Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Tebego praying for the sick


village picture with kids

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Nambia Update 1

These are the initial days in a new country. What to do? What does one do in a new land? Get busy right away? Work hard? I say, it is mandatory to begin anew with a fresh downpour of the Holy Spirit and receiving of Him through the availability of relationship with Him through prayer. So today, I set aside the day for prayer and intercession. Intercessory prayer is such a beautiful partnership with the living God. Man does not need man to access Christ, the veil is torn and He alone is the mediator. Yet somehow He chooses to live inside us---when we pray we begin to see things from His side of things and other men by grace recognize in our pathetic little jars Someone else lives inside and He can see through us into them.

I’ve got one brother with me here. His name is Tebego (pronounced “Tay-boch-hoh”) and he is like my “Timothy.” I remember Paul’s words “there is no one who has helped me like Timothy” and the same is true of this brother. I’ve felt lead of God to equip him in the most practical and literal of terms. On our 3 day drive here across 3 countries, I let him practice his driving abilities, work on getting his driving license, and showed him how to shift gears etc. I took him to the South African Home Affairs before we left to get him a passport. But it is me, not him that is blessed. The Father is good to not place me in a new country without moral support. I know He is with me, but even so it is a blessing to have that team spirit in ministry for my own accountability yet also for the sake of ministering as a team as well. My thanks are for your prayers for him, not just me. I’m without doubt that God Himself commanded this dear man to be sent forth. Tebego had a good job with decent money, and when I prayed over him asking “Lord, do you want him to go with me? If so, Lord, he would have to surrender his job to You.” That same week I watched in awe as this brother moved in faith, quit his job (I hadn’t told him about that prayer yet) and began to volunteer in the community. Only God. When I asked him to come with, his simple but solid reply was, “sure.”

Namibia has villages to the north that from what I’ve been told are strait-up out of National Geographic. There are people that live completely disconnected from society, completely untouched and both literally and spiritually naked. Namibia has only 6 Assembly of God churches in the entire country, and there isn’t another Pentecostal Church with a good presence here either. It’s a land the size of Texas and Oklahoma combined, with just 2 million people. Yet there are many parts where pavement ends and dirt road begins. Yesterday I drove on a pure dirt road for about 200 miles and saw only one other car that strip. Many are nomads and farmers, and in the villages many are unsure if they have even a simple church at all.

Please pray with me. Please, set aside time, please call and cry and carry on for this case in the court room of heaven. Pray with me that love is released in this land. I feel my destiny has awakened and that this is “the real deal.” Pray not just for “my” ministry but my 2-years in Christ brother Tebego is birthed into the minister he is destined to become. Pray we not look down upon youth but let the Body see Jesus in a fire of passion inside my little jar and the other young jars here.
Bless you in the adorable name of Jesus!!!!


Namibia Update 2

Well, this part of the journey was where we spent almost 2 weeks in 2 different regions of Namibia, the Northwest and Northeast corners. It is still amazing to me the immense urban development of the cities in the south that stood in shocking contrast to the villages in the north. In our Western ignorance, we could assume that there is such a thing as universal African culture; but truth is that even Africans themselves live on many different social levels. To say that an African in the city is just like an African in a village is to say an uptown New Yorker is just like a Tennessee "hill-billy".

Beyond these cultural issues lies an impeding reality--tribes of people remain forgotten. We were able to minster in places where scattered evangelism has taken place across the past few decades, yet no lasting witness has remained and a current generation of villages has barely, if at all, heard of Jesus and His love for them. Imagine driving through the southern half of Texas and visiting 30 different small towns, and finding not one single church building, one single pastor or even Biblical teacher...this was the sight for my eyes, this was the haunting reality that I've only read about untill now...I am definetly not one to confuse the true Church with buildings, however the reality was that without the material structures there was also no one ministering in vast regions of dozens of villages...

Of course, I myself was convicted at the reality that I was also joining the ranks of infrequent evangelistic work. However, I also knew that if I even have 2 pennies to give to God, He accepts it gladly. I also realized I work not to relieve the guilt that Christians mistakenly carry in response to the greatness of the world's needs, but I work to please the Father. "Apart from Him I can do nothing" said even our Lord His Son. It's all about Jesus! So, Jesus took my little offering of a few days here, and a few days here, and He used these days to bring dozens, even hundreds to Himself.

This is where we would walk into a village and speak to just a few. We were always welcomed with offers for chairs (or sometimes to join them on the large stones they sat on) and cool cups of water. We found that a chat under a tree would repetively turn into a gathering of the whole village. Across 5 villages and 1 village school, we perhaps spoke to about 50 people in each place. I'm not wanting to count numbers and tell you about our multitudes; for the pleasure of Jesus is my only goal. However, it was pure joy that when Jesus is lifted up, all men will be drawn!

Those in the Northeast were of mixed tribal backgrounds, but the Lozi tongue was the mutual language that they used for trade. Partnering together with our Pastor-friend, we translated the rarely heard Scriptures for them. In each village, the Lord told me to tell a story of the prodigal son who left his father. I put it into their context, telling them about a boy that grew up with a rich Cheif as his father...he left the village to spend money in the big city, only to find himself out of money...when he came back the Cheif ran to the boy....it was the same story in their words (except it still had to be translated) and I was thankful to the Holy Spirit to give me the words to say each time. Some were backslidden becauase they hadn't heard for a long time; even the drunks came out from the village bars (funny that the bars will go, but the Church won't) nearby and listened to these stories of love...and the drunks were the first to raise their hands!

My favorite of all these hundreds of lives was Ka Mbela Mbela....the witchdoctor that gave his heart to the Lord. I really want to revisit this area, Lord willing. But the best thing was the fact that we brought 7 young college age Christians from the city, so Lord willing they will provide some follow-up. I read the wisdom of Paul, who knew he had to move around, which is why he appointed Gentile leaders like Timothy and Titus and many others who would remain...he knew he had to go, but one would plant and another would harvest. Working toghether with the nationals, for me, means that Jesus gets the Glory at the end of the day.

We also were able to pray for rain cloulds in the NW corner of Namibia, and find the next day God sent them!!!!!!!!!!!!! I already spoke on that in my email, but man, Jesus is great. We were able to give a Bible to a lady, under the premise that she would read the gospels aloud to the entire village once we left. She agreed...I can see that when the day comes when the Lord allows me to focus more on village outreach and less on the media-related work that I do to serve the missionary body (my tent making job for now) I will then be able to concetrate serious time on teaching the "inner" disciples in each place...it's amazing to me how the Holy Spirit always has a few chosen one's in each place...there are those that kinda get it, those that get it, and then those that REALLY get it...they sometimes are also the elders in age, which would make for good elders in the Church. I, too, know that the Lord has asked me to follow Him without so much as a foxes den or a birds nest or a consistent place to lay my head. Even this next month I look onward to Mozambique for a time of refreshment and training under Iris Ministries, which has seen revival across that land. And in January I look onward toward tentative plans to go to Angola for 2 months and serve a missionary there, while traveling throughout that post-communist nation and ministering in villages where just 15 years ago it was illegal to preach.

And, that's where it was joy to have my brother Tebego with me. If no one else was made into a disciple this entire month, I know he was. I enjoyed sharing my "mic" time with him and coaching him in communication and preaching. He blossomed from a young man that had only ever seen the small region of his South African province (kinda like only visiting one state in the US) to a man that knows how to minister across culture, outside his familiar city area into the mud-huts and rural country. I know that if I'm never able to re-enter Namibia, this young believer will be able to hear his calling from the Holy Spirit and follow up on those people now that he knows the way.

As the Body strives to be a team, we'll finish the Great Commission in this generation, Lord willing.
in Jesus name!


Namibia Update 3

Well, my apologies to those who may have been waiting for a blog update. It was difficult in Namibia with 45k-dial-up internet (for you non-techies, that translates into SUPER slow) at about $10 per hour at local cafe's to get access, and sites like blogs and myspace are even harder to upload/download. I just barely made it through all the emails in the course of a month.

Here I am, sipping a fruit smoothie and using wireless hi-speed at a favorite cafe of mine in South Africa. Is the world I saw last month a dream? Are the images a memory, or are they now a deeper part of who I am? In just a short time, my life is different, all over again...launching from SA to Namibia was like my first missions trip to El Salvador at age 19, and coming back here has that "back in the USA effect." Yet it is all-together different being around the luxuries of South Africa, for in this land I live half a mile off a highway that runs through 4 countries; and I'm constantly aware as I look out my window and see the lush beauty of this land that within a 24 hour drive I can re-visit the "bush" and villages and regain the heart that they took from my chest. Anyone who knows me well can imagine the pain and crucifixion I live with when I live in comfort. Yes, that's not a typo; as Tommy Barnet said "the Kingdom of God is backwards and upside down compared to the world." I'm weird---give me the dirt! Give me the crum, the scum, for me it is fun!!!!

And reliving this life of comfortable beds, decent restaruants, hot showers and good coffee only serves to re-emphasize and affirm what I hold to be an incredible truth in this hour of the Church: people are forgotten. Every so often CNN or the 6 o'clock news serves a message from the Lord that reminds us that someone on the other side of the world is left alone. But what about when the other side of the world is in your grasp? I've driven down interstates where tourism flourishes and whites from all over South Africa, Europe, and the USA come to live a life of material freedom; only to push another 12 kilometers (approx 8 miles) off the main road and drive down bumpy gravel roads, where thousands live without electricity. The irony of it all makes me want to laugh, scream, shout, cry and sigh all at once. I couldn't help but wonder how many of them were ardent, faithful church-goers, hooked into a religion of weekly attendance where it's easy to ignore the events not within their schedule.

But I've learned in this month that this Kingdom we represent and this King that we serve is not One Who simply wants the Church to serve the social and political reformations of the Earth. This King Jesus rebuked His disciples for thinking that He was developing His followers to emerge into a new worldy kingdom of material thrones that would have a natural power and overthrow the visible forces inside flesh and blood (here I'm refering to the disciples wanting Jesus to become King of Israel and to be on the throne with Him). We would do well as a Body to realize that if we trust in the invisible Jesus to do the supernatural, it will both transcend and yet include the natural. I've sat back and watched Jesus do great things this month, though perhaps at times my mouth was moving or the eyes of men were looking at me; I found that even as a vessel of proclamation I myself was listening to the Holy Spirit inside me with such excitement at what He was going to do.

Well, to you faithful readers I thank you for going on this journey with me. Thanks for understanding the only reason you see Jesus in me is because of the cracks on this jar allow His glory inside to shine through. Bless you for praising Jesus and not man for His greatness. Let's win the world, let's find the forgetten around us. You might find an angel under those shaggy clothes!
in Him,

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