Monday, March 31, 2008

Precious Plankton Remembers. . .

It was Spring of 1989, Charlotte, NC. The business establishment doesn't really matter as I'm sure it's long gone by now. We had traveled to see They Might Be Giants play a show that evening. Now, at that time, to my 21-year-old eyes, those guys looked SO OLD. I remember wondering where my college radio crowd would be in 20 years. How would we age?
Would we ever really grow up? Would we make suburbanite families? Would our kids have damaged hearing because we dragged them all over the southeast to see our favorite bands play? Would we ever have real jobs? What would it all look like?
Fast forward to Spring of 2008. I have my answers, at least a lot of them. Those of us who aren't Baptist missionaries, or Episcopalian priests, or high-powered D.C. bigwigs, or the Hasbro VP in charge of all the Star Wars toys, or Hootie, are doing this.
Maybe you can't go back to Constantinople. . .
. . . but Istanbul's pretty cool, too.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Eric Reese-Braving Bullets

Eric and Ramona Reese are IMB missionaries serving in Rio de Janeiro. They have a beautiful rapport with Brazilians. They love Brazilians, the Brazilians know it and love them back.
One thing I didn't realize about the Reese's ministry is the dangers they face in the slums of Rio. The IMB recently featured their ministry in this video short that is part of their Commission Stories series.

HT:Pascal and Amy Stowell

Monday, March 17, 2008

Ministering as Jesus Did

Recently, we had the opportunity through our mission to request some college students to come and work here in Metro PoA for a semester. In an admirable attempt to make us fuddy-duddy missys seem more hip, hop, and happening to the "Millenial Generation," we got the following primer on how to word our job requests:

What are they [today's students] looking for?

• For ministry that will help people both spiritually and physically. They really want to see people helped in both ways.
• For an opportunity to minister as they see Christ ministering in the N.T.
• For the opportunity to build relationships with both the people they will work among and with the missionaries they will work along side of.
• For a request that sounds less like a project and more like an experience.
• For ministry reflecting a real cause and a real need - not statistics but a need.
• For specific types of ministry. They respond to ministry with orphans, a chance to help hurting people or projects that require "roughing it".

It's specifically the second phrase that caught my eye: "For an opportunity to minister as they see Christ ministering in the N.T."

Here were my thoughts, in this order:

1. DUDE! wow...

2.I wonder, given the current pentecostaphobic climate of our mission, if whoever wrote this gave any thought to what he was actually saying,

3. That opportunity would depend much more on the student than the job description he came to.

See, I've spend a good many hours these past two and a half years listening to those who regularly see the lame walk, the deaf hear, the dead raised to life again. There are some amazing consistencies in their stories:
1. This kind of annointing requires TREMENDOUS amounts of time spent in the presence of our Lord. TREMENDOUS. Like A LOT more than just a WHOLE BUNCH. It also requires a complete sellout to our Lord. COMPLETE.
2. They saw, on average, two full years of TOTAL, COMPLETE, HUMILIATING FAILURE before they ever got any results on this type of ministry.
3. The persecution they have faced from the church is ASTOUNDING. For a few, the scars still show.

See, I'm still trying to figure out if I'm up to/called to/brave enough for that kind of ministry. I'm pretty sure that, even if I am, I won't be up to leading college students in it by Spring of 2009 and I'm definately sure they can't get there in 4 months.

Of course, probably what they are talking about is hanging out with friends cooking a few fish on the beach. THAT I can handle. or are they? . . .

Dude. wow.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Prayer request update

Here is an update to yesterday's prayer request. Jeff wrote it early this morning before leaving to be with the team.

Thank you so much for your prayers. We’ll write with more details later, but suffice it to say that your prayers are already making a major difference. The team did manage to get to the city where they were working yesterday without major difficulty, and even though we were down two translators, everything ended up meshing together in the end. The team led about 29 Bible studies yesterday, and many indicated a desire to follow Christ, including the president of the neighborhood association, who was like ripe fruit falling off into our hands – it was a wonderful thing to see. The kickoff service for the new church plant was a success, with a number of visitors present to sing and hear a story from the Bible. In short, God turned many of the difficulties on their heads and brought blessings. However, we still need your prayers – there is a lot of week left. We appear to have lost one of our translators for the duration to sickness, and there are still many challenges ahead of us.
Please continue to pray for God’s protection over the team, translators, missionaries, church planters, and the families of all involved. Pray that God would anoint us with His boldness, wisdom and protection, and that Satan would not be able to gain any foothold or have any influence at all in the work that is going on or in the lives of those involved. Thank Him for the fruit that we have already begun to see, and ask Him to bring a great harvest in the next few days of work, for His glory and honor.
Thank you for your prayers – they REALLY DO make a HUGE difference – we can tell.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Prayer Request - Urgent

Greetings from Porto Alegre. We would like for you to pray for the work of our volunteer teams from Oviedo, Florida and Belgrade, Montana, who are currently here working with us. They arrived on Saturday, and will be with us throughout the week working to evangelize alongside a number of our national church planters.
We are only one and a half days into the trip and we are already experiencing major resistance from the forces of evil. Translators are getting sick, Jeff is suddenly sick and has barely slept, there are several other major problems going on, and to top it all off, and we just got notice that the main interstate highway which is the only route to the neighborhood in Novo Hamburgo where we will be working to start a church from scratch today is blocked both ways because of an accident. This is interesting, as the last time this same group from Florida came to work in the city of Novo Hamburgo, the exact same road was blocked both ways on the very morning that the team was on their way to the church plant – this is obviously more than a coincidence.
Please pray that the forces of evil would be rebuked by our Lord and would not be able to interfere in any way in what God wants to do here in Metropolitan Porto Alegre this week. Pray that God would protect the teams, the missionaries involved, the church planters, and the people who will be receiving the Word this week – not just physically, but also relationally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Pray that God would bring much fruit, and that all of the forces of evil would be pushed back and would be completely powerless to interfere.
We are not ignorant of Satan’s schemes, and we have seen many of these exact same things happen time and time again when there has been a major push to evangelize and bring light to the darkness. People are already being saved, and God has great plans for this week.
Please join us in prayer for God’s light to shine brightly, and ask that the forces of darkness would not be able to stand against it.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

My Life as a Tomato

I just love ITunes. Especially free Itunes.
Anyway, I was searching tonight to see if VeggieTales had a podcast and found this.
Phil Vischer speaks to Seattle Pacific University students on what happens when God give you a dream, fulfills it, and the dream dies. 21 minutes, given sometime in late 2004 or early 2005.

It actually makes me a little nervous, since we're coming in the middle of the story of Joseph in Parker's nightly Bible reading (he had the dreams last night, and was sold into slavery tonight) and then I end up listening to this. I think I'll go check to make sure the children are still breathing. . .