Here is one of those obscure “internet research” facts:
People do not typically click on a link or a file in an email to open it.
If the information they want is not in the text of the email, it will not be read. However, long emails—like this one—don’t get read, either.
That’s really discouraging for folks like us who want desperately to share about the amazing work that God is doing through OIC and who work diligently to create the file that is, well, attached.
Since the attached Update (that’s your cue to open it now) covers two trips involving six nations and ten ministries, it is mostly just basic, factual information and some pictures.
If you haven’t already opened the attachment…
Human Interest Stories
So here are just a few stories that add some “human interest” to the newsletter vignettes…
Two extant ministry locations in the Philippines grew to three in January. And although this was our first time in Davao (click for pics), God blessed our work at Soli Deo Gloria Christian Church in wonderful ways. Susie, who never gets sick, had a bit of a medical problem while we were there. But our training program included several doctors who came to her aid and resolved the issue. Following the training we “retreated” to a nearby resort for a couple of days. Susie and I had the (not so) bright idea of taking a hike in the jungle. We promptly got lost and had to be rescued! It was only after we left that facility that we discovered that we had been uncomfortably close to an area of civil unrest!
Our gracious and far-too-generous partners in Cebu (click for pics) determined to take us on a gastronomic world tour during our days with them. It’s just a little embarrassing to mention that we ate at restaurants representing nine—yes, nine—different nations. Crazy, huh? We loved spending time with Mel Caparros, Lead Pastor at Living Word, and his sweet wife, Marie. Their church has nearly one hundred “outreaches”—ministries we would call church plants—not only in the Philippines but also in various other nations. In fact, in just a few weeks we’ll be going to the UK to connect with two Living Word churches to discuss biblical counseling training in England and Scotland.
Our final stop in RP was in Manila (click for pics) at one of our partners’ churches, Higher Rock Christian Church. The Update contains the story of their extravagant preparation for the 400 people who attended our Module 2 program.
It’s an overnight flight from Manila to Sydney, Australia, from which we jumped down to Melbourne (click for pics). Our Lord allowed us to begin another new training program there in cooperation with Biblical Soul Care Australia, this one at another international partner church, GraceWest Bible Church. And Susie was given the privilege of teaching a special Ladies Evening program.
On page two of the Updateyou’ll find pictures of the two graduate classes at Kyiv (Ukraine) Theological Seminary (click for pics) that kicked off our second trip of the year. And on the weekend between those classes, I had the privilege of serving the staff at Word of Life, Ukraine (pics in KTS slideshow). Although both the director and I suffered with a cold, God was good to give us a great time.
During the second week of KTS classes something else of special significance happened—we hired a Russian Director for OIC, Stepan Pavyluk! You’ll be hearing more about this soon, but it is a really exciting development in the expansion of our work in the Slavic World.
Our modular program in Egypt (click for pics) was next, with another exciting development— one of our MBC graduates assisted in the teaching. This is a really good program being done in partnership with New Renovare Ministry, a biblical counseling training ministry under the direction of Dr. Yasser Farah.
My teaching in that modular program finished at 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday. Then we were whisked from one conference center (in the desert) to another (near Alexandria), and I began teaching in an academic program (for NTCGS; click for pics) at 4:00 p.m. – until 9:50! What a day!
The most challenging, and yet in many ways the most wonderful, days of ministry on this trip took place in St. Petersburg, Russia (click for pics). Challenging? I taught nearly a whole module of new material by myself and had some difficult conversations. Wonderful? We “graduated” more than 50 folks and began to plan future ministries in Russia!
Finally, Susie and I and our OIC colleagues Don and Elizabeth Roy stopped by “The Motherland” (have you seen my family name?) Amsterdam, Netherlands (click for pics). Our one day “Introduction to Biblical Counseling” seminar was designed to help us assess the wisdom of initiating a modular training program, a ministry Don would direct, there. We were pleasantly surprised when 55 people from 21 churches attended, an indication from our Lord that we should move forward! Personally, I’m thrilled!