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



Christina Girdhari said...

I'm not a bit surprise, I saw it coming in a dream years ago! Blessing to you both. Now I have a real good reason to visit Colorado Springs that I've been putting off for a few years now:)

Tracy Knox said...

Karl and Debbie,
God has good things in store for you!
This work with DAI sounds like a perfect fit for "such a time as this" in your lives.
I'm praying that all of the details involving the house sale, move etc will fall into place and will be covered by God's grace and provision at every turn.
much love,Tracy

Christina Lang said...

I am not going to pretend that I am happy that you are leaving. I have always felt that you were my pastors here at Mission. I so look up to both of you and everything that you stand for. You two are an inspiration both in your love for Jesus and your love for each other. You will be missed greatly. Thank you for giving me the opportunities to serve alongside each of you locally and in Africa and Guatemala.

Gary said...

Another step in your excellent adventure. Sounds good! We'll be praying for you.
Gary & Cheryl

Katherine Walden said...

The verse that was given to you was in my daily bible reading yesterday and it really stood out to me. So as I read your news, I am excited for you. I imagine you aren't looking forward to the brrrrh of winter!