Saturday, March 27, 2010

Opportunities and Challenges -- Trusting God in 2010

This morning Debbie and I spent some time praying for God to lead us and provide for us in the remaining 9 months of 2010. As we talked and prayed we quickly came to a clear realization of the obvious -- we are not in control of our lives! All we can do is seize the opportunities God gives us, trust Him to overcome the challenges that come our way, and follow Jesus everyday. As you know, that is sometimes easier said than done. Frankly, we are quite overwhelmed by the opportunities that God has given us -- and the resources needed to walk through those open doors. We are, perhaps, facing the greatest faith challenge of our lives. We are totally dependent on a miracle working God.

For the past 3 months we have been involved in a whirlwind of activity and ministry. The past weeks have been filled with speaking engagements i
n churches, meeting with pastors about ministry in Africa, spending time with people who are interested in deeper involvement in Africa, preparing for upcoming events and trips, and networking with leaders from around the world. At times we have been encouraged by what God is doing through our friends and partners, discouraged by the challenges of life (finding affordable health insurance on the individual market in the USA) and amazed by the unexpected gifts that God gives us.

This morning as Karl was doing some chores around the house he was reminded of a couple of things.

1. About 20 years ago, Peter Wagner asked this question. "Do you want to build a big church/ministry, or do you want to change the world?" A simpl
e yet profound question with huge implications. Our heart is to change the world -- whether or not that results in a "big" ministry.

God reminded Karl that what we do is focused on walking alongside our African friends and partners as they minister to with those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and as they work for transformed communities. It is about them -- not about us or Visionledd. Like Aaron and Hur held up the arms of Moses in Exodus 17 -- so we are called to hold up the arms of men and women like Pastor Kouliga Nikiema in Burkina Faso and Theresa Malila in Malawi.

We that in mind, we would ask that you stand with us in the coming months of ministry. Here is some of what we will be doing.

1. March 29 - April 1 Karl will be in Atlanta meeting with pastors and individuals interested in partnering in Africa. Pray that God will give him favor.

2. April 8 - 15 we are hosting Theresa Malila, the Founder and Director of Somebody Cares in Malawi. Aside from a number of private meetings, Theresa will be speaking at Mission Community Church on April 11 (morning services) and April 13 (dessert evening) as well as at City of Grace on April 14 (women's event in the morning). You can contact the churches involved for dates and times.

3. April 28 - May 1 we are going to Minneapolis where Karl and Theresa Malila will be doing a presentation on partnership at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Annual Summit. Over 800 people from across the USA are expected at this event.

4. May - Karl will be in Malawi. For part of the time he will be involve
d in a UNICEF and Faith to Action Initiative project involving Somebody Cares, Mission Community Church and Visionledd. UNICEF is publishing a book about churches/ministries in North America who partner with churches/ministries in Africa doing community-based care for orphans and vulnerable children. Our partnership will most likely be highlighted in this publication -- along with that of 3-5 others. It would be good for Debbie to be in Malawi during this time as well -- but her involvement will depend on the resources God provides.

5. Summer - Donovan and Hyesun expect to return from Korea this summer. We are so excited that they will be coming back. Debbie also expects to be in Africa for anywhere from 4-6 weeks this summer. Her role in leading teams, pastoral care, building relationships and ministering to the staff and volunteers of our Africa partners is crucial for our ministry there. Karl will stay in North America, making sure all is well on the home front.

6. Fall - We will both be in Africa for some of the fall. Debbie will return to Malawi in October and November. Karl will attend the Capetown 2010 Congress on World Evangelization as a US delegate in October. Then at the end of November, he will lead a team to Burkina Faso.

It is shaping up to be quite the year. Will you pray with us as we believe God for the spiritual and physical strength to follow Him and the resources needed to do the job? Thanks so much.

We appreciate your love, friendship and support. We are so very grateful for the many incredible people God has placed in our lives. We are blessed.