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!


Prayer needed for Europe

My plan today was originally to write a comical view on something I saw on facebook the other day, but I will have to wait for another day to write that because something much more pressing needs my attention.

I don’t watch the news very often, or even read it for that matter so I have been kind of oblivious to the recent nasty cold streak happening across Europe. Calling it a nasty cold streak is putting it lightly. In case others of you are like me, I’ll explain the situation a little before I get into the reason for this blog. Over the past 10 days there has been record breaking cold weather throughout most of Europe, but especially Eastern Europe. The temperatures have dropped to -33 Celsius (-27 Fahrenheit) and some places are snowed in so supplies have had to be airlifted so the death toll does not continue to climb. Recent reports have said that the death toll has eclipsed the 300 mark.

The reason for this blog is to get more people to pray for the people of Europe. This is currently a very hard time for many families over there and it might get worse before it gets better. Please be praying for the families that have lost family members and for the missionaries in the field who may be caught in the bad weather. We all know God can use the craziest things to get people to see their need for Him, so also be praying that this tragedy can be used by Christians as a witness tool and let the church body rise up and help those in need.

Because God Said So

Almost four years ago, I was in Maryland pretty much hating every minute of my job as a Middle School Science teacher. My mom knew that I was not content with where I was in life and that I wanted a change of job and location. She sent me a page out of The Upper Room daily devotional with a little blurb about following God’s plan. That days story was written by a teacher who also did not like her job, but was supposed to be there anyway, according to God’s plan for her. Well, I have kept that devotional and I happened to look at it yesterday. Maybe for the first time I noticed the devotional that was from the previous day titled “Because God Said So.” I am going to retype it out below for you and then explain why it touched me.

Here are the words of LaTonika L. Johnson from the April 2008 edition of The Upper Room:

You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. Romans 8:15

Think back to your childhood. Who was the one person you could always count on to keep promises? When I was a child, I could count on only a few people to do what they said they were going to do. One of those people was my grandmother. If she made a promise to me, I could rest in the assurance that she would do what she promised.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that even as adults we have Someone who always keeps promises? God promises never to leave or forsake us, which means that God is taking care of us. Even when we may not see the fulfillment of those promises in front of us, we can rest in the assurance that our blessings are on the way because God said so.

Prayer: Lord, we thank you for the assurance that you will never leave us or forsake us. Give us childlike faith, so that every day we can remember that you keep your promises to us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

There was no valid reason for me to read this yesterday. I was at a Bible study for the first time and there was a little lull in the discussion so I flipped to the back page of my Bible and found the devotional. I read the one my mom sent me and then flipped it over and read this one. The only valid reason to read this was that God wanted me to read this yesterday.

As you probably know I am raising financial support to be a missionary in Germany. My goal is to get there in September of this year. Sometimes I get discouraged at the lack of change in my support, or the lack of meetings set up, or the fact that I have no idea where this support is going to come from. This little two paragraph devotional reminded me that if it is God’s plan He will provide. I have zero doubt that this is God’s plan for me. I believe He has promised this to me, now I have to act on that belief and go about every day doing all that I can to find the people God has called to be a part of my team. I know they are out there somewhere, I just haven’t found them all yet!

Do you believe God has promised you something? Are you frustrated that it hasn’t happened yet? Like the devotional says, God keeps His promises to us. It might not be in the time frame that we want, but it will be in the time frame that is best for us!

Why Germany?

A question I get asked a lot is why do I have to go to Germany to create an online course. That is a fantastic question and in fact the answer is quite simply I don’t have to. So why am I raising support to go to Germany when it would be so much cheaper to raise support to live in Colorado (our main headquarters is located near Colorado Springs) or even Toledo? The answer to that question is a little more difficult to answer than a simple yes or no. Technically I could do part of my mission in Toledo, Colorado Springs, or Timbuktu for that matter, but that is only part of the reason I will be living in Germany.

So why Germany?

I feel called by God to Germany. I believe He had me take German in Middle/High school so that I could have a base of knowledge of the language before I go there. I also have always had a love of Germany that stems from my time learning the language and culture. There really does not need to be another reason other than God is leading me there, but I will share a few things that show a great need in Europe, but specifically Europe.

Another reason, albeit a very minor one, is a financial/time reason. In order to do my work well, I need to interact with the partners that I will be working with to create courses for them. Could this be done over the internet? Sure, Skype is a fantastic tool, there are meeting software out there that could also facilitate this, but honestly a face-to-face meeting over a couple of days would probably accomplish more. That and the fact that there is a 6 hour time difference between Ohio and Germany (who gets the joy of meeting early or late?), it costs at least $700 per flight and then I would also be sitting on a plane for a good amount of time which would be at minimum partially wasted. All that makes it more feasible to be effective if I am in Europe as opposed to the US.

Then there is the fact that my creation of online courses is only a part of my mission in Germany. I will be a resident of some neighborhood in some town in Germany which may or may not have many Christians. I can be a good example of a Christian. I will get involved in the town, meet my neighbors, invite them to dinner and start conversations that will hopefully lead to discussing Christ and his impact on my life so that they can understand the impact that He can have on theirs as well. Here are a few stats that may help you understand how much of a need for Christians there really is in Germany.  Over the Christmas season, a poll was taken that showed over 53% of Germans did not wish to attend church at all. That is a stark contrast to the American church where people come out of the woodwork to attend church on Christmas and Easter. Now obviously Christmas church attendance does not mean anything in regards to peoples’ relationship with Christ, but if more than half of the population are not attending Christmas services then the odds are they are not attending most of the rest of the year either.

I hope this helps explain why I have been called to Germany and why every day that passes I am getting more and more excited to get to that wonderful country full of lost people. I hope you will consider joining with me, helping me to get there all the sooner.

Go, not come

I went to a training this past week near Chicago that was based on a Church planting movement that is doing amazing things all over the world. While there I was reintroduced to the Great Commission. Just as a quick reminder here is the Great Commission:

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

I have probably read this a bunch of times and yet the way it was presented to me at this conference smacked me right in the face. One of the presenters pointed out three parts to the Great Commission and he believes that these three things are at the core of what makes the commission so great. He said the three parts are:

1. Go – Jesus didn’t say make the people come and then make them disciples, he said go to them. Too often churches only invite people to them and don’t spend a lot of time going to the people. If we spend our time going then people will start coming to our churches more and more importantly their eternal lives will be forever changed.

2. Everyone – Jesus said go to all nations, not just the nations that were wealthy or strong or attractive. He said go to all nations and baptize them. Haven’t we all decided not to witness to someone for some reason or another?

3. Disciple – We aren’t supposed to witness to them and then leave them to fend for themselves, we are to disciple them and bring them closer to God through teaching. I remember going on a missions trip when I was younger and we claimed to have “saved” a specific number of people. I kept thinking to myself, that’s great, but what did we do for them now that we are gone? Did we set them up with a church? With other Christians? Did we do anything? We definitely could have done some of those things, but I knew at the age of 14 that we should be doing that. Why is it that people forget that once they are adults?

If we stay where we are, if we are selective about who we talk to and if we leave new Christians to fend for themselves then we have not fulfilled the commission that Jesus himself told us to fulfill. Let’s change the way we think about witnessing to people and really start changing this world.

Strangers on trains, planes and automobiles

On my recent trip to Maryland I had the pleasure of going to my sending church (well, that is once I leave they will be sending me), South Potomac Church. I love that church, but that is not the point of this blog.

Right before Pastor Dave Huffman talked about passing out invitation cards he showed a video from Worship House Media called “Strangers.” The idea behind the video was that you never know who you might be impacting when you share the gospel and that you could be sitting in a room with someone who was impacted by someone else who was impacted by someone you led to Christ. Let me explain it a little differently. In the video it shows a guy working at a coffee shop and a lady who is a customer of that coffee shop. The lady was the reason that guy accepted the Lord, but they had never met. It goes through the story of how the lady led her college roommate to Christ who led a coworker to Christ who became a public speaker and through a webcast caused a guy to come to Christ and then that guy witnessed to/mentored the guy in the coffee shop. I’m not going to lie, I cried a little. I didn’t sob, but a tear did squeek out of the corner of my eyes. Only one tear though. 🙂

Here is why my eyes watered. I don’t know how many people I have led to Christ, it is an unfortunate reality that I am not exactly proud of and I am working on changing. While watching the video I got a major urge to start a chain reaction of my own. The best part about it, is these chains do not glorify the person who started them because they may never know all of the people they impacted. Therefore the glory goes only to God and that got me even more excited.

After I watched the video I went to a training in the Chicago area and we talked about church planting movements and going beyond evangelism. That encouraged me even more to start with evangelizing right now, and not wait until I’m in Germany. There are lost people on trains, planes and automobiles who might just believe in Christ because of my story. So, I need to get that story told to as many people as possible and you know what? I think we all could share our story more than we do more and start some chains of our own.

Upcoming trips

Hey everyone,

I just thought I would update you all on some trips that I will be taking this month. If you are anywhere in this area and want to catch up or meet with me to learn more about my mission then please get a hold of me any way that you can.

Here’s my itinerary:

Nov. 30-Dec 4th – Waldorf, MD – running in a 5k on Saturday, catching up with supporters and visiting South Potomac Church

Dec. 4th-8th Wheaton/Hinckley IL – T4T (training for trainers) training and visiting family

Dec. 10th-Dec 14th – North Carolina – My first set of meetings that directly deal with my mission. Meeting with other technology in missions people to collaborate and come up with the best ways to work together to further spread God’s kingdom. I’m totally excited about this.

I definitely could use your prayers as I am traveling more than I am used to. Thank you so much!