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

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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.

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.

Written by Lee Heyward on Friday, 11 December 2015. Posted in Blog

It is estimated that there are more than two million pastors across the world who have little to no formal training for ministry. When we consider the enormous growth of Jesus’ church in Asia, Africa and Latin America, along with the adversity faced by the church in many places, we begin to understand the need for equipping and encouraging pastors.

Years ago the Apostle Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:9). Today, it’s as if there is a new ‘call.’ It’s a call from under-resourced parts of the world to those who are well-resourced. ‘Come over and help us’—not by controlling, dictating, or dominating, but by collaborating, partnering and building the capacity of church leaders. This is what BrookLink does.

Would you join us in this effort by praying for or making a financial gift to BrookLink, so pastors and church leaders receive the necessary resources to lead well and not lose heart? There is still time to make a year-end gift. Make a Gift today!

Blessings,

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.

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 | 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!

April, May, June

on Thursday, 16 April 2015. Posted in Blog

April, May, June

PLEASE JOIN US: Windows to the World

About 15 years ago I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Nabeel Jabbour at a missions conference in one of our local churches in the Milwaukee area. I was immediately struck by his personal humility, compassion for Muslim people and godly demeanor. Since that initial meeting our relationship has deepened, his books have impacted my thinking and I am very excited that he will be joining us for BrookLink’s 6th Annual Windows to the World event in Milwaukee (April 19th) and Chicago (April 26th).

Nabeel is originally from Lebanon. He lived with his family in Egypt for fifteen years before relocating to Colorado Springs in 1997. Although Dr. Jabbour comes from an Arab Christian background, for the first fifty years of his life, Muslims were his neighbors, teachers, friends, roommates, and students. He holds a doctorate in Islamics, lectures at five seminaries, and is considered by many to be a leading expert on Islamic Fundamentalism. You won’t want to miss hearing Nabeel share his perspective. Come ready to wrestle with some global shifts! Learn more about our upcoming Windows to the World events. 

OFF TO ATHENS: May 1-12, 2015

BrookLink has been invited by 222 Ministries to join their team in Athens, Greece. Terry and I, along with our long-time friends Paul and Lisa Sinclair, will equip and empower the 222 Ministries’ workers who minister amidst the soaring refugee population in Greece. Many of these refugees have fled or been forced from their countries because of violent extremist groups like ISIL and others. Thousands of men, women and children are squeezed together in small spaces, undernourished, without medicine or medical staff and without the possibility to go outside.

The four of us go with our “small loaves and fishes” asking God to multiply our efforts as we offer encouragement, share God’s Word and seek to presence Jesus among these dear servants. Please remember to pray for us during these important days!

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