27
Jun 14

Why I went to Nigeria and Cambodia

In the past 2 months, I traveled to Nigeria and Cambodia.
Both of these trips were for ministry and I am better because of them.

Nigeria
In April, 300 young girls were kidnapped from their school by a terrorist group called Boko Haram. As I learned and prayed more about this (and the many other abductions like it) happening in that country, I felt compelled to go. God gives me a love that makes my going unstoppable. In May, I went to Abuja, Nigeria.
I went to Nigeria not because I think it needed me, but because I was moved by the tragedy of the girls’ abduction & if I was one of the fathers, I would find some comfort in knowing that people loved enough to come from far away to stand with me.
I went there to love & learn. I think I succeeded.

The teams of World Horizons USA and Hillside Missions worked hard and well to be sure the trip was fruitful. I think they succeeded.

Some of the things I did in Nigeria:

  • I spoke, preached and prayed at 2 churches in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
  • I attended and spoke at rallies in support of action to rescue the abducted girls.
  • I met and prayed with the Governor of Borno (the state where the girls were abducted). I was also invited to return and travel as the guest of that governor to pray with families of abducted girls.
  • I participated in a simultaneous prayer vigil event held and broadcast at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, DC and a church in Abuja, Nigeria.
  • I ate one too many snails.
  • I got embarrassingly ill after eating chicken from a road-side stand.
I spoke and prayed at this church in Abuja. Many of the congregants here are relatives of abducted girls.

I spoke and prayed at this church in Abuja. Many of the congregants here are relatives of abducted girls.

The girls have still not been returned. As of today, It has been 74 days since the girls were taken. We continue to pray for their safe return. We’re also considering further action we can take.

One of the possible outcomes of the abduction is that the public outcry against Boko Haram would cause that terrorist group to be broken. That’s our prayer also.

Cambodia
In June, I traveled to Phnom Penh Cambodia because I was invited to help to plan and develop a program to train Chinese missionaries who will plant churches among unreached people in Cambodia.
The result of the trip is that there is a training program for Chinese mission interns now operating in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The program is modeled after the Hillside Missions internship program. More work is needed, but they are already up and running with 9 residential Chinese students. Awesome.
The World Horizons USA and Hillside Missions teams are now working to support this training initiative. We’re excited to see waves of Chinese missionaries making disciples in Cambodia.
Initially, John and Christa H. (missionaries with Act Beyond) had asked me to come to help them to discuss and plan for how to develop a mission training internship somewhat modeled after what we’ve built here in Richmond. Their aim is to train and mobilize Chinese missionaries into Cambodia (and eventually other nations).  I have known and worked among Chinese peoples with the Harrills for about 12 years.
Samuel, a long-time Chinese missionary to Cambodia, and John H. have been working together with Chinese people in Cambodia. Samuel recently joined World Horizons as a field member. Jonny H. (World Horizons Cambodia team leader) is also supporting the development of the project.
In the long-term, the hope is that a multi-organizational collaborative training program for Chinese missionaries could grow in Phnom Penh.
I left Phnom Penh very encouraged. I believe that the time and resources are very right for this. I’m also encouraged by the collaborative prospect that this entails. We are planning a follow-up trip in October to continue to support the formalization of a mission training program there.

Some of the other things I did in Cambodia:

  • I met with Hannah Look in Phnom Penh as she arrived to begin a 5-month externship as the final stage of her mission training with Hillside Missions. 
  • I ate Japanese food, French food, Mexican food, Cambodian food and Indonesian food. 
  • I spent time with old friends and made some new friends. 
  • I taught the 9 Chinese mission students
  • I thought about tattoos
teaching chinese mission students in cambodia

That’s me teaching mission to Chinese students in Phnom Penh.


09
Oct 13

A small window into my days

I lead a Christian mission ministry from its U.S. headquarters office.

Weekday mornings, I sit on a pillow on the carpet in the office. The 12 to 16 of us meet there to read and discuss the next chapter of the Bible, pray and then talk about tasks and projects. Jonny, one of interns training to do mission, will lead the Bible discussion today. Each of the interns are learning and practicing to lead Bible discussions.

After the morning meeting, we work.
I balance most of my office time between planning and organizing the ministry’s next activities, corresponding with our team members living on the field in other countries and teaching the interns. This morning, I will lead our group of 7 interns in a teaching discussion about the theology of mission.
These interns have come to learn to do mission among the world’s least reached nations. A few months from now, those interns will be sent to various field team locations for a 3 to 6 month mission “externship”. They will then come home and make decisions about long term mission.

Lunch happens.
Interns usually go upstairs to their apartments above the office to eat. Most days I teach online classes over lunch. I teach online for a few different schools as a “side job”.
If I’m not teaching for lunch, I like to go to the restaurant across the street. I love being a regular at a restaurant. I’m writing this from my usual seat at that restaurant right now. I’m drinking espresso.

We work in the office until 5pm.
This afternoon, my wife will teach a session on Spiritual Gifts for the interns, and the staff will each work on the tasks of their ministry area. I will speak, via Skype, with at least one of our missionaries on the field, assign tasks to other staff and prepare some speaking notes for a message I will give later this month at a church in Indiana.

This work is more than a job. It is how I am living toward the accomplishment of my prayers and it is how I respond to God’s call.


13
Mar 13

A Village Visit, Church Planting, Fertilized Duck Egg and St. Patrick

Today, we’ll be visiting a village area a couple hours outside Phnom Penh. A long-term goal is to see a church planted in the area. We’ll be going with some of the long-term team to meet people, make friends and pray.

After the village visit, our friend Jon Gordon will take us on a Food Tour in the city. Spiders and fertilized duck-eggs are on the list of scheduled tour bites. Can I eat a fertilized duck egg? I give myself a 50% chance. Is anyone willing to take bets and cut me in on the profits afterwards?

A photo update:
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The trip is going great! The timing has been ideal and it has been good to have the opportunity to remind our friends here how valuable their work is. Yesterday we had a party and gave gifts to the World Horizons mission team. We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day American-Style with cheesy green decorations and accessories in an Indonesian restaurant with 1 Irish man, 1 Canadian woman, 4 English people, 1 French woman, 1 Indonesian and 5 Americans.

Later, we spent several hours at an orphanage run by our friends. It’s a good and happy place and evidence that the work being done by our team here is achieving long-lasting, sustainable good. I’m proud to be a member of this organization.

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11
Mar 13

Today in Phnom Penh, we’re teaching “Why are foreigners so strange?”

Today, we’ll be working and teaching at a youth outreach program in Phnom Penh. The ministry is called MorningStar. They run daily programs for kids from 5 to 21 years old. We’ll be teaching an English lesson, a lesson on how to make “pizza bread” and a class called “Why are foreigners so strange?” as an introduction to cross-cultural communication and mission.
Cambodia has a part to play in God’s plan for the nations.

We are the foreigners and we are strange.

I just took this photo from my seat at a coffee shop. This boy and girl were flirting with each other.

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29
Aug 12

A good month

After 3 1/2 weeks of travel, I am back to the more normal routine here in Richmond, VA.

Here’s what I did this month:
(This post is meant to be read with the song “I’m Too Sexy” as background music)

My family and I went to Chihuahua, Mexico for one week. While we were there, we signed a lease on a new facility for the School of Mission Mobilization. It puts the training program right in the center of the city of Chihuahua. Now, we can be more accessible for the rotating faculty and the churches with whom we are partnering. We are still using the original facility in Matachi one week per month. The new property has a swimming pool.

My wife and I went to Cancun, Mexico for a one-week vacation. We stayed with a friend who lives there (gracias Claudia!). It was great, of course. I got sunburned and loved it.

I went to Liverpool to visit Anna Ridley. She is a member of our World Horizons team and she is in the hospital with an extreme form of Guillain-Barre syndrome. She is currently paralyzed by this condition, but she’s getting better. We picked on each other and prayed together.

While near Liverpool, I also visited (and stayed with) other friends and fellow members of our organization – David and Lesley Skews. We ate, drank, talked and had fun. David taught me that Liverpool is where God lives.

I spent the next week in Wales attending a 30 year anniversary celebration and conference for World Horizons. More than 300 of us got together for this celebration and I met lots of people doing great things around the world. I also collected as much Welsh food experience as possible. Thanks to my Welsh friend Mike Adams, I accumulated a good list of food-firsts.

Back in Richmond, I’m sitting in my office in the Edit Gallery (the U.S. headquarters for World Horizons and Hillside Missions) writing a “To Do” list on my chalkboard. This is also a list of things we’d appreciate prayer for:

Fill the Training Director position
Fill the Administrator position
Recruit trainees for training in Richmond and Mexico
Create ad content for an ad in “Relevant Magazine”
Create content for printed promo materials/brochures
Plan our participation in Urbana 2012
Plan the 2012 US staff conference
Prepare the 11/2012 the Middle East trip training
Plan the 2/2013 Cambodia trip
Transition from Quicken to Quickbooks
Set up DonorPerfect
Schedule speaking engagements for “How to become a missionary: 5 steps”