With the arrival of 2011, it is instructive to reflect over the past several months and see how the Lord has challenged us, surprised us and provided for our needs in every situation. After Katy and I returned from the Philippines a year ago, we were reminded of the great abundance that we enjoy in the United States. Along with that reminder came the gentle, but persistent nudge by the Holy Spirit asking us to evaluate our personal stewardship as Christians in light of the incredible economic chasm that exists between the world’s developed nations (particularly the West) and the underdeveloped or undeveloped nations. And, along with personal stewardship questions came hard-thinking and prayer about the direction the Lord is leading Reach Ministries International (RMI). God has placed on the corporate heart of RMI to help facilitate the Global disciple-making initiatives which the leadership of REACH Philippines has articulated: to have vibrant disciple-making ministries in six Indochinese countries by the year 2015. To date a ministry with a full time tent maker has been established in one of these countries. This missionary has developed relationships with a number of local residents and has formed a core team of believers.
A joint-meeting between RMI leadership and leadership from REACH Philippines was convened in Los Angeles this past April. During the two-day meeting, our discussions focused on the issue of how to optimize the relationship between RMI and REACH Philippines for Kingdom work.
With the successful establishment of over a dozen ministry areas in the Philippines over the past 35 years emphasizing small-group disciple-making ministries, indigenous leadership development, a whole-person or “holistic” approach and a commitment to the poor, we felt that this template was a viable tool to establish and multiply effective ministries in Indochina. In addition to these distinctives, we want to ensure appropriate contextualization by building on existing culture and norms.
The deliberations concluded with the adoption of a Memorandum of Understanding which essentially defines how the two organizations will partner together for intentional Kingdom work in Indochina.
Katy and I spent a few days in Indochina this past October visiting ministry areas where God is using committed, courageous tent makers to share His Gospel. When we returned to the United States, I found myself weeping almost every evening as I prayed and lay in my comfortable bed, with a full stomach, no fear of malaria or dengue fever, no fear of anarchy or thieves or contaminated water or food. Again, I was reminded of the tremendous economic disparity in the world. I was also reminded of the Hope that was on the faces and in the voices of the young believers in the ministry areas we visited - despite the economic poverty. The Hope is a manifestation of the transformational impact or ‘redemptive lift’ of the Gospel.
At a school where our missionary teaches English, I was asked to share. There were about 10 students. I shared about our family and where we live in the United States. After several minutes, one of the students asked if I would share from Scripture. I was coached ahead of time to not share a lot of theology. Being a lay person, I was good with that. However, this request from a burning heart, by a 20-something college student was God-given.
I shared Ephesians 2:8-10. That beautiful fact of grace for this broken and torn world; and, for many of the students, torn and broken families resonate on a personal level. It was a defining moment. It was a moment where kindred hearts intersected in the Person of Christ – hearts separated by 10,000 miles of ocean and land mass and by light years culturally and economically. It was overwhelming to me. These students are the seedbed for a potentially great harvest in God’s timing. And, we, YOU, are part of this.
We are unable due to confidentiality to publish and mass distribute the photos and names of these fellow Christ-followers. However, I would like to share on a one-on-one or small-group basis the stories of some of these folks, their pictures and their names. Please contact Dale Igo at the RMI office if you would like to hear more about this initiative.
We know that World Mission is not primarily about “fund-raising”, but rather responding to the higher call to go and make disciples of all nations. We know that God’s resources are without limit and that He provides for His people and His work. However, we (RMI) have committed to raise $3.00 for every $1.00 raised by REACH Philippines specifically for the Indochina initiative. We need your help and the help of anyone you may know that has a heart for the unsaved.
In November, a senior leader with REACH Philippines established a contact in a second country with the possibility of participating in the establishment of an English Language School. I plan to visit this area after the first of the year.
We cannot thank you enough for you continued prayers and financial support. PLEASE consider what we are attempting in Indochina and prayerfully consider a financial gift for this work. For any gifts for Indochina, please write on your check “Indochina Initiative.” You gifts are tax deductible, but more important, you are a partner in this labor of love.
Reach Ministries International