Article Written for Nazarene Communications Network
Manila, Philippines: “Church planting does not take place by accident, it must be birthed from the heart of God and then must be planned!” This is the theme that is being shared by presenter John Bond, from Australia, as he teaches a seminar this week to over 50 church planters from across the nation of the Philippines and the Asia Pacific Region. The seminar, being held at Asia Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary April 3-5th, is entitled Dynamic Church Planting International (DCPI) and is a joint venture between the Philippine Field, Asia Pacific Regional Office, and the Jesus Film Program. Participants have come from 11 Nazarene Districts, three of our Nazarene Colleges (Asia Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary, Philippine Nazarene College, and Visayan Nazarene Bible College). In addition, 11 Jesus Film Team Leaders are present as well as Field Strategy Coordinators from Southeast Asia, Sea Lands, Melanesia/South Pacific, Philippine/Micronesia, Austrailia New Zealand and Creative Access Fields.
Asia Pacific Regional Director Mark Louw opened the conference by making clear that, “Every church has the mandate to start a new church that will start a new church! We need to be a church that is about the business of growing the Church…we are not as the Church of the Nazarene, independent planters or churches, but we are co-laborers working together as a team to make the greatest impact possible on our Region.
Collaborative effort of this type builds incredible synergy and results not just in the growth of the Church, but in the development of strong disciples of Christ. Please continue to pray for the Asia Pacific Region as we move forward with this strategy in the days and years ahead!
After 30+ hours of traveling, I have arrived safely in Manila. The flight was absolutely without issue – thanks for your prayers. I had a significant amount of time to read, reflect, study, and prepare for this week of meetings. I will say that if you have to choose an International Airport in the Asia Pacific Region for a long layover -Incheon International in Seoul is tops! Free showers, massage chairs, reclining chairs with blankets and pillows. They go out of their way to make weary travelers feel welcome – a real blessing. I arrived at final destination refreshed, showered, shaved, and ready to tackle the tasks of the afternoon. I will try to add a few photos daily of the events as they happen.
I want to say, God is so very good! Yesterday somewhere over Russia, the magnitude of what we are undertaking finally really hit home. The adrenaline was wearing off, the fatigue of the last month settling in, and a wave of, “what on earth are we getting ourselves into” started to wash over me. I have found that it is in times like these where going to the Word is so vitally important. As it was already Monday in this area of the world, I opened my Bible and Our Daily Bread, and began to spend some quality time with God. I don’t know why I was absolutely blown away, as I have seen God speak through His word so many times that I shouldn’t be surprised, but here it was again, God speaking through His Word. The assigned scripture reading for Monday, April 1, 2013 was Psalm 139:1-12. Verse 9 leapt off the pages, “If I rise on the Wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me.” Our Daily Bread is written and prepared by multiple writers months in advance, but yet on this day, when I had awoken in the early hours and literally taken wing to settle on the far side of the sea, God was reminding me that He would be with us. Defying the odds of coincidence, showing up on the scene, speaking through His living word. We serve a mighty God. Thank you Lord for your living word, may we be ever sensitive to hear from you.
The story continues. All has gone well. I am settled in my seat for what is scheduled to be an 11 hour 50 minute flight across the Pacific Ocean. God just continues to orchestrate His adventure. On the flight from Boise to Seattle, I noted that the man next to me was reading, “The Case for Christ” by Lee Stroebel. I struck up a conversation with him and found out that he was a Physician’s Assistant returning home to Alaska. In the course of our conversation he mentioned that he had travelled to Indonesia, where he worked with a Christian mission that had a rural compassionate care program / clinic. “They struggle to find adequate supplies for their program,” He said. As he shared his story, not knowing mine, I smiled at God’s orchestration of the events of our lives, right down to our seat partners on a plane. Hmm…I wonder if I know of anyone who is in the ministry of providing medical supplies and equipment to developing clinics around the world? He and his wife were definitely surprised when I shared with them about the ministry of Hands of Hope Northwest. We finished our conversation by my explaining the process and providing them with the contact information that they would need to initiate a potential partnership with HOHNW. I started this trip exhausted and wanting to just find a seat on a plane to settle into and sleep, but this morning Connie and I prayed that God would strategically place me next to people of His choosing for the furtherance of His ministry. Once again – God is masterfully writing the pages of this story. To Him be the Glory!
I can remember well the many Easter Sunrise Services that we attended as youth with dad, sometimes playing our musical instruments in weather where we had to keep the mouth pieces for our horns in our pockets (between songs) so that they wouldn’t freeze to our lips. This morning at Lizard Butte, the “Son” rose on a morning that will be burned into our minds. All of the kids were there, the Landreth families, the Aebischer families, the Smith and Sigman Families, Linda Barrows, and Amber and her family and many others. The wind was calm, temperature warm (relatively speaking
g), and the Spirit was definitely there. After the service, we gathered together as a united family on the hill and prayed for God’s guidance and protection over the generations of our families and for safety for this next chapter in our lives and mission. God has been so good to us, providing protection across miles of oceans and jungles, through wars and disease, and now once again, as we accept this new assignment to Asia.
Nothing is more precious than moments spent with family and as we said our temporary goodbyes at the airport, I was so blessed to have the kids and Connie there. Thank you to all of you who have committed to partner with us in prayer. We will do our best to keep this story alive for you in the days ahead so that together, through our hands and feet and your prayers and encouragement, we can make an impact for Christ in the world of the Asia Pacific Region.
Yours and His from somewhere over the Northwest at 24,000 feet.
The days really seem to be getting shorter. Connie had a “going away” party at work today and we are both down to two more “official” work days. I have been working long hours on the computer software, fixing minor glitches and making sure that the IT system is as solid as possible. Thank the Lord for the internet and the ability to log into the Mission network from remote locations, so that I can continue to create software patches for the Hands of Hope Management System. Thank you all for your continued prayers and encouragement. Connie and I are both blessed to have incredible teams to work with. The Hands of Hope NW volunteers and staff are truly the very best!
Oh…and we are very excited that Courtney will be coming home from College tomorrow night! The family will be together for the weekend!