The New Year has begun, and we are looking forward to many new opportunities to serve God and God’s people in the coming year. We wear many “hats” in our new role as missionaries serving Baptist partners in the Asia Pacific region. Below are a few that we wore recently, and will be putting on again in 2017.
God is on the move in SE Asia, and so were we in August and September. Your partnership has made it possible for usto serve alongside Christian sisters and brothers in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand in recent months. These ministries some times make our hearts ache, but they fill us with hope at the same time.
You may have wondered why it's been a while since you received a ministry update from us. One of our communication challenges right now (aside from time) is that we often serve in sensitive areas. As a result, we can’t be too timely or specific about where and what we’re doing. This is not only for our own security, but also for that of partners with whom we’re working.
Highlights for Praise and Prayer
- Pastors who were part of an Integral Evangelism course we taught in Vietnam shared on the last day: “I thank God for attending this class. I had too small a vision for my church.” “I always assumed it should be the pastor who does all the visiting and outreach. You have shared a simple but deep idea: I should disciple my members to do ministry as well. Thank you!” While in Vietnam, we also participated in the Baptist Convention of Vietnam’s General Assembly. We were impressed to see how the Convention is growing and maturing, and to hear government officials in attendance encourage its churches and members to make a difference in Vietnamese society.
- The Union of Indonesian Baptist Churches, a new ministry partner of International Ministries, invited us to participate in its 45th anniversary in Surak arta – together with about 5,000+ others in attendance! The centerpiece of the grand evening was the history of the Baptist work in Indonesia recounted using traditional music, song, and dance - a remarkable example of contextualization.
- In Thailand we attended a regional gathering of IM missionaries and had a chance to meet our new Executive Director, Sharon Koh. Bruce also did field research on two social enterprises for his doctoral program before returning home to New Zealand. In the meantime, Ann taught over 60 students in the 4th year Bachelor of Theology program at the Kawthoolei Karén (Kayin) Baptist Bible School at the Mae La refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar border, and ministered in two remote villages. The stories of the suffering and loss experienced by these refugees from Myanmar were heart wrenching. As one young man declared, “I just want to go home…” Please join us in praying for wisdom and strength as we prepare for these upcoming projects (and others):
- Accessible Theological Education - Ann is serving on a team with Baptist convention partners in Vietnam and Cambodia to develop accessible, affordable strategies to train pastors, most of whom live in rural areas.
- Doctoral studies confirmation seminar - Bruce is scheduled to officially present his doctoral research proposal on faith-based social entrepreneurship in November. If his work is approved, he will be officially recognized as a doctoral candidate at Massey University.
- Kayin refugee repatriation - we are working with Kayin Christian leaders in Thailand to develop programs that will help prepare refugees to return to their homeland in Myanmar through spiritual formation, livelihood skills training, and pastoral counseling. The US Dept. of State estimates that around 150,000 refugees from Myanmar live in the nine official camps on the Thai-Myanmar border, with more than 2 million undocumented refugees living in other areas of Thailand. A whole generation has now grown up inside the fences of the refugee camps, which were established over 25 years ago. A new government and greater stability in Myanmar are creating new hope for – and uncertainty about – repatriation. International Ministries is in a unique position to contribute to these efforts because of its long history and many partnerships in both countries, and we're honored to be part of the initiative.
Thanks for being on the journey with us!
Kita memuji Tuhan untuk anda (we praise God for you, in Bahasa Indonesia)
I am a “get it done gal,” a roll-up-my-sleeves-and-get-to-work kind of person. Nothing wrong with that, right? The problem is that sometimes I’m tempted to make my plans and then ask God to bless them. Prayer is meant to be a two-way conversation with God, but that kind of one-way prayer isn’t prayer – it’s basically just asking for God’s rubber stamp of approval. When we talk to God in prayer about our well-laid plans, our goal in the conversation is to discern which way the wind of the Spirit is blowing and then run in that direction … even if it isn’t the direction we had in mind! This is one of the reflections I shared last month with those gathered at the Prairie Pastors’ Conference in Nebraska. Pastors and leaders from the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska came to reflect on the theme “It’s a New Day in the Neighborhood,” and I was invited to be the keynote speaker. My focus was on how to mobilise God’s people for God’s mission in the world, in other words how to transition a church from being inward looking to outward serving. Since that transition begins with the pastor, in one of my sessions I presented the marks of a transformational leader. Guess where the mark of prayer was – yep, at the top of the list!
Both before and after the conference, my schedule was chock full of preaching, teaching, and leading trainings. I spoke to groups 19 times in 17 days. It was a busy but rewarding time of encouraging folks to participate in God’s mission “here, there, and over there.”
I was inspired by some of the creative ways church families in Nebraska are ministering hope to people in their communities. One highlight was the Diaper Depot. Young moms and dads struggling to make ends meet are invited to the church once a month pick up a bag of diapers for their baby. They can also get help with job interview skills, pick out an interview outfit at the church clothes closet, and have someone pray for them if they would like. Another highlight was learning about the Chivalry Banquet for sons and their moms: the boys learn basic courtesy and how to behave in a formal setting – and they get try their hand at jousting and swordplay, all in one evening!
Now that I’m back at home in New Zealand, Bruce and I are preparing for upcoming trips to two countries in Southeast Asia. Pray with us that God would direct us as we teach a course in Social Entrepreneurship, and use us to encourage local pastors who serve in very challenging situations.
Bởi ân sủng của Thiên Chúa (“By God’s grace” in Vietnamese),
Praise and Prayers
We praise God for you! We asked you to pray for Ann's speaking and travels in Nebraska, and God answered.
Praise God with us that son Asa has found some excellent internships that will use his skills in video editing, production, and screen writing this summer.
Praise God with us that Bruce is making “extraordinary progress” according to his doctoral studies supervisor.
Pray that we would be sensitive to the wind of the Spirit and run in that direction.
for wisdom for us as we develop ministry opportunities with Baptist leaders in SE Asia.
One piece of wisdom we have gained during our 28 years of missionary service is that nothing is worth more, nothing is more important, than to have companions on the journey like you, companions who give us strength and hope to carry on faithfully. We have been reflecting a lot on this during our time here in the U.S. Do you see us as “companions on the journey” with you and your church? What is a cross-cultural missionary’s role not only in their country of service but here in the US?
It breaks our hearts to see so many churches that have shrunk down to shells of their former selves, with dwindling congregations of increasingly older members often out of touch with the people in their own neighborhood.
Your church exists for the people who are not yet part of its fellowship: the unchurched and the de-churched, those people around you who think Jesus and your church are irrelevant to their lives. Today, all authentic ministry in Jesus’ name is and must be cross-cultural. The missionaries you partner with have learned to cross cultural boundaries to contextualize the good news of Jesus in order to reach the unreached in their own language and culture. Those “over there” missionaries have something to contribute “over here,” too! We need to work together to become healthy and faithful disciples of Jesus here, there and everywhere.
We praise God that you are on the journey with us as we begin our service as regional missionaries in SE Asia! Thank you for your prayer and financial support. This is the season of the World Mission Offering - your gifts toward our support and the support of all IM missionaries allows us to continue to serve as your hands and feet and mouth “over there.”
We have the great pleasure of visiting partner churches in 10 states during our 4-month US Assignment. OK, sometimes we yearn for the day when we can put our suitcases in the closet (!), but still we are encouraged to see how God’s people are on the move. Some congregations we visit are struggling to survive; others are striving to make a difference in their community and around the world. Here’s just a sample of what we’ve seen.
Please pray that we would be a channel of God’s encouragement and empowerment as we lead workshops and visit churches in the US over the next three months.
We’re grateful you’re with us on this journey. Plane tickets are already purchased for our departure on Dec. 10th - and the beginning of our service as regional missionaries in SE Asia!
[gallery type="slideshow" ids="11536,11535"]
Our hearts are full of both “saudade” and great expectation. Saudade is a beautiful Portuguese word that has no direct translation in English. The closest definition is “a longing for someone or something that one loves.” The last month has been chock-full of 18 despedidas (farewell parties), with from 2 to as many as 450 of our Brazilian family and friends. Each and every one was an opportunity to say excellent goodbyes full of laughter, prayers, stories and tears.
[gallery type="slideshow" ids="11423,11424"]
Now we are looking forward to saying “Hello” to our family and friends in the US, and after that expanding our circle of family and friends in our new assignment in SE Asia. We can testify to the truth of Jesus’ promise that those who leave their house and family “for the sake of the gospel” will receive a hundredfold of new brothers and sisters. (Mark 10:29-30)
In this last ministry update as we leave Brazil after 11 years of service, we wanted to pull back the curtain a bit to show you what is involved when we and other missionaries pull up stakes and move to a new country of service.
A Peek Behind the Scenes
Our preparation for this move began 7 months ago when we talked to our partner Baptist convention’s leadership about our new call to regional ministry in Southeast Asia. The real push came in July when we launched into the following transition activities. We:
- Led a strategic planning initiative with our partner’s national theological seminary (STEB);
- Organized all the files, training materials, and resources for SEDELIM and REDEMI, the national departments for servant leadership development and missional church renewal that we brought to life over the past 3 years;
- Conducted 5 days of intensive orientation for the new coordinators who will continue these ministries;
- Completed about 16 (!) medical exams and lab tests required by IM of all missionaries beginning their U.S./PR Home Assignment. After all the needles, x-rays and specimen bottles, the doctor gave us the "good to go" clearance. Praise God for the gift of healthy bodies!
- Sorted all our “stuff” into piles to give, sell, dump, and take: we sold our furniture and car, and donated our theological library to the national Baptist seminary (tears). We cleaned, painted and got our apartment in better shape than it was in when we moved in 3 years ago. We obtained “no balance due” certificates on our utility accounts. And in the end the apartment passed inspection with flying colors (woohoo!)
- Set up visits with our supporters in 11 states between the months of August and December, bought plane tickets, arranged for lodging and transportation, and prepared our messages, presentations and workshops.
- Please pray for stamina and grace over the next four months of intensive travel as we share the good news of what God is doing through us in Brazil and SE Asia.
We praise God for your partnership in all the ways God used us during 11 fruitful years in Brazil! For the next 4 months we will be living with Bruce’s father in Bremerton, WA. Then it will be on to ministry in SE Asia!
For more info - photos, videos, map, please see our web page.
What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus in a country that is 87% Muslim? What does faithfulness in this situation look like for Baptist churches and a Baptist convention? Our recent experience in Indonesia gave us new insights into – and great respect for – the lives and ministries of our sisters and brothers in that country. We were invited by the Union of Indonesian Baptist Churches and Satya Wacana Christian University (UKSW) to be part of two special events. Together with representatives from International Ministries’ home office, we participated in the quinquennial congress of the Union in Surabaya, central Java. The Union is a new ministry partner for IM, and the presence of our group inaugurated the new relationship. It was a rich week of worship, fellowship, meetings and visits to Union churches and ministries - and delicious Indonesian food, of course!
At Satya Wacana in the city of Salatiga, we taught an intensive short course in Social Entrepreneurship for leaders of churches and non-profit organizations. Our ministry there inaugurated yet another series of partnerships. The course was offered as part of new relationship between UKSW and Payap University of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Disciples of Jesus in Indonesia live and witness in a unique situation – one that we all can learn from. The national motto is “Unity in Diversity,”and for good reason. The country is huge, not only in terms of distance and geography (17,000+ islands), economy, population (4th largest) and history, but incredibly diverse culturally and linguistically. While the Sunni branch of Islam is the majority religion, freedom of religion is guaranteed in the constitution and about 10% of Indonesians are Christians.
Since traditional methods of evangelism (public events, tracts) are neither allowed nor effective, Indonesian Baptists share the good news of God’s love in Jesus through ministries of education, health care, community development and disaster relief. Actions that show love open the door to share words of love. In Brazil we call this “missão integral” (integral mission), and in the US it’s called being a “missional” church.
If “Unity in Diversity” is a challenge where you live, too, then Indonesian Christians may have a suggestion. Words are indeed important, but it is our actions that allow them to be heard. As Jesus said: “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Mat. 5:16)
What do the following people have in common? Two lawyers, an interior designer, a musician, a nurse, a manager, two seminary professors, a couple of information technology consultants, a physiotherapist, and a speech therapist? All of them are cross-cultural mission workers serving with the National Baptist Convention of Brazil! (See photo taken at the closing ceremonies of the missionary training program at JAMI). Is there such a thing as a “typical missionary” in today’s world? [gallery type="slideshow" ids="10546,10545,10544"]
What a pleasure it was to be part of the instructional team that prepared these young women and men who will serve on four continents. We were moved by the pledge they recited at the closing worship service. Here is an excerpt,
God said, “I need someone willing to say no to the status quo, … to leave their families to fly to distant lands, learn a language they've never heard, to travel on crowded buses, … someone who will sleep anywhere, eat anything, tolerate the heat and fight against the cold, with a smile on their face ... just to bring the Gospel to a people that is not theirs … . I need someone who is a radical servant of all.” So God created the missionary.
Wishing you a blessed Christmas full of Jesus’ hope, love, peace, and joy.
When you think of global mission, in which direction do you picture cross cultural mission workers flowing? For the last 200 years, it has been primarily from the North (Europe and the US) to the South (Africa, Asia, and Latin America). However, these dynamics have changed dramatically in the last 20 years! The “receiving countries” have also become the “sending countries” and visa versa. Do I hear a hallelujah? I (Ann) recently led a team of three Brazilian young adult ministry leaders to New Jersey on a whirlwind 10 day mission trip to the U.S. At the invitation of Dr. Lee Spitzer of ABCNJ, Pr. Leandro, Pr. Nei, Ev. Paulo, and I spoke at 14 church services, led a workshop on young adult ministry, met with a group of Haitian-American pastors, experienced the magic of New York City, and learned about US history in Philadelphia. Paulo wrote,
Our visits to museums and cities has enriched our knowledge about your country, I learned to love [the USA] even more.
Team members gained a new appreciation for the diversity of the Body of Christ when they participated in ABCNJ’s Annual Session (AS) and heard nearly 50 presentations on a wide variety of ministries in the state. Leandro reflected,
Attending the AS was very important for us because we met new brothers and sisters in Christ and we saw the work performed by the ABC; your love for the work of God touched us.
Paulo went on to say,
Just as we received [learned] so much from you, I am certain that we also left a bit of ourselves (and our experience) with you. May this [exchange] bear much fruit in the work God has placed in your hands and the hands of your [ABCNJ] team.
Two-way mission? Absolutely! It’s the norm these days in the worldwide Body of Christ!
P.S. Thank you to those who faithfully support us in this ministry. Please give generously to the World Mission Offering - you can even direct your gift toward “the support of Bruce and Ann Borquist.” That would help us to reach the fund raising goal set by International Ministries.
While we were washing each others’ feet, God made it clear to me that this event marks the beginning of a new day for us. Thank you for challenging us to be servant leaders
Pastora Marizeth spoke the above quote at the end of the 3-day retreat held in northern Brazil. She had invited us to lead a training for two state conventions in her region: Pará and Amapá. We offer this as Coordinators of the National Convention’s leadership and ministry development program called SEDELIM (Secretaria de Desenvolvimento de Liderança e Ministérios). It was a grand gathering of over 70 leaders of the state convention, the pastors’ council, the Baptist women, the Baptist men, JUBAN (youth and young adults) and several churches.
Participants reflected on a number of essential leadership topics including:
- The profile of a Christian servant-leader: the biblical model for Christian leadership, the attitudes of a Christian leader, and the spiritual life of the leader;
- The roles of Christian leadership: envisioning, planning, implementing, caring for people, and evaluating results;
- Two essential leadership tools: delegating and conducting a meeting
The highlight of the retreat for many was the closing worship service that included a foot washing ceremony inspired by the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet in John 13. These leaders experienced the meaning of Jesus' words about servant leadership: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. … Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
You are also called to be a leader in many different situations. Among all the examples and models of leadership promoted today, whose do you follow? What kind of leader are you? May we all be more faithful imitators of Jesus in the way we interact with others - as both leaders and followers.
How do you make sense of life? What lessons have you learned? How is God shaping you into the person you are meant to be? Who has God placed in your circle and where are you heading? These are some of the questions that our students wrestled with in the module on Spiritual Journeys that we taught at the cross cultural missionary training center. What a privilege to be on the journey together with them. Thanks once again to Pr. Lee* for generously providing the Endless Possibilities workbooks to these young missionaries in training.
*In Brazil, referring to someone as "Pastor" is a term of both respect and endearment. The understanding is that someone may have "Rev." or "Dr." attached to their name (also highly respected) but the "Pastor" is someone who is with the people, on the front lines.
You have prayed. You have encouraged us. You have supported us… You want to know… The Bonilla-Giovanettis are going to NICARAGUA, land of lakes, volcanoes, poets, and contrasts… There are too many details on how we could “HEAR the CALL” to this new field of service for us, but suffice to say that it was a decision well prayed for, as a family (including our children), with our Area Director, and with the support of our MPT. While continuing to pray and coveting your prayers for our siblings in Spain in their time of need in a country that closed its doors to us (and other protestant religious workers), we are grateful the Lord opened a door for us in Nicaragua where we will continue to serve Him as we have in Chile, in Pennsylvania, in Puerto Rico, in Spain, in Indiana, and everywhere we are and go. We have been invited to work with the Baptist Theological Seminary in Nicaragua, accompanying them in the program of informal theological education in the churches of the Baptist Convention of Nicaragua and as writers of curriculum material for the Seminary. We continue as long-term missionaries to Nicaragua serving through our mission society following our service in Chile (2000-2010) and Spain (2010-2012).
We just want to say how grateful we are to the Lord; to our children; to our MPTers in Indiana/SC, New Jersey/TN, and Puerto Rico; to each person that has accompanied and encouraged and supported us in this time of transition. Special thanks to the ABWM of Indiana for allowing us to tag along their 2012 State Project Chairperson, Cori Catellier (our Daniela’s gauntie!) as she has championed across the state sharing the needs, challenges, and opportunities at The Good Way-Women’s Shelter in Lorca, Spain, a project that we will see to completion regardless of our inability to return at this time for continued ministry to Spain.
So, now you know. Spread our word of joy and gratitude. We’ll be in Indiana wrapping up our visits until October 31st and on November 1st we begin visiting our network siblings in OH, NY, CT, RI, PA, and NJ. We’ll be in Puerto Rico in December, visiting churches and family, and from there we’ll fly to Managua by mid-January 2013 to begin writing our next chapters of adventures, blessings, and challenges from YOUR new place of service with us. Your prayers, encouragement, and support make it possible. Thank you! You can continue to email us at the same e-address and send snail mail to us in c/o International Ministries / PO Box 851 / Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851 until we can provide you with our new address in Nicaragua.
Charles Spurgeon once said: “Millions have never heard of Jesus. We ought not to ask, ‘Can I prove that I ought to go?’ but, ‘Can I prove that I ought not to go?’ ” How can we prove that we ought not to go? We cannot. To spread the Good News and empower many in Nicaragua to do likewise, we ought to go… Your World Mission Offering provides resources for those of us who go (like the Parajón and the Pierre) and for our serving with their Seminary and ministries, and with their 240 Baptist churches in 9 regions. Looking forward to introducing our/your new siblings in Christ!
Pressing toward the goal from our new place of service,
the BGsEnRoute to Nicaragua (BoniGiova89@gmail.com)
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. Isaiah 44:3If your mental image of Brazil is the vast Amazon rain forest, or the huge megalopolis of Rio de Janeiro, think again. We just returned from a trip to the semi-arid northeastern part of the country, called the sertão (sehr-táhw). We visited several towns near Montalvânia in Minas Gerais state and Carinhanha in Bahia state. It is a place of struggle, poverty, and survival - a place where God’s words through the prophet Isaiah take on a special meaning.
New Hope in Batateiras
A highlight of our trip was returning to Batateiras. In 2009 we led a short-term mission team to this remote rural community. It was a tremendous experience that blessed the families there, our home church Igreja Batista Reviver in Belo Horizonte, and our partner church Igreja Batista Paz e Vida in Montalvânia (read more at http://www.internationalministries.org/read/14008-the-forgotten-ones).
After a bumpy hour-long drive along back-country dirt roads, we arrived in front of Senhor Antônio and Dona Rosa’s house. They greeted us with warm hugs, exclaiming: “Pastor Marcelo, Sérgio, Filô, Ana, Bruce - you came back! Where’s Asa? Where’s Aline?” To our delight, we discovered that we were still fondly remembered, and even more important, our team had indeed been used by God to spark new hope and action.
We witnessed the final organizational meeting of a new community association, and encouraged
them in their first development project: a cooperative cassava meal processing business. Our team reminded them that they are no longer “the forgotten ones”, and that all these things are evidence of God’s love and plan for their families and the community. After a closing prayer and lots of farewell hugs, we returned to Montalvânia full of gratitude for the wellspring of hope we saw starting to flow in Batateiras.
Thanks for your gift to the World Mission Offering
Thank you for your generous gifts to the World Mission Offering that make this ministry possible!
After teaching in Thailand and Myanmar, we traveled to Vietnam where we had been invited to teach a week-long seminary-level course on “World Religions” to pastors and evangelists of the Baptist Convention of Vietnam (BCV).
Much is changing in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam these days, and it is happening quickly to everything all at the same time. Economic liberalization has brought in huge amounts of foreign investment, and particularly in Ho Chi Minh City the results of rapid economic growth can be seen everywhere in huge apartment buildings under construction, crowded streets (more motorcycles than you can imagine), and booming businesses. The beginning steps toward social and political liberalization have meant that religious groups can now come out from “underground” and be officially recognized. For pastors and leaders of the small house churches of the BCV this means they are now able (in fact, required!) to receive theological education.
Teaching “World Religions” in modern day Vietnam turned out to be a greater challenge than we imagined: we needed to present information relevant to the historical and current religious environment of Vietnam. While officially atheist by government policy, most Vietnamese follow a mixture of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and ancestor worship. In addition to small Muslim and Hindu communities, Vietnam is home to two large, indigenous
religions: Hòa Hảo and Cao Đài. Christians are a distinct minority, and until very recently were not allowed to meet in groups larger than 25-30.
Our second challenge was that of contextualization: equipping our students to present the good news of Jesus in a way that makes sense in Vietnam. These pastors and students recognize that for the most part they present a foreign (western) Jesus using a foreign (typically US) approach. This was the daily topic that changed our study of World Religions from simply an academic exercise into a practical laboratory for change and action. During the evaluation session at the end of the course one young pastor told the group, “Now I know that my Master’s thesis needs to focus on how to contextualize Jesus for the Vietnamese people.”
Thank you for being with us in Vietnam through your prayers and financial support.
We couldn’t have made the contribution we did without your contribution to our ministry!
Our ministry trip through SE Asia in March included teaching in Myanmar (formerly called Burma), a country very important in the history of the Baptists in the US. It was exciting to see sparks of hope and change in this former military dictatorship.
We were invited by the Myanmar Baptist Convention to lead a week-long intensive training of trainers in “Mobilizing the Whole Church for Holistic Mission.” Mission & evangelism coordinators from the 17 ethnic conventions that make up the MBC came to Yangon, some traveling 3 days to get there.
We led the pastors through topics such as: the identity and mission of the church; the whole gospel of the Kingdom; what is poverty and poverty alleviation; the role of the mission mobilizer; how to analyze the community and its needs; ministries of health, economic development, and appropriate technology; how to mobilize the whole church for mission, and how to plan a holistic evangelism program. It was a full week! At the evaluation session, our host Rev. Siing told the group, “I see now that we need to completely rethink what is mission, what is evangelism and what is the role of the church.”
We did lots of simulations and dramatizations that will help these leaders teach the material to churches back in their home regions. A highlight of the week was a trip to Proximity Design: a social enterprise that manufactures pedal powered pumps and water storage solutions for Burmese farmers.
At the end of the week groups presented their plans for holistic mission projects based on what they learned. These leaders left for their long journey home energized and excited about echoing the training in their regions. At the closing celebration, they affirmed it had helped them rediscover Jesus’ model of holistic ministry: that proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom and demonstrating its present reality are two wings of the same bird. Thanks for being with us on the journey. Your partnership in the gospel is having an impact literally around the world!
Myanmar and Vietnam teaching three different intensive courses. Praise God that each one received enthusiastic reviews and we received invitations to return soon.
Our first course, “Social Entrepreneurship for Church and NGO Leaders” was at Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand. In a nutshell, a social enterprise is a business that has an explicit social as well as a financial goal. Examples include a handicraft cooperative, a restaurant that gives street kids on the job training, or a pedal power technology company. We talked about how God can use a revenue generating enterprise that is created to address a social problem to make our communities better places to live for everyone.
Our students came from Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan, China, Denmark and the US.
About half of them were students enrolled in Payap’s International MBA program, and half were church and NGO leaders. During the 30+ class hours we covered the basic concept of social enterprises, how to identify an opportunity, how to build an effective founders’ team, how to mobilize resources for the enterprise, how to do a one page business plan, and how to measure success.
The highlight of the week was a morning spent at a social enterprise called Lanna Coffee. Lanna was founded by ABC missionary Mike Mann as an outgrowth of the rural development projects of the Integrated Tribal Development Programme. Lanna is a coffee growers’ cooperative of rural hill tribe farmers who formerly grew opium. Lanna produces such high quality coffee that Starbucks Thailand is one of their customers. The visit to Lanna made all the principles we talked about in the classroom suddenly “real.”
At the end of the course four student groups presented their business plans for possible social enterprises. We are looking forward to seeing the fruit of their hard work in the form of a new social enterprise or two in the next couple of years!
Ann & Bruce Serving in Brazil - on temporary Home Assignment in the U.S. Email: email@example.com Our web page
News flash: we are praising God for your prayers and your sacrificial giving that have enabled us to reach the financial support goal set by International Ministries (IM). IM has just given us the go-ahead to return to Brazil in May!
Almost daily we receive messages from friends and colleagues in Brazil saying, “Glória a Deus que vocês voltarão ao Brasil em maio - que saudade!” (“Praise God that you will return to Brazil in May - we miss you!”). But a lot still has to happen between now and May!
An Extraordinary opportunity to minister in Southeast Asia in March
We are excited about invitations from partners in Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam to lead week-long trainings for them in March: • At Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand, we’ll teach an intensive course called “Social Entrepreneurship for Church and NGO Leaders.” • For the Myanmar Baptist Convention in Yangon, Myanmar we’ll teach a seminar on “Mobilizing the Whole Church for the Whole Mission of God”
• In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam we’ll teach an intensive course on “World Religions” for pastors of the Vietnam Baptist Convention.
Do you have some good materials or a good syllabus on any of these topics (social entrepreneurship, mission mobilization or world religions)? We’d love to hear from you!
Back to Brazil in May? - Yes, with your help
We are preparing to return to Brazil in May - and that’s only a couple of months away! We have already been invited back by our partners in Brazil and have now received medical clearance to return. So at this point, only one piece of the puzzle is missing. We have yet to reach the financial support-raising goal set by International Ministries, and the rule is ‘no goal, no go.’
February and March are therefore key months for churches and individuals who want to be part of the team that keeps us serving in Brazil.
Thank you for all you do to support God’s work here, there and everywhere!