Stories from Around the World

Written by Lee Heyward on Friday, 20 September 2019. Posted in Blog

Dear Friends,

"...for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation."
Revelation 5:9

As we’ve shared with you recently, BrookLink’s facilitator team had a summer of extensive travel.  You helped send six members of our training team and affiliates from Europe to Africa to South Asia.  The stories they shared upon their return were inspirational, and we want to share them with you! 

Dan Green and his wife, Lynne recently returned from their 20th annual trip to Prague, Czech Republic, where a recent article states that 66% of the Czech people do not believe in God.  Their time included academic teaching, preaching, consulting with church leaders, teaching in local churches, and connecting with good friends.  Two events stood out to Dan. ADKP, a professional organization for Christians integrating faith and psychological practice, planned a conference around his visit, so he could teach and lead in case consultations. In 2000, within the Czech Republic there were zero psychologists who actively integrated faith and practice. Today, there are more than 60 who seek to intentionally and actively integrate their faith in the clinical and academic work.  Second, a celebration recognizing their 20 years of service included a reunion with former faculty and students. Former students are now in faculty and service provider roles while present and former faculty continue to minister in many roles. Dan says, “This was so encouraging to see. The work of BrookLink is impacting this and future generations.”

Dan & Lynne Green in Prague at ADKP Conference

Additionally, Paul and Lisa Sinclair just returned from five weeks in India. They traveled to the northern Indian States of West Bengal and Nagaland, teaching  two courses for 32 Doctor of Ministry and PhD candidates. West Bengal is primarily Hindu and 1.2% Christian while Nagaland  has the highest percentage of Christians of any Indian state.  Lisa and Paul preached at local Christian colleges as well as teaching the doctoral courses. 

Map of Nagaland

Lisa commented, “We feel that God has allowed us here ‘for such a time.’ These leaders are facing many challenges as the world around them changes. BrookLink's partner organization in India sees itself as God’s mission tool to the world. Such a privilege to be here! Our students represent many different ministries—women, children, orphanages, hostels, pastors, school and Bible college principals, teachers, etc. It is a wonderful place for BrookLink to work to equip, empower and release!”

A Summer Update

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 24 July 2019. Posted in Blog

Dear Friends,

BrookLink’s theme in 2019 is “From One to Many."

What began ten years ago as a hope and prayer, you have made possible!

Rejoice with us!

In June, BrookLink was invited to return again to Ethiopia to minister in the Kale Heywet churches. Pastor Timothy Ryder of Waukesha, Wisconsin and Pastor Ian Lawson of Alberta, Canada traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to lead church leaders through three days of training. Using lively discussion and readings, Tim and Ian spent these days resourcing and equipping forty doctoral students who serve as key leaders in these churches. Pastor Ian reports, "I am routinely impressed with the passion and the zeal of the Kale Heywet church of Ethiopia - currently 9,000 congregations and 1,000 church plants. This is a mission success story of the SIM who sent missionaries there one hundred years ago. Today she is a thriving and dynamic indigenous church reaching their own people with the gospel and sending their own missionaries to other countries on the African continent. How thrilling it is to help equip some of their pastors on the front lines!"

No sooner had Timothy and Ian returned to the U.S.A., when Pastor Jan Ryder (Timothy’s wife) boarded a plane for the same place. This time to train more than 40 Children and Family Ministry leaders, who minister weekly to thousands of children among the Kale Heywet. Pastor Jan writes, “It was exciting to learn about the family together, understand more of how children grow, use creative teaching methods to spark curiosity, and apply Biblical principles to practical aspects of ministry with children and families. I think the most useful session may have been one dealing with how children experience grief and trauma.”

These opportunities would not have been possible without your generous support.

Meanwhile, on the completely different continent of Europe, BrookLink affiliates Dr. Dan and Lynne Green traveled to Prague, Czech Republic to teach and train pastors and church leaders serving in this largely atheistic city.  Dan and Lynne have been offering their theological and counseling training and insights to the Czech people for 20 years with the last 4 years being under BrookLink’s banner.

Furthermore, would you please pray as Drs. Paul and Lisa Sinclair travel with BrookLink in August to two key cities in northeast India? They are uniquely equipped to conduct five weeks of doctoral-level teaching in the areas of Spiritual Formation and Grief & Trauma. Needless to say, it would have been impossible for me to step away from my responsibilities here in the U.S.A. to invest five weeks in India. The Sinclairs are excited to be a part of BrookLink and helping us move “From One to Many.”

A Turtle on a Fencepost

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 05 June 2019. Posted in Blog

Dear Friends,

Where do you turn in times of hardship and despair, in times of transition and change? Where do you turn when you need to gain perspective or inspiration or simply to bolster your faith?

If you’re like me, I usually go to a church. Why? Because you know that is where you will hear the Word of God, connect with brothers and sisters in Christ and build upon your faith.

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”– Romans 10:17 NIV

Many people are attracted to a church not just for what it can offer, but also because of what it provides by way of leadership.  Perhaps you are a part of a flourishing church body where members have identified their spiritual gifts, are serving with their gifts, and are witnessing the church’s capacity to bless and fulfill its mission on earth.

But as the church develops across the world, you may also share our concern that as it grows in width it must also grow in depth.  Depth comes about in many ways. One of those ways is where gifted spiritual leaders from most-reached areas of the world offer teaching, training, equipping and mentoring to least-reached areas of the world.  By providing access to this kind of quality and affordable biblical training, church leaders grow, their churches are strengthened and their communities are improved.

For the past 10 years, your prayers and financial contributions have helped make BrookLink the organization that it is today.   We are so grateful to you for sustaining and supporting our mission to equip, empower and release global church leaders for greater kingdom impact.

You are helping our gifted team of facilitators reach and impact the lives of thousands by investing in training for global church leaders.  Please consider giving a gift today! Every $200 will support one pastor or church leader receiving training in 2019.

A Legacy of Sound Preaching

Written by Lee Heyward on Tuesday, 27 February 2018. Posted in Blog

Dear Friends,

Billy Graham has passed away.

I attended my first Billy Graham Crusade in my hometown at age 10. My mother was a volunteer coordinator for the BGEA (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) in March 1966. His tall lanky frame, his piercing penetrating gaze, his buttery-smooth southern accent—but most of all, his iconic words, “The Bible says” captivated me as a youngster. My spiritual awakening and journey began during those days sitting under the thundering preaching of the famed, but humble evangelist from North Carolina.

Graham’s legacy was a global one due to the plain language he used to present Biblical truth, but also due to his strong belief in the universal appeal of the Gospel message itself. Graham never lost sight of Christ’s mandate to go into all the world and make disciples. That’s why he traveled to 185 different countries to preach that Gospel.

But Dr. Graham also insisted that our evangelistic passion must be combined with theological reflection. Without both, Christ’s Church would weaken and compromise!

Several weeks ago I was invited to Kathmandu, Nepal to train Nepali, Indian and Korean pastors, one of which spoke of the influence of Dr. Graham’s preaching on his life and family. These 15 pastors shepherd more than 150 churches scattered across Nepal reaching 10,000 people weekly. As we gathered each day a pastor would preach a sermon; we would listen and offer feedback based upon the principles taught.

I recently received a letter from one of these pastors.

This class has greatly impacted my future ministry. Since I am involved in Church and “Leadership Training” ministry, a sizable part of my ministry includes teaching and preaching. I have been teaching God’s people preaching, but Dr. Lee has taught us in a different and clearer way. Thus I will be able to teach people to study the Word and preach the Word more effectively.

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

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.

For Un-Adults Only

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 01 March 2017. Posted in Blog

For Un-Adults Only

Years ago while serving as a youth pastor I received a nasty and critical letter from a high school parent upset about a decision I had made. I was young, defensive and agitated by what I perceived to be an unfair and unfounded charge leveled against me. Stuart Briscoe, the Senior Pastor at that time, walked into my office, observed my fainting fit and said to me these words: “Every pastor needs the heart of a child, the mind of a scholar and the skin of a rhino.” In reality, my heart was anything but childlike! My heart was like a rhino—ready to charge at my critic with some hostility of my own.

Over the years, I have often repeated Stuart’s words of wisdom—both to myself and to others serving in ministry. One of the qualities I regularly need to cultivate both as a pastor and a person is that of childlikeness.

Recently, I preached a message on one of my favorite Bible characters—Zacchaeus! Remember him? Luke is the only one of the four Gospel writers to include his story. Frederick Buechner reminds us, “Zacchaeus was a sawed-off little social disaster with a big bank account and a crooked job, but Jesus welcomes him aboard anyway.”

A surprising feature of this story is Zacchaeus does something that a child would do, but no adult would do—he climbs up a tree. He does something so childish, so undignified, so silly—he hikes up his toga and climbs up a tree.

Only moments before this incident Jesus said, “Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:17).  Here’s a fiendish and corrupt little tax-collector taking Jesus at his word. He climbs a tree.

Help Us Say Yes!

on Tuesday, 15 November 2016. Posted in Blog

Help Us Say Yes!

“Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul...teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” Ps. 143:8,10


In 2008 when Terry and I launched BrookLink as a ministry, I remember well reading these words and the Spirit ‘inscribing’ them upon my heart. As we stepped out in this new direction we knew we needed the Holy Spirit to, “show us the way to go, teach us to do His will and lead us on level ground.” These words became part of our regular prayer vocabulary.

Today I am truly grateful for the way the Spirit has shown us the way when we found ourselves mystified. The things God has taught us about Himself, the global church and ourselves humble me. I’m grateful for the repeated illustrations of the Spirit leveling the ground before us.

It’s also around this time every year we are reminded of these words and pray them for us and for BrookLink. You see, every year since we began we are receiving more and more “Macedonian calls” from ministries overseas to “come over and help us.” (Acts 16:9) The need for equipping, empowering and encouraging global leaders remains high!

Already in early 2017 we have accepted invites to North Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Czech Republic and Pakistan. Just this week I was contacted by three leaders asking if BrookLink would come and train Syrian and Iraqi refugees who have fled to Armenia, Muslim-background believers in Ethiopia and church leaders in Romania.

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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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

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