Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Times They Are A Changing

The words of this classic song by Bob Dylan are particularly true for the Mueller family right now. Change is in the air for all of us, and we are excited by the new journey of faith we are embarking on.

Donovan is continuing his part-time studies in Software Engineering and is also working part-time as a web developer. He has a number of clients ranging from non-profit organizations to businesses. God seems to provide him the clients he needs just when he needs them. He is even supervising a project for someone who has outsourced the work to a programmer in Egypt! It's a different world than it was when we were 22!

Donovan is still in a relationship with his Korean girlfriend of more than 4 years. He was in Korea again this summer, and in about three weeks Hyesun and her parents will be visiting us. It will be the first time that her parents have been in the USA, and since they don't speak English, we should have an interesting 2+ weeks with them.

Karl and Debbie

When Karl boarded a plane bound for Africa in the fall of 2005 we never imagined how this trip would impact ou
r lives. Between the two of us, we had been on over 50 short-term mission trips to Asia, Latin America, Europe and Africa, and while we were expecting God to speak to us about how City of Grace could become involved in HIV/AIDS ministry we never expected Karl's heart, mind and soul to be captured by what was happening in Africa and by what God was doing in this part of the world.

Since tha
t first trip almost 3 years ago Karl has been back to South Africa and Malawi 8 times. Each trip resulted in his heart being knit closer to the people of Africa. When Debbie led a City of Grace team to Malawi in May of 2007, she too returned with a heart for the people of this nation. Debbie has been to Malawi 4 times -- each time deepening her relationships with ministry and community leaders and sensing an increasingly stronger desire to devote more of her time and energy into ministry there. We knew God was doing something in our lives

The last 18 mo
nths have been filled with new and expanding ministry opportunities for us as it relates to HIV/AIDS ministry and Africa. God has enabled us to introduce other churches across the United States to Somebody Cares and Visionledd in Malawi. We have also been the primary initiators of a partnership of churches and ministries in North America that are now working together in Malawi. Today, Somebody Cares and Visionledd are working with 1,200 pastors in 33 communities, helping to care for over 5,000 orphans and vulnerable children, providing clean drinking water to tens of thousands of people and assisting over 200 front-line workers in the battle against HIV/AIDS. It has been an exciting journey.

While we continue to be excited about what God is enabling City of Grace to do in HIV/AIDS related ministry, we strongly sensed that God is calling us to a more focused commitment to those infected and affected by AIDS around the world. Through a series of events over the past year the Lord has made it clear that we are to spend our time and resources on helping to build a movement of churches in North America to walk alongside churches and ministries in other parts of the world who are battling against the AIDS pandemic and for transformed communities. We knew that this may mean change in our lives and ministry. As a result I will be leaving my position as the Pastor of Outreach at City of Grace on December 18, 2008.

Our New Ministry
With our
new ministry we'll be wearing several hats and doing a variety of things. Karl's business card is going to read "Visionledd" and our primary role will be one of catalyzing North American churches for the battle against the AIDS pandemic, connecting them to front-line ministries overseas doing community-based AIDS work, and then coaching them in the process. One of the key ways we'll be doing that, is by leading an initiative called City AIDS Summits which will be a joint effort of several Christian organizations to hold 2 days events in over 50 cities across Canada and the USA. Through the networks and partnerships that will result, we believe that literally thousands of North American churches and tens of thousands of Christians will become part of this movement seeing God's kingdom come and His will be done in communities across the globe.

Our second focus will be growing the existing partnership of churches and ministries here in North America that are working with Somebody Cares and Visionledd in Malawi. The opportunities that exist, and the doors that are opening, could lead to nation-wide influence at all levels of society for these two ministries. We want to do all we can to support and grow their work and invite churches, businesses and individuals to join us.

Karl will also be finishing a project he started 2 years ago called the 30 Days Global AIDS Prayer Guide. This prayer guide is designed to educate and engage individuals, families, small groups and churches in praying for, and getting involved with, those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

There is much more that we could say, but this post is long enough. Over the next couple of weeks we'll be adding to this blog with information about the things God is calling us to do. Please bookmark this page in your web-browser and keep in touch with us.

How You Can Get Involved
We would love for you to join us in our new calling. There are four things you can do. First, you can pray for us -- we are serious -- we need lots of prayer. Secondly, you could challenge your church to get involved in the battle against AIDS -- and open the door to enable us help your church get connected and engaged. Third, join us on a short-term trip to Africa. We'll be leading trips each year (including some in 2009). We'd love for you to be part of making a difference in the lives of those infected and affected by HIV AIDS.

Finally, you can help us financially. Whether you live in Canada or the USA, your gifts are tax-deductible. Make your checks (or cheques in Canada) out to "Visionledd" - and on a separate sheet of paper designate your gift to us -- and mail them to either:

PO Box 20158
Mesa, AZ 85277

PO Box 460
Burlington, Ontario
Canada L7R 3Y3

Thanks so much, and let's keep in touch.

Karl and Debbie