Saturday, April 11, 2015

Doing Ministry in a Hard Country

Leaving home and everything you know as familiar is one thing. But uprooting your family to another country and another culture, where you may be the only believer in your town, is something totally different.

I just spent three days with nearly fifty people who have done just that. They've done it because God has called them to share the love of Jesus in an unreached nation in Central Asia.

They're doctors, dentists, water engineers, teachers and people with a variety of other professions.  They are using their skills to improve the quality of life here. But more than that, they are earning the right to tell people about the love of God. It's a message they have never heard and  certainly can't wrap their minds around.

I've been in class for three days actually, hearing report after report of the realities of missions work in this hard country. How wonderful to hear how one worker has earned the respect of  his entire neighborhood because he deals with people as Christ would. He is one step closer to having the conversation with them about this amazing God-man Jesus. 

I'm looking forward to getting out into the field in on Monday to walk with some of the workers through the ministry that they do.  There's nothing like seeing it first-hand.  

Thanks for your prayers.  I've really sensed them.  The key to a good day is a good night's sleep, especially when I'm in a time zone 12 hours away from home.  I've had excellent nights of sleep.  It has kept me sharp and effective during the day.

From here, it's off to see our kids and grandkids in Turkey for a nice vacation with them before another week in another region with Reach Beyond team members.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tell us What You Think of Our Brand New Podcast

I'm thrilled to let you know that we just launched something that has been in our plans for several months.  The premier episode of the Reach Beyond Podcast has been released, and I invite you to listen as we "bring the world to your window."

Reach Beyond President Wayne Pederson and I had a great time recording this premier episode.  We share how believers around the world have come alongside to “Make Ebola Kick the Bucket.”   You’ll hear about “The Bucket Brigade,” and the victory being won over Ebola in one of West Africa’s last hot spots. 

Our special guest is Bob Augsburg, founder and President of Way FM, a nationwide Christian radio network reaching 1.2 million listeners a week. Way FM has a vision to take the gospel to people around the world, so they have partnered with Reach Beyond on a radio project in Asia.

You’ll also hear about a need for prayer for partner stations in Thailand in the aftermath of a military coup; and how God has opened doors in Mongolia.

Go behind the scenes with us and enjoy the podcast.  Let me know what you think.

Listen now.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Warm Weather is Teasing Us

It's 77 degrees here today, but one week ago, this is what our front yard looked like.  So I decided to build a snowman to honor Spring Training in Colorado.  Yes, Whitey's eyes are baseballs.

It's amazing how the weather changes around here.  I mean it changes from day to day.  Over the weekend, Noonie and I went to the Air Force baseball game, but the worst snow season here is supposed to be April.  How different from our California days.

On the ministry front, I'm preparing for a trip to Central Asia and Europe to engage with our international teams.  Sandwiched in between will be a visit with our kids and grandkids living in Europe.  Thanks to a wolf, Noonie is able to meet me in Turkey.  A wolf?  Yes, a wolf.  You'll have to ask her about that.

I am thrilled to report that the Lord has totally surpassed our goal in our "Make Ebola Kick the Bucket" campaign.  As a result, 750 life-saving buckets filled with important supplies and food are being delivered right now in Sierra Leone, West Africa.  Our ministry partner there is going door-to-door with his volunteer teams to deliver the buckets to quarantined families.  You can read more details on this in one of our recent blog posts.  Please pray for that situation.

I returned at the beginning of the month from Nashville, where I met with a number of US broadcasters to encourage them in their partnership with Reach Beyond.  And to share what God is doing through SonSet radios throughout the world.  In the picture above, I'm presenting to a room full of radio station people.

Thanks for your continued prayer and financial support.  It is truly a joy to have you behind us in ministry as we take the Gospel to people who have never heard.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Noonie in Chicago

Talk about God working out something real cool, this is it.  Noonie and I will celebrate our birthdays on the same day Monday (yes, it happens every year), but I will be in Nashville at the NRB Christian Media Convention.  Now this is the second year in a row I've left Noonie on her own for her birthday/my birthday/our birthdays.

This year, though, we found one of those super-duper deep discount deals on Frontier so Noonie could visit her sister, Lauri, in Chicago to celebrate with her.  Noonie is there now.

Well, lo and behold, it turns out that Noonie had set up an interview on Moody Radio for Phil Stacey to be interviewed and sing on a national radio show called Chris Fabry Live.  Phil is the recording artist for our new song Reach Beyond, which is being played on over 80 stations in North America.  He is a former American Idol finalist and a passionate believer.  Noonie has been helping to promote the song to Christian radio.

God worked it out that Phil was already in Chicago for a week of speaking and singing, so his Moody Radio appearance was able to happen yesterday -- while Noonie was there, too.  It all came together!  And the one-hour show was awesome! 

The show was recorded, and you can listen to it at this link. (It is the February 20 program, Hour 1). I was moved as I heard Phil sing Reach Beyond and other songs, but more importantly, to hear his passion for the lost.  As a bonus, the songwriter (missionary Ty Stakes) joined the interview by phone from Southeast Asia.

Noonie with Phil Stacey yesterday at the Moody Radio studios
alongside one of their ancient microphones.

Go ahead and listen.  I think you'll be moved.  You can also listen to the song here.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Let's Make Ebola Kick the Bucket

I am sitting here exhausted watching the Super Bowl.  Not because of the Super Bowl, but because of the eight days leading up to today. 

Noonie and I returned last night from a fast-paced California trip.  We were carrying the banner for Reach Beyond's efforts to end Ebola in one of the final hot spot countries in W. Africa-- Sierra Leone.

The Bucket Brigade is an all-out effort to provide food and sanitation supplies to families in villages and towns in Sierra Leone.  Families are being quarantined for at least 21 days, and they are not able to leave their homes for food, water or anything.

We have teamed up with an in-country partner to distribute these supplies in a 5-gallon bucket.  Reach Beyond is providing funding and volunteer teams in Sierra Leone are going door-to-door to distribute buckets.  Each bucket will be provisions for a family of five for a month.


Our ministry goal is to provide 500 buckets, which cost $100 each.  It was so encouraging to see people get behind this project at each of the events we spoke at with Reach Beyond President Wayne Pederson, Healthcare VP Sheila Leech and Reach Beyond Global Ambassador Ron Cline.

A total of 208 buckets have been sponsored.  Find out more on our End Ebola for this project.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Have You Heard?

God has really done something special in the past few months, and I'd like you to hear the results.  Radio stations across America are getting a hold of a brand new song that will grip your heart when you hear it. 

A little background...

Our ministry's new name, Reach Beyond, is meant to communicate our commitment to reach people who have never heard the name of Jesus, to declare and demonstrate the gospel to them.

We reach beyond our borders, beyond our comfort zone, sometimes beyond safety, and usually beyond what's familiar.  In reality we're all called to reach beyond something for the cause of Christ, even it it's just across the street.  Why would we want to keep the Good News a secret?

But, more than that, God was the first person to "reach beyond" when he sent his Son from perfect heaven to this broken world.  For our sake.

Listen to the new song, Reach Beyond, written by one of our missionaries, Ty Stakes, produced by Chris August, and sung by Phil Stacey.

Read the full story, too, and check out the lyrics.  And then pray that God will use this song this year to cut to the hearts of millions of people about the great gift He has given us and the gift we must tell others about.  We must reach beyond.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

I Don't Know About 2015

Have you given some thought about what God may have on the horizon for you in 2015?

Sure, we've all given it at least a little thought.  But, you know, we don't have any idea what the future holds.  It puts us all in a position of needing God.  We should cling to Him.  And, as we've turned the calendar to the New Year, it is a time when we take account of where we are at and where we're going.

I told Noonie the other night that the Lord has been impressing on my the word "simplify" as I look to 2015.  In ministry, I already know what that means:  stick with a few big things and see them through.  Don't get too complex.  It's easy to get sidetracked and stray away from what God has given us to do.

That's where I'm at with my service at Reach Beyond this year.  I have a few key things -- two or three to be exact -- that I'm responsible for this year, and I need to keep my eyes on the ball.  Follow through.  No "Squirrel!" moments for me.  OK, I do need a few of those or I'll go crazy from boredom.

It seems that at home, Noonie and I are together on this "simplify" idea.  We're focusing on a couple things ourselves, so pray for us to stick with these things for the full year.  God has made it clear where our attention needs to be, so we're committed to staying on track.

How about you?  What is God impressing on your heart?

(The picture at the top was taken the other day from our back porch.  Do you see flames?  Or the beautiful sunset?)