Missions

Love Feast England

15 March 2012

Check out this amazing and powerful video.

Love Feast England Tour 2012 Promo Video from Love Feast on Vimeo.

 

Small Church, Big Future

4 March 2012

Today, Dad and I drove about 30 miles to a church in Crane, MO. As a full-time missionary, Dad is on his year of “itineration” where he gets to travel from church to church, sharing reports of what God is doing around the world and especially in French-speaking countries.

And, exceptionally, I had the privilege of traveling with him.

The small town of Crane calls itself the “neatest town in Missouri” but in my opinion the neatest thing about the town is the church we attended and its pastors, George and Margaret Burnash.

The Burnashes are friends from my college days. Both are incredibly smart and have huge, welcoming smiles. God brought them to this struggling church several months ago and has given them an intense burden for their community.

Walking into the church, the first things I noticed were the missions posters all around the sanctuary with the “red and yellow, black and white” faces from all over the world: Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe, Eurasia, North America, Latin America … It made us feel instantly welcomed.

Pastor George, Margaret & son Joseph

The church and its pastors have a pioneering spirit. The church itself looks like the epitome of a little country church, with its white facade and sturdy wooden pews, but the congregation has thinned out over the years through a variety of events. But though the church may be small, it has a big heart and a big vision.

We had a wonderful time of praise, worship and prayer (as well as great donuts and coffee, I’ve got to admit it!), Dad’s sermon was good and he didn’t require that I sing, like he did when I was a little kid (I’m very happy about that).  We all sense that God is getting ready to move in a big way in Crane.

As I read in a devotional book yesterday, “When we know what God has called us to do, we can also know He has provided the wherewithal to get the job done!” If you are facing a challenge that looks pretty scary from where you’re standing, know that if God has called you, He will equip you. He’ll also send friends and companions along at the right time to stand beside you and help you in your work. Just be faithful to that call!

Please take a moment to pray for George and Margaret and their two children:

  • For protection over their lives and their work
  • For strong Christians to come alongside them to help in the ministry
  • For financial provision for the Burnashes and their church
  • For courage in the midst of adversity and joy in the midst of discouragement
  • For God’s intervention in the lives of the people of Crane, esp. in the area of deliverance from unhealthy habits and addictions

“When we know what God has called us to do, we can also know He has provided the wherewithal to get the job done!”

Looking Back & Looking Forward

7 September 2011
"Point Zero"

Point Zero in front of Notre Dame

In celebration of this blog’s one-year anniversary, here is a reminder of the site’s reason for being. This post was first published on September 1, 2010.

I looked down at my calloused and blistered feet and thought with a bit of sarcasm, “So these are the beautiful feet of those who bring good news! God has a sense of humor.” I’d just walked and prayed over what seemed like every inch of Paris.

Paris was no stranger to me – it was the land of my birth and childhood. My missionary parents had moved to France from the States before I was born and we’d lived there until I relocated to the U.S. for college. Now I’d returned to France for the summer not just to see old friends and enjoy the food but to spend some time praying over the city I loved so much. My goal was to walk and pray in each of Paris’ cultural and historical districts over a two-week period.

As I walked the streets of Paris, I felt the Lord directing my thoughts and showing me how to pray. I met God in strange places there: I thought I would find Him in the magnificent cathedrals, but He was made a beggar there – a statue with downcast eyes and upturned palms, with a sign asking visitors to spare four euros for the upkeep of the sanctuary. I thought He would be far away from the red light district, but that is where I felt the need for Him most strongly. He is close to the broken-hearted.

This prayerwalking journey was the inspiration behind PrayerWalk Paris, the first in a series of Christian guidebooks that weave a spiritual dimension into the act of sightseeing. Prayerwalking changed the way I see Paris and Parisians, the way I see God, and also the way I see myself. I was hooked. When I “prayerwalked,” I looked like an ordinary person on the outside, but inside I felt like a superhero.

Update: Prayer for Colombia

15 April 2011

On the eve of the team’s mission trip to Colombia, Francisco writes:

“The time has come. Tomorrow is the time to depart after months of expectation and planning. The whole team is anxious to meet Bogota–the city and the people–and see what God will do this Holy Week.

God is faithful. He has provided more than needed. He has refined the schedule and plans by opening amazing doors of opportunity.

I appreciate your love and passion for Colombia, and your prayers and support for this adventure. Please keep your prayers up the coming days. Tomorrow we will board a bus to Reagan International Airport in DC where we will fly out to Houston. By midnight Saturday April 16 we will take off to Bogota where breakfast should be waiting for us around 5:00 am. Take a shower and go.

The week will start at church that same Sunday with preaching, teaching Sunday School and having a good Colombian lunch with the congregation. Some of the other ministries that will keep us busy until Friday are ESL classes, afternoon programs and teen mothers’ ministry, street evangelism and prayer walk, community breakfast, and orphanage visit outside of Bogota. 

Pray for the Spirit to move in might ways, pray for the families who stay in the US. Would you lift the team in you quiet time?

Please enjoy some photos of Bogota, visiting this link. We will be working in many of the places you will see.

With much appreciation,

Francisco”

My 100th Post

12 April 2011

In honor of my 100th post, I’m recycling a piece originally posted on September 8, 2010. This blog post encapsulates the passion and vision behind the PrayerWalk guidebooks and the reason for being of prayerwalkguides.com.

Travel With Purpose: A Divine Mandate

Sunset in Beijing

Sunset in Beijing

From the beginning, Christian travel has been purposeful travel. An examination of the travel patterns of early Christians reveals that when they traveled, it was for a specific purpose: to make Christ known and to spread the Gospel message.

In our modern era, a few heroes of the faith stand out as men and women who traded everything they had in order to travel the world and tell people about Christ.

One of those heroes is William Carey, known as the “Father of Modern Missions,” who was born in England in 1761 and became a shoemaker at age fourteen. By the time he was twenty he had mastered Greek, Hebrew, Dutch and French. Carey began to realize the implications of the Great Commission by reading The Last Voyage by Captain Cook. He felt God saying to him,  “If it be the duty of all men to believe the Gospel … then it be the duty of those who are entrusted with the Gospel to endeavor to make it known among all nations.”

 “If it be the duty of all men to believe the Gospel … then it be the duty of those who are entrusted with the Gospel to endeavor to make it known among all nations.”

And Carey replied, “Here am I; send me!”

When Carey explained his understanding of Christ’s command to “teach all nations” at a ministers’ meeting, he was greeted with skepticism and jeers. One man shouted: “Young man, sit down: when God pleases to convert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine.”

But nonetheless Carey went to India. There were no Indian converts for the first seven years but by the time Carey died in 1834 the Scriptures had been translated and printed into forty languages, leading to the conversion of many.

A number of mission organizations formed as a result of the excitement generated by Carey’s departure to India.  Soon one of America’s first missionaries, Adoniram Judson, set sail for India as well. Among the missionaries of this era was J. Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission, of whom it was said: “Never once in fifty years did the sun rise in China without finding him on his knees.” At Taylor’s death in 1905, there were 205 stations with 849 missionaries and 125,000 Chinese Christians in the China Inland Mission.

River Scene, Beijing

River Scene, China

Wherever they went, these godly missionaries built churches, schools and orphanages, and helped bring technological advances to those who had not benefited from the European industrial revolution. Others, like Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone, helped to open trade routes while carrying out their divine duties.

Their example reminds us that we, too, must be willing to bring help and hope wherever we travel, carrying out the divine command to “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.”

For more information on how you can leave an eternal “footprint” when you travel see PrayerWalk Beijing.

Prayer for Colombia 2011

19 March 2011

My friend Francisco is leaving for his native Colombia in less than a month with a group of 14 people from his church. He says the plan came into being during last year’s mission trip to Buenos Aires, over a fine cut of world-famous Argentinian beef. Oh, the power of food to inspire! 

Their work will be framed by a holiday called Semana Santa (Holy Week), a major Catholic holiday commemorating the death and resurrection of Christ. They’ll arrive on Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday, April 17) to departure on Sábado Santo (Holy Saturday, April 23).

Most of the opportunities will be related to ministries such as:

  • English as a Second Language
  • Tutoring and mentoring children at risk and their families
  • Adolescent single mothers
  • Prayerwalking in downtown Bogota
  • Visiting and serving indigenous displaced people
  • Street evangelism
  • Reaching out to recyclers and their families

Please join this team in prayer. Consider choosing a moment, an hour, a day, or a week to pray for their trip (before, during, even after!). These are some of the prayer needs that Francisco lists:

– The planning. Still working on logistics and coordination of multiple plans.

– Safety for the trip, safety for the families who stay. His wife and 3 children will not be able to come.

– For the Holy Spirit to move powerfully in each team member

– For open hearts and ears

– For God’s provision and wisdom

Francisco will keep us posted on how things are going during the trip. Thank you for praying!

Behind the Scenes: The Making of PrayerWalk London

4 March 2011

I thought I would take you along with me on one of my “reconnaissance” missions from this past summer: my fact-gathering trip to London to research the chapter of PrayerWalk London called “Parks & Recreation.”

From journal entry dated Sunday, July 18, 2010

Research Begins

I discovered my raison d’etre at the birth of the PrayerWalk guidebook series seven years ago. All those seemingly random and diverse “dots” in my life came together and a picture emerged that not only made perfect sense but made my pulse beat faster because it was so completely what I could see myself doing for the rest of my life.

Today I’ve taken an early train to London to do some research for PrayerWalk London, which I hope to finish in early 2011 in light of the upcoming London 2012 Olympics. My goal is to encourage Christians visiting London to have a prayerful mindset and to realize that they can make an eternal difference even as they enjoy themselves by praying as they walk around the city.

Regent’s Park and Marylebone

My reconnaissance mission for today is the area of Regent’s Park and Marylebone (pronounced “Marly-bone”) just north of the city center.

Narrowing down the area that I’ll cover happens seemingly randomly. With Marylebone, I asked a British friend of mine, Caroline, for a recommendation as to the best place to have tea in London – a pretty general question considering there are hundreds of tearooms! She told me that Marylebone High Street was one of her favorite places to go in London and mentioned a little market on Moxon Street that she likes there as well. I’ve learned to listen to the “natives:” they always know the best little places that often go unmentioned in major guidebooks.

Farmer's Market on Moxon St.

As I did my initial research I prayed that God would guide me and give me a check in my spirit if I was wasting time at any point in my research. I prayed that He would open my eyes so that I could see more clearly what He wanted me to see.

The theme for this walk is “Parks and Recreation.” I think it’s very appropriate that this walk be done on a Sunday. Relaxing alone or with family is a very important – and very healthy part – of English life. Just look at all the parks in London! On any given Sunday all of London turns out to enjoy family and fun in the city’s parks.

The Strategy

Today I’ll be doing the walk in reverse order from what it will probably be in the book. Why? For one thing, there’s a market from 10 am to 2 pm on Sundays only and I’d like to browse there and pick up some picnic items for a picnic in the park.

I have a pedometer on me, and as I walk I’ll make notations concerning the time and distance between each highlight of the route. There will be seven walks in PrayerWalk London, and each chapter will begin by noting the starting point and finishing point of the walk, days to avoid the walk (for example, if the walk includes a museum that is closed on a certain day of the week), and the length and time needed for the walk.

Want to see how the walk turned out? See Parks & Recreation Highlights.

Prayerwalking: Making a Difference Around the World

5 October 2010

What is prayerwalking?

Prayerwalking is a term coined rather recently that describes a combination of actions as old as time: praying and walking. Simply put, prayerwalking is communicating with God while walking. There is no formula for prayerwalking: some people walk in groups and pray out loud while others prefer praying silently on their own.

What does prayer have to do with travel?

Want more out of a trip than just souvenirs and postcards? Prayerwalking presents an opportunity for a more meaningful and potentially life-changing experience.

Since prayer can be a silent activity, it is an ideal way to make an eternal difference in a foreign country without offending nationals or making a cultural faux pas.  Prayer can be as natural as thinking and does not need to be uttered to be effective.

Why walk instead of, say, taking a bus tour?

Bus tours have their purpose, but walking tours have increased in popularity over the last decade as travelers realize that there is a better way to see a city than being herded like cattle from one tourist spot to another. People want to experience the sights and smells of the city, to see “behind the scenes” and get a taste of local color. You can’t get that looking out the windows of an air-conditioned bus.

“There is no substitute for the walking tour. Walking allows you to really experience a place—city, town or village—rather than just observing from the window of the bus. Walking tours introduce you to real life and real people, instead of the tourist industry that keeps you at arms length from Europe’s rich cultural experiences.” – Debbie Rodriguez, Director of Journeys of Faith Christian Tours

Why incorporate prayer and travel?

Prayer cuts through barriers of time, space, and cultural differences. Praying not only changes the person or cultural group being prayed for but also changes the intercessors, increasing their sensitivity to the spiritual context of their surroundings, particularly in time of conflict, frustration and insecurity that will often be experienced in a multicultural setting.

Want to know more about prayerwalking? Check out prayerwalkbeijing.com.

Travel With Purpose: A Divine Mandate

8 September 2010

Sunset in BeijingFrom the beginning, Christian travel has been purposeful travel. An examination of the travel patterns of early Christians reveals that when they traveled, it was for a specific purpose: to make Christ known and to spread the Gospel message.

In our modern era, a few heroes of the faith stand out as men and women who traded everything they had in order to travel the world and tell people about Christ.

One of those heroes is William Carey, known as the “Father of Modern Missions,” who was born in England in 1761 and became a shoemaker at age fourteen. By the time he was twenty he had mastered Greek, Hebrew, Dutch and French. Carey began to realize the implications of the Great Commission by reading The Last Voyage by Captain Cook. He felt God saying to him,  “If it be the duty of all men to believe the Gospel … then it be the duty of those who are entrusted with the Gospel to endeavor to make it known among all nations.”

 “If it be the duty of all men to believe the Gospel … then it be the duty of those who are entrusted with the Gospel to endeavor to make it known among all nations.”

And Carey replied, “Here am I; send me!”

When Carey explained his understanding of Christ’s command to “teach all nations” at a ministers’ meeting, he was greeted with skepticism and jeers. One man shouted: “Young man, sit down: when God pleases to convert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine.”

But nonetheless Carey went to India. There were no Indian converts for the first seven years but by the time Carey died in 1834 the Scriptures had been translated and printed into forty languages, leading to the conversion of many.

A number of mission organizations formed as a result of the excitement generated by Carey’s departure to India.  Soon one of America’s first missionaries, Adoniram Judson, set sail for India as well. Among the missionaries of this era was J. Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission, of whom it was said: “Never once in fifty years did the sun rise in China without finding him on his knees.” At Taylor’s death in 1905, there were 205 stations with 849 missionaries and 125,000 Chinese Christians in the China Inland Mission.

River Scene, BeijingWherever they went, these godly missionaries built churches, schools and orphanages, and helped bring technological advances to those who had not benefited from the European industrial revolution. Others, like Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone, helped to open trade routes while carrying out their divine duties.

Their example reminds us that we, too, must be willing to bring help and hope wherever we travel, carrying out the divine command to “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.”

For more information on how you can leave an eternal “footprint” when you travel see PrayerWalk Beijing.