We traveled June 30th to our home area for all of July and August and it’s good to be back! Our goal is to develop and increase our support team, not only in the St. Louis metro area, but in mid-Missouri and the Kansas City Metro area as well. We’d appreciate your continued prayers for us- since we’ve seen financial challenges hit churches and individuals alike. We are looking to see an increase our support level by at least $1000/month before we return to our Home Office ministries in Sanford, FL. If you feel you would want to become one of our Support Team partners in this challenging ministry of assisting those planting churches among unreached people groups, we have the “GIVE” link at the top of this page that will redirect you to a secure location where you have many options available for financially becoming a member of our support team.
We are looking for any opportunities to present the exciting and challenging work of New Tribes Mission- one that focuses on actually learning firsthand the unwritten language of an unreached people group, studying their culture and worldview (what makes them “tick”), and finally presenting spiritual truth in a chronological method. This method, Building On a Firm Foundation, was developed by New Tribes Mission personnel, and has been adopted in many forms and fashions by missions groups, churches and individuals around the world.
The trip up from Florida was uneventful, but right off the bat we (at least Tom did) noticed that weather was more intense than in Central Florida. And I’m talking HUMIDITY! Sure, we have plenty of it to go around in Florida, but we also get the beautiful, freshening breezes off the ocean (even though we are 25 miles inland) in the late afternoon and evening. Reminds us of our time in Guinea, West Africa.
Just like Mr. Smith (Jimmy Stewart) in the Frank Capra movie, I went to Washington, DC this week. Our purposes were different, though. He went to change the U.S. government, I went to learn from the U.S. government.
Along with two other members of NTM USA, we had an opportunity to meet with a division of the State Department tasked to advise and assist US companies, non-profit and faith-based organizations in the area of overseas safety. Some of our people have had a long-standing relationship with this group; this, however, was my first face-to-face encounter with them. Two of us were particularly interested in meeting with their head of cybersecurity to get a better feel for what resources may be available to us in terms of informing our IT departments in other countries about risk management, as well as any other topics that might touch on our efforts to provide a safe information sharing environment for our U.S. members serving in other countries.
NTM USA was also able to give them some information on technologies NTM was finding effective in terms of crisis management, to which they seemed impressed and thankful to hear, so it became a two-way street on information sharing. Our hosts were gracious enough to give us 1-1/2 hours of their time, and we definitely came away feeling it was well-spent, as well as making some contacts within the Federal Government that will hopefully strengthen a relationship for the future.
Since becoming the Director of Information Technology for NTM USA I’ve had to think and operate in a larger context for the good of the organization. In the past I may not have considered what impact working with the State Dept. could have for good. I can now see presenting NTM’s specific IT interests and concerns to some of these larger audience can strengthen not only our relationships with others but our own perception of the role Information Technology plays in our organizational success.
With the knowledge I’ve gained from this meeting I intend to make some efforts to inform other faith-based groups with whom I am in contact at the annual meeting of the International Conference on Computing and Mission (ICCM – www.iccm.org), which meets next weekend at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. I want to share the good that came out of our time in Washington, and see if other organizations have like experiences with the Federal government from which we can benefit.
Here’s a picture of contrasts. “Why?”, you may ask? Well, take a good, hard look at the shirts worn by subjects in the photo. To the left (me), wearing my MIZZOU (Univ. of Missouri) shirt, next to me (Cole) is wearing his Univ. of Nebraska Cornhuskers shirt, and next to him, Brenna (his fiancee) is wearing her much-loved Kansas Jayhawk shirt (Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk!). If you know anything about college sports, particularly the Big 12, you know that this picture represents arguably the strongest rivalries in that conference (at least those of you who remember the old Big Eight). On its surface, this does not have the makings of a love-in.
But let me give you a different slant on this: Cole and Brenna recently came down to Sanford during their Spring Break from college, in their senior years, to see if God might want them to serve with New Tribes after they wed this June. They want to serve the Lord in their specific skill sets: Cole, a Business/Computer Science major can be a big asset to our programming team on a couple of web-based initiatives; Brenna, a Journalism major, would be a huge addition to the writing staff in our Communications Dept. Both of them are involved in their respective Navigator chapters on campus, and have been challenged to serve missions as they can. What better way than to use the talents that God has given them?
Well, I’m happy to say we have welcomed them to join us for the upcoming year. And, no, I don’t see rivals- I see comrades, co-workers, fellow bond-servants in Christ, desiring to put on the harness of service and do what they can to further the Kingdom.
Enemies? Never. Beloved? Always.
Becky and I have a fellow co-missionary and friend who recently found out she has breast cancer. In an attempt to heal her body, she is doing the Gerson Therapy (www.gerson.org/GersonTherapy/gersontherapy.htm), which basically requires that one detoxify their body through, among other things, organic vegetable juices and other processes. Bottom line is she needs to do juicing 13 times a day, as well as coffee enemas numerous times daily. The amount of work involved in dong all this is overwhelming, so some loved ones set up a schedule whereby others can volunteer to do the juicing, clean veggies, and brew coffee. I wanted to help, so I signed up for veggie washing and coffee brewing for three days in a row this past week. I learned a lot- not so much about washing and brewing, but about service. It startled me…because I guess I always thought of myself as pretty much a servant and had a handle on what it meant to serve. Either I lost the essence of it or I was wrong. But here is what the Lord showed me:
Service is always easier (and maybe less effective) when it’s convenient for ME. While washing veggies is no big deal, washing a full cooler of them, plus making sure they are properly dried and stored is- in fact it took me two hours to do it each time. That’s a lot of time standing in front of a sink; time I could have spent doing other things. But the sheer volume of the daily work required (of which I only did a fraction) to prep for the therapy would have been thrown back either on this lady or one of her already-pressed-to-the-limit family. Sure it was a burden, but isn’t that what we’re called to do by Christ- bear one another’s burdens? So it only seemed right to get engaged.
I know, I know- it’s been a long, long, LONG time since we’ve posted anything new on the blog. Hopefully we’ll not have that happen in the future. We’re really making an effort to keep you informed of our lives and ministries through this blog, as well as with Face Book.
“With everything else going on in our lives”, I say to myself, “how can I possibly keep up with it all?” Come on, who am I trying to fool? EVERYONE has a lot on their plate, and they manage to get it all done, so why can’t I? I can- the only honest answer is I guess I just chose not to. It was easier to justify my lack of action as time I “deserved” for myself.
Hold on- if my supporters can take of their hard-earned money and give some of it to me, the least I can do is try and keep them informed. And, what happened to the sacrificial spirit I once had, back in the day, 25 years ago, when Becky and I were willing to do anything (so we said) to further the name of Christ and make Him known? Have things changed THAT much? Have I become so used to my life as it is that I’ve somehow lost the desire to share our lives and what we’re doing with those around us?
Hard questions, with no easy answers. But I know that for those of you who want to know, deserve to know, what we are doing, we should be sharing our lives. And so, Lord willing, we’ll be faithful to continue to add more to this blog in the days and weeks to come. We want to make this the information center for those who want to know.
Thanks for stopping by!