Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mini-Mission Trips and a free Puppy!

My priority job over the summer is RDM, which is called Resource Development Ministry or Relationship Development Ministry, depending on in which decade you started missions. ;) What that means in plain speech is connecting with people, sharing with them about my ministry, hopefully bringing them closer to God in the process, and hopefully raising funds and laptops thereby.

I've been trying to raise my support to make TEN3 my full-time job for over 2 1/2 years now. I guess my chief difficulty has been that I consider money to be such a personal thing, it's hard to bring it up with people. Oh, I can bring it up with churches, yes, but except for the few with which I have a really close connection, the response has always been, "You're doing a great thing, but we're already supporting all the missionaries we can afford."

I'm still very much working on RDM with individuals, and don't see that changing, but my visionary leaders have come up with a much better approach for RDM with churches. It weighs heavily on both Anthony (Operations head) and Claude (CEO) that the church in North America is dying. The stats we've read are that only 1% of churches in the USA are growing by baptizing new believers. So while our work is in Africa, we don't want to neglect the Body of Christ in America, either. Thus, we are making RDM with churches truly a ministry. The idea is that the church take on laptop raising as a mission project. (To learn why we're after laptops, see 2000 Laptops.) The people ask neighbors, friends, post it on Facebook that they're collecting used laptops for Africa. They then come to a "4-hour mission trip" in which they set up the computers to send to Africa with Puppy Linux, a free operating system designed to run on old computers. (We have to assure people strongly that they do not have to be experts to do this. If they can read and make a cup of tea, that's enough skill level to set them up with the group!) Cool, right? But how does that help the church?

  • Involvement in foreign missions brings people to know God in new ways. (To read about my experience, see the newsletter dated October 24, 2011 in Newsletter Archives).
  • One of the strongest undermining forces against the Church in North America has been use of technology without discernment. We generally realize that the immoral things propagated with technology are harmful. But even in recognizing this, western Christians have fallen into a trap. We tend to put technology in a tier separate from our spiritual lives and assume that as long as we don't do anything overtly sinful with it, it doesn't affect us. Those who participate in a mini-mission trip will get introduced to the idea of godly use of technology as the first step out of this trap and into a wiser and more effective walk with the Lord.
  • Another serious detriment to Christianity throughout cultures and history has been not knowing the whole of God's story. God gave us the Bible with a variety of literary genres included, but as a whole it tells one great story, of which all the parts are needed to understand Him and His work in the world. Research has shown that we do indeed base our understanding of the world on stories, and that if our minds have only part of a story, they fabricate the missing parts. That has led to great deceptions time and time again. And yet today so many Christians in the US only know the Bible in disconnected fragments. They don't know whether Abraham or Moses came first, much less what Solomon or the priestly rituals have to do with the coming of Jesus. And thus they are spiritually weak, easily led away from the Truth. I can't tell them the whole story in four hours, but I hope to make them want to find it out for themselves.
As always, I'm grateful for your reading and prayers. May this blog make you hungry for the whole story, too.