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Preparing for Missions
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Hudson Taylor on Essential Missionary Qualities

Hudson Taylor on Essential Missionary Qualities

Having missionary teammates and local co-laborers in the Gospel can be great... if they are the right people.  Having the wrong people on your team can cause great heartache and frustration.  We know that life is hard and ministry is hard, and we’ll never agree 100% with anyone all of the time... nor they with us.  Yet, as my wife and I think about some of the challenges that we have faced during this term, we have realized the absolute necessity of having like-minded co-workers in ministry.  We are praying for like-minded teammates (Thai and missionary) and brainstorming about who we can recruit to come join us on a new church planting team in the future.  A lot could be said about the type of co-workers we are looking for but the following quote from Hudson Taylor lays down the foundational qualities necessary for anyone who wants to be a missionary.  These are the kind of people we need.“In encouraging other young men to come out as missionaries, do us the greatest concern.  One strong-headed, contentious, obstinate man would ruin us.  Humble men, of sound, sterling talents (though, perhaps not brilliant) quiet, persevering men, of decent accomplishments and some natural aptitude to acquire language; men of amiable yielding temper, willing to take the lowest place, to be least of all and the servant of all; men who enjoy much closet religion, who live near to GOD and are wiling to suffer all things for His sake, without being proud of it, these are the men.” - J. Hudson Taylor

 

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Paul’s Motivation for Missionary Service

A number of years ago I sat in a missions class watching an animated video of jumbo jets plunging into the ground one after another while a voiceover told me, “Every year, such-and-such number of people die without ever hearing about Christ, which is the equivalent of so many jumbo jets full of passengers crashing each day, killing everyone aboard.”  I forget what the exact numbers were that the narrator told us, but it was quite large.  The point of the video was to drive home the gravity of the need to urgently send out missionaries to those who had never heard of Christ.  The planes crashing were to help us get our mind around a very large number and to be a motivator to go be missionaries. 

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Paul's Principles for Cross Cultural Ministry

I love reading articles about missions that both point me back to Scripture and demonstrate intimate acquaintance with the realities of life and ministry on the mission field.  "Putting Contextualization in its Place" in the recent 9Marks eJournal is one of those article.  The author presents an excellent explanation of how contextualization is found in the pages of Scripture, and is not an idea hoisted onto it.  He then goes on to explain how and his team put this principles into practice in their setting in a Central Asian country. The article covers a lot of ground and is worth reading in its entirety but I wanted to share with you one particular section that I found to be a good reminder of what my attitude and approach should be in living with and trying to serve the Thai people. 

 

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PAUL'S PRINCIPLES FOR CROSS-CULTURAL MINISTRY

 

Perhaps the most widely-quoted passage of Scripture that teaches about contextualization is 1 Corinthians 9:1-23:

 

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord?  2 If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. 

 

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Thailand Coup

It looks as if the coup in Thailand is going to be a bloodless overthrow of an unpopular prime minister. I went to pick up some Thai food tonight from our favorite little Thai place down the street and asked the folks there what they thought about all that's going on in Bangkok. There consensus was that it is good for Prime Minister Taksin to be out of power. I don't know enough of Thai politics to give a definitive opinion about whether this is a good thing for the nation or not but I do know that despite his repeated electoral victories, he was quickly becoming a heavy handed, and thus unpopular figure in the country. As a related side note, when I was in Thailand in July 2004, I was told that Taksin's unofficial policy to deal with the illegal drug problem was this: Hire off duty policemen to covertly assasinate drug dealers.In any case, Sun and I are hoping and praying that things will settle down in Thailand and return to relative normalcy (and democracy as well), and that God will use this coup to speak to Thai hearts about the lack of peace and security in this world, and drive them to seek the peace that only Christ can give. And since there

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Joshua Tree & Ordination

Joshua Tree & Ordination
My ordination service is set for this coming Sunday evening. My parents are able to make it out for the weekend so it will be good to see them again before we head off to Thailand for about four years. Praise God that our financial support has come together sufficiently for us to leave at the end of this month. We gave notice to our landlord and are looking for plane tickets now. In the few weeks that we have left we are trying to not get everything packed up but also see as many people as we can before we leave. My brother recently came out to visit and we all headed out to Joshua Tree National Park for a few days. Here is one of the many pics that we took. I have posted more on Joshua's blog (yes, we have a blog for our baby, and no, he does not write his own entries)

Departure Immanent

We fly out to Singapore for a month of training this coming Tuesday 10/31 (LAX, 11:25am Cathay Pacific) and then on to Thailand on Dec 4th. We are busy finishing up last minute details - packing, selling the car, buying last minute items, turning in apartment keys, meeting with family and friends one last time, and so forth. Look like we can pick up our visas at Thai embassy in Sinapore. Praise God! We are finally here and it is time to go.

Arrival in Singapore

Arrival in Singapore
We arrived in Singapore around midnight on Nov 1st and have been catching up on sleep ever since. Joshua did well in the airplane and more than one fellow passenger remarked on how good our baby was. We are relaxing for a few days at the OMF guest home and have had some extra time to read the Bible, pray, and talk which has been very good after our busy final weeks in the States. Our orientation course starts next Wednesday, I think. Until them, we are enjoying a little bit of down time as a family.God was really good to us in the final weeks leading up to departure and provided so many friends to help us with packing, moving, and so forth. The night before we moved out of our apartment, the doorbell rang and UPS had a surprise gift for us. Someone had sent an anonymous gift of a full set of Calvin's Commentaries. Awesome. So I put them right into the pile to ship via ocean freight and will get much use from them starting in a couple months when all our possesions catch up with us in Thailand.We've been learning about the city/nation of Singapore. It only takes an hour to go from one end to the other and it is super clean and highly regulated. It feels a lot like Thailand in some ways, but different in others. Maybe I'll write more about Singapore later, but in the meantime, here's a map of Asia to show where we are right now. You'll see Singapore at the tip of the Malaysian penninsula.

Orientation Course

We've been in Singapore for about two weeks now and are well into our Orientation Course (OC) at OMF's International Headquarters. We are here together with other new OMF missionaries (and their children) from a variety of countries - USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, Philipines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, etc. There are about 40 adults and 16 kids. Fortunately, there are some kind grandmas from UK and Australia are helping with childcare so that Sun and I can attend the lectures and not have to watch Joshua all the time.

 

The content of the lectures have covered medical issues (insurance, malaria, dengue fever, where to get medical advice and care on the field), finances (how OMF financial system works), the vision and mission of OMF International, times of Bible study, prayer, and worship, and meetings with the International Directors and Intl Medical Advisor. Joshua was able to get his six month shots right here at OMF HQ so we didn't have to go look for some place around town or wait.

 

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Thai Visas Received

Praise God that we picked up our visas today at the Thai Embassy here in Singapore.  The long story is that a couple weeks ago we got the word from OMF in Bangkok that the religion department and immigration department had processed everything for Karl's visa and OMF-Bangkok would send us an official letter to take to the Thai embassy to request dependent visas for Sun and Joshua.  That letter came quickly enough but we discovered that the letter had Sun's maiden name instead of married name.  So, we requested a new letter which came just a few days ago.  Providentially, the Thai Embassy is pretty efficient in pumping out visas and only has a one-day turn around time and we submitted the apps yesterday and then picked it all up today.  So barring any unexpected tragedies, we should be good to go for our flight out to Thailand on Monday (12/4)

Safe Arrival in Thailand

We arrived in Thailand this past Monday night and were picked up at the airport by the Language and Orienation Director to be taken to our new home in Lopburi, an hour or two north of Bangkok.  We live in a small two floor condo-type apartment in a row of attached homes on a narrow street.  Motorbikes zip up and down the small lane day and night as a shortcut between two major roads.  We have been have orientation sessions at the OMF mission home in Lopburi, the Lopburi Learning Center (LLC) where new missionaries study language, and around town and we get a feel for what is located where.  We opened a bank account, Sun bought a bicycle, and we met with the language advisors at the LLC to chart a course for language study.  There is so much more to tell and hopefully we'll get some pictures of our new surrounding up on this blog in the following weeks.  However, the priority at the moment is getting our new house set up, starting language study, and becoming familiar with our new surroundings.  We feel blessed in that, unlike most new missionaries, we both have some language ability and are not limited to pointing, smiling, and playing charades.  However, my Thai is a bit rusty and Sun doesn't technically speak Thai, but the related language of Laotian.  So, sometimes she can understand and make herself understood and sometimes not.  I'll write more about our settling in and adjustment later.   For those who are praying for us, thank you.

Wanted: Kingdom Families

Some people may think that our family is crazy to take Joshua to the mission field where he will not (as the argument goes) have the privileges and advantages of growing up in a developed wealthy country like America. However, there are many advantages of taking kids to the mission field and there are somethings worth giving up for the sake of sharing the Gospel with those who have never heard and making the name of Christ known in the dark places of the world.In the Sept/Oct 9Marks e-journal, I recently read an article called "Wanted: Kingdom Families" The authors correct a number of mistaken notions about taking kids to the mission field and present a challenge to parents to be kingdom minded and Gospel centered in raising their families. This article is extremely applicable for all Christian families, whether they are on the mission field or not. What is God calling us to do as a family? How should we be fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) as a family?

How to Prepare for Missionary Service

How to Prepare for Missionary Service

At one point in the history of missions, it was rather difficult to get approved for missionary service unless you were an ordained pastor (or married to one). There were exceptions, of course, for those who were going to serve as school teachers, doctors, and other types of ministries that did not primarily involve Bible teaching. However, where we find ourselves today, in many cases, is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Churches and mission organizations vary in their requirements, from very stringent to very lax, but since I got involved with missions about twelve years ago on a short-term trip to Poland, I have heard many times over, from various places, something along the following lines, “If you love Jesus and are willing, then you’re ready to be a missionary.” Granted, loving Jesus and being willing are very important but is that all that is needed? I was reading the book of Ezra today and came across this verse:“For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” (Ezra 7:10)

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Music Education and Missions

Music Education and Missions

A young man from one of our supporting churches recently emailed with the following question, "I was wondering if you have ever heard of anyone using music education as a platform for missions. If someone wanted to do something like that, how might they get started?" I imagine that there are lots of Christians out there who are interested in missions but not quite sure if their interests and skills are usable on the mission field and if so, how. So I thought I would post our answer to his question in hopes that others who are wondering about getting involved in missions, particularly in the area of music, would be benefited."There are lots of ways to use music education in missions. Formally, you can get a job teaching music education in a school, either in the local language or more likely in English. In a number of countries, there are schools that want to offer an international track where local students have all their classes in English, including various subject matter like science, math, music and so forth. Of course, there are also international schools, both secular and Christian where one can also be a music teacher. The requirements to teach in the Christian (MK) schools are probably lower than the secular ones. Getting a job as a music teacher in a school is something that

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