From the Field | China

Written by Lee Heyward on Thursday, 19 October 2017. Posted in Blog

REPORT 1

Arrived late last night in Shanghai amidst typhoon conditions. Heading to Wuhan today to join Erik Burklin and the China Partner team that I'll be with these next two weeks. Covet your prayers!

REPORT 2

Visited an extraordinary training center for Christian leaders today outside Huangshi. About 100 Chinese church leaders have gathered this week for three days of training. What a privilege to be here and to equip these men and women. In a separate room were 90 younger leaders who have come from all over China to train for 1-2 years in theology, Bible and missions. It was a day full of teaching and training. Tomorrow we go back and continue. Please continue to pray for us.

 

From the Field | S.E. Asia

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 11 October 2017. Posted in Blog

From the Field | S.E. Asia

REPORT 1

Greetings from Southeast Asia!

Today we traveled 2.5 hours to the city of Faisalabad, the third largest city in Pakistan.

We toured the facilities of the Pakistan Bible Correspondence Institute. Afterward we joined Pastor Nazir and his wife Maureen, along with about 100 church leaders for afternoon meetings. I spoke twice today on the life of David from 1 Samuel 16-17.

Thanks for your prayers and support of this important series of meetings here this week.

Stay tuned for more reports throughout the week.

Every blessing,

REPORT 2

Dear All,
 
Today was the first day of the Leadership Conference. Last year when we concluded this same conference, the Board of Directors sat with me and and asked if I would come again. They said they wanted to plan a conference for 2017 that would host twice as many people as they invited last year (400 people).
 
Imagine how excited they were when they set up 1000 seats this year and today about 90% of those seats were occupied. They are expecting more than 1200 to show up for Saturday's sessions. Today I spoke on "Renewing Your Leadership Call" from 1 Timothy 1:1-11 and "The Leader and Prayer" from 1 Timothy 2:1-8. In the second session I challenged these leaders from the world's fourth most persecuted country with this idea: "Where the church is led forth in prayer, the Gospel goes forth in power!" 
 
It was a very satisfying day and one that brought great encouragement to leaders serving in a terribly difficult place. Thank you for the role you are playing in equipping and empowering church leaders serving in hard places.
 
For the cause that counts,


    
 

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!”

From the Field | Ethiopia

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

Report 1

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 the Field | India

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

Report 3

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

Report 2

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

Report 1

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.

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

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!

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