From a Far Country

on Thursday, 27 October 2016. Posted in Blog

From a Far Country

“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer…Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” These words taken from Revelation 2:10 were written by the Apostle John to Christians living in the ancient city of Smyrna, today known as Izmir, Turkey. This passage is also the text of Scripture I was invited to preach on during my most recent trip to Asia.

According to Open Doors USA, a human rights organization that monitors Christian persecution worldwide, the country I visited ranks high as a place where Christians suffer for professing Christ. It is not unusual for Christians in this part of the world to be detained, imprisoned or even to face death for their allegiance to Jesus.

I was invited to bring encouragement to a host of men and women who daily count the cost of following Christ. I lectured at the largest Bible College in the country, spoke at a national leadership gathering, and preached before a multi-congregational worship service. Many related their own personal stories of perseverance, character and hope in the midst of unimaginable poverty, suffering and even danger.

Paul urged the church in Thessalonica to “pray that the message of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored” (2 Thess. 3:1). Many of you prayed as I traveled this past month. I’m deeply grateful for your partnership in prayer that ensures the Lord and His Word be honored through the ministry of BrookLink.

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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

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

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 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.

A New Year to Serve

Written by Lee Heyward on Sunday, 17 January 2016. Posted in Blog

A New Year to Serve

Dear Friends,

Each December as the final days of the year wind down, I take time to look back on the previous year and think about the year ahead. I recount with joy and gratitude the opportunities God opened before BrookLink during 2015. Included among these...

the Afghani, Iranian and Syrian refugees we met and ministered to in Athens, Greece

the Pastors and Leaders we were privileged to train in the Democratic Republic of Congo

and the new opportunity to encourage Pastors in Poland.

It’s been a fruitful and productive year.

But I am equally thankful for those who gave so generously to BrookLink in the final weeks of 2015. Through your sacrifice and partnership, BrookLink met and exceeded its financial goal for 2015. God has once again proven that He can do abundantly more than we ask or imagine. Rejoice with us for the many individuals, churches and foundations that have helped to make this possible!

2016—THE YEAR AHEAD

Now I turn the page to the year ahead. Perhaps you’ve heard that I finished up my Interim Pastoral role at Meadowbrook Church on December 31, 2015. I left on Thursday for India to teach and train men and women at Hindustan Bible Institute who serve in churches across the world’s second most populated country.

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