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As I shared with a few people while traveling, it feels like I’ve been making up for lost time over these past six months in my ministry life with NAB Gateway. Allow me to share a few more details as to what it’s been like to get back out there (part 2; see my August 2022 newsletter for part 1)!
Oak Brook, Illinois – NAB Mission Advisory Team (MAT) Meetings
It was the first time that this group was able to be together in person for these meetings in almost three years (we’ve met on Zoom a lot!). And it was great to be able to interact, share, and advise regarding a number of items of importance to NAB International Missions, and in particular to our Vice President of International Missions, Kerry Bender. The MAT includes NAB field directors (Tanya Gericke, Cal Hohn, Maureen Moody, Paul Ewing, andLyndell Campbell-Réquia), an NAB mission partner (Geoff Hartt), and NAB staff (myself, and Kerry Bender). We enjoyed good discussion and, just as importantly, good times of interaction together as friends!
Lake Balaton, Hungary – CHE Euronet Conference
This annual conference of national leaders (and missionaries) brings together those working with the Community Health Evangelism (CHE) strategy among Roma/Gypsy communities around the Balkans and Eastern Europe. No less than six to seven different languages were being spoken among this group of around 50 leaders, so there was a lot of translating going on as most of the presenting was being done in English. Our NAB national missionaries in Hungary (Laci and Eszter Daróczi-Csuhai), NAB field directors (Ron and Jean Seck), and MEK Hungary team members were the hosts for this conference. For myself, it was encouraging and also a great opportunity to network with a number of friends from Macedonia, Bosnia, Hungary, and Serbia. I’m anticipating many potential NAB Gateway sister-church partners and partnerships out of this group as the future unfolds.
Hatvan, Hungary – MEK Hungary Annual Board Meeting
As I’ve mentioned in past newsletters, I’ve taken on some additional roles in Serbia (ZZ) and Hungary (MEK) with our national missionaries and teams there, which also includes being on the boards of both these organizations. The MEK board meeting time was a great time to review and strategize, as well as to assess how we’ve responded to the Ukraine refugee crisis and to plan for more relief opportunities in the future as the war continues.
Oakdale, Minnesota (Redeemer Baptist) – church visit
It had been some time since I was able to visit these friends at Redeemer (which was postponed from 2021 because of the death of my dad). But my short visit there was a rich time as I shared with the Connections Group and briefly in the Sunday morning service about what was currently happening with NAB Gateway. Many thanks go out to Redeemer for their support, and per usual, I also challenge churches to consider the opportunities of being in a sister-church partnership as well!
Vancouver, British Columbia – Blue Ocean
I’ve been able to attend Blue Ocean in previous years, and it is a great opportunity to meet with NAB leaders multiple times over the course of a year and to discuss, share, and be challenged into living a missional/formational life. This year’s group, though smaller in size, has a lot of potential for interaction on a deeper level. We’ll see where it goes and how I can bring a consideration for the global implications of our discussions, especially when it comes to challenging local church leaders.
Springside, Saskatchewan (Springside Baptist) – SCP orientation and church visit
Springside Baptist Church is also a supporting church that I had not had the opportunity to visit for some time, yet they’ve consistently supported my/our work with NAB Gateway for many years. In addition to having the opportunity to share about the Gateway ministry in Sunday School and preaching in the Sunday service, Springside Baptist was also interested and willing to host a sister-church partnership orientation. Most of those who attended were from the Springside Baptist, but altogether there were three churches represented! It was a great time, and I’m looking forward to seeing where things may go for these churches in regards to potential partnerships.
Havana, Cuba – SCP orientation with Iglesia Bautista La Jordan and site visit
There is so much I could share about this short visit to Cuba than I’m able to share here, but it was an eye-opening, fruitful, sobering, inspirational, and educational experience all at once. Tony Campos of Hispanics for Christ joined me as we shared the training on being a sister-church partner AND kept our hearts and our eyes open to what God would show us in this country. The biggest takeaway(s) I would share from this time in Cuba was that our host church, its pastors, and its leaders are incredibly lovely people who live out the Way of Jesus in the midst of much adversity. In the midst of their difficult lives, they still aspire to be used of the God of Mission and want to partner with both God and the church. Truly some of the most exemplary Jesus-followers I’ve ever encountered. Please pray for whatever the future holds with these dear folks and NAB Gateway.
Columbus, Ohio – Short-Term Mission Standards Intro Workshop at the International Conference On Mission (ICOM)
I’ve been serving as a board member and volunteering with MissionWorks, and its subsidiary MissionExcellence, for about 15 years (formerly known as SOE). One of the consistent opportunities I’ve been able to have is to teach a workshop on what’s known as the 7 Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission at various conferences. At this pre-conference to ICOM, I shared on three of the seven standards pertaining to short-term mission, including empowering partnerships, mutual design, and qualified leadership. Serving with this organization provides me with the opportunity to rub shoulders with other short-term mission agencies, as well as provide influence (and be influenced) by many others in the short-term mission ‘industry.’
Hopefully you’ve been able to understand why I felt it was necessary to entitle yet another newsletter “Getting Back Out There!” There’s been a lot to share, and to ask for your continued prayers about. Things are slowing down a bit now as we head into the holiday season, so here’s to a Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
For the Kingdom,