“Therefore I will praise you among the nations, O LORD; I will sing praises to your name.” — Psalm 18:49
ON “THE DIVINE EXPEDITION” IN 2016
Sharon and I have been “On Expedition” to rescue lost people for Christ and restore them to God’s design. Our vision to do this is to equip leaders to multiply viral, missional, church-planting movements (Matt. 28:16-20; 2 Tim. 2:2). We call our training “The Divine Expedition.” Here are some of the highlights from this past year:
- We completed the four phase, four stage Divine Expedition training in the Ugandan cities of Ggaba (Kampala), Rukungiri, Gulu, and Soroti.
- We graduated four Ugandan Master Trainers who completed each of the four phases four times progressing from Participants, to Contributors, to Co-Presenters, to Lead-Trainers, therefore becoming Master Trainers.
- The Ugandan Master Trainers led Phases 1 and 2 in Entebbe, a Phase 1 in Kampala, and another Phase 1 in Mbarara. Indigenous Ugandan leaders are now training others who are training others, who are training others (2 Tim. 2:2).
- Note: Phase 1 is “Romans as a Life and Mission Map”; Phase 2 is “Aligning Your Heart with Father God’s Heart”; Phase 3 is “Empowering Others for Multiplication”; and Phase 4 is “The Book of Acts and Multiplying Viral, Missional, Church-Planting Movements.”
- Brazilian Samir (wife Marcia) Diab has taken the role of Divine-Expedition National Leader for Brazil.
- Brazilian Tony (wife Mariana) Ademo has taken the role of Divine-Expedition Director of Training for Brazil.
- We completed the Divine Expedition Phase 4 training in the city of Bom Retiro do Sul (Sammy Diab’s home church), and are progressing in our sequence of training in three other cities also in the southern-most state of Brazil.
- Ten Brazilians have now been trained and are qualified as Lead Trainers in Phases 1 and 2.
- In the greater Sao Paulo State of Brazil, we completed Phase 3 in Jacarei, Phase 2 in Valinhos, and Phase 1 in Matao. We also completed Phases 2, and 3 in Recife (state of Pernambuco). Following is one of dozens of responses we received after our training in Jacarei,
“I was able to forgive those who had hurt me. Today I am free of that because I feel peace. Thank you Lord, for today a miracle happened. I was forgiven and I was able to forgive.”
Here is one of over 100 responses to our Phase 1 training in Matao:
“I liked the interaction of the team, the exercises (on posters), and putting it into practice, moving beyond theory to practicing evangelism on Saturday.”
- Along with Phil Graf (co-founder of the Divine Expedition training), we edited each phase of the Divine Expedition manuals multiple times to reflect the input of national leaders.
- We are in the process of translating each phase’s training into Portuguese (Brazilians Marcia Diab and Tony Ademo).
- In each of our Phase 1 trainings, participants led between 5 and 15 people to Christ during the outreach part of our training.
- We have also seen dozens come to Christ in the church services where we spoke (9 people indicated decisions to follow Christ this past Sunday in a church where I spoke).
- This was my fourth year as part of the Traction staff, a retreat led by Daniel Hahn for 50 at risk missionaries. Here is a testimony from one of those attending:
“I can honestly say that I am a changed man since Traction. Or maybe I should say that for the first time in my walk with Christ, I have finally understood who I REALLY am in Christ and I’m choosing to live in that identity. The changes have been radical and have left me and my wife in shock at the differences.”
- I was privileged to speak at three churches in Europe that we were part of planting, connecting with a number of leaders and friends, including some who came to Christ during our church planting years in Europe.
- Sharon and I attended a great Global Training Network (GTN) leadership gathering in February. GTN has now grown to over 100 staff who are training in in 72 countries.
- Sharon and I connected with churches, friends, and ministry partners in the Pacific Northwest in July.
- I had the privilege of attending an Adventures of the Heart retreat led by friend Reese Bricken and son Linus Jr. in August.
- When not traveling, I continue to meet with a great group of men and lead the NO BS BS. Our current them is “Big Issues that We Face Today.”
- The goal of this study can be summed up in an E and 4 Cs: to Equip others to “Communicate and Contend for the Gospel in a Compelling and Compassionate way” (I send the notes out after each study). Some of the themes we have undertaken so far include:
- “Does God Really Exist or Are We Just Making This Up?”
- “If God Exists, What Is He Like?”
- “Isn’t Chance Wonderful…We are Creatures of Chance, Aren’t We?” and currently,
- “Where Did the Western World Turn Off from a Judaeo-Christian Worldview?”
BUSY, SOMETIMES INTENSE, BUT FRUITFUL
Reflecting back on the year, it has been a busy, sometimes intense (had typhoid fever in Uganda, just missed a car jacking in Brazil, and scarred off a burglary attempt at home) but fruitful year. Sharon and I joyously celebrated our 55th wedding anniversary, and saw our sixteenth grandchild enter our lives (9 grandsons, 7 granddaughters).
We are grateful for you—the churches, friends, and family members—that make our ministry possible. Thank you for being “On-Expedition” with us to rescue and restore others through the good news of our Savior-Redeemer Jesus—and sing his praises among the nations.
Linus and Sharon