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 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


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).

1 comment:

Dwight online said...

Super to read your news. While I did not see your Mom often in recent years I will miss seeing her. A fine mother! It seems to me that she told a story years ago about taking some sausages to her son in Amsterdam. As I remember she had an interesting time with the customs agents. :)