This is a very good, well written and concise article on reaching unreached groups.

With the work I do, I often ask (and get asked) about Unreached People Groups (UPG’s) and how to see indigenous church movements started among them. This conversation always goes back to leadership and why movements (an act of God by the way) can’t happen without them. I have the privilege to labor among UPG’s […]

via 14 Crucial Characteristics of Church Movement Leaders: Working Among Unreached Peoples — The Asian Rough Rider

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The Gift to Witness

As I sat here to type a support letter I began to think of all the things that God has allowed us to witness.

Our missions group started just about a year ago and has since become a separate entity under the name Bright Wings.

As a group we have all witnessed incredible acts of God’s love, grace, and mercy. The word of God is surely alive and active.

We have seen multiple healings in our own church. We have heard testimonies of redemption from pastors in persecuted places. We have heard stories of opened hearts in hard pressed places of which I cannot mention. We have seen churches suffer set backs from external sources yet they press on without hesitation. We have seen young and old make trips across the oceans to glorify the father. We have been able to provide the word of God for those who are hungry in lands where it’s access and the gift of literacy is scarce.

There is no question, God is doing mighty works and just one of the great blessings that he has showered upon us is to witness these things. We can come along and praise him with thankful hearts knowing that he is in control. He is a God who loves and showers that love upon us.

This list is just a tiny glimpse of the things we have seen God do. I share so we all may give thanks to God. I boast in Christ. He is our loving savior who was and is and is to come.

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Chapati and Shiro

South Sudan Traveler

Tomorrow is the big international dinner to raise both awareness and funds for our missions activities. It will be taking place at Praise Assembly of God in Beaufort, South Carolina. I am happy to say that as we’ve been willing, God has given us more opportunities than we think we can handle. This is only a confirmation to me that our vision is consistently too small.

We are expecting 150 people tomorrow to come and try dishes from all over the world, and at the same time hear about ways to get involved with our missions work.

My wife and I are of course in charge of the Africa table, so tonight we are cooking up Chapatis, misir wot, and shiro, and tomorrow the suku-mowiki. A special thanks to Helen Inzobeli in Kibera, Kenya, who taught my wife to make the best chapatis.

Here are a few pictures of the…

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Five Years Worth

I recently made a return to Facebook after having been gone for roughly five years. After scrolling through and seeing some of the things that get passed around and the things people decide to share I came to two conclusions. (Really more than two but in this instance only two are relevant.)

If Facebook is a rooftop, what are you shouting?

What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Matthew 10:27

Presumably with the way Facebook works it is likely that a large number of people will see what you post. So what are you posting? Is it positive? Is it negative? Is it God glorifying? Is it just worthless chatter? It is the truth? or is it a lie?

For the five years I have been absent from Facebook, nearly everyone else (it seems) has used it consistently everyday. That is pretty amazing to think about. They tend to visit it several times a day and for five years that adds up to a lot of time spent on Facebook. I do believe people are completely aware of this fact so I will move on to my next point.

If you had invested all that time you spent on Facebook for the past five years and put it towards studying God’s word what kind of warrior would you be? How strong would your armor be? Would you be ready to stand on the front lines?

 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6: 11-17

 

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Prayers for Our Missionaries

Carl and John are traveling to Ethiopia for ten days with The Petros Network. They are an organization that provides church planting, pastoral training, and humanitarian aid with an emphasis on empowerment of native peoples. The teams consist of everyday people longing to serve the Lord and share the gospel with the unreached.

The Lord has laid it on our hearts to share Christ’s love with all nations to the ends of the Earth. Jesus loves us all equally and his heart breaks, for his soon to be spotless bride. We cannot sit back and wait for all that he loves to be consumed by the rampant growth of hate, violence, and selfishness. We must go no matter the cost. I ask that all those that pray to pray fervently that hearts are softened and souls are won for Christ’s Kingdom. He is worthy!

For it is better, if it is Gods will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God.
1 Peter 3 17-18 NIV

He sent out his word and healed them, he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and wonderful deeds for mankind.
Psalms 107:20 NIV

 This is how we know what love is Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
1 John 3:16 NIV

 Dear children let us not love with words but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:18

Prayer requests:

1. For the Father’s will to be done.

2. That all details of the flights to and from are without a hitch and that there are no problems with customs.

3. That the devil will not instill any fear or anxiousness in John or Carl or their families back home.

4. Protection over their families while they are gone. Pray for peace in times with little to no communication. Ethiopia is currently under a State of emergency which means social media may be blocked or internet may be completely shut down.

5. Wisdom to speak with only love and encouragement and allow the Holy Spirit to work through his servants.

6. For John and Carl to have opportunities to share the gospel and opportunities to be a witness for what God has done in their lives.

7. There are fifteen team members in total that have joined Petros Organization on this particular trip. We pray for unity between the team members that their sole purpose there is for glorifying the Kingdom of God and not for personal gain, or self-gratification.

8. The dominate religion in Ethiopia is Islam and persecution is great risk for the Pastors and families that are coming for training. Our brothers and sisters have been threatened, tortured and some have even been killed. They have been disowned by families and communities to serve our almighty Lord. Pray for the protection of pastors that are coming to the training facility as they will have opposition getting to and from their villages. Pray that they are encouraged through this experience.

9. For the Lord to provide the right situations with the right people to be able to film a powerful message to share with our church.

10. Pray against illness.

11. Pray that every day the team, as well as those at home, are outfitted with the full armor of God to withstand the attacks of the enemy.

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Leaving Home.

Carl and I leave for Ethiopia in four days.

South Sudan Traveler

In four days I leave for Ethiopia. This will be my third trip to Ethiopia. I’ve also been to South Sudan four times, and I’m not even sure how many times I’ve been to Kenya. Every country I’ve been to, and every city, and every village has been different in some way or another. Cultures are different. Tribes are different. Nations that border each other have vastly different characters and cultures. I’m only talking about East Africa. I haven’t even been to central or West Africa, and only passed through South Africa.

I sincerely wish everyone could do what I do, at least once. I wish everyone could uproot and leave home, truly leave home and go somewhere so far out of their comfort zone that you couldn’t stand on a stool and see where your comfort zone is.

I hear so many people say, “We are so blessed here…

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Lies People Believe About Missionaries

This is a great article from the International Missions Board about misconceptions people have about missionaries. Hopefully it will dispel some of the myths that keep people from getting involved.

Check out this link from International Mission Board: https://www.imb.org/2017/02/09/5-lies-people-believe-about-missionaries/

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Why did the chicken cross the road?

To deliver the good news-the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sure, chickens don’t actually evangelize but people with a whole list of irrational fears do. (They also cross a whole lot more than a road.)

I will tell you from personal experience as a person who has struggled with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a term that is often thrown around to often, that my list of fears and quirks has been quite impressive through the years. You may be saying the same about yourself.

“But I hate needles!”

“I am a picky eater.”

“Flying scares my socks off.”

“They don’t have toilets!”

“It’s too dangerous. I could be killed.”

Or perhaps you are just an excuse maker….

“I don’t have the money.”

“I can’t find the time.”

“I don’t think I am a missionary.”

“I don’t know where to go.”

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let me remind you that is was with all authority in heaven and on earth that Jesus gave the final command to go and make disciples of all nations. This is not something we should take lightly.

Matthew 28: 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

So what do you do if you truly feel incapable and just absolutely frightened of ever going on a mission trip?

I will answer this with scripture;

Luke 10:17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

And his reply to them:

Luke 10:18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Let me remind you that they were instructed to take nothing with them yet they were provided for and given authority and protection from heaven.

God will absolutely provide and cover all of your fear. He is with you to the very end of the age.

If you are not convinced here is more scripture:

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power,love and self-discipline.

Luke 12:22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.

I could keep going and my list of scripture against fear might end up as long as your list of worries and excuses.

So lets stop being chickens and cross the road, country, continents, seas, oceans, and time zones.

 

 

 

 

Going overseas or just across the street can be equally stressful for some people. It is absolutely up to God as to where he wants you to go and when.

PRAY!

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A Shield Only Works When Facing The Enemy

As this year comes to a close and I assess all that has happened with missions and travel, I am reminded of the spiritual warfare that has happened throughout the year. I realize that all things work out for the good of those who love the Lord, but that doesn’t mean that the trials are any easier. Only as I learn more and experience more, I worry about it less and less. I am no longer blind-sided by it as much. I am still continually surprised by the ways in which it shows up, but it’s timing can be almost always timed down to the day shortly before something big is supposed to be happening. As I start counting down the days before I go to Ethiopia again, I can expect more warfare.

Lately I have been reading The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. It’s been decades since I last picked this up, and I am enjoying it if nothing more than for the word pictures it contains that give clarity to a lot of abstract concepts. During my pondering about this book, the subject of the armor of God came up. We find the subject of the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”

The thing that occurred to me when I read it this time that I had never noticed before was the choice of armor; helmet, shield, sword, breastplate, etc, and specifically what they have in common. The thing they all have in common is that they are only effective when you are facing and engaging with the enemy. A Christian who either has his back to the enemy or has not engaged the enemy has lost. God gives us the tools with which to fight, but we have to decide whether to fight or not. I wanted to talk specifically about the shield. When the apostle Paul wrote this, he modeled the armor after the Roman legion, which used a large curved shield called a scutum. Our faith is that shield. It is what allows us to stand up to what the devil and the world throw at us and allows our faith not to be shaken. But it does more than that. The scutum not only protected from the flaming arrows of the enemy, but when the combat got close, its size allowed its bearer to knock the enemy back. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that this metaphor was chosen, because it’s only in the thick of spiritual warfare that we get close enough to knock the enemy back on his heels. James 4:7 completes the thought. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

This of course runs counter to our culture. We call ourselves Christians, but we refuse to engage the enemy. The evidence of this is in where we spend our missions dollars. 24% of the world has never heard the gospel. Yet those areas receive 1/2 of one percent of our missions dollars, whereas 94.5% goes to areas that are already filled with professing Christians. This makes absolutely no sense. Jesus said “Look, the fields are ripe for harvest, but the workers are few.” We keep going to the same fields that have already been harvested looking for a speck of grain that someone dropped, while the field next door, though harder to get to, has been completely ignored. Parents with children in the military are proud that their children are serving in conflict zones in Afghanistan or Iraq or elsewhere, but how many would send their children or go themselves to share the saving grace of God in those same areas? We somehow think it’s less important, when nothing could be further from the truth. Someday the sun and moon will fall from the sky, and we’ll all be long gone. At that point the only thing that will matter is whether and how we engaged the enemy. Is it a harder way? Yes. But as we see the world falling apart around us, don’t think the destruction that has fallen over Syria or Afghanistan or Yemen or Libya will fail to come to us simply because we failed to recognize that the enemy was not political factions but rather the prince of this world, the devil. We MUST engage the enemy, or we too are lost.

I want to make one final point about the shield of faith. If faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen, then we are taking something that cannot be seen and has no substance and turning it into substance and evidence, both of which are tangible things. It is only when we use faith, and faith becomes action, that action turns into something of substance. As James said, “show me your faith without action, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” The opportunities are there. We must have the courage to engage the enemy.

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Meet the Missionary: Dana and Debbie Schroeder

schroeder-5875

Dana and Debbie Schroeder

Philippines

Dana, Debbie, Daniel and Dylan Schroeder all love the Philippines for many different reasons.  But one common denominator is their love for the Filipino people.  Whether it’s relatives, friends or strangers, the Filipino people hold a special place in this family’s lives. The focus of their mission work, at present, is on 2 different islands – Luzon and Mindanao.

In Manaoag, Luzon there stands an orphanage dedicated to the glory of God to house orphans who will be loved and discipled by godly Christian servants. Future plans there include an addition to the facility to bring in more orphans as well as the possibility of a Christian school.

In Surigao, Mandanao there is nothing but a dream and a promise.  Partnering with a local church, their plans include a multi-use facility that will serve as both an orphanage and a church.

The motivation over all else is God’s glory and the spreading of His gospel!

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