International Ministries

The New Face of Mission

June 21, 2009 Journal
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In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.  Acts 2:17

Dear friends, 

What do you think of when you hear the words “mission” or “missionary?” Take a moment right now and picture in your mind the “typical missionary.” Years ago, the pastor told our young adult Sunday School class that a missionary would be coming to speak to us the next week.  We all imagined an older, grey haired woman with a fair complexion from somewhere in the Midwest with her hair pulled back into a bun and a severe expression on her face.  That was never an accurate picture, but it is even less so in today’s world of mission! 

JAMI, the cross-cultural mission training center where we serve, recently hosted a national mission consultation.  Participants came from central and southern Brazil to learn about how to reach those who have never experienced the transforming power of the gospel, the impact of holistic mission on communities in Africa and Asia, the pressing need for Bible translation in over 2,200 languages, and the unique pastoral care needs of missionaries.  It was a rich time to learn, worship and pray together, and to reflect on how God wants to use each of us to bring hope and healing to others.  

As we looked around the hall, we were struck by the youthfulness and vitality of the faces of our Brazilian brothers and sisters.  Each of them are committed to educating and encouraging their local church to show the love of Jesus in practical ways in their community as well as to people in other parts of the world. 

Praise God with us for this new, fresh face of mission.  Pray especially for the four young people attending the consultation who sensed God’s call to serve as missionaries. They will now begin the long process of preparing for cross-cultural ministry, including seminary and, we hope, 7 months with us here at JAMI. 

In addition to the recent mission consultation, we have been involved in number of exciting things these last several months. And there is even more to look forward to! Soon after our intensive English for Mission course for new missionaries finished in April (the subject of our last prayer letter), we helped out with a national conference at JAMI that brought professionals together to talk about holistic care for missionaries. Sometimes called “member care,” this field is relatively new for Brazilian mission agencies and care professionals, and participants said it was a great success.  

In early May we taught a weeklong module called Vida Missionária (“The Missionary Life”).  We squeeze a lot into the 35 contact hours, all focused on building and maintaining the healthy relationships every successful missionary must have with God, national colleagues, other missionaries, and churches and families back home. 

We then celebrated our daughter Elena’s graduation in Salem, Oregon with a quick two-week trip to the US. Thank God for frequent flyer miles! Not only did we get to be with Elena as she received her MBA, but we reconnected with family, friends, and several supporting churches in the Northwest. Asa and Bruce then returned to Brazil, but Ann stayed on for 10 more days of speaking engagements in PA and NJ.

Ann came back to Brazil in early June accompanied by our friend Lee Spitzer, who is doing research into missionary friendship circles. Lee is dedicating his four-month sabbatical from his ministry as Executive Minister of ABC of NJ to visit ABC missionaries, and it was great to have him with us for nine days.

We are so glad that you are walking with us in this new thing that God is doing in the world.  Your prayer and financial support make it possible for us to train, send and provide pastoral care to a whole new generation of missionaries – pastors, nurses, teachers, football coaches, Bible translators, community workers, and musicians – who are passionate about sharing the good news of Jesus in both word and deed.  

Que Deus te fortaleça e encoraje (May God strengthen and encourage you), 

Ann, Bruce, and Asa

Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

Tax-deductable financial gifts to International Ministries-ABCUSA toward our support: 

And best of all, any gifts from $200 to $2,000 that IM receives from new supporters before June 30 will be matched 1:1 by IM’s Luther Rice Society Matching Gifts Fund!