I am primarily an evangelist and teacher who travels around the world in apostolic ministry as God leads and enables me. In addition to preaching and teaching the Bible, I mentor our key partners to be more strategic and impactful for the Gospel in their countries and cultures, just as they continue to mentor me. I am relationally focused rather than program or project focused in ministry relationships and partnerships.
“Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him?” (James 2:5)
Dear NDI Partner,
Happy and Holy New Year in the love of the Lord Jesus! I trust that you are off to a strong spiritual offense for 2008. I heard someone say this week that the 3 greatest impacting factors for each of our lives are: “The people we meet…the places we go…and the periodicals we read.” How true!
That means that your spiritual progress and prosperity in ’08 will be largely determined by people, places and periodicals. Or by relationships, real estate and reading. The crucial questions for this New Year are these:
· Will you run with the carnal crowd or the spiritual crowd?
· Will you frequent places that make you more spiritual or more worldly?
· Will you read the kind of books and magazines and watch the kinds of TV and movies that fill your mind with the eternal or the earthly.
· Will you move from success to significance this year?
· Will you just build a life or build a legacy in ’08?
Therefore, our spiritual progress in the weeks and months ahead will be determined by who we hang out with…where we hang out…and what we hang in the memory bank of our minds by our reading and viewing.
In light of that truth, it is my prayer for you that ’08 will be a time for you of…
· Meeting with people who will sharpen you as “iron sharpens iron” (Prov. 27:17) – rather than people who will dull your ‘cutting edge’ spiritually.
· That it will be a year in which you frequent the places where God is at work so you can say with Jacob: “Surely the Lord is in this place” (Gen. 28:16) – rather than lament what Abraham said about Gerar: “There is no fear of God in this place” (Gen. 20:11).
· And I especially pray that you will read only those periodicals and books that will fill your mind with the liberating truths of God – especially the Bible which we are “…to read all the days of our lives so that we may learn to revere the Lord” (Deut. 17:19) and so that we can “…be prosperous and successful” (Josh. 1:8).
I have just returned from my third recon trip to Abaco, Bahamas, with several businessmen friends who are on the ‘cutting edge’ of what God is doing in missions. We were down to do the final planning for several up-coming mission teams to build two churches for the Haitian Diaspora there. These men – Coy Tillett, Bruce Williams and Rick Norvell, are veterans of multiple work teams to Haiti and the Bahamas. As successful Christian entrepreneurs, they love leading and participating in mission building teams for our Haitian brothers and sisters who have such spiritual vitality in the midst of such great poverty and privation.
Rick, Jackie and Bruce go over the plans for the new church with the Haitian pastor.
NDI Board Member, Coy Tillett with two of our Bahamian pastors who partner with us in our ministry to the Haitian Diaspora.
Coy, with Pastors Swain and Sawyer we will be partnering with in this new church for Haitians on this location.
Coy and Pastor Sawyer on the site where we will build the next Haitian Church.
Bruce and Rick share greetings to the Haitian congregation they will be building a new church for in early February.
As the Scripture I quoted above reminds us, God has indeed made those who are poor economically to be “rich in faith” and “heirs of His Kingdom” in a way that most of us prosperous American Christians know little of! That’s why I often preach this paradox: “There is a riches that leads to poverty and a poverty that leads to riches.” Tragically, it is often our financial prosperity and the “deceitfulness of riches” that choke out the vitality of God’s Word in our lives – as Jesus warned about in His Kingdom Parables (Matt. 13:22).
Therefore, while we First World Christians have the economic prosperity – our Third World brothers and sisters have the spiritual prosperity. We have the “riches that lead to poverty” while they have the “poverty that leads to riches.” That’s one of the reasons that I spend so much time in the Two-Thirds World – so I can have the materialism in my own life challenged, checked and cleansed! After each trip, I come back home to American not wanting so much “stuff!” So going on a mission work team is a great way of re-prioritizing and re-focusing your life. There is just nothing like getting “down and dirty” for Jesus in the trenches and ditches of life where God’s Holy Spirit is so mightily at work! That’s why I hope many of you will join me or one of our other NDI staff on a “Kingdom Adventure Trip” sometime in ’08.
Speaking of “Kingdom Adventure Trips,” I am just before leaving again for Africa for travel and ministry until the end of this month. I will be gone from Jan. 15th – Feb. 2nd. This trip will take me to Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan – in that order. As you know from the recent news, Kenya has recently erupted in terrible violence along political and tribal lines that has left over 300 dead and thousands of others hungry and homeless. So we will be visiting many of our partners there to assess how we can help.
In Ethiopia and Sudan we will be visiting our growing agricultural projects at the “Genesis Farm” and “Eden Keeper’s Farm” that are providing jobs and hope for hundreds of people. Both are through our partnership with “Double Harvest” and the VanWingerden family. So pray for Len and Arie VanWingerden and Bert Lemkes whom I will meet up with on this trip. Pray especially that we will not get malaria this time like Kelly Cantrell and I did back in September! To help in the fight against malaria – the top killer in the world, we will also be distributing some deet-treated “Life Nets” that many of you helped us purchase through your Christmas giving. I will also have a father-and-son from Raleigh, Ted and Teddy Randall, who will be going with me to work. So all of us covet your daily prayers for the following ministry schedule:
· Jan. 15: Fly from RDU
· Jan. 16: Arrive in Nairobi, Kenya
· Jan. 18-24: Ministry with Stakwell in South Horr
· Jan. 25: Fly to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
· Jan. 26-28: Work at the Genesis Farm and visit new project in Awassa
· Jan. 29: Fly from Ethiopia to Sudan
· Jan. 30-Feb. 1: Work at the Eden Keeper’s Farm in Yei, Sudan
· Feb. 2: Fly back home
Finally, since this is our “40th Anniversary” as a ministry, we have established a new “ND Alumni” site on my personal blog (ND Alumni Blog). Through it we will be posting a lot of information and pictures from the early history of this ministry. There is a principle of living that says: “You cannot understand your present or future unless you understand your past.” That’s because we live in the present in anticipation of the future through the experiences of the past.
So I believe you will really enjoy visiting this new “ND Alumni” web site from time to time. It will help you “connect the dots” between who we are as a ministry today with who we were back in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. Through pictures and stores from our archives, you will meet the many high school and college students whom we mentored and ministered with in years past who are effective Christian leaders today in every walk of life. It is their shoulders that we stand upon today through NDI. Through this new web site you will clearly see the relationship between the “new directions” we were taking decades ago in interdenominational and interracial ministry and the “paradigm of partnership” that we are involved in today with strategic national leaders around the world.
Finally, I am thankful to let you know that soon you will be able to go to the “Biblical Principles For Living” page on my personal blog to read and down-load my sermons, writings and books. In addition, you will be able to go to a special “video site” to look at my teachings and mission videos. All of this is being prepared by one of our NDI Alumni, Randy Durham. He is one of the most creative media people I know of who has traveled on many mission trips with me. So if your church or business needs professional video work done, I would highly recommend that you contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or thru his website CredencePictures.com. He is the best in the business!
We look forward to our continued “partnership in the Gospel” in ’08 for His Kingdom and glory…
In His Faithful Love,
PS: Thanks SO MUCH for your faithful and generous giving this past year. Because of your prayers and partnership, we were again able to “end the year in the black” financially! To God be the glory!