THE FIRST LIFE I LEAD
Lately, I have come to realize that I live three lives. The first is my life as a husband, father, and grandfather. What an honor to be entrusted with Sharon, six children, and sixteen grandchildren.
If I could reach back to my early years of marriage, I would have started out as a Christian instead of the atheist that I was. If I could rewind, I would have been less threatened and more loving as a young husband and father…ok, at other times too.
By God’s grace and Sharon’s patience, I came to know Christ and grew into a mindset a universe centered around God and not me. What has been consistent through the years is that, however flawed I am, I ASPIRE to be the husband, father, and grandpa/papa that Christ wants of me. I know to do so I must continue to draw upon the strength of Christ and the Word of God.
With regard to Sharon’s recent battles with an auto-immune disease, two brain bleeds, and a broken femur, I think of Adam’s response to God in the Garden after the Fall when he said, “The woman you gave me….” In saying that, Adam meant to shift blame on Eve—but he was right—Eve was the woman God gave him.
I know as well (not to blame but to give thanks) that Sharon is the woman God gave me. Moreover, I know I have a stewardship to care for her as best as can as she recovers from her physical challenges. I aspire to honor God in that stewardship, whatever comes with it.
THE SECOND LIFE I LEAD
The second life I lead is as a staff member of Global Training Network (GTN) to serve Majority World pastors and leaders by providing teaching and training in essential Biblical theology, vital Christian character, and practical ministry skills. As a part of GTN, we have developed a four phase (eight sessions each) workshop we call “the Divine Expedition.” It is designed to equip leaders to reach people for Christ, make disciples, develop leaders, and multiply and strengthen even more churches.
The fruit of our endeavors is very encouraging. Leaders we have trained are training others who are training others in Uganda, Brazil, Nepal, and Ethiopia. Before the pandemic, we also began training in El Salvador.
Because of the Covid-19 virus in Brazil, training stopped for one and a half months before Divine Expedition Brazil leader and pastor Sammy Diab pronounced, “Guys, we have to keep going!” And so they have. In addition to continuing trainings in Southern Brazil, teams of trainers are being developed four other Brazilian states —plus they are gearing up to begin DE training in Portuguese-speaking Mozambique.
In Nepal, DE training has now occurred in 22 locations. Due to the pandemic, the Nepalis have shifted to on-line training. Many are sharing with others “I was lost, Jesus rescued me, and He can rescue you too,” one of the tools in our Phase 1 training. We are working on putting the DE training on a computer chip that can be installed in cell phones.
At least three churches have been planted as a result of our training in Entebbe, Uganda, as well as four more in Western Uganda. The emphasis of the national leaders in Uganda is to empower trainers and hub-teams in various other regions of the country as well as the neighboring countries of the Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, and South Sudan.
The organization we work with in Ethiopia is seeing 2,000 baptisms per quarter through their disciple-making movement strategy. Because of the decentralized ministry structure, regional leaders are now taking the Divine Expedition training all over Ethiopia. One of the effects of the training is that it has given Ethiopian Christians a different look at Romans as a life transformation and missional impact book.
We have recently developed an internet training site using a Kajabi platform. It will soon have training for trainers in the national languages but be done in such a way as to protect the anonymity of the national leaders due to security and safety concerns. Here is the link:
(Note: the information above was shared by national leaders in each of the countries mentioned during a recent series of Zoom calls together.)
WHAT ABOUT THE THIRD LIFE?
I’ll write about that in our next On Expedition ministry update.