Found For A Purpose

Found For A Purpose

Missionary to America Professor Shang Ik Moon

Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know about me and what I am doing. I have sent him to you for this very purpose,that you may know about us, and that he may encourage your hearts. Ephesians 6:21-22 

Professor Shang Ik Moon had seen the movie. It was a good thing, because chances for his survival were not good. He can tell you in his own words:

The bullets flying and the bombs falling were just the beginning. It was after this, as a child on a dark mountain in South Korea, with snow piling up, cradling his infant nephew in his arms, hiding in a crevice away from the freezing cold winter  weather , with hostile soldiers moving around him, it was then that the memory came back. A classmate had invited Shang Ik to see the Jesus Movie. He hadn’t gotten a lot out of it, but he remembered one thing, Jesus saying, “I will be with you always.”  Now, for the first time, he prayed – “Jesus, be with me.”

 St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, cited above, was written from prison – a time when Paul must have been wondering how, if at all, his suffering would have a purpose. But Paul sends his representative Tychicus to comfort the Ephesian Christians in their struggles! What an act of love; what an act of faith.   Matthew quotes Jesus, “Lo (pay attention, this is important) I am with your always.” Sometimes it means just putting one foot in front of the other, trusting that He knows where we should go and we are just following Him, blindly, believing He is with us.  You and I know about that. I sure do.  

In 2016 LK Wood, the scion of the Wood Realty Company in St. Louis, asked for my help to write his biography. LK (Lowell Kenneth) had a story of survival and faith he wanted to share. I had never written a biography, and really wasn’t interested, I had my own purposes to fulfill,. But LK was persistent.  So, it turns out, was the Lord. 

I interviewed LK, recorded the interviews on audio tape, and wrote what he told me. It took months, and before I was finished LK, eighty nine years old, passed away. Patty, LK’s loving wife, wanted the world to know his story and brought the manuscript to a publisher, Rebeca Seitz. This had not been my understanding when the work began – it was supposed to be an account for LK’s family. The publicist concurred. What I had written was not for commercial consumption – but, she said, if I wanted to work with a coach, learn to write biography and rewrite the book, well, maybe there would be a future for the book in bookstores. 

To make a long story short, I worked with a wonderful coach, Julie Ieron, who had many books published. We took six months to re-write LK WOOD, AS EVERYONE SHOULD, for sale in book stores and on line. But that was just the beginning. I wondered what I would to do with this new skill. I realized the Lord had opened a new door for ministry:  I began Mission Nation Publishing Company to publish the biographies of new missionaries to America. These are courageous, intelligent, passionate men and women whom I had met while leading missions in the United States for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Missionaries like Shang Ik Moon.

When US Army Air Force Chaplain Eduard Vajda asked the Korean boy, “What is your purpose?” he had no idea. However, he was willing to go through the door Jesus was opening.  Decades later Professor Shang Ik Moon retired as the Provost of Concordia University. You can read the full story of how one child in the midst of a horrific experience in a horrific war found the purpose created for him by the God he had met in a movie.

Maybe you are just trying to put one foot in front of the other, unsure of where the Lord is leading. At those times, allow Him to cradle you in His arms, to carry you through the fierce storms and hostile challenges and bring you to the purpose He has for you.  This may be difficult, may even be impossible, and we may even have given up. That is why Jesus died in our place. Jesus did kep going, He followed  through on God’s purpose for His life; He did that for you and me and for all who are confused about where the Lord is leading. He said for us all and on our behalf, “Father, into hour hands I commend my spirit.” Jesus did not give up because it was God’s purpose for Him to love and forgive us all.

Still, out of His love, when you and I commend ourselves into His hands, in time He will reveal His purpose, He will help us to know Him, and He will encourage our heart. 

To purchase the biography of Professor Moon, The Bulletproof Missionary, click here.

To see the full interview with Professor Moon, click here.

 

 

When One Door Closes…

When One Door Closes…

Image result for image tesfai tesema

 

         Tesfai Tesema

“I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” Psalm 84:10

Bob Scudieri’s Blog:

At Concordia Seminary our third year was a “vicarage.” We were not quite pastors but pastors in training. It was one of the best educations I ever had. My vicarage supervisor was Pr. Walter Grumm, chair of the Mission Board of the then “Northern California District.” Walt was encouraging, patient, kind and challenging. I learned a lot from him, as well as from the people of God at Bethlehem Lutheran in Monterey California. 

No photo description available.

After a month at Bethlehem I knew everything that I was going to say in my first sermon. It fell short of what a sermon should be, the announcement of God’s gracious love. One irate worshiper scolded me on the way out: “I get beat up enough during the week. I do not have to come to church to hear it again.” Things got better. Near the end of the vicarage I was greeting worshipers at the church door after preaching a sermon and another member said, “You will make a great door keeper.” I assumed she meant what the writer of Psalm 84 intended – she expected I could someday enable the people of God to come into His presence.                 

                                                                                                                  (Bethlehem Lutheran, Monterey, Ca.)

Tesfai Tesema walked through a door in Saudi Arabia. For him it was a door of no return. We thought so much of Tesfai’s journey that we published his biography, “No Accidental Missionary.” You can purchase the book at your local church through the Making of A Missionary book display.  It is also available on line by clicking here.

Before his time in Saudi Arabia, the first door he walked through was a jail cell in Eritrea, He had been put in prison by the then communist government.  He never expected he would walk out alive, but he did. That door was “accidentally” opened. A miracle which allowed the atheist to escape and begin a long and danger filled trek 

to Saudi Arabia. There, another door unexpectedly opened – by a greater miracle than a jail door swinging open unexpectedly Tesfai  became a Christian – yes, in Saudi Arabia! As a part of the Saudi underground church he used every means to tell Muslims about Jesus. Unable to contain the joy and hope and love that lived in him, he caught the attention of the wrong people. One day he came home to find a threatening note from the local police. To save his family he had to exit the country.  It is a truism that when God closes one door He opens another. 
The only country he could legally emigrate to was Sudan. 

Life was  not easy in the new country. Refugees were overwhelming the government’s capacity to care for them. People, Tesfai and other Christians, slept on the ground in a park. The small Christian community opened their arms to them, but while there was great love to share there wasn’t much earthly treasure. No matter the challenge, the refugees from Saudi Arabia began an Eritrean worship service. The numbers grew. More churches were begun. The Word of God spread like a wild fire. Then, another door – this one truly unexpected – a visa to the United States. Today Tesfai Tesema is a missionary in San Jose, California. He is opening doors for Eritreans and the door of a congregation of ethnically diverse young millennials. Who could have believed an atheist from Ethiopia could be brought to the United States as a Christian missionary? 

This was no accident. Jesus made a bold claim in John 10: 7,“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved…” In Tesfai’s life this has proven to be true many times. It is true in my life and, I expect you can say the same.

Doors close on you and me all the time but one door always remains open, the door to a cross, the door to a grave, the door to salvation – the door that opens after one door closes, the door to salvation opened by our Lord to pastures no human could ever expect. 

To view a brief video of our interview with Missionary Tesema click here

To view the full video with Missionary Tesema, Click here. 

To order Tesfai’s biography, No Accidental Missionary, click here.

“¿Acaso no vale más la vida…?”

“¿Acaso no vale más la vida…?” 

Samuel Kamissa, misionero a los Estados Unidos

“Por lo tanto les digo: No se preocupen por su vida, ni por qué comerán o qué beberán; ni con qué cubrirán su cuerpo. ¿Acaso no vale más la vida que el alimento, y el cuerpo más que el vestido?” (Jesús, en Mateo 6:25).

“El misionero no tuvo que preocuparse por su estómago.” Samuel Kamissa

El misionero Samuel Kamissa se gana la vida como conductor de Uber en Los Ángeles, muy lejos del lugar donde creció en el oeste de Etiopía.

Image result for map of ethiopia

 

En el área rural donde vivía, no había negocios ni iglesias. Su madre fue su maestra de escuela dominical y le enseñó bien a Samuel. Samuel amaba al Señor y, más aún, amaba contarle a otros sobre el amor infinito de Jesús. Además de no tener una iglesia local, había otros desafíos.

A pesar de ser niño, Samuel salía caminando de su casa a las 6 de la mañana para llegar a la escuela a las 7:30. La misma caminata le esperaba a la salida de la escuela.

Pero los peligros a enfrentar eran peores que los leones o las víboras, o incluso los ladrones.

A los 14 años, el gobierno comunista puso a Samuel en la cárcel por hacer discípulos. Pero eso no lo detuvo. No. Como preguntó Jesús: “¿Acaso no vale más la vida…?” Samuel continuó dando a conocer el amor de Dios, aun cuando un muy conocido pastor de otra ciudad, un líder del cuerpo eclesiástico luterano “Mekane Yesu” (Casa de Jesús) fue ejecutado. La gracia de Dios estaba tan viva en el joven que, cuando se graduó de la secundaria, en vez de buscar un trabajo se fue a pie a otras villas y aldeas rurales. “¿Acaso no vale más la vida…?”

Ninguna organización le pagaba, aunque luteranos de Mekane Yesu apoyaban lo que estaba haciendo. Mekane Yesu pidió a sus miembros que le ayudaran. Samuel dice que no se preocupaba por su estómago. De hecho, había muchos evangelistas recorriendo el país. Para los cristianos locales era un privilegio abrir sus hogares a esos mensajeros de Dios; ellos le dieron a Samuel, y a los otros, alimento y un lugar donde dormir. En sus comienzos, el cristianismo también era así: el misionero no se preocupaba por la vida, la vida en este mundo. Los primeros cristianos sabían que la vida era más que alimento y el cuerpo más que vestimenta.

Con el tiempo, Samuel Kamissa fue ordenado y se convirtió en pastor de una iglesia local. Un día, se abrió una puerta nueva: Samuel recibió una oferta para venir como misionero a los Estados Unidos. Él nunca pensó que necesitaba tener una cierta cantidad de dinero para comenzar una iglesia nueva, ni siquiera en los Estados Unidos. Samuel comenzó iglesias en San Diego y Los Ángeles. La Iglesia Luterana del Sínodo de Misurí trabaja junto con la Iglesia Luterana Mekane Yesu, que es cinco veces más grande y, de hecho, el cuerpo eclesiástico luterano más grande del mundo (y el que más rápidamente crece). En los Estados Unidos podemos aprender mucho sobre el trabajo misional y los misioneros de nuestros hermanos en Etiopía. El rol que el dinero juega en el desarrollo misional es una de esas lecciones.

En los Estados Unidos, en cambio, lo que demasiadas veces determina la misión es el dinero: antes de comenzar una nueva misión tomamos inventario de los bienes materiales. en Etiopía, en cambio, lo que impulsa a la misión es el evangelio y la presencia del Espíritu Santo. El Espíritu impulsa a los cristianos a llevar el amor de Dios a todas las personas. Cuando los cristianos, movidos por la fe, salen a compartir el amor de Jesús con otros, el Señor suple todo lo que necesitan para hacerlo. Como misionero con LINC Los Ángeles, Samuel no trabaja solo con etíopes o africanos, sino con todas las personas. Algunas de ellas son las que conoce mientras maneja para Uber.

En mi opinión, hasta que el dinero no deje de dirigir la misión en los Estados Unidos, la proclamación del evangelio se verá afectada y el número de discípulos no habrá de crecer. Sin embargo, veo signos de cambio. Hay una nueva pasión para compartir el evangelio y hay nuevos brotes naciendo, muchos desde fuera de los Estados Unidos, uno de ellos es el número de misioneros de otros países, misioneros como el Rev. Samuel Kamissa. El dinero no es el factor principal en la obra misional. “¿Acaso no vale más la vida…?”

Para ver un segmento de un minuto de la entrevista con Samuel, hacer clic aquí.

Para ver la entrevista de quince minutos, hacer clic aquí.

Needed: A Seat At the Table

Needed: A Seat at the Table

President Michael Gibson, Pacific Southwest District, The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

“Listen, my beloved brothers: Has not God chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him?” James 2:5

“Go into the Word of God – it transforms us! It’s not OK to be a country club.” Mike Gibson. 

To be honest, in my experience, many but not all District Presidents  are passionate about Christian missions. Mike Gibson, the first term president of the LCMS Pacific Southwest District, has made bringing more souls to Christ his first priority. That means challenging the ninety five percent White English speaking Lutheran Churches in America to “get real” and get out, to love all people, especially those unlike them. According to Mike,  the church of the global north, a church of privilege, has to listen and learn from the church of the global south, a church that has learned to lose all for the sake of the gospel.    

Picture: Recent student graduates of CUI’s “Cross-cultural Ministry Center.”

 

                                               

 

Not that the southern global church knows so much more – but it has been left out of the conversation. How would the church be different if there was a seat at the table for those “left out” of economic power, left out of political, church, local and world power even as we cater to those who have the most?  How would our lives be different if the “least of these my brethren” had a full seat at the global north table? If we listened to them, what would we learn? Mike Gibson wants us to listen and learn.

Mike grew up in an ethnically diverse community in Sacramento, California. As a consequence, the ministries he has served have brought him into close contact with a diverse population. He benefited from that life experience. He didn’t have to learn not to be afraid of someone who did not look like him, who spoke in accented English, whose faith challenged his. That kind of learning cannot be bought with money, it has to be acquired. This kind of learning is paid for with the profit from daily gospel interaction with people of different backgrounds. 

In the January 2019 issue of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research William P. Gregory searches the heart of Pope Francis’ missiology.

For Francis mission “involves love, and love always involves closeness to other people. To engage in mission means, ‘going forth, coming out of ourselves and drawing near to others…This was the point when he told pastors to be shepherds with the smell of the sheep.'”(Holy Thursday Homily, March 28, 2013).

Gregory goes on to tell us, “Put simply, in their intention to be faithful and in their intention to be missionary some things Christians in fact do are counter missionary in their effects and damage the church’s relationship with the potential recipients of the gospel. The problem in essence is the church ‘Pharisee problem.’ That is, the church often comes across looking and sounding more like the stereotyped scribes and Pharisees of the Gospels than Jesus himself.”

When I asked Bishop Gibson, at the beginning of your time in office what is your deepest desire, he responded: “Congregations were raised up in a particular place for a mission reason. But over the years we have moved away from this. I pray  congregations will ask ‘What have we done with our “place’? As a church we have to repent and ask ‘how  we can engage our neighbors with the love of Christ?'” As an example Gibson sites the church in the global south.

In his experience Christians coming to the United States from Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East have a lot to each the church in the north, in America. Mike sees these Christians as gifts God is giving to the American church. These Christians have suffered and sacrificed greatly to identify with their communities. By their lives of sacrifice and forgiveness, by their willingness to lose everything and hold back nothing they are the living proof of a God who held back nothing for the sake of the world. That is the kind of witness that attracts; that is the witness of Jesus. 

The new president of the Pacific Southwest District told me, “The church of the global north is better served by the church in the global south by listening to the south, to become students of southern Christians. This is something we all need. This is something the Spirit of God can use to revitalize His church.” 

Where do you have an opportunity to hold out a seat for a global southern partner?

To see the full 24 minute interview, click here.

To see a piece of the longer interview, click here

 

 

IS NOT LIFE MORE?

Is Not Life More?

 

Missionary to America Samuel Kamissa

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? ” Jesus, in Matthew 6:25

“The missionary did not have to worry about his belly.” Samuel Kamissa

Missionary Samuel Kamissa earns his livelihood as an Uber driver in Los Angeles. That is a long way from where he grew up in western Ethiopia.

In his rural area there were  no local stores or churches. His mother was his Sunday School teacher, and she taught Samuel well. He loved the Lord and even more, loved telling others about the endless love of Jesus. Besides having no local church,  there were other challenges.

As a child he left his home at 6 am, walking to school, to arrive at his elementary school at 7:30 am. The same walk awaited him when school was over.

But there were more dangers to be faced than lions or snakes or even thieves.

At the age of fourteen Samuel Kamissa was put in prison by the communist government for making disciples. Did that deter him? No. As Jesus asked, “Is life not more…?” Samuel kept on making God’s love known, even when a well known pastor in another town, a leader of the Lutheran church body called “Mekane Yesu” (House of Jesus), was executed. The grace of God had become so alive in the young boy that when he graduated from high school he did not look for a job; instead, he went on foot to other towns and villages in rural areas. “Is not life more?

There was no organization to fund his work, although Mekane Yesu Lutherans supported what he was doing; Mekane Yesu asked their members to help him. Samuel says he did not worry about his belly. In fact, there were many such evangelists crisscrossing the country. Local Christians saw it as a privilege to open their homes to these messengers of God; they gave Samuel and the others food and a place to sleep. Early Christianity was a lot like that. The missionary did not worry about life, life in this world.  The early Christians knew life was more than food, the body more than clothing.

In time Samuel Kamissa was ordained and became the pastor of a local church. One day a new door opened. Samuel was given the chance to enter the mission field of the United States. For Samuel there was never a question of having  a certain amount of money to start a new church, even in America. Samuel started churches in San Diego and Los Angeles. The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod partners with Mekane Yesu Lutheran Church. Mekane Yesu is five times larger than the Missouri Synod, in fact, it is the largest Lutheran church body in the world – and the fastest growing. We in America have a lot to learn about mission work and missionaries from our sisters and brothers in Ethiopia. The role money plays in mission development is one of those lessons.

In too many cases money drives the mission in America. In this country before we begin a new mission we assess our material wealth; in Ethiopia the driving force is the gospel and the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit impels Christians to bring the love of God to everyone; when Christians step out in faith to make the love of Jesus real to others, the Lord supplies all we need to get His message out.  As a missionary with Los Angeles LINC Samuel does not reach out to Ethiopians, or Africans only – but to all people. Some he meets when he gets behind the wheel to drive for Uber. 

In my opinion, unless and until money no longer drives the mission in the United States the gospel proclamation will be hindered and the number of disciples will not grow. However, I see signs this is changing. There is a new passion to share the gospel, there are new shoots springing up in America – many from outside the United States – one of those is  the number of missionaries from other countries, missionaries like Rev. Samuel Kamissa. Money is not the major factor in mission work. Life is more. 

To see a one minute segment of our interview with Samuel, click here.

To see the whole fifteen minute interview, click here. 

 

 

 

 

BACK TO THE MISSIONARY FUTURE

Back To the Missionary Future

Equipper to Missionaries to America Dr. Todd Jones

Todd Jones has a doctorate and works in the trenches. He eschews the ivory tower to walk with missionaries on the grass roots of mission. We forget that for hundreds of years there were no formal, concrete seminaries preparing Christian pastors or missionaries. Jone’s work is a return to an older way of preparing missionaries: bringing the seminary to where the mission is. Like Jesus, and St. Paul and the earliest church.

St. Paul moved from city to city, identifying local leaders. He began their preparation for mission work, then moved on. He used the distance education strategy of visits by mature Christians and epistles to continue their formation. 

Dr. Jones is developing a first step online course to prepare missionaries in Michigan for a second step, a distance education program to certify immigrant missionaries as public ministers of the gospel.

The missionaries are new to America but seasoned in their Christian faith. They were torn out of their homelands to be thrust into a strange culture. Being the leader of a Christian community in America is alien to their first ecclesiastic formation.  The Holy Spirit still impels them to preach the gospel and there are many in America who want and need to hear the message of salvation through faith in Jesus alone. Like the Swahili speaking  immigrants from the Congo. Now in Michigan, they graduated from seminary in Africa and need certification for public ministry in the United States.

As immigrants they do not have the resources of time and money to leave their families, their jobs, their states to be educated in a brick and mortar seminary. More important, if they left Michigan then  the missions they now serve would have great difficulty.  Besides, a distance education program in some ways is better than the traditional route.

When candidates are removed from their communities and brought to a central seminary their formation tends to me monolithic. I saw this when I was a seminary student: the few African American students in my seminary class were formed in the same way as the White students – to be pastors of White suburban congregations. Many of those who ended up serving rural or urban churches or ethnicities other than White had to relearn what it meant to be a minister.  Others simply put in their time and left the congregation or left the ministry. 

Adult learning is “action-reflection,” and asynchronous – available when the student can devote their time and energy.  According to Dr. Jones, those already in ministry learn better when they suddenly realize they are faced with a need to know the ancient learnings about the Trinity, or end of life issues, or Biblical views of Christian marriage and family.   

Tools used for many years in overseas ministries are more and more being imported for new church development in America. For instance, Dr. Paul Bruns, when he was a missionary in Africa developed a tool for equipping new leaders on a mission field. The Mission Bible Commentary was developed for new leaders who spoke English as a second language. The Commentary focuses the reader on the mission emphases in Scripture, and provides commentary to explain those emphases. The Commentary is now being used on mission fields in America, and not only by immigrant mission leaders. 

The Center for US Missions at Concordia, Irvine, Ca. is an organization that prepares clergy and lay candidates to be missionaries. Using on the job training and coaches, candidates learn the difference between being pastors and missionaries.  It also has strategies to prepare congregations to be bases for new mission starts. You can find out more at 

http://www.centerforusmissions.com

There will be more and more integration of on site and distance education. I can see the day when many former seminary campuses are sold and new seminaries built with state of the art distance learning centers, as well as a few  on site classrooms and dormitories. We are at the beginning of the transition now – it may seem strange, or even awful, to some – and we need courageous, intelligent, faithful leaders to show the way. Leaders like Todd Jones. 

To see a short video interview with Dr. Jones, Click Here.

To see the full interview, click here.

 

 

Lo que motiva a un misionero

Lo que motiva a un misionero

Stella Yau, misionera a los Estados Unidos

Mientras Jesús caminaba junto al lago de Galilea, vio a dos hermanos, Simón, llamado Pedro, y Andrés, que estaban echando la red al agua, pues eran pescadores.  Jesús les dijo: “Síganme, y yo haré de ustedes pescadores de hombres.” Ellos entonces, dejando al instante las redes, lo siguieron.  Mateo 4:19-20

¿Te has preguntado alguna vez qué hace que alguien abandone su estilo de vida y se vuelva misionero? Podemos aprender algo sobre lo que motiva a un misionero, de la misionera Stella Yau.

Stella y su familia huyeron de Hong Kong cuando ella tenía cinco años.

En ese momento, el gobierno comunista chino se estaba preparando para recuperar posesión de la isla de Gran Bretaña. Muchos en Hong Kong, particularmente los cristianos, tenían miedo.

Para entender esto, solo basta hablar con un cristiano de China. Los cristianos y el cristianismo son tolerados, pero no estimados. Al contrario, son ridiculizados y la discriminación es endémica.

El pastor de la familia de Stella en Hong Kong fue un muy querido misionero norteamericano, el Reverendo Will Holt. Para hacer frente al flujo de refugiados, este misionero regresó a los Estados Unidos donde comenzó una misión en San Francisco para dar la bienvenida a los nuevos inmigrantes de Hong Kong y China. Esto sucedió casi al mismo tiempo que la familia de Stella salía de Hong Kong, algo que resultó ser un toque de gracia para muchos asiáticos, y también para Stella.

Establecer un hogar en un nuevo país no es fácil. Stella sufrió burlas por ser inmigrante y por su acento. Se sentía sola y vivía asustada, excepto cuando estaba en la iglesia con Jesús y su pastor, Will Holt. Holt había comenzado una congregación formada por inmigrantes chinos. Dios bendijo a la iglesia y la misma creció, no solo en números, sino también en la fe y en su preocupación por quienes no conocían el amor interminable de Dios. Los miembros de la iglesia luterana Espíritu Santo estaban tan comprometidos a compartir el amor de Jesús, que comenzaron a enviar algunos miembros como misioneros a otros países: China, Hong Kong, Tailandia, África.

Viviendo en San Francisco, Stella aprendió a hablar bien el inglés, tuvo éxito en la escuela y en la universidad y comenzó a ascender en la escala ejecutiva en Honeywell. Fue entonces cuando comenzó: una lucha interna por dejar atrás la vida corporativa y convertirse en misionera para ir con Jesús a encontrar a quienes no conocían su amor y mostrarles un nuevo camino. Stella quería que los nuevos inmigrantes en los Estados Unidos conocieran el amor y consuelo que ella había conocido a través de la familia de su iglesia. En la actualidad, Stella Yau es una directora de los ministerios LINC (Lutheran Inner City Network Coalition) en Los Ángeles y trabaja como misionera en una congregación anglo que ha ido decayendo, ubicada en una comunidad que ahora es setenta por ciento asiática.

Para alcanzar a su comunidad, esa congregación comenzó un preescolar. Con veintidós niños, en su mayoría chinos y casi todos inmigrantes, hay muchas oportunidades de misión. Stella reúne a los padres inmigrantes de los niños para ayudarles a comprender lo que sus hijos están aprendiendo sobre Jesús. Viniendo de China, donde a los niños se les enseña que la iglesia es el enemigo, se necesita mucho tiempo para que los adultos conozcan el amor del Salvador. A veces la congregación anglo se impacienta. En esos momentos, el ministerio de Stella es ayudarles a ver un futuro en el que surgirán líderes chinos para llevar las buenas nuevas de la gracia de Dios a más personas.

Pensando en lo que tuvo que sacrificar para ser misionera, Stella dice que le encanta su trabajo y que volvería a hacerlo todo de nuevo en un abrir y cerrar de ojos. Y eso es precisamente lo que Dios hizo: dejó de lado los privilegios de su vida y vino a la tierra dispuesto a sacrificar todo, porque su corazón latía porque el mundo pudiera conocer su bondadoso amor.

Cuando conoces el amor de Jesús, el Espíritu de Dios te impulsa a compartir su amor, su perdón y su gracia dondequiera que estés. Para algunos incluso hace que dejen sus ocupaciones para convertirse en misioneros.

Para ver el video introducción de dos minutos de la misión de Stella, cliquear aquí

Para ver el video de veinte minutos de la entrevista con Stella, cliquear aquí

 

THE MOTIVE OF A MISSIONARY

The Motive of A Missionary

Missionary to America Stella Yau

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” And at once they left their nets and followed Him.” Gospel of Matthew 4: 19-20 

Have you ever wondered what causes someone to give up their current way of life and become a missionary?  We can learn something about the motive of a missionary from the missionary Stella Yau.

Stella and her family fled Hong Kong when Stella was five. At the time the Chinese communist government was getting ready to take the island back from Great Britain. Many in Hong Kong, particularly Christians, were afraid.

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To understand this just talk with a Christian from China. Christians and Christianity are tolerated but held in low regard. Christians are ridiculed and discrimination is endemic. 

Stella’s family’s pastor in Hong Kong was the beloved missionary from America, Rev. Will Holt.  To meet the flow of refugees, Missionary Holt was transitioned back to the US. He began a mission in San Francisco to welcome new immigrants from Hong Kong and China. This was around the same time Stella’s family was leaving Hong Kong – something that turned out to be a happenstance of grace for many Asians, and for Stella. 

Making a new home in a new country is not easy. Because she was an immigrant Stella was bullied; she was called names, other children made fun of her accent. The little girl was lonely and afraid, except when she was in church, with Jesus, and her pastor, Will Holt. Holt had begun a congregation made up of Chinese immigrants. God blessed the church and it grew, not only in numbers, but in faith and in concern for those who did not know God’s unending love. The church was so committed to sharing the love of Jesus they began sending some members  as missionaries to other countries. Holy Spirit Lutheran sent missionaries to China, to Hong Kong, to Thailand, to Africa. This was not lost on the young girl from Hong Kong. 

As Stella grew up in San Francisco, she learned to speak English as an American, succeeded in school, and in college and began to climb the executive ladder at Honeywell. That is when it happened: the tug to leave the pursuit of the corporate life behind to become a missionary. She would go with Jesus to find those whom did not know His love and show them a new Way. Stella wanted the new immigrants to America to know the love and comfort she had received from her church family. Today Stella Yau is a director for LINC (Lutheran Inner City Network Coalition) ministries in Los Angeles and a missionary.  She works for an aging, declining Anglo congregation in a community that is now seventy percent Asian.

To reach out to its community, the Anglo church began a preschool. With twenty two children, mostly Chinese, almost all immigrants, there are many mission opportunities. Stella brings the children’s immigrant parents together to help them understand what their children are learning about Jesus. Coming from China where children are taught  the church is evil, an enemy of Asian people, it takes a long time to bring the adults to know the love of the Savior.  Sometimes the Anglo congregation gets impatient; Stella’s ministry is to elevate their vision so they see into the future, when Chinese leaders someday emerge to bring the good news of His grace to more people.

Thinking about what she gave up to be a missionary she says she loves her work and would do it all again in a heartbeat. And that is precisely what God did. He put off the privileges of His life and journeyed on earth, willing to sacrifice everything, because His heart beat for a world that might know God’s gracious love. 

When you have come to know the love of Jesus, the Spirit of God impels you to share His love, His forgiveness, His grace wherever you are. For some, it even causes them to leave their current lives to become a missionary. 

To see a two minute video introduction to Stella’s mission, click here.

To see the full twenty minute video interview with Stella, click here.

 

El misionero debe estar rodeado

El misionero debe estar rodeado

Del Campbell, Misionero en los Estados Unidos

Inmediatamente después de haberse graduado del Seminario Concordia, Del Campbell comenzó a hacer misión en los Estados Unidos, específicamente en la ciudad de Gary, Indiana.

Para quienes no lo saben, hoy en día la mayoría de los seminaristas se gradúan para ser pastores; o sea, para atender una congregación ya existente. Sólo unos pocos son enviados como misioneros. Con el tiempo, a medida que más y más de nosotros reconozcamos a América como un campo de misión, eso cambiará. En la entrevista en video que realicé con Del, le pregunté: “¿Cuál es la diferencia entre un pastor y un misionero?” Su respuesta fue: “Viajar mucho”. Esa fue una respuesta importante. ¿Por qué?

El llamado de Del procedía de la iglesia nacional, el Sínodo de Missouri de la Iglesia Luterana. Pero, antes que a ella, daría cuentas a las iglesias locales. Su carga era pesada. Como me dijo Del: “¡Todos me estaban mirando!”

Como cualquier misionero, pastor o maestro nuevo, Del Campbell quería tener éxito. Estaba bajo presión: presión para hacer crecer como campo misionero a la iglesia luterana St. John en Gary. La iglesia había sido establecida por luteranos alemanes en el siglo XIX, pero ahora reflejaba su vecindario afroamericano. El vecindario de St. John es rico en oportunidades y talento, pero no en cantidad de fieles y dinero.

       

Tener los fondos adecuados iba a depender, en última instancia, de estar rodeado de iglesias que creyeran en la misión, lo cual no es algo malo.

En mi experiencia, las agencias misioneras, tanto nacionales como distritales, decían a las congregaciones que hacían el trabajo misional “en nombre de” ellas, pero muchas veces terminaba siendo “en lugar de” ellas. Más aún, con demasiada frecuencia los misioneros eran enviados solos, reportando muchas veces a un supervisor que se encontraba a cientos de millas de distancia. Por más que ese supervisor quisiera apoyarles al comenzar una misión, la distancia lo hacía muy difícil.  

El rol de Del, el rol del misionero, es rodearse del apoyo de las iglesias locales. Inevitablemente, el misionero termina “viajando mucho” visitando iglesias y posibles donantes. Hasta ahora, los viajes de Del han dado frutos. Un misionero debe estar rodeado.

Del está rodeado de iglesias dispuestas a darle apoyo. Especialmente para la escuela primaria, que estuvo cerrada durante una generación.

El Dr. Roosevelt Gray, ejecutivo nacional, le había sugerido que contactara a las iglesias del área y les pidiera su ayuda. Las iglesias circundantes “rodearon” al misionero y al viejo edificio con amor y trabajo duro y restauraron las instalaciones.

También crearon becas para estudiantes. Hoy, más de cincuenta niños asisten a la escuela cristiana, algo que no hubiera sucedido sin el apoyo de esas iglesias. Pero no termina allí.

El misionero Campbell está conectado con otras iglesias y pastores en Gary y juntos abordan los desafíos que enfrentan la mayoría de las áreas urbanas: abuso de drogas, pobreza, ignorancia, crimen y hambre. Entre todos rodean a su comunidad con esperanza. Del está trabajando arduamente para ofrecer una plataforma más amplia en la cual el evangelio haga su trabajo.

En todo este tiempo, Del y St. John han estado rodeados, como escribe San Pablo, de “una nube de testigos”:

“Por lo tanto, también nosotros, que tenemos tan grande nube de testigos a nuestro alrededor, liberémonos de todo peso y del pecado que nos asedia, y corramos con paciencia la carrera que tenemos por delante. Fijemos la mirada en Jesús” (Hebreos 12:1-2ª).

Esos “testigos” son invisibles, antiguos héroes de la fe que enfrentaron desafíos imposibles pero fueron testigos del poder y el amor de Dios. Ese mismo poder está obrando hoy para Del Campbell en Gary, Indiana. ¡Y ellos están mirando!
 
Por encima de todo, él está mirando: Jesús, quien está delante de Dios por nosotros, intercediendo por la iglesia y el misionero y por tú y yo. Los misioneros no deben hacer su trabajo solos. Deben estar rodeados.

Para ver una introducción de dos minutos de la entrevista con el Misionero Campbell, haga clic aquí

Para ver la entrevista completa de 17 minutos, haga clic aquí

Dr. Robert Scudieri

Tr. B. Hoppe

A Missionary Should Be Surrounded

A Missionary Should Be Surrounded

Missionary to America Del Campbell

Right after Del Campbell graduated from Concordia Seminary he set out as a missionary to America – specifically, to build a mission field in Gary, Indiana. 

For those who don’t know, today the majority of seminarians graduate to be pastors – they will take care of an existing congregation. Only a few are sent out as missionaries. In time, as more and more of us recognize America as a world mission field, that will change. In the video interview I conducted with Del I asked, “What is the difference between a pastor and a missionary?” His response was, “A lot of traveling.” That was an important answer. Why? 

Del’s call was from the national church body, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, but he would report first of all to the local churches. This missionary carried a heavy burden: as Del said to me, “They are all watching!”

As any new missionary, or pastor, or teacher, Del Campbell wanted to succeed.  He was under pressure, pressure to grow St. John Lutheran in Gary as a mission field. The church had been establised by white, German Lutherans in the nineteeth century but now reflected its African American neighborhood. St. John’s neighborhood is rich with opportunity and talent, but not a lot of worshippers, and not a lot of money . 

Adequate funding would ultimately depend on being surrounded by churches who believe in the mission. This is not a bad thing.

In my experience, national and district mission agencies would tell congregations they were doing mission work “on behalf of” congregations; many times this ended up being “instead of” congregations.  Furthermore, too often missionaries were sent out alone, reporting many times to a supervisor who was hundreds of miles away. No matter how much that supervisor cared, they could not give the support needed at the start of a new mission.

Del’s role, the missionary role, is to surround the ministry with support from local churches. Inevitably, the missionary ends up doing “a lot of traveling,” visiting churches and calling on potential supporters. So far, Del’s traveling has paid off. A missionary should be surrounded.

Del is surrounded by partner churches eager to give support. Especially for the elementary school, shuttered for a generation. 

National executive Dr. Roosevelt Gray had suggested the new missionary contact churches in the area to ask for help. The surrounding churches “surrounded” the missionary and the old building with love, and hard work. They brought the building up to code.

The surrounding churches and supporters funded scholarships for students.  Today, more than fifty children attend the Christian school, something that would not have happened without the support of those churches.  But that was not the end.

Missionary Campbell has connected with other churches and other pastors in Gary. Together they address challenges facing most urban areas: drug abuse, poverty, ignorance, crime and hunger. The pastors surround their community with hope; Del is working hard to give a broader platform for the gospel to do its work. 

Furthermore, all along Del and St. John Lutheran have been surrounded by, as St. Paul writes, ” a cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1),

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…” Hebrews 12:1-2a

Those “winteeses” are unseen, former heroes of faith who faced impossible challenges but witnessed the power and love of God. That same power is working today for Del Campbell in Gary, Indiana. They are watching!

 Most of all,  He is watching: Jesus, Who stands before God on our behalf, interceding for the church and the missionary, and for you and me. Missionaries should  not do their work alone. They should be surrounded. 

To see a two minute introductory interview with Missionary Campbell, click here.

To see the full, 17 minute interview, click here.