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?


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

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

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

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.


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.

El Poder del Misionero

El poder del misionero





Cynthia – Misionera a los Estados Unidos (Por razones de seguridad, tanto de Cynthia como de su familia en Pakistán, no podemos mostrar su rostro ni revelar su nombre completo.)

Le pregunté a Cynthia, una de las nuevas misioneras a los Estados Unidos: “Después de veintitrés años de servir como misionera en los Estados Unidos, ¿qué consejo tienes para alguien que quiere compartir el amor de Dios con los musulmanes?” Su respuesta fue rápida y directa, producto de una narrativa de peligro para los cristianos en el Medio Oriente. Específicamente, el peligro con el que su familia y la familia de su esposo vivían todos los días que estuvieron en Arabia Saudita. Pero la historia comienza en Pakistán.

El abuelo de su esposo, un respetado médico y terrateniente, una mañana iba caminando a su oficina cuando, al pasar por una capilla cristiana, oyó hablar a un misionero estadounidense. Se detuvo un momento y escuchó estas palabras: “Yo soy el camino, la verdad y la vida. Nadie viene al Padre, sino a través de mí.” La curiosidad lo hizo entrar y la Palabra que escuchó tuvo poder para cambiarle la vida.

En esos días, los cristianos y los musulmanes no se peleaban entre sí. Había respeto por la fe del otro. Pero eso cambió mientras Cynthia crecía. Durante la era de sus padres, Pakistán e India se habían dividido en una sangrienta separación. Cuando Cynthia era niña, un gobierno represivo llegó al poder en Pakistán, uno que ganó adeptos inculcando miedo al “otro”, en particular, miedo a los hindúes y a los cristianos. Los ataques a las casas de adoración cristianas se hicieron más comunes, al igual que las golpizas y el asesinato de líderes cristianos.

Cynthia se casó con un ingeniero cristiano. Ambos decidieron que tenían más futuro trabajando para una empresa petrolera árabe-estadounidense en Arabia Saudita, que quedándose en Pakistán. No es que Arabia Saudita aceptara más a los cristianos: la Meca y Medina, dos de los tres lugares más sagrados del Islam (la Mezquita de Al-Aqsa en Jerusalén, el lugar desde donde los musulmanes dicen que el Profeta Muhammad ascendió al cielo, completa el trío), se encuentran allí. Cuando el matrimonio se fue a Arabia Saudita, era ilegal entrar una Biblia al país y también tener o participar de un grupo de estudio bíblico. No sólo se les temía a los cristianos, sino también al poder de esa Palabra que venía con ellos. La respuesta de Cynthia a mi pregunta sobre su consejo para alguien que quiere compartir el amor de Dios con los musulmanes fue: “La Palabra de Dios tiene un gran poder”. Ella tuvo una experiencia personal que lo comprueba.

En Pakistán, Cynthia y su esposo habían crecido en una iglesia cristiana, pero no habían pasado mucho tiempo estudiando la Palabra de Dios. De todos los lugares, fue en un estudio bíblico clandestino en Arabia Saudita, donde tuvieron esa oportunidad. Un ingeniero de los Estados Unidos enseñaba a un grupo en la casa de uno de los cristianos pakistaníes. El estadounidense estaba explicando la gracia, la clase de gracia de la que habla San Pablo en Romanos 3:21-22: “Pero ahora, aparte de la ley, se ha manifestado la justicia de Dios, y de ello dan testimonio la ley y los profetas. La justicia de Dios, por medio de la fe en Jesucristo, es para todos los que creen en él.” Su esposo recuerda lo que sucedió a continuación de esta manera: Fue “como si de mis ojos cayeran escamas” (ver Hechos 9:18). La manera en que Dios reconcilia a las personas consigo no es a través de nada que ellos hayan hecho o pudieran hacer. Dios las reconcilia a través de la muerte y resurrección de Jesús, disponible para todos los que creen y son bautizados. ESA es una palabra poderosa y es el poder que los misioneros llevan con ellos.

Quizás haya sido porque estaban aprendiendo la Biblia ya de adultos, o quizás porque tenían que desobedecer las leyes saudíes para estudiar la Palabra en un grupo secreto. Sea lo que fuera, sus vidas habían cambiado. Fue en Arabia Saudita, después de escuchar esa Palabra, que decidieron que tenían que convertirse en misioneros a los musulmanes.

La Palabra es el poder del misionero; ella tiene el poder de matar y de resucitar. Había sido suficientemente poderosa como para que un médico, al pasar delante de una capilla en Pakistán, llegara a la fe en Jesús. Y fue suficientemente poderosa como para llegar a los corazones de dos pakistaníes que trabajan en Arabia Saudita y traerlos a los Estados Unidos para ser misioneros a los musulmanes.

Cynthia y su familia han comenzado más de veinte misiones de musulmanes en los Estados Unidos. Aun así, ella sabe que muchos más musulmanes llegarían a conocer a Jesús si todos los cristianos vieran como un privilegio el llevar la Palabra poderosa a quienes aún no han escuchado: “Yo soy el camino, la verdad y la vida. Nadie viene al Padre sino a través de mí.”

Casi al final de nuestra entrevista, Cynthia compartió un consejo para quien quiera compartir el amor de Dios con los musulmanes: “¡Dígales, por favor, que tomen la iniciativa y hagan un primer contacto! Extiendan una mano y hablen con ellos. Háganles preguntas en forma amistosa: ¿De dónde eres? ¿Qué necesitas? ¿Qué preguntas tienes? ¿Has oído hablar del Salvador Jesús? Y luego dejen que el poder de la Palabra haga su trabajo.”

Para ver la entrevista con Cynthia de 20 minutos haga clic aquí

Para ver una introducción de la historia de 2 minutos haga clic aquí


The Missionary’s Power

Missionary to America Cynthia (We cannot show Cynthia’s face, or reveal her full name, for fear that she, or her family in Pakistan would be harmed.)

I asked Cynthia, one of the  new missionaries to America, “After twenty three years of serving as a missionary to America, what advice do you have for someone who wants to share God’s love with Muslims? Cynthia’s answer was quick, and to the point. Her answer came out of a narrative of  danger for Christians in the Middle East, specifically, the danger her and her husband’s families lived with every day during the time the two of them spent in Saudi Arabia. But the story begins in Pakistan.

Her husband’s grandfather, a respected land owner and doctor, was walking to his office one morning when, passing by a Christian chapel, he heard from inside the voice of a missionary from America; he stopped for a moment to listen and heard these words: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Fahter but through me.” Curious, he stepped inside, and the Word he  heard had the power to change his life.

In those days Christians and Muslims did not fight each other. There was respect for the other’s faith. That changed while Cynthia was growing up. During her parents’ era Pakistan and India had divided in a bloody separation. When Cynthia was a child a repressive government came to power in Pakistan, one that won converts by stirring up fear of the “other,” in particular, fear of Hindus, and Christians.  Attacks on Christian houses of worship became more common, along with the beating and murder of Christian leaders. 

Cynthia married a Christian professional, an engineer. Both decided they had more of a future working for an Arab American Oil firm in Saudi Arabia than staying in Pakistan. Not that Saudi Arabia was more accepting of Christians. Two of Islam’s three most holy sites are in Saudi Arabia, Mecca and Medina (the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the place from which the Prophet Muhammad is said by Muslims to have ascended to heaven, completes the trio). When husband and wife went to Saudi Arabia it was against the law to bring a Bible into the country. Bible Study in a group was also outlawed. There was not just fear of Christians, but fear of the power of that Word that came with them. Cynthia’s answer to my question about her advice for someone who wants to share God’s love with Muslims was, “The Word of God has great power.” She had a personal experience to back that up.

In Pakistan Cynthia and the Christian she married had grown up in a Christian church, but had not spent a lot of time studying God’s Word. Of all places, it was in Saudi Arabia, in a clandestine Bible Study, that they had that opportunity. An engineer from America taught a group in the home of one of the Pakistani Christians. The American was explaining grace, the kind of grace St. Paul talks about in Romans 3:21, “And now a righteousness apart from the law has been made known. The law and the prophets give witness to it, but God puts people right, through their faith in Jesus Christ.” Her husband remembers what happened next in this way:  It was “Like scales falling from my eyes.” ( see Acts 9:18).  God’s way of putting people right with Himself was not through anything they had done or could or would do – God has put people right, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, for all who believe and are baptized.  THAT is a powerful Word. It is the power missionaries take with them. 

Maybe it was because they were getting into the Bible as adults, or maybe because they had to disobey the Saudi laws to study the Word in a secret group, whatever it was, their lives were turned around. It was in Saudi Arabia, after hearing that Word, that they decided they had to become missionaries to Muslims. 

The Word is the Missionary’s power – it has the power to kill, and to make alive. It was powerful enough to bring a physician, passing by a chapel in Pakistan, to faith in Jesus. It had the power to reach into the hearts of Pakistanis working in Saudi Arabia and bring them to the United States to be missionaries to Muslims. 

Cynthia and her family have begun more than twenty missions to Muslims in America. Even so, she knows that more Muslims will be brought to know Jesus if all Christians would see it as a privilege to bring the powerful Word to people who have not heard ““I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Fahter but through me.”

Near the end of our interview, Cynthia ex[amded on the advice she had for someone who wanted to share God’s love with Muslims: “Tell them, please, take the initiative and make a first contact! Extend a hand to anyone and talk to them. Ask them friendly questions, like, Where are you from? What do you need? What questions do you have? And, have you heard about the Savior, Jesus?” Then, let the power in the Word do its work. 

To see the full 20 minute video interview with Cynthia, click here.

To see a short, two minute introductiory video to Cynthia’s story, click here.

To see the biographies of several missionaries to America, click here.

Paciencia: Una virtud misionera

Paciencia: Una virtud misionera

Misionero a los Estados Unidos Lang Yang

“Pero el Espíritu Santo produce este tipo de fruto en nuestras vidas: amor, alegría, paz, paciencia …”

“¿Cuál es la lección más importante que ha aprendido como misionero hmong en América?”. Esa es la pregunta que le hice al reverendo Lang Yang al final de su entrevista en video. La respuesta vino de su corazón: “paciencia”. La paciencia es probablemente la virtud más importante de un misionero. La historia de Lang así lo confirma.

El Rev. Yang nació en Laos durante la Guerra de Vietnam. Su familia era hmong y su padre un guerrillero de los Estados Unidos. Después que los norteamericanos fueran derrotados, Lang, de tres años, y su familia, escaparon en bote y se dirigieron a un campamento de refugiados en Tailandia. No tiene muchos recuerdos de ese tiempo, pero sí tiene imágenes de las balas que rompían el agua alrededor del bote y del miedo palpable que se sentía mientras las personas se desangraban y morían. Eso lo preparó para su tiempo en el campamento de refugiados.

Poco después de llegar al campamento en Tailandia, los padres de Lang tuvieron la oportunidad de venir a los Estados Unidos, pero no pudieron traer a los niños. La hija mayor, de catorce años, se convirtió en madre de Lang y de sus dos hermanos. Así aprendieron a tener paciencia. Los niños pasaron cuatro años más en el campamento. La comida escaseaba. Por la noche Lang atrapaba ratas y durante el día grillos, para tener proteínas. Oración y paciencia.

Hubo una gran bendición en el campamento. Los hmong son tradicionalmente animistas, pero en el campamento había un servicio cristiano de adoración, y un amigo del campamento invitó al joven Lang Yang a que fuera con él. Lang llegó a conocer a Jesús, de niño, en un campo de refugiados en un país extranjero.

Para su hermana mayor se encontró un padrino, pero no había manera de que los otros niños la acompañaran. Se necesitaba paciencia y oración. La hermana de Lang fue traída a América por una iglesia en Carolina del Norte. No mucho después, ella convenció a la iglesia para que enviara a buscar a sus hermanos. A los once años, en la escuela por primera vez, Lang ingresó en cuarto grado sin saber inglés. Paciencia. Aprendió rápidamente, y rápidamente se convirtió en intérprete para el pastor de la iglesia en el ministerio para los refugiados hmong.

Lang salteó sexto grado y luego noveno. A los dieciocho años se graduó de la escuela secundaria y por primera vez escuchó en su corazón el llamado del Señor a trabajar en la iglesia a tiempo completo. Su corazón dijo que sí, pero su cabeza dijo que no. En cambio, comenzó a entrenarse para convertirse en policía y fue contratado como alguacil adjunto en Carolina del Norte. Fue entonces cuando rechazó por segunda vez la llamada al ministerio a tiempo completo. “No Dios, no ahora. Tengo una familia joven para sustentar.”

En el medio oeste hay una gran presencia hmong. En los tumultuosos años setenta, muchas iglesias en Minnesota, Wisconsin y Michigan patrocinaron a refugiados. Gran parte de la vida de los hmong está determinado por un sistema rígido de clanes. Esos lazos llevaron a la joven familia Yang a Michigan. Lang tomó el liderazgo en un restaurante familiar. Se dice que “la tercera es la vencida” y, con el restaurante establecido, el llamado al ministerio volvió a Lang Yang. Pero no fue la paciencia de lo que lo llevó al trabajo misional. San Pedro nos dice: “El Señor no se tarda para cumplir su promesa, como algunos piensan, sino que nos tiene paciencia y no quiere que ninguno se pierda, sino que todos se vuelvan a él” (2 Pedro 3: 9).

Lang ingresó al Instituto de Teología de Inmigrantes Étnicos y pasó cuatro años como trabajador bi-vocacional: ganándose la vida, siendo padre y esposo y estudiando teología. Sabía que al final del programa no recibiría un título avanzado, pero su profundo deseo era ser habilitado para predicar públicamente y enseñar las buenas nuevas del amor de Dios. Y lo ha hecho: como misionero cristiano visita todos los festivales culturales hmong, mostrando el amor de Dios a la mayoría de los hmong que aún son animistas.

Lo ha hecho como capellán para el Departamento del Alguacil del Condado de Tuscola, como capellán para el municipio de Dinamarca y como capellán para la patrulla aérea civil. Como el actual presidente de la Sociedad Misionera Hmong, brinda apoyo a veintitrés pastores y dieciocho misiones en todo Estados Unidos, llevando las buenas nuevas de un Dios que ama a todas las personas, todas las familias, todos los clanes.

En la entrevista, el Rev. Yang describió haber compartido a Jesús con una señora hmong mayor. Durante toda su vida ella le había dado la espalda a todos los intentos de llevarla a Cristo. Las “balas” espirituales de sus creencias animistas la asustaban, manteniéndola fuera del agua del bautismo.

Pero Dios fue paciente. Cuando tenía noventa años, la Palabra de Dios rompió sus miedos y la llevó a Jesús, y así ella entró en la seguridad del amor de Dios a través del agua bendita del bautismo. Una de las mayores alegrías del Rev. Lang Yang fue poder dirigir la celebración de su entrada, cuando tenía noventa y nueve años, al lugar de descanso de todos los refugiados: el reino eterno de Dios.

El Señor encontrará y refinará a aquellos a quienes quiere que le sirvan. Se requiere paciencia, y la paciencia es algo que se puede enseñar. Pero, en definitiva, es un don del Espíritu. La buena noticia es que la paciencia de Dios es eterna.

Para ver una breve introducción a la entrevista con el Rev. Yang, haga clic aquí

Para ver la entrevista de diecinueve minutos haga clic aquí

Para encargar una biografía de un misionero a los Estados Unidos haga clic aquí