Monday, December 22, 2014

You Never Know Where The Road of Life Will Take You


About 12 years ago, while I was the Outreach Pastor at what was then Word of Grace, Gary Kinnaman preached a sermon that included the statement "You never know where the road of life will take you".  Those words have floated through my mind hundreds of times - never more than in 2014. 

After 15 years of living in Mesa AZ the road of life took us to Colorado Springs, CO (where we lived 20 years ago).  It also took us to Sri Lanka, to Canada, to various cities across the USA and to India (twice).  The road of life enabled us to renew friendships and make new friends. It also took us to a place we did not expect - the passing of Karl's mother.  It took our hearts and minds to see new things, to understand new life and ministry challenges and to focus on areas of ministry that had not been priorities for many years.  In many ways the road of life 2014 edition brought us back into the future.

                                        November 2

On Sunday morning, November 2, Debbie and I were in church when we received a call from my father. We were sitting near the back of the church, so I decided to step out and answer it. I said hello—and I heard my father say (in German) “Mama is dead”. I couldn't believe what I had just heard.  As the story unfolded I discovered that my mother told my dad to go to church so she could make lunch. She was happy and feeling well.  When my dad returned from church two hours later, he discovered my mother had passed away—either from a heart attack or an aneurysm. As you can imagine, this was a huge shock.  While my mother was 88 years old—this was not expected.  That afternoon I boarded a plane for Edmonton, Canada.  Debbie flew to Edmonton the next day—and we spent the next two weeks, preparing for the funeral and helping my father with scores of details. My father is now living with us in Colorado Springs until early January as we make preparations for him to move forward without my mother.  After 62 years of marriage, this is not an easy task.  Pray for us, and for Karl's father. None of us expected that the road of life would take us to this place.

On The Road to Colorado Springs

In January Karl started his new ministry with Development Associates International (DAI). Since their international office is in Colorado Springs we started packing, put our house up for sale and in May made the big move. After 15 years in one home, we discovered we have way more stuff than we thought - but with the help of the wonderful and amazing people in our Missional Community we packed up all our stuff. 



For 6 weeks we lived in an "apartment hotel" of less than 500 square feet while we went house hunting.  After looking at about 60 houses, we found our new home.


We love our new home.  We lived in Colorado Springs about 20 years ago - so in the words of Yogi Berra -"it's like deja vu all over again". We have already had several friends come and visit. We loved the wonderful, warm summer and are getting used to a Colorado winter.  Those 15 years in Phoenix have made us into "winter wimps".

                           What Are We Doing In Colorado?

While Debbie has been busy setting up our home, entertaining guests, checking out the local pottery community, rediscovering the area, and taking care of my father, I have been focusing on building cross-cultural partnerships, consulting with churches on global ministry, training leaders, and working with other DAI staff on facilitating the development of new leadership training partnerships in Africa, Central Asia and among immigrant communities (from Myanmar, the Hispanic world and Central Asia). While DAI works in about 45 countries, God is opening up some amazing doors here in the USA. Over the past year we have been in Sri Lanka (for the DAI international staff conference), and I have been in India (twice) and to several US cities.  



One thing that we have clearly seen is the incredible need for effective servant leaders.  Dr. James Engel who founded DAI said the following:

If we don't break the yoke of power-motivated, controlling leadership and unleash the resources of the Body of Christ, there is little hope that the world can be evangelized.  This is the CENTRAL challenge of the world-wide church.

It's been wonderful to see the impact of DAI in training and mentoring "on-the-ground" church, ministry and business leaders. In India I had the privilege of facilitating training for pastors, Bible translators, ministry leaders and Bible School leaders from Nepal, NE India and Myanmar.  These leaders came from 14 different language groups! God is changing the world through these men and women and it is a blessing to be part of encouraging them in their ministry. 

If you would like to be part of what God has called us to, check out DAI on the web and send us an email at myhk54@gmail.com. We'd love to talk to you about ways in which you can partner with us.

                         Book Recommendations

Many of you have asked us for book recommendations - so here are some books we would recommend you read in 2015.  You can order all of them from WorldChristian.


  • A Wind in the House of Islam - David Garrison
  • Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible - Randolph Richards
  • Western Christians in Global Mission - Paul Borthwick
  • When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself - Steve Corbett
  • Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just - Timothy Keller
  • Forgiving as We've Been Forgiven: Community Practices for Making Peace -  L. Gregory Jones

Finally

We want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and an absolutely wonderful 2015.

We so appreciate your friendship, prayer and support over the years.  The older we get, the more we have come to relish the times we can spend with our friends and family and the more we have grown to realize that it is our relationships that make us into who we are becoming.

Karl and Debbie



PS - We managed to get to the top of Pike's Peak (three times for Debbie) and Karl got a thrill when in August he was able to see and touch the Stanley Cup (it's a Canadian thing).

Friday, April 18, 2014

Is There Hope?

This is Easter weekend when we remember the death and resurrection of Christ.  Easter is a great time to be thinking about hope—and that’s what I’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks. Can we really hope and have faith for those big, impossible things, or should we settle for what seems possible?  I know as followers of Jesus we are supposed to answer the question with “of course we should dream big dreams and have faith” - but do you and I really, in our heart-of-hearts, believe that is true?

What did the disciples really feel during the hours of Christ’s arrest, his trial and       crucifixion? I suspect that they wondered whether their faith in Jesus the Messiah had been misplaced.  Were their hopes and dreams of the Kingdom that Jesus talked about just a fairy tale? Had the last three years of their lives been a waste? Would Jesus rise from the dead?  After all, that was impossible!  Nobody had ever done that before.  

A couple of weeks ago while Debbie and I were in Colorado Springs we joined some of the international staff of DAI (www.daintl.org) for dinner.  I had the opportunity to spend some time with the DAI leader from the Congo, and we started talking about hope. The Congo has experienced years of civil war, ethnic and tribal violence, grinding poverty and huge levels of corruption.  I asked my brother if he saw any hope for his nation.  After all, nothing seemed to work in his country—he even had to go to Zambia to get mail, since there was no mail service in his city of 5 million people.  Could there be large scale change in the Congo?  Was there hope?

For the last 8+ years Debbie and I have spent a lot of time in Malawi.  It has been exciting to see how God has worked in villages and communities to bring visible transformation. Children are being fed, the rate of HIV/AIDS infections have stabilized, a growing number of women are supporting their families, people are coming to know Jesus, and hope is springing up where there was no hope. But nationally, it is a different story.  Over the last two years there has been widespread corruption, over 10% of the     population is still on the brink of starvation and nothing much has changed.  Is there hope for even a small country like Malawi?

A few days after talking to my DAI colleague from Congo, Debbie and I spent some time with our long-time friend Steve.  For    almost 20 years Steve has talked about “discipling nations”.  His passion has been to see entire nations living out the Sermon on the Mount.  Villages and communities doing that are well and good—but Steve believes God wants to see entire nations follow Him. As we talked, I thought to myself—that is impossible, we have never seen that happen before—it’s a “pipe dream”.

But, this weekend is all about the impossible.  It’s about life where there was death.  It’s about hope where there was no hope.  It’s about the impossible happening right before our eyes.  As I write this I realize that perhaps my hopelessness needs to be    replaced by hope, my unbelief needs to turn into faith, and that I need to believe God for resurrection where there has been death.  After all, isn’t that a significant part of what Easter is all about?

Will you join us in believing God for the impossible?

Have a blessed Easter.

Karl and Debbie

 



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Does It Matter?



Norita gave 25+ years of her life to disabled children & adults in Turkey.  She wasn’t famous, she didn’t draw huge crowds, sometimes her family barely had enough money to live on. About 2 weeks ago she suddenly passed away. Perhaps many would say that she was not a success.  But it didn’t matter. Hundreds of people from all over the world expressed their love and appreciation for her life and ministry and told stories of the huge impact she had on their lives. Norita lived a life of significance and changed the world!

This week I met with a pastor here in the Phoenix area I’ll call Bill.  For the past 10+ years Bill has been on staff at two mega-churches.  Not only that, he planted a church that quickly grew to 800 people.  He was successful—great job, plenty of money, etc. Now that Bill is in his late 40’s, he wonders if the success he has had in ministry is enough.  He wanted to know if his life had significance.

I also think of a preacher who held a series of evangelistic meetings. One night he came home and his wife asked how the meetings were.  Not great, he replied—only a few people accepted Christ. One of those people was Billy Graham.  Perhaps the meetings were not successful—but they were significant. 

Finally, I think of an older home-bound lady who lived across from a high school.   Everyday she prayed for that school and especially for a small, scrawny young man named George.  George became a Christian and later founded Operation Mobilization, one of the largest mission agencies of the last 50 years.   

Our American culture loves success stories. We love to hear about people who grew up in poverty and now have large houses, expensive cars, great paying jobs, and social status. These people have arrived!  Our culture is a celebrity culture.  And, unfortunately, it seems like this “success” and “celebrity” culture has become part of our Christian community. 

We love big numbers, large churches, Christian celebrities and anything that brings the “WOW Factor”.  But it makes me     wonder about  whether we are missing the boat.  Someone once asked me “Do you want to build a big ministry/church, or do you want to change the world”? He was really asking—”Do you want to be successful, or do you want to be significant”?. While these two concepts are not polar opposites, seeking to be successful—looking for the “WOW Factor” can easily move you away from being significant. 

Think about the Jesus.  He was born in a manger.  He started his ministry in relatively remote Galilee—far from Jerusalem.  He picked a band of 12 ragtag men to follow him, and after 3 years he died—leaving behind about 500 followers.  Does this sound like the way to start a worldwide movement?  If we are honest with ourselves, we would say that Jesus was not a success.  In fact, when you read the Gospels, he seemed to do things that clearly went against being successful. BUT, nobody can deny His significance. He changed the world like no one else.

How do you become significant?  You follow the model of Jesus.  You build relationships.  You invest in people.  You serve.  You listen to the Holy Spirit and you don’t care about social status, money or fame.  You stay faithful to the calling of the Lord in your life—whether that be something in full-time ministry or as a doctor, nurse, firefighter, teacher,  or garbage collector.  Everyone of us has the opportunity to live a life of significance and change our world!

Thank you for your continued friendship, prayer and support.

Karl and Debbie

Sunday, December 29, 2013

We Were Leaving On A Jet Plane - The Story of 2013

As we look back on our past year, it seems the words from the old song "I'm leaving, on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again" rang true for both of us this year.  The one thing that was different, is that Debbie spent more time on a plane than Karl!  But, we are glad to both be home for the next few weeks as we get our house ready to sell and make preparations to move to Colorado Springs.  

Around the World In A Few Pictures

This year we traveled to Malawi, Guatemala, Cambodia, Thailand and Uganda.  Here are some photos of our international ministry travels. 

Malawi 
Debbie took four trips to Malawi and Karl two.  Too much to say about all that happened, so the following pictures will have to suffice.

Njanda, Malawi, Community Center Celebration in April

Our Team in June

Debbie greeting a friend in Ntandile, Malawi.


Debbie, Gary & Cheryl Krueger and Cythia Croker in Malawi in September 

Guatemala
In May, Karl led a team to Guatemala to visit and capture on video some of the work being done by Global CHE Enterprises.  On the last day they visited several families that Global CHE had helped in the aftermath of the 2012 earthquake.  The mother of one of the families we visited expressed her gratitude for the help in rebuilding her home.  Her new home was so much better than her old one - afterall, it had cinder block walls and a concrete floor. She never imagined being able to live in such luxury.
The New Home in the Aftermath of the Earthquake
The Grateful Family in their New Home
Cambodia and Thailand
In July and August we spent two weeks in Cambodia and Thailand visiting ministries involved in helping to stop sex trafficking.  It was our first time in these two nations and we learned a lot about what God is doing in these Buddhist nations.


Residents of One of the Ministries We Visited in Cambodia

Mike and Nicole Zins and Debbie in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
It was great to visit with Mike and Nicole Zins, missionaries from Mission Community Church working with The HUG Project

Uganda
While Debbie was in Malawi, Karl went on his first assignment with Development Associates International (DAI) to Uganda.  In Uganda he joined the DAI Training Team as part of a week of training with the leadership of New Covenant Christian Centre - a ministry with over 100 churches in Uganda, Sudan, Kenya and Congo.

Karl with the DAI Uganda Training Team in Lira, Northern Uganda
 On A Personal Note
 
Because we didn't spend enough time on planes this year, we also traveled to Edmonton Canada twice to be with Karl's parents. 


Shoveling snow in Edmonton in March

Karl's Parents - 61 Years of Marriage!
One of the highlights of our year was to be able to go to California in August and attend a  concert at McCabes Guitar Shop of the "Trippin the Sixties" show and see our friends Barry and Mari McGuire.  

Debbie, Mari, Barry and Karl at McCabes Guitar Shop
 2014

On January 2, Karl starts his new job with DAI, and we will focus on getting our house ready for sale.  The international office for DAI is in Colorado Springs, so once our house sells, we'll be moving.  We'll certainly miss Donovan and Hyesun, the friends we've made over the years, and Debbie will miss her ceramics community, but we are looking forward to all that God has in store in the days ahead.  
We hope you too are looking forward to the coming year and hope that you will have a wonderful "slide" into 2014.

  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

New Beginnings

On December 26, 2012, I (Karl) wrote the following on this blog:

As we have been thinking and praying about 2013 we are filled with expectation that the Lord is going to do some new things in our lives and in our ministry.  We "see as in a mirror dimly" but we know He only has good in store for us in the months ahead.

As I write this update today - almost 11 months later, that paragraph seems prophetic - because there are some new things happening in our lives and ministry.  Let me give you an update.

In the middle of August we learned that Karl's time as the Justice Pastor at Mission Community Church was going to come to an end by December 31, 2013.  As a result, we began to pray about what "new things in our life and ministry" God had in store for us. As we thought and prayed, and as some of our intercessors prayed, the Lord gave us His assurance that He would lead and provide for us in every aspect of our lives.  

Over the last three months a number of opportunities were presented to us, and after a lot of thought and prayer we have accepted the position of Senior Consultant for Church Partnerships with Development Associates International (DAI).   DAI works in 30 nations “holding up the arms” of Christian leaders who are bringing the hope of the Gospel to their communities.  These leaders face enormous challenges in their own nations, including corruption, disease, persecution, poverty and war.  Despite their deep faith and commitment, they often find themselves ill-equipped to respond.  Since 1996 DAI has equipped these leaders by providing training that grows a leader’s personal integrity, spiritual life, leadership effectiveness and management skills. 

With the growing “partnership movement” in missions DAI is often approached by both American churches and ministry leaders overseas for help in either facilitating and developing new partnerships or helping both North American churches and majority world leaders to navigate the challenges of cross-cultural partnership.  Unfortunately they have been unable to respond to all the requests for help due to lack of staff.

This is where Debbie and I come in.  As you know, over the last 12+ years we have been involved in facilitating, initiating and developing cross-cultural partnerships. It’s been challenging work.  We’ve met some amazing leaders and ministries, and throughout this process we’ve learned a lot – and realize we have even more to learn.


One of the people praying for us during this time was Miriam Gomez. Miriam and Dr. Hugo have been friends of ours for 13 years. Together they lead the ministry of Global CHE Enterprises based in Guatemala. A few weeks ago Miriam sent us an email and shared with us the first twelve verses of Ezekiel 47. She felt that they were for us.  As we read them they resonated with us. In these verses Ezekiel sees a stream, and as he walks into the stream, the water starts out ankle deep.  But the further he goes, the deeper the water gets and eventually the stream becomes a river, and he needs to swim. On each side of the river there are trees producing fresh fruit.  Over the years of walking in the stream of cross-cultural partnerships we have been going deeper and farther.  We believe that we are now entering the river, and God is calling us to swim – and that He is promising much fruit.


So, we have taken up that challenge. Our work with DAI will focus on facilitating and developing new partnerships between graduates of DAI programs in the Majority World and North American churches, as well as serving as mentors, coaches and consultants to existing partnerships that are experiencing challenges. We are looking forward to this new challenge. We'll certainly be swimming - not just walking or wading.

As a result of our new ministry with DAI, we will be selling our house (anyone want to buy a great house for a great price in Mesa, AZ?) and moving to Colorado Springs, Colorado.  These changes are bitter-sweet for us.  We will miss living only 25 minutes from Donovan and Hyesun.  We'll miss so many of the friends and ministry partners we've made since we've moved to the Phoenix area almost 15 years ago.  Debbie will miss being part of the ceramics community at Mesa Community College.  BUT, we do know that God is leading us and we have confidence that He will provide in every aspect of our lives.

In the middle of this change, some things will stay the same.  We will both continue to be the representatives of Theresa Malila and Somebody Cares Malawi here in the USA. Karl will continue serving on the boards of Global CHE Enterprises, WorldChristian Concern and ALARM

As we transition, we would so appreciate your prayer.  Both of us are going to Africa in early December (Karl to Uganda as a partnership consultant with DAI and Debbie to Malawi with Somebody Cares).  We of course need to prepare our house for sale - and there are what seem like hundreds of details to take care of in the next few weeks and months.

Thank you for your friendship and prayer.  If you'd like to know more about what we are doing or how you can participate with us, let us know.  We'll keep you up-to-date as we move forward.

Karl and Debbie

 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Transition, Celebration and Ministry


MERRY CHRISTMAS - HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I don't know about you, but it's hard for us to believe that another year is almost gone.  Perhaps, the older you get, the faster time actually goes - at least it seems that way.

Transition

Karl started 2012 transitioning to being the full-time Justice Pastor at Mission Community Church. MISSION is a growing church in Gilbert, Arizona that has a vision to "do Justice, love Mercy and walk Humbly".  We have known Mark Connelly, the Senior Pastor since 2007 when Karl took a group of pastors to Malawi and South Africa. That trip introduced MISSION to Somebody Cares Malawi and we have been in relationship since.  Karl is still on retainer with Visionledd as the transition to new leadership in the USA begins to unfold.  We anticipate that this transition will be complete by the middle of 2013.

In the meantime, Debbie continued to lead and participate in short-term teams for both MISSION and Visionledd. Throughout this year she has had a greater role in being a pastor and friend to the women leading or working in our partner ministries around the globe.  Those of you who know Debbie, know she does a brilliant job at this.

Celebration

In June, we spent a couple of weeks in Canada celebrating the 60th wedding anniversary of Karl's parents.  Donovan and Hyesun were able to join us for part of our time in Canada.  We are so grateful for the example of good marriages that both sets of our parents have provided for us.  We realize that in today's world - long marriages are not the norm - and having stable families make all the difference in the world.

The 60th Wedding Anniversary Picture
We had a wonderful time together in Edmonton and in Radium Hot Springs in the Canadian Rockies.  Being in the mountains and where it is green is soothing to the soul.

On The Road Again 

At the end of last year we felt that we needed to do less international travel in 2012 - AND - we managed to accomplish that.  Instead of doing over 175,000 miles between the two of us in 2011 - we only got in about 100,000 in 2012! Three of our trips in particular were of significance.

Fiji

In February and again in December we spent time with Homes of Hope (HOH) in Fiji. Homes of Hope operates residential and community-based programs that rescue, restore and reintegrate women and their children, to give them value and stop the cycles of forced sex. HOH has a growing focus on community-based work - and two of our partners - Somebody Cares in Malawi and Dr. Hugo Gomez of Global CHE Enterprises in Guatemala are some of the leading practitioners of this approach to ministry.  

In February we were able to facilitate and participate in the visit of Chief Theresa Malila from Somebody Cares to HOH.  She came as an African chief and spent some very significant time speaking to Fijian chiefs about their responsibility to protect the women and children in their villages. Because Fijians believe that East Africans settled the islands about 3,500 years ago - her visit took on special significance.  We were also able to spend time with the staff and leaders of Homes of Hope to think and pray through the implications of HOH becoming more community-based in their ministry approach. It was a very important week.

Chief Theresa, Karl & Debbie and Linda Rinzel with HOH Staff
Chief Theresa, Karl & Debbie Mueller, HOH Staff and Provincial Chiefs, Pastors and Leaders

Building on the foundation of the February trip, Debbie and I accompanied Dr. Hugo Gomez from Guatemala to HOH in December.  Dr. Hugo conducted a 30+ hour CHE (Community Health Evangelism), Training of Trainers Workshop for the HOH leadership and staff.  Once again this was a significant time in the life of HOH, as we spent a whole week learning about and discussing community-based ministry.



Dr. Hugo with some of the HOH Staff who participated in the workshop

It was such a privilege to facilitate these two trips that enabled our partners from Malawi, Guatemala and Fiji to learn from each other.  This is something new that God is doing.  The Great Commission is "from everywhere to everywhere" - and it was wonderful being part of seeing that happen in Fiji.

Malawi

In September we were able to be part of a small consultation of African leaders from 5 nations involved in community-transformation.  Hosted by Somebody Cares, this was a week where Africans could learn from other Africans and discover what God is doing to change the continent.  Debbie and I were privileged to be part of this gathering because we have been partnering with Somebody Cares since 2005 and because MISSION has been working alongside Somebody Cares in the community of Chikudzulire since 2007. God has done some amazing things in Chikudzulire and in other communities served by Somebody Cares, and it was wonderful to be part of sharing that story with our African friends. 

Chief Theresa & Debbie with the women leaders at the Consultation
At the beginning of the consultation we all introduced ourselves and shared what we do.  Debbie simply said that one of the things she comes to do in Africa is to be "a friend".  After that meeting, one of the women leaders from Zambia, who cares for 4,000 orphans and vulnerable children came to me with tears in her eyes and told me how much what Debbie said meant to her.  She said;

"I've been working with children for 20 years.  I've had scores of westerners come to Zambia and tell me what I've done wrong, criticize me, and try to tell me what to do.  NEVER has anyone said to me - I want to be your friend". 

Once again I was reminded of the fact that what we "do" doesn't matter half as much as who we "are".  Simply being a friend can make a huge difference.

2013

We are looking forward to the coming year.  We don't have any international travel scheduled for the first few months - but we do get to go to Alaska in February!  Karl has been invited to speak at a Perspectives on the World Christian Movement class in Anchorage, and we are looking forward to spending a couple of extra days enjoying the mountains, the snow and the cold.   

As we have been thinking and praying about 2013 we are filled with expectation that the Lord is going to do some new things in our lives and in our ministry.  We "see as in a mirror dimly" but we know He only has good in store for us in the months ahead.

Debbie and I want to wish you a wonderful 2013 filled with the blessing of the Lord in every aspect of your life.

We so appreciate your friendship, your prayer and your support.  We become more and more aware each year how the real wealth we have here on earth is in relationships with dear friends and family like you.  Many blessings on each of you.

Karl and Debbie

Monday, January 2, 2012

It's Nice to Be Home!


HAPPY NEW YEAR!


We hope you had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends and that you enjoyed the holidays.

We ended 2011 with an American-Canadian-German-
Korean Christmas. Karl's parents came from Canada for the holidays, and Hyesun's family came from South Korea. So, on Christmas Eve we enjoyed Bulgogi from Korea, a German recipe of herring in a cream sauce over boiled potatoes, and I'm sure there was some Canadian/American food in there as well. Then, we took our family Christmas picture.

A good time was had by all!

----------------

2011 was one of the busiest ministry years of our life. Between Debbie and I we logged over 175,000 miles in the air and on the ground. By the time our travels came to an end, we felt like this:

Guatemala

We are so thrilled that we have once again been able to become part of what God is doing through Dr. Hugo Gomez and Community Health Evangelism (CHE) in Meso-America - and particularly Guatemala. It has been 7 years since we were last there, and this year we've both been able to go back twice! In November, Debbie led a team of 11 women from Mission Community Church to work among the women of two villages in the mountains of Western Guatemala. They had a wonderful time of sharing life and ministry with the women of Chicoz and Chirammos.

With Karl being on the Board of Directors of Global CHE Enterprises, and Mission Community Church being in partnership with Dr. Hugo - we know that we'll be back again partnering with the Mam and Quiche peoples.

Malawi and Fiji

Debbie spent more than 12 weeks in Malawi and South Africa this year - facilitating and leading teams from Visionledd and Mission Community Church and being part of the staff of Somebody Cares. Karl was in Malawi 3 times. Our trip in September was of particular significance.

Missions is no longer from the "north to the south" or from the wealthy nations to the poorer nations -- it is now from everywhere to everywhere. T
he church is truly global, and Christians from different parts of the world have much to learn from each other. God is bringing the church together in new ways in order to see individuals and communities transformed.

In September, Debbie and I facilitated
dialogue and discussion between Somebody Cares Malawi and Homes of Hope Fiji to see how these two ministries can learn from each other and support each other. Homes of Hope rescues and restores women and their children who are victims of incest, abuse, rape and trafficking. Somebody Cares in Malawi is increasingly working with women who are victims of similar circumstances. It was wonderful to see how the Lord knit together the hearts of Theresa Malila of Somebody Cares and Lynnie Roche of Homes of Hope and to see open doors for potential future collaboration. It's a new day - a day where the global church works together, prays together and transforms the world together. Here is what our little group looked like in Malawi.


30 Years!


This year we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. It's hard to be
lieve we have been married that long. I guess we must be old! It's been a great 30 years. We have been so blessed in our marriage and we are so grateful to God for all He has provided. We have a wonderful son and daughter-in-law - we have friends around the globe, and even after 30 years we still love each other. In fact, we are more bonded together than we have ever been.

Courtesy of lots of frequent flyer miles from Delta, and a great deal we found at a Bed and Breakfast, we were able to spend 10 days in Maui. We really enjoyed the beach, the hikes in the mountains, and just spending time with each other without responsibility. It was wonderful!

Looking Ahead

In the fall of last year Karl was able to go on a retreat for a few days. The focus of the retreat was "Sabbath". It was during that retreat the Lord began to speak to him about 2012 and how we not only needed a Sabbath year, but that we needed to keep a Sabbath regularly. It was clear we needed to simplify our life and ministry. We had become very tired, and the Lord clearly spoke that 2012 needed to become a year of rest - physically, spiritually and emotionally. We needed to spend more time learning, and less on trains, planes and automobiles.

We wondered what that would
practically mean. After a lot of thought and prayer we made a decision that Karl needed to move out of his role as the Executive Director of Visionledd and become the full-time Justice Pastor at Mission Community Church.

We want to be sure that the transition from Visionledd is smooth and that we do all we can to help. We will most likely continue in a much smaller role with Visionledd for the 1st quarter of 2012 as the way forward becomes clear. At the same time Karl will focus the great majority of my time on my role as the Justice Pastor at Mission.

We will continue to be involved with Somebody Cares Malawi, Global CHE Enterprises in Meso-America, and Homes of Hope in Fiji. Building and facilitating partnerships globally and locally will be a big part of our ministry in the days ahead.

Thank you so much for your friendship, prayer and support.

We pray that 2012 will be a year of peace, joy and fulfillment.