Monday, November 30, 2015

Week of Prayer Day 2

In the mountains and valleys of a Muslim Central Asian country, Christian aid worker Gary Warrior* and a team of Christian aid workers and national believers help meet people’s physical and spiritual needs.
In a desire to do their part to fulfill the Great Commission, the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists and the Mountain State Association sent Warrior, 51, and his family to exalt Christ through meeting human needs.
In 2009, Warrior’s team began digging wells to provide clean drinking water for Central Asian villages. It is satisfying to “have the opportunity to make the connection between clean drinking water and the Water of Life,” Warrior says.
In this area, it often takes a long time for someone to come to know Jesus, and those who do face persecution from their family and community. But slowly, Warrior is seeing Muslim people come to Christ and become excited to share the gospel.
He is grateful for the faithful givers to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering who have “stuck with him” for his 17 years overseas. Warrior and his team have planted five house churches that still meet today.
“God has done that because we’ve been faithful, and the people in the pews back in America have been faithful to keep giving and to keep sending … and the result is there’s a church here and there wasn’t when I came,” Warrior says.
*Name changed


» Pray for more opportunities to share the gospel and for the country’s key leaders to accept its truth.
» Pray for protection for the Warrior’s team and for the Warrior’s family members separated by distance — their four children live in four different countries.

 Click here for pictures and other links

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Week of Prayer

November 29th-December 6th is the week of prayer for international missions.
You can see this link for pictures and other links or just read the story below.

Day 1:

When Jim and Teresa Flora think about their life and ministry in the mountains of Lesotho, two needs come to mind: the support of their children and support from Southern Baptists.
They rely on the prayers and encouragement of their three grown sons and their families in the United States, but daughters Gracie, Anna and Rebekah are a part of each day’s work in Africa. Whether they are preparing meals for volunteer teams, playing with children or telling Bible stories, the girls consider themselves fully committed to the task of sharing the gospel with unreached Basotho people. They know every believer has a part in God’s mission.
The Floras’ work is an extension of Southern Baptists’ dedication to reach the nations. They are grateful for long-term partnering churches such as First Baptist Church, Perryton, Texas; First Baptist Church, Clarendon, Texas; and River Oak Church, Chesapeake, Virginia. They thank God for faithful giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the continued prayers of hundreds of churches.
“It’s going to take a joint effort, all Southern Baptists joining together to make sure the gospel is accessible to all the people in these mountains,” Jim says.
He explains that more than mountains trap the Basotho. They are captives of extreme poverty, epidemic HIV and AIDS rates, and a long tradition of ancestor worship.


» Pray for more churches to commit to joining the Floras by sending teams of workers.
» Pray the Flora family will be protected and God’s glory will be revealed in Lesotho.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. — Psalm 100:4-5

 Betty and Dwayne who are retiring

 I am going to miss her!

All the missionaries in Zambia come in to Lusaka for Thanksgiving.  It is a time we look forward to all year long!  Of course we miss our family in the US but it is such a blessing to have mission family that we can get together with each year!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

VRI answers

Recently, I told you about the Voluntary Retirement Incentive and the reasons for the necessary cuts in personnel. We have been dealing with all of the fallout from that here in the Zambezi cluster, and trying to pick up the pieces in so many places. In some countries we will no longer have personnel and in others we will only have a handful. In two of our countries, though, we still have many passionate and vibrant missionaries who are ready to do whatever it takes yet still left wondering what the future will hold. For them they are mourning the loss of their mentors, but they are also wondering what God might be up to in all of this.
I have been wondering the same thing. As their leader I have been praying and thinking about where we should go from here, and like all grieving processes I am reaching a stage where I can see the positives (and not just the negatives), and I am beginning to consider what it will look like once the dust settles. For us, I believe this is a time to get back to basics. We have gotten spread pretty thin of late, and we were trying to do too much with too few personnel. I am coming to the realization that we can’t do it all, and so the question is “What can we do and what is the Lord directing us to do?” For me, 2016 will be a time of refocusing, retooling and retraining our personnel to get us back on a laser focus. In short, this traumatic occurrence has caused me to take a fresh look at our work and that is always a very good thing.
What do these changes mean for you, our prayer partners and advocates? First, I think it means that you are about to get 600-800 retired missionaries who are coming your way, and they will be coming with a passion and love for the nations. I would encourage you to minister to them and to let them minister to you. It is my prayer that the sending of our best and most experienced back to the U.S. will have the effect of revitalizing the church in America. The church needs to remember why it exists and how it should be about winning, discipling and empowering the lost. Second, it means we need our denomination back home, the SBC, to take this as a wakeup call and get back to basics and supporting the IMB. So many churches have expressed disbelief at our financial woes and have said they never knew. That has been surprising to us (as an organization) because we have been shouting this for years now. It is my prayer that SBC churches will renew their commitment to giving to the cooperative program and to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. Please don’t think “Okay, they sent home 800 missionaries so now they are financially okay and we don’t need to step up our commitment.” To the contrary… WE SENT HOME 800 MISSIONARIES… we need you to step up your commitment so we don’t have to send more home, and so that we can someday replace what we have lost. This was a step backwards and we need to realize that, renew, recommit and move forward again.
With that said, let me remind you that this is the Christmas Season, and this is the time for giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering through your church or directly to the IMB. My prayer is that the traumatic events of the last two months will shake Southern Baptists to the core and that we will see a revival in giving and praying for International Missions. Unfortunately, we have replaced WMU with Baptist Women, we have replaced RAs and GAs with AWANAS; in short we used to be a denomination defined by working together to reach the world… now we are often defined by developing programs to meet our own needs and maybe attract more new members. As I review who we are, why we exist and what our task is here in the Zambezi cluster, my prayer is that you and your church will do the same as you consider who you are, why you exist and what your task is in the world. Thank you for partnering with us, and remember you do that when you give to Lottie Moon, when you pray for us and when you come and join us in the harvest fields.
We love you all,

Thursday, November 12, 2015


That is the acronym that has dominated most of our thinking the past couple of months. VRI stands for Voluntary Retirement Incentive. It is the International Mission Board’s (IMB) solution to the growing gap we have had between our budget needs and the amount of money that has been coming in from Southern Baptists through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (our two sources of income).
In short, it translates to about 600 to 800 missionaries being asked to retire early in order to allow us to be able to live within our budget. Over the last few years we as an organization have had about a $20 million shortfall each year in meeting our budget, and we have offset this with budget cuts and property sales. We are reaching the point where this is no longer sustainable and our leadership has decided that the best way to handle this is to retire 800 or our 4800 missionaries. In order to accomplish this, they actually lowered the retirement age to 50 and 5+ years of service. Needless to say we were all blown away and now everyone that qualifies (we don’t… we are 49 and hanging on J) is praying through whether God would have them take this. If they don’t have enough folks take this, then they will have a time of voluntary “hand raising” for those of us who are left, to see who would be willing to leave in order to get down to the number we can afford to keep on the field.
Suzie and I have no plans to leave and still feel like God has us here for a reason. However, we are all dealing with the fallout of this. Fewer missionaries on the field means less people reached and more work for the rest of us. Since they are starting with voluntary retirement it means we are losing lots of experienced people and it will make us the “old folks,” with everyone looking to us for direction. Already most of those who are in leadership above me have taken the VRI and now we are not sure what the structure will look like in the future. We have been through several “reorganizations” in our 18 years with the IMB, but this one is by far the biggest and the most drastic. It will take many months for the dust to settle and by the time it is all over it will be a very different organization.
Some things never change, though… Billions are still lost and need to hear the gospel… God is still calling people into his harvest… His Kingdom is advancing, and the urgency for us to stay faithful and for the church to rise up and go to the world is greater than it has ever been. What can you do in the midst of all of this upheaval and uncertainty? I would ask you to pray. Pray for us; pray that we will hang in there, that we will know how to lead in discouraging times, and that we will have wisdom from God on how to do more with less. I would ask you to give… and to promote giving with everyone you meet. We are entering into the Lottie Moon Christmas offering season and we need record giving. Pray with us that God would wake up His church and move them to action. We need you to join us. In these days of losing so many career missionaries, it is important for the church to fill that gap and explore ways in which they can partner with us to reach the world. We need our friends, family and prayer partners to have a focus that goes beyond their Jerusalem, but also sees it as their job to (in some way) go to the uttermost parts of the earth. We are here, waiting on you and ready to help as you step forward. Thank you all for all that you have done in the past, and we trust you, our prayer partners, to stand with us as we face the days ahead. This has been painful, but I am hopeful and believe that God is up to something big, and one day we will look back and see his sovereignty in everything.
Blessings, Kevin

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Rendezvous with God

 Matthew 11:28-30
28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Let's be honest, a lot of times we try to carry our burdens ourselves.  Not sure why we do that because it can just stress us out which leads to other not so pleasant actions.  As I read these familiar verses a few things stick out to me.  First, in red are the words "come," "take," and "learn."  These are all commands that God is giving us.  The word "come" requires obedience.  Just like when we call to our child and tell them to come we expect them to drop whatever it is that they are doing and to come right away, not in a little bit. "Come" expresses the desire and compassionate heart of Jesus and is His appeal for us to come to Him as a relief from our burdens.  It is a call to turn from whatever we are depending on to Him. Then the words "take" and "learn" are a part of yielding ourselves to Him.  To take represents a decision, sometime in a crisis, to submit to the Lord.  It's a choice we have to make.  God wants us to make this choice.  To learn describes a process of discipleship.  It should be a part of our Christian journey of becoming Christlike.  The key point is to get into this habit through practice. Do you get it? The Lord is talking about more than the simple gain of information. He has in mind a change of life, a transformed life-style through an intimate relationship with Him.

Who is supposed to "come, take, and learn"?  All who are weary and burdened.
God's promise:  I will give you rest!  AND  You will find rest for your souls!
Why are we supposed to do this?  His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

God has been teaching me through these verses that if I will humble myself and just bring my burdens to Him and stop trying to carry them on my own, then He will take my burdens away from me and carry them for me.  When I give Jesus my burdens I need to fully release them and not try to take them back.  As I give these burdens to Jesus He will give me rest and I will find that rest!!  Which is better, to hold on to everything ourselves or to give it to Jesus and let him carry our burdens?  If we give him our burdens then He will give us rest! That's a win win situation!