Aug 7, 2010

Seven Days and Counting: The Delight of Missional Living

Our ministry team leaves for East Africa in seven days
Christian ministry and missional engagement evoke delight and great joy in the heart of the called. There is no greater joy than knowing you are partnering with God to accomplish something extra-ordinary and life changing for someone and to so many people.

To know that Christ can use your little hands and your little feet; to know that cosmic powers heed and follow your fickle command when it is given in the Name of Jesus Christ that they are compelled to loosen their stranglehold on humanity; to know that human beings and communities can be transformed for eternity as you follow and obey Jesus.

  Sunday 8/1 we joyfully dedicated Samuel Jr. to the Lord during services at Westwood. We also cellebrated his seven month birthday :)
In fact the disciples of Jesus Christ found it so delightful that Christ felt it necessary to caution them against overly celebrating the outcomes of their powerful ministry (Luke 10:17-22). His concern was not that they would develop a sense of pride or self-aggrandizement. Nor was Christ out to minimize the impact of their work.

Indeed He celebrates with them and gives a magnanimous vantage to what really happened: "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning," He offers. "Behold I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you," He continues.

Jesus' real concern seemed to be that they maintain an eschatological vision. A vision of the Kingdom of God that extended beyond their current experience and power encounter and whose center is God Himself.

One of the highlights of these summer months was spending a week with members of my Global and Contextual Leadership doctoral cohort who come from all around the world at Bethel University, St. Paul for a time of intensive learning. 
Jesus' following exuberance is a perfect demonstration of this vision as He prioritizes revelation and relationship to God over power encounter and missional results; "I praise you O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight," He exudes in the Holy Spirit.

July 22-24th, Suzanne and I spent time with and ministered to about 170 international students from Africa from all around the United States at a retreat hosted by Mzizi Church Twin Cities at Camp Koronis in Payneville, MN.
This should additionally indicate to us that in fact the true measure of our missional success does not consist in our present computations, statistics, and perceptions. Rather, it is eschatologically assessed with God alone as the true judge of our impact.

The juxtaposition of the infants to the intelligent and their preference as custodians of divine revelation rather than the wise bespeaks of a different measuring stick and one which underpins the fact that God's business is always God's business. Ours as partners with Him is a privilege of amazing proportions.
With just seven days left to go before our SWIM team leaves for evangelistic work to Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, and later to South Africa, we have spent the last few days in fasting, prayer, preparation and fundraising.  God continues to confirm to our hearts His intent to do great things through this outreach.  

Please pray with us and with the myriad churches we are working with in these multiple nations over the next 21/2 months that God's power will be clearly evident, transforming lives and establishing the order of the Kingdom in the lives of individuals and communities. 

Also pray for our funding.  We have raised so far 80% of our needed funds.  Seven days is a long time for God to provide for the remaining 20% ($ 10,200 difference.)  As you feel compelled to generously donate, visit our website or click the donate button on the right side panell of this blog page. 
Destination Butare, Rwanda August 20th-29th

Aug 3, 2010

Eleven Days and Counting to Africa Missionary Tour

A female leader in Malawi bows in deep gratitude after receiving a Bible during one of past Seminars as Sammy, caught off guard, looks on in embarrasment.  Your financial gifts go a long way in helping us meet the needs of Christian leaders in Africa. 
After a busy summer of ministry in and around Minnesota, we are poised to head to Africa for another three months of Kingdom exploits.  We have only eleven days left before the start of our Africa missionary tour. This mission will take us to the countries of Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi and eventually culminate with our participation at the Lausanne world congress in Cape Town, South Africa in the month of October. God is moving and we are keen to follow Him as He leads us to proclaim His Kingdom's message of hope to the people of Rwanda, Malawi, Kenya as well as encourage His church world-wide during the global gathering of Christian leaders from around the world in Cape Town.

In Kenya, SWIM ministries is partnering with residents of Eluuya village near Kitale town in the construction of their worship facility. We are also engaged with a hospital project in Kitale town. Our team will be touring both of these projects and ministering to the local residents on August 16th and 17th as well as minister to roughly 2000-3000 believers gathered for prayer in Kenya's capital Nairobi at NPC, Valley Road on August 17th evening.

In Rwanda, our team is partnering with the local churches to conduct week-long evangelistic campaigns in the city of Butare starting August 20-29 with an expected potential reach of 75,000 people. We will hold three days of large gatherings in the local stadium where we will proclaim the gospel, reach out to one of Rwanda's largest prison facilities where many of the genocide prisoners are held, speak to students at a special forum held at the National University of Rwanda, minister to national leaders at a special prayer breakfast hosted by the Association of Rwanda evangelical churches, conduct a two-day leadership Seminar for Christian pastors and leaders, as well as minister to individual congregations.

Malawi Pastors Celebrate after they received Bibles at one of  our past seminars in the country.  We are looking forward to partner with several hundred churches in Malawi's Capital, Lilongwe to help them reach their communities for Jesus later this month of August into September.
Following Rwanda, I will be proceeding to the country of Malawi where I will be joined by my friend Nick Hall of Pulse Outreach for another week-long evangelistic campaign similar to the one in Rwanda. The Malawi mission starts August 31-September 9 in the Capital city Lilongwe. In partnership with the local churches, we will be reaching out to Lilongwe's poorest neighborhood of Area 25. We will hold four days of large gatherings in local sports grounds, speak to students in schools and colleges, show the Jesus film at various centers, as well as conduct a leadership conference for pastors and Christian leaders.

At the end of our time in Malawi, I will return to Kenya where besides continuing with several ministry initiatives, I will be joined by my wife Suzanne, baby Samuel and my wife's sister Micah for two more weeks of research and writing for my doctoral work as well as visit with family and friends before proceeding to South Africa for the conference.
Please be in prayer with us throughout this missionary tour across several countries.  Pray for safety, for provisions for our team, as well as for a deep and lasting impact from our ministry initiatives.

A need you can help meet:
This missionary initiative is costing us a significant amount of funds.  As at this point with eleven days left to go, we are $11,800 dollars short of our intended goal.  Would you prayerfully consider a gift to help us meet our travel and ministry expenses?  You can donate $ 20, $ 50, $ 100 or however much you can afford which will go a long way to help us and the local churches in these countries fulfill the mission.  Please come back and follow us on this blog as we share the stories of what God is doing.
Gary and Candy Kellen from Grace Community Church, Worthington, MN will be accompanying us to Kenya and Rwanda next week.