Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ready for a new week

I don't have time to write much tonight, because it's after midnight. We spent 6 hours driving 450 kilometers to Garca, Brazil, where we'll be teaching for the next few days. We worshipped with the Baptist Church here tonight. It's always encouraging to meet other members of God's family.

We start up a new "second generation training" tomorrow. That means that we're partnering with Pastor Edson, who is one of the guys we were training last week in Atibaia. The guys we train have all committed to pass it on to others. There are pastors and leaders ALL OVER Brazil who are being impacted by LRI's training. I'll say more about that tomorrow, when I have more time.

One interesting note- there were hundreds (literally...not an exaggeration) of green parakeet-type birds in the trees outside our window when we got here this afternoon. Amazing sight.

Prayer Requests
1) It's going to be a short night. Pray that God will give us restful sleep.
2) I'm teaching tomorrow about "staying on the line", which basically means teaching "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" when we preach God's word. Pray that I'll be effective, and that God will use it.
3) I'm 500 kilometers "in-country", in the Brazilian forests. This is WAY outside my cultural comfort zone. Pray that I'll be able to connect w/ people when we're so different from each other.

Friday, February 26, 2010

If I'm one of the "teachers", why do I feel so inadequate?

There are certain things that are ALWAYS true when I travel with LRI training pastors. Here are a few of them:
1) I eat interesting foods. I like this. The foods can be disturbing (seasoned grasshoppers in Oaxaca) or difficult to swallow (fermented mare's milk in Kazakhstan) or fabulous (omelets with amazing African seasonings in Kenya). That's Brazilian pizza on the right, featuring heart of palm, olives, some kind of unfamiliar cheese, and a few other things I didn't recognize. Maybe it's good to NOT be able to read the menu...
2) I miss my family. Nuf said...
3) I realize that God is bigger than I thought he was. I think maybe we should each be on a life-long journey of discovering this truth.
4) I become more and more convinced of the importance of what LRI does. There are literally MILLIONS of pastors in the world, and more than 80% of them have no formal Bible training of any kind. If a pastor doesn't have the tools to teach God's Word, the consequences can be frightening. (Remind me to write sometime about a few of the cults that we've become aware of around the world...I just found out about one the United States...) But as we equip these pastors, it's not an exaggeration to say that thousands of pastors are being trained, hundreds of churches are being planted, and huge numbers of people are meeting Jesus.
5) I feel inadequate. Cuz I am... As I get to know the TNTers in each country, I feel as if I'm sitting with some of the great heroes of the faith. In some countries, they've been beaten...persecuted...imprisoned... They've lost their jobs, and have often sacrificed time with their families to make a difference for the kingdom. They generally serve in small churches with very little earthly reward, and they give of themselves to train others around the globe. But regardless of how inadequate I am, God consistently shows HIMSELF to be adequate. Good thing this ministry is built around HIM, and not Mark Morris. How pathetic would THAT be?

1) Our training with the TNTers wrapped up today. The guys are headed back to their homes- some of them driving more than 10 hours. Pray for safe travel, and that they would be faithful and effective at training other pastors.
2) We're meeting tomorrow with a missionary and a visiting US pastor, who want to know more about TNT. Pray for a good conversation, and God's leading.
3) Other than one meeting, Saturday is our day off. We'll be resting up and preparing for a busy week of training/teaching in Garca, a city about 5 hours in-country. Pray for my preparation.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Getting my Feet on the Ground

When I titled this blog posting, the phrase had several meanings:
1) Right as we pulled away from the gate at O'Hare Tuesday night, they had a problem with a hydraulic pump. That meant that we sat there for more than an hour. After the repairs (which I assume were successful because I'm not floating in the Gulf of Mexico right now), they made up the time in the air and we arrived exactly 6 minutes late in Sau Paulo. After about 11 hours on a plane, it's WONDERFUL to "get my feet on the ground".
2) This is my first time in Brazil, so I'm trying to "get my feet on the ground" culturally. I've been to Ecuador several times, but Brazil is completely different- different language (Portuguese), different climate (hot), and different culture (by far the most European of the South American nations). I was picked up at the airport by Eduardo Mendes, who is an Elder at Primiera Igreja Batista de Atibaia (First Baptist Church of Atibaia). We had about an hour's drive, and he immediately helped me to feel at home. (For those of you in the midwest, the temperature was a humid 86 when I landed)
3) Tim Sattler, the Director of our Brazil ministry, began the training on Monday, so I arrived a couple days late. I've been trying to catch up on relationships and content very quickly- "getting my feet on the ground".

Our Brazilian training is hosted by the church in Atibaia, which is a small city outside Sao Paulo. Sao Paulo is the 7th largest metropolitan area in the world- think of the New York area with the population packed into half the area.

The 12 pastor-trainers we're working with are from all over the country. They're training hundreds of pastors in their regions. I'll write more about that in the next few days.

Midnight...tired...good night :-)