Tag Archives for " unreached people "

2 It was an International Experience

How do you transform a gymnasium into an International Market Place?

Is it even possible? Why would you want to? They say, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ so I will show you with a few photos, “how” we did just that. And the “why”? It was our church’s (Pine Castle United Methodist Church) annual mission’s weekend called GIC or Global Impact Celebration. Kelly and I co-chaired the event with our Missions Pastor and many, many other volunteers.

Friday night was to be a world affair banquette with the movie “Peace Child,” and Sunday would feature our guest speaker, missionary and author – Don Richardson, followed by an Expo display of the missionaries and outreach ministries which our church supports.

First the expo draping went up to help disguise and soften the gymnasium walls. Tables were skirted in preparation for the Sunday Expo and stored to be used on Sunday. (Thanks Jeff for providing these for us!)

Backdrops from the Children’s department added color and definition to our ‘international’ theme. (Lee holds the ladder for Stephaney.)

Round tables were decorated (by a small army) for the banquet (thanks to Eleanor and her team). We were going for a South American ‘fiesta’ look with bright colors that popped, and colorful helium balloons to fill the dead space above the tables.

The perimeter of the gym would feature the International Market Place, displaying cultural artifacts and trinkets from around the world. Here Connie and Jeanette discuss how the Africa market will look.

An African ‘Safari’ look was the finished product (thanks Jeanette).

From Africa we transition into South America. Bright, happy and fun colors draws one into this village scene that could easily be Mexico or even Guatemala.

South America came alive thanks to Kim, Sondra & their team.

Next, we move into our Asian market (above and below photos).

This area included , China, Thailand, Myanmar and the country near and dear to my heart, Indonesia (two photos above), and the Marshal Islands & Japan (as seen below)

The Island Nations (above)

Stephaney and I are smiling because the work is done and we still have a half hour to change our clothes before the banquet starts.

Now, just add ‘people’, and let the festivities  begin.

Volunteers like Marilyn and Liz served close to 200 people.

Our school chef, Patrick (in the black hat), outdid himself with an international meal that was amazing…from the pita bread & hummus to the couscous and adobo chicken with rice and more.

With the tables cleared, it’s now time to “let the program begin”. Kelly was the MC and the program began with a dramatic video of “Peace Child.”

It’s Don Richardson’s story of a primitive tribe of cannibals in Irian Jaya (Papua, Indonesia). The Sawi people honored & practiced treachery and betrayal and thus in the Gospel story (to Don’s dismay), chose Judas over Jesus as a hero. But hidden within their cultural, Don found a practice that would point them back to Jesus. It was the tradition of a ‘Peace Child.” When the chief’s only infant son was exchanged with the warring tribe for peace, Don was able to point them to Jesus, the perfect Peace Child. (Link to YouTube clip of Peace Child)

On Sunday, the round tables are replaced with the expo tables holding the displays put up by our missionaries. The missionaries line up in front of their tables waiting for the church members to enter.

Church members use their passports (found in their bulletin) to enter the expo and participate in the prize drawing later. They fill the aisles as they talk to the 40 some ministries attending and supported by PCUMC.

Some of our missionaries were unable to attend so church members volunteered to “represent” that person and share their ministry with others. Here, Jo shares with this couple about Suzanne’s work in Africa.

Our Guest Speaker, Don Richardson and his wife Carol join us at the Expo with their book table. (Books by Don Richardson: Eternity in Their Hearts, Peace Child, Lords of the Earth, Secrets of the Koran, Acting Without Agony and Unhidden)

And finally, a photo of Kelly standing in front of our Expo table, sharing about our ministry with fellow church member, Armand. (Kelly is wearing his Indonesian batik shirt and a black felt cap, or peci, as the Indonesians call it.)

Mission Accomplished

One of our goals was to create an atmosphere that would help make missions more touchable for the people.  The encouraging part was the great turn out of volunteers helping bring it all together.  It was a lot of work, but it was all worth it. It was a fun time for all.

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.

Reflections:

With the start of a new year, many of us are reflecting on the past year as we look to ‘what’s next’. I’m thinking back over three main events from the last 3 months of 2009.

The first event happened in October when we broke our record for ‘the number of new missionary going through our training program in one year’.  Our 5th and last orientation program for the year had 29 new candidates bringing the years total to 158.

OCT COP 2009

The second event was hosting this group of pastors and church leaders (shown below) for our November Church Partner Forum.

Even though it takes a lot of hard work to put it all together, it’s one of my most favorite events. The positive response and feed back from the participants makes it all worth while.

Church Partner Forum November 2009

Church Partner Forum November 2009

The third event, that just ended on New Year’s Eve, was Urbana 2009. What? You’ve never heard of Urbana?

Urbana logo

Upwards to 20,000 young people (ages 17-30) attend this student missions conference sponsored every 3 years by InterVaristy Christian Fellowship. It started in 1946, and from 1948 to 2003 was held at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana… thus the name “Urbana”. Since 2006 it has been held at the St. Louis Conference Center in Missouri.

It’s amazing to see this many young people give up 5 days of their Christmas break for the opportunity to see, hear and respond to God’s global mission.

Kelly and I had the privilege to attend back in 1991, and were amazed by the zeal and commitment of these young people whose hearts are turned toward God and missions.

PI Urbana 2009

Pioneers sent a team from our office to represent our agency. The photo above was taken by one of our co-worker showing our world globe and Pioneers’ sign hanging over the heads of the participants.

Yes, 2009 has been a great year and we have great expectations for 2010. Our prayer for you is that 2010 will be a blessed year for you and your family. Happy New Year!

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.

002-april-09-cpf-041

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

003-rickshaw-april-09-cpf-047

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

001-international-market-3

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

004-april-09-cpf-042

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

005-international-buffet-1

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:

008-kelly-indo-dress

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

africa-dress

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

006-middle-east-064

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

007-mongolia

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

cpf-apr-2009-grp-photo

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

Promised Results & Photos Of Walkathon

The PIONEERS’ “Walk for the World” event last Saturday, was a great success. Thanks for your prayers and support. Through our family, friends—and God’s grace—Kelly & I raised $1,170. The total raised by all participants from our office staff (Orlando & Denver) will be around $30,000, once it’s all collected. With the matching grant we will have nearly $60,000 to help us in mobilizing missionaries into the least reached parts of the world. Praise the Lord!

Kelly and I each walked 5 miles, which means we made our goal of 10 miles between the two of us. The weather was great with just enough of an overcast to keep it cool. The breeze was nice, but it added some challenges to Kelly’s radio antenna, whipping the backpack frame around a lot.

Kelly, aka the Radioman, was able to hear transmissions from 18 countries on four different continents with his 10 watt radio, including hearing a ham operator from Macedonia.

The pictures speak for themselves:

walk-0001a

Connie and Kelly Ready to Meet the Challenge

Connie and Kelly Ready to Meet the Challenge

Connie Picks Up Prayer Request From The Prayer Station

Connie Picks Up Prayer Request From The Prayer Station

Kelly Tunes The Radio As We Prepare to Start

Kelly Tunes The Radio As We Prepare to Start

Back View Of Back Pack Frame With Antenna Mount, Battery Is At The Base On His Waist

Back View Of Back Pack Frame With Antenna Mount, Battery Is At The Base On His Waist

The Walk-a-thon Starts With Prayer

The Walk For The World Starts With Prayer

And They Are Off On Their First Lap

And They Are Off On Their First Lap

Drink Station On One Side - Lap Counters On The Other Side

Drink Station On One Side - Lap Counters On The Other Side

Even The Pets Joined The Walk

Even The Pets Joined The Walk

Not Only Pets, But Lots of Kids TOO!

Not Only Pets, But Lots of Kids Too

PIONEER'S President, Steve, Comes Up Behind Kelly. Watch Out For The Antenna!

PIONEER'S President, Steve, Comes Up Behind Kelly. Watch Out For The Antenna!

The Last Lap! We Did IT!

The Last Lap! We Did IT!

Matt (a co-worker) is Kelly's "Ham Buddie". After The Walk Kelly Helps Matt Set Up His New Radio

Matt (a co-worker) is Kelly's "Ham Buddie". After The Walk, Kelly Helps Matt Set Up His New Radio

Walk Is Over. One Last Transmission On The Way Back To The Car!

Walk Is Over. One Last Transmission On The Way Back To The Car!

It Was A Good Day!

It Was A Good Day!

Walk for the World

The countdown has started, and March 28th is “D” Day for our big walkathon event – one week away. Are we ready for our 10 mile challenge (40 laps)? Wait until you see how ingenious Kelly has been in preparing his “Radioman” setup.  See Kelly’s K4UPG.com Blog for photos of our weekend at Honeymoon Island. (More about this below.)


The Cause:

Our PIONEERS staff is walking to raise $100,000 to send missionaries to 6,500-plus unreached people groups around the world. (Click here to see a brief description how the funds will be used to accomplish our goal.)


walkfor-the-world

Multiplying the Blessing:

A foundation has established a matching grant enabling us to double what we raise, dollar for dollar, for up to $250,000.


The Radioman:

Kelly is taking his ham radio with him to help pass the time as we walk. He has designed a creative way to talk to various countries, states and cities on his amateur radio while walking. Wait until you see!


Pray As We Walk:

We have asked sponsors to give us their prayer requests so our staff can pray for them as we walk. There will be a manned “prayer station” along our route that will be passing out these prayer requests to the walkers as they pass the booth. Kelly will report to the prayer station the countries/states/cities he has contacted, and they will pass that info on to the rest of us so we can pray for those places also.


hfpack_man_tm

hfpack_man_tm Pedestrian Mobile

The Design Challenge:

Radioman calls this type of radio transmitting being “pedestrian mobile,” in Ham Radio talk.

  • Challenge #1: He had to figure out how to “wear” the radio while still being able to reach the controls.
  • Challenge #2: He will also have to carry the rather large battery that powers the radio.
  • Challenge #3: He plans to mount his “Buddistick Antenna” onto an Alice Pack Army backpack (instead of on the extended stationary mount, as seen in the photo below).
Kelly mobile with his radio, and his Buddipole antenna in a ground mount with 3 guy lines for stability

Kelly mobile with his radio, and his Buddistick antenna in a ground mount with 3 guy lines for stability

Stay Tuned For Results:

Many thanks to those of you who have agreed to either pray for our event or to sponsor the two of us. We will post results of how well we do in funds raised, how many laps we actually walk, the names of places Radioman contacts, and of course, some fun photos of the event and of Kelly’s pedestrian mobile design.

2 “MISSIONS COST GOD HIS SON”

THE QUSTION IS:

Are we “asleep in the bottom of the boat” like Jonah, and “is the church failing in our mandate“?

Missions Cost God His Son was the theme for our “Global Impact Celebration” missions’ conference held at Pine Castle United Methodist Church, where Kelly and I are members. (See photos at end of this posting.) Keynote Speaker J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine, author, award-winning journalist, and ordained minister delivered a challenging and thought provoking message from Jonah 1: 1-5.

JONAH:

Rev. Grady spoke about Jonah being in a deep sleep in the bottom of a ship, when God sent a violent storm that threatened to break up that ship. He shared that the storm came, because of a disobedient servant (Jonah). Rev. Grady related this to; ‘We are in a storm today, not just because of the politicians & Wall Street, but also because the church is asleep in the bottom of the boat’.

THE CHURCH TODAY:

He explained that the church has been given the Words of Life – life saving equipment – and we are failing in our mandate to take it out to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria & the Ends of the Earth. We are keeping it to ourselves. God wants our GPS systems to be reprogrammed so we can be heading in the right direction. If we obey, we will see our ship taken to the shore of Nineveh and we will take life to the people.

YOU DECIDE IF THE QUESTION ABOVE IS TRUE

Rev. Grady’s serman ties in with a webinar Kelly listened to about Significant Facts & Trends in the North American Missions Movement (NAMM). The researcher was Michael Jaffarian, Senior Research Associate for Operation World. Here is just one area that he spoke about:

FACTS:

The NAMM is a $6 billion industry with 822 separate organizations;
Those 822 divide into 5 major kinds of mission agencies:
Denominational
Founder  Based
Task Based
Mom & Pop
International Expansion of North American Ministries

LENGTH OF SERVICE:

  • There are about 43,000 N. American long-term missionaries, numbers growing, modestly. (Length of service-more than 4 years.)
  • There are about 8,000 N. American middle-term missionaries, numbers may be declining. (Length of service-less than 4 years.)
  • There are about 150,000 N. American short-term missionaries, numbers growing strongly. (length of service-two weeks up to one year.)

TREND:

The best estimate of the number of American short term mission-trip participants: 1.5 million. (length: 2 weeks or shorter)

The North American churches are sending more than sixty times as many mission-trip participants overseas as long-term missionaries.

Imagine, if an average of $2,000 is spent to send those 1.5 million: that = $300 billion compared to $6 billion given toward long-term workers. Would we consider this a good use of our missions funds?

RESULTS OF TREND?

GROWTH:

Strong growth in short-term missions & mission trips has not produced strong growth in long-term missions. (The number of long-term missionaries is not even keeping up with the rate of national growth.)

GIVING:

It was thought short-term trips might give participants a heart to give to the missions’ program. Research shows that those who are giving, are giving to others going on short-term trips. Again, long-term missions has not benefited from this program.

Mr Jaffarian ended on a positive note: “Trend is not destiny.”       The direction of God trumps the direction of trends.”

This webinar was sponsored by: The Mission Exchange

Photos below are from our Global Impact Celebration – Missions Conference:

Children in Parade of Flags Opening Ceremony Wed. Night

Children in Parade of Flags Opening Ceremony Wed. Night

Wed Night Children's Program

Wed Night Children's Program

Children in Tradional Dress Performing Their Songs

Children in Tradional Dress Performing Their Songs

Youth Skit: Missionary Sharing Her "LIGHT" with the Lost World

Youth Skit: Missionary Sharing Her "LIGHT" with the Lost World

Congregation Visting With Missionaries at Their Display Booths

Congregation Visting With Missionaries at Their Display Booths

Kelly & Connie in Traditional Dress with their display booth set up in the "Missionary Hall"

Kelly & Connie in Indonesian Traditional Dress with their display booth set up in the "Missionary Hall"

Our Largest Group Of New Missionary Candidates In 9 Years

God’s call to fulfill His promise to see a people from every tribe, nation and tongue brought into his Kingdom has not gone unheeded (Rev. 7:9). Forty-five new missionary candidates attended our January Candidate Orientation Program this past week (Jan. 4-9). It happens five times a year so this is just the beginning. What a great way to start the new year of 2009!

cop-jan-08-group-photo-3

I never tire of seeing these “called out ones” of all ages, from all over the country, stream into our training center. Each one has their own story of how God has touched their lives and brought them to this point. We feel privileged to hear these stories first hand and be a part of seeing their dream start to come to fruition.

Take for example, Nazir (not his real name), a 67 year old US citizen from Pakistan. He came to the US over 30 years ago with his family as a teacher. Now this guy has a story! He proves it is never too late to answer God’s call.

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:

http://www.story08.com/

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.