Thank you for being a part of reaching the lost for our Father’s glory! 

Can't wait to see what He does in 2010!