Here are the classes we took at Field Prep, each of which were 1-2 hours:
A Passion for Missions, Avoiding Spiritual Burnout, BMW Update, Discipleship - Insights and Errors, Evangelism - the Heart of my Work, Family in Ministry, Life Long Learning, Church Planting Models, Church Planting Stepping Stones, Motivation for Church Planting, NEEDIA (a practical application of setting up vision and purpose and goals for an imaginary country), Theology of Hell - A Motivator for Missions, Training National Leaders, Your Exit Strategy, Brain Dominance Inventory, Elements of Cultural Resilience from Ruth, Guess who is Coming to Our House, Cultural Adaptability, Response to Culture, Strategies for Lifelong Language Learning, Language and Culture Evaluation, Building Spiritual Hedges (for men), Conflict Resolution, Maintaining and Growing Relationships with Supporters, Teamwork on the Field, An Introduction to Local Church Finances, Financial Matters on the Field, Emergency Management, Hospitality on the Field (for women), Conducting a Ministry Survey, Working from Home, Writing your Ministry Plan
Many of these classes were immediately applicable for our team meetings, which was an awesome blessing!
It was very beneficial to have all of our team present as we were able to work out our team structure and start hammering out purpose and vision statements, timelines, key performance areas, and job descriptions for the ministry in Vanuatu. We still have a long way to go in getting strategy and goals in written form, but the foundation was laid. As of now, the field of Vanuatu consists of two teams. One team is now just the Gibb family (with other potential team members they are recruiting from their church in Australia). They are planning to have their ministry be one of doing leadership training with existing native pastors in Vanuatu (or with those interested in becoming pastors) to plant churches that way. They would be primarily based out of the town of Luganville on the island of Santo. Here is the Gibb family (minus Matt, who will be attending boarding school in the US to finish out his high school career). Please pray for the Gibbs as they raise the last bit of their support that the Lord would give them wisdom and direction as they prepare to head over to Vanuatu this January, Lord willing. The other team is the bush team, consisting of Brad and Amber Jones, Houghton and Gretchen Richards, myself, and a new family who just joined BMW - the Kenners. Jim and Tania heard about the ministry in Vanuatu from the Richards and within the day were already praying about and pursuing the ministry themselves! Our team will seek to do evangelism, discipleship, and leadership training with an influential tribal people group in Vanuatu and empower the nationals to plant their own reproducing churches. I'll type up our vision and purpose, as well as some estimated timelines in a future post. Please pray for the Kenners as they spend the next year or so wrapping up work and ministry commitments and preparing for deputation. Also, pray for the rest of us who are in the middle of deputation that the Lord would lead us to those who He is preparing to team with us financially and prayerfully to reach Ni-Vanuatu people!
In our travels to and from Georgia, we were so blessed to be housed a huge chunk of the time at my aunt Betty and uncle Fred's home in Minneapolis. We stayed there almost a full week just before flying out to Georgia and for a few days immediately after Field Prep before heading back on our way to Montana. My grandma lives in Minneapolis as well so we enjoyed visiting and eating with her as well. She got together a group of women in her retirement complex that Gretchen and I were able to present our ministry to. They are already fervent prayer warriors for our team so it was awesome to meet them and share about the Ni-Vanuatu that they will be reaching through us!
We also stayed one night with our friends Ralph and Shari Solberg in North Dakota. They have been very encouraging in our ministry sharing (deputation) time. The Lord has given friends and family along the way already who have been so gracious and hospitable to provide us a home away from home and a chance to reconnect. Although we are tired and have been sick most of the traveling time, God's grace is sufficient and the prayers and encouragement of the saints (that's you) sustain us, thank you!
If you're wondering what is happening from here, this is the known (written with a smile and a prayer...) schedule for the next month below. We are working on newsletters this week to send out to all of you! Look for it in the mail hopefully in the next week or two.
August 5 Fallon, MT (about 45 minutes from home base in Miles City here)
August 12 Ronan, MT (around 9-10 hours away in western MT)
- Midweek sometime in Kalispell
August 19 Frenchtown, MT (an hour or 2 from Ronan)
August 26 Coalwood, MT (about an hour from Miles City)