Happy New Year to all of you!
In just a couple of days, Bertha and I will be back in the Philippines, where we spent the first 10 years of our missionary life. As you can imagine, we are really looking forward to seeing our friends and visiting the churches where we served. Our former house (apartment) is now the PSC office, and we will be staying just next door in the Philippine Guest House. The Guest House is also the venue for the next MOP that will be held in the Philippines from January 16 - 27.
It will be a full house, with 20 MOP-ers flying in from Taiwan, Thailand, Mindanao, Canada and the USA. Seventeen of the MOPers are Filipinos, one is Taiwanese, one is Canadian and one is an American. But the biggest distinction in this MOP group is that the majority of them are already missionaries, just not members of SEND. A good number of the Hope South team in southern Philippines will be joining our organization, as well as some experienced missionaries from Taiwan, Thailand and Spain. Pray for us as facilitators as we seek to introduce these cross-cultural workers to SEND and deepen their understanding of effective cross-cultural service while at the same time drawing out and reinforcing what they already know.
From the very beginning of SEND U, I have wanted to see SEND members engage in discussions with one another about the work we do. Proverbs 27:17 reminds us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” I want to see these discussions cross area boundaries, so that what we have learned in ministry in one area can benefit those in other regions. The lessons learned the hard way by trial and error in one ministry context cost too much in time and resources to keep them to ourselves. We must not overlook the possibility that another area could avoid our mistakes and apply our principles in their ministry area, and thereby reduce their “trial and error” period. Some of that is happening in our “summits”, and I see another Youth Ministry Budapest is being planned for March in Budapest. Some of these discussions are also happening in the online course that I facilitate for team leaders. Another session of “Team Leader Orientation” is being planned for February 6 - March 18. As in previous sessions, we will have team leaders from multiple areas (6 SEND areas and 1 World Team area at last count). I am looking to lots of good cross-pollination as team leaders often struggle with the very same issues, regardless of geographical location or mission affiliation.
To facilitate these discussions, and allow SEND members to share what they are learning with one another, I have created a Facebook group for SEND U. It is a secret group, meaning you cannot read the posts in this group unless you are a member. You also cannot see who is a member unless you are a member of the group. The group is limited to members of SEND International, and only the administrators can add members to the group. By making it a secret group, we are hoping to minimize the security risk of creating a Facebook group of people within our organization. If you are a Facebook friend of either Lisa Engelsman or me and are not working in a creative access area, you have already been added to the group. If you would like to join the group, please request to be a FB friend of either Lisa or me, and we will gladly add you. If you do not want to receive notifications of posts in your email inbox and only read them on your Facebook page, you can change your notification settings.
The Facebook group is a place where you can share training resources or ideas that have been helpful in your ministry. Feel free to ask questions or respond to posts of other people. I do not want to be the only one posting! Anyone who is a member of the group is invited to participate. I will be using the FB group to notify fellow Kindle owners in SEND of temporarily free books that would be of interest to missionaries. By the way, for a limited time, Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret is available for free in Kindle (mobi) format.
I also want to draw your attention to a free monthly newsletter published by Dr. Bob Vajko of TEAM. Dr. Vajko is a church planting consultant with TEAM International, and he and his wife Noreen served as church planters in France for 29 years and then 7 years in Australia. You can receive his newsletter, filled with biblical teaching, resources, ideas, and interviews, all on the subject of church planting by simply writing him at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org and requesting it. I have quoted part of his last newsletter in my blog post on the importance of coaching church planters.
It is still early in the year. If you have not yet created a learning plan for the coming year, I would encourage you to do so. What do you want to learn? In what areas do you want to grow? Be intentional about choosing learning activities to address these areas. As I mentioned in my last Training Tracks, I have created a Word template you might find helpful for creating an Individual Development Plan. Team leaders have a tailored template in the SEND U Team Leader Training Curriculum.
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