New Post from Jon Robison: “Our citizenship is in heaven but we do not live in heaven now, we live in a world that carries the stain of sin…”

 

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Back in my college days of yesteryear when LAN cables hung from dorm windows like silk from an orb-weaver’s spinnerets, and only Harvard had Facebook, a younger version of myself had his heart set on missions to Japan. I went with Japan despite a movement that was just beginning to pick up steam, and has since turned into the runaway train that it rightfully ought to be, we used to call it ‘wholistic missions: the whole gospel for the whole person’. This basically meant that ministering to a person’s spiritual and non-spiritual needs were prioritized equally. Evangelize, but heal and fight for social justice while you’re at it. Under a wholistic approach, first-world countries like Japan were pretty low on the ‘needy’ list.

But here I am in Japan. I’m writing this article while sipping a gingerbread latte. But the needs of the whole world seem greater than ever. Ebola is ravaging West Africa and the threat of a worldwide pandemic is enough to scare the midichlorians out of a Jedi master (or just, really scary). You can’t browse through your Facebook feed without reading of Coup-de-tats, land grabs and worst of all, organized terrorists enacting atrocities and genocide. There are some pretty large non-spiritual needs in the world to get upset about. And rightfully so! I have been dealing with negative feelings in my own heart concerning the group that I consider the most distilled version of evil currently operating in the world. When refugee children are dying while running for their lives, how can missionaries prioritize a people group with first world problems?

The textbook answer is that of Japan’s 125 million, 124 million or so have not experienced spiritual rebirth in Christ. The Japanese do not face the threat of immediate violence or disease, but they do face the threat of an eternity outside of God’s presence. Spiritually dark places need spiritual light, whether they have access to gingerbread lattes or not. Still, the extremist atrocities don’t sit well with me. Ebola doesn’t sit well with me. Unequal opportunities for women and minorities don’t sit well with me for that matter, but I’m not really doing anything about it here in Japan. Some people are doing something about it, and I applaud them, they are braver than I am. But for people like me who are angered by atrocities and unfairness, but still feel compelled to serve elsewhere, I’d like to offer some thoughts that helped me deal with my own emotions on the subject.

I recently read through some puritan literature on contentment. The 16th century was not exactly a bastion of fairness and equality (but compared to the 11th century, boy howdy!). When our hearts are confronted by storms of negativity brought on by unfairness and atrocities, we would do well to remember where we are, and what we are. We are not citizens of this world, but merely foreigners. Gai-jin! Japanese lesson: Gai-jin means gringo. Our citizenship is in heaven but we do not live in heaven now, we live in a world that carries the stain of sin. Atrocities and unfairness will always be part of that. Terrorists kill children because sin entered the world. Ebola exists because sin entered the world. Dictators oppress the poor because sin entered the world. Female authors, to a degree, are discounted by publishing imprints specializing in hard science fiction novels, because sin entered the world.

But! People want justice! People want answers! I do to. I’m tired of reading about crimes against humanity. A long time ago, some concerned Israelites read the news one day. The Roman procurator had murdered some Israelites, and a tower fell on 18 people, so they asked Jesus about it. What gives?! Jesus’ answer surprised them. It wasn’t because the victims were especially evil, they were sinners like everyone else. The ones asking ‘why’ were the lucky ones, but even they were living on borrowed time. The wages of sin is death. Suffering is a result of sin. We shudder at ebola and extremist-fueled genocide, but these are merely by-products of the rebellion in our hearts, which God shudders at.
Cain and Abel offered sacrifices to the Lord. Cain offered fruit and grain, while Abel offered lambs. Abel’s sacrifice included lifeblood, following God’s precedent. God slaughtered an animal to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness, blood covers guilt. Abel admitted his guilt, Cain held to entitlement. A guilty person has no rights, but can only hope for mercy. Common graces such as food, clothing, shelter and safety in this broken world are not rights, but temporary gifts from a loving God who is preparing something better. Those who admit their guilt, and are covered by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ, are simply sojourners in this world. One day we’ll be home, and there won’t be injustice because there won’t be sin. Until then, let’s keep ministering to the needs of those around us! Let’s strive to be like Jesus, who ministered to the sick, the poor, the underprivileged, and the rich, the Pharisees and the Roman centurions. He ministered to the privileged and the oppressed; the haves and the have-nots.

DIY Missions Journals

Easy to make!

Easy to make! Click on photo for larger view.

 

This is a very simple project. Journals were purchased from Michaels craft store and already had the design. Countries were hand painted with white paint – also from Michaels. You can use Sharpie markers to create some added personal touches like writing the person’s name or the country they’re going to be ministering in.

Include a message inside to encourage that special person and remind them of God’s love for them even when they are far away from their home country.

Also, since the holidays are coming up please feel free to comment and share any creative gift or general gift ideas for missionaries :)

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Meet the Youngs: Missionary Family to Africa with Wycliffe Bible Translators

 

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Meet the Youngs – they serve with Wycliffe  in Cameroon furthering God’s kingdom through evangelism and Bible translation.

Daryl serves in the Aviation Program which provides a unique opportunity to serve people in need. Since necessary infrastructure is not in place, air plane travel may be the only way someone can get to where they need to go. It would be unbearable, at times, or even too late to journey by car especially if needing to transport someone having an emergency.

See below for some exciting projects that you can support.

SPONSOR AN AIRLIFT

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When this project has adequate funding from gifts by generous donors, only then can an urgent flight be conducted.

Help us help these Cameroonians in deep crisis. Your gift of any amount will make a difference, maybe save a life.

Learn more HERE

SPONSOR AN ORPHANED CHILD 

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Helping Hands Children’s Home, a ministry of Win Our Nations, Cameroon.

The Youngs have known the mission’s director and family for many years and it’s their  joy to introduce you to their ministry that reaches out to Cameroon’s orphans in the NW Region. Many projects need funding. For your consideration we are suggesting two options:

-Sponsor a Child – $25/mo will provide all essentials

-Sponsor a Wall – $120 = 10 Bags of cement

Each gift of $120 (or any sum) will help purchase cement or other needed construction materials in the building of the new Helping Hands Children’s Home.

Learn more HERE

SPONSOR A SCHOLARSHIP

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Cameroonian Bible Translator-in-the-Making!
Every day Cameroonians are becoming more and more engaged in the Bible translation task within their own nation. Many are seeking training to acquire and develop skills in linguistics, Bible translation and literacy.

A gift of $500 from you or your group will go a long way in helping train one or more scholarship recipients.

Learn more HERE

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SPONSOR A COURT FOR SPORTS EVANGELISM

Volleyball Outreach! If you or someone you know is a volleyball enthusiast, or if sports evangelism is something you get excited about, why not invest in this lasting gift.  For less that $400 you, or your group can purchase a good quality volleyball court kit – portable and ideally suited for transforming any grass soccer field into a terrific grass volleyball court, or multiple courts for tournament play.  Goal – 6 to 8 courts.

Learn more HERE

Click on the link below for a video, it’s a look into soccer outreach for a village in need.

SOCCER OUTREACH

You can also make a contribution directly to the Youngs by check

Please write on separate paper “in preference for the Wycliffe ministry of Daryl & Sun Young #283423”

Wycliffe Bible Translators

P.O. Box 628200

Orlando, FL 32862-8200

Use link below for on-line giving.

CLICK HERE

You can also spread the word about these projects by sharing the link to this post:

http://www.aloveformissions.com/2014/09/24/meet-the-youngs-missionary-family-to-africa-with-wycliffe-bible-translators/

 

Thanks for taking time to learn about the Youngs, their suggested projects and Wycliffe!

 

What Should I Pack and Bring with Me on a Missions Trip to Southeast Asia?

Courtesy of Betsy Meenk USA Regional Director, ZOE & ZOE

Below are packing lists taken from ZOE’s short-term missions training manual.

Important items to bring:

• Bible, notebook/journal and pen
• Camera
• Personal medications
• Watch
• Travel alarm clock
• Flashlight
• Sunglasses and hat
• Personal toiletries
• Hairdryers, shavers (anything that needs electricity may require converter)
• Driver’s license or another form of ID
• International calling card
• Cash, credit card or traveler checks
• Comfortable – breathable clothes and shoes (socks or slippers if your feet get cold)
• Neck pillow
• Activities (Bible, book, ipod, notepad, etc.) Some airlines have individual screens for movies, video games, and music.
• Toothbrush/toothpaste
• Mints/gum
• Travel size bottle of Listerine mouthwash to kill germs (311 Rule – 1-1oz clear quart-size clear plastic bag, containing 3oz or smaller containers)
• Ear plugs
• Jacket or sweater (airports and airplanes can be very cold!) While on the field:
• Hand wipes and/or sanitizer (ZOE recommends discreet use so as not to offend your hosts)
• Toilet paper
• Insect repellent
• Passport Note about valuables – do not bring expensive jewelry. Keep your money and passport in a safe place at all times.

Packing Tips from Betsy:

I have this flat carrier for clothes with flaps that open up. The flaps help you fold all your stuff in and then it velcros shut. It also comes with a folding board. I found it at a travel store; you can also view and purchase it online. You can buy more than one carrier to put in your suitcase. It helps when you get to the hotel because then you don’t have to dig through everything, all of the pieces come out. It’s a great way to organize.

How to Dress for Your Short-Term Mission to a Hot & Humid Country

Courtesy of Betsy Meenk, USA Regional Director, ZOE

We have a dress code for our short–term teams that’s dictated by the culture we’re ministering to. Wherever you’re going in the world, find out what that culture’s definition of conservative is and then dress appropriately.

We happen to be ministering to a very, very conservative culture so it’s important that we dress conservatively. And we need to define that because the definition of conservative in the United States is going to be different from a conservative culture’s definition of conservative.

It’s important to find out what their definition is, not what our definition is because we’re ministering to them, so we need to put them first.

Dress for Women

One thing I recommend to all the ladies is a cotton slip.

It has literally saved my sanity!

Most slips are nylon that doesn’t breathe. Cotton is just more comfortable. They’re hard to find though. The only place that I’ve been able to find them is a place called The Vermont Country Store

Cotton clothing is really the best because it’s breathable. It’s much more comfortable.

I like wearing skirts, they’re cooler and it’s easier and more comfortable to be on the floor in a skirt with the kids we’re ministering to.

I like wearing skirts, they’re cooler and it’s easier and more comfortable to be on the floor in a skirt with the kids we’re ministering to.

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These are some examples of loose pants that are good to bring. It’s actually better to bring more shirts since you can’t really wear them again and again like you can with pants.

These are some examples of loose pants that are good to bring. It’s actually better to bring more shirts since you can’t really wear them again and again like you can with pants.

 Dress for Men

Tommy Patikamanant, short-term missions to ZOE 2006 & 2007.

A few of Tommy’s thoughts on packing clothes in consideration of his missions trip to ZOE:

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For a trip where I know I’ll be moving around a lot in a warm and damp climate, I like to pack clothes that are moisture wicking and light.

This includes athletic T-shirts, golf polo shirts, cargo shorts or plain casual shorts.

This will help as you are sweating your way through the streets, homes, and outdoors of all parts of the country.

I try to stay away from basketball shorts even though I live wearing them because that’s a little too casual.

Tommy 2

When I’m giving a lesson of some type, I try to wear more formal clothing but still be comfortable. This would include a collared shirt and slacks. The reason for this is because some cultures hold their teachers in very high regard and you want to be able to come across as someone teaching a noteworthy subject, which in this case is sharing the Gospel!

Slacks are preferable over jeans because jeans are so un-breathable in the humidity.

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Tommy 4

When it comes to footwear, bringing along a pair or sandals is beneficial since it’ll be hot and humid.

However, if you will be walking around a lot, you want a good pair of tennis shoes. If possible, bring a pair of tennis shoes that can double as decent looking shoes when you are teaching.

Tommy 5

Overall, you are doing the Lord’s work in His mission field, so you should dress and look the part as a representative of the Gospel. Be cool and comfortable!

 

 

Short-Term Missions Trip Travel Advice from Betsy Meenk, ZOE

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Betsy Meenk has been leading short-term missions teams to Southeast Asia with ZOE for a decade. In this four-part series, Betsy will share some of her best travel advice and tips for short-term missionaries from addressing common concerns about going overseas, to packing and lounging on the plane.

What are common concerns people have prior to traveling on short-term missions?
Probably the top things that I’ve seen people deal with leading up to their trip is concern about finances and phobias they may have of something, like flying.

Really, the best advice for me to give to anyone – and I don’t mean to oversimplify it – but it’s really to just trust the Lord and make it a matter of prayer in deciding whether you’re supposed to go on this trip.

If God is calling you to do this, then nothing else matters. He’s going to take care of the finances, He’s going to give you the strength to get past phobias, and He’s going to provide everything you’ll need for that trip.

You’re entering into the very heart of God when you’re entering into missions, and you can’t minimize the importance of prayer. Our answer is always in the Lord.

What are some frequently asked questions you get related to travel?
What should I wear?
What should I pack and bring with me?
Do I need to get shots?

We’ll answer these questions and more in our next several posts!

P.S. You can read A Love For Missions interview with ZOE founders, Michael and Carol Hart HERE

A Love For Missions – What’s Next?

A Love For Missions is excited to share more ideas and inspiration with you. This week check out how to dress for your summer missions trip to a foreign country. Our friends will show you how to dress smart in hot and humid weather! We’ll also provide travel tips and helpful information to help make your trip run smooth.

Later we’ll present some projects that will benefit Wycliffe Bible Translators & share how you can sponsor a project.

Please check back soon!

Creative Fundraising Idea for Your Short-Term Missions Trip: Caroline’s Story

Read Caroline’s story of how God fulfilled her need for support to go on summer missions through, “Bow’s for Missions.” – All photos courtesy of Caroline Kim.

Bows for Missions!

God had placed on my heart to use my summer to further His kingdom. I had gone to India before and never thought that a first world country needed workers. Contrary to what I thought, God had plans to grow my heart for His nation Japan. Now that I had decided to go, the daunting $3,500 to fundraise came upon me. As a broke college student already juggling two jobs to survive, $3,500 seemed impossible to raise. My friends who were also going out were fundraising CD’s and T- Shirts. I felt defeated as I can’t sing or design, but knew I had to do something besides sulk. And then I saw hair bows at a store and I thought, “Oh, hey I can totally make this!”

The thought of doing something that I enjoy (crafts/DIY) to raise money for missions was exciting. I went in thinking maybe I’ll sell a few bows and raise a little for missions. Oh boy, was I in for a shock. To my surprise I raised around $900 through selling bows! My friends publicized my bows on their social medias and a lot of orders came in that way.  My friends and I also wore the bows around and random people asked for orders too! I realized how foolish I was to worry about finances; God truly provided every penny I need to go out. All I had to do was do what I could do (making the bows) and leave the rest to God.

Bows for Missions

Bows for Missions

Bows for Missions

Bows for Missions

Bows for Missions

Caroline stepped up to the plate in faith and God used her idea: "Bows for Missions" to help raise support for her summer missions trip.

Caroline stepped up to the plate in faith and God used her idea: “Bows for Missions” for His glory.

Have a fundraiser idea? Tell us about it in the comments section at the top!

Fundraising for Your Short-Term Missions Trip: Your Support Letter PART TWO

Here is Part Two of our post about writing your short-term missions support letter.

There are different ways to organize the letter, find what’s best for you.

Paragraph 1 We suggest opening the letter with a greeting and then briefly saying where you are going and who you are going with.

Hello! This summer I’m have an opportunity to go on short-term missions to _______ (country name) with my church to help share the gospel in partnership with _______ ( partner name – a local church, missionaries, a missions organization, etc).

Paragraph 2 Share more about where you’ll be going.

You may be familiar with this country already because of ___________________ (share any background about the country that might be of interest.)

Paragraph 3 Share what you’ll be doing.

Our team will be helping the local church with a _______________ (activity 1) and we will also have a chance to ____________ (activity 2) at the end of the week.

Paragraph 4 Invite people to support you prayerfully or financially. Include your fundraising goal and justification for expense (i.e. air fare, hotel, supplies, etc.) You can also include the dates of your trip.

I invite you to partner with me through prayer and/or through financial support for the trip. The cost of the trip / I need to raise $______ which includes the cost of _______________ (list expenses). If you’d like to support me on this mission to ________, please see attached for more information.

Our trip is from ______ to _______, 2014.

Lastly, thank them and include  a tear off or slip of paper with directions on how people can support you. Consult with your church or team leader on how your team will handle writing checks, memos, etc.

Click below for a free template

Sample Missions Support Letter

Fundraising for Your Short-Term Missions Trip: Your Support Letter PART ONE

A Love For Missions wants to help you with fundraising ideas for your upcoming missions trip! One of the biggest things to check off your checklist is a missions support raising letter.

Asking people for support can be very challenging. Maybe you’ve never been in a situation before of asking people for money. If you are feeling apprehensive just remember that this is a no pressure situation. Why? Because God is sovereign. He can help you meet your fundraising goal. He will provide all that is needed for your trip and He is already preparing people to partner with you.

The mission starts even before you set foot on the missions field. If you are feeling stretched beyond your comfort zone at the thought of raising support,  think of it as training grounds for your actual work on the field.

Your Support Raising Letter

Your support raising letter can be an opportunity to share about missions with those who may not know what a Christian missions trip is (as well as those who do). Pray about who you’d like to send your letter to. You may be surprised by the number of people who you can think of to send your letter.

Here are some ideas: church members, travel buddies, people you do ministry with inside the church and outside the church, close relatives, distant relatives, co-workers, neighbors, your hairdresser, people your volunteer with and people you know from sports, school, or a club.

On Monday we’ll share how to organize your letter and what you might want to include. Check back for Part II which includes a sample letter you are free to use!

Relationship Evangelism: How to Start a Spiritual Conversation

How to start a spiritual conversation

Want to talk to someone about what their spiritual beliefs are but don’t know where to start? Try these sample questions and feel free to refer back to our Tips on Relationship Evangelism

These sample questions are courtesy of Lisa & Walter Chu campus missionaries in Southern California. Lisa & Walter reach out to college students and invite them to explore Christianity. They invite students to study the Bible with them and they share the love of Christ in practical ways.

  • Do you have any life-long goals?  What are they and how did you come to make those goals?  Are they from any particular belief or faith?
  • What values did you grow up with?  Are they from any particular belief or faith?
  • Getting to know a person’s family situation can lead to questions like, “Did you grow up in a particular faith?” or “What do your parents believe?
  • I was thinking about how we all live for something, and we all want our lives to turn out a certain way.  Do you have something that you’d say you live for?  What do you think the purpose of life is?  How did you come to that understanding?
  • Have you ever thought about what happens to us after we pass away?  How did you come to that belief?

Some more pointed questions that can lead to understanding someone’s spiritual mindset:

  • What do you think about Jesus?
  • What do you think about Christians?
  • Have you ever read the Bible?  Would you be interested in reading it with me?  I’d love to hear your thoughts about what the Bible says.  I think I can learn a lot from and with you.

5 Tips on Relationship Evangelism

1. Don’t stop praying for the lost. Your loved one might not make a decision to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior until their last breath. Don’t stop praying for them. It’s only by God’s grace and the power of prayer that they will reach the point of finally saying yes to Jesus.

2. Be courageous. Don’t let fear keep you away. Every conversation you have with that person doesn’t need to be a spiritual one, but hopefully it will eventually move in that direction. When it does, be ready! But even if there’s a missed opportunity, God is sovereign and it doesn’t mean you failed.

Paul shares his prayer requests in Ephesians 6:19 asking for prayer “and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

3. Avoid putting pressure on having a spiritual conversation. If it feels like the person is open to a spiritual conversation, you might try a non-threatening question like, “You mentioned your parents are Buddhist, do you believe the same things they do?” If the person doesn’t seem like they want to talk more about religion or their beliefs, avoid pressuring them.

4. Build a good relationship. John 13:35 says, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Loving the lost involves wisdom and discernment knowing when to call, email or text someone to hangout. Sometimes people are just busy, they may not be avoiding you but sometimes they do want to be left alone. They may disappear for a while due to personal issues. If this happens, the best way for you to show them love is by leaving them alone but you can let them know that you’re there if they need prayer or support.

If they’re asking you if they can come to your church or they initiate a spiritual conversation it’s almost better than you asking because it shows that they’re interested and open. And that could be an open door for you to share more deeply or meet their request to find a good church.

5. Treat it like a ministry, care for your ministry like a garden. It takes time…just like caring for a garden it may take a while before you see any fruit. And many times, you will be planting seeds and the next person who comes along may be the one who harvests the fruit. The best advice we can offer is to just be patient and trust God with the person. He is the Gardener, He is Savior and He is Lord. We can definitely play a part in introducing others to Him, but ultimately we are not responsible for their salvation.

A New Topic on ALFM: Relationship Evangelism

Inspired

ALFM was recently inspired to dedicate some posts this month to relationship evangelism after reading an article from CRU’s publication Worldwide Challenge entitled, “Where you Walk” by Heather Holleman.

Read Heather’s story of how God met her desire to reach out those around her despite her busy life. The Holy Spirit began working through her to cause some exciting things to happen in her neighborhood.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE

And check back on Monday for some tips on relationship evangelism!

What is relationship evangelism? Building a relationship with someone in order to evangelize to them the gospel of Jesus Christ. We’ll try to come up with a better definition if we can :)

 

Bringing Justice & Hope Through the Nozomi Project

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Eric, Sue and their four children

 

We’re very excited to share our interview with Sue Takamoto. Sue is a mom and a missionary with Asian Access. She is also the founder of the Nozomi Project, a social enterprise that helps women in Ishinomaki, Japan. One third of the women that are helped are single mothers and grandmothers, and most lost their livelihood, a family member and/or their home during the 2011 tsunami disaster.

The women make one-of-a kind jewelry out of broken pieces of pottery left in the wake of the tsunami and experience community and hope through the Nozomi Project. Check out our interview with Sue below and learn how you can support their effort.

Please tell us a little about yourself and your ministry with Asian Access.

God called me to Japan clearly when I was a 20 year old college student after I had spent a summer of ministry here.  But I wasn’t sure what that looked like!  When I was 26 years old I was able to return to Japan for three years.  I moved to LA to attend seminary at Fuller Seminary, and met Eric Takamoto there.  We were married in 1997, and in 2001 moved together to Japan with Asian Access, and we have been here since!

We were down in the Kobe area of Japan for nine years.  We were living there at the time of the March 11, 2011 triple disasters.  Just four days before we had attended a one-day class on disaster preparedness.  We knew that God had prepared us for this time… Eric began driving the twelve hours north to take supplies and help, and over that next year made about 17 trips up.  It was over that next year that God called our family to move up to Ishinomaki.

Up here, we are working with the Be One House church network, seeking to walk with the people through their grief and bring hope through the Living Hope of Jesus. One of the ways we have found to do this was in the start of a non-profit social enterprise called the Nozomi Project.  We are employing local women to make jewelry out of the broken shards of pottery that were left everywhere in the wake of the tsunami.

Can you share some updates on the Nozomi Project and how the Nozomi women are doing?

It has been a year and a half full of many challenges and seeing God do many amazing things!  We finished our first year in the black and with a surprising profit, as well – we are so amazed at what God is doing.  This is helping us to reinvest in the Nozomi Project and prepare for the future. We also had a chance in December to bless the women with surprise bonuses.  In addition, we chose to give away 20% of the profits to other organizations in Japan and overseas with great needs.  This has been part of seeking to model the idea of generosity to all of our staff.

Right now we are employing 18 women.  They are all moms or grandmothers, and so we have working hours that accommodate the hours of school children.  It has been really amazing to see women who came first to Nozomi a year ago with absolutely no skills at making jewelry – who are now really, really good at their work!  Many have truly become artisans, and they take great pride in their work.

What are your future plans and hopes for the Nozomi Project?

We continue to take this step by step, asking God for wisdom and guidance.  None of us have ever done this before!  We are trying to build a good financial base for the NP, as well as creating guidelines that help streamline procedures and allow us to prepare for growth.  The honest hope of our Be One staff is that we can work ourselves out of a job;  that God will continue to raise up Japanese Christians who can take over what we are doing and that it can truly become a self-sustaining business.  NP will probably always need the input/help of North Americans in terms of sales and marketing but I can’t wait for the day when the NP is employing North Americans!  We have been so impressed with the leadership of several of the women who God is raising up in the NP.  We pray that He will continue to nurture and draw these women to himself.

How have you seen God working recently?

There have been several recent wonderful examples of God at work.  One of our staff, M., is a great jewelry maker but about every 6-8 weeks she will suddenly just stop coming for a few weeks.  There are addiction and family issues in her life.  Recently she had been out for a week and so my coworker and I called her and asked if we could pray for her over the phone.  She was really thankful, and so we prayed for God’s healing over her (not really knowing what was wrong.)  The following workday she showed up at our front door, grinning ear to ear.  She exclaimed, “God healed me!  He healed me!”  And she was completely fine.  God is so great!

Another one of our staff has not come for about six months.  She has two boys but she moved in with her parents because she became very depressed and couldn’t leave the home.  Her parents were basically raising her boys.  I dropped by a Christmas gift and her bonus to her, and she just sobbed in my arms.  A week later, on New Year’s eve, she showed up at my home with special homemade cookies – her first time out of her home in many many months.  She recently came over for lunch, and then last week – started coming back to work.  We are so thankful for God’s healing and his touch in our midst!

Sue 1

How can people support you and the Nozomi Project?

We always appreciate our online customers – you can purchase gifts at www.nozomiproject.com and we will ship them worldwide.  You can also make a donation there as well.

Those who would like to support our family can do so through our mission agency, which is Asian Access/SIM:  Payable to SIM USA

SIM USA Donor Care
PO Box 7900
Charlotte, NC 28241
(Takamotos #040072)
OR www.sim.org/giveusa

May Topics on ALFM

May Topics

This month A Love For Mission will be sharing insight on relationship evangelism. Also, don’t miss out on fundraising tips for your summer short term missions trip. That’s right, summer missions are around the corner and we want to help you get ready!
Come back to read more about these two topics, but first check out our last justice interview with missionary Sue Takamoto of the Nozomi Project tomorrow.

Fighting Modern Day Slavery: An Interview with ZOE Founders Michael and Carol Hart

ZOE
“Reaching every person, rescuing every child”

For over a decade, Michael and Carol Hart have been caring for orphans and rescuing children from the atrocity of human trafficking. Together, the husband and wife founded ZOE an organization whose mission is to end child trafficking and preach the gospel especially to those who’ve not yet heard the name of Jesus. Enjoy reading what Michael and Carol have to say in our interview where they discuss strategy, working together on the mission field and the message they want to leave behind for the next generation seeking justice.

Mike Baptizing Photo Edit

Michael passionately equips leaders to reach their nation.
He’s pictured here baptizing a new believer in a remote village.

Carol water

Carol’s heart to care for orphans has led her to dream the impossible. ZOE media may show orphaned or at-risk children but never trafficked children.

Where were you when you first heard about human trafficking, and how did you know you were meant to do something about it?

Carol: We first heard about human trafficking from a missionary who spoke at our church one Sunday. I didn’t know slavery happened in our world. As a little girl, I remember learning about slavery in our country. I wanted to crawl back into history and would’ve given my life to be a part of ending slavery and save just one. When I heard about the Holocaust, I felt the same way. I would’ve given my life to save just one. But as far as I knew, slavery wasn’t happening in my world growing up and it wasn’t my generation.

But that Sunday, when I heard about human trafficking, I went into my church office and bawled my eyes out.  I said, “God, I am alive now! This is happening in my generation and I know you’re doing something about it and so…what do you need from me? What do you need from us?”

Michael and I both felt strongly about it.

From the minute I heard I said, “God, you can have anything of ours.”

I didn’t look human trafficking as a cause. I always looked at it like, just point me in the direction of a slave and I’ll do anything I can to free that slave. The conviction that this is what we were meant to do has never left.

We crawled up into God’s heart…we fasted and prayed and asked God what he wanted us to do and we heard God say, “I hear their cries and I need your life.”

From that moment we never looked back and we pursued this direction. It was as if the pieces of our life came together. All the things we knew we were supposed to do: be on the mission field, share the gospel with unreached people and pursue justice.

We always get our orders from God and we are desperate to obey him. This is what I would want people to know about Mike and me.

We weren’t following a cause, it’s a calling and the Word of God is our instruction (Psalm 119).

What is ZOE’s overall missions strategy?

Michael: First, our vision is to reach those who have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the 10/40 window nations, including Asia, there are almost 2 billion people yet to hear about Jesus. In Southeast Asia, where we are starting, only 1% of the people believe in Christ, while 75% have never even heard about Christ. This is also one of the greatest human trafficking hotspots in the world. Jesus commands us to go and tell all the world His story. As foreign missionaries we can do it, but we are limited cross-culturally. Our strategy is to train the nationals who are better at communicating God’s love and message to their own people. We have the ZOE Ministry School where we train fulltime ministers to go into the harvest and preach the Gospel of Christ. Many are already doing this as pastors, evangelists, and businessmen. The Gospel is also the long-term solution to the child trafficking crisis worldwide.

Carol: Second, our vision is to rescue children in danger by helping to end the trafficking of children and help with the orphan crisis. There are 153 million orphans (double or single parents deceased) worldwide and our hearts are for orphans in danger. Unloved orphans, in our opinion, are the most at-risk population for trafficking because nobody’s looking for them, there’s nobody to fight for their freedom.

What are ZOE’s strategies for combating child trafficking?

Carol: We believe the long term strategy for human trafficking is the gospel. Because if you look at the supply and the demand side of the problem of human trafficking, the gospel is the solution to both. What drives us, where all our strategies come from it’s really the gospel. We are a ministry that’s God-centered, gospel-centered, and we go to the Word of God for direction. As Christians, our strategy for the right thing to do, at every turn, comes from the Word.

The Word is a light unto our path and a light unto our feet. We’re led by the Spirit of God. When we’re faced with difficult situations and impossible road blocks in the arena we work in, God is the God of the impossible.

The practical strategies are prevention, intervention and aftercare. CLICK HERE for a description of each strategy.

We work in an arena where there’s a lot of evil and in situations where they are no rules, you just turn it over to God. We’re desperate to help, but the bottom line, at the end of our lives is, and for this nonprofit, is that we obey God.

Our 100% desire and will is to obey God first, and in doing so we’ll do good work in the human trafficking arena. You prosper in anything you set your hand to when you point back to him. The Bible says if you meditate on it day and night and then your way will prosper.

We will never lose in obeying God if your objective is to obey God. All that matters is what God thinks.

You are a dynamic husband and wife team. What gifts and talents does your spouse bring to the mission field?

Michael: Carol is definitely a motivator. She is an exciting and energetic leader. She herself is filled with passion for Jesus and spreads the fire wherever she goes. She is also a great people person. Her calling is to rescue children from human trafficking and reach out to the troubled orphans in our generation.

Carol: Michael Hart is a rock solid Christian believer and a son of God. There’s not another man on earth that I would want to follow. He has integrity. He’s a bond slave to the Word of God. He’s as steady as they come and he’s tough as nails. His greatest gift in what we’ve had to face on the mission field is his tenacity. His resolve to do what God wants to do. I’ve never met someone more tenacious than Michael Hart. He looks at me and says to me, “Carol, I need you to stay in faith with me.”

He’s a teacher. He’s deep. He knows the Word of God. He’s a student of the Word. He celebrates the body of Christ. He has a heart to work with the whole body of Christ. This is a talent that has worked well on the mission field: loving God and loving people.

What is it like working together?

Michael: Working together can be a challenge at times because both of us are strong leaders, but our gifts and talents compliment and fit together so well that we are able to accomplish all that God has asked of us. It is a joy to see God fulfilling each of our dreams as we fulfill His dreams.

Carol: Our office is tiny and the back of our chairs bump each other in our office. That’s how closely we work together. We’re each others best friend. It’s not easy for him to be my husband and my boss. It’s super hard at times! What makes it easy is that I trust him. His motives and his heart for God are in the right place. So that helps me trust when I disagree. It makes it easier to submit to him because I know his heart for God. My responsibility is to submit and his responsibility is to lead the organization and answer to God.

In the work we’ve done it’s been scary, hard and impossible. There was a time when impossible was a common event in what we tried to do, but we don’t have one day of regret of coming to the mission field. It is not a sacrifice to come to the mission field. It’s an honor to be a missionary. I love working with my husband.  He’s not perfect, I’m not perfect, but God is perfect.

Together, we have a freedom and security to fight to come up with the best idea and the best practice. We are imperfect, but we respect one another and we trust each other.

I think the reason why it works is because we’ve committed to God in our marriage, number one and, number two, if you do life and marriage in the way the Word instructs you, not only will it work, but you will have no excuses. We’re complete opposites, but we think alike. We move in the same direction more often than not.

How can we be praying for ZOE?

Carol: Jesus taught us how to pray. Your kingdom come your will be done. We want God’s will to have been accomplished at ZOE and we want to accomplish His will.

Pray for protection in every area. Pray for physical and spiritual protection from the enemy. Human trafficking is dangerous and preaching the gospel to unreached areas is dangerous.

Pray for continued provision. Pray that God will continue to send us the right team to fulfill the assignment. We also need prayer for resources and funding.

Michael:
1. Pray that we can raise up more laborers to go into the harvest
2. Pray that we can rescue more children from human trafficking
3. Pray for us as leaders to be strong and accomplish God’s dreams
4. Pray for our staff, missionaries, volunteers, and donors
5. Pray that God sends us more laborers as we grow and do more
6. Pray that God provides resources to help us fulfill God’s plan

What message do you want to leave behind for the next generation?  

Carol: Do whatever you have to do to obey God. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – If you spend time figuring out how to manifest this scripture in your life, it will serve you well. I believe you will get everything you need out of life if you figure out how to obey God.

Michael: As far as reaching the world for Christ, I have this to say and I tell this to all my students: the next generation has the greatest challenge in history ahead of them. The harvest is bigger today than it has ever been. God is going to require them to go more, say more, reach more, and do more. He will anoint them more than any other generation in history in order to accomplish the task.

**SUPPORT ZOE**

If you would like to support ZOE as they fulfill their calling of reaching every person, and rescuing every child CLICK HERE to donate.
You can also read more about what the team at ZOE are up to on the official ZOE blog HERE. You can also check out our previous blog post on ZOE HERE.

Jon’s 10 Bright Ideas for Encouraging Overseas Missionaries

Earlier ALFM posted ideas for encouraging overseas missionaries. Now check out this same concept, but from a missionary point of view. Here are….

Jon’s 10 Bright Ideas for Encouraging Overseas Missionaries

In 1 Samuel there’s a story about David in his pre-King fighting days, where some of his men fight and others guard the baggage. Both are given equal parts in the spoils. Even though being a missionary is different from chasing down and destroying Amalekite raiders I think this principle applies. In our lives we’re all on the front lines of the battles God puts in front of us, but in international missionary work, missionaries need you to keep the supply of goods and encouragement flowing.

Here are ten ways you can encourage overseas missionaries:

1. Reply to a prayer update.

I send out bi-monthly prayer updates and inevitably get a reply or two in my e-mail inbox. Even just two or three sentences, the person connects with something I’m saying and tells me about what they’re doing. It totally makes my day! It might seem trivial or even narcissistic to you to expect someone who’s mass-mailing hundreds of people to be interested in your life, but nothing could be further from the truth. Overseas missionaries miss their home cultures. Once I daydreamed about having ten bucks and an hour at a Costco food court, it was the highlight of my week. We love connecting with you because you are our friends.

2. Work with your missionary on a short-term trip

This takes quite a bit of commitment but yields huge rewards for everyone involved. In my ministry we run an annual VBS program with an English emphasis. Through the program we get to reach thirty families that we wouldn’t otherwise reach, just because some foreigners are here to teach their kids how to do the hokey-pokey. That’s what it’s all about, am I right?

Bonus: A short-term trip is an excellent way for you to feel out your interest in becoming a longer-term international missionary yourself, or to find out that two weeks away from Costco pizza is more than enough for you.

3. Highlight a missionary in your Sunday school class.

Another win win win. You instill a global vision in the hearts of a bunch of second graders (or an adult Sunday school class), you receive prayer cards to be stuck upon unsuspecting refrigerators, your missionary gets new prayer support, and you get a lesson idea for next week.

Who knows, your Sunday school class could hold the next Hudson Taylor!

4. Minister to international students

There are plenty of Japanese college students studying in southern California and the Bay area, where a solid number of my support team live. Invite these kids over for dinner and play board or card games with them. Laugh a lot. Share the gospel.

Japanese especially are WAY more likely to listen to a religious presentation outside of Japan because they’re not worried about offending their home group. The Japanese have a saying that translates to something like ‘ignore your shame when on vacation’, that’s also why people make fun of Japanese tourists with cameras and Mickey Mouse hats.  My Tokyo-born wife is an introvert among introverts, yet on vacation in Los Angeles she approached Jack Black for a photo. It’s documented that more Japanese come to Christ outside of Japan every year than inside Japan. When they go home they’ll need a church and a support group. You link them to me, I link them to a contact in their hometown.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Befriend International students! They’re more likely to take chances away from their home countries.

5. Send a care package.

Okay, this costs money, probably more than whatever you’re sending is worth. Unless you’re sending a Costco pizza. But, I was so happy to eat a box of Cheerios last month that I did not share them with my wife, only our sons. My wife got a bunch of cooking related things that would be difficult to find here. Inside the care package each item said ‘from Nancy’, ‘from Lynne’, ‘from Dale’, etc. It was very cool.

6. Introduce your missionary friend to your missions pastor.

This could be awkward, because everyone in the conversation knows this is a set-up, but here’s the thing: Your missionary thinks the people of his adopted country are worth it, you think they’re worth it, and your missions pastor, well, that’s his job!

7. Hold a fundraising event for a special need your missionary has.

We run a VBS every year, we raise funds for it. Your missionary friend has something that needs paying for and you can throw a party and get your friends to pay for it! Case in point: When I was raising start-up costs my friend Wes held a Jack-in-the-Box Taco eating contest fundraiser for me. Lauren Yokomizo was the champion taco eater in the ladies division.

8. Make your kids become Pen Pals with missionary kids

I get it, it’s hard to make your kids do anything. I have a hard time making my four year old put his own clothes on in the morning. But there’s plenty of things kids can learn from each other’s home cultures. Did you know Japan has animals called Raccoon-bear-dogs? But you might if your kids were pen pals with missionary kids from Japan. They can trade stamps or coins or photos of interesting local geography, and this could lead into your family praying for the church in your missionary friend’s adopted country.

If your kid becomes pen pals with my kid, he can send your kid a picture of a dog.
If your kid becomes pen pals with my kid, he can send your kid a picture of a dog.

9. Network us with your friends.

“When I was raising support during my last home service, I felt like Maki and I really connected with a family. I was however, a little bummed that they didn’t join our support team. But then I was introduced to their friend, Dean. Then Dean introduced me to his missions pastor, and that snowballed. Then I was introduced to their friend Bruce, another positive result. Then Maki met with a girl’s group through the same contact. Just through our connection with the original friend, our praying and supporting group increased exponentially.

10. Pray for us.

Don’t you hate it when the last thing on a list is the most obvious? You put our prayer card on your fridge, you pray that people in Japan would come to know Jesus and pass from Spiritual death into eternal life with Christ. That’s what it’s all about.

Jon Robison is a missionary in Japan with his wife Maki and their two boys Aquilla and Leon. Jon studied Missions and Biblical Exposition at the Master’s College. The Robisons vision for ministry is to introduce people to Jesus Christ, like Andrew did for his brother, Peter. To that end, Jon is beginning to share various church responsibilities including preaching in Japanese, and he and Maki will start a mommy-and-me English Club next month which will meet at the church. Jon loves sports, reading fiction, and eating pizza.

ALFM has an Announcement…Meet our Newest Contributor – Jon Robison!

A Love for Missions is very excited to have Jon Robison as a blog contributor.

Jon profile pic 1

A little about Jon…

Jon is a missionary in Japan with his wife Maki and their two boys Aquilla and Leon. Jon studied Missions and Biblical Exposition at the Master’s College in California. The Robisons vision for ministry is to introduce people to Jesus Christ, like Andrew did for his brother, Peter. To that end, Jon is beginning to share various church responsibilities including preaching in Japanese, and he and Maki will start a mommy-and-me English Club next month which will meet at the church. Jon loves sports, reading fiction, and eating pizza.

Please make Jon feel welcome by commenting on his first post which we’ll share with you on Saturday :)

Jon profile pic 3

 

New Interview Series: A Love For Justice

On the blog today, meet “Rose” a missionary in her 40’s who is serving in a country with restricted access to the gospel (a closed country) on a research visa.

For security reasons, Rose is not able to provide her real name or the name of the closed country where she serves. Rose, who’s originally from Southern California, tells A Love For Missions what it’s like serving in a poor country with major physical and spiritual needs.

Read her perspective on justice and some creative things she and her team are doing to empower the local church and share the gospel.

Please tell us about your ministry.

My primary job right now is learning the language; this is essential to working with the people here and building relationships.

Our overall vision is to establish a long-term ministry in this country. We want to come alongside the church that’s here and help them with church planting.  A large portion of the country remains unreached. When we talk about church planting, we’re not talking about a building we’re talking about making disciples – and training disciples to make more disciples. Sharing the gospel with people and hopefully watching it take root. We hope to see people reach their own people.

We also want to address some of the physical and social issues that are contributing to family and community breakdown as well as human trafficking.

 scenery

 

Please tell us a little about the people in the country you’re in and what needs they have.

In this small country there are over one hundred different people groups. When someone in one of these people groups become Christian, their whole family becomes Christian. However, this isn’t always the case. There are plenty of new believers who are persecuted and thrown out of their family and villages because of their faith.

In this country there are a lot of ethnic lines and they don’t mix with people of other backgrounds. Some churches are made largely of women and children.

As far as needs, the biggest social problem we’ve seen here is a lack of jobs. There’s a huge trickledown effect. A large number of men leave the country for work and that creates a whole set of problems:

  • Children without fathers
  • Boys without role models
  • Women who are unprotected
  • Men and women with alcoholism

Many times men who go overseas and come back with HIV (because they’re being unfaithful with other women) and then come back and infect their wives. 10% of the population is abroad and 25% of the GDP for the country is from overseas workers.

The people here have accepted these problems as normal occurrences in their society, but this is not what God intended for families.

What do the women do for employment?

They’re expected to get married and not work. If they do work they’ll work as housekeepers or shop owners. I’ve heard that a common problem is women being beaten by their husbands. This is not a culture that values women at all.

Our team is actually involved with a ministry to women in a dance bar. This bar is a place where women can solicit sex to customers.

The owner of this bar is interested in learning English so we’ve been going there every week under the auspice of teaching her English. Three or four of us go. While one teaches the owner English the rest have the opportunity to talk to the girls there and minister to them.

We just try to show them love however we can and share the gospel with what limited language knowledge we have since they don’t speak any English. We have this little book of henna Bible stories and we communicate the gospel by writing henna on their hands and they love that.

henna

“Henna Bible storying”

 

We’ve built a good relationship with the owner and we’re really praying for her to become saved. If you can turn the owner around, you can turn the whole place around.

She’s told us, “I feel love when you guys come.” She wants to pay us for helping her with her English, but I tell her “No, we’re just here because we love Jesus and we love you guys.”

Where our language comes short, we hope that our love speaks volumes.

That’s such a beautiful story.

Even though you can’t speak the language fluently, you’re not letting that stop you, but actually finding creative ways to reach them.

Yeah, we hope it’s making a difference. I think being consistent has gone a long way. In the beginning it was difficult, very difficult because of the communication barriers. But as our language has improved, and as we’ve gone consistently they’ve gotten used to seeing us and look forward to us coming.

The owner has even asked us, “Can’t you come every day?” I think being consistent and persistent even though it was uncomfortable and awkward shows love…like I said, where our words fail us at least our actions are speaking to them. At least, that’s what we pray.

It’s heartbreaking to go there every week and see the young girls that are there and the new girls that show up. There are probably 10-12 girls. One girl I know is about fifteen, or younger.

And the girls say they want to get out, is that a common response?

I don’t know if I can speak for all the women in this country, but it seems that the girls in this dance bar are all there of their own free will, but they’re not happy working there.

When we ask them why they work there, the girls say because they can earn a lot of money here and can’t earn enough anywhere else. I think if they were given the opportunity to work somewhere else, and given enough money to survive off of, they’d leave the bar in a heartbeat.

What solutions do you see for the spiritual and physical, or social, issues in the community?

One spiritual problem I see in this country is a broken worldview – the fact that they don’t see women here or human life here as valuable. They have a very fatalistic worldview. They think their present circumstance is the result of something they did in a past life. A lot of the trafficking problem here too comes from a broken worldview.

If people here knew the one true God and what He thinks of them – and how he values men and women equally – where sin comes from and why we live in a fallen world, I think it will change the way they react to different situations.

For example, a community of believers should be less likely to sell their women and children into trafficking or send them overseas because they should view their women and children differently as God sees them. Change people’s worldview, this is where church planting and the gospel come in. It’s not the only answer, but it’s a big part of the answer.

Childrens backs

The big problem, socially, is a lack of jobs, which leads to so many other problems as I mentioned earlier.

One of the top ways women here become victims of trafficking is leaving the country, with a false promise of a job because there’s no other jobs.  Men also leave the country for work because there’s no jobs for them here which then leads to problems that occur as a result of men not being around. So we see this problem over and over again – that there are no jobs in this country.

But, what if we started a business that provides jobs for people in the country? And I don’t just mean one or two jobs, but a lot of jobs. Maybe a factory or business of some sort. And yes, the hope and desire would be to get women out of dance bars and places where they don’t want to be and give them training. It could also provide jobs for men so they don’t have to leave their families.

Another reason for starting a business is legitimacy. Starting a business and creating jobs for people gives us legitimacy in the community because we have a clear purpose, it also helps us develop relationships.

We can stay in country, have a legitimate reason for being here, develop relationships with many people, share the gospel, disciple people and address these social problems and business can help us accomplish all of that.

What business that is…we’re undecided. I’d like to see us make a product. I don’t know if it will ever happen, but I’m envisioning a really good quality product that’s exportable and marketable in the States or anywhere in the West. That’s what I would love to see happen.

If we can do that, we can create jobs here and open up factories in multiple locations and target high-risk areas. But that’s me dreaming really, really big.

Well, it seems like you’ve done your research and found that this is something that could really help these people. Your dream is God-sized. It could totally happen! Are the people there pretty business savvy?

No, not at all. That’s where I also think we could help them is by training them. You know, coming alongside the locals training up managers and business people and just showing them how to do business effectively and well. And that also leads into discipleship because, again, your worldview really impacts how you do business whether you cheat people, look for bribes, show up late for work – even the quality of the product you produce – your worldview impacts all of that. Helping them in these areas can give us opportunities to share the gospel using business.

Is there a lot of red tape with that?

There’s a ton of red tape. The biggest barrier right now is that the government is not encouraging foreign investment. In fact, the government is actually discouraging it by increasing the dollar investment for business in order to get a visa. It used to be a $20,000, last year they increased it to $60,000, now there’s talk of them increasing it to $100,000, which is ridiculous. I don’t have that kind of money. I thought $20,000 was a lot of money! But I don’t see that as a closed door, yet.

Good to know, we can keep that in prayer.

bridge

Anything else you want to share?

We’re currently working on a human trafficking awareness curriculum for a one-day training to get the local church involved in fighting human trafficking. Most of the work that’s being done to address human trafficking is done by foreign NGOs. The local church doesn’t really seem to be involved in addressing this problem. They don’t seem to understand why they should care. They know about trafficking, but they’re not involved…why is that?

I think it’s because they don’t understand God’s heart for the opposed – God’s heart for justice and because God cares, therefore, we should care, that’s kind of our theme for this training. And to help them think of ways that they can take action as the Church. Because God’s plan for the poor, and the oppressed and the widows is the Church!

Overall, we want to see church planting happen because we want to see people saved, and not just stop with addressing human trafficking, we also believe part of ending human trafficking is seeing the church grow in this country.

** SUPPORT ROSE**

Learn how to support Rose’s ministry by emailing eensaph@gmail.com

If you have any trouble in the process, please email hello@aloveformissions.com

Photos courtesy of Rose.

Come back next week for Part 2 of our interview with Rose.

Holy Week on ALFM

Happy Easter with Text

Quick announcement: our first justice interview will be postponed until next week. We encourage you to take time this week to reflect on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you’re not familiar with the gospel or the meaning behind Easter check out the gospel message

The celebration of Easter during spring is appropriate because Easter is all about new life. Colorful Easter eggs, chickens and green grass remind of us of that, but the real meaning behind Easter is the new life found IN JESUS CHRIST when people turn from their sins and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

We look forward to seeing you back here next week for the beginning of our series on justice!

April is Justice Month on ALFM

Justice target

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8 – ESV

How would you describe what justice is to someone? There are many injustices in the world like human trafficking, racism, bullying, poverty, child hunger, homelessness, genocide…

One way to define justice is a compassionate response to the broken and needy. It’s very easy to react emotionally to injustices. Seeking a biblical view of justice and going to God when our hearts are so full of emotion over injustice are ways we can rightly respond.

This month, join us as we continue to dig deeper into what is meant by justice.

Next week, read our interview with “Rose” a missionary who finds herself waking up everyday to multiple injustices outside her door.

Later, Michael and Carol Hart of ZOE will share the power of the gospel in the fight against child trafficking in Southeast Asia and lastly, Sue Takamoto will share hope through the Nozomi Project an organization helping survivors of Japan’s 2011 natural disasters. You’ll be inspired by their stories and may even see justice in a whole new way.

Thanks for reading!

A Prayer Journey Through Los Angeles

 LA Marathon Prayer Journey

Pray for LA

A Love For Missions was blessed by Pauline Nishida, a missionary with CRU who shares ways she prays for LA  as an urban missionary and avid marathon runner.

Join us in praying for the city of LA using the guide below. Pray for LA from wherever you are. But if you happen to be in the area, why not visit and pray over some of these landmarks along the 2014 LA marathon route.

Landmarks & Prayer Points

Prayer Strategies…please pray for:

Dodger Stadium *The sports world  *High profile athletes to be won for Christ  *Christian athletes to be bold in witness, impact, mentoring youth *Athletes would Glorify God with their resources & have a proper perspective of fame  *For Cru’s Athletes in Action ministry, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Run to Win, and others
Chinatown Dragon GateOlvera Street Los Angeles City Hall Little Tokyo Cathedral of our Lady of Angels Dorothy Chandler Music Center *Downtown & the City…for as the Cities go,so goes the culture;  and as LA goes, so go the cities! *Protection of the City of Angels *Reconciliation between races & cultures *We’d see beauty in diversity at the crossroads where Chinatown, Olvera Street, and Little Tokyo merge *Business & Government *Marketplace Ministries *Cru’s Korean Campus ministry *The Homeless/Shelters/ Rescue Missions *Revival in The Catholic Church *Impact of the Arts & Entertainment
Echo Park Lake *Once a place for drug deals, would now be drug-free *Be a haven of rest for the weary *Cru City’s new ministry to Millennials
Barnsdall Park *Godly creative expression, and bold Gospel witness. *Opportunities especially for the underprivileged and unseen talent in the city
Pantages Theater Capitol Records Tower Hollywood & Vine Hollywood Walk of Fame Musso & Frank Grill Graumman’s Chinese TheaterChateau MarmontWhiskey A Go-GoThe Troubadour *Hollywood & West Hollywood  *Impact of Media & Entertainment *More Christian movies & entertainment to be released & find favor *Christian actors/actresses to be a strong light & witness *Entertainers to be protected from the challenges of that culture, be generous and philanthropic *God’s love for runaways, prostitutes, drug addicts, alcoholics, the lonely & homeless *Ministries & Christian churches to flourish *Revival in this culture that will rock this world!!
Beverly Hills City Hall Rodeo Drive Historic Route 66 *Christ would impact the Beverly Hills culture  *The fashion world  *Wealth would be released into God’s Kingdom & help the poor. *Travelers, tourists
Veterans’ Administration *Protection for those serving our country & provision for those who have served *Healing, comfort & peace for those who are ill & disabled
Palisades Park Santa Monica Pier *The youth culture *Young people seeking Christ *God’s creation, beauty to be restored, as He intended & purposed

Prayer guide courtesy of Pauline Nishida, CRU.

 

 

Enjoy ALFM’s photo tribute of LA below!

 

hollywood

plaza

 

Fountain in Silverlake

Green Space

Grafitti

Park La Brea

The LA County Museum of Art (LACMA)

 

 

Government Bldg

KTLA5

 Cities have the power to influence culture, which can impact the way people in society think and act. What role should Christians be playing in our cities? And to what extent do you believe that God can make change in your city? Please leave us a comment below and share how you’d like to make a difference.

Spreading the Word TOGETHER LA

Last month young professionals gathered in LA’s small arts district downtown for a networking event and precursor to Together LA.
**What is Together LA?**

In early 2015 the Together LA conference will bring well known pastor and author, Tim Keller and other leaders to the city of Los Angeles where, for three days, Christians will receive training and empowerment to love the city.

Although the conference will not take place for another year, Christians in the city are being encouraged to take action now and a church planting movement in LA has already begun.

During last month’s event, speakers shared a vision of churches being planted in every neighborhood in Los Angeles. The group is also working on raising funds to support the conference.

Please pray that the name of Jesus will be lifted up  and this effort will ultimately proclaim Him throughout the city as Lord and Savior over all.

For more information check out the Together LA website HERE

TogetherLA2 TogetherLA1

We’re Sharing Our Heart for the City of Los Angeles

LA Marathon 2009 005

A Love For Missions has a heart for cities and will bring attention in our next few posts to LOS ANGELES and some rather exciting movements taking place in this city.

But first, some interesting facts about LA.

There are over 3 million people in LA making it the second most populated city in the United States after New York City.

Los Angeles is the world leader in production of video games, t.v. shows and recorded music. There are also more museums per capita than any other city in the world. (Forbes, 2012)

The largest number of international students are found at the University of Southern California.

Other characteristics that make Los Angeles unique

Ethnic towns such as Chinatown, Koreatown, Thai Town, Little Aremenia, Little Ethiopia and Little Tokyo.

Skid Row is a community roughly 50 city blocks of downtown that’s home to 8,000 to 11,ooo homeless people depending on the time of year (LA Chamber)

Accessibility to the beach and mountains (the beach and ski trip are all possible in one day).

Film, fashion and food.

“Los Angeles is known both as America’s First Third World City and the world’s future financial capital.”  -(Center for Student Missions)

The San Fernando Valley located about 25 miles north of Los Angeles is known for being the world’s largest producer of pornography.

Los Angeles  is both beautiful and broken….

a popular tourist destination, but amid the Hollywood glamor and scenery are social injustice, inequality and a valuable population in need of freedom and the hope of Christ.

In future posts, learn how to pray specifically for the city and help spread the word about a missions movement that’s happening in LA.

A Love For: Missions and Sports

Matt Pic

Meet Matthew Asami. He works for an organization called Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society (JEMS) as the sports director using sports as a platform to share the Gospel. The mission of JEMS involves reaching the Japanese, wherever they are, for Christ and partnering with local churches to reach non-believers with the intention of ushering them into established ministries.

Whether in an office or overseas, Matthew’s love for sports and sharing Christ can be used…read more in our interview below.

What sports were you involved in throughout your life and what do you enjoy most about playing sports?
My childhood was saturated by sports. With every passing season, I would bounce around from baseball to golf, basketball to tennis. I even dabbled in a little bit of badminton in my grandma’s backyard. I have always been drawn to the thrill of competition and the ability to see signs of improvement through practice. As I grew older and participated in high school athletics, I began to realize how these childhood pastimes could be used as a vehicle for ministry. Many of my closest friendships have been formed on the field and overall having a platform for community is a wonderful gateway to evangelism.

Tell us about your experience going on sports missions trips to Brazil.
Sports missions have been an important ministry for JEMS. In 2010, I had the opportunity to travel to Brazil as a part of a basketball mission team. We traveled to three cities: San Paulo, Londrina and Pompeia, each city had its own facet of ministry (organizing and running tournaments, holding basketball clinics, working with youth and intercity ministries). We were able to support established ministries and churches in Brazil, and use sports to bring non-believers into the church. I have never experienced a warmer culture; every person we interacted with was ready to engage in conversation.

As I reflect upon my experience in Brazil, I remember being presented by a whole different perspective of our Father. To worship in another language, to experience his grace through strangers; God is so much larger than the box that I had for him. This understanding of God sticks with me to this day.

Team 1(A group photo with one of the teams in the Sao Paulo Tournament)

What were people’s responses to your team and how were you able to communicate the gospel to others using sports?
The way in which our team presented the gospel message changed according to our audience. In the city of Londrina, we were working with the youth, so alongside holding a basketball clinic, we were able to hold a small vacation bible school at the church that was hosting us.

In Pompeia we were able to visit the local high school and a juvenile detentions facility; here we found testimony sharing to be a far more effective way to verbalize the gospel. Though our methods of sharing had changed, I found that what was most important was presence. Basketball was the platform we used to establish relationships, the real ministry came when we were able to deepen those relationships.

Kids pic 2

Kids Playing
(Leading Worship and ice breakers in the city of Londrina)

Brazil Action Shot

Brazil
(Pictures from the Pompeia tournament, following a period of testimony sharing)

5. Do you know of any other ministry opportunities out there for people who want to play sports?
Sports missions trips are just one facet of JEMS sports ministry. The majority of our time and resources are spent locally, working with churches in the southern California region to bring others to Christ. We do so by coordinating annual tournaments (softball, volleyball, table tennis, etc.) and weekly leagues (winter and summer basketball) that churches can participate in. It is our hope that people can use these opportunities to build deeper relationships with non-believers, and eventually get them plugged into a fellowship. There are also opportunities for basketball missions in Japan through a ministry we partner with called JUMP. If you are interested, or simply would like further information, please feel free to contact me at Matthewa@jems.org.

Matthew is a 3rd year seminary student at Fuller Theological Seminary, where he’s studying to become a pastor. Matthew lives in Cerritos, California and attends Orange Coast Free Methodist Church in Costa Mesa. In his spare time, Matthew enjoys sports, good food (any food really), a good Dodger game, and anything that can get him up and active.

Playing Sports to Spread the Good News

Sports and Missions

On Friday, learn more about sports missions trips from our interview with Matthew Asami, Sports and Recreation Director at JEMS

Support that Means the Most to Missionaries

Last year we surveyed about twenty missionaries to find out what encourages them the most. Results show that financial support is the top way to encourage. Read on and learn other ways to make a difference to the missionary you support.

Survey Question: What are some of the ways you like to be encouraged as a missionary (i.e. what is your missionary “love language”)? You can choose more than one answer, but please try to choose the ones that mean the most to you.

Survey Results - Support that Means the Most to Missionaries
  1. Financial – (e.g. someone supporting you financially) – 68.18%
  2. Words of Encouragement – 59.09%
  3. Prayer – 59.09%
  4. Practical Support – (e.g. someone offering to help with an errand, make a connection on your behalf, or watch your kids for a day) – 36.36%
  5. Interest – (e.g. someone approaching you and asking you about your ministry and what you do) – 31.82%
  6. Communication – (e.g. someone signing up to read your newsletters, emailing you or writing to you) – 22.73%

 

Here’s what some of our respondents had to say in addition

“…Finances are really a practical need, but {it’s} really encouraging to hear how God has laid specific mission fields on people’s hearts.”

“Partners sending me updates on their family and business is encouraging to me because it says they want a personal relationship with me not just financial.”

“Certainly all the above…their sincerity means a lot, too!”

“When people want to learn what I’m learning, and when thy want to connect with and love the people I love.”

Survey Results

Survey ResultsSurvey ResultsLater on we’ll share some specific acts of kindness that have surprised and encouraged these missionaries who participated in the survey.

Thanks for checking out our post!

A Love For: Missions and Dance

When Sarah Trax dances it’s more than physical activity, it’s an act that incorporates her heart for God and the lost. In our interview, Sarah shares how God has used her love for dance, and the power of His Spirit, to transcend cultural barriers and spread the gospel – without words.

 

sarah dancing 1

1. How did you get into dancing and what do you love most about it?
I started dancing when I was three, beginning with tap, and fell in love with rhythm and expressing myself through movement. Though I took a break from dance classes in high school to play on the volleyball team, I have basically danced my entire life, enjoying classes in almost every style of dance available to me: tap, jazz, modern, hip hop, swing, Latin, and West African.  There is just a deep joy and passion in my soul that finds its greatest release through dancing.

2. Tell us about your experience using dance on your missions trip to Brazil.
Dancing for missions in Brazil was a very new experience for me, and also deeply moving in many ways.  I was a part of a dance group initially with three other girls, and we came to Brazil with two choreographed pieces that we would use during street evangelism programs, school assemblies, and at churches to artistically share the love of Christ.  Throughout the duration of our time in Brazil, however, we also choreographed a new piece incorporating many other girls from our missions team, as well as improvisational dancing during countless worship sessions.

Dancing is such a powerful tool for outreach, because it requires a willingness to be vulnerable on the part of the dancer — and that honesty speaks to the hearts of those watching — and it is so non-verbally expressive that it overcomes language barriers.

When I danced in Brazil, I felt from my facial expressions to the tips of my fingers and toes that I was worshiping my Lord with truly all that is in me, as well as passionately pleading with those watching to surrender themselves to Christ and to receive the passionate love of their Father God.

sarah dancing 3

3. What were people’s response to your dancing and sharing the gospel?
People were very moved and extremely receptive to our dancing in worship and evangelism.  Often times people were brought to tears and would come up to us later with translators to share about how the dancing penetrated their hearts because of the conviction it expressed.

4. You’ve also taken dance in Africa, how does dance differ in other cultures?
I would actually say that the beauty of dance is that it translates to all cultures, and in that way is quite unifying.  However, dance is also a unique display of art in each culture because it usually exhibits movement, music, costumes, and even values characteristic of that culture.  One of the greatest things about dance in Africa was the unbridled joy and energy with which it was performed.  Dance in Africa was rarely just a performance, but more often an invitation for everyone around to join in the celebration through singing, dancing, clapping and drumming. It was wonderfully exhausting, liberating, and joyful.

5. Do you know of any other ministry opportunities out there for people who love to dance?
Dancing in the context of ministry is still a fairly new concept for the church over the last fifteen years or so, but I believe that there will become increasingly more opportunities as dance is on the rise in mainstream culture as well.  A great resource for dance in ministry is the International Christian Dance Fellowship that provides information on networks, courses, training, events, etc. — including an annual International Christian Dance Conference held over the summer. Youth With A Mission (YWAM), an international interdenominational missions-training organization offers discipleship training schools, which is what I attended, where dance is open to all experience levels and is incorporated into worship and missions, as well as a nine month School of Dance Studies for more experienced dancers.  Many local churches are also starting dance teams for ministry both within their church and as a means of outreach at events.

sarah dancing 2
6. Do you have any future aspirations in missions and dance or hopes of combining the two again?
I definitely have future aspirations in missions.  I am currently working with an urban ministry in Chicago and applying for graduate programs in international development, peace studies, and missions.  I joined a hip hop dance ministry for a short time last summer, and I am still taking a few dance classes throughout the year, so I would love the opportunity to share my passion for the gospel through my passion for dancing again somewhere down the line.  I am eager to see where God will lead over the next few years!

Sarah graduated in 2012 from Whitworth University with a BA in Peace Studies and an emphasis in African Studies.  She is currently working with an urban ministry called Center for Student Missions in Chicago and helping to engage rural and suburban youth with the diversity of urban life and opportunities to serve the homeless and other at-risk populations through prayer and volunteer opportunities with local ministries.  Sarah loves immersing herself in new cultures, foods and experiences, both nationally and internationally, and enjoying the beauty of God’s people and creation in all parts of the world.

Sarah Trax Loves Missions and Dance

missions and dance
Read our interview Monday.

Interview with David Mills, Missionary Sharing Hope in Japan through Jlodge

What do coffee and missions have in common?

They’re part of Jlodge, a coffee shop in Hiratsuka, Japan where customers are invited to experience quality coffee in a relaxed environment. Customers also have the opportunity to encounter Christ through missionaries like David and his wife, Yuka who work at J-Lodge.

Check out our interview with David below.

Please tell us about your ministry in Japan.
Our ministry in Japan is a natural extension of our lives in the States before moving to Japan; that is, our ministry is a hospitality-based lifestyle evangelism that focuses on making disciples.

A difference here in Japan is that we practice hospitality primarily through Jlodge coffee shop rather than our home. (www.jlodge.us) The Jlodge Coffee Shop is located about three or four minutes walking distance from the Tokai University where approximately 24,000 students study. Every day hundreds of them walk past, and our prayer is that God will lead the right students into Jlodge.

When students come into Jlodge we talk with them and begin building a relationship. We also introduce them to other students and, in that way, we build a Jlodge community of students who come regularly. Many of the students who come are also interested in improving their English skills. Since I am interested in improving my Japanese skills, we often enjoy times of language-exchange conversations. Jlodge also has monthly live concerts that feature local musicians. This is a free concert event and has become popular with the students. For us, the “after-concert-party” is the best part of these events. It has become an important time for deepening friendships and meeting new friends as we seek to love them into the faith!

On Sunday mornings we have a very relaxing and enjoyable fellowship at Jlodge. At the time of this writing, we have a 50% ratio of believers and unbelievers who attend. The conversations are always interesting. This is a time for exploration and investigation into the life and teachings of Jesus. We value and encourage participation from everyone.

An important part of this ministry is building relationships outside of Jlodge with local churches. When Christians from various local churches gather together in unity, we present a very powerful witness to others. On the 2nd Sunday of the month we have a special praise and worship service with people from several local churches. We do this to encourage Kingdom values and share the vision for reaching students at the university. We want to see many believers from different churches come together to reach the students for Christ.

JLODGE

Inside Jlodge where ministry and conversations over coffee happen

Latte ArtLatte art

Can you tell us a little about Japanese culture and why relationship-building is so important?
Japan is a small country with a large population (137,000,000). Most Japanese people live in densely populated cities with narrow roads and their houses built very close together. Even today they live close to one another and their lives are, in many ways, interconnected. Historically, Japanese people come from a “Paddy” culture. Rice farming was essential for survival and it took a village or a neighborhood cooperating together to maintain the rice paddies. This produced a deep and profound sense of “group” and community.Their survival depended on the cooperation of everyone in their group and anyone outside of that village was viewed with suspicion and it would take a stranger a long time to gain the trust and acceptance of the group.

Together, with other historical developments, this has helped to shape the Japanese worldview that values harmony and conformity as being especially important. Maintaining the harmony of their group (and there may be several groups to which they belong) is a deep and profound value. There is also a hierarchy of groups. For Japanese people, family is the inner most group and perhaps their company becomes the next most important group after they begin working. In school they often find a sense of belonging by joining a club. In some cases, the friendships that are formed at this time can last a lifetime.

At Home

Groups give Japanese people a sense of identity. Because they so deeply value harmony and conformity, it is very difficult to make much of an impact on someone’s life if you do not have a relationship with them.

If you take the time to build a relationship that allows you to go beyond their “public face” then you will find a loyal and lasting friendship that will endure through time, and through the hardships of interpersonal relationships.

Student OutingDavid with students on an outing

This culture trait that promotes the welfare of the group over one’s personal desires is close to the Biblical value of “looking not only to one’s own interests, but also the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:4) If you can build a friendship that results in a Japanese person opening their heart, then you have, in effect, created a new group, a new context for influence. If they come to faith, they are really opening their heart to Jesus and finally discovering the ultimate group—the Body of Christ.

How have you seen God work since you started working at Jlodge and more broadly in the community?
First, we had some serious concerns for a young staff member of Jlodge. Over time, we were able to watch God melt the barriers so that we could develop a very close friendship with him. We have been amazed to see the transformation of this former student and now we rejoice to see him growing and maturing in the Lord as he even participates with us in ministry to others.

Another encouraging development is our growing partnership with a *returnee who lives very close to Jlodge. She has become a partner with us and has been instrumental in starting prayer meetings. God has used her ministry to us as she shares the load of things like cleaning, cooking and translation. She is also actively reaching out to some of the girls who are part of the overall Jlodge community.

We are also experiencing an openness to share out faith with others. Sometimes they are not very interested in pursuing it, but there are those who are now actively searching and exploring the life of Jesus to see what is there!

From the community around Jlodge we are happy that some churches are more aware and some of their members are beginning to come to Jlodge. We have been praying that God will bring more members to us and we can support them in some way. We are also praying that God will draw people living around Jlodge who are not students. We have not seen many, but a few of them have come in. So far, there is a large gap between members of the community and the students who come to Jlodge.

What are some of your future ministry goals?
Our prayer as we began our work at Jlodge was three fold.

  1. That God would bring us .1% of the 24,000 students into active ministry at Jlodge. (about 20 ~ 24 students)
  2. That after we become established and prepared, God would increase that to 1% (around 200 ~ 240 students)
  3. Once we are more established and networked throughout the local Christian community, we pray God would grant us a “tithe from the devil” and bring 10%, or around 2,000 ~ 2,500 students, into active ministry.

As we look at this prayer our first step is to grow our personal impact so that we are relating to twenty or twenty-five students. We are also beginning to meet and build relationships with other Christians and pastors in the area. We are praying God will give us grace and favor with them and He will open their hearts to the vision of reaching many students with the Gospel of Christ.

Our vision is to see a large network of discipleship groups who are related to Jlodge and who are spreading the love of Christ to students at Tokai University by sharing the Gospel of Salvation. And ultimately, our vision is to see a spreading network of former students who have started discipleship groups within their natural affinity groups of co-workers, friends and family.

*A returnee is someone who becomes a Christian while not in their home country and, upon returning to their home country, must adapt to living life as a Christian in their own culture

 ***SUPPORT DAVID & YUKA***

To stay in Japan and continue meeting students and sharing Jesus’ love with them we need the support of godly men and women in the Church. Donations can be made directly to JEMS online. Clicking on the JEMS link will take you to a donation page.

You can also send checks to:
“For the ministry of David & Yuka Mills”
Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society (JEMS)
948 East Second Street
Los Angeles, CA  90012
Thank you!

What Do Coffee and Missions Have in Common?

Coffee David Mills

On Monday, be sure to check out A Love For Missions’ interview with David Mills a missionary in Japan who, along with his wife Yuka, is building relationships in hope of sharing Christ, and using a love for coffee to draw people in.

Join A Love For Missions and David as we discuss missions in Japan and the spiritual need of the Japanese there who often live without hope.

And for those who’d like to participate, we have a brand new ***CONTEST***! Follow these steps and you’ll be entered to win a surprise gift package featuring Starbucks coffee and products.

Step 1: Using your personal Facebook, Twitter OR Instagram account, post a status update (or photo update if you’re using Instagram) about anything related to missions and include the hash tag – #ALFMfebruarycontest

Step 2: Comment on Monday’s interview

The contest opens Monday, February 6, 2014 and goes through the end of the month (11:50 p.m. PST) on February 28, 2014. Looking forward to experiencing more ways to love missions, thanks for stopping by!

Missions Quotes & Ideas to Encourage You

Here’s an inspirational kick to get you going. A post packed with quotes and ideas that serve as reminders of the Great Commission. It’s ALFM’s way to inspire MAKING CHRIST KNOWN THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

Special thanks to Joy Caine for all her support and help researching quotes to make this post possible! Check out what Joy has to say on her blog and Twitter.
Blog: joyfulonealways.blogspot.com
Twitter: @joyacaine

Churck Swindoll Quote

Oswald J Smith Quote

Put legs to your prayers

Expect Great Things

Creative Reminders: A Facebook post from a college student who was inspired to make Christ known on his campus.

Put this on my dorm door. We are called to be the light of this dark world. This is our mission, that all Gentiles (those who don't know Christ) will come to know Christ. We usually think the missionary field is across the country but our friends/family/classmates/co-workers need to know as well. This sign is to help me and my roommates of this. Isaac Pak David Kim Parker Jennings As Christians, God commanded us to be the light of this world. Acts 13:47. " - Tsuguru Kagiwada, college student & youth leader

“Put this on my dorm door. We are called to be the light of this dark world. This is our mission, that all Gentiles (those who don’t know Christ) will come to know Christ. We usually think the missionary field is across the country but our friends/family/classmates/co-workers need to know as well. This sign is to help {remind} me and my roommates of this… As Christians, God commanded us to be the light of this world. Acts 13:47. ” – Tsuguru Kagiwada, college student & youth leader

Print prayer cards and creatively display the cards in places where you will see them and remember to pray.

Unreached ppl prayer cards 1

You can download prayer cards and pray for unreached people groups from Joshua Project (www.joshuaproject.net)

Unreached ppl prayer cards 2

Forget where you saw that great website about missions in South America? Bookmark it!

Bookmark

Some blogs and websites that you might enjoy keeping tabs on:

Desiring God Blog
ZOE (ZOE cares for orphans and rescues children from human trafficking)
A Life Overseas
Treevalley in the Inner City

Inspirational Quotes for Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” – C.T. Studd

“This generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of souls on the earth!” – Keith Green

“Missions is the overflow of our delight in God because missions is the overflow of God’s delight in being God.” – John Piper

“The nations are not gathered automatically. If God has promised to bless ‘all the families of the earth,’ he has promised to do so ‘through Abraham’s seed’ (Genesis 12:3, 22:18). Now we are Abraham’s seed by faith, and the earth’s families will be blessed only if we go to them with the gospel. That is God’s plain purpose.” – John R.W. Stott

“Sympathy is no substitute for action.” – David Livingstone

“Missionary zeal does not grow out of intellectual beliefs, nor out of theological arguments, but out of love.” – Roland Allen

“We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God.” – John Stott

Praying Hands

“Prayer is the mighty engine that is to move the missionary work.” – A.B. Simpson

“The history of missions is the history of answered prayer.” – Samuel Zwemer

“The will of God – nothing less, nothing more, nothing else.” – F.E. Marsh / Bobby Richardson

Sources: http://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/slogans.htm
http://www.historymakers.info/stuff/inspirational-quotes.html

Which quote or idea speaks to you and why?

A Love For Missions is Now Partnering with “MY HAPA LIFE”

If racial identity and integration are topics that interest you, head over to “My Hapa Life” a blog by Andy Morimoto. You may remember Andy from our interview a few months back.  Andy creatively shares perspectives related to cross-cultural, ethnic and Christian integration that will engage you.

Reading different perspectives on topics such as these can be good preparation for the mission field. Many times missionaries cross geographical boundaries as well as cultures to share the gospel. Recognizing cultural differences takes practice and time. For missionaries to make an impact there must also be a willingness to respect and work within cultural contexts so as not to hinder relationships being built. This is key as relationship building is such a HUGE strategy in missions!

ALFM on My Hapa Life

It would be great to generate some healthy discussion so please feel free to leave My Hapa Life your thought provoking comments.

Andy serves as School Link Coordinator with OMF International (US)

Andy serves OMF International as a School Partnerships Coordinator and would love it if you stopped by her new blog My Hapa Life

10 Bright Ideas for Encouraging Overseas Missionaries

10 Bright Ideas
1. Assemble a care package filled with the missionary’s favorite candies and snacks, or something homemade. Send the package for birthdays, holidays or anniversaries (e.g. 5 years of serving on the mission field.)2. Purchase an extravagant gift and give a missionary a surprise they’ll remember for the rest of their life. Plane tickets or even donating frequent flyer miles can bless a missionary longing to see their loved ones in person. You can purchase a plane ticket and let them decide who they’ll fly in or surprise them by a loved one to that missionary.

3. Create a video, Power Point or digital card and send a personal greeting to a missionary that will remind them they’re loved as they play your message over and over. It’s easy these days to record a video on YouTube right from your phone if you have the app. And, if you have a YouTube account, you can email your missionary a link to view the video.

4. Support a missionary financially. This is a major “love language” for missionaries. Raising support is something that missionaries have to think about and it can be challenging for missionaries who only know so many people which leads us to #5

5. Connect missionaries to someone that you know. This can serve more than one purpose. The person you connect them with may one day turn into a financial or prayer supporter or be a source of encouragement in other ways. It’s a mutual benefit as well because that missionary will often bless that person in ways that are immeasurable. Friendship is one of the best gifts :)

6. Pray for a handful of missionaries during a prayer meeting then send each missionary a card letting them know you prayed for them specifically. Prayer is nothing new, but often times it’s not first on the list. If you like a challenge, intercede for a missionary. Give up sleep or go on a fast and ask God to transform lives through that missionary and expand that missionary’s ministry beyond measure. Intercede for a missionary, but this time don’t tell them about it. Just keep it between you and God, you’re good deeds done in secret means reward in heaven!

7. Host a dinner for a missionaries who are home for an extended period. Many times missionaries will come home during the year to rest and raise support. This could be an opportune time to schedule a dinner where you sit and listen to them share stories from the field. Side note: if missionaries are in town for a brief, say, two week visit this might not be the best time since they’re probably trying to pack a lot in during their visit, but if you do want to get together try and contact them in advance so the two of you can plan to do something if your schedules permit. You could also invite others over to fellowship with you (see #5).

8. Ask for a needs list which is separate from a wish list. Missionaries may have needs that go unmet on the mission field, help them meet these practical needs for their ministry and then really make them smile by asking about things they personally wish for (things that would be considered a luxury).

9. Organize donations for the missionary’s needs and wish lists. Fulfill their needs list of items and invite your church to join you in gathering items they might have on hand. Flash lights, computers, books are some items that could be useful.

10. Share your heart for missions with a missionary. Sharing different perspectives and common ground can lead to enlightening discussions. It may also encourage a missionary because you’re sharing how God is working on the “home front.”

What are some other ways you know of? And if you’re a missionary, what are some encouraging things people have done for you?

A LOVE FOR MISSIONS First Ever Book Review

Book Review Courage and Calling

2013 is almost over and perhaps you’re thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. If reading more or finishing every book you start is on your list, we’d like to suggest a MUST read!

Courage and Calling by Gordon T. Smith is full of valuable lessons on calling (“a defining purpose or mission in life.”) Smith’s insight is both practical and logical. Discovering your calling is not something that happens overnight and there’s a lot more to it than being blessed with an understanding of what your calling is. Preparation and character building are necessary parts of living your calling. It can also mean working through challenges and letting go of the past. Smith discusses ways in which we should be thinking and acting in order to live consistently with our calling. Honesty with yourself about yourself is one of many valuable takeaways from the book.

Smith uses examples and stories making it personal. In addition, his use of scripture as a foundation for calling points to the cross as a necessary means for Christ to fulfill his calling so that we might know his all-sufficient grace and grow in our dependence on him (Smith, 1999, p. 154).

An inspiring and enjoyable read. Find it on Amazon for less than $10: Click HERE

Smith, Gordon T. (1999) Courage and Calling. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Last Minute Gift Ideas!

Last Minute Gift Idea OCC

Each year, Samaritan’s Purse hosts Operation Christmas Child a simple gift giving effort where shoeboxes  filled with toys, school supplies and other items are delivered for needy children overseas to open on Christmas.

Today we received an email about building a shoebox online. It’s so easy! Simply click on “boy” or “girl,” the age range you want to give to – like you would with a real box – select what items to put inside, write a note and your box is complete! Just check out and pay (all of this can be done for $30.)

The value of this kind of gift for a child is eternal because of the hope and message of Christ that is being shared.

BUILD YOUR SHOE BOX ONLINE

You can also check out other gift ideas including stocking stuffers for under $15 on their ONLINE GIFT CATALOG

Merry Christmas, and thanks for checking out these very special gifts that support missions.

COURAGE

Meditate this week with A Love For Missions on COURAGE.

Courage

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – ESV

Commanded by God (Joshua 1:9)
Outnumbered? God has it covered
Understand God’s will for you
Remember you’re not doing it alone
Answer your calling
Give generously without holding back
Embrace God’s truths

Courage. It means you’re not afraid to say yes to God.

The Nozomi Project

Nozomi is the Japanese Word for “Hope”

Tomoko

Since the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011, the Nozomi Project – a social enterprise run by a team of missionaries – has been dedicated to helping women who survived the disaster.

The organization provides women with employment and a place of community. As the women work side by side hand crafting one-of-a-kind jewelry, they share their struggles and support one another while getting back on their feet.

The organization also gives women an opportunity to learn about Jesus Christ so they can know what true hope really is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9V9h3-ECcOw&feature=player_embedded

 Emi

** Gift Idea – SHARE NOZOMI **

Support the Nozomi Project by purchasing a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry named after a loved one of a Nozomi woman.

You can also hear testimonies from the women and learn more about the Nozomi Project HERE

Remember to pray for the churches and missionaries in Japan as they minister to non-believers. Those who live without hope in Japan need your support and prayers, visit their website today!

Family Christian Interview with Tammy Morrell

 

Tammy Morrell is a Store Manager at the Family Christian store in Stevenson Ranch, California.

Tammy Photo

What is your role at Family Christian Bookstores?
As a Store Manager at Family Christian, my job is to lead the way through modeling and encouraging. Another important role is making sure the store is clean and orderly, and there’s good morale among employees.

Why do you enjoy working at Family Christian?
I love leading people and enjoy making it a fun place – not stifling employees to where they feel immobile or not part of a team.

Also, I love business and numbers.

Do you ever minister to the people who come into the store? I’m assuming not everyone is Christian.
They say about 30% of the people who come in aren’t Christian. I find that I minister more to Christians who are struggling. I’m able to encourage them and share love and truth.

There’s a higher expectation in a Christian store when you’re interacting with customers.

Motivation plays a big part. If you don’t keep the perspective that He loves these people to the cross you’re going to lose your motivation. If we put God first, we can do a better job of loving others.

Can you tell us about some of the changes that are taking place at Family Christian?
Family Christian is now under new ownership, but they’ve always been committed to providing resources to the Christian community. Before, 10% of profits were being contributed to help the community. Now, with our change in structure, 100% of our profits are going to help people.

More than $7 million has been contributed through the James Fund, which is our ministry arm to help orphans and widows.

The James Fund is really the backbone of the ministry, everything we do is always for the kids including foster kids in the U.S. as well as orphans around the world. Since the James fund started in 2003, over 4,290,000 lives have been touched.

What are ways that Family Christian is supporting missions?
Family Christian has a program called “Good Goers” where employees are sent on missions. They want to send people and have them come back and share about their trip. The culture of the organization is about giving to missions and empowering others to care.

Family Christian Building

This past summer Tammy went with Family Christian on missions to an orphanage in Haiti. Right now, Family Christian is raising money for the orphanage’s development through the Haiti Challenge. Help them meet their goal of raising over $500,000 to help see this project through to completion. Support the Haiti Challenge and read more about Family Christian’s ministry HERE

More About Family Christian

These days, with the ease of buying and downloading books online, it’s easy to sometimes forget about brick and mortar stores that sell books and other retail items.

Family Christian, a Christian retailer that allows customers to shop in store as well as online, is known as the world’s largest Christian specialty retailer. They have 280 stores in 36 states throughout the U.S. and offer a variety of Christian books, music, DVDS, and gifts including personalized items for special occasions like baptisms and graduations.

However, Family Christian is more than a brick and mortar store, and more than just retail.

For some it may have been a surprise to hear the company changed ownership and went from being a for-profit retailer to a non-profit ministry. The change, which took place in late 2012, means Family Christian now gives 100% of their earnings to Christian charities and specifically, ministries that serve orphans and widows in the U.S. and overseas.

According to a press release on the Family Christian website, while there are changes, there will be no impact on the company’s core operations, stores, or staff. You can read more details about the changes HERE

And now some Family Christian items picked out by ALFM. Give these items as gifts and share your faith.

HeartCross

Sterling Silver Heart/Cross Necklace – $29.99
Photo courtesy of Family Christian                        www.familychristian.com

The Little Drummer Boy Veggie Tales - $6.00 Photo courtesy of Family Christian www.familychristian.com

The Little Drummer Boy Veggie Tales – $6.00 Photo courtesy of Family Christian www.familychristian.com

Christmas Crafts Fun Kit - $24.95, photo courtesy of Family Christian www.familychristian.com

Christmas Crafts Fun Kit – $24.95 Photo courtesy of Family Christian  www.familychristian.com

10 Reasons Jesus Came to Die by John Piper 25 pack booklet - $2.50

10 Reasons Jesus Came to Die by John Piper 25 pack booklet – $2.50 Photo courtesy of Family Christian www.familychristian.com

ESV Gospel Transformation Bible -$39.99 Photo courtesy of Family Christian - www.familychristian.com

ESV Gospel Transformation Bible -$39.99 Photo courtesy of Family Christian www.familychristian.com

***Please don’t forget to use affiliate links on right hand sidebar if you decide to purchase***

In our next post, A Love for Missions will feature an interview with Tammy Morrell, store manager of a local Family Christian store. CHECK BACK MONDAY to learn more about Family Christian’s ministry and what they’re doing to support missions.

November Recap

Here’s a recap of November…

New series how can a love for missions start at home

ALFM began a  series entitled, “How Can a Love for Missions Start at Home?”

We shared four ways:

1) Put up a map to teach children about geography and pray for missionaries around the world
2) Bring the mission field to your dining room table using creative homemaking ideas
3) Bring the mission field to your children and family
4) Be intentional about discussing missions at home and then go on missions with a family member

Andy serves as School Link Coordinator with OMF International (US)

Andy serves as School Link Coordinator with OMF International (US)

Andy Morimoto taught us about missions mobilization.

We looked to the cross and celebrated the life of a saint.

Willow Tree Holy Family Nativity Set, pieces sold separately. Click on the banner (affiliate links) and search for "nativity."

Willow Tree Holy Family Nativity Set, pieces sold separately. Photo courtesy of Family Christian.

ALFM kicked off the holiday shopping season with some Christmas gift ideas.

Look for more gift ideas that support missions all this month!

Support Missions & Shop Family Christian Nativity Sets!

BlackFriALFM

It’s Black Friday – the notorious day of the year where we must shop Black Friday because the holidays are here and the pressure is on.

Just kidding about the “must shop Black Friday” part, but the rest is true. The pressure is on!

It’s so easy to get caught up in the mad dash for things, things that in the moment feel so important. However, there are ways to avoid all the madness.  First, remember Christ as the center. It’s Him that we’re supposed to be worshiping this season, reflecting on His birth and this unfathomable event in which Jesus Christ the son of God came to earth as a baby to relate to us as people.

With that being said, A Love For Missions would still like to invite you to avoid the crowds and shop with purpose safely from home. On the right hand sidebar there are banner ads for Family Christian. If you click on any of the Family Christian banner ads (including the one below) and make a purchase on anything, A Love For Missions will get a percentage.

 A Love For Missions thinks that Nativity Sets are great gifts because they can be used to visually communicate who Christ is. Displaying nativity sets can serve as a reminder to keep Christ at the center.

Shop early and give a little early so the person you’re buying for can enjoy this gift before Christmas gets here.

Nativity sets are also a great gift for kids. Check out this nativity set by Fisher Price for kids (above) and for adults, here’s a Willow Tree set by Demdaco (both sold by Family Christian).

Will Tree Holy Family Nativity Set, pieces sold separately. Click on the banner (affiliate links) and search for "nativity."

Willow Tree Holy Family Nativity Set, pieces sold separately. You can find pieces and sets by clicking on any of the Family Christian banner ads and searching for “Holy Family Nativity”

Hopefully this post will save you some energy and time thinking, “Hmmm, what should I buy?” Check back for more purposeful gift ideas for Christmas all next month on the blog. And if you didn’t know, Family Christian is a HUGE supporter of missions too.

Thanks for stopping by!

How Can a Love For Missions Start at Home? Way #4

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Today we’re sharing the fourth and final way that A Love For Missions can start at home.

Here it is, Way #4:
Be intentional about discussing missions at home and then go with your family – or family member – on a missions trip.

Lauren Tang is a “missionary kid” who spent part of her life in Southeast Asia with ZOE Children’s Homes where she and her parents, brother, and two sisters went to serve on long-term missions.

My parents have told me that even before they had us kids, their dream was to one day go on a mission trip as a family. Going on missions was a part of my parent’s hearts, and through their influence, that desire was also instilled in mine. I was homeschooled for 8 years, and in those 8 years, my parents viewed Bible-learning and character-building as more important than academics. My mom especially loved to teach us about faith and character through the lives of different missionaries, having us read their biographies as, yes, a book report or literature/history assignment, but also as life examples and role models to aspire to become.

My parents in themselves were examples of ‘missionaries’, serving at church or church camp. And so, with such Gospel-centered, missional parents, feeding me with Gospel-centered, missional curriculum and examples, I was naturally more open to the mission opportunities God blessed my family with as I grew up.

Of course, there is a difference between my parent’s desires and my own; having that desire to go on missions wasn’t personalized in me until I fully experienced it myself. I don’t think as a child, I ever imagined myself becoming a missionary in a foreign country for a longer period of time…that was for the missionaries in the books. And I admit that it was really hard for me to surrender to God’s call for my family to move to Southeast Asia. But if my parents hadn’t fostered missions in my heart when I was a child, and if they hadn’t been proactive about going on short-term missions as a family, I don’t think I could have fully surrendered because I wouldn’t have understood the importance, the need, and the blessing that missions are.

Also, I think the fact that my parents never forced us kids to go on missions, but rather consulted us and had us pray with them about going…impacted my view of living missionally as a joyful obligation from and for GOD, not from or for them.

Lauren is a student at BIOLA University, studying speech pathology. She enjoys the simple adventures of being with loved ones, hula, journaling, and conversations over iced caramel macchiatos.

How Can a Love for Missions Start at Home? Way #3

WAY #3

Bring the Mission Field to Your Children and Family

Titus2MinutesTatlockFamily

Click on the image to read the full article and check out more of what Courtney has to say at www.Titus2Minutes.com

Read some creative ways that Lisa, the mom of this family is planting seeds in her children’s hearts in the name of the gospel and missions! Another great read from Titus2Minutes.com

Hope you’re enjoying this series. You can read more by clicking HERE

And feel free to share some of your own ways and ideas to incorporate missions at home. A great organization to connect with for #7 on Lisa’s list is International Students Incorporated. Check out ISI HERE

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving week!

Check Out How America Responded to “The Cross” with Billy Graham & Pray for Our Future Generations

“The Cross” with Billy Graham brought people together earlier this month to reflect on the power of the gospel.

Millions gathered to watch “The Cross”, and now online volunteers are following up with viewers who were touched and transformed by its message. In the days and weeks that follow, prayer is needed for those who are seeking as well as for the volunteers who’re answering questions and providing counseling.

If you didn’t get to watch “The Cross” you can view it ONLINE

You can also read how lives were touched as a result of the broadcast HERE

In the ninety plus years that Billy Graham has been alive, the gospel has spread tremendously. God used this man and he preached the gospel to more people than anyone in history. His example is an inspiration, but it’s also a respectful call to action for the next generation to carry the message of the gospel and help finish the task until every person has been reached for Christ.

We’ve been uniquely positioned and equipped with tools like technology and media plus there are many other ways we have to reach people, including modern conveniences, that previous generations did not have. May we be good stewards of what we’ve been given and remember as Billy Graham conveyed, the most powerful tool in sharing the gospel is the power of God Himself.

ALFM Scripture Share

Wheat plant 5

Join ALFM in meditating on Psalm 57:2 this week.

Psalm 57:2 says, “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” – ESV

Who, or what, is preeminent in your life?

What is holding you back from seeing God more clearly?

He is the God Most High and the Most High wants to fulfill His purpose in your life. We challenge you to read the entire Psalm and meditate on what your purposes might be.

How Can a Love for Missions Start at Home? Way #2

WAY #2

Bring the Mission Field to Your Dining Room Table

Check out this great article from Titus2Minutes (www.titus2minutes.com)

Click on the image to read the full article and check out more of what Courtney has to say at www.Titus2Minutes.com

As we continue to highlight ways to encourage and inspire missions in your home, we thought it would be fun to share a post from another blogger, Courtney Melonas. Click HERE to read this creative and informative interview Courtney did with one of her old professors who taught at the Master’s College. Courtney is the author of Titus2Minutes and blogs about homemaking, honoring God, and missions! If you check out Titus2Minutes on Mondays you can learn more about her heart and others hearts for missions. Thanks for what you’re doing, Courtney and thanks for letting us share!

In case you haven’t read some of the other posts in this series about encouraging and inspiring missions in your hone (based on John Piper’s “A Love for Missions Starts at Home” )you can check out what’s tagged under “How can a love for missions start at home?” to find out more.

**Thanks for stopping by**

Andy Morimoto on Missions Mobilization

Andy serves as School Link Coordinator with OMF International (US)

Andy serves as a School Partnerships Coordinator with OMF International (US)

What made you decide to dedicate your life to serving missions full-time?
From my view point, it’s not really about deciding to give one’s life to missions, but about deciding to follow Christ with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength. I’ve heard people say that the highest form of flattery is imitation. So if I’m to love the Lord with my whole being, shouldn’t I follow him with everything I have?

It seems that the two best things to lie before the Lord are an open heart and an available attitude. For myself, after experiencing short-term missions all around the world, God planted a desire in me to serve His people in whatever way He would have me. Whether it was volunteering and advocating for God’s people, or serving in a full-time ministry position, I knew God was calling me to some sort of life of ministry.

Now that you’ve discovered God’s plan for you to be involved in mobilization, tell us what exactly is mobilization, and why is it important?
Mobilization is one of many ways a person can be involved in God’s global kingdom work. Many people want to be involved in missions, but don’t know how. Missions mobilization on the most basic level means to get people involved in missions. It brings together key elements including people’s excitement, vision, energy, and resources to fulfill the Great Commission.

How are you planning to reach students?
I’ll be serving with OMF International as their School Partnerships Coordinator. The responsibilities of this position cover anything from liaison to project manager, and these roles can translate to universities across the United States.

As a School Partnerships Coordinator, I’ll be working with private Christian universities, seminaries, and campus fellowships to create missions programs on campus to mobilize college-age students for missions. Examples of these programs are short-term missions, on-campus prayer groups, and missions curriculum.

Many students are interested in missions, but sometimes they won’t learn how they can get involved because of a lack of opportunity. If we can build a larger presence on campuses, more students can hear about opportunities and/or become educated in East Asia’s gospel needs. As students graduate and move into where God is calling them vocationally, they’ll learn how they can support long-term missionaries and possibly consider full-time missions themselves.

Why did you decide to partner with OMF International?
I originally served with OMF International on a short-term missions trip to Japan through a partnerships between OMF International and BIOLA University. However, my experience with OMF International goes further back than my university years. Having attended a Japanese Christian church since the age of six, I heard different OMF International missionaries share about their ministry and East Asia’s needs. I heard the Christian population was less than .2% in Japan, and it touched my heart deeply. My mother would ask me, “What did you think of the missionary/speaker today?” I would tell her that hearing about the needs of Japan’s people made me want to do something. I wanted to get involved. I’m thankful for the many missionaries who came back and shared about their experiences at my church and inspired me to get proactively involved in sharing the gospel.

After coming back from my short-term mission in Japan, OMF International provided mentorship which eventually led me to apply for this position with them.

Andy Photo Grid Final

Andy ElephantAndy Hut

Why should students get involved in short-term missions?
I personally believe that every person should experience a short-term mission trip at least once in their life. I believe that there must be a calling for each person on the team that’s sent, but sometimes they don’t know for what purpose God has called them. We may go with a servant’s heart, but it’s important to go with an open heart because we most often come back with our lives completely changed forever.

It seems like they’re just too many excuses not to go on missions. It seems like a lot of people today have an “old school” perspective on what missions entails. If students get involved while in college, they can step into adulthood with a more accurate understanding of what’s happening in world missions.  Not only that, they can better understand how they can be involved in missions from home.

If students are our future professionals, they need to be educated about today’s global gospel needs. Without this, missionaries will be underfunded, under-supported, and missions will possibly cease to exist.  For every missionary sent over seas, there are usually at least 70 people on their support team back at home.

What are some things you tell people they can do to serve missions?
-We talk about 6 ways to get involved. These 6 ways are LEARN, PRAY, GO, SEND, MOBILIZE and WELCOME.

Resources to learn more about these ways HERE

-I also highly recommend the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement class, offered all over.

-Also, World Christian Fellowship has prayer groups all over the West Coast and is looking to expand. You can participate in a prayer team or you can help start one in your area.

You can also volunteer with OMF International as a:

  • OMF International Advocate
  • People Group Advocate
  • Mission Mentor
  • Special Event Coordinator
  • Prayer Leader

Whether you’re part of a church community or a student on campus, we need volunteers to help in a number of ways. With my job, I will be working with volunteers from both realms to help advocate for the needs of East Asia’s people to the school or church we’re working with. If you have administrative or organizational skills, communication skills, or even if you are merely friends with a lot of people, then this could be the perfect role for you!
Having volunteers to help me is a great asset and allows the community to have someone within themselves as a resource to ministry. Click HERE to learn more.

***Support Andy***

To partner with Andy by giving to her ministry financially, click HERE or email Andy and check out her WEBSITE for more ways to sign up to give/support.

What is Missions Mobilization?

What is missions mobilization? Introducing Andrea (Andy) Morimoto who recently came on staff with OMF International to help mobilize students for missions here in the United States.

Check out this great video below that captures a little of what her work is about.

Mo The Mobilizer from Kevin Masuda on Vimeo.

On Monday, check out ALFM’s interview with Andy and get more details on her new job as a moblizer and learn why she feels missions is so important. Also, Andy will tell us some key ways to get involved in missions right now.

Thanks for watching!

How Can a Love for Missions Start at Home? Way #1

Welcome to the first post of our new series which was inspired by a blog post John Piper wrote called, “A Love for Missions Starts at Home.” In this series you’ll learn a few ways in which people are incorporating and practicing a love for missions in their homes.

To start things off, David Kitani, who’s appeared on the blog before CLICK HERE, shares how he and his wife, Ji are using a gigantic world map to inspire a love for missions in the life of their son.

WAY #1

Photo courtesy of the Kitanis.

Photo courtesy of the Kitanis.

“In college I was challenged to have a vision for the world as Jesus encouraged us to in His Great Commission to his followers (Matthew 28:18-20).  I was listening to the radio one day and there was an Indian missionary who shared about how he, along with his wife, modeled this for his children by praying over a map of the world they had in their home. They would encourage their children in God’s love for the world and invite them into opportunities to give, even if it was just pennies, to those in need. His grown children now have a love for God’s mission.

My wife and I want to keep before us God’s love for all nations and peoples so when we moved into our home in Lincoln Heights, with a baby on the way, we purchased a wall map of the world.  Not only can our children learn geography from an early age (and wall paper that has more longevity through their stages of life!), but we can write names of missionaries we know and support on this map as a reminder for us to pray for people and people groups around the world.  God has a big vision and a big heart; we pray that we never lose sight of that.”

Thanks, David for sharing!

Throughout this month, check back to learn more ways to incorporate and practice a love for missions at home. And please don’t forget to comment and share ideas of your own!

John Piper “A Love for Missions Starts at Home” – Inspired Series

New series how can a love for missions start at home

Not long ago ALFM came across an old blog post by John Piper entitled, “A Love for Missions Starts at Home.”

Since then, we can’t help wonder what sort of things take place, literally, in a home that might influence or encourage a missions mindset.

Throughout November, ALFM will share some real life examples of a love for missions starting at home. If you’re someone who’d like to learn more about ways to encourage missions in your home – whether you are single, married, or have a family – you’ll want to follow this new series!

A Reminder + Announcement As We Exit October

A reminder that tomorrow (the 31st) is the last day for high school’ers to enter ALFM’s first ever contest. Check out the OFFICIAL CONTEST RULES and feel free to share it! The contest involves youth learning ways to share their faith – especially with friends and classmates.

Thanks so much for tracking with us!

Here’s a brief recap of October.

ZOE "Reaching Every Person, Rescuing Every Child" ZOE fights human trafficking, cares for orphans and shares the gospel in the 1040 window.

“Reaching Every Person, Rescuing Every Child” ZOE fights human trafficking, cares for orphans and shares the gospel especially in the 1040 window.

 

The William Carey Library is a one stop shop for great books and resources on missions. Click on the image above and shop around.

The William Carey Library is a one stop shop for great books and resources on missions. Click on the image above and take a look around.

 

A Love For Missions on social media

A Love For Missions on social media.

 

Click on the image above for more information on this special event.

 And on Friday, ALFM introduces a new blog series that will begin in November.

Andrew & Matthew Profound Missionaries

Recently A Love For Missions found out about two disciples who bridged people to Jesus in profound ways. You can read about them in John 1:35-42 and Matthew 9:9-13.

See how their two stories are similar and how they’re different.

Andrew

In Matthew 4:18-22, Andrew is called by Jesus to leave his life as a fisherman to become a “fisher of men.” His job was simply to bring people to Christ. He did this with his brother Peter and Peter came to know Jesus (John 1:35-42). Unlike Jesus’s other disciples, there’s no record in the Bible of Andrew preaching or doing anything miraculous to share his faith, and yet he was used by God.

Matthew

In Matthew 9:9-13, the Bible tells about Matthew – a tax collector – opening up his home so other tax collectors and “sinners” could meet Jesus.

If you remember these two guys in the future, it may help the next time you feel overwhelmed at the thought of sharing your faith.  Ask God how He may want to use you in a person’s life and – some way or somehow – introduce them to Jesus.

Sources:
Blackaby, Henry T. and Richard. (1998) Experiencing God Day by Day.  Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
Become a Matthuew. Retrived October 22, 2013 from: http://myhopewithbillygraham.org/what-is-my-hope/?

A Love For Missions on Social Media

Hey Everyone ~ In case you didn’t know, you can find A Love For Missions on different social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest!

A Love For Missions likes social media because it makes sharing a little of what you love a whole lot easier. For example, check out the images below which will soon be up on our Facebook & Pinterest pages. From there you can let people know about YOUR love for missions by sharing or liking these images from our pages.

Follow Share Like Love
Follow, share, like, love. In other words, encourage people to check out ALFM on social media!

Pray for the Harvest

Encourage people to pray that the seeds of the gospel planted in people’s hearts turn into a harvest.

 

Support Missionaries

Encourage people to support missionaries.

Please continue to check back as ALFM will be sharing more ways that you can be praying for missions and supporting missionaries.

To get to ALFM’s social media just click on the social media icons at the top right.

Thanks so much for all your support!

Share Your Faith with Family & Friends on November 7th when Billy Graham Turns 95

On November 7, 2013, as part of a nationwide outreach effort, world evangelist Rev. Billy Graham – who turns 95 on this day – will be featured in a telecast shown on several Christian networks and local TV stations.

You can tune in on FOX News Channel at 10 p.m. Eastern and on TBN at 8 p.m. and watch, but you can also join the effort known as My Hope America with Billy Graham which involves using video programs and the power of personal relationships to share the Gospel.

In an email, Franklin Graham son of Billy Graham and President of Samaritan’s Purse writes, “Please join churches and Christians across the United States who are reaching out to their friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors who need to know Jesus Christ by inviting them into their homes or community gathering places to watch this powerful presentation of the Gospel.”

For more information on how to take advantage of this opportunity click HERE

Rev. Graham has preached the gospel on every continent and, on one outreach, preached to a crowd of over one million. Although countless have come to Christ because of his ministry, Rev. Graham understands that it’s God who has the power to take the gospel and drive it into the heart of man.

For more information on Billy Graham check out his biography on biography.com HERE and don’t forget to watch and pray for opportunities to share. November 7th will be here soon.

Have a great weekend!

A Library of Books about MISSIONS

A Love For Missions is proud to highlight the William Carey Library, a major resource for information on world evangelism.

William Carey Library ImageIn less than five decades, the William Carey Library has published 400 titles and sold over one million missions-related books.  WCL’s vision is to “publish, at reasonable cost, the best in current thinking on world mission.”

Whether you’re a teacher, a church leader, someone interested in missions – or someone who just enjoys reading – check out what resources WCL has to offer. They may just be your one-stop shop.

On the WCL website, browse by topics such as church planting, culture/communication, business as missions, missions strategy, and more!

Here are some books that interest us (click on images for description/to purchase).

WCL Published Books

Longing for Community

$15.99
(Price as of Oct. 2013)

 

Globalization and Its Effects on Urban Ministry in the 21st Century

$15.99 (Price as of Oct. 2013)

$15.99
(Price as of Oct. 2013)

 

Communicating Christ Through Story and Song

$15.99 (Price as of Oct. 2013)

$15.99
(Price as of Oct. 2013)

 

Effective Engagement in Short-Term Missions

$13.59 (Price as of Oct. 2013)

$13.59
(Price as of Oct. 2013)


Operation World 2010 7th Edition

$10.00 (Price as of Oct. 2013)

$10.00
(Price as of Oct. 2013)

Operation World 2010 7th Edition DVD – CD ROM

$29.99 (Price as of Oct. 2013)

$29.99
(Price as of Oct. 2013)

WCL also sells books on missions from other publishers

Keys to Church Planting Movements

$3.85
(Price as of Oct. 2013)

Today’s All-Star Missions Churches

$5.75
(Price as of Oct. 2013)

 

***Click on the banner below which will take you to the William Carey Library website where you can shop around. ***

The William Carey Library is a ministry of the U.S. Center for World Mission located in Pasadena, California.

If anyone would like to share a review on any of the books up on WCL’s website, please feel free to write your review in the comments section below.

Praying that God will bless you as you gain knowledge from these resources, praying also that God will grant wisdom in how to apply knowledge gained from reading and learning.

Special thanks to the staff at the William Carey Library for assisting A Love For Missions with this post!

Spotlight on Dare 2 Share “Energizing a generation to evangelize their world.”

Insta

Dare 2 Share is a ministry all about equipping the next generation to reach the lost.

They are great about reaching out and want to get resources in people’s hands.

So here we go…

High school students
Looking for ways to help you share your faith on campus? Want to start a spiritual conversation with a non-Christian, but don’t know how?

A Love For Missions recommends these pages on the Dare 2 Share website that have information on topics like…

How to get into a relationship with God

How to share your faith with people who have different worldviews

P.S. If you are a high school student and you:  1. Check out the links above 2. Watch the video on this page HERE (it’s a device to help you share the gospel with your friends) 3. Write in the comments section below that you did these things, you will automatically be entered into a CONTEST to win a Best Buy gift card.

Contest ends at 11:59 pm October 31, 2013.

Youth ministry leaders
Check out Dare 2 Share resources, like the one shown below, and mobilize your youth to share Christ in their schools and among their peers.

Video & Discussion Guide – $29.95

Help your students share in ways that make sense to them. The “Reach Out Don’t Freak Out” curriculum helps students think about ways they can turn conversation toward Christ and asks questions that get at their hearts. Questions like: What’s at stake? What’s your biggest fear? Read the official Dare 2 Share description of the curriculum HERE

You can view the video trailer and see a sample of their curriculum HERE

For more resources and information, check out the Dare 2 Share WEBSITE

Spotlight on ZOE “Reaching Every Person. Rescuing Every Child.”

For over ten years, ZOE has been preaching the gospel to unreached areas of the world and rescuing children from human trafficking.

At ZOE Children’s Home, a ZOE-run aftercare home in Southeast Asia, orphans, children at risk, and children sold into trafficking find refuge and hope for their future.

ZOE media may show orphaned or at-risk children but never trafficked children

ZOE media may show orphaned or at-risk children but never trafficked children

Photo courtesy of ZOE

Children who were once torn apart by the world and filled with anger, distrust, and fear accept the unconditional love being shown to them by the many caregivers that live and work at the home.

Over time, the children feel safe and begin to act like normal, healthy children.  They have regular appetites, play sports, go to school, and experience what true loving families are like.

Unconditional love, a family environment and quality care – these are just some of the things ZOE provides to help bring children back to life.

But most of all, ZOE believes true healing and restoration are possible through Jesus Christ, which is why each child at ZOE Children’s Home is given the opportunity to hear about Jesus and what He’s done for them.

Meeting the physical and spiritual needs of people is how ZOE demonstrates Christ to the world, especially in spiritually dark places of the world like the 1040 Window

ZOE’s Strategies to Fight Human Trafficking
In addition to providing aftercare services at ZOE Children’s Homes, ZOE uses prevention and intervention strategies to address the problem of human trafficking.

Through a network of local churches and contacts in Southeast Asia, ZOE is able to gain access to poor, rural communities where they can share the gospel and raise awareness about the dangers of human trafficking in an effort to prevent one more from falling victim.

On the intervention side, ZOE works with the local government to rescue children from various forms of trafficking such as forced labor, beggar rings, and the sex trade.

ZOE media may show orphaned or at-risk children but never trafficked children

ZOE media may show orphaned or at-risk children but never trafficked children

Photo courtesy of ZOE

ZOE is the Greek word for life and, bringing life to the nations by sharing the gospel, and bringing life to rescued children by caring for them is what ZOE is all about. For more information on ZOE and their efforts go to www.gozoe.org

** Help ZOE **
If you’d like to support ZOE as they rescue children and share the gospel, you can do it in a number of ways.

DONATE ONLINE or SPONSOR A CHILD living at ZOE Children’s Home in Southeast Asia.

SHARE THIS POST with others and help get the word out about ZOE and human trafficking.

CHECK OUT ZOE’s WEBSITE which is full of action steps, resources, information, and ways that you can fight human trafficking.

WALK WITH ZOE at the ZOE Rescue Walk on November 9th, 2013 in Santa Clarita, California – or hold an event of your own to raise funds and awareness about human trafficking.

ZOE Rescue Walk

 

So Long September…Hello, October!

Thanks for reading, praying, and seeing A Love For Missions through our first official month as a blog. Here’s a quick recap!

In September you prayed for our country on September 11….

Pray

 Click here to read post

 

Engaged by commenting, sharing, liking – and all that good stuff….

Because of You

 Click here to read post

 

Learned about building bridges with Muslims….

Muslim Post Collage

 Click here to read Part 1

Click here to read Part 2

 

and the inner city poor….

A view from inside David and Ji’s home. Their home has been a place of refuge for people.

A view from inside David and Ji’s home. Their home has been a place of refuge for people.

Click here to read post

THANK YOU!

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Normally, A Love For Missions doesn’t post on the weekends, but we can’t wait to spotlight this next organization.

See you tomorrow….

The Gospel Through Spoken Word

Jason Petty is a spoken word artist from LA who has gained a large following using some unique gifts to share his faith. By combining poetry and rap, Jason captures the attention of diverse audiences including college students, Christian leaders, and viewers on YouTube. Jason, who goes by the artist name Propaganda, explains Christ and eternal life in this video called “Life in 6 Words.”

After watching the video, check out this page which has a follow up to the video.

It offers resources and goes into more detail about the 6 truths: Life in 6 Words – Follow Up

ALFM Scripture Share

Wheat plant 5

Romans 11: 33-36 says, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” ESV

If you open your Bible and read on, the next chapter (chapter 12) talks about not conforming to the world. It also addresses our mind, our attitude and how we’re to treat others.

Why not meditate on Romans 12 with us the rest of the week? Let God’s word get inside you so you can be equipped to share HOPE with the WORLD and live as a true witness in it.

On a separate note, A Love For Missions will be reaching into our bag and and pulling out some cool things to share with you next week.

Have a blessed weekend!

Inner City Ministry in Lincoln Heights

In 2011, David and Ji relocated to the city of Lincoln Heights so they could live where there was need to know the people of the inner city more intimately and offer Jesus as a solution.

David, a former inner city high school teacher, and Ji, a current college professor, share how living in the inner city has reshaped their ideas and challenged them as Christians coming from middle class, educated backgrounds.

kitanjimos apple

Please tell us about your ministry.

David: I’m a youth pastor through an organization called Servant Partners at a church plant in Lincoln Heights. Our youth ministry involves a Wednesday night youth group and a Bible study on Sunday mornings.

God gave me a vision to pour into these young people so they can become the leaders who actually bring about change and transform the city.

My wife Ji, in the season she’s in, is involved in intercession and has blessed a lot of people through that.

Definitely for us, as the Kitani family, our role is modeling and sharing life as a family and just opening up our home.

Another thing is working with a local non-profit organization called In the City. Primarily, what we’re doing is helping raise up leaders in the community by building relationships and tutoring student athletes at Lincoln High School.

How did you end up connecting with the local high school?

Our church started listening to the community and just by asking around, our church found that the high school is what’s important to the community. And high school football is really important to people here.

Our pastor started going out to the football games and got to know the leaders in the community. This helped build trust and, eventually, the coaches as well as the football players started coming to church and coming to Christ. As a result, the church is made up of mostly people from the community and those football players were the start of our church youth group.

What made you decide to move to the inner city?

David: I was a teacher at a really low-performing school within the LA Unified School District for about eight years, and I’d wonder if we were really making a difference. It seemed like lot of what we were teaching the kids would be undone as soon as they left the classroom.

Ji and I were talking and thinking about this issue, and not long after, a friend of ours, who’s in educational leadership, shared something with us. She told us that in order for these inner city schools to change, the middle class needs to move back into the inner city.

John Perkins from the Christian Community Development Association in his book called Restoring At-Risk Communities, lists three things that are really important to working in a community like this: relocating, reconciling, and redistributing. The first thing, relocating is what we’ve done so far.

If the middle class relocates to the inner city and begins to offer resources in these low-performing schools, it could really make a difference.

But it was mind boggling; we felt like, why would anyone do that?

Ji: Especially as Asians, education can be such an idol.

It seemed crazy to think about allowing your child to go to some of the worst schools, when there are people who move and go to huge lengths to do the opposite.

David: But basically, we couldn’t shake the idea and pretty soon we started talking to people about it, praying about it, and God convicted us to move.

Inner cities are very out of sight, out of mind. If we didn’t live in this community, I wonder, would we really care for this community? But if we lived here, if we’re going to send our kids to school here, we want it to better. So we’re invested.

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned about God and ministry since coming to live in the inner city?

David: Poverty is evil, but there are lessons to be learned from the poor.

The poor, they have no illusions about being in need, their friends being in need, or their family being in need.

When tragedy strikes in a middle class or upper class neighborhood you don’t rely on your neighbors for help. But in this neighborhood, if someone dies, they have car washes to raise money for the funeral.

They’re used to pitching in because if you’re in a poor neighborhood, and you don’t pitch in, you’re not going to survive. There’s a lot of sharing going on and the networks here are very tight.

On the flip side, brokenness and sin also travel faster through those networks. But if Jesus hits those networks, it explodes.

For example, there’s this one woman at our church who became a Christian and she just started sharing the gospel with everyone. She started hosting a Bible study at her house that was mostly made up of her kids’ friends. But only she could reach out to that network.  If you or I tried to do it, it would not go as far.

Ji: I’ve learned that it’s easy to say, “Jesus is my Rock.” But it’s a lot harder to say those same words in light of the problems I’ve seen in the city. I’m having to think about all the challenges the poor face and that has really stretched my faith.

David: We’ve also had to sort out, what are we, as middle class people, actually trusting in? For those who have a lot, are we really trusting in God or are we trusting in our resources (which in fact God has given us)?

Ji: Yeah, we (as middle class people) just generally feel covered – with or without God.

David: With the poor it’s much more naked.  Those who have plenty can’t always see what the issues of our hearts are. We have a lot of distractions and things that make us feel safe like our wealth or resources.

Ji: The challenge with dealing with different classes and cultures is that everyone has their own set of baggage.

For me, it’s really hard to have humility and know how to value and love people instead of judging them. It’s really hard for me not to be like, “let me teach you my better value.”

I think there’s a lot of difficulty with how to do this. The relocation, that’s the easy part. It’s the other stuff that’s super hard.

David: And part of reconciliation, the second thing Perkins talks about, is sifting through all that.

Someone said to us, “We’re not trying to make the poor into the middle class.”

When we heard that it kind of surprised us, but when you really think about it, what are the values in the kingdom of God?

How do we sift through which things are values of the kingdom of God, and which things are our own middle class prejudices?

Ji: Change is very slow even in our lives. Romans 5 says, “…suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope…”

One thing that I’ve been thinking about is maybe the point of this world is not to feed every child or free everyone from addiction. We need to keep our eye on the prize and the prize is the glory of God.

We don’t just go from suffering to hope overnight. There’s a long sequence of steps to go from one place to the next.

And just to clarify, we do want to make the poor less poor. We want them to function in life, but we don’t want to make that, and all the trappings of the middle class, the goal. The end goal is to help them fix their eyes on the prize and the glory of God.

David: Transforming the heart takes a long time, but really it’s the technique Jesus used. It wasn’t just about changing behavior. Jesus walked alongside people and lived among them. He showed them how to live, and there was deeper work done. People’s whole paradigm changed.

What does the Bible say about loving the city?

Jeremiah 29:11 is a passage everyone knows: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord plans for welfare and not for evil to give you a future and hope.”

People always think that’s great, God wants to give us hope. But those words came in the midst of the Israelites being punished and sent into exile to Babylon, a totally godless city, but a very hot cultural center. Really urban, you know? A powerful urban place, that’s like Los Angeles.

And what God told them to do is not what you would expect, it was not to retreat but as it says in verse 5: “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.”

That’s like really mixing!

Ji: In our context, that’s like saying – send your kids to the inner city schools, eat at the same restaurants, go to the grocery stores, live as they lived.

David: And then in verse 7 it says: “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”

And that word welfare is the word “Shalom” which is really important in the Jewish culture, a real wholeness.

When asked which is the greatest commandment, Jesus gives us two commandments together:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and the second is love your neighbor as yourself.

He really sees our well-being tied up in both those things.

If we do not seek the welfare of our own city or our neighbor, we do not have full welfare. By not loving our neighbors, are we really loving God?

Those ideas really hit home for us, like, we need to invest in the city not retreat.

Ji: There are people out there loving people in different ways and this is sort of our way of loving people as God commands.

David: In response to being asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responds with the parable of the Good Samaritan, which is very uncomfortable. In this story, someone is beat up on the street and the religious people all just walk past.

Ji: And this person is very different, but that’s the person you’re called to help.

David: And the love in this parable is a very costly sort of love, it’s very inconvenient. But this is the example that Jesus gives us about loving our neighbor. Not that Ji and I are really doing all of this perfectly, but it’s really something to think about.

When you consider Jesus – what was his strategy for reaching us? He lived in the best neighborhood, but he came down into our neighborhood to live among us, to know us, to know our suffering, to know our pain. You know, Jesus set that example for us of missions.

How is it that you’re actually loving your neighbor, not with a superior sort of mentality, but a mentality that asks, “In what ways do we need to break down walls and learn from each other?” Because real reconciliation means valuing the other person.

Not just saying, “I’m moving into your neighborhood and you need to adjust to me.” That right there is assimilation, that’s not really reconciliation. It’s about going into a deeper level and loving people. They understand us, we understand them, they’re our friends – their fights are our fights.

Lastly, Perkins talks about redistribution which involves sharing resources and making a difference in people’s lives which ultimately results in community transformation.  In Jesus’ teachings and in the practice of the early church there is A LOT of talk of money and our responsibility to share what God has given us.  Luke 6 has in it what I call the hardest commandments: love your enemies, turn the other cheek when someone slaps you, give to those who take from you, give to those who ask without expecting in return…radical stuff really.

A view from inside David and Ji’s home. Their home has been a place of refuge for people.

A view from inside David and Ji’s home.
Their home has been a place of refuge for people.

By living in this community, even with my income cut in half from my old job pay, we cannot hide from the fact that we are one of the richest couples in the community church we are a part of.  With degrees beyond undergraduate study, we are some of the most highly educated in the church.  So when Jesus talks about the rich and the need to share what we have, by living amongst such clear need, we are constantly reminded of what we’ve been entrusted and cannot comfortably ignore  the things Jesus is asking us to do. Things like opening up our home to a teenage mom who was kicked out of her home, tutoring students in all kinds of subjects, helping people budget, selling some of my stuff to give to those in financial need, and dipping into our cushy savings to give to those in great need.

It’s interesting, though, as we’ve taken financial cuts we feel richer in so many ways as God has blessed us with things money can’t buy.  We’re still growing so much in this area of seeing our stuff as actually God’s stuff…and we pray we can be more yielded to what He wants to do with it.

***Support David and Ji***

To give to the ministry of David and Ji in Lincoln Heights: CLICK HERE

To join in the prayer team for David and Ji email David at dkitani@gmail.com

To support the ministry of Mark Walker in Lincoln Heights (David’s co-laborer at Epicentre Community Church in Lincoln Heights, who is the Young Adult Pastor in need of financial and prayer partners): CLICK HERE

To support the community work at Lincoln High School through IntheCity, the non-profit David works with: CLICK HERE

CHECK OUT DAVID’S BLOG!

Welcome to Ministry in Lincoln Heights

According to data from the LA Times, Lincoln Heights is one of the poorest neighborhoods in East Los Angeles and the top tenth of poorest neighborhoods in all of LA County. It’s also in the top quarter of violent crimes rates in LA County. Only 5% of residents have 4-year college degrees and only about 44% of students entering Lincoln High School as freshman graduate (2011, most recent statistics available from California Department of Education).

Researched information courtesy of David Kitani.

Take a closer look at Lincoln Heights through the eyes of A Love For Missions.

Street Panoramic

Neighborhood

Not an Entrance

Full Statue

Abe

Lincoln Script

Dad Daughters and Ducks

County Coroners

One Way

Next week check out ALFM’s interview with inner city missionaries, David and Ji Kitani. In 2011, the Kitani’s, feeling convicted by the Holy Spirit, moved to Lincoln Heights to serve through a ministry and church plant. Since then they’ve seen God move in the community as they faithfully empower the youth to love God and impact the next generation coming out of the city.

Off to a Great Start!

Because of You

Hello! Just wanted to share some words of appreciation to everyone who’s come by the blog since the official launch last week. Someone wrote that it looks like the blog is off to a great start. We hope so too!

In case you’re curious, the blog has had 97 unique visitors from the U.S. and three other countries so far. Thank you for visiting! Hope you’ll keep coming back because there’s plenty more to share. However, the goal here isn’t to try and make you thirst for every single missions opportunity there is. No, in fact, it’s a much simpler goal. God needs you to focus and do what he’s uniquely called you to do to serve missions.

So what is the goal then? The goal here is to connect over a love for the gospel and a love for sharing it with others. A Love For Missions hopes to try and make missions part of everyday conversation by regularly sharing ways people are communicating the gospel. So please come by as often as you’d like for some inspiration.

Practically speaking, you will also be connecting with ways to support missions and missionaries. This is something that you can do to bless others and be a part of the Great Commission.

Until all have heard the name of Jesus, let’s try and keep missions as an ongoing topic of discussion!

Part 2 Missionary Interview – Building Bridges With Muslims

BB with Muslims 1
Alan and Susan are former missionaries to Muslims in Southeast Asia who now serve as missionaries to Muslims in the U.S. For security reasons, Alan and Susan are not able to provide their real names or the name of the closed country where they served.

You’re about to read Part 2 of our interview where you’ll learn more about how to love your Muslim neighbors.

What are common misconceptions people (Christians and non-Christians) have about Muslims and vice versa?

Alan: People think all Muslims are terrorists, thus they become prejudice towards Muslims. Christians are afraid of Muslims especially in the aftermath of the 9/11 bombing of the World Trade Center. Muslims are not bad people. They are just like us. They want to live a good life peacefully and desire to raise a good family. Many don’t know anything about Islam and Muslim culture.

There’s quite a negative impression of Christians in the Muslim community. For them, Christianity is a western religion-symbolized by the popular American singer Madonna who wears the cross as adornment; whose followers don’t know how to respect their Holy Book (Bible), eat the meat of unholy animal (pork), and habitually drink wine.

Our Muslim friends have a high regard for us since our identity with them is that we follow Jesus not just a religion. They usually tell us that they have never met Christians like us.

BB with Muslims 3

What are some ways we can show love to Muslims?

Alan: Ramadan is a time of the year when Muslims fast, you can build bridges with them by going to their house and delivering cookies, fruit, or vegetables. You can also fast during this time and pray for Muslims. You can visit the mosques and enjoy the good food with Muslims.

Praying for Muslims during Ramadan is the best time because Muslims are very much spiritually aware during this month. There are many testimonies of Muslims having dreams and visions of Jesus during this time, and coming to faith in Jesus.

You can visit certain mosques in the U.S. and offer practical help or services freely, such as after-school tutoring of Muslims kids.

You can educate people who do not have a proper understanding of Islam.

You can also pray for missionaries and support those who are working to minister to Muslims.

It’s important to build bridges with Muslims because there are lots of misunderstandings between Christians and Muslims.

How has ministering to Muslims challenged and strengthened your faith as Christians?

Susan: The more time I spend reaching out to Muslims the more I rely on God. I always have plans, but God guides or directs me to follow His own plans which are, more often, different from mine. In whatever I do, I need to always rely on God and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I have to lift everything up to Him. It’s all about God and I am privileged to join Him in His work for the furtherance of His Kingdom.

When we rely on our own understanding, we get frustrated and discouraged if things do not happen the way we plan.

Alan:
I find my Muslim friends more serious about their religious faith than me. They are willing to die for their faith. I think we are the ones who are supposed to be willing to die for our faith, if we claim we know the truth. Muslims practice pure Monotheism, like Jews and they have very high respect and honor for God. We, more often, take advantage of our freedom and in many ways dishonor God. Muslims value good works highly. We should also continue doing good works, not because we get credit from our good works, but good works are the result of our faith. Faith without work is dead.

What are some resources for people who want to know more about the Islamic faith?

More Than Dreams – http://www.morethandreams.tv/
Contains five 30-minute video testimonies of Muslims whose lives changed after encountering Christ through a vision or dream

A Muslim Journey to Hope – www.muslimjourneytohope.com
Testimonies of Muslims who found Christ

Word of Life – www.word.org.uk
Helps communicate scriptures to people, especially Muslims, who don’t have a Christian background

Loving a Muslim
– www.domini.org/lam/home.html
A resource for Christian women dating or married to a Muslim

A guide to understanding Islam
: http://www.islam-guide.com

Christian Analysis of Islam
: http://debate.org.uk/topics/coolcalm

For more resources, look under A Love For Missions “Resources” tab.

Alan and Susan have two sons, who are both teenagers now. Their younger son suffers from a serious brittle bone condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI). Alan and Susan are here in the United States seeking medical treatment for their son while continuing to minister and outreach to the Muslim community.

Please pray for his healing and uphold the entire family in prayer.

You can also leave a prayer or words of encouragement for Alan and Susan’s son and the entire family in the comments section below, or send your prayers/words to hello@aloveformissions.com – thank you!

Support Alan and Susan
Gift Giving Options:
(1) Checks: Write checks to “ISI” & “Account #5232” in memo
Mailing address: International Students, Inc., PO Box C, Colorado Springs, CO 80901.
(2) Online giving: Please email Alan & Susan for website link. dailybread171@gmail.com
(3) Electronic Funds Transfer: http://www.isionline.org/Portals/0/EGP%20form.pdf indicate “Account #5232” under “staff person/project.”
Note: Your gifts are tax deductible and will generate a receipt.
(4) If you don’t need tax-deductible receipts, you can write checks directly. For more details in this, please email Alan & Susan at dailybread171@gmail.com

If you face any difficulties during this process, please email hello@aloveformissions.com

Missionary Interview – Building Bridges with Muslims

Muslim Post Collage

After many fruitful years of ministering among Muslims in a country with restricted access to the gospel, Alan and Susan (not their real names), and their family came to the United States to seek medical treatment for their youngest son who suffers from a serious brittle bone condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI).

Alan and Susan continue to minister to Muslims in the United States faithfully. It was eye-opening hearing them share about their ministry to Muslims, they also have a distinct passion for sharing about the Muslim culture.

Check out our interview below.

Please describe your ministry to Muslims in Southeast Asia.

Alan: We had been praying about how we can be a blessing to Muslims and, in 2003, we joined an organization to serve God by serving this unreached Muslim people group.

We studied their language and culture full-time for the first two years. During that time we made lots of friends and tried to live a lifestyle similar with theirs to build bridges of friendship. We still communicate with most of them.

Susan: We built genuine friendship with Muslims in words and deeds. We earned their respect by respecting them first. We valued our friendship with them so much, thus we ate the kind of food they eat, that is, Halal food -it’s like what Kosher food is for the Jews. We avoided eating pork and drinking wine because Muslims consider these “unholy.”

We made clear to them that we were doing these things because we wanted to respect their culture and eliminate barriers to our friendship. We informed them that, according to the Bible, it’s not what you take in that makes you unclean but what’s coming out from your heart (Mark 7:15). I also find 1 Peter 3:15 very powerful whenever I am with our Muslim friends. This verse states,”But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

Alan: Within six months of cultural immersion, we were able to earn their trust. We could invite them over to our house and without any reservations, they ate the food we prepared. We also got invited to visit them. We identified ourselves as “followers of Jesus.” We could pray for them in Jesus’ name.

In fact, Muslims love this because they believe Jesus can heal and do miracles. God gave us opportunities to share the gospel to many of our friends. Some of them were even the ones who initiated a conversation, expressing their curiosity about our faith.

We were also involved in a house church. There were young students to age 65 who decided to follow Jesus. A 65-year old retired policewoman asked us to baptize her just few days after she came to know the Lord. She was sickly and after a few months, she died. On her death bed, she was very happy being assured that she would be in heaven after her death. Due to security reasons, she did not inform her family about her conversion. We and other team members have a good relationship with her whole family and one of her daughters, who saw a difference in her life, has recently agreed to study the Bible with one of our team members.

After four years of being there, God gave me a burden and I got involved with local churches and their leaders. We never told anyone what we really do, not even the church leaders. No one there knew what we did or who we really are. We had to do this to protect them and the on-going ministry.

I also worked in a manufacturing company to market their products. This is how our whole family got legal visa to stay in that country. I met many Muslims through this business. This is a very new paradigm in ministry. If you live a good lifestyle as a follower of Jesus, they will start asking why and you can share your faith.

We saw people come to Christ through a variety of ways: the marketplace ministry, through visions and dreams about Jesus, through healings, and through believers like us.

What are some of the biggest lessons you learned while serving as missionaries in Southeast Asia?

Alan & Susan: Humility. You are a learner of their culture. It’s important to adopt their ways without compromising your faith. We should not act as if we know more about their religion than they do.

Live a simple life. We didn’t want our Muslim friends to be suspicious of us in terms of our finances. With two small kids, we had a motorbike instead of a car within our first two years of stay there. We finally used an old car when a missionary friend passed it on to us when he left. This gave us opportunities to blend well with the people there. You have to live your life on their level because sometimes they become suspicious of the money you earn. We lived based on our needs, not our desires – that kind of lifestyle makes a difference.

Kindness and grace. Through these virtues, a long lasting friendship can be established.

What are some of the dangers of serving in a closed country?

Alan: Muslims who embrace any other religion than Islam, people who influence/convert them, and those trying to convert Muslims to follow any other faith, once caught, can be put in jail without any trial. The government monitors all Christian activities to maintain peace and religious harmony.

In non-Muslim religious gatherings you won’t be surprised if there are spies monitoring the events. On Sunday worship services, you can always assume there is a spy somewhere listening and watching.

Some may say that missionaries are conforming by not sharing the gospel with Muslims.

Susan: We are not conforming if we know the truth. God’s word is powerful, but like a seed to be able to grow and bear fruits, it needs a soil that has been sown, free from weeds and stones. If you share Bible verses with them without preparing their hearts (cultivating the soil), they won’t understand because they don’t know the context.

I let them talk. I ask them about their family. They say, “Oh, you’re a different Christian.”

You will know when it’s time to share the gospel. God always provides such opportunities. Our responsibility is to be witnesses of the good news. God is the one who converts people.

Alan: Any time you share, we need to be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove. How you share depends on the person you are befriending. There’s no black and white formula. We need to be flexible and discerning with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Muslims value their culture. We encourage that they keep their unique identity as it’s God’s gift. God looks at our hearts.

Please describe your ministry to Muslims here in the U.S.

Alan: We are involved in after-school tutoring of Muslim students at a mosque and we do outreach to Muslims and Asian international students through a Christian organization. We also conduct seminars and trainings for Christians on how to understand Muslims and share our faith with them.

Are Muslims here in the U.S. different from the Muslims you knew in Southeast Asia?

Alan: There is not much difference, mainly lifestyle differences. Here, Muslims are minorities. In their country they came from, they were a majority.

There is also a big difference in the U.S. between Muslim kids and their parents. Parents are trying their best to maintain their home-country culture. The kids go to public school and are heavily influenced by American culture and lifestyle. The kids look like Asians, but think like Americans!

In the U.S., Muslims are open-minded. They want to make friends with Christians. Here it’s a lot easier to share. There are a lot of inter-faith activities. Muslim mosques are good at social work, and they are generous and giving.

Check back Monday for Part 2 of the interview and learn more ways of reaching out to your Muslim neighbors.

Have a great weekend!

What do Muslims Believe?

Muslims Believe 1

This week, A Love For Missions will be doing a series on reaching Muslims. But first, here are some statistics and basic information on what Muslims believe.

A person who follows the religion of Islam is called a Muslim. According to the Pew Research Center, there are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims in the world making Islam the second largest religion after Christianity. The Pew Research Center tells us that the top three areas of the world where Muslims reside are in Sub-Saharan Africa (15.5%), the Middle East-North Africa (19.8%), and Asia-Pacific where the majority live (over 60%).

Muslims believe that being at peace means submitting to God’s will. Living as a Muslim also means living at peace with others.

Muslims believe in Allah, which means “the God” in Arabic. Their religion places emphasis on prophets telling that Jesus was a prophet and that Islam was the religion that Jesus followed. Although they believe Jesus was a prophet, they view Muhammad as the final prophet who received complete revelation.

Muslims believe in all the “Holy Books” including the Tawrat (Torah), Zabur (Psalms), Injil (Gospel) and the Quran.

They believe in a judgment day and life after death (either in hell or heaven) as well as reward and punishment for good and bad deeds.

Sadly, Muslims have no assurance of salvation. They may live their lives in submission, but they believe that it’s up to Allah to determine if they will go to heaven or hell after death, depending upon their good works.

Tomorrow will begin Part 1 of an interview series with a missionary couple who’ll share their experiences ministering to Muslims in a closed country and in the United States.

Sources:
“Alan” a Missionary to Muslims.

Desilver, Drew (June 7, 2013). World’s Muslim population more widespread than you might think. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/07/worlds-muslim-population-more-widespread-than-you-might-think/

The Institute of Islamic Knowledge. (2008). What is Islam? Who are the Muslims?

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