Scattered by Design

Written by Lee Heyward on Tuesday, 10 May 2016. Posted in Blog

Scattered by Design

Dear Friends,

Today I want to share with you an excerpt from a firsthand report about our recent BrookLink conference. The author, Arash was my translator throughout the training.

I have been working alongside men and women of God in 222 Ministries for over three years now and I’ve been a witness to God’s great work among the Farsi-speaking people, particularly amongst Iranians. I am involved in 222’s Internet ministry, helping them with the design and development of their web services, but I’ve also had the honor of translating valuable lessons taught by teachers who are invited to our conferences throughout the year. 

I was fortunate enough to be a part of 222’s latest conference in Turkey in mid April. This was the second time I’ve had the privilege of working with Dr. Lee Heyward. He is a great teacher of God’s Word and he has a blessed international ministry, equipping, empowering and releasing leaders all over the world, and his teaching has been a great blessing to me personally.

'The response we had from the leaders and other guests at the conference was phenomenal. They found a new thirst and eagerness to study the Bible starting at Genesis all the way up to Revelation...’

The Power of Story

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 30 March 2016. Posted in Blog

The Power of Story

Everyone has a story. When meeting people for the first time I am eager to learn their story. Good stories grab our imagination, invite us in and broaden our understanding!

Someone once said that God created human beings because He loves stories. As proof, consider that over 70% of the Bible was written in story form. The Old Testament tells about God through the stories of His people. Even Jesus used imaginative stories to tell the world about God’s outrageous love for human beings.

I’ve just returned from Awash, Ethiopia—a market town situated in the central region about a 4.5 hour drive from the capital city of Addis Ababa. The city sits atop a large gorge overlooking the Awash River, part of Africa’s famous Rift Valley. And oh—did I mention it was hot, dusty and desert-like!

The week was spent teaching and training 75 pastors and church leaders, all of whom minister among the Afar people (an unreached people group). Having little to no access to a Bible School or formal training, these men and women showed up promptly each day eager to learn how to study and teach the Bible.

One highlight of my week was inviting men and women to immerse themselves in the giant storyline of the Bible. Africans by and large are ‘storied’ people—stories feature prominently in their cultures. No wonder that seeing God as the Master Storyteller and the Bible as the epic story is so captivating!

Here’s the really cool part—God not only writes His—story, but He writes the lines of my story and your story too! And oftentimes He writes the storyline of our lives to make something known about His!

Lee, Luelseged (translator) and Pastor James

Windows to the World: Milwaukee

Written by BrookLink on Wednesday, 30 March 2016. Posted in Blog

BROOKLINK'S 7TH ANNUAL WINDOWS TO THE WORLD EVENT

Save the Date

Written by BrookLink on Tuesday, 01 March 2016. Posted in Blog

BrookLink's 7th Annual Windows to the World Event

 
 

From the Field | Ethiopia

Written by Lee Heyward on Friday, 26 February 2016. Posted in Blog

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From the Field | Ethiopia

There are so many enriching benefits of a short-term mission experience! It is not just about the work you do or the shared experience itself; mostly it is about the relationships you develop.

For two weeks, we’ve sat together, eaten together, prayed together, worked together, struggled with language and cultural barriers together, hurt together, failed together, laughed together and learned together. Quickly and powerfully friendships form, barriers decrease and love grows!

It’s also these same things that make farewells so hard! These past two days the team has been saying their farewells to our Ethiopian friends. On Wednesday Pastor James and I (Pastor Lee) said good-bye to seventy-two pastors and church leaders. Over the course of the past week we have encouraged these servants of Christ to prioritize and model disciple-making in their ministries. We have instructed them about the importance and necessity of deepening their spiritual lives through daily interaction with the Word of God.

During our concluding session we reminded the pastors of the Apostle Paul’s words from Romans 10:14-15 and John 13:1-15.  We then had them gather in small groups to wash one another’s feet as a way of symbolizing, “how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Pastor James and I then gave each pastor a pair of socks that had been sent by one of our donors, along with a copy of the book, How to Understand the Bible (translated into Amharic). Pastors in this part of the world seldom have access to solid theological resources, and it was quite moving to both of us to see their joy receiving a book in their own language! Then the pastors gathered around us, showered us with gifts and prayed over us—one of my more memorable moments of our time here!

Thursday was our last day in the medical clinic. While the docs examined the few remaining patients, the rest of us helped pack up remaining supplies, hugged people and said our goodbyes.

In Ethiopia, like most African cultures, there are customs and cultural traditions that are important to observe and honor. One of those is the final farewell. And no farewell is complete without Ethiopian coffee!  Our entire team gathered in a tiny office along with our cousins—district administrators, medical personnel, government employees, grateful patients and giddy children. A sea of faces peered through windows and doors to say their thanks and send us off! We exchanged comments, testimonies of the week and gratitude between us. The District Administrator thanked us on behalf of the hundreds of people who were seen at the clinic throughout these two weeks. And then in the true spirit of African friendship we all gathered under the hot African sun for a final photo.

One of our translators commented yesterday that he has never been around a team of people with greater passion, love and joy for Jesus than this GHO Team! I’m equally grateful for the privilege of serving with these dedicated servants of Christ. The team is now back in Addis Ababa. We will spend part of the day in debrief and do a bit of shopping before heading to airport to fly back to the States tonight. We are truly grateful for your prayers throughout this two-week experience. We are tired to say the least, but it is a good tired. In both word and deed God has used each of us in unique ways to be, “Jesus with skin on!”

From the Field | Ethiopia

Written by Lee Heyward on Monday, 22 February 2016. Posted in Blog

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From the Field | Ethiopia

I arrived in Awash Afar, Ethiopia Friday night. Earlier that same day Kibru Tadesse met me at the Addis Ababa airport. Kibru is the National Director of Great Commission Ministries (GCM) in Ethiopia, the ministry we are partnering with the whole week. GCM is better known in the US as Cru.

In the early afternoon we loaded into a car and headed in a NE direction out of Addis to Awash Areba in the Afar region of Ethiopia. You pass along modern Chinese-built roads through vast semi-arid land with large deposits of volcanic rock. Oversized container trucks are common on this route as it’s a major corridor leading to shipping ports north at the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. The air is hot, dry and dusty.

When we pulled into the hotel parking lot the team was awaiting our arrival. I met the full team, had dinner, downloaded the events of the day and put my jet-lagged body to bed.

Yesterday (Saturday) we drove to the medical clinic located 20 minutes from our hotel. When we arrived, a large crowd of men, women and squealing children were already pushing and shoving at the gate waiting to enter. Our Global Health Outreach (GHO) team consists of four doctors, a dentist, two pharmacists, a physical therapist, a nurse, 2 logistics personnel and two pastors. Throughout the morning and into the early afternoon, I assisted by escorting patients to the various rooms to be seen by a physician and praying with and over patients. During the fours hours we were there over a hundred patients were seen.

Today is Sunday. There is no clinic today. We will worship together, rest and prepare for the week ahead. Tomorrow Pastor James and I will begin gathering with the Pastors who will come from nearby regions for training. We covet and appreciate your prayers for us.

From India to Ethiopia...

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 17 February 2016. Posted in Blog

From India to Ethiopia...

Dear Friends,

Imagine a roomful of bright, energetic and inquisitive young people, all of whom are preparing for ministry across the world’s second most populated country. While in India last month, I spent each morning with these students in their morning Chapels exploring selected Psalms. I loved it!


Following the morning Chapels at Hindustan Bible Institute the rest of my day was spent with these seven men and women doing a weeklong workshop on Biblical Preaching.


Each of them is either actively engaged in planting and pastoring churches or planning to go as a missionary to unreached parts of India, China or Nepal. One of these young men is a recently retired professional cricket player. Few Americans are aware that cricket is played by 120 million people across the globe, making it the second most popular sport in the world. Jonathan leads a national sports ministry using cricket as a platform to share the love of Christ with those who have never heard of Him.

From the Field | India

Written by Lee Heyward on Friday, 22 January 2016. Posted in Blog

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From the Field | India

Move Over David Letterman!

Rather than writing my usual trip report I thought I would take a page out of David Letterman’s book and give you my “Top Ten” for the day:

#10—My alarm didn’t go off this morning so I overslept. Over-sleeping is over-rated!

#9—You can run a ceiling fan and a room air-conditioning unit simultaneously in Chennai in the winter months and still sweat profusely.

#8—When you add cardamom and coconut to cold oatmeal it still tastes like cold oatmeal.

#7—Some Indian names are really hard to pronounce, but you can really botch the pronunciation with a smile and it doesn’t matter.

#6—My Indian dinner tonight was served with a toasted cheese sandwich (and I didn’t even request it).

#5—One of the doctoral students in my class has made a five-hour round trip every day this week to participate.

#4—Nagaland, a state in NE India is 98% Christian.

From the Field | India

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 20 January 2016. Posted in Blog

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From the Field | India

The Antidote to Discouragement

I’ve just completed day three of teaching. I spoke this morning to the students and faculty on Psalm 42-43 on “Finding Hope When You Are Discouraged.” No matter what country you’re in it’s not uncommon to find devoted servants of Christ who struggle regularly with discouragement and even depression. The demands of ministry are the same here as elsewhere—loneliness, struggle, betrayal and disappointment are common. There’s no better spiritual tonic for the soul than these companion psalms. I reminded those listening that some of God’s choicest servants—Martin Luther the Protestant Reformer, William Cowper the brilliant poet hymn-writer, Charles Spurgeon the famed English preacher and Soren Kierkegaard the Danish philosopher, all struggled with what Spurgeon called “fainting fits.”

Unfortunately, a lot of churches don’t fare very well in giving anyone permission to admit they are discouraged, much less their pastor(s). Consequently, many pastors and church leaders suffer silently and “fake it til they make it,” which seldom works and often compounds the issue. Fortunately the anonymous writer of Psalm 42-43 is refreshingly and disarmingly different. He lets himself go, tells himself the truth and points himself forward—and in the end finds solace and hope in doing so. I have long treasured these psalms during my own fainting fits. The author’s unpretentious words give me language and vocabulary to come out of hiding and confront my own discouragement.

Chapel was followed by another full day of teaching and training students in how to prepare sermons. I love these students. They are highly energetic, delightfully engaging and a blast to teach! Today I had them laughing hysterically at my imitation of an Indian agreeing with you—they shake their heads side-to-side (which means ‘no’ in America), but in India they are actually saying yes. They loved it!

I sure appreciate your prayers. Please keep them coming as the week is winding down.

From the Field | India

Written by Lee Heyward on Monday, 18 January 2016. Posted in Blog

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From the Field | India

It’s good to be back with old friends this week at The Hindustan Bible Institute (HBI) in Chennai, India. I’ve been here multiple times and always enjoy the opportunity to interact with a host of young men and women, all preparing for some form of ministry throughout India. Each morning I’ll be bringing messages from the Psalms to the students and faculty during their chapel services.

The rest of my day is spent with doctoral and masters level students who are either actively engaged in ministry or preparing for ministry throughout India and elsewhere. This is a smaller number than I’ve trained in the past, but what they lack in numbers they more than make up for with their enthusiasm and eagerness to learn.

One student is from Nepal. He came to Christ out of a strong Buddhist background, sensed God calling him to ministry, and made his way to HBI to prepare accordingly. All the members of his family are Buddhist and have proven to be very antagonistic toward him and the gospel. Another student is a professional Cricket player with one of the national teams. To say that Cricket is an obsession in India is an understatement. This young man and his father, also a professional player, actively lead a nationwide sports ministry using Cricket as a platform to share Christ.

Men and women are preparing for missionary service in remote parts of India or in larger urban centers. Mobilizing missionaries and church planters is one of the things HBI does exceedingly well. Many of these men and women are excitedly stepping out to serve Christ in parts of this country that have never heard of Jesus. What a joy to a part of their preparation!

Please pray for me throughout the week as I’m teaching, training, interacting with and encouraging these young people. It does my heart good to see the richness of their faith and their robust commitment to the cause of Christ.

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