Important Meeting in Denver

On March 9 and 10, some 52 representatives from 30 churches in 18 states met together with seven representatives of the Missions of Hope International (MOHI) and CMF International. Our subject was the growth and leadereship training for the Outreach Hope Churches (OHC) in Nairobi, Kenya, together with the growth of the MOHI ministry.  In attendance were Senior Ministers, many of whom brought their Ministers of Missions or Executive Pastors.  We began with Wallace Kamau shareing the strategy forward for the churches, followed by Mary Kamau doing the same for MOHI.  We previewed four videos during the conference. There were table discussions, with the results being shared with the entire group. We prayed. We received an update on the various metrics associated with the project.

On Tuesday we had a visionary talk from Mary Kamau and myself. We then taked about three takeaways that we were hoping for from the meeting.  First, we asked the Senior Ministers to leverage their influence with other minister friends of theirs.  We hope this means inviting their friends on a visit to Nairobi.  Second, we asked each church represented to have an emphasis on child sponsorship for this project this year.  Finally, we had prepared a wish list of appropriate projects for both the churches and MOHI.  We asked those in attendance to share with the group what their church was planning.  All of this information was collected on cards which were given to Wallace and Mary as they were “recommissioned” through prayer and the laying on of hands.

From the meeting were pledges (hoped for outcomes) of sponsoring over 3000 new children this year. Today, there are about 13,000 children in the 16 schools established by MOHI. To date, over 4000 people have benefited from loans through the microfinance program  (see   www.BigDent.org).  Fourteen churches have been planted. We heard plans for business development to lead to sustainability.

The commitment of the US partner churches is amazing. Some 61 churches are associated with the Hope Partnership.

 

Update on The Missiology of Alan R. Tippett Series

Many of you know that I embarked on a process to complete a dream I had way back in 1988.  That was the year my mentor, a missiologist named Alan Tippett died.  He had left behind something like thirty unpublished volumes of material. The dream was to get these volumes into print so that they were available to the public.  Another part of the dream was so that in the future a new generation of missionaries and missiologists would have available to them the research of one who had been called one of the leading missiologists of the 20th century.

My dream languished due to other responsibilities, but a few years ago a fortuitous couple of foot surgeries allowed me some time to rekindle the dream. After securing agreement from William Carey Library (publishers of missions books) to “take anything of Tippett’s we can get” I began the process of getting these books into print. I do this work gratis because I believe his research is important, and the public needs access to it.

To date 7 books in six different volumes have been published (one volume is two books in one), the latest one in 2014.  In 2015 I expect three more books (2 volumes) will be published.  This past week I have been over the copy editor’s comments to add my own comments to his. Generally that means the volume will shortly be printed–I expect in the next two months.

The volume after that one is only awaiting the foreword, after which will come the copy editing.  My expectation is that this volume will also be printed in 2015.  I have one more volume that is very close to being ready to go, hopefully published in early 2016.

Largely because of this publication schedule, and to coincide with the 25th anniversary of his death, a conference was held in Australia.  I was able to go and present two papers which were recently published in the Dec. 2014 Australian Journal of Mission Studies.  One of those articles I am revising to present at the North Central Evangelical Mission Society gathering in April in Chicago, and perhaps again at the Stone Campbell Forum in Indianapolis.

The series covers are all by the same artist, Wisnu sasongko, an Indonesia, and I love them. I have enlarged the covers and have them placed on a wall in our house as “indigenous art.”  The books are all the same dimensions as to height and width, and are uniform in design so they look quite nice on a book shelf.

This post is primarily for the academically inclined!

Top Ten Reasons It’s Fun to Travel Through Airports

10.  Every airport is different, and many try to make themselves unique by their artwork; neon lights, photos, sculptures, paintings, museum pieces, fountains, etc.

9.  These days airports are putting up signage for those who like to walk—.75 miles to Terminal D, for example.

8. Unique restaurants the represent the area that I can only dream of eating in!

7.  Right now I am looking at a guy in kilts; in the USA! Are you kidding me?

6.  People watching; there are lots of them. As the poem Desiderata noted in that famous poster of the 1970s, “If you compare yourself with others…”

5.  The transportation options: walking, people-mover, wheel-chair, the ubiquitous beep-beep vehicle, trolley, tram, train, elevator, escalator, bus–need I list more?

4. Seeing famous people in the Atlanta airport, just to name one venue. I have seen Gary Player the year he won the Masters, Dikembe Mutembo (on two different occasions), and last week the singer Ludicris.

3.  Those silly leis they put on you while dancing the hula upon arrival in Honolulu.  Actually, they didn’t, but it was fun to imagine.

2.  Deciding whether to opt for the later flight which will include a free ticket to use anytime within the next year.

1.  The Delta lounge, which only becomes available with the cost of flying many, many, many hours in the economy section.

A Week in Mexico City

In the last decade CMFi has been known for three things: 1) church planting; 2) Globalscope; and 3) ministry among the urban poor.

Quick synopsis. In 2011-2013 CMFi and her partners planted 200 churches. That is not a small number.  Church planting and world evangelization are the heartbeat of CMF.  We believe in accountability and field fruitfulness.  We have been involved in campus ministry overseas now for almost 15 years.  We have seven international locations, and we are planning 5-6 new entries in the next 5-6 years. Regarding the urban poor, nothing in our history has grown as much as our ministry in Nairobi, not to mention Ivory Coast, Addis Ababa, Arusha, and so on.

This past week I have been in Mexico City where we have ministries in all three of these areas, and they have a bright future.  I got to spend time with our missionaries who are involved in church planting. They have a great vision of new churches along a new metro line where “villages” are being established at every stop.  Others are working in a nearby city among the lower class. They have a thriving church and a vision for three more churches. Their dream is to plant 100 churches in the next ten years.

Our campus ministry in Puebla is strong as ever. I was told the number of participants this year is at an all-time high. It was great so see the team, which included members from Mexico, Canary Islands, Brazil, Venezuela, and the US.

We are establishing a partnership with a ministry among the urban poor in Ixtapalapa. What a great ministry reaching out to the urban poor with a church, community center, soccer outreach, CHE focus, and so on. Their goal is to establish five more centers.

One country, one city, three ministries encompassing the three things God has directed us toward in the last decade.

Do I not have the greatest job in the world?  Maranatha.

Next week: meetings regarding Myanmar, Kenya, New Zealand, and then two weeks later a visit to India where there are some really good possibilities.

Completing the Knobstone

Robyn and I have always enjoyed hiking. We love being in the out-of-doors. It clears the mind, it directs us to our Creator and Redeemer, and it is good for our health. The longest hiking path in Indiana is called the Knobstone Trail. It covers something like 55-60 miles, running from Deam Lake trailhead just above the Kentucky border to Delancey Lake. The trail has been dubbed the “little Appalacian Trail.”

The trail goes through state forests, up and down hills, and around “knobs.”  There are wonderful names like Pixley Knob, Bartle Knob, and Round Knob. The hiking is strenuous.

We started several summers ago, and this past week-end completed the trail, following a hike of seven miles one day and nine miles the next.  When we first started we would walk a few miles on the trail, turn around, and walk back to our car. Then last summer we decided to take our bikes along with us so we could peddle back to the car, having been left where we started. That worked well. However, this year (we’ve hiked the last three week-ends) the bike trips got more difficult, so we gave in and took two cars with us, and we are glad we did!

Hiking the Knobstone in October means we get to walk through the fall changing of the leaves.  So beautiful, even to one color blind as am I. By the third week-end we could barely make out the trail because of all of the fallen leaves on the ground. But not to worry, because the trail is well marked with hash marks of paint (surely organic!) on the trees. If you are careful, you do not get off course. On the last weekend we saw much more wildlife than at any other time on the trail. We saw a white-tailed deer, squirrels, a newly hatched batch of lizards (half a dozen in the same 20 yard space), and a few frogs.  We saw and heard birds, but I won’t bore you listing them.

We dutifully marked off the sections of the trail as we completed them, noting the date and then later, where we started and where we ended. This will make a good poster for a wall in the “man cave.”

Best of all, just a year ago I was wondering if I would ever be able to complete the trail because of a knee gone bad. Full knee replacement last December, months of wondering about hiking in strenuous places, then a trip to Indonesia where I realized I would indeed be able to hike in strenuous places once again.

So, to the Creator and Redeemer, I also add, the Great Physician.

Totally Sef-Absorbed?

All of my life I have regaled my family with accounts of celebrities I have seen.  So let me bore you.

Michale Jordon and Scottie Pippin in the Denver airport.  They had played the night before.              Debbie Boone, at a birthday party for a girl in my youth group.  Almost got her to go for a cup of coffee with me.  Peter Falk, filming a Columbo episode in Westwood Hills.  Reggie Miller, across from me on a flight.  I tried to fake him out to be the first to grab my overhead bag.  He let me go first.  Peyton Manning, on a flight from Memphis.  Everybody pestered him for an autograph.  I did not.  Jamie Lee Curtis, driving on the bridge from New York to New Jersey.  My family thinks this is bogus, but they were not there!  Her dad, Tony Curtis, fencing in the Fellowship Hall of Westwood Hills Christian Church. Danny Granger, sitting in front of me on a flight from Indianapolis to LA.  I eavesdropped, but will say nothing.  Stacey Keach, in the UCLA bookstore.  Bob Newhart in a convertible next to me at a stoplight.  He smiled when I recognized him.  Steve Prefontaine, at an Oregon football game.  (Note: no athletes or performers on this list mentioned when in an actual game or in a concert). Greg Ballard, in a health class we took at the U of O. The former mayor of Philadelphia, at Nicole’s graduation.  Mark Hatfield, as a kid, in his governor’s office in Salem, Oregon.  Senator Wayne Morse, walking in a parade in Eugene, OR. Dave Roberts, number one baseball draft pick (was it 1973?).  We went to the same junior high school in Pleasant Hill, OR.  Rob Reiner, at a movie premiere in Indianapolis.

Then the world leaders I have seen:  Charles DeGaulle, Haile Selassie, the Shah of Iran, Daniel Arap Moi, Colonel Mengistu (Ethiopian leader in a parade in Nairobi), the head of the UN at a motel in Tanzania (I can’t remember his  name!!!).  Note: not one US president on the list.

The fact that there as so few women on this list says something about our society.

Call me starstruck and bored, waiting for a flight from Detroit to Amsterdam. Two more hours till boarding.

 

 

My Summer of Conferences

This past week was wonderful!  I was a participant at the WiNeMa Week of Missions on the lovely Oregon coast (thanks to Stephen, Neil, Dan, Ester, and Collene).  We had three out of five spectacular days, and the other two were only a bit foggy.  How I love this camp. In fact, it was at this camp that I made my “final” decision to dedicate my life to missions in the summer of 1970.  God has been faithful, and I am still acting out that decision.

As I write, I am on the airplane back to Indianapolis from Oregon (via Atlanta, if that makes sense…well it does if you are flying Delta).  The Week of Missions (WOM) has been going on for 65 years.  (CMF just celebrated her 65th birthday, and my Mom and Dad just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary — 1949 was quite a year). It is a family camp with everything dedicated to missions.  The missionary speakers (5 of them) get a chance to speak to the elementary kids, the junior/senior high students, as well as the adults.  There are 8 opportunities for speaking through the week. (I confess, I showed the movie One in a Million on two of those occasions).

In addition to the missionary speakers, there is a Bible lecture each day, and this year’s lecturer was my good friend Ash Barker. We were together a month ago in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  His terrific messages were on the Good Samaritan.  We roomed together and we got to hike, look for birds (including seeing a pelican numerous times).

The missionary speakers were all friends: Kay Moll (speaking on women in missions), Marsha Miles (speaking on Bible translation), Kendi Howells Douglas (speaking on short-term missions),  Stephanie Freed (speaking on slavery and sex trafficking), and me (focusing on urban missions). Jokes were made about me being the “token male.”  Many said that this Week of Missions might have been the best ever.  If so, it was these women and Ash who made it that.

I’ve been on the platform at the WOM four times, and I do believe this one was the best of at least those four.

What a five weeks it has been. Perhaps God knew I needed replenishing, because that is exactly what has happened these last five weeks: Week One — the ISUM (International Society on Urban Missions) Conference in Malaysia with John Perkins and Jayakumar Christian; Week Two — the North American Christian Convention in Indianapolis including CMF’s 65th birthday (thanks Gene Appel and Tim Harlow for a wonderful convention); Week Three — the annual Globalscope celebration in Ft. Collins, Colorado (thanks Judy, Roy, Phil, and so many others); Week Four — time with my parents and sisters in Eugene, Oregon including some time ocean fishing and catching our limit of salmon); and Week Five — the Week of Missions.

In case you are wondering, yes, I was with Robyn during the NACC in Indianapolis and she was there in Eugene for the week with my family.  And yes again, I am looking forward to seeing her this evening in Indianapolis.  Meanwhile, at 38,000 feet, the miles just keep flying by.

 

Deeply Encouraged

I have been deeply encouraged the last several weeks.  I have been to three conferences during this time. The first was the ISUM summit in Kuala Lumpur.  ISUM stands for International Society for Urban Missions.   This is a group of scholar activists who are drawn together on the basis of believing that we need to emphasize ministry in the urban centers of the world, especially among the urban poor. I presented a paper on  AIDS, Poverty, and Justice.  The two plenary speakers were Jayukumar Christian and John Perkins, who did a great job.  We got to go to different ministries in the city, and we also hardworking groups on a variety of topics.

The second conference was the NACC, the North American Christian Convention.  We heard great sermons. From people like Tim Harlow and Ben Merold.  I had little to do, just facilitating two breakfasts which focused on short-term mission trips.  I serve on the continuation committee for this convention.

Week three was in Ft. Collins, Colorado for the annual Globalscope Celebration.  Globalscope is the name of CMF’s international campus ministry efforts, now at work in seven countries. We have plans to  begin five new ministries in the next four years.  Roy Lawson, my roommate for the conference, was one of the main speakers, as was Jim Bergman from the Flat Irons church, now numbering 17,000 after just 8.5 years.

What’s next?    Some time with my parents and sisters in Oregon. Robyn will be there with me for five days.  It will be a good family time, with a day for salmon fishing highly anticipated.

Then a week later it is the four conference, the WiNeMa Week of Missions on the Oregon coast.  This is amissions-oriented family camp where I have attended and spoken over the years.  Five missionaries and one  Bible lecturer.  Looking forward to this.  Four of the five missionary speakers are women, and my friend Ash Barker is theBible lecturer.  Another good friend who helps put the conference together is Stephen Burris.

Yes, I will be glad to be home after this’s summer of conferences!

Getting over Jetlag

Everybody who has traveled by air across numerous time zones exhibits some sign of what is called jetlag.  Jetlag is a feeling of discomfort, not being able to stay asleep for normal periods, waking up at 2:00 in the morning after three hours of sleep but not being able to fall back to sleep.  A common rule is that for every time zone you cross, it takes one day to recover.  So, since I have recently flown from Indianapolis to Singapore (about as far as you can go without starting to come back), it should take me twelve days to be fully acclimatized and over jetlag.  The problem is, I head back to the States after only a week or so, so it means more jetlag on the other end.

It seems as though everybody has their own remedy for jetlag.  Really, these remedies are a dime a dozen, and everybody swears by their own routine, and they are more than happy to advise on how you can get past jetlag.  Ho hum.

So here is my top ten list of cures for jetlag; some of which I agree with, and some of which I have experienced as a waste of time.

10.  Take a nutritional supplement, like melatonin.  (There is a reason I rate this as number ten).

9.  Begin changing your sleeping habits so that by the time you arrive in the country you will be ready to go to bed in the evening just like at home.  (Of course if you are going half way around the world that would mean you need to be awake in the nighttime and asleep in the daytime in your own country — not very possible if you have a normal job).

8.  Drink plenty of liquids on the airplane.  Realize however that some liquids should not be taken in large amounts on a flight, like coffee, tea, alcohol because they dry you out rather than keeping you hydrated.

7.  When you get to where you are going, get in lots of exercise.  I agree with this, but sometimes you feel so bad you need sleep, not exercise, and other times your flight gets in at midnight which is not a good time to be out and about on a walk.

6.  Believe that jetlag is simply a figment of your imagination.  One guy told me this who had recently arrived in Kenya from the US and who had driven out to our area (a 5 hour drive).  I asked how he was doing with his jetlag and he told me he did not believe in jetlag.  The funny thing was in ten minutes of visiting he totally fell asleep in the middle of a conversation.

5.  This is one technique I refuse to comment on.

4.  Force yourself upon arrival to stay up till the normal bedtime, even though it kills you. They say it will help your body to adjust.  This seems to be the most commonly practiced technique.

3.  Don’t fight it.  If you feel tired, take a nap, but be sure that a 2 hour nap does not turn into a full night’s sleep or you will wake up at midnight or later and then be raring to go, but with no place to go.  When I wake up in America at 4 in the morning, I just go into the office and work till about noon, then I go home and take a nap.

2.  At bedtime take something like Tylenol PM or drowsiness pills, like antihistamine. These do not necessarily help you go to sleep, because you don’t need something to go to sleep. Rather they are to help you stay asleep rather than waking up two hours later according to your circadian rhythms.

1.  Lay in bed at nighttime with your earphones on your head until you go to sleep listening to your favorite music.  If you have had a relaxation aid, all the better.

There you have it.

 

 

 

Indonesia

Each year  hosts and international Board meeting for our Board of Directors. In years past we have met in Beijing, Mexico City, and Nairobi. Our meetings are in areas where we have personnel working, They are occasions of hearing reports on the country, learning from national leaders and colleagues, meeting with our personnel, and then following the meeting, making personal visits to nearby areas where we work.

The meeting in Indonesia was held in Yogyakarta. We heard reports from local leaders who highlighted that shape of the church in this country. Our own family of churches work, it was reported by these leaders, equals 10-11,000 followers.  We  have been involved in much of this work over the years, and a major role has been played by the training institution that has been in existence since the 1980s.

Post meeting trips involved visits to Sulawezi, Bali, and Central Java.

I was able to be here a day early, after a visit to see many of my long-time friends in Singapore where our family lived in 1990-1995. On that spare day we had hired a bird guide who took us to a national park at Mt. Merapi.  I was able to record 14 lifers that day, to be added to the several I had gotten in Singapore, and since that day have seen an additional two, including the beautiful Javan kingfisher.

In the next two days we will be visiting half a dozen villages in an around the areas of  two volcanic  mountains.  I will of course have my binoculars with me in the chance that we might see something  along the road or as we walk.  I realize how privileged I am to be involved in the work I do!