Archive for the 'Asia' Category

Influence = Dave Everitt

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

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Dave Everitt is one of my heroes.

•    He is an unconventional “missionary.”  He breaks the stereotypes.
•    He puts flesh and blood to the concept of being apostolic.
•    Dave just “shows up” and God seems to do the rest.  No presumption.  No ego.  Just a willingness to be there and then trust God to do the supernatural.
•    The guy oozes passion.
•    He’s larger than life and is a mutation between a cross-cultural Rambo and a big, cuddly teddy-bear.
•    His legacy and influence in Cambodia will be legendary.  The lives he’s touched will affect the Christian movement in that nation for generations to come.

Dave and Lisa Everitt have lived and minister  in Cambodia with InnerCHANGE, CRM’s order among the poor.  For more information, go to www.innerchange.org

everitt-sf1I was with Dave in San Francisco last month and let him loose on a group of younger men – one in particular who may may have similar  potential to Dave but it’s latent – and Dave held court for four straight hours.   I was in tears at least three times as he recounted stories of God’s presence and faithfulness in Asia.  It was gripping.

There are places all over the world in need of people like Dave Everitt.  God, give us new generations of people willing to just “show up” and see the supernatural presence of God flow through them in word and deed.

Apostolic Gifting

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

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I just received a newsletter from some CRM folks who have been faithfully working in an obscure, difficult setting in Southeast Asia for the past 14 years. They have made a phenomenal contribution to God’s Kingdom purposes in their context. Who they are and what they have done is truly extraordinary. These are apostolic, pioneering types who genuinely get their thrills by going where most normal people would dare to tread.

In the newsletter, there was one paragraph which was a stellar description of what apostolic gifting is all about. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. They wrote:

“When we arrived in this country, it was a good time and place for pioneering type people. Our personality, skills and gifting are very useful when things are broken down and not yet built. We are the ‘MacGyver’ types who live with a Leatherman Multi-Tool on our belt, a roll of wire and duct tape, and a Mag-Lite close at hand for when things break or go bad.

We travel with our two favorite books in double layer ziplock bags; a Thinline Bible and a Field Medical “What to do when it all goes wrong” Manual. We don’t need traffic laws, and can drive anything from bicycles to tractors and have fun. Beds are fine, and hammocks are better (no bedbugs) and all we need is enough water to scrub the crud off once a day. We like good food, but are fine eating other interesting stuff. Life is good in the the ambiguity zone.”


That is apostolic gifting! God give us more.

God at work in Asia

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

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This was the scene Monday morning at the dedication of CRM-Singapore’s new office space.

Friends, business people, pastors, and leaders of the Christian community in Singapore gathered to worship and thank God for the work this team has carried on the past few years and the addition of Singaporeans as full-time partners in the ministry.

It was an impressive time characterized by a deep sense of God’s presence. Most notable was the address by Pastor Lawrence Chua (below left) and then the prayer of dedication by former Anglican Archbishop, Moses Tay (below middle).

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From Singapore to the World …

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

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I just returned from a three day retreat in Indonesia with the CRM Singapore staff. It was a milestone because included were three Singaporeans who have made the decision to join CRM Singapore. Pictured here is one of our times of prayer for these new missionaries.

Singapore has enormous potential to contribute to the worldwide Christian movement. It’s strategic location, wealth, number and health of existing churches, all add up for it to be a place and a people to whom much has been given and much can be expected.

However, whether it will “step up” to assume such a role hangs in the balance. Most honest observers see:

1. An inordinate reluctance on the part of Singaporean Christians to leave comfort, financial security, family and jobs to risk it all in a missional vocation. Such an overly responsible commitment to the status-quo is in the fabric of the culture and reinforced by the government.
2. Lots of short-term mission experiences which send people every which direction but result in little long-term commitment, a phenomena characteristic of other rich nations which can afford to dabble.
3. Over half of the present career missionary force of approximately 500 are completely sent, supported, and controlled by existing local churches rather than apostolic, missionary sending entities. Such a short-sighted, inadequate ecclesiology invariably stunts the missionary thrust.

Our prayer is that the three Singaporeans who have joined CRM will be the “tip of the iceberg” of those who will eventually represent Christ throughout Asia and the rest of the world.

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Southeast Asia

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

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Am in Singapore and headed to Indonesia today.

Colin Crawley (CRM-Enterprise) and Bobby Booze (CRM-Hungary) are with me. We’ll be working on a three day training event to help in orientation for a group of Singaporeans who are new missionaries with CRM.

Leadership Issues in Asia

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

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I just returned from Asia. Singapore to be exact.

Although I don’t feel like a novice in this part of the world, every cross-cultural experience generates fresh insight and understanding and this trip was no different. As I look at the enormous complexities facing the Christian movement in Asia, several observations and questions emerged such as:

The Church in Asia continues to step up in assuming its rightful place and contribution to the worldwide Christian movement.

One cannot help but be impressed by the zeal and passion that characterizes Asian Christianity.

In settings such as Singapore (where this trip was concentrated), materialism has steadily acquired a vice grip on the culture and exercises a stifling effect on the missional vision of the Church.

How can new generations of leadership emerge in contexts where status, shame and saving face are such predominant values?

Authoritarian leaders who abuse their followers are unfortunately the norm, not the exception in this part of the world. How can such a dysfunctional cultural paradigm be replaced by biblical, servant leadership?

Related to the fixation on status is the compulsive drive for formal education. Too many people are sidelined from an effective contribution to kingdom involvement because of perceived inadequacies due to a lack of formal and advanced education. Sad.

There is significant emotional wounding, particularly in the lives of children. The obsession to achieve exerts enormous pressure.


I realize these are gross generalizations and not all Asian cultures are the same. Nevertheless, while the Church throughout Asia continues to grow in influence and stature on the global scene, zeal cannot paper over some of these deeply rooted issues. Unless honestly faced by Asian leaders, such issues will limit the contribution their nations can make to the Christian movement and a transformational influence on their own societies.

CRM Korea

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

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Tong and Jane Park give leadership to CRM Korea. They are pictured here with Patty and me along with Jean Gill, CRM-Japan at the far right.

We are grateful to the Parks and handful of other visionary Korean leaders – from a variety of denominational backgrounds – who are pioneering CRM in South Korea. We are looking forward to the time when Koreans will serve with CRM not only on the Korean peninsula but in other nations having been sent from Korea. We also desire CRM-US to be a sending entity for Korean Americans who want to follow God’s leading to live and minister cross-culturally.

While the story of the Christian movement in Korea in the last half of the 20th century is remarkable, disturbing signs are beginning to appear in the Korean Church. Overall, Christianity has plateaued and stalled in Korea in the past decade. There are significant problems with the younger generation as their involvement with traditional Christianity and the faith of their parents wanes. Even in a highly homogeneous society such as Korea, forces of globalization, post-modernity, and secularization are having an inevitable impact. Also materialism and unprecedented affluence are taking a toil.

Korea has the potential for making one of the greatest contributions to the worldwide Christian movement of any nation as we move into the 21st century. It is yet to be seen whether Korean Christianity can carpe diem.

The presence of Christ among the poor

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

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I saw and experienced one of the ways being the presence of Jesus in word and deed is lived out among the poor in Cambodia.

Sunrise – a ministry of InnerCHANGECRM’s “order among the poor” – lovingly and compassionately walks with those suffering from HIV/AIDS. I visited the hospice where the very sick come, some to die. And spent time in “home visits” with families where parents or children are infected.

I also observed ways children are helped in preventative ways in order to stem the tide of the disease before infection. Most of all I was privileged to meet and interact with a cadre of men and women, all Cambodians (pictured above), who sacrificially give of themselves on a daily basis to the the suffering.

It all gives street level meaning to the words of the prophet Isaiah, “...if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday.”

It was a joy and an honor to experience firsthand such light rising in this remote corner of Asia.

Arachnid al a carte

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

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Spiders as a snack are one of the joys of life in the cross-cultural realm.

These tarantulas are raised for eating and are a source of protein in this particular region of Cambodia. Gives new meaning to the old missionary adage, “Where God leads I follow, what God feeds I swallow.”

Just part of the missional adventure!

Emerging church interest in Singapore

Sunday, March 12th, 2006

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Along with Tom Middleton (back row center) I spent an afternoon with this remarkable group of people in Singapore. They wanted to interact about the “emerging church.”

I had no idea I would find such understanding or interest in Asia. Among the questions we delved into together were:

1.What are emerging churches? What are the characteristics and commonalities?

2. To what extent is it a western/urban phenomena with western values and does it look differently in Asia and in their culture?

3. What’s are the consequences and the reach of globalization and the secular, postmodern elements of such?

4. How do fresh expressions of “church” occur in their context? Will these expressions be within existing evangelical instititutions or something new?

5. What price may they have to pay as they cooperate with God to engage their own generation with the Gospel, living it out in forms of community that are authentic, creative and missional?

6. What is apostolic giftedness and calling? How does that affect each of them as they discover God’s kingdom purposes, particularly as it relates to finding their niche in some form of the church local as well as some form of the church missionary or apostolic?


These men and women have the ability to be and to influence the next generation of leadership for the Christian movement in their nation and beyond. May God give them the courage to live out their growing convictions. May they be in our day the missional pioneers not unlike some of their ancestors who were key, formative leaders of the Singaporean church in decades past.

Missionaries from Singapore?

Saturday, March 11th, 2006

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With churches which by most measures are some of the healtiest and most vibrant in Asia, a strategic geo-political location, and an economy/standard of living that is the envy of the world, what are the obstacles that prevent Singaporean Christians from serving as full-time cross-cultural workers in countless needy areas around the globe?

While I have not studied it in depth, I have seen enough for it to mystify and concern me. Several cursory reasons stand out from my interaction with Christians in this city-state that is an anomaly for Asia.

1. Attitudes toward higher education stunt the missionary sending compulsion. The drive inherent in Confucian-based cultures for educational achievement results in few feeling they are “qualified” for such ministry. This is puzzling in light of the corresponding corollary that too often, higher education increases ministry ineffectiveness.

2. Family ties and obligations are particularly strong. As in many Asian societies, the demands of Luke 12:26 are particularly challenging.

3. An uncomfortable percentage of Singaporean churches adopt an attitude of “going it alone” when it comes to missions. This basic misunderstanding of missional ecclesiology means that far too many Singaporeans who do follow God’s leading cross-culturally are sent by local churches that are structurally and missiologically incapable of overseeing, leading, or caring for them. It is an interesting case study, to use Ralph Winter’s phrase, of the “amateurization of the missionary task.”

4. Would that Singaporeans demonstrate the zeal, commitment and spirit of sacrifice evidenced by their Korean brethren. If it is happening, I haven’t seen it. Unfortunately, it may be that the materialism and pursuit of personal peace, prosperity and job security so prevalent in North American Christianity has likewise begun its neutering, numbing affect in Singapore as well. How sad.


Singapore has enormous potential. May it step up and take its rightful place as a major contributor to God’s Kingdom purposes around the world.

AIDS in Asia

Thursday, March 9th, 2006

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This little boy, Chantol has AIDS. His father died from the disease. His mother is infected. He lives in the house in a squatter community on the Mekong, in the interior of Cambodia.

He and his family are being helped through Sunrise, a ministry of InnerCHANGE, which is CRM’s order among the poor.

Sunrise personnel, both Cambodians and Americans who work and minister in this region, are living out Jesus’ concern for the marginalized, not just talking about it. And their work is on the ground, hands-on, and deep. It’s not the short-term, drive-in and drive-out stuff that is faddish and sells in the West but accomplishes little.

They are doing it in areas of the world where the needs seem overwhelming. It is privilege to rub shoulders with such men and women who in word and deed live out the redemptive presence of Christ among the most needy. May God bless and multiply their work.

Singapore

Saturday, March 4th, 2006

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This is the view out the window of one of the homes of a CRM staff family living and ministering in Singapore. I’m here for five days, speaking several times, meeting with varioius Singaporean leaders, and interacting with the CRM men and women who are making a significant Kingdom contribution here and in neighboring countries. Those traveling with me have had side trips to Indonesia and Malaysia.

We head to Cambodia on Monday. Singapore’s contribution to what God is doing in this region of the world, and beyond, could be enormous. I’ll post more regarding the nature of the Christian movement in this fascinating, complex Asia nation in the days to come.