Go with the Flow

Written by Lee Heyward on Tuesday, 05 June 2018. Posted in Blog

Dear Friends,

When you do a google search for the word FLOWING, Dictionary.com says it means “proceeding smoothly or easily, circulating or proceeding from a source.” You inspire us at BrookLink to continue being a flowing stream moving ahead smoothly from our source, the Lord Jesus Christ.

In John 7:38-39, Jesus reminds his followers, Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” And John the evangelist helpfully adds, “Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive.”

This striking image brings to mind pictures of the boundless depths of power and grace, of significant progress, impact and influence, all of which are attributable to the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit! Not only this, but the Spirit’s work, like a flowing river, spills out and over into the lives of those within its sphere of influence.

Your life and my life are like a river and the Spirit in us provides the dynamic, the grace, energy and power to make an eternal difference wherever we are.

Traveling to an Ancient Land

Written by Lee Heyward on Monday, 21 May 2018. Posted in Blog

Dearest Friends,

A few weeks ago, many of you attended the 9th annual "Windows to the World" event at Meadowbrook Church in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. It was a special evening of sharing the stories God has been writing through BrookLink. You have played a part in writing BrookLink’s story and for that we are forever grateful.

  

Next month, for the first time, I am traveling to Yerevan, Armenia. The opportunity to train and teach Christian leaders in this part of the world is both humbling and astounding. I’d like you to meet my friends, Stephen and Rozik Kashian. I met this amazing couple in 2013 and learned of their medical outreach ministry in their home country of Armenia. Last year, Stephen and Rozik invited BrookLink to travel with them to Armenia to equip and train pastors and church leaders. On June 13, Terry and I will join the Kashians, along with Pastor Keith Doyle and his wife Kerry on a mission to Armenia. Read what Rozik has to say about her home country and learn more about the ministry partnership with BrookLink. We invite you to pray for us as we GO!

 “Situated along the ancient trade routes of the Great Silk Road, Armenia is a small, mountainous, landlocked country that boasts a storied history longer than most other European nations. It is here, at Mt. Ararat, that Bible references indicate Noah's Ark came to rest after the Great Flood. And it is also here, in A.D. 301, where Gregory the Illuminator established one of the earliest Christian civilizations.

Armenia prides itself on being the first nation to embrace Christianity as a state religion, and today the former Soviet republic remains defined by its many religious sites. The rich cultural heritage of Armenia is its treasure, and through its people, it has survived centuries of political upheaval, the tragedies of war and genocide, and a 1988 earthquake that killed 75,000 and left hundreds of thousands homeless and poor.

Staggering Statistics

Written by Lee Heyward on Thursday, 22 March 2018. Posted in Blog

Dear Friends,

Did you know that the ratio of theologically trained pastors to people in the U.S. is 1 pastor for every 230 people? Yet the ratio of trained pastors to people abroad is one pastor for every 450,000 people! **

If you are like me, you may need to read that again – only one pastor out of nearly half a million people outside of the United States have access to any kind of theological training.

When church leaders are inadequately prepared to minister, churches are vulnerable to false teaching, authoritarian and abusive leadership practices and compromised ministry.

BrookLink’s mission is to help address this reality!

I am pleased to introduce you to our friend Esayas Ersabo. Esayas is a young and influential leader in the Ethiopian Kaleheywit Church. The network of Kaleheywit churches began 90 years ago and today consists of 1,310 churches scattered across nine districts.

When Esayas was a participant at Elmbrook Church’s International Center in Wisconsin in 2015, I had the privilege of introducing him to the work of BrookLink. Esayas asked BrookLink to come and “help equip their pastors on how to prepare and preach quality sermons in their churches.”

Because of your financial gifts, BrookLink was able to go to Ethiopia in November 2017 to train pastors and ministry leaders representing eight districts within the region. Through your continued support, BrookLink will be able to accept a return invitation this year. Esayas is enthusiastic about building a long-term partnership to provide training for Kaleheywit pastors, “until the church sees significant improvement in their skills of handling the Word of God.”

Ethiopia is one example of how your gifts are influencing pastors and churches across the Majority World.

Will you join us in equipping our Ethiopian brothers and sisters and others like them? Make a one-time gift or set up a recurring monthly gift today!

New Year, New Opportunities

Written by Lee Heyward on Tuesday, 16 January 2018. Posted in Blog

Dear Friends,

I want to convey my heartfelt thanks to YOU for your generous gifts to BrookLink during 2017. Due to your extreme generosity at the end of the year, BrookLink finished 2017 in a strong financial position.

In Psalm 65 David eloquently praises God saying, “You crown the year with your bounty, your carts overflow with abundance” (vs. 11). Picture a richly laden cart dropping its contents in its tracks. God has crowned our year with his bounty and David reminds us to praise him for His abundance toward us.

But I would be remiss if I did not recognize that oftentimes the way in which God provides and prepares us abundantly is through the glad generosity of His people. It is your prayers, friendship and generous financial support that have positioned us to embrace and embark upon the new opportunities before us in 2018. Thank you!

During these last two weeks of January I will put on my professor hat as I travel to Katmandu, Nepal to teach students who serve and labor in the midst of growing government opposition and hostility. BrookLink has been invited to teach a master’s level course that will go toward the completion of a degree from a school we have worked with previously. Pray for sweet times of connecting and encouragement in these new relationships.

Thank you for sowing generously, for giving cheerfully and for partnering with us faithfully.

Every blessing,

Your Faithful Generosity

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 27 December 2017. Posted in Blog

Imagine living in a country where sharing your faith in Christ is outlawed. That’s exactly the situation in many places BrookLink is invited to train. The freedom of many Christians is increasingly under threat!

This January in one such country, BrookLink has been invited to teach courageous followers of Christ.

This will be the first of many influential training opportunities BrookLink will have in 2018.

  • Your faithful financial support makes it possible for BrookLink to go!
  • Your generosity equips men and women to serve Jesus in hard and desperate places!
  • Your prayers sustain us as we strengthen and encourage believers!

There are still a few days left in 2017 to make a financial gift to BrookLink. If you have already made a year-end contribution, please accept my deepest gratitude! You can still contribute before year’s end, by sending your check postmarked by 12/31/17 to:

BrookLink
N105W20939 Oak Lane
Germantown, WI 53022

You can also make a gift on our website right now.

Your gift today will enable us to do the good work in 2018 to which we have been called.

May God bless you richly in the New Year!

Grace and peace,

You Can Impact the Global Church

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 15 November 2017. Posted in Blog

Dear Friends,

I’m writing to you today to share two examples of the kind of people BrookLink serves. Some of them minister under threat of punishment or imprisonment. Some labor in the shadow of shady governments or threat of civil unrest. Some are anchors of hope in a sea of poverty. All are hungry for God’s truth, eager to learn and poised to make a difference!

You can help the needs of the global church. The seeds of the Gospel are sprouting all over the globe! The need of the global church is great—to equip, empower and encourage its leaders! And the call of the global church is loud, “Come over and help us!”  (Acts 16:9) Make a gift today to equip those eager to learn God's truth and who are longing to influence their churches and communities.

Last month we were nearing the end of a three-day conference training church leaders in one of China’s eastern provinces. The days were full—speaking through a translator—four times each day and I was dead tired. Soon the team would be returning to our guesthouse, having supper and downloading the day.

Gathering my belongings, I looked up to see a young 20-ish Chinese woman approaching me. She was clutching a small piece of paper in both hands. As she neared, our eyes met and I couldn’t help but notice hers were welling with tears. The Chinese are honorable people and as is their custom, she bowed slightly and presented me with the piece of paper she was carrying. Timidly she said, “Thank-you,” and then hurried away. I was so touched and wanted to share with you the note she gave to me.

Off We Go

Written by Terry Heyward on Monday, 17 July 2017. Posted in Blog

A Note from Terry

Off We Go

JUNE 1978

My world got turned upside down! Or more likely right side up. Lee and I married on Saturday, packed a small trailer on Sunday, and began the drive from East Point, Georgia to Milwaukee, Wisconsin with all the hope and excitement two newlyweds can muster. On Tuesday we arrived in Greendale, Wisconsin and stopped at a gas station to make a call from a payphone (that’s right, there were no cell phones or GPS) to Jan Keddie—a friend of a friend who lived in Wauwatosa and would help us find our way in the new world.

Jan and I have found our lives intertwined ever since. Thirty-nine years later, we can say we have owned a business together, directed kids’ musicals, driven across the country to visit our moms, raised four kids each, and served on staff in two “Brook” churches for over 50 years combined. Whew!

A few months ago, Jan and I were invited to go to Prague, Czech Republic with the MOSTY (meaning BRIDGES) project. Lee has gone twice to consult and dream with this group about building ‘bridges’ for the Good News in Europe’s most atheistic country. Jan and I have been invited to help process and design a new program aimed at bringing interns next year to serve in the churches in Prague. Jan oversees the Mission Apprenticeship Program at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin. She comes with a wealth of experience and knowledge in this area. My recent years of taking teams overseas gives me some ways to add to the discussion. We will travel under BrookLink’s banner as ‘Affiliates’ to equip, empower and release.


Jan Ryder, Terry Heyward, Jan Keddie

Prayer Requests

Written by Lee Heyward on Friday, 23 June 2017. Posted in Blog

August 2017

  • Praise God for the healthy birth of Megan Susan Woelfel on July 11, 2017. Megan is the daughter of BrookLink’s Ann and Pete Woelfel. Please continue to pray for Ann during her maternity leave.
  • I’m preparing materials for training in anticipation of a busy fall travel schedule. Book-writing has been on pause for several weeks. Continue to pray for discipline, clarity, wisdom and creativity as I write. I am about halfway done with the manuscript.
  • We have applied for VISA to an undisclosed country. Please pray that the Embassy grants Lee a Tourist Visa for his scheduled trip in October.
  • As soon as we receive word about the Visa we will apply for a Chinese Visa. We appreciate any and all prayer for these processes.
  • Give thanks for the men and women who serve on BrookLink’s Board of Directors. Ask God to guide them with spiritual wisdom, discernment and godly counsel as they advise Lee and help lead this ministry.
  • Continue to pray for BrookLink’s incredible staff team—Becky Riebesehl (Operations), Ann Woelfel (Strategic Development) and Kathy Myszka (Marketing Asst). Pray for life-work balance, team unity, and blessing upon their families.
  • We are grateful to God that He always supplies the financial needs of this ministry. Recently we sent out a letter informing our friends of our financial picture. People continue to respond. PRAISE GOD!
  • Tariq and Angelina Waris will be with us next week. Tariq will be preaching at Meadowbrook Church on Sunday morning, August 27th at 9:00am and 10:30am. Please pray for their ministry while they are Stateside, as well as their ministry in an undisclosed country.
  • Our youngest daughter Ruthanne recently announced her engagement to Mr. Robert Berdahl. Plans are underway for a late 2017 wedding.

June 2017

  • Give thanks for the positive feedback we have received from our recent “Windows to the World” event. It was very well attended. For those of you who missed the event, visit our Sermon & Video page to listen to my talk on the "Changing Face of Global Mission" and to watch the video we put together for the event. It's titled "BrookLink: What We Do."
  • All summer Lee continues writing a book, hopefully to be published soon. Continue to pray for discipline, clarity, wisdom and creativity as he writes.
  • Lee and Terry will be traveling to Seattle, WA June 12-19th to meet with several ministry partners and to promote BrookLink’s mission. Please pray for productive conversations and interactions.
  • Give thanks for the men and women who serve on BrookLink’s Board of Directors. Ask God to guide them with spiritual wisdom, discernment and godly counsel as they discharge their responsibilities.
  • Offer thanks for BrookLink’s incredible staff team—Becky Riebesehl (Operations), Ann Woelfel (Strategic Development) and Kathy Myszka (Marketing Asst). Pray for life-work balance, team unity, and blessing upon their families.
  • Continue to pray that God will supply the financial needs of this ministry. We are sending a mid-year “appeal” letter this month. Pray that God will raise up new financial partners for BrookLink’s ministry.
  • During the summer months Ann and Lee will be meeting with representatives from several area churches to request support for BrookLink’s ministry. Please pray for these important conversations.
  • Give thanks to God that BrookLink was recently accredited by the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability). This accreditation is based on the ECFA Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship, including financial accountability, transparency, sound board governance and ethical fund-raising.

May 2017

  • Lee has just returned from Cairo, Egypt where he and Canadian Pastor Ian Lawson were teaching/training at the Tyrannus Missionary School. There were 22 Sudanese church planters (ages 22-25) and 6 Egyptian believers (all preparing to serve Christ somewhere in Middle East). This was a thrilling week! Please pray for all of these students as they plan to graduate from this program this month and return to Sudan to plant churches across Sudan, South Sudan and the Darfur region.
  • Due to Lee’s recent travels he has had to take a hiatus from book writing. He plans to resume next month. Continue to pray for clarity, wisdom and creativity as he writes.
  • Lee leaves on Thursday, April 20th for Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. He will be preaching at the National Cathedral in Kinshasa on Sunday April 23rd. April 24-28th Lee will be joined by Dr. Diet Schindler (Germany) and the two will be teaching at the Cemiler Center with Congolese Church Planters and Pastors. Please pray for the Holy Spirit’s anointing upon Diet and Lee as they train these men and women in Expository Preaching and Church Planting.
  • Continue to pray that God will supply the financial needs of this ministry. We rejoice and give thanks to God for a good beginning to our second quarter.

Back to Africa!

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 19 April 2017. Posted in Blog

Back to Africa!

I’ve just returned from a ten-day visit to Egypt. I was invited by my friend, Yani Mafdy, to teach at the Tyrannus Missionary School outside of Cairo. The school’s mission is to equip and train Egyptian and Sudanese national evangelists and church planters to proclaim the gospel to unreached peoples across North Africa. The school has plans to start 10 such training centers across the Arab-speaking world.

Pastor Ian Lawson, Lead Pastor at the Evangelical Free Church of Lethbridge in Lethbridge, Alberta, joined me. While we were students at Trinity Seminary 30 years ago we dreamed of one day traveling and teaching together. What a joy to see our dream fulfilled! Ian taught on the Book of James and I taught a course on Spiritual Formation for Leadership.

Ian and I were privileged to teach 22 Sudanese nationals—11 from the northern region, 9 from South Sudan and 2 from the Darfur region. Each year several hundred apply for the opportunity to study at Tyrannus, but only 10-12 are accepted into the 18-month program. These young men are all between 22 and 24 years of age. They come from challenging situations and know they will return to conditions of poverty, war and persecution. Upon completion of the program they agree to return to their homeland Sudan to plant new churches.

In addition to these 22 Sudanese, we also had six Egyptians join the training. These men and women all clearly articulated a call to serve Christ’s mission somewhere in the Middle East. One gentleman named Michel is a medical doctor preparing to practice medicine while planting a church in Mauritania. Another Egyptian couple are pursuing ministry among Syrian refugees in Lebanon or Turkey.

Students in Egypt

Students in Egypt

Bridge Building

Written by Lee Heyward on Monday, 20 March 2017. Posted in Blog

Bridge Building

Several days ago I received a letter from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation alerting me that a bridge nearby was going to be reconstructed over the course of the summer. For weeks I’ve wondered why I’ve been maneuvering around orange barrels, detours and burly construction crews busily preparing the area for this sizeable undertaking. I now know why.

Building highway bridges like these takes time, effort and energy.

While bridge building is what I have to look forward to this summer, it is also an apt metaphor to describe BrookLink’s ministry. For the past few months I have been helping ten students (5 men and 5 women) build bridges! Not a literal bridge, but a bridge of understanding through communication and preaching. You see, preaching is a lot like bridge building. I remind my students that they are building bridges between the first century world and the world of today. The proverbial bridge every preacher constructs is a means of communication between two places that would otherwise be cut off from the other—the ancient times of the Bible and the modern contemporary world. This kind of bridge enables God’s revealed truth to flow out of the Scriptures and into the lives of real men and women today.

Building communication bridges like these takes time, effort and energy.

By the time you read this letter, I will be in Prague, Czech Republic building a bridge of yet another kind. It’s called MOSTY—the Czech word for ‘bridges’. This will be my second trip to Prague in the last six months to gather with Czech, Dutch and American leaders who minister in this post-Christian-urban-European city. Our purpose: to construct ‘bridges’ that resource local churches and ministries in disciple-making and mission in the church and society.

Building relational bridges like these takes time, effort and energy.

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