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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
In June, BrookLink sent Dr. Dan and Lynne Green to the Czech Republic to teach at the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Prague (ETSP). Dan taught a course to pastors and lay leaders, and also continued his consultation with the seminary faculty on the subject of forgiveness research.
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.
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.