Do you have what it takes?

If you are a follower of Jesus then the answer is a resounding YES! You do have what it takes. You have the Holy Spirit living in you to equip you for every good work God has planned for you. You have what it takes to be a fisher of men (and women and children) wherever God leads you. For most, it will be in their country of birth being a witness for Jesus in their community and being active servants in their local church. For a few others, it may mean moving to the other side of the world. While there, you will acclimate to living with a different people group and you will love and serve them as Christ has loved us. Will it be easy? Of course not. But with Jesus by your side with you all the way, why not go?

wr-lowrez

Hear the Cry of the Navajo Indians.

photo (35)

Alcoholism is rampant. Hopelessness is increasing. Injustices are surfacing. Suicide is skyrocketing. Jesus is present – with arms stretched open wide. “But I want to see Jesus!” One woman exclaims. Will you go to the Native American peoples and stretch your arms out to them so they can see Jesus?

It’s easy to write out a check and send $100 to some mission organization. It’s harder to go down to the inner city and sit with people in the park or on the streets and help them see Jesus. It’s easy to hand someone a plate of food at a homeless shelter. It’s harder to get involved with their lives and ride the ups and downs. Many have heard the truth. Many have embraced Jesus. But there are those who have so much pain that they have turned to anything that can provide some escape and relief. The pain is so great that they lack the faith that God can help them take it away. Rape, abandonment, incest, neglect, the list goes on and on. But Jesus’ love goes on and on. They just don’t know where to find it. Pray for Native Americans today. They were shafted by the white man long ago. They are still reaping the consequences. But Jesus wasn’t white. Jesus was God in the flesh come to save and restore. Be God’s messenger today!

Video

Exciting Missions Training and Trips for Creative Types!

Ooo la la, do you want to go on a missions trip to Italy? Europe: A needy mission field. Italy especially. The church is in decline in Europe and people like you can go and use your skills and talents to reach people with the message of hope through Jesus! Watch the video for more information and be inspired! Then pray about your next step!

Are short-term missions trips effective? What about all that money “wasted”?

The effectiveness of short-term missions trips has been debated for a long time. Many people think short-term mission trips came into existence in the past 40 years. Actually, Jesus sent out his disciples on short-term missions trips. Today many people argue about the cost. Is it worth it? Watch the video below and you decide.

Picture yourself working as an overseas missionary!

Missionary work isn’t for sissies. If you’d like to read some exciting stories, lookJerusalem for Ruth Tucker’s excellent book “From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya.”  It is filled with fantastic stories about missionaries from all over the world throughout the centuries. Some of the stories will make you want to get on a plane tomorrow and share the Good News with those who have never heard. There are still 2 billion people who don’t know much about Jesus. Many of them are Muslim. Many governments have made the Bible a forbidden book and have kept the truth from their citizens. Fortunately, that hasn’t stopped those who are sincerely searching for truth. And Jesus said that if they truly seek, they will find. Today more than at any other time in history, people from Muslim backgrounds are finding new life in Jesus! And God gets all the credit as his Holy Spirit opens up hearts and minds to his truth. Bible distribution amongst those who have not yet even seen a Bible is very important. No matter your age, you can still be a messenger of God’s word! Give it away! Soul-saving truth is the best gift you could give to someone!

“Mohammed, Jesus & Me” A true story that makes a great gift.

Don’t know what to get someone for Christmas? How about a book with this title: “Mohammed, Jesus & Me”. It will surely get their attention. People are in need of good news and a different perspective on the Muslim world and what God is doing there. This book makes a great gift!

The story of Hazem Farraj. Amazing!

The story of Hazem Farraj. Amazing!

This book is available at:  Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, iTunes and on Hazem’s web site www.hazemfarraj.com

Ex-Muslims praying to Jesus in the Dome of the Rock Mosque. There are many.

From North Africa to Indonesia, you will find many ex–Muslims who have found a new faith. They have found God – finally. They have found Jesus.

Read the following testimony of one such young man. There are many more like him.

Mohammed Jesus And Me Book

______________________________________________________

When Hazem Farraj was 15, he became a follower of Jesus. But as a Palestinian Muslim living in east Jerusalem, he couldn’t tell anyone, especially his father.

“For almost three years I was a secret believer. I would go to the local mosque and to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and pray like a Muslim, but in my heart I was praying to Jesus.”

Today Farraj, 27, is very public. He lives in California and hosts Reflections, a Christian TV show in English and Arabic. He is grateful for everything in his life, he says, but he has also made sacrifices for his faith.

Farraj was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1984. Like many immigrants, his father insisted the children speak Arabic at home. An observant Muslim, he worked hard to teach his children about Islam.

When Farraj was 12, his father moved the family back to Beit Hanina, a middle-class east Jerusalem suburb. The large family of 13 siblings studied Islam, and many of them became more committed Muslims.

“Islam says to pray five time daily – I only prayed four times, because I was too lazy to get up for the early morning prayer,” Farraj recounts. “Do the prayers. Memorize the verses from the Koran. Go to Islamic class and the mosque. It was all just actions to me. The deeper I got into Islam, the more depressing it was for me.”

Farraj decided the solution was to convert some Christians to Islam. He approached his upstairs neighbors, Christians, and they began a discussion that lasted more than a year and a half.

“I said to them, ‘What if I told you that God can answer your prayers in the name of Allah,’” he recalls. “Now, he wasn’t answering my prayers, but I needed something to hold onto. They told me things I was searching for, like ‘Cast your worries upon Jesus, who cares for you’ and ‘God so loved Hazem that He gave His only son for him.’”

When Farraj was 15, he attended an east Jerusalem church with these neighbors. He does not want to name the church, fearing it could become a target of attacks.

“I sat in the last pew in the back corner, and I saw something I had never seen,” he recalls with a wistful smile. “I saw a guy named Steve singing with a guitar and smiling as if he knew Jesus. I saw people at the altar raising their hands and loving God, and it made me mad because I wanted it to be the God of the Koran.”

He fled to a downstairs room, where he lay a piece of carpet on the floor and prayed facing Mecca in Saudi Arabia, according to Islamic rules.

Nothing happened. He went back upstairs to the church, and, he says, became a Christian.

“I started to pray in the name of Jesus and something happened on the inside that transformed me,” he remembers.

Soon afterward, the second intifada broke out, and his father moved the family back to the US.

Farraj continued to practice as an underground Christian. Finally, just before his 18th birthday, he told his father that he had become a Christian. His father cut off all contact with him, and Farraj has not seen him since.

The pain hurts even 10 years later.

“You don’t ever get over it, you just get through it,” he says. “It has left me wounded even today.”

He also has no relationship with his stepmother or his siblings.

At age 18 he followed his former neighbors to Alabama, where they had moved.

“I slept for six months, and when I wasn’t sleeping I was eating – I weighed 225 pounds and I was so depressed,” he recalls.

“Then one day I came across a Christian TV station, and there was this preacher. This voice inside me – I believe it was the voice of God – said, ‘I’ve called you to this.’ I knew it meant that I was called to tell people about Jesus and to help them come to prayer.”

His TV show, Reflections, reaches millions of viewers around the world.

Farraj says there are “many” underground Christians in Arab countries today, and that he gets emails thanking him from around the Arab world.

He also gets death threats.

David Parsons, the media director of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, says there are “hundreds” if not “thousands” of underground Christians in the West Bank.

“There’s a lot of upheaval in the Arab and Muslim world right now. Some are saying ‘Islam is the answer,’ but there are a lot of Muslims who know it has been tried it for hundreds of years and it’s not the answer. As a Christian I would attribute it to the movement of the Holy Spirit. People are looking for answers.”

Parsons says the International Christian Embassy has opened branches in “several North African countries.”

Farraj says his recent trip to Jerusalem was to recharge his own batteries and to meet underground Christians.

“I love Jerusalem,” he said with a grin. “I’m here to enjoy the spirituality of Jerusalem and to encourage the believers. I thought I was the only ex-Muslim in the world, but they’re really everywhere.”

______________________________________________________

Muslims are looking for hope. They are finding Jesus and being set free from the Satanic bondage of Islam!

For more information about Jesus click here:  Who is Jesus?

Read more about Farraj.

Stop Watching the News and Be Encouraged. Watch this!

Amazing work of the Holy Spirit amongst Muslims who have found Jesus.

Amazing work of the Holy Spirit amongst Muslims who have found Jesus.

http://www.cbn.com/tv/embedplayernews.aspx?bcid=3431929627001

God is doing amazing things in the Muslim world. You need to know about it. You won’t see this on CNN or Fox News!

International Missions Teams Working and Living in Community. Experience the Adventure!

men in missions

No matter where you live, community is important. But what is community? How do you define community? Everyone needs to be a part of a community and Adventures in Missions is a mission organization that understands how important this is for people who are considering international Christian missions. Working alongside like-minded people to accomplish an objective that is greater than their individual ambitions can provide great fulfillment and purpose.

Adventures in Missions seeks to develop leaders who seek to follow God and reach out to the world with the message of eternal hope through Jesus Christ. Our international missions opportunities involve doing ministry in community with like-minded believers. We work alongside the local churches whenever possible and seek to empower national believers to rise up to tell their communities about Jesus.

Through your actions of service, distribution of aid, community development, discipleship, Bible studies, prayer, friendship and lifestyle evangelism, community missions teams work together to bring glory to God.

As a Christian missionary, you can use your skills in relationship building, teaching, computers, information technology, evangelism, discipleship, construction, medicine, engineering, preaching, leadership, training, administration, logistics, management, music, communications, hospitality, mentoring, working with children, and so many more! No matter what your background or skills, God can use you to be a light to the nations!

All you need is a growing relationship with Jesus, confirmation from God that you are called, a teachable and flexible spirit, enthusiasm, and a servant heart.

Even if you are not sure where you want to serve, Adventures in Missions has missions coaches can help you find your best fit in missions. Needs and opportunities in missions are endless, and they understand that you want to do missions in community with others who have a desire like you to make a difference in this world!

These are some of the countries where you can be a missionary with Adventures in Missions!

Europe
Ireland
Spain
Italy
Romania

South & Central America
Dominican Republic
Guatemala
Nicaragua

Peru

Middle East
Jordan

Africa
Morocco
South Sudan
Swaziland

Asia
Cambodia
China
India
Nepal
Thailand
Turkey
Australia

North America
United States

And check out their very cool missions programs for men!

Mediterranean Traveling Team

SEALS Team

Contact them at 1-800-881-2461 and they will make your missions experience the best possible! They’ve got great missions coaches to help you! They helped me and now I’m on my way into missions!

noahwater

Real Men Burn Their Ships!

aztecs

At its height in 1519, the Aztec Empire covered some 80,000 miles in central and southern Mexico and ruled between 5 and 6 million people. That same year, when Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortés arrived to begin his conquest of this vast empire, he brought with him only 508 soldiers, 100 sailors and 16 horses. Not exactly an army – or at least not one likely to be feared by what was then the Western hemisphere’s most powerful nation.

As legend has it, after his men got ashore, Cortés burned the ships that brought them. He wanted his men to understand fully that their only option was to win or die – there would be no retreat. Knowing their options were limited now, the Spanish army would fight harder and with more determination.

Interestingly, though, the message Cortés sent was not just intended for his army. After word of what happened on the beach spread, the Aztecs knew that the Spanish were literally fighting for their lives at every juncture. This meant that the Aztecs would be unable to force the Spanish to retreat because there was nowhere for the invaders to go. On the other hand, with an entire empire behind them, the Aztec forces would always be aware of their own option to retreat. In the face of the Spanish commitment to total victory, the Aztecs would themselves be more inclined to retreat and less inclined to fight hard to hold ground.

By 1521, Cortés and his small army had conquered the Aztecs. While it is clear that superior weaponry and military training gave the Spanish certain advantages in this situation, it is also clear that Cortés’ strategy and the value of his commitment to it, was invaluable to the final outcome.

BURN THE SHIPS MEN!  No turning back!  No retreat!  Surrender it all!  Don’t look back!  Men, we have great days ahead of us.  God has called us to a task to great for us to do.  We must cut every tie with this world and press on knowing this battle is not ours, but the Lords.  Seek Christ!  Seek Him!  Nothing is Greater!  It truly is in seeking Christ that we are at our most powerful.  In the gospel of Luke it says Herod, a king, greatly feared John the Baptist.  Not because he was at the head of a great army, but because he was righteous and holy.

Burn all ties with this world…seek Christ first with reckless abandon!  And watch your greatest enemies fall at your feet.  Watch your greatest temptations fall by your sword.  Watch the great work of God unfold in front of you! And if you want overseas adventure, consider the Men on Missions SEALS team or the Mediterranean Traveling Team with Adventures in Missions!

men on missions

Mentoring Men in Missions: The Adventures’ Way.

Adventures in Missions is gathering men of all ages into teams for 12+ months to rediscover their masculine heart while telling the world about Jesus! Few mission organizations specifically are calling men to join exclusive men-only missions teams.

Adventures’ Men Only Teams will travel, support, encourage, study, witness, explore, share their faith and learn how to disciple the people they meet while on the mission field. This happens while digging deep into God’s Word in order to understand more what it means to be a man after His heart. Understand more what authentic godly manhood looks like for you and do it in community with other men!

“…we pray, worship, and push each other toward being better men. Men that will make spiritual leaders in their future careers, and families. Men that will become great husbands and loving fathers. Men that are human and can admit their mistakes, shortcomings, and weaknesses all while keeping their head held high.”

Explore how to become a missionary with overseas adventure!

How do you become a Christian missionary? Missions sending agencies can help you. What do you have to do? They will provide training. Do you need certain qualifications to be a missionary? Just know Jesus intimately. What about educational requirements to be a missionary? It varies, but simple faith is a start! And for how long do I need to commit to be a missionary? You can start with one week or longer.

There are many mission organizations that can help you discover what it is like to be a Christian missionary. They have excellent training programs, application procedures, and teams on the ground to assist you. Organizations such as Adventures in Missions has missions coaches standing by to assist those who want to explore becoming a missionary. They will be able to present you with various options that will help you discover what it means to be a missionary and how it works.

Missions is very exciting. You will grow spiritually like you can’t imagine. Second, you will engage the international body of Christ. You will worship with people from all over the world and get a small taste of heaven on earth. Third, you will gain confidence and courage while you discover your calling. It is not unusual to ask, “What is God’s will for my life?”  The Scriptures have a lot to say about that and as you step out into missions, mustering up all the faith that you have that God will care for you, God will reveal more to you than you could have ever imagined!

You will work with young dynamic teams of like-minded followers of Jesus. You will enjoy sweet fellowship, encourage and build each other up, study the word of God together, and challenge each other to reach new heights!

There are so many countries where you can be a missionary! These are just some of them:

Albania, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador,  France, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Irish Republic, Israel,  Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Madagascar, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam, …and more!

Missions Trips Just for Men! Join the Adventure!

Men love adventure, travel, exploration, and making a positive impact upon their world. What a better way to do it than with a team of like-minded Christian men who bring the hope of Christ to the nations! Get involved in a men’s missions trips and have the time of your life! There are many options and countries to choose from such as Turkey, Morocco, Spain, Nepal, Australia and more!

Social Justice Overseas Service Opportunities.

The cry for justice goes out from the peoples of the earth. Can you hear it? The oppressed and downtrodden poor from the nations cry out for help.  Do you have a desire to get involved in social justice issues and do something about it?  The world is full of injustice and the body of Christ has the responsibility to make a stand and to speak out for those who have no voice. Many of those that are caught in the web of injustice are women and young children. In every major world city, there are women and boys and girls who are suffering at the hands of the unjust and they need help desperately. You can help by joining a team of like-minded people who band together to help those who are too weak to help themselves. Many are victims of human trafficking.

Adventures in Missions is one mission organization that has a passion for social justice. They have programs that will help you get from your couch to the nations to touch the lives of the oppressed. You won’t do it alone but with a team of people who have similar passions as yours. Be a light yourself or send others to the nations and bring about positive change that will transform lives, communities, and nations!

Consider the following nations where social justice advocates are needed!

Cambodia, Thailand, Morocco, China, Romania, India, South Sudan, Turkey, Nepal, and many more!

Adventures in Missions Launches the Center for Global Action!

Center for Global Action

Adventures in Missions, located in Gainesville, GA, has recently launched a school of missions called the Center for Global Action. The intent of the center is to train people to go and make disciples of all nations teaching them to follow and obey the teachings of Christ. Divided into three semesters, the 21 students in the inaugural fall 2012 semester have been studying:

  • Discipleship
  • Spirit led living
  • Team Dynamics
  • Community based church
  • Missions in the 21st century
  • Human needs and missional living
  • Roles of a godly man/woman
  • Understanding your calling

Part of the training occurs at the Adventures in Missions office with each student working in a department in the morning as an internship and then attending interactive learning sessions in the afternoon. Many students have signed up for the winter session which has posed a space challenge for Adventures in Missions. Fortunately this is a good problem to have. For more information , contact Adventures at: 1-800-881-2461.

Missions trips for those who want to explore how to be a missionary!

Adventures in Missions

Adventures in Missions understands your generation. No matter your age, they have various missions programs to accommodate your desired length of service as well as your area of interest.  Many people want to explore and test the waters of missions to see if this is a possible career into which God is calling them. Adventures in Missions has some unique opportunities in missions for prospective missionaries. Currently they are offering 6+ months and 12+ months long-term international missions trips for individuals who will do ministry in teams. Opportunities in missions exist for individuals to be apart of the following teams:

Global Missions Teams

  1. Cambodia
  2. China
  3. Dominican Republic
  4. Ireland
  5. Nicaragua
  6. Peru
  7. Romania
  8. Swaziland
  9. Thailand
  10. USA
  11. and more!

Pioneering Missions Teams

  1. India
  2. South Sudan
  3. Italy
  4. Jordan
  5. Spain
  6. Guatemala

Men Only Missions Teams

  1. Turkey
  2. Nepal
  3. Morocco
  4. Australia

Specialized Missions Teams

  1. Anti-trafficking
  2. Trekking Adventure
  3. Arab World Outreach
  4. Medical & Mercy
  5. International Missions
  6. Children/Orphanage
  7. Missions to the Deaf

Top Ten Reasons Why Missionaries Quit.

Top ten reasons why missionaries depart from the mission field.

10. Unrealistic expectations
 9.  Poor leadership
 8.  Sexual immorality
 7.  Conflict in strategy
 6.  Unable to adopt to the culture and learn the language
 5.  Lack of finances
 4.  Problems back home
 3.  Unresolved team conflict
 2.  Health issues
 1.  “Stickability” – they just couldn’t hack it.

In order to reduce the departure of Christian missionaries from the field, the missionary himself must recognize:

  1. They are in a battle with Satan and the forces of evil.
  2. Their initial calling – was it genuine?
  3. The need to keep in constant fellowship with God through the reading of His word and prayer.
  4. That fellowship with both foreign and national believers is important.
  5. There is no hero’s welcome when they come home or lasting earthly rewards.

 

10 Tips on How to become a Missionary.

  1. Have a sense of calling to a place, people group, or ministry activity.
  2. Understand yourself and the kind of ministry that best uses your skills, gifts, and talents.
  3. Have a flexible written ministry vision statement.
  4. Form a strong sending support team around you.
  5. Serve alongside a team on the mission field.
  6. Encourage and maintain a supportive attitude of those who are in leadership.
  7. Look for opportunities to make a difference.
  8. Work with others to create a plan for personal growth and continued learning.
  9. Work with a mission organization like Adventures in Missions that provides good administrative support.
  10. Find a mentor willing to invest in you.

Most of all, have a dynamic relationship with Jesus who is your solid ground on which everything else is built!

Eastern Europe Still Needs Christian Missionaries.

Eastern Europe tends to be a place that is sometimes forgotten or overlooked when it comes to Christian missions. Very few missionaries go there any more. After all, Ukraine, Romania, Russia and other Eastern European countries now have a large evangelical Christian population. So why go? They have churches and they’re doing just fine. Ah yes, be we’re forgetting some things. Eastern Europe can now become a sending field. Soon, more Eastern European Christians will have the intense desire to go throughout the world spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. Their time has come. They will play an important role in reaching Western Europe and the ends of the earth with the Gospel message. Who knows, with the potential collapse of the Euro and the European Union, there could be civil strife in Western Europe and we could even see a mass movement of people from the western portions of Europe moving to the east!

One thing we do know, God doesn’t sit by idly just watching people slip into eternity without Him. He constantly pursues mankind. It started with Adam in the Garden of Eden. God called out to Adam, “Where are you?”  Of course He knew where Adam was hiding, but God wanted to demonstrate His character. We also should be pursuing people with the love of Christ and the truth of His Gospel message for it has the power to save people from eternity in hell! It’s not what we do, it’s what God does through His Holy Spirit. We’re just fortunate that we get to play a small role should we choose to get involved, get out of our comfort zones and get out there telling others what Jesus did for them. Who else would die for them? No one. Only God. How cool is that? We can hardly comprehend it. Most religions can’t. Muslims can’t begin to comprehend a God who is personal, intimate, able to take the form of a man and come to earth, and allow himself to suffer as a blood sacrifice for the sins of mankind. Blasphemy! Ah, but God isn’t like us. He doesn’t think like us and His ways are higher than ours. Praise be to God.

So why does Eastern Europe still need Christian missionaries? To set the example of sacrifice for a greater cause. To encourage the next generation to go throughout the world telling people about Jesus. And to stay connected with our brothers and sisters in that often forgotten part of the world.

Short-term Missions: Still Incredibly Effective

With all the negative opinions about short-term missions, it still proves to be one of the most powerful and moving initiatives that is being implemented today. Thousands of people are impacting the world through missions trips every month. Not only are they having an impact upon others, but their own lives are being shaken to the core. There are countless testimonies of how God used willing people to further His kingdom.

Did you hear about the young American man who joined a short-term missions trip, went to Morocco, and he himself found Jesus while ministering to Muslims? He thought he knew Jesus and was a true follower. But when needing to defend his faith while speaking with some Muslim youth, he realized that he didn’t really have a personal relationship with Jesus. What a happy day it was for him to finally know Jesus as his savior while on a short-term Christian mission trip to North Africa. His team was excited as well. They had no idea what was happening inside the heart of their fellow teammate. They didn’t know his background or that he was struggling spiritually or suffering a crisis of faith. But God knew and He was there, reaching out, calling and the young man responded. The angels in heaven rejoiced. Now he can tell his children and grandchildren that he found Jesus while he was in Morocco. God can meet people anywhere. Isn’t it great that the spirit of God is not confined in any way?

Think about all the people in various Muslim countries around the world. We wonder, “Is God working in their hearts?”  How little we know about the mystery of the movements of the Holy Spirit. But night and day he is at work revealing truth to those who seek it. Are you seeking for truth? You can find it and you will know it when you hear or read it. And the truth will set you free! Free from a life of hopelessness! Free from the guilt of sin. Free from a dark future! Free from the law (Shariah or Jewish or otherwise). Look for it with all your heart. Start by reading here if you are searching for truth!

Be free!

You can read an awesome story here about some Muslim students in Morocco who were searching and found truth!

A Young Woman’s Journey to Africa.

It feels like just yesterday that I heard direction from the Lord telling me to pursue go to Madagascar as a missionary. I had never heard of Antananarivo (Tana), the capitol of Madagascar, and now I will be living there in just a few short days. Preparing for this trip has been exciting and nerve-racking all at once—exciting because I was preparing to go to a new land and nerve-racking because I will be apart from everything and everyone with whom I am comfortable. However, the Lord made it clear to me that this was His plan. I obtained my new passport, visa to Madagascar, and all my vaccinations with no problems. Yet as I said goodbye to my family in Texas and boarded my plane, I wondered if I was making a huge mistake or embarking on one of my life’s greatest adventures.

I can feel the Lord reassuring me every day that He is in control. He will complete in me the good work which He began; part of that completion might be bringing me here, to Africa.

Before I left the USA, my mother encouraged me with these words from 1 Chronicles 28:20, ‘…Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the LORD God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished’ (ESV).

People have asked me if I feel as though I’m wasting a semester of college, or have told me how great I am for sacrificing my time in college to go to Africa. In those times, I’m reminded of a quote by the missionary David Livingstone: ‘If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?”

I feel so honored and blessed beyond words to be chosen by God for this task. I’m looking forward to arriving in Madagascar!

When I was a little girl, I learned a song called “Jesus Loves Me”. As many times as I’ve heard this simple song, I’ve never realized the profundity of the phrase “they are weak but He is strong”. There’s nothing like experiencing a new culture to make you realize how weak humankind is. We’re all vulnerable, broken and completely dependent on the grace of God. Some countries in our world are more developed—they’re cleaner, maybe even safer, yet the people in our world are all the same: weak.

This probably sounds like a very negative thing to say. But the reality is that none of us has anything valuable to offer this broken world apart from the strength of Jesus. His strength is what runs in our veins, fills our lungs, and gives us the ability to live and love effectively.

One new friend here in Madagascar said, ‘Just your being here gives me strength to carry on in ministry, because I know that someone across the world cares.’

I’ve been in Antananarivo, Madagascar, for only one week, and several times already I’ve been approached by fellow believers telling me that my presence here has encouraged them. One new friend here in Madagascar said, “Just your being here gives me strength to carry on in ministry, because I know that someone across the world cares.”

I’m humbled that in the same way Jesus encouraged me to come to Madagascar, my presence here has also encouraged someone to do what is difficult—carry the name of Jesus to the unreached.

All this is to say that I am weak, but He is strong. We often pray for God to raise up workers to go into the mission field; I would urge you today to be willing to be the answer to that prayer. God is ready to use weak vessels, with lots of cracks and holes, so that His strength will shine through to the nations.

The first glimpse I caught of Sainte Marie, a small island off the east coast of Madagascar, was so beautiful it almost took my breath away. Even through the tropical rain, I could see the numerous palm trees and small wooden canoes floating about.

It looked like a deserted island from a Hollywood film, but fortunately I wasn’t deserted. In fact, I was one in a group that included people from Nigeria, Netherlands, UK, Madagascar, Brazil, El Salvador and South Africa.

After traveling for more than 15 hours by bus through the jungle and two hours by boat, we all breathed a sigh of relief when we arrived at our destination.

It’s not up to me how many people accept the good news; it’s only within my power to offer them hope.

Witchcraft has a stronghold on Sainte Marie, like it does in much of Madagascar. Some parents even dedicate their children to Satan after birth. We knew we needed to be very diligent in prayer.

We woke up every day at 5:00am to praise the Lord and pray for the day’s activities. Some days included children’s ministry, street and door-to-door evangelism or youth outreaches. The harvest was truly ripe, and at least 100 people accepted Christ as their Savior!

I’ll never forget one particular moment, sitting on the floor of a grass hut sharing the gospel with a woman who had never heard the name of Jesus. Just moments later she joined the family of believers and was saved for eternity. It’s a privilege being part of this ministry.

Madagascar is a stunning and exotic country, with souls ready to hear the good news. I have been challenged to take this passion home with me and be more proactive in sharing about God wherever I am.

Jesus said, “…go and make disciples of all nations…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20; NIV). It’s not up to me how many people accept the good news; it’s only within my power to offer them hope.

Please, join with me in thanking the Lord for how many He rescued in Sainte Marie.

The moment I set my foot on the bike pedal the rain started falling. It’s going to be a long 10 kilometers, I thought to myself. It was during a recent outreach to Manakara, a city in southeast Madagascar, that I visited Maroala, a truly rural village of about 200 people that can only be reached on foot or by bicycle. After carrying the bike through a steep mudslide in the tropical rain, I started to doubt my decision that riding was a better alternative to walking. Nevertheless, 10 kilometers later I stood in the village of Maroala covered in mud and sand.

Though I had tried to mentally prepare myself, I was still shocked at the poverty in front of me. As I looked at the children with swollen bellies and mothers with hopeless looks in their eyes, I wanted to shut them out and cause my heart not to feel for them. The team had brought clothes for these people, which we passed out after a gospel presentation. Still, I was distressed that I had no food to offer, no immediate relief.

But I heard Jesus remind me: “I am the Bread of Life and Living Water; whoever comes to me will never be unsatisfied.” He’s our great provider and ultimate satisfaction. Please pray with me that His name will be made great in the village of Maroala.

Since being in Madagascar, I’ve experienced things I never imagined I would—like riding a bike through the jungle. Most of these experiences have made for hilarious stories that I’ll never forget, but some have broken my heart.

For instance, I never thought I would hear a little girl say she wanted to grow up to be a prostitute. But the dark reality is that prostitutes on the small island of Sainte Marie, off the northeast coast of Madagascar, appear to be the wealthiest and most satisfied individuals. They have the nicest clothes and the most customers. This little girl doesn’t realize that these women are used, abused and hurting. She doesn’t realize that she’s been created with value. She hasn’t been taught to dream beyond her small island home.

I felt so saddened by this little girl’s answer, thinking that if she only had more love and support, perhaps she would dream beyond prostitution.

Then it hit me: maybe the Lord looks upon us, His Church, and feels the same emotion. He has provided unfailing love and the unending support of a Father, yet what do our dreams look like? Can we see beyond our circumstances? Do we believe anything is possible with Christ, that He can really change a nation? Let us pray for this nation, interceding on their behalf for God to do miraculous and marvelous things among them.

For more information about international missions, look up the following organizations:

Operation Mobilization

Adventures in Missions

Pioneers

Youth With A Mission

Watch Where the Church is Growing the Fastest in the Muslim World!

North Africa is undergoing a spiritual awakening. From Morocco to Egypt, Muslims are searching for truth. Many are finding it but the persecution is fierce. Watch the video and be encouraged. People are being baptized weekly in many Muslim countries.

Make the World a Better Place. Leave Your Country and Make a Difference.

Americans have a huge disadvantage in this world and that is this: they understand so little about the rest of the world. Most of the information that Americans digest comes from self-centered sources that feeds the American naval gazing. From the news media to pop culture to its short history, Americans focus largely on themselves. Foreign wars have exposed Americans to the rest of the world, but usually they go in with very little intelligence and the results can be disastrous. It is important for a person to be exposed to multiple cultures instead of just one. Most people around the world are exposed to multiple cultures, but this is especially difficult for the leading superpower of the world. Like the Roman empire, it’s all about Rome. The rest of the world is “just out there”. Sure, Americans travel for holiday to different parts of the world, but that is long enough to hardly know what the coffee tastes like.

Americans have a lot to offer the world. If they would leave the United States and live in another culture, they would reap the following benefits.

10 Reasons why you will benefit from living overseas:

  1. learn new languages
  2. understand different world views
  3. hear how Americans are viewed by other societies
  4. see U.S. politics from a totally different perspective
  5. feel the struggles of people different from themselves
  6. be exposed to new religions
  7. build compassion and new friendships
  8. contribute constructively to needy countries
  9. be ambassadors of peace
  10. learn humility

Obviously there are a lot more benefits for Americans to leave their country, but hopefully in the end by doing so they help make the world a better place.

10 Resons Why Short-term Missions Trips are Effective.

In recent years there have been a surge in short-term Christian Missions trips that often seem more like an adventure vacation than an actual missions trip. Raising thousands of dollars to go and do Christian missions to the Bahamas or Fiji certainly sounds like a donor sponsored vacation. What a scam! Or is it? Years ago missionaries went to beautiful places only to be buried a few months after they arrived. Knowing that suffering and death were a real possibility, the had to weigh their desire for adventure, beautiful scenery, their commitment to Christ and sharing the Gospel, and the cost in terms of their lives.

Short-term missions is hard work!

In today’s short-term missions activities, laying down one’s life for the Gospel is highly unlikely, and yes the surroundings can be beautiful, but the missions work can be exhausting and hard. Have you ever been to Africa? Have you seen the plains and valleys of Kenya? Phenomenal scenery, gorgeous landscape, and old cemeteries filled with missionaries. Some went to Africa for a few weeks, others for a lifetime.

Mixed motives can always get in the way of Christian service. Whether in your home country or overseas, missionaries can sometimes feel guilty that their desire to share the Gospel is also mixed with their craving for adventure. Every missionary is guilty of it. If they weren’t filled with some sense of adventure, they wouldn’t be a foreign missionary! God can use the mixed motives of man to accomplish His purposes. It is not for us to judge for God knows the heart. And through short-term missions trips, God will work not only through a person but also in their own life. Many missionaries today can testify that they may have had some desire to escape from their current job, had a desire for adventure, sought to be stretched spiritually, or went into missions due to outside pressures.

If it takes a “missionary vacation” or an “adventure missions trip” to get Christians away from their televisions, computers, cell phones and other distractions of the modern age, then great! They will see and experience things that they never would have otherwise and their lives will be altered in some way. Will they make a big impact? Probably not. But that is why it is short-term. It has a minimal impact for yes, a lot of money, but do you know that most modern day missionaries did some kind of short-term missions trip before they committed to career missions? It is a new thing that God is doing and let’s work with Him and not against Him. Encourage short-term missions regardless of the motives. Leave that up to the Lord to sort through.

10 reasons why short-term missions trips are effective:

1. The person who is going will have an impact upon the place where they are going. Some kind of positive impact.
2. Donors will learn something new about the destination location as well as the person going.
3. Some prayer support will follow the person to the foreign country. Prayer always has an impact.
4. If a person is acting in obedience to God, He will be pleased.
5. Blessings abound for those who not only go, but also send.
6. The money given to send someone probably would have been spent on frivolous other things.
7. Short-term missions experiences can lead to long-term service in missions.
8. Going to a foreign country makes you more appreciative as a whole.
9. It gets people out of their comfort zones. Are you in yours?
10. Short-term missionaries can reinvigorate long-term missionaries by bringing in new enthusiasm for the work resulting in new inspiration and vision.

Short-term missions information

Adventures in Missions

Legless Man Encounters Messenger of Hope.

What do you do when you are confronted with a fellow human being who has no legs and who has been reduced to begging on the streets in order to supplement the small disability pension he receives from the government? As a Christ-follower, what do you do?

Hillary from the UK has lived in India and knows that some beggars are owned by a syndicate and others purposely maim their own children to profit from begging. So how can you know who is genuine? Well, for Hillary, she doesn’t think it is for her to decide. She feels it is simply being compelled to show the love of Christ without making any judgement of why or how the beggar came to the decision to beg. God knows his heart and Hillary’s purpose was to be the hands and feet of Jesus, whether she thinks beggars deserve a handout or not. After all, didn’t God shown His mercy and love to us, when we least deserved it?

Hillary got to know Gregory’s story because she took the time to show interest and reach out with God’s love. He lost both of his legs in a train accident as a child, 40 years ago. He isn’t married, has no children but lives with his 78 year-old mother in Split, Croatia. He takes the bus home at the end of the day. The proceeds of his begging on the streets of Split help supplement his small disability pension. He wears leather pads on his stumps and walks with the aid of two very short sticks. Kneeling beside him they were eye to eye. In his broken English, he told Hillary that he believes in the Bible, but not in “the Church”.  Like most Catholics, his faith is based on doing good works and hoping it is enough. As Hillary spoke of her faith in Jesus, she tried to explain that we can have assurance of forgiveness and eternal life because of the death and resurrection of Jesus.  She asked if she could pray with him and his eyes teared up – Hillary’s overflowed. Hillary prayed that God would bless him, that her Heavenly Father would lift up Gregory’s spirit and provide a job for him so that he could hold his head up high. They spoke some more and Hillary asked if she could fetch him some water as it was hot and he had found only a small patch of shade. He said it was OK and pointed to the money in his bowl, but Hillary declined and soon returned carrying a bag with water and the makings of a sandwich. She also returned with one of the local believers. They gave Gregory a book about Isus (Jesus). Hillary asked him for permission to take a photograph of the two together explaining that she knew many people who would pray for him. Hillary asked him for his address so that she could send a copy of the photo to him, to remind him that she would continue to pray for him. Hillary gave him her address and asked him to send me a postcard now and again, to keep in touch. He was happy with the idea!

So, don’t just glance at this photo in passing – stop and pray for Gregory.  And next time you see someone on the street begging, remember they are only people like you, with dreams and struggles who would be blessed by a specific prayer for them. So dare to ask, “If you could ask God for one thing for you personally today, what would that be?” Take time to listen to their heart and then pray with them. You will both be blessed and who knows what God will do with this act of kindness?

How Rising Health Care Costs are Effecting Christian Mission Organizations.

The astronomical increase in health insurance costs is effecting the global economy. Every business and every citizen is impacted in some way. Here in the United States, it is a hotly contested topic from the water cooler to the office of the President.

For Christian mission organizations that send out missionaries on short-term missions trips and long-term career missions, the rise in health insurance costs will have a dramatic effect. It already has. Every year, agencies have to wrestle with keeping costs down and if they are fortunate, they can keep the rise in premiums below the national average. Some have even gone to drastic measures and have asked that all their missionaries have major medical treatments done in an overseas country such as India! Outsourcing medial procedures to India – and we thought it was only call centers!

How will this alarming trend effect mission organizations? First, as premiums rise beyond affordability, there will be the need to be a part of a group of at least 300 people. Most mission organizations have less than 300 full-time missionaries working overseas and in their home office. Second, missionaries who can’t afford the rapidly rising premiums will be forced to look for larger organizations that they can join.  This will lead to a migration of missionaries from small agencies to larger ones. Small mission agencies will have to close their doors.  Third, mission organizations will have to merge. This has already begun to happen. Pioneers and Arab World Ministries merged and formed a larger organization. As it relates to health insurance, they now have more negotiating power.

What are the other possible options or solutions for mission organizations? What has been your experience and observation? How have you been effected as a missionary by raising health care costs? Leave a comment and share your insight so it might be a help to others. The name of Jesus will be proclaimed throughout the world regardless of health insurance costs, but this is an important issue to address as we seek to send out workers unto the harvest field.

Some Realistic Expectations for Your Mission Trip.

1. God is interested in the small and medium details of life, and not just the big picture.

2. God is more interested in having a relationship with you, than you being busy for Jesus.

3. God can work in every and any situation to achieve his glory.

4. God doesn’t shield us from pain, but walks with us through it, even though at times we can or can’t tell if He is there or not.

5. God has a unique path tailored for each individual believer.  Be yourself with God and others, and give God the freedom to do whatever He wants in your life.

6. The Holy Spirit can really get His message across regardless of language barriers.

7. You might learn how to cook for 30 people. (even if you don’t like cooking!)

You can do a lot on a missions trip. Find out more about how to use your skills at the following international mission agencies.

Operation Mobilization

Adventures in Missions

Pioneers

Frontiers

 

Storytelling and Interviewing Techniques and Tips

Recording and taking notes.

After the introductory formalities and before the interview starts, ask permission if you can use their real name and record the interview. Then produce it and get started on the interview. Few people object to being recorded but if they do, just use your notebook. Never thrust the recorder in a person’s face as they will feel self-conscious, causing them to become tongue-tied. Use your notebook for the accurate spelling of names (companies, locations etc), jotting down a few main points and perhaps some question reminders for later.
Be careful when recording that you don’t lose concentration as this will tend to “deaden” an interview.

Listen carefully to what is being said and be sure to understand the answers otherwise it will be difficult to write clearly enough for your readers.  If you don’t understand something ask! “Can you put it into simpler language?” or “Can you clarify that a little more”.  If someone gives “off the record information” turn the recorder off. Always guide the interview, but don’t dominate it. If the person strays too far from the subject, then quickly guide the person back. Don’t forget to turn the recorder back on when the interview proceeds again.

Photographs with the interview

Photos that will be taken need to have a resolution of at least 300 dpi.  Since you don’t know how large others will want to print it, keep the size around (or above) 5 x 6 inches at 300 dpi.  Format: JPEG files (.jpg). Normally files straight from your camera are fine. .tiff and .eps are also good file formats.

Tip: If you take photographs, always get a signed agreement before taking them and as a safeguard for yourself have them sign a Model Release Form (see below). Take any photos you require at the end of an interview when the person is relaxed.

If possible have the person do something that is relevant to the interview rather than just standing or sitting. Alternatively photograph the person in surroundings that have meaning to the theme of the interview.  If this is not possible then just take a mug shot (a facial close up) that you can use.
Note: People will sometimes cross out the word electronic on a consent form if they do not want their picture to appear on the internet and only permit their photo to be used in a print publication. Always respect their request if this is the case.

Video Interview Techniques
An interview should be guided to serve a particular purpose within a story. To enable you to do this well you need to gain the interviewees trust, so they will share with you their most personal thoughts and feelings. You want to elicit not only the predictable but the unpredictable. Remember interviews are for requiring feelings and opinions, not facts.

Choosing Your Talent

As much as possible you should have met your talent before filming them, in order to know what they are going to say and in order to find the right talent. You want someone who is going to light up the screen with their lively and articulate manner of delivery. Don’t automatically rule out shy people as sometimes they can come alive on-screen, just as charismatic people can ‘clam up’. Make sure your talent is not acting or performing to the camera, otherwise they will not seem genuine or authentic.

More specific characteristics maybe required depending on the purpose of your video i.e. a knowledgeable person is needed for an informative documentary, a person using accessible language is needed for a ‘Jo public’ target audience.

The Interview

Get consent from the talent, either verbal consent recorded on camera or written consent. You will need to get parental consent if filming someone under the age of 18, in Europe. Know what you want the talent to say before you record the interview, often this requires a preliminary interview in the pre-production stage. Never ask the critical question (the one that will trigger a gush of tears) during the research stage, save it for the camera.  Prepare questions that will direct you to get the information you want. But be flexible, as the interview progresses you may need to alter your line of questioning. Interrupt the interview if you feel it is going ‘off track’ or the talent is entering into too much irrelevant detail.

When you acquire your answers get the talent to include the subject of the question at the start of their answer. Asking them to begin their answer incorporating the question means the talent will answer in full. This then allows the program to be cut without the interviewer in it. If the interviewer should be included in the final piece then remember to film the questions being asked and reactions (i.e. noddies), at the end of the interview. Make sure you match the shot sizes and eye height of the interviewer with the interviewee, and give the looking room different sides (so when the shots are cut together they look like they are talking to each other).

Never give the questions out prior to the interview (just give guidance about the subject and angle) this is important to gain spontaneous answers.  After the interview get plenty of ‘B-roll shots’ (shots that go over the dialogue) related to what the talent is talking about. Get shots of the talent interacting with other people.

Technical Considerations

Record the interview in a setting that is quiet with good lighting. Make sure the background has depth and is interesting, but not distracting. It should relate to the talent and interview. If it is a short interview you can have the talent standing (they usually look more engaged standing) otherwise you should give them a chair. It is important to put them in a chair that sits them ‘up right’ and not sloughing, this way they will appear more engaged with the audience.
Avoid interviewing two people in the one shot (the audience will automatically be drawn to the person not speaking). If the talent is wearing glasses check that the glass isn’t reflecting the light or images. The interviewer needs to be sitting at the level of the camera lens and right beside the camera.

Although not considered necessary in many cases, as a legal safeguard for yourself, get a signed agreement before taking any photos of people you are interviewing and have the subject of your photo sign a Model Release Consent Form. A large percentage of the time as a freelance photographer you do not pay remuneration for photos but as a safeguard against claims if the photo should later be used extensively and the subject of the photo should decide to sue for modeling fees have the person sign an Unpaid Model Release Form.
The unpaid model release form provides basic protection for you as the photographer.

UNPAID MODEL RELEASE
(A:) In consideration of $.0.., (amount or nil) receipt is acknowledged,
I,……………………………………………………… (the models name)
do hereby give,……………………………………… (photographers name)
and his/her assigns, licensees and legal representatives the irrevocable right to use my picture, portrait or photograph in all forms of media and in all manner, including electronic media and/or composite representations, for advertising, trade, or any lawful purposes and I waive any right to inspect or approve the finished product, including written copy that may be created in connection therewith. I am of full age*. I have read this release and are fully familiar with its contents. *Delete this sentence if the subject is a minor. (The parent or guardian must sign the Consent form below)
Signed: …………………………… Witnessed: ………………………
Address: ………………………….. Address ………………………….
……………………………………… ……………………………………
Date: ………………………………. Date: …………………………….
(*B) MINOR CONSENT (if applicable for minor)
I am the parent or guardian of the minor named above and have the legal authority to execute the above release. I approve the foregoing and waive any rights in the photographs.
Signed:………………………. Witnessed: …………………………
Address:…………………….. Address………………………………
……………………………….. ……………………………………….
Date: ………………………… Date: ………………………………..

Simple Guidelines for Interviewing and Writing Effective Stories.

Any company or organization that seeks to raise its profile needs to be able to tell its story well to their audience. The best stories are those which show that someone’s life or a community has been radically changed. Below are some guidelines when writing stories and doing interviews.

How to do an interview

Prepare your list of questions in advance. List the questions and points you want to ask in brief heading form. Maintain eye contact with the person you are interviewing as much as possible. Listen carefully and establish a relaxed style of questioning. Allow the questions to flow according to the context, glancing at your list only to refresh your memory or fill a long pause in the conversation. If a pause should occur wait for the person being interviewed to continue the conversation. Never direct how the interview proceeds or you may miss the opportunity for obtaining other relevant information outside of your line of questioning. Be open to new questions and new points raised during the interview. Flexibility in your interviewing will allow you to pursue interesting or relevant sidelines as they come up. These may be areas of activity that you are unaware of despite your research. Don’t worry about ending up with more information than you require. Use what you need and put the rest in your files to be used at another time. Ask open-ended questions instead of questions that invite a “yes” or “no” answer will give more interesting responses. These questions usually begin with who, what, when, where and how, and cannot be answered with a straight yes or not.

Example: “How did you get into writing?” “what made you decide on this particular area of writing”? etc.

This type of questioning sets the framework of the interview and is a useful tool when digging for significant information.

Possible Interview Questions for Use with Changed Life Stories:
1.    Tell me about your background – Where were you born and raised? Tell me about your family?
2.    What role did _______ have in your life growing up?
3.    When was the first time you learned about ___________?
4.    What was your first reaction to ___________? What was your family’s reaction?
5.    What’s been the biggest challenge since _________________?
6.    What’s the biggest change you’ve experienced to date?
7.    How has your life changed?
8.    What would you say to those people who have helped you?

Read more in the next post soon to follow entitled:  Storytelling and Interviewing Techniques and Tips

Everyone Loves to be Entertained.

Every culture since the beginning of time has enjoyed entertainment. Even Jesus Christ was an entertainer. Sure, he was much more than that, but in his ministry on earth, he also knew that people had various motives for following him. He didn’t mind, for he knew that there were various methods to reach the hearts of people. The common form of entertainment of the day was storytelling. (This art form still exists today in the public squares of cities like Marrakesh, Morocco.) People would crowd around storytellers who captivated their imaginations. Remember, there weren’t any books for the common man, no TV, internet, movies, etc. So when a new storyteller came to town, everyone talked about him. But this storyteller was different. He did miracles too. Really serious miracles like raising people from the dead! And if you followed him, you might even get to see people get healed and maybe even a free meal! Jesus was the best storyteller to ever come to Israel! He would have won the academy award for storytelling!

Music, paint, dance, video, illustration, song writing, and many other art forms can be used to impact communities around the globe through the arts. Cutting edge overseas missions trips exist to use your gifts as a performing, technical or visual artist. You can go short-term or for a year or longer to proclaim the name of Jesus through your art form. Artists with different backgrounds, styles and experience can participate. Recent trips include: North Africa, Spain, Belgium, Hungary, Turkey, India, England, Central Asia and the Middle East.

For more information on the web, go to:  arts.om.org

The Impact of Multicultural Teams in Christian Missions.

Reading God’s Word, the merits of presenting His love through international missions teams comes clearly into focus. Even though every culture is tainted by sin, man is created in God’s image, so every culture must reflect something of Him. Genesis 11 (the story of the tower of Babel) shows how God created cultures (languages) and the confusion it brought. Genesis 12 indicates however that Abraham will be a blessing to every family (so, every culture). In the Book of Acts, we see how the Spirit’s coming at Pentecost reverses the divisions of Babel. In the second chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Jesus is revealed to be the one who breaks down hostility between cultures and brings unity.

So, multicultural teams actually reflect the reality of the Gospel, as a living, breathing demonstration of the Good News, laying a blueprint for a unified church! Multicultural teams therefore bring strength to the ministry as each culture’s in-built reflection of God comes into play.

Multicultural missions teams impact not only the local communities in which they work, but also the lives of the team members themselves. When we are truly one in Him, the breaking down of cultural barriers releases the fragrance of Christ.      – Brian J.

Creative Performing Arts Opens Hearts to the Gospel.

Operation Mobilization has a creative arts ministry called “OM Arts International“.  One of the performing artists in that ministry is Dustin and Katie Kelm of UniShow. Dustin is a world champion unicyclist and he recently performed in the Middle East alongside an illusionist and a dancer. Dustin was able to share his testimony and the hope he has found in God from atop his six-foot unicycle. Craig, the illusionist, shared from his bag of tricks and gave his direct Gospel “magic ball” message as the team handed out cards with a Gospel message to the gathered crowd.

In one city they partnered with a local church whose enthusiastic leader said, “From the afternoon outreach, 25 people came to see the Jesus film in the evening. Of these, 19 stayed to discuss more.” Dustin, also appeared live on national television. He performed, and during the program he was able to share briefly that God is the only one who can fill the emptiness in our lives.

Dustin has also performed and shared the Gospel message in North America, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and other regions. Venues have included universities, elementary schools, prisons, parks, arenas and stadiums. OM missionaries, working with local churches, help arrange the permissions, ground logistics, follow-up and discipleship.  For more information, contact Dustin at www.unishow.org

If you know of a performing, technical, or visual artist who is interested in doing a short-term missions trip or longer term missions, contact OM Arts International.

Helpful Resource for Teaching English Abroad on Missions Trips.

Serving God by teaching His Word in foreign lands is an exciting opportunity. It can also be extremely challenging, especially when there is a language barrier and the mission is short-term.

Teaching English Around the World: Creation Lessons for Short-Term Mission Trips provides 7 lessons based on the 7 days of creation that combine teaching God’s Word with teaching English. This book provides short-term mission teams with tools to teach English vocabulary and dialogues to students of all ages in a fun, action-packed way. Each lesson is focused on a day of creation, and the dialogues relate to what God did on that day. There are memory verses related to each day, song suggestions, and creative activities that reinforce the lesson and help the team interact with the students in a meaningful way.

Each lesson can be used in whole or in part depending on the time available with the students. The lessons provide the team with a platform not only to teach English but also to establish a relationship with the students.  The ultimate goal is to share God’s love with them and lead many to come to know Jesus as their personal Savior.

This book is available at Cross Books Publishing.

What is the Church and Should You Care?

What is the church?

From the teachings of the Holy Bible, the word “church” comes from the Greek work Ekklesia and it means: “the called out ones”.  The church is a group of people who follows Jesus Christ and are called to assemble and be unified. They are defined by a distinct purpose which is to bring glory to their Creator and be a witness of God’s power and love to the physical and spiritual world.

There is a process in building a church and Jesus Christ must be in the midst of that process. This does not refer to the building of an actual physical structure, but rather the church is the people themselves. The church must also be on guard because there are forces from within and forces from without that are trying to destroy the church.

The church is:

1.       A group of believers in which Christ dwells

2.       Bride of Christ

3.       Body of Christ    Eph. 4:15-16

“The church is a body of people called out from among the world for the distinct and unique purpose of glorifying their Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.”    Charles SwindollThe Church Awakening

Why is esteeming the church important?

1.       God created it. It is a part of His plan for the world. God has a greater purpose for the church than we understand. God assigns the highest value for His church – His people.

2.       Christ is the head of the church. That makes it pretty important!

3.       The church is the expression of Christ on earth.

4.       Christians are a part of the church and they have a responsibility toward it and a role to play in it.

If Christians don’t value the church, then they don’t value themselves because they are the church!

Christians must guard themselves from bailing out on their local church. Christians should not become their “personal church” or think they can benefit from church by watching it virtually. Christians should not forsake meeting together. They should also refrain from “steaming” the church and being critics who sit on the sidelines.

How can you esteem the church?

1.       Take an active role in a local church

2.       Befriend and encourage church leaders and members.

3.       Partner with a local church and make it a part of your life. Seek input and perspectives on life from the local church.

It is important that Christians avoid the mentality of “What can I get from the local church?” but rather, “What can I do for the local church?”  Also, esteem your church leaders. When was the last time you expressed appreciation for their hard work?

The church is a part of God’s plan for the world. That makes it rather important. The Bible clearly states that God will use the church to accomplish His purposes. Whatever you do and wherever you live, the local church should be a part of your life. You will be blessed.

How to Communicate to the Gen Y Generation.

The elusive Gen Y generation remains a mystery to many. How do you reach this unusual and large group of people in the world today? Researchers have been studying their behavior patterns for many years. They have come to some important conclusion that will affect your marketing and communications and recruiting efforts.

Gen Y consists of over 78 million people in the US. They were born between the years 1984 to 2002. They possess a unique list of characteristics. Below is a list which will lead you to information that you seek regarding this generation.

5 Characteristics of Gen Y.

10 Tips for marketing to Gen Y.

Tips on how to lead the Gen Y generation.

The characteristics that you will need to lead Gen Y.

Tips on how to recruit, motivate, and empower Gen Y.

Somali Civilians and Pirates Look to Music for Hope.

Somalis are living in the most incredibly impoverished situation that is beyond our imagination. Faced with no work, food, future or hope, Somali men and women grasp onto anything that provides an escape. Fishermen have turned to piracy to earn money, and this money has fueled more piracy. With a failed government in place, there is lawlessness on the streets. Like the youth around the world, many young people turn to music as an escape but also as an expression of their dire situation. Even though music is banned under strict Islamic law, it is the language of all peoples, especially the younger generation. Some Somali pop artists have become famous inside the country, and Somali’s living outside the country follow them with great loyalty. But music, like drugs, can’t provide the more long-lasting hope that people need. Where will that hope come from? There is only one source. Let us hope and pray that the people of Somalia find it.

Ship Offers Hope and Books to Millions.

OM Ships International has just celebrated 40 years of ministry!

In 40 years the ship ministry of Operation Mobilization has:

·    operated four different ships (Logos, Doulos, Logos II, Logos Hope)
·    welcomed over 42 million people on board
·    visited over 163 countries and territories
·    made more than 1,400 ports of call (512 unique ports)
·    distributed over 50 million portions of the Bible
·    hosted more than 5 million people at events on board the ships
·    seen more than 10 million children visit the ships
·    trained more than 10,000 people for future Christian service
·    partnered with over 55,000 churches world-wide
·    donated hundreds of tons of books to various countries
·    and seen tens of thousands of people come to faith in God!

Watch a video and read more about the history of the ships and OM.

Build Your Own House or Get an Expert Builder?

Let’s say that you want to build a house. You could do it all by yourself. It could save you a lot of money. You could read a few books to find out how to do it and then make up some blueprints. You could buy some land, cut down the trees and use machinery to cut up the wood into lumber and then start to build yourself a house (whew, that sounds exhausting). Now if you are building it yourself, it is probably not going to be very fancy unless you are an amazingly skilled builder. You will probably make mistakes along the way and have to redo some things or you might find that you forgot to do task A before task B and you have to undo task B to do task A first. Since you have never done this before,  there will be a lot of starts and stops while you figure out what to do next. It will probably be very exhausting work and at times very difficult to do by yourself. There might be things that you could do to the house to make it more energy efficient or comfortable to live in but you would have to know what to look for in order to find out more information about it.  However, not having built a house before, you could easily overlook something important. Assuming you had the money, it would be much easier to hire some experts like an architect or general contractor and tell them what you want and let them design it and find the skilled people to build it. You would end up with a better constructed house, more suited to your needs and it sure would be easier on you than doing all of the physical labor yourself.

Now, isn’t this what we sometimes do with just about every decision in life?  We want to do things on our own. We don’t want anyone’s help. Certainly not their suggestions on how to do it. We want to do it our way. But we have an expert in everything right at our fingertips. His name is God. He says to ask for wisdom and He will give it. This is coming from someone who knows us intimately, knows what will happen in the future and has the power and resources to do whatever He wants. But the trick is doing what He says. Sometimes we don’t want to do it His way. But you can trust Him with everything because He is God. There is no one else who is more trustworthy than him. The trick is asking Him what He wants you to do, and then wait for an answer and his guidance before starting something.

This can also apply to a person’s desire to serve God overseas on a missions trip. Whether it be a short-term missions trip or long-term, it is a very important decision that needs God’s input. Often we are the ones who want to choose the country or ministry activity. But God may have other plans. Maybe He wants you to go and be a witness to radical Muslim fundamentalists in Palestine. That’s what Brother Andrew does of Open Doors International. Or maybe God wants you to go and work in a remote area of Central Asia.  Or He may want you to serve the people in one of the countries around the Mediterranean Sea. How about smuggling Bibles into closed countries? For more information on that, see the following:

Open Doors

Voice of the Martyrs

For opportunities in short and long term missions, see the following:

Pioneers

Frontiers

Adventures in Missions

Operation Mobilization

International Short Term Missions Trips for Artists!

Operation Mobilization has short-term missions trips designed especially for visual, technical and performing artists. Using artistic skills, one is able to work with a team to bring the Gospel message to those who don’t know Jesus. Consider going on one of these trips or referring them to someone you know.

Transform North Africa:  July 4th-26th 2011
Come for the Transform conference in Rome, Italy, then fly to North Africa to form relationships with the local arts community, experience life in an Arab nation, and encourage long-term workers to reach out to others with the Gospel through art. Will include studio and gallery work, culminating in an exhibition.

Baja, Hungary:  July 9th-26th, 2011
Prepare to let Hungary inspire you! Lead art workshops at the English art camp and reach out to the local community by creating relevant artwork and seeking God’s heart for the area.

Germany:  July 25th- Aug. 7th 2011
Serve teenagers and encourage them by facilitating the Artzone at TeenStreet, OM’s international youth congress. Artzone is a place where teens can express themselves through art, learn new skills, and worship God.

Christmas Outreach in Belgium:   December 2011
If you have a couple of weeks free in December, why not pray about joining us to experience the Belgium culture and create some inspired artwork to exhibit at a Christmas market.

Further details about all of these outreaches and application information should be posted soon at: OM ArtsLink.  Please note that your portfolio and artist statement will be required as part of the application process. Any questions, email: portfolios@omartslink.org

More information about arts in missions at: www.arts.om.org

The Impact of Music in Christian World Missions.

When reading through the Psalms, it becomes obvious that there is an inextricable link between music and missions. The Psalms are a collection of God-breathed songs. And these divinely inspired musical pieces are filled with lyrics that express through the songwriter God’s desire to be known and worshiped among all the nations in the world. Therefore, God Himself has created music as a way to mobilize His people to engage in worldwide missions.

Continue reading

How to Look at Language Learning from a Different Perspective.

The struggle that many missionaries face is that of learning a new language. Often, there is the feeling that so much time is being wasted when there are souls out there that need to be saved! Read the following article that will help any new missionary in understanding the value in learning the language of their host country.

Language Learning Is Communication – Is Ministry!

by E. Thomas Brewster & Elizabeth S. Brewster

There is a popular mentality that suggests that missionaries should learn a language in order to have a ministry – that is, in order to be able to communicate with the local people. We would like to suggest that the language learning process itself is communication – effective communication.

Continue reading

Moving Overseas to a New Country? How to Bond with Your New Culture!

Below is an excerpt from an excellent article that can help you become comfortable in a new culture that you are going to call home.  Written by E. Thomas And Elizabeth S. Brewster, it is extremely helpful in training new missionaries that arrive on the mission field.

The Missionary Analogy
There are some important parallels between the infant’s entrance into his new culture and an adult’s entrance into a new, foreign culture. In this situation the adult’s senses, too, are bombarded by a multitude of new sensations, sights, sounds, and smells—but he, too, is able to respond to these new experiences and even enjoy them. Just as the participants in the birth experience, his adrenaline is up and his excitement level is at a peak. Upon arrival, he is in a state of unique readiness, both physiologically and emotionally, to become a “belonger” in his new environment. But then…

Continue reading

Unsure About Applying to Work in Christian Ministry?

The thought of stepping out of your comfort zone and considering full-time work in Christian ministry can be very unsettling.  There are lots of thoughts that go through your mind. Will I have enough finances? Where will I serve? Is it “safe”?  I’m not qualified. I don’t have the skills needed. Can God use me? These may be some of the questions that you asked yourself and many more for sure. The fear of the unknown can sometimes handcuff a person from following the Lord into a new chapter of life. It can require a huge step of faith. But isn’t that what God wants to do in our lives – stretch our faith and make us more dependent upon Him?

Sometimes God wants us to get up and step out into the unknown even if we are not 100% sure about it.  If it isn’t what God wants, He won’t let us have peace about it and He will make it obvious  that the choice / decision is not what He wants.  Conversely, if it is something He does want us to do, He often places it in our hearts and mind – to the extent that we are willing to make ‘sacrifices’.  Usually God provides some assurance that you are walking in His will by providing signs of confirmation through His word, through circumstances, and through other people.

When we are honestly and truly seeking to follow God’s call by being obedient, He makes all things work out together for good – He blesses obedience.  Yes, we might make some mistakes along the way that He will correct.  However if we let fear paralyze us into doing nothing – that’s just what the enemy Satan wants.  Have you heard the expression “failing forward”?  It is okay to make mistakes and fail.  This is part of how we grow and how sometimes God does speaks to us and guide us – it is a positive thing.

It’s okay to be unsure, to have doubts.  Just don’t give place to doubts and fears that renders you incapable from moving forward with God.  Go ahead and take the necessary steps to follow where you think the Lord is leading. If you are considering filling out an application, view the application process as a part of the larger picture of confirming your call.

For some excellent books to help you with your journey, consider reading “Out of the Comfort Zone” by George Verwer and “Scaling the Wall” by Kathy Hicks.

You can also find a world of helpful resources at: Ask a Missionary

Creating Worship Music in Al Qaeda’s Backyard.

In the land of frankincense and myrrh not far from Al Qaeda headquarters, three music missionaries spent their Christmas holiday helping new believers record their first Christian worship songs. Included on the historic recording were women’s voices, something that almost never happens in that Muslim nation. One of the fathers could identify his girls’ voices and feared that persecution for his entire family could result if the girls were identified. Children’s voices were added to obscure the female tracks.

Some of the concepts in the songs were also obscure. So a foreign missionary who was fluent in Arabic helped strengthen the lyrics, even preserving the Arabic rhythm and rhyme. His comment:

“These first worship songs will help shape the theology of this nation. We must get the lyrics clear.”

This month, in a few scattered homes in the poorest of all Arab nations, handfuls of believers will celebrate the Savior for the first time with indigenous songs in their own dialect. One day at the Throne all redeemed humanity may include worship songs like those birthed near Al Qaeda headquarters as part of the doxologies of eternity.

Produced by the ministry Heart Sounds International.

Deaf Christians Seek to Plant Churches in Russia.

Does it seem strange to have a church choir made up entirely of people who are deaf?  There is such a choir in ‘The Ark’ church in Novosibirsk, and they perform very beautifully and creatively in Russian sign language.

Last year Igor and Tanya were sent from ‘The Ark’ to study at the OM Discipleship Center in Novosibirsk. It was more challenging for them than for the other students, as Igor has about 25% hearing and can communicate very simply, and Tanya has about 75% hearing. Helping each other in sign language, they were able to take part in most of the Discipleship Center program and graduated in April 2010. The staff and other students ended up knowing quite a bit of sign language as well!

The deaf and dumb are very marginalized and experience severe discrimination in Russia. Often they have very little education and are given few opportunities for employment. There are well over 5,000 people with hearing disorders in the city of Novosibirsk, and many more in the towns and villages in the area and throughout the country.

On 12 December 2010, Igor and Tanya were blessed by their church, ‘The Ark’ and sent out from Novosibirsk to a neighboring city called Kemerovo as Christian workers to start a new church among the deaf and dumb in partnership with OM Russia. They will be based in Kemerovo until a church fellowship is established.

Igor and Tanya hope to open a Discipleship Center for deaf and dumb Christians one day, and to send them as Christian workers to other areas of Russia to reach out to the deaf and dumb communities where there are neither Christians nor churches yet. For more information, contact OM Russia.

Creative Arts Team Impacts Kyrgystan Through Music, Dance and Drama.

Recently a creative arts team made up of OM Arts International’s musicians, dancers, and dramatists, toured in the country of Kyrgyzstan. As a local friend told the team, “The people here have seen a lot of trouble recently. They’re tired of the fighting and problems. They’re weary and they’re open. We want to bring them His peace.”
Despite the still somewhat unstable political situation in Kyrgystan, the arts team were able to perform in many memorable places. One such place was a facility for disabled men that – while improving – has seen years of total neglect and decay. Just last winter 70 of 300 men died of exposure to the cold. Now God’s Word is spreading, there are about 30 believers, and the physical conditions and atmosphere of the facility are changing. It was a great joy to share about God’s goodness and have the resident men dance for joy with the team’s music. Elsewhere, in prisons the team shared an original drama illustrating God’s forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation; and at one university, the arts team’s concert helped a local ministry gain 496 new contacts with whom they can follow up and share the good news of Jesus Christ.
OM Arts International
Excelling in arts in missions
imagine – illuminate – impact!

Bill Drake Band Celebrates the Christmas Season in Lebanon.

“I enjoyed tonight. It was exciting to play on board Logos Hope. The audience’s reaction was fantastic,” said musician Bill Drake after a Christmas concert in the Hope Theater. Keyboardist and singer Bill and his band played a set of Christmas carols and other numbers to a mixed audience of ship’s company and local Lebanese. In between songs, Bill shared about his own life. He told the audience how after a troubled upbringing nearly caused him to commit suicide, he had found peace by getting to know God. He introduced one song by talking about what the first Christmas would have been like. “I love Christmas as it’s such a natural message. To encourage Lebanese people with their Christmas celebration is a dream come true,” Bill added.

Portraying Christ Artistically in Christian Missions.

Ashley, a dancer and painter, returned recently from serving two years as a Christian missionary in Western Asia with a traveling performing arts team. She journeyed across the region, taking part in performances that shared stories of God’s transforming power and love. She also held her own art exhibition, showing paintings that portray redemption through Christ.

She wrote about her experience, saying, “Visual communication seems to simplify things while explaining difficult concepts. Having an extended period of time to learn about the people and the culture allowed for my paintings to portray specific aspects of their lives, while showing Christ as the solution. I often approached a piece not knowing how I wanted it to look, but knowing what concept I wanted to portray. I needed to release my grip on my work and learn to trust God to work through what I created. Results weren’t always tangible, but God’s peace came through the work and the surrounding atmosphere and was seen and felt by the viewers.”

Ashley also spent time learning the local language, choreographing dances and drinking tea. The OM Arts team is grateful to God for Ashley and her heart for world missions. Please pray for more like Ashley to serve God in missions through the creative arts.
More information can be found at: OM Arts International or Operation Mobilization.

North Korean Girl Gives Stunning Testimony at Lausanne Conference.

At the 2010 Lausanne Conference in South Africa, a stirring testimony was given by a young girl from North Korea.  There are over 200,000 North Korean Christians currently in prison inside this nation. Watch this video and consider how you can help.

Open Doors, the organization founded by Brother Andrew, provides scriptures and aid to North Korea.

Thousands Find Christ at Sports Festival in Egypt!

An estimated 22,500 visitors made the journey to the KDEC Sports Ministry festival held outside Cairo Egypt this past week. Over 20 performiers dazzled the audience with their unique talents and then shared the Gospel during this three day event. World champions and talented Christian performing artists and sportsmen in events such as skate boarding, jujitsu experts, extreme power strength artistry, a unicycle stunt artist, freestyle motocross, a billiard trick shot artist, an illusionist, musicians, and many more worked along side Arabic translators presenting the Gospel during the day leading up to a large stadium worship service each night. Evangelists and pastors presented Gospel truths touching the hearts of the many thousands that were in attendance.  Over 6,000 people accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior! The event was broadcast via satellite TV throughout the Middle East and North Africa!

Dustin Kelm of UniShow, a ministry of OM Arts International, performed twice daily and along with the other sports artists, considered it a great privilege to bring the Gospel to the people of the Middle East. Praise God for the way He prepared hearts and harvested many souls into His kingdom during the event!

the crowd worshiping in Arabic!
Unishow before
and after, and ready for the show!