Laptops to skills to trades in Ukraine

My supervisor in Germany recently sent me an e-mail with some pretty cool news about something that eDOT had a had in years ago that is still being used today and now is playing an even bigger role than originally thought. I want to share with you the awesome things God is doing through that project

Unlike here where most people my age and under grew up with a computer, in some areas few people even have access to a computer let alone have their own at their house. A few years back eDOT went to  Zaporozhye, Ukraine and set up what is known as a Mobile Outreach Center. The MOC, a group of laptops used for teaching basic computer classes, was installed at a community center that was an outreach of a church plant in Zaporozhye. Originally the MOC was used primarily for computer training so people were better prepared for more jobs and while they were getting the training they are building relationships with those working there and hearing about/seeing God’s love lived out. That in and of itself is awesome, but this MOC was also being used to help orphans who have “graduated” from the local orphanage.

Recently though there has been plans for a trade school to begin as another outreach to orphans and others needing job training. They were having difficulty getting the school accredited but when they found out that the school would be offering computer classes, the doors were opened. The computer course has been accredited now which makes it easier to get future courses accredited and then eventually the whole program.

What began as a way for people to be surrounded by God’s love while learning basic computer skills has morphed into something well beyond what was originally thought. God’s plan is certainly better than ours and I love when he reminds us of that!

My supervisor sums it up pretty well and so I will leave with a quote from the e-mail he sent.

“We’re finding that technology isn’t always what “it’s about” but many times its the door way for other opportunities to follow.”

The other side of my ministry

First off let me apologize for not posting every day like I promised. This past week has been pretty rough. I was so exhausted most days that as soon as i sat down I was asleep. Add that to the fact that I injured my leg and couldn’t run and my frustration level was pretty high.

Anyway, at the beginning of the month I asked for suggestions for blog topics and my friend Dustin gave me two. I addressed one of them earlier and today I will address the other one today.

Dustin said: I see that you and GEM both put a high emphasis on personal relationships when spreading the gospel. I love this. Why do you think this is important and biblical? Do you have any ideas yet about how you might carry it out in Germany?

Dustin is correct in saying that GEM and I are very purposeful about being relational with people and then having that lead to conversations about God. GEM’s mission statement addresses this very thing when they say “Disciple all peoples of Europe through rapidly reproducing churches.” You can’t disciple without a relationship. Jesus didn’t call His closest followers disciples for nothing.

GEM is huge on this and honestly that is why I will be in Germany creating online courses as opposed to doing them here, which technically I could do. GEM wants me to be in Germany so I can help spread the Gospel to my neighbors. There are a lot of people in Germany who do not truly know Jesus and I can help bring a Christian influence to my apartment complex, my town and my region of Germany.

Beyond the fact that GEM is all about relationships so is God. If you look in the Bible it shows many times that relationships are important, whether they be with God, with people you know or people you are yet to know.  I mean God is jealous of His relationship with us (Exodus 34:14), we are called fools if we do not have a rich relationship with God (Luke 12:21). Then of course there is the great commission (Matt 28:16-20) where we are told to go and make disciples. How can we make disciples without forming relationships? All of these relationships are supposed to be about getting each person involved to a right relationship with God.

So how am I planning on doing this? Well, I have some ideas on what I might do, but since I have not lived in Germany I am also keeping an open mind to possibilities that I have not thought of yet.

One of my ideas for my initially year in Germany while I am taking language courses all day, every day is to find a cafe/coffee shop where I can start conversations with the regular customers or employees and ask for their help with my German and i will help them with their English if need be. I also want to have a German Bible so I can ask them to translate some phrases as well.

Another idea is developing relationships through a garden plot. I have never really gardened before in my life, but some apartments come with them so if the apartment I get does I will try to find a neighbor to help me learn how to garden.

I also want to get involved in the community in general. I have heard that they have hobby groups that meet somewhat regularly. I love photography, running, hiking, traveling and would love to get with a group of locals and explore. I will probably have to know Germany pretty well by then so I might not join a group immediately.

Lastly, and this one might seem a bit obvious, I will join a local church and become involved with whatever ministries in which they are currently involved.

I can’t wait to use the skills God has given me in technology and education, but I am also ecstatic about getting to know Germans and living life side-by-side with them.

Eat well, exercise well and rest well

I was trying to figure out what I was going to write about today and I came up blank. I had no idea what to write about, in fact I probably stared at the computer for a while, trying to find something that would spark some sort of thought in my head, and for a while nothing came. For those of you who know me, you know my brain taking a vacation is fairly common. Most of the time it comes back fairly quickly, but sometimes……

So I was listening to a podcast that the president of Greater Europe Mission, Henry Deneen, does at least once a month. This months was all about taking care of ourselves. It was good timing seeing as this week has not been my best week recently. I have had so little motivation to do much of anything this week. It has been a struggle to “eat well, exercise well and rest well” as Henry said. I am house/dog sitting for my mom and step-dad and I never seem to sleep well there. I can’t blame it on the dog either because he seems just as content to sleep. My inability to rest well has paid a toll on the other things that I needed and wanted to accomplish this week. After listening to the podcast I realized, once again, how vital it is to take care of my body. Missing one of those components can really throw off every other part of your life.

Henry mentions doing a prayer walk around his neighborhood and specifically praying that people eat well, exercise well and rest well. I can honestly say that I do not normally think about praying for those things for other people, but it makes sense. Think about if you are not eating well, what happens? You don’t have as much energy, you can get sick, etc. What about not exercising? Again, not as much energy, fewer endorphins that improve your attitude, less self-confidence, etc. Not resting well? You might have a short fuse, you might skip your devotional time because you are too tired, etc.

We need to take care of ourselves because if we do, our quality of life will improve and we can become a better witness and light for Christ. He deserves out best so we need to do what it takes so we can give our best. I guess that means I need to get to the gym tomorrow.

Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. – 1 Cor 3:16-17

 

GEM and Europe

I want to take time today to show everyone just what GEM is doing in Europe. Often times when I talk to people about what I will be doing, I forget to get excited about what GEM is doing in Europe. I am completely excited about it, but too often I forget to convey that to others for one reason or another. It might be because I have told the story of what I will be doing about 3,965, 422 times (maybe a slight exaggeration) or it might be because I will be sitting at a computer most days, but either way I am excited and I want you all to know why.

First let me refer you to an article written by a GEM missionary and posted on GEM’s website. It is titled, “Europe is Ripe for the Gospel” and if that doesn’t get me and you excited then I am not sure what will. I encourage you to go read the full thing, but I will summarize it as well. Basically the author talks about a recent trip to four major cities in three different countries and the effects of their prayers during their 6 day trip. They prayer-walked (praying about an area while walking through it) for 8-12 hours and made a commitment to talk to interact in some way with 15-30 people each day. The author said he left the trip with four blisters on his feet. Their 6 day trip led to 8 people being led to a relationship with Christ. That is a pretty amazing average, two new relationships with Christ per blister!

What’s is so amazing is that is just one way God has been moving in Europe. Their are countless more stories from the other missionaries in GEM. Quarterly all of the missionaries in the field report back on what they have accomplished during the past three months. The graphic below shows the results of the survey that they filled out. Feel free to peruse the whole thing, but let me point out a few things. In addition to helping people start new relationships with Christ, GEM is also equipping others for ministry. The equipping and resourcing columns best represent what I will spend the majority of my time on. In 3 months GEM has equipped 1,491 people for ministry, Almost half of which were given reproducible ideas that could help them take their knowledge beyond themselves and 130 of those people definitely did share the tools GEM gave them. I think that is pretty cool and I can’t wait to help get that number even higher!