Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Training, Team, CO, WY, NE

Colorado Springs hosted Bush Team Vanuatu for the week of September 17-21 for our training with Worldview Resource Group. BMW isn't able to offer us much training on reaching tribal peoples because they aren't in that type of field yet, but they are very supportive of us getting continuing education with good organizations. WRG is made up mostly of missionaries who served with New Tribes Mission in tribal areas, the majority in Papua New Guinea. This training was invaluable to us in learning effective ways to reach Melanesian tribal people (like Ni-Vanuatu) for Christ. We learned first about the stages of ministry presented in Tom Steffen's "Passing the Baton" book, which was required reading for BMW's pre-field training we attended in Georgia in July. The five stages (with some tweaking by WRG) are:
Pre-entry = Preparing for Ministry: (deputation, missiological training, comprehensive methodology, exit strategy) This is the stage we are in now.

Pre-evangelism = Establishing Relationships: (the right to be heard, culture and language acquisition, worldview analysis)

Evangelism = Presenting the Gospel: (strategic narrative, worldview approach, critical contexualization)

Post-evangelism = The Developing Church: (real world issues, curriculum development, leadership development)

Phase-out = The Multiplying Church: (socio-cultural issues, outreach strategies, ministry partnerships)

From here we learned about worldview and how knowing deeply the worldview of the culture is paramount to reaching them effectively with the Gospel. Without going to this depth prior to teaching the Bible, syncretism is the inevitable result (adding Christ in as just another spirit to worship rather than knowing the One true God), as many missionaries and organizations have seen in the long-term. Finally, we spent a few days learning about narrative and teaching in story form, especially for oral learners like in tribes (where history is passed down in story form orally to children). Firm Foundations curriculum from New Tribes Mission ( teaches from Creation to Christ to give the full story of the Bible. We learned how to develop curriculum like this (or use NTM's) in a way that takes worldview into account. The training provided by Worldview Resource Group ( was invaluable. Anyone considering tribal work should be required to take it. Anyone in any type of ministry cross-cultural or in the States would highly benefit from it. Good stuff!

We were able to meet as a team while in Colorado Springs so took advantage of early kid bedtimes and stayed up late nights working out team issues and fellowshipping. We left the conference super tired, but blessed and full of new information to chew on.

Aside from training, I also got to check in with 2 great friends while in Denver on our way to the Springs. Tiffani, a friend I co-led junior high girls Bible studies with in Boise for several years, moved to Denver 3 years ago or so. She let us stay in her beautiful home and we got to catch up again. We visited her church and got to meet a few of the college age girls she is now involved in ministering to. Tiffani is one of my few remaining single friends but if you know any fun, godly single guys out there, I'd be happy to change my blog. :)

Another friend I got to catch up with is Aimee. Aimee and I have crazy history together, having gone to France the same summer (1996) with Eurocorps, a short-term version of Greater Europe Mission. She was on an evangelism team in Paris while I was on a work team in the southern French Alps (at Camp des Cimes, or Camp of the Peaks). We had training and debriefing all together though. Just the next year, we met again at Montana Wilderness School of the Bible ( , where we attended '97-'98 along with 48 other students. Aimee has been involved for a long time now in discipling young adult women. I missed meeting her husband, Clay, but it was awesome to see Aimee again for the first time in person since our MWSB graduation May of '98!
On our way out of Colorado, we stayed with friends of Gretchen and Houghton's - Hennaway and Stacy. Stacy had just had her 2nd baby 8 days before and they still wanted us to stay in their apartment with them! Wow. They are an awesome family sacrificing a lot of material gain in order to reach the lost for Christ.

I was blessed to stay 2 nights with John & Andrea, and their 3 kids - Michael, Trevor, and Ella in LaGrange, Wyoming. Ella let me crash in her bed and take over her room. They are a really encouraging and fun family. From Colorado we drove to Nebraska for the weekend, but I'll tell that below. We presented Sunday evening at LaGrange Bible Church. That following Monday, we presented in chapel at Frontier School of the Bible (, where Gretchen and Houghton are alumni. FSB invited us back for their missions conference in November, when I was asked to speak to single girls about missions. I'm really excited about that opportunity and you can pray for me to have wisdom about what to share with the college girls. I got to meet a ton of mostly freshman girls during our day there that I hope to get to know better in November when we return, Lord-willing.

We spoke in Nebraska at Bridgeport Community Church Sunday AM and stayed with Pastor Dan and his wife Connie. Wow, is that church ever encouraging! Our experience there was true refreshment from the Lord. It is super humbling to have a fellowship of people who've never met us take such ownership as individuals and be so excited to team up with us to minister to Ni-Vanuatu! Thanks for being used by the Lord in a great way, BCC!
We spent a day in Scottsbluff after speaking at Frontier to catch up on laundry and computer stuff. We stayed most of the week with Brad and Elly and their little baby, Rachel, in Cambridge, NE. Brad & Elly are involved in an internship as they prepare to head to Africa in the future as missionaries. We presented the following Sunday in Callaway, NE at Callaway Community Church, another small, but very welcoming church. I got to meet Dean and Shawna and their two kids Kelsey and Brett. Dean pastors the church there and they very graciously hosted us in their home.
RANDOM:Gweny turned 1 while we were on the road to Colorado so we celebrated just before we left Montana. I didn't get very good pics of her at the party, but this one is cute of her on my friend Tiffani's bear. Here's a few more of me getting to hang out with the kids. There's nothing quite like McDonalds' play room to get kids tired out and ready for bed. :)
May you better understand God as your Creator, Redeemer, and sustainer this week.

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