A Leap Forward

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 11 November 2015. Posted in Blog

A Leap Forward

Dear Friends,

I remember the day well—July 20, 1969. As a fourteen-year old my eyes were glued to a flickering black and white television set. Late that evening, astronaut Neil Armstrong planted his foot in another world and uttered those now famous words, “That’s one small step for man, one GIANT LEAP for mankind.” I, along with an estimated 530 million people watched Armstrong’s image and heard his now famous statement.

NASA’s Apollo 11 mission is just one example of a ‘LEAP’ forward in history, and there have been many! Another leap occurred during the 1st Century when a young medical doctor-turned-historian decided to write his eyewitness account of the growth of a spectacular movement. In less than 30 years, this fledgling group became a worldwide phenomenon, impacting kings and kingdoms alike.

And in case you’re still wondering, the aforementioned doctor’s name is Luke, his book is “The Acts of the Apostles” and the movement is called the church. Sprinkled throughout the Book of Acts, Dr. Luke repeatedly reminds us of the growth and expansion of the church—orchestrated entirely by the Holy Spirit! It was a GIANT LEAP forward!

Compassion for the Displaced

Written by Lee Heyward on Monday, 28 September 2015. Posted in Blog

Compassion for the Displaced

Dear Praying Friends,

It’s hard to miss the heart-breaking stories of the day-to-day crisis developing across the European Continent regarding the tens of thousands of men, women and children fleeing oppressive regimes. The continent of Europe is facing enormous challenges politically, economically, ethnically, and even spiritually.

For many years, Europe has been known as the post-modern epicenter. Yet today, many experts believe there is a new spirituality emerging out of this post-modern context, and it is potentially favorable for the Christian Gospel. Did you know that church planting is on the rise across many parts of Europe? And a great many of those church plants are sprouting up among the various migrant populations that are flooding the continent.

Terry and I saw firsthand evidence of this new reality on European soil when we visited Athens, Greece in May. We spent an entire week ministering exclusively among displaced Iranians, Afghanis and Syrians longing to learn of Jesus, and eager to draw hope from God’s Word. What oppressive regimes meant for evil, God is using for good by ‘gathering’ those scattered to Himself.

Study-Do-Teach

Written by Lee Heyward on Tuesday, 01 September 2015. Posted in Blog

Study-Do-Teach

Dear Friends,

If ever there were a ‘poster child’ for BrookLink, it would be Ezra. You can read all about his life in an Old Testament book named for him. Ezra lived during a very dark and discouraging time in ancient Israel’s history.

In today’s world, we hear regularly the plight of exiles forced from their countries because of famine, war or religious oppression. Stripped from their homeland and driven by desperation, these misplaced peoples risk life and limb for a better future. Who will minister to these displaced people?

Ezra was called upon by God to minister to a displaced people group who had just survived seventy years of exile. His mission is summarized in these words, “For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel” (Ezra 7:10).

Study, do, and teach—present a model for ministers around the world. Long-range effective teaching of the Bible does not happen without long hours of ongoing study of the Bible. We equip those we train in how to study their Bibles.

Multiplier

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 22 July 2015. Posted in Blog

Multiplier

Dear Friends,

It’s mid-summer in good ole Milwaukee. After a cool start to the summer, the temps have risen, the ethnic festival season is in full swing, and the debate ad nauseam about a new Bucks Basketball Arena has all but subsided. Wisconsin is a great place to be during summertime.

It’s been good to be home for a few weeks. June was a busy month for BrookLink with events in Seattle, ministry at the Advocate Summit of Mission Aviation Fellowship in Idaho, and my first-time trip to southeastern Poland to train ‘Free Church’ pastors and leaders in three cities.

This week I leave for Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR-Congo). In 2007 leaders from the African Evangelical Free Churches met to address the African Church’s need to reach Africa with the gospel. One leader shared, “It’s our job as African Christians to reach Africa’s unreached people.”  Pastor Nubako Selenga was their unanimous choice to lead this new movement.

From the Field | Poland

Written by Lee Heyward on Thursday, 25 June 2015. Posted in Blog

Letters from Lee about Ministry in Zamosc, Poland

From the Field | Poland

On Wednesday, June 24, Pastor Jacek Duda, Rich Frazer and I traveled to Zamosc, Poland. Zamosc is in the southeastern part of Poland and nearby to the Ukrainian border. Purportedly, Zamosc has the cleanest air quality on the European Continent, making it a resident and retiree-friendly place.

At its height this Renaissance-style city once enjoyed a population of around 70,000 people, however since WWII the city has seen its population dwindle to around 48,000. Founded in 1580 the city boasts a beautiful and colorful 2.5-acre town square, surrounded by a fortress wall. We toured the city and visited the site of the Rotunda, a circular structure just outside the city wall. During WWII, Hitler’s armies overtook the Rotunda and used it as an interrogation facility. Between 1940-1944 more than 8,000 members of the Polish Resistance were burned to death at this site. It was a grim reminder of the German and Russian atrocities committed against the Polish people.

Lee and Pastor Duda

Saying Yes!

Written by Lee Heyward on Tuesday, 23 June 2015. Posted in Blog

Saying Yes!

Dear Friends,

On June 15, 2015 the evangelical world mourned. Elisabeth Elliot, one of the most influential Christian women during my lifetime, passed away. Elliot was a wise mentor to many, a passionate spiritual writer and a towering model of an obedient follower of Christ. Several of her books are on my shelf. Terry and I remember listening to her inspiring story at an Inter-Varsity Urbana Missionary Conference in 1976.

Elisabeth married three times—her first two husbands preceded her in death. Her first husband was Jim Elliot. Jim and four other missionaries were ambushed by a group of Auca Indians and killed along a sandy beach in the jungles of Ecuador in 1956. Her second husband lost an agonizing battle with cancer. Elisabeth knew the experience of deep pain and loss.

Ironically, when I heard the news of Elisabeth Elliot’s death I was in Nampa, Idaho to speak at the Advocate’s Summit for Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF). As I was preparing to leave the final day, my host took me to the MAF gift shop. There displayed was the actual frame of the airplane that flew Jim Elliot and the others to the very beach where they were savagely killed (incidentally, it was a MAF pilot that flew the plane that day). It was a surreal moment for me—and a poignant reminder of the costliness of obedience to Christ. I love what I do because I often have the privilege to meet similarly minded followers of Jesus.

Lee Teaching in IdahoLee Teaching in Idaho

Stories from Greece

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 20 May 2015. Posted in Blog

Stories from Greece

Dear Friends,

Recently BrookLink was invited by 222 Ministries to teach and train a group of Iranian church leaders in Athens, Greece. All of them had a story to tell! For a whole week my friend Paul Sinclair and I were teaching these men and women about God as our Father—a heavenly Father, whose extravagant and costly love set Him apart from even the best of earthly fathers.Paul Sinclair

During one of our sessions I shared with those gathered about how God as Father knows everything about us—even our tears do not go unnoticed. I quoted the following Scripture:

“You have kept a count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” Psalm 56:8 (ESV)

There is a tradition in Middle Eastern cultures that a soldier going off to war gives his wife or girlfriend a small vial to be worn around her neck. Every time the woman would cry at night over the absence of her loved one, and as she wept, the tears would be collected in the bottle until her lover would return. This poetic imagery is the Psalmist’s way of teaching that God not only sees our tears, He preserves them too!

From the Field | Greece

Written by BrookLink on Monday, 11 May 2015. Posted in Blog

A Letter from Lisa Sinclair

Lisa Sinclair

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Dear Friends,

As I write, I am looking out over a sky so blue and a sea even bluer that make the white buildings that stud the rocky coast startling in their brilliance. It is beautiful. The kind of beauty that almost hurts to behold, and it is so hard to reconcile with the evil that we have seen in our world.

It is a great privilege to minister here in Greece with Lee and Terry Heyward of BrookLink to Iranian and Afghan refugees. Actually, it has been a complicated trip, and we barely understand ourselves who we have been with! Lee and Paul have been primarily with Iranians who live in Europe now, having come to know the Lord from Muslim backgrounds. But there are also Armenians from Eastern Orthodox background. All have been blessed to learn more of the Father's character and love as Lee and Paul taught from Luke 15, the story of the Prodigal son(s).  Paul taught on characteristics of the Father from the lives of Moses, Noah, and Joseph to describe mercy, long suffering, and faithfulness. He was blessed to lead the closing communion.

Terry and I have been working with a different group. Every day after worship with the main group that Lee and Paul worked with, we left to go to another building close by to work with women currently living in the refugee camps. Every day we worked with Afghan refugee women, Muslims, who had come to Greece via Iran and Turkey, by land or sea. We taught them about the Lord's love for wounded women, and how He values women using the stories of the Samaritan woman, the woman with the issue of blood, Mary, and the anointing woman. We thought this would be a good subject for them, but had no idea how hungry they were, nor how oppressed by men they had been. We ended our time together by learning how to dance in an Afghan way! At least 2 of the 13 had come to the Lord, and others are on the Jesus road. 

From the Field | Greece

Written by Lee Heyward on Friday, 08 May 2015. Posted in Blog

From the Field | Greece

Thursday, May 7, 2015

It’s Thursday afternoon here. I’ve just finished three hours of teaching, or should I say, leading the group in a robust exploration of Luke 15:11-32—the Story of the Prodigal Sons. They have gathered in small groups to study this passage in depth. Paul and I have also used Rembrandt’s famous painting, “The Return of the Prodigal” to engage their imagination! What a fascinating week it has been with these Iranian men and women. This group has been wrestling with Scripture unlike any other group I’ve ever been a part of. Their questions are penetrating, their observations are riveting, and their applications have been heart-warming.

Each day Paul and I have rotated teaching in the morning and afternoon sessions with the Iranians, while Terry and Lisa have worked with the innumerable refugees who show up each day (some are Afghans, some are Syrian, all with hard stories to tell). In addition, Lisa has been carrying an extensive counseling load each day (sometimes as many as 7 back-to-back one-hour sessions). While she is counseling individuals, Terry has been teaching, talking one-on-one, and even leading a children’s session (are any of us surprised?). If our pace seems full, it’s because it is! But we rejoice that God is using all of us according to our gifts and in a variety of ways. We’re tired, but it’s a good kind of tired!

From the Field | Greece

Written by Lee Heyward on Tuesday, 05 May 2015. Posted in Blog

From the Field | Greece

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Greetings from Athens, Greece! Terry and I, along with Paul and Lisa Sinclair, are here this week to teach and train Iranian Christians and to work with the refugee population. We arrived late Saturday night and after a day of rest, we began our weeklong meetings with 25 or so Iranians, along with Afghan refugees who have had to flee their homeland due to extremist violence.

Paul and I have been teaching and training the Iranian Christians in one location, while Terry and Lisa are meeting in a separate location with the Afghanis who arrive each morning from nearby refugee camps. In the evening the four of us gather to review the days’ events, adjust our teachings and share the amazing stories we are hearing from these people.

Our theme this week has been the “Fatherhood of God.” We are spending the whole week exploring the story Jesus told of the lost sons in Luke 15:11-32. Today the whole morning was devoted to just observing the details of the story.  Talk about a fascinating experience!! Imagine the electricity in the room as men and women brought forth one cultural distinctive after another from the text, enlightening all of us because of their unique Middle Eastern background. I saw a Middle Eastern story through Middle Eastern eyes today. I’ll never forget the incredible experience!

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