Unexpected: A Change of Plans

Written by Terry Heyward on Sunday, 25 September 2016. Posted in Blog

Unexpected: A Change of Plans

As BrookLink began in 2008, Lee and I agreed that we would continue to follow our philosophy from 25 years in ministry: “If we are asked to go, serve, or teach, and if we are available, we will say YES.” We strongly believe that the Lord is in charge of our schedules, so when the chance to return to China in October came, BrookLink agreed to join the team. A few months later that opportunity was delayed, and we understood that our partners on the ground have the best perspective to make that sort of decision. October was looking to be spent in Wisconsin, enjoying our beautiful fall season.

Then, a few weeks ago, a very strategic and unexpected invitation came for Lee to travel and serve in a country where less than 1% of the 200 million souls there claim to know and follow the Lord Jesus. Getting a visa for entering this nation has been difficult in the past, but the door was open and a visa obtained in less than a week. Lee is invited, available and has said yes! Now we are asking for your prayers as the October 9th departure day approaches. Would you consider marking your calendar and remembering BrookLink’s ministry that week? The estimates are that over 500 ministry leaders will be gathering for teaching and encouragement.

Jigsaw Puzzles and the Church

on Sunday, 07 August 2016. Posted in Blog

Jigsaw Puzzles and the Church

Jigsaw puzzles have been around for hundreds of years. Years ago European mapmakers pasted maps onto wood and then cut them into small pieces. Who of us doesn’t remember learning the geography of the United States using a puzzle map? Even The Rolling Stones wrote a song about the Jigsaw Puzzle in 1968 (which, by the way is a song they never performed live).

Every piece of a jigsaw puzzle is important, but jigsaw aficionados will tell you that you usually start solving the puzzle by finding the four corners. The four corners are key to completing the picture.

 In a similar way, when God designed the Church he gave us “four corner” pieces. Paul alludes to these in Ephesians 4:11 when he writes, “And he (God) gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastor-teachers” to the church. These four gifts are not more important than the rest, but they are foundational to the health and wellbeing of Jesus’ bride.

Paul is equally clear about the role and responsibility those so gifted are to have in the church. They are not to do all the work; rather, they are to equip others to do the ministry.

Twice Multiplied

Written by Lee Heyward on Tuesday, 05 July 2016. Posted in Blog

Twice Multiplied

Throughout my more than two decades of ministry at Northbrook Church, the congregation graciously encouraged me to travel overseas to visit our supported missionaries. Once or sometimes twice a year I would step out of my familiar and comfortable setting, travel to a foreign land and witness the extraordinary things God was doing in places quite different from my own. These experiences shaped me in profound ways. They also broadened my perspective about the issues and challenges I was facing at home.

When BrookLink launched, we wanted to offer U.S. pastors and church leaders a similar experience. So I began to invite folks from across the country to join in equipping, encouraging and empowering leaders across the globe. BrookLink has influenced and touched the lives of thousands overseas, but we have also influenced pastors and church leaders here, too! 

Mark Kiekhaefer is the Senior Pastor of Grace Evangelical Free Church in Jefferson City, MO. Mark and I met as classmates at Trinity Seminary thirty years ago and have remained friends. When BrookLink was invited by Rev. Justus Miwanda, the Executive Director of International Needs Uganda (INUG), to come again for some training, I invited Mark to come along. INUG is a holistic ministry seeking to enhance Christian community development, including three schools that serve over 2000 orphans and vulnerable children. The heart of their work is to establish strong Christ-centered and gospel-preaching churches in the communities where these at-risk children live. BrookLink was invited to bring resources to pastors in the area of these schools.

 Mark Kiekhaefer

Impressions of the Czech Republic in a Post-Christian Culture

Written by BrookLink on Thursday, 07 July 2016. Posted in Blog

Impressions of the Czech Republic in a Post-Christian Culture

In June, BrookLink sent Dr. Dan and Lynne Green to the Czech Republic to teach at the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Prague (ETSP).  Dan taught a course to pastors and lay leaders, and also continued his consultation with the seminary faculty on the subject of forgiveness research.  Here are Dan and Lynne's impressions from their time in Prague.

Want to Go Far? Go Together!

Written by Lee Heyward on Monday, 06 June 2016. Posted in Blog

Want to Go Far? Go Together!

Dear Friends,

There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.” The Bible says very little about solo ministry. Instead there are an abundance of examples about collaboration: Moses and Aaron; Caleb and Joshua; Esther and Mordecai; Peter and John; Paul and Timothy. The list goes on and on.

On one occasion Paul urged his protégé Timothy to, “Pass on what you heard from me to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others” (2 Tim. 2:2 Msg). BrookLink is not only equipping those who are reliable and competent, we are also inviting and sending others who are reliable and competent to go along too! Partnering together in this way actually allows BrookLink to go further and multiply our impact across the world!

This is why I’m excited to tell you about what BrookLink will be doing in the month of June. From June 10-24th, BrookLink will be sending Dr. Dan and Lynne Green back to the Czech Republic to teach at the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Prague (ETSP).

Lynne and Dan Green

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

Report 2

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!”

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