Tag Archives for " christianity "

1 Books, books and more books:

At 7:00 pm we closed the book table, did an inventory and by 9:00 pm had all the remaining books packed up and ready to ship back home. When we closed out the cash register, the sales for the day showed we had been successful in moving a lot of inventory into peoples hands. We were all quite pleased with the results, considering the current state of our economy.

Kelly and I were attending the Mission ConneXion Northwest, sponsored by the northwest area churches and held this year in Vancouver, WA. It’s a two day event challenging the Church to fulfill the Great Commission. We were there assisting Ken, our ACMC team member, with his book sales for the conference.

Kelly and the team set up the book tables for the conference
Kelly and the team set up the book tables for the conference

This event, with its 125 workshops, four leading keynote speakers, and inspirational worship sessions had something for everyone. The attendance count hasn’t been posted yet, but we are estimating around 6 to 7 thousand may have attended. (While it’s not as many as the 15,000 that has attended in previous years, it was a good attendance for the times.)

One view of the crowd mingling in the foyer.
One view of the crowd mingling in the foyer.

About 80 missions agencies set up exhibits providing information about work being done in countries around the world.

Here is our Pioneers booth exhibit, right next to Wycliffe.
Here is our Pioneers booth exhibit, right next to Wycliffe.

In between workshops and general sessions, the book table was a favorite gathering place where a wide variety of books about missions could be found.

004 Book Table Crowd2 028

We had 6 long tables stacked with books, videos, and other resources all pertaining to missions.

There was something for people of all ages at the conference and at the book table.
There was something for people of all ages at the conference and at the book table.
This young lady couldn't resist taking a closer look at the book she chose.
This young lady couldn’t resist taking a closer look at the book she chose.
These two college girls found this corner the perfect spot to browse through their books.
These two college girls found this corner the perfect spot to browse through their books.
Connie explains the plot found on this DVD of "The Enemy God".
A customer asks Connie to explain the plot to this DVD movie, “The Enemy God” that was made by our Denver film team.
Kelly rings up another sale.
Kelly rings up another sale.

We love getting mission materials into peoples hands and to the churches. It was a great weekend for us in, even if it was rainy and cold. We even got to have lunch with a couple we hadn’t seen since 1986, back when we were living in Portland. Friends and missions, what a combination.

From the frying pan into the fire…

From the frying pan…immediately following having “all those Edgers” invade our campus (see previous post on Aug. 9 for that story)…

…we jumped into the fire…with a campus full of new missionary candidates who were going through their first round of training and orientation called, “Candidate Orientation Program” or “COP” for short.  One event following so closely on the heels of a previous event keeps all of us on our toes, but it’s always worth it.

August 2009 Candidate Orientation Program

August 2009 Candidate Orientation Program

We had 44 attending our COP, which means we had to “pack them in,” to make room for everyone. It’s a great problem to have. In this group, the youngest was 18 years old. She’s going to the field for one year and then back to the US to attend college. After getting her degree, she plans to go back to the field full time. The oldest was a couple who said, “retirement is not in our vocabulary”. The husband is 78 and the wife is 68. What an inspiration for all of us to see their desire to “finish well” in their golden years.

It’s Been a Great Summer!

“My life is changed forever and I will never be the same.” Her eyes filled with tears as she choked back the emotions that were building. “My expectations didn’t even come close to preparing me for this.” I handed her a tissue and waited for her to continue. I knew what was coming…I never tire of hearing their stories about how God showed up, usually in some unusual and unexpected way.

This is an Edge worker from a previous trip.

This is not Patricia, but an Edge worker from another team.

Patricia had just returned from living 6 weeks in another culture as part of our “Edge” program. Her experience had been a positive one, which she felt might be one more confirmation of her call to go long term. My role was to debrief her, which means I helped her process her summer experience.

She was just one of some 126 young college age adults giving up their summer break to work and learn alongside our career church-planters working with the least reached people around the world.

Our hope is that the participants in this program will grow in their passion for God, view of the world, and understanding of themselves as they learn and serve.

  • The first 4 days of their trip involves cross-cultural training and team building just before leaving the states.

    (Around 8 of the participants received their orientation in England with our British mobilization base located there.)

  • Once overseas, they live with a missionary family or possibly in the home of a national for 4, 6 or 8 weeks depending on their destination.

  • And finally they return to the US via Orlando, to go through the debriefing process.

What does 112 young college kids look like when you get them all together for orientation? Here’s a photo that says it all.

Summer Edge 2009

1 Could You Pass This Test?

1) Where is the largest church in the world? 2) What continent has the most evangelical Christians? 3) What is the largest mission association in the world? 4) Which country sends out the most missionaries per Christian?

The answers may surprise you because, “The Center of Christianity Has Shifted”. This was the topic of our most recent Church Partner Forum held on PIONEERS campus. Our featured speaker was Scott Moreau; author, Professor of Missions & International Studies at Wheaton College and editor of Evangelical Missions Quarterly.

If you’re interested in this subject you can read: The Changing Face of World Missions and Engaging Contemporary Issues and Trends from a series written by Scott Moreau called, Engaging Missions.

Oh yes, the answers to those questions above are:
1) Korea [830,000 members (2007)]
2) Asia
3) India Missions Association
4) Singapore

The theme for our banquet was “International Market,” so we transformed the recreation hall with a few treasures several us have brought back from our time serving in various countries.


Of course no mission trip is complete without the traditional “trunk” to contain all of your possessions.


And, the best mode of transportation for those narrow streets in Asia is the bicycle rickshaw.


This was our International Market Street which lead on around to the street-side night café shown below.


Candle lights on the tables and strands of hanging lights enhanced the night time street café feel.


Without a doubt, our “food affair” was international all the way.

We added to this international atmosphere by having those who could, dress for the occasion in the cultural dress of a country (or they could go “Hawaiian/Floridian”).  We had a wide range of countries represented:


Of course, Kelly and I dressed in our Indonesian Batik, as did several others.


Africa was represented by several, including Denny and Nancy (above).


We even had the Middle East attire…thank you Art.


But by far, Tom’s dress was the best…Mongolia!


This is what our group looked like in “normal” dress. It was another successful Church Partner Forum.

1 STORY 08 Carbon Footprint VS Spiritual Footprint

What footprint will you leave on this earth when you are gone? As I looked at this promotional add for our Story 08 Mission Conference, these thoughts ran through my mind: First I thought of the poem, “Footprints in the Sand”. (I like thinking of God’s footprints appearing beside mine as I walk through life, it’s very comforting.) Then, carbon footprints popped into my mind and that made me think of spiritual footprints vs carbon footprints..

If you goggle “carbon footprint” you can read about; “calculating your carbon footprint,” and “learn how to reduce your carbon footprint”. Here is Wikipedia’s definition: the carbon footprint is a “measure of the impact that human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.”

What about our “spiritual footprint”? Consider this definition: the spiritual footprint is a “measure of the impact that your Christian (witness) activities have on mankind (your neighbor, family, friends and even strangers) in terms of the amount of “fruit” produced in units of lost souls that are saved.”

Can we “calculate” our spiritual footprint? If the above definition holds, we definitely wouldn’t want to “reduce” our spiritual footprint…on the contrary we would want to expand it. That is what Story 08 is all about…expanding our spiritual footprints in this world. Acts 1:8 “…and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

One of my favorite quotes is from Jim Elliot (missionary to Ecuador 1927-1956): “Missionaries are very human folks, just doing what they are asked. Simply a bunch of nobodies trying to exalt Somebody.”

Now, a few words from our Story 08 website:


Creative, unpredictable, entrepreneurial, unconventional? If those words describe you, you may be well-suited to answer the casting call for a drama that God has been writing for 6,000 years. The risks are high, but the rewards are unlimited. Whatever stage you are at on your life journey, you will come away from Story’08 with tools for making connections with the unreached.

Discover your role in God’s global drama at Story ’08—a mission conference for people who don’t like conferences.

Story’08 is an event that will connect you with the least-reached people on the planet, by giving you a first-hand glimpse of the global needs, joining you with others who share your passions and helping you discover the next step to glorifying God among the nations.

Pray for us, we start this Sunday and go through Wednesday evening with sessions starting at 9:00 am and going to 12:00 pm each day.


We had 111 Edgers this summer going out in 3 phases, or tracks. Our second Edge group came through Orlando this week on their way home? So what is an “Edger”?

>>Definition? The Edge, a short-term ministry of PIONEERS. Focus: mobilizing and mentoring this generation to passionately follow Jesus and discover their role in the Great Commission.

>>Who Goes? College age >>How Long? 4 to 6 weeks

>>What Happens? They get a close-up view of what career church-planting is all about.

>>How? They work and learn alongside our career church-planters and live among people whose culture is dominated by spiritual darkness.

What’s the Program?

1) >> They go on teams of other Edgers: can be 3 or 20+ young people on an Edge team

2) >>Orientation: 4 days before departure, they have cross-cultural ministry training & team building

3) >>Debrief: Return to America via Orlando to process their summer experiences…

I debriefed 2 young ladies this week. Chelsea was on a team who served in Greece working with kids camps. She worked as a life-guard. One of her high spots? A group of Afghanistan Refugees came through the camp for 2 weeks, and Chelsea got to teach the women how to swim. No, they don’t wear bathing suits; they swam in their regular clothing, headdress and all.

I also debriefed with Catlin on how her summer went. She was on a team of 4 serving in Croatia; building relationships through English classes and children’s clubs.

    Candid shot of Croatia team sitting on front row.

Candid shot of Croatia team sitting on front row.

(Photo Below) Our Orlando Team welcomed this Edge Group of several teams back to the US by providing a party atmosphere to help celebrate a successful summer.

Welcome Home Party & Debrief

Welcome Home Party & Debrief

(2 Photos Below) Part of the debriefing process is giving a team report about their trip. This African team is sharing what they experienced on their trip through their native dress, song and overhead power-point photos.

   Sharing African Song and Dance

Sharing African Song and Dance

     African Team Report with Overhead Photos

African Team Report with Overhead Photos

(Photo Below) This team of 4 went to a sensitive area that will be left un-named. Their focus: Ethnographic Research: the study of a culture; their social structure & behavior. Their task was to research and producing video footage and materials to enhance missions awareness for this remote forgotten area of East Asia.


Yes! The week, before the Edgers came through (college age), Gettysburg Bible Church sent their ‘Senior High School’ Youth Group down from Pennsylvania for a week stay on our campus to learn about missions. Here are 2 photos of Kelly sharing about our work.

   Kelly Shares with Senior High School Youth Group

Kelly Shares with Senior High School Youth Group

    Kelly Uses Humor With the Youth Group

Kelly Uses Humor With the Youth Group

Look close at the photo above and you will see Kelly is using “humor” to explain his point. His co-workers joked that the comic strip he choose, “Blondie,” really dated him with these young people. Hey, Blondie and Dagwood are timeless!


Tuesday evening, July1, the ACMC team meetings were winding down. (See previous posting for that story.) It was late (7:00 PM) as Kelly and I returned home for the evening to pack for our trip the next day to Tennessee. Our flight on Wednesday was early afternoon, giving us ample time to have breakfast with the team and still see them off for their flights home.

Imagine our surprise that evening when our phone rang and I heard a familiar voice say, “Ibu Connie, ini Ibu Hanna.” Two of our best friends from Indonesia, Ardian & Hanna were here in Orlando, with their son Ken, for a 4-day convention.

Kristanto and McClellands July 2008

In spite of their having just arrived and being tired from a “long” trip, they came that evening to visit with us. What a joy to catch up on their news and reminisce over old times. The last time we saw them was on our last day in Indonesia in 2004. They had come to say goodbye as Kelly and I moved back to the US due to Kelly’s health (photo below).

Kristantos goodby to McClellands 2004

Ardian and Hanna are one of the godliest couples we know, and they have 3 great kids. We were friends, neighbors and co-workers in the ministry. They were always there for us when we needed them, most notably was the time during our first year in Indonesia. It was Sept. of 1994. Kelly had some serious chest pain, but thought he was ok. He wasn’t. Kelly had experienced a heart attack and Ardian was instrumental in helping save his life by talking him into going to the hospital.

Kristanto and McClellands July 2008 close up

Their son Ken, graduated this year from Ohio State. During his junior year, Ken stayed over at our house, here in Orlando, while doing an internship at Disney World. Their 2 daughters also attended OSU, with the oldest graduating from there 3 years ago. Jessica married this summer and Janet will be back in the US this fall to continue her schooling.


Once again we had “the gang” in for their quarterly, planning meeting. (I posted a group photo of this growing team on our blog back in April.)

The good news is: we’re still growing. We have added another couple to our ranks and I’d like to introduce them to you. Please meet Danny and Judy from South Carolina (photo below). Kelly and I first met this couple when we both were serving in SE Asia. We are blessed to have them join the ACMC team.

Judy & Danny Armstrong June 2008

The team arrived Sunday evening, June 29th for 2 ½ days of meetings. We all left Wednesday afternoon; each of them to their respective homes, and Kelly & I to Jackson, TN to visit my family.

ACMC Team meeting Jun - Jul 2008

A Side Note: Frank wasn’t able to be with us for this meeting. He lives in Alaska and is still raising his support. Meanwhile, he watches his budget and plans his trips accordingly. He was with us in Dallas for the Perspectives Conference just a couple of weeks earlier.


So, why do Kelly & I fly to Denver each month?

First, some background information:

In March, 2007 Pioneers Int’l (PI) acquired 2 ministries that had merged into one (the merger hadn’t worked) . Kelly is now the Director of these two ministries that are operating separately under PI’s covering:

(1) ACMC, Advancing Churches in Missions Commitment (www.acmc.org) and

(2) the 2nd ministry consist of 2 teams working out of their office in Denver:

  • Caleb Resource Team (creates & distributes missions resources)
  • The Encounters Group Team (provides resources like “Encountering the World of Islam” training courses and “Ethnographic Research Projects”.)

We refer to this 2nd ministry as Pioneers’ Denver Office (www.takeitglobal.org).

Denver Office

Kelly returned this weekend from a productive trip to our Denver Office. During the transition of bringing these 2 ministries under Pioneers, our Orlando office has been doing the Denver accounting. Now, we are in the process of transferring this responsibility back to the Denver office.

In January we hired a part-time bookkeeper/accountant for the Denver office and we praise God for providing us with a very capable person for this position.

Kelly in Denver Office
Kelly in The Denver Office

I didn’t go on this trip because Kelly took our Orlando Controller from our accounting team to help train the new bookkeeper and get the books set up right. They were pleased with how well everything went initially. Pray for this transition to be smooth and effective.

Connie Denver xmas party
Connie at the Denver Office Christmas Party
…a progressive dinner held this last December. We got 3+ inches of snow that night which made traveling from house to house quite interesting. (If you click on the picture you can see a close up.)