tell 2012

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Oral Bible Storying

Coming “Home”

A Village of Hope

Unreached in Mexico Meeting the Huichol in the Mountains

Team Expansion’s Log of Love

Fall 2012





What is the tell?

State of the Mission Welcome to our 2012 edition of the tell magazine.


n this edition, you’ll learn firsthand about a children’s home in Asia, run by a pair of Team Expansion workers who connected with us farther along in life. They seem so happy – like they’ve found a long-lost friend for whom they had been searching for so many years. In these pages, you’ll also find, among other things, articles about “storying” (orality), the Huichol, Unleashed for the Unreached, and our new high ropes element, “Leap of Faith.” This last item reminds me of that scene from “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” There you are, standing on a 22-foottall telephone pole, diving out into nothingness in hopes of clutching (and holding) a swinging trapeze bar. Indy concludes from the clues in his notebook that only the pure in heart can survive such a leap.

That strange mixture of purity plus a venturesome spirit is somehow appropriate for a tell magazine article – because, as I think about Team Expansion workers, it seems to describe them perfectly. To work in this organization, those characteristics – a pure heart and a venturesome spirit – need to be the dominant themes in one’s life. We pray they are in yours, because we’d love to welcome you to Team Expansion. I can’t wait for you to leap into a new tell.

Doug Lucas Team Expansion President

Revelation 7:9-12 paints a beautiful picture of every nation coming before the throne of God to worship Him. The tell, Team Expansion’s Log of Love, has functioned as a bridge between ministries around the world and the local church since 1992. It has been our hope to radiate the goodness of God and the progress that we are making together through this publication. Until that moment before the throne, may we all continue to play our part in fulfilling the Great Commission!

tell is produced by Team Expansion, all rights reserved and implied.


Team Expansion Transforming communities among the unreached by planting Biblical churches. Team Expansion 4112 Old Routt Road Louisville, KY 40299 1.800.447.0800 (toll-free) 502.719.0007 502.719.0008 (fax)

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fall 2012 • tell


on the cover


State of the Mission


The Harvest Field in our Backyard


Tell Me a Story




Help Wanted: Europe


To the Ends of the Earth


The Wall


Back in the States


Coming “Home”




Village of Hope

Letter from the president

Community Health Education among US Muslims

Spreading the Gospel in oral cultures

A different kind of classroom

Snapshot of the teammates needed in Europe

Discovering the Huichol people group

One testimony about Unleashed for the Unreached

A poem by a returned missionary

When missionaries come off the field

One man’s dream for missionary housing

Orphans in the Philippines find a home

32 News & Notes

Updates from around the world

34 A Huichol wife struggles to keep up with the daily chores that life in the mountains of Mexico demands of her. (photo by Shauna Peterson)

photo by Helen Biard

Dry Bones

Prayers being answered in a sensitive country

35 Full-Time Opportunities Team Expansion’s urgent needs



The Harvest Field in our Backyard by a Community Health Educator working among neighborhood Muslims


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aeed noticed us from the corner of his eye. Quickly walking across the grassy park, he motioned for his family to follow. My friend and I were glad to see the Muslim man who had become a good friend over the last week and forced ourselves to stand up, our stomachs still full from an earlier Middle Eastern feast. After a firm handshake and kisses on the cheek, a friendly conversation in Arabic began. Saeed introduced us to his family as women wearing full Islamic dress walked by casually. They heard the shrill call to prayer ring out from a nearby mosque and left, bidding us peace. We sat back down and also felt the need to pray. This was not a neighborhood in Jordan, or a village in Egypt. After a week of teaching English in a local community center and exploring the area, it felt similar to the Middle Eastern country we had recently left. However, it was suburban America. We were in an area surrounded by Christians, but the local Muslim friends we made told me they had not only scarcely interacted with Christians, but Americans at large.


Remembering their open arms, kind hearts, and interest in my words is deeply discouraging, as it seems a ripe harvest has long been let to wither. I expect to find such a crop in a village sitting along a dusty road somewhere in North Africa, but not an hour drive from my home church. Yet, Muslims have been immigrating to the United States for over a century, drawn by the lure of jobs, education, health care, and to escape conflict in their home country. The result is a population of about 5 million adherents that is expected to double in the next 20 years. Already, the number of mosques in America has doubled since 9/11. Rather than taking action, the American Church has largely responded with a mix of confusion, ignorance, and sometimes even fear. Church leaders do not know what to say to a recent arrival from Syria, or a Yemeni family that has lived here for a couple generations. Families do not know how to interact with their new Muslim neighbors. Young people do not quite know how to react when their classmates use a different language and intricate bowing ritual as they pray. While some sort of prescriptive action to apply in these scenarios would be comforting, the processes of befriending Muslims and speaking about Jesus with them is much easier than most think. Indeed, it took little more than our time, love, and energy for my friend and me to be invited to play pick up soccer games, join people for tea, and walk together in parks with Muslims. Conversations about Jesus arose naturally and required no Bible degree, experience with Muslims, or Arabic skills. No longer must Christians take long flights, use a translator, and eat foreign food to share their faith with Muslims. Many now live down the street, speak English, and are a part of the American workforce.


To begin capitalizing on the harvest that God has brought so close to the American church, Team Expansion will join several churches this fall in starting a project in Saeed’s neighborhood. It is an economically

depressed area with high unemployment, particularly among Arab refugees. Many do not speak English or have a college degree and often live in clustered ethnically homogenous communities. A deep-rooted fear exists locally that Christian missionaries intend to change their culture, as some have preached such a message. There is also a perception that American Christians do not live out the Gospel, which many consider to mean that it is not transformative. This environment has ripened the area and its Arabs for a project centered on CHE (Community Health Education). It aims to encourage and facilitate locally-led community development that improves physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. The actual projects are inspired by locals, who are uniquely able to adequately assess their own needs, implement the necessary corrections to reach them, and own the results. They are consequently earned and maintained by the people who will benefit from them. These projects necessitate facilitators who train local community heath educators in the technical aspects of the issues affecting them. Local leaders oversee the process and a team of community health educators from the area learns the concepts and promotes them to their neighbors. Spiritual stories, analogies, and challenges are threaded into the entire process, enabling a renewal of the heart to occur concurrently with economic and health development. Other methods of evangelism have been used in conjunction with CHE, as the entire methodology is quite flexible. Everything taught needs to be reproducible by the learners though, such that they can teach others and spark a large scale holistic movement. These produce positive cultural and social change alongside church planting, resulting in Biblical communities that have given their hearts to God. For American Muslims like Saeed, using CHE is a way to engage and change the negative characteristics associated with Christians. A message of love and grace usurps past experiences with hostile preaching or feelings of neglect. Since CHE is an adaptable process that heals individuals and builds communities, it is an effective tool for local churches to use as they work to evangelize in their cities. Through this process the fullness of Jesus’ message is lived and taught. Not only is love, empowerment, and social compassion expressed through intentional action, but the saving grace of God is infused into what becomes a self-replicating movement. In this way many are able to be taught about the eternal change that is the Gospel. This is the vision Team Expansion shares with church partners around the United States for Saeed’s neighborhood. It will be accomplished through a method based on the life and teachings of Jesus to restore societies to the type of community that God intended - a society that loves Him, loves each other, lives His moral teaching, and obeys His commands.

For more information:





by A worker in Southeast Asia


veryone loves a good story. Stories have plots, characters, humor, drama and often inspiration. Stories catch our interest because we relate to the characters or we imagine what it would be like to be in their shoes. Stories are what we remember. They make sense to us and they give and explain meaning. We like people who tell stories. Jesus drew crowds of people to listen to his stories. He knew that stories are one of the best ways to communicate important messages. Stories make us think and they help us remember key truths.


Though we appreciate stories, many of us have spent much of our lives in academic settings where we’ve been trained to think systematically rather than narratively. Concepts are broken down into diagrams, explanations, formulas and outlines. Consequently, when we teach and preach about God, we explain theological truths using three-point sermons, diagrams and outlines. For many others in the world, knowledge doesn’t come from textbooks, lectures and presentations. Much of what they know and believe in life comes from the stories they hear. They grow up hearing their parents, relatives and village elders telling stories about their origins and about why things are the way they are. These narratives form their worldview. When we attempt to reach oral learners with the gospel of Christ, it is important not to rely on literary and systematic ap-


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proaches. We must tell and teach stories. Through the Biblical narrative, the worldviews of oral learners can be transformed to match a Biblical worldview.


The unreached people group we are focusing on in Southeast Asia is made up mostly of oral learners. For this reason we have decided to teach the Bible by sharing stories, chronologically, from creation to the second coming. We call this approach Oral Chronological Bible Storying. When we began, we obtained a set of about 40 stories that covered the message of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. They were printed in a book with multiple pages for each story, so when we started to use it we realized very quickly that these stories were too long to do orally. Consequently, we take time each week to shorten the stories by eliminating repetition and focusing on the main points of each story. After we do this, the story is short enough to memorize and share with the group. We begin each week’s meeting by reviewing the previous week’s story. We have the entire group retell the story. When this has been done, we move on to the next story for the current week. Usually I or one of the leaders will tell the story as all the people listen very closely. I encourage them not to try to focus on all the exact wordings, but instead to let the words paint a picture in their minds so that they remember what is happening in the story. I then

After learning the chronological Bible story for the week, the group breaks up into pairs and practices sharing the story back and forth.





go through the story a second time. It is important to try to use a good rhythm in telling the story, and augment it with hand motions where appropriate. These help the people to remember the story. After the second telling, I have the entire group help each other in retelling the story. We ask them, “How did it begin?” Usually someone will chime in with the first sentence, and others will say what happens next. Sometimes someone will get one part out of order and another person will correct the story. If they get stuck, I will help them with the transitions so they can remember what comes next. When the group finishes retelling the story, then I have them retell it once more as a group. At this point, they have heard the story four times. So far, we have been using the trade language for our country. Our target people group, however, is a tribal group with their own language. So on the fifth round, we have the entire group translate the story into their tribal language. Usually, they all have it memorized fairly well. They take a little more time than usual to work out all the special phrases that need translating. After they complete it, the entire group then retells the story a sixth time in their tribal language. Now the story is flowing really well. Next, we have the entire group split up into pairs. While they are in pairs, they take turns telling the story, one person listening and assisting if the other gets stuck. When they are finished telling the story two more times in the pairs, they have heard the story eight times. Then we come back together as a group. We start with one person who begins telling the first part of the story, and then go around the circle having each person telling the next part until the

story is retold a ninth time. Finally, we have one volunteer – usually one of the better storytellers in the group – tell the story a tenth time by his or herself as we record it. We record it to keep a record of how the story was translated into the tribal language. After we finish all 40 or so stories, we will go back and type them up in the tribal language and make better recordings to be used in villages all over the country. Most weeks, going through the story ten times takes a little over an hour. But using this method it really gets the story into their memories and into their hearts. Our purpose isn’t for them just to listen to the story once and explain it to them; our purpose is to train them to be able to share the story with others. By the end of the night, each person is completely capable of sharing the story with another person.

Much of what they know and believe in life comes from the stories they hear.


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The next step is to discuss what the story means. I begin by asking the group if there is anything they don’t understand about the story. Once any confusions are cleared up, we ask the following questions about the story: What does this story teach us about God? What does this story teach us about people? What lessons can be learned from this story? How can we obey or put this lesson into practice? All of these things flow from the story and have usually become evident by this point. At the end of the meeting we pray for one another’s needs, and for their non-believing relatives. I believe that Oral Chronological Bible Storying is a critical method for discipling new believers who are oral learners and even for evangelizing the unreached. However, completing the entire set of stories is not enough. We are always pointing out the need for those who can read, to read the Bible from the book itself to get the complete story and all the details we are leaving out.

(Left to right) Villagers gather to hear a worker. This man has been one of the most active participants in the chronological Bible story house church and is now one of the main leaders in the group.

For many new believers the Bible is big and confusing, so going through summary stories in a chronological fashion helps them to build a framework for understanding the Bible better when they do read it. And when we have completed all of the story set, we will go further into deeper studies of the books of the Bible. All the while, however, we will be encouraging members of the house church to start new groups of seekers or new believers to begin the storying process over again. Our house church has had a very good experience with Oral Chronological Bible Storying. Everyone who attends really enjoys learning the stories and it has been amazing to me to see everyone participate—from old grandmas, to young teenagers and everyone in between. Not only have we seen the group grow in knowledge and faith, but we have seen many of them commit their lives to Christ and be baptized into his name. We have also seen them become much more obedient in sharing the message of Jesus with other unreached members of their tribe in the community. They have gone far beyond accepting Christianity as a religion with their old ways of looking at life. Their worldviews are being transformed by the message of the Bible. We praise God for the growth we have seen and the fruit that is being born.

For more information:



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n 2009, Discipleship School of the Outdoors (DSOTO) officially began. This outdoor training program was started with the vision that both future missionaries and other community leaders could be discipled and encouraged to develop themselves more fully in the areas of ministry to which God has called them. Instead of a typical classroom, the setting is 61 acres of the great outdoors with wooded trails on Team Expansion’s Emerald Hills campus. Instead of pen, paper or a laptop, there are low and high ropes courses with team challenges and obstacles, providing handson learning to all who participate. Now in our third year of this program, God has exceeded our expectations and we have seen close to 600 people participate in DSOTO! We’ve had a variety of groups, ranging from missionariesin-training to college students to corporate CEOs. All have enjoyed the richness of the outdoor experience with hands-on learning. Many have commented on the strength of activities and the tangible life application that comes through the learning process. Last fall we added our first high ropes element, called the Leap of Faith. The task is to climb a 20 foot telephone pole with harnesses, helmet and belay rope attached. Once at the top, the participants “leap” toward a trapeze bar suspended in the air about five feet in front of where they are standing. This element was built with the idea that as we train future missionaries and other Christian leaders in the community, we can relate the challenge of this activity to real life application of the “leaps of faith” that God is asking each of us to take in our daily walk, whether furthering His Kingdom abroad or right here in the United States. Teams are being built, individuals are being discipled, and leaders are being prepared for future Kingdom work!

For more information:





Help Wante T

he shadows of aggressive governments and state-controlled churches have spread across Europe, leaving behind countless people groups that are jaded, apathetic and untrusting, yet still longing. They are looking for purpose and self-worth and love. They need a Savior who loves them, a God who made them and a Spirit to guide them. They need eternal life, salvation, redemption, forgiveness and joy. They have very few people to tell them the good news. Opportunities exist for those willing to learn a difficult language, resist discouragement because of the slow pace of spiritual expansion, and show persistence that is benefited by long-term commitments. Some needs are urban, others are rural. Some teams have specific roles in mind, and others require little more than a willingness to go and spiritual discipline. As you read this, you may be looking for a place for God to use you. We encourage you to pray and consider the following opportunities. 12

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EASTERN EUROPE 1 One team is looking for those with CHE-type thinking in a Muslim area. Sin-

gles, families, and couples welcome. Also seeking childcare workers for

the team. Workers live in the city, but work in villages. Another team needs devoted believers willing to work with Serbs, Croats and Muslims. Singles, couples, and families welcome. Education for children includes local schools or home schooling. Kairos, Jonathan Training, SPLICE and PILAT trainings would be useful – all available Stateside.

MEDITERRANEAN The team is immediately seeking teammates, specifically families or retired couples. First two years on the field would be dedicated to language learning. Great international school available!

HUNGARY The Hungary team is immediately seeking couples, single men, or families willing to live in a rural setting with limited access to larger cities. Primarily would be working in a village with gypsies. Learn a difficult language. Teammates must be mature in their faith and self-disciplined in study. Must be willing to work with kids. Proficiency with musical instruments would be a plus. CHE training or equivalent would be helpful for any potential recruits or willingness to attend upon acceptance.

Join the Prayer Force! Join Team Expansion’s prayer force to receive daily requests reflecting the needs among our workers, fields, and unreached peoples around the world. Subscribe to the Prayer Force:

IRELAND The new Ireland

team is in the process of being built. This team is searching for those willing to move to another country and learn the culture of the Irish people. Dependence on God is a must.


The Rome TEAM is looking for

teammates skilled in one or more of the following: leading worship, children/youth ministries, church planting (especially cross-culturally), sports ministry, preaching, teaching English, or pastoral care. Will spend first term learning language.


ted Europe The Verona team is seeking extroverted, social teammates, but introverts should also apply. Must be willing to verbally share the full gospel of salvation and how to respond to it biblically. Worship leaders or musically inclined believers are encouraged to apply. EASTERN EUROPE 2 The team is seeking additional team members, willing to move to another country and learn a new language.

Specifically need teachers for the American High School.

The Call

No Two Stories are the Same! Read the Team Expansion stories of those who heard and obeyed.


ROMANIA The Romania team wants a church planter and team leader to establish churches among the Roma Gypsy people. The team in Romania partners with the organization, “Remember the Children.�

SPAIN The Spain team is seeking full-time

teammates dedicated to church planting and engaging the culture through a community center that focuses on learning English through creative means. The team invites apprentices who will commit to serving in the community center for 6-18 months. They would learn Spanish through the University of Granada, live with Spanish families and have the opportunity to receive TEFL certification.


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Windows Into The World

Gain new understanding and perspective from these true stories about Team Expansion workers around the world. For more information: europe






It kept running through my head, “to the ends of the earth, to the ends of the earth...” That phrase is repeated in Scripture dozens of times and though I’ve traveled many places, I’d never felt removed from the world like I did on this trip. We flew from Louisville to Texas to Aguascalientes, Mexico and then packed into an SUV for a 12-hour drive to San Miguel, a remote town located in the Sierra Madre Mountain wilderness. As my feet touched the ground and my eyes took in the majesty of the place, I was swept away and felt envious that these people live among such grandeur every day. At the same time I was heartbroken knowing that they don’t know the One who created such beauty. I thought of Isaiah, who said, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.” Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 17, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” I always thought Jesus was referring to moving an actual mountain from one place to another. Though I believe with God all things are certainly possible, it occurred to me for the first time that Jesus could be referring to something more abstract. Here at the edge of the world, I saw the literal mountains


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before me, but the obstacles it would take to move a people were much more intimidating and complex. Sometimes the individual may be the obstacle that must move. Maybe Jesus was specifically referring to the “mountains of people” that need to be moved to know him and accept him. Maybe the unreached peoples, far away places, and the many spiritual obstacles the Church must move were on his mind as He challenged the faith of his disciples that day.


Tommy Corrao and his father Jim, ministers from Northside Christian Church in Fresno, California, were part of our team for this trip to the Huichol (wee-chole) people. In 2009, Northside began a process to bring focus and clarity to their missions strategy. The senior minister shared with them a burden he had for the people of Mexico and with that they knew they wanted to focus on a people group in that country. With the help of 1615 (church missions coaching), they researched unreached people groups in Mexico. After praying and planning for a year, God placed on their hearts a burden for the Huichol. On their first trip to Mexico to discuss with Mexican pastors and missionaries about how to reach the Huichol, they met Jorge Lozano a minister in Aguascalientes. Jorge had felt a burden to reach the Huichol for years and had already made contacts in the

village of San Miguel. He was eager to be a part of Northside’s venture. Three weeks after Northside’s visit, they went back and drove their first 12-hour trek to San Miguel, where they met Roberto, the current leader of San Miguel. Since this visit, they’ve gone back regularly to build relationships with Roberto and the Huichol community.


The Huichol are descendants of Aztec Indians, who eventually rejected them during the time of the Conquistadores. The Huichol were either dispersed or chose to flee from the Spaniards. Their name literally means “cowards who fled.” They currently live in three main areas: Santa Karina, San Sebastian, and San Andres, which is where San Miguel lies. They primarily live off the land, growing corn and beans. Amazingly, they do have some electricity and prominent villagers even have satellite capabilities. The local school has Internet access as well. This is both a blessing and a curse, as materialism has begun to appear among the younger generation and satellite television and the Internet are contributing. Yet technology also brings the opportunities to access many evangelistic resources and tools.

Huichol Beliefs

Animism is the main religion. A belief in spirits and the constant fear and need to

of the Earth Moving a Mountain in Mexico appease them dominate the people. Team Expansion’s field coordinator for this new field, Rodney Peterson, reflected, “The word ‘depressing’ comes easily to my mind when I have observed the incredible dark cloud of superstition and fear under which these precious people live.” We had the chance to visit with Tomás, a retired Huichol teacher, whom Northside has spoken with a few times. The men sat for nearly two hours and discussed differences between our beliefs and theirs. Tomás tried to explain the six festivals they observe each year, which mostly involve rituals on behalf of their crops and endless drinking. When asked, “What will happen if someone doesn’t participate in the festivals?” Tomás responded, “Our children would most certainly get sick and our crops would fail.” The time spent with Tomás was eyeopening for Rodney. “It was not until listening to him share with us some of the deeper and more hallowed beliefs of the Huichol people, and being afforded an incredibly rare opportunity for an outsider to visit their sacred ceremonial center, did it truly impact me just how deep the darkness is that keeps them in fear.” That ceremonial center was right across the dirt road from Tomás’ home. Each village has one, and it is where all the festivals take place. It was surprising that we were given access. It is unlikely that a white person, or even a woman, had ever entered this center before.

In the center, I saw a deer skin hung from the ceiling above the fireplace, representing one of their deities. Stalks of corn were bundled and hung along the walls and in the thatched roof as a prayer for a good harvest, another spiritual entity. Deer blood is always kept in a bottle in a small unit outside where the shaman prays and fasts for three days once a year for the harvest to be plentiful. I felt the darkness, but what I felt more was the hopelessness. Even Tomás can feel it. Two


“Wouldn’t it be wonderful for them to come under the blood of Christ and be freed from the loneliness and bondage that describes their current existence?” Rodney asked. While considering the challenges a team will face, Tommy observed, “As they begin to believe in Jesus, there will need to be a strong conviction that God’s word is the authority, and that’s it.” Northside isn’t the only church wanting to reach the Huichol. Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Mormon

Here at the edge of the world, I saw the literal mountains before me, but the obstacles it would take to move a people were much more intimidating and complex. of his daughters suffer from an illness, possibly rheumatism, and have gone to the shamans, Adventists, Catholics, and spiritists for healing. Healing has not come for his daughters. And peace has not come for Tomás.


In Psalm 82, Asaph wrote, “Rescue the poor and needy; save them from the power of the wicked. They do not know or understand; they wander in darkness.”

groups are also traveling the long distances to share with these people. Tommy stated, “As a result, there is much confusion about what ‘truth’ really is. Who should they believe?” Openness is mirrored with doubt in the midst of the differing messages. A full-time team of evangelical workers is desperately needed now. Persecution is a risk for future believers. Lucio, a man who is open to learning the Gospel, is undergoing a “real spiritual battle due to

mexico 15

(Clockwise from top) Living in the shadow of the animistic ceremonial center, Tomás’ granddaughter has never heard the gospel. Many Huichol still live in stilted huts in the remote mountains of Mexico. Tommy Corrao plays with Huichol children. A Huichol woman prepares her burro with her supplies for the journey home.


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(Clockwise from left) The local and visiting men spent several hours talking by Tomás’ house. During one of the festivals, the shaman lies underneath the holy structure for three days while he fasts and prays. A Huichol man holds ornaments of prayer that children left inside the ceremonial center.

their culture and traditions,” said Jorge. Both of Lucio’s in-laws are local shamans Outside the town of Huejuquilla lives a small community of Huichol who were driven out of their village after their conversion ten years ago. Addictions such as alcoholism, abuse, bestiality, and drugs are also very much a part

thians 10:4-5 will need to become a way of life for all involved with this project.” These verses say, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the

Openness is mirrored with doubt in the midst of the differing messages. A full-time team of evangelical workers is desperately needed now. of this community. One main drug is peyote, a hallucination-causing plant used in several of their festivals. Men, women, and even children use it. All of these challenges and more are before us in reaching these people. Rodney summarized the situation when he said, “There is no doubt in my mind that there are going to be some serious spiritual strongholds that will have to be dealt with and demolished. II Corin-

knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”


Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:2, “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” We can move all the obstacles in the world and preach the Gospel

to the ends of the earth, but without love it’s futile. We must show them love, and His love for them. There is a great need and the harvest is ripe. Christians with gifts for children’s ministry, youth ministry, and women’s ministry are needed, along with those gifted in discipleship ministry to build up strong, indigenous male leaders. What can you do? Pray for the right team of people to live among the Huichol and love them. Support them. Be them. Before this trip – my trip to the ends of the earth – I had bought the new album by the band, Caleb. The album ends with a song called, “To the Ends of the World.” It’s a song about how we run and wrestle against Him, but Jesus went to the ends of the world for us by dying on the cross. He runs, He fights, He moves every mountain for us. I am looking forward to the day when I can travel back to San Miguel and worship the Mover of Mountains, alongside Huichol brothers and sisters.

For more information: mexico

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photo by Helen Biard

make your summer matter. PATHWAYS: 10 week internships

by Jonathan Koloff, Discover Christian Church


n Sunday, May 27, 2012, our church had the incredible opportunity to focus on and highlight the unreached people groups of the world. We were able to do this in a very dynamic way by having the Unleashed for the Unreached Wall listing all of the world’s unreached people groups displayed in our worship center. Members of our church were invited to come in the building and pray over the walls in the days leading up to the Sunday services, and we had an extensive time of prayer that Sunday morning. We prayed that God would open our eyes to a world that desperately needs Jesus. We prayed that God would give us a passion to reach those who have never heard the Gospel. We prayed that God would give our church wisdom and direction as we begin the process of removing a people group from the wall.


One of the greatest things about having The Wall in our worship services was how


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real and tangible it made what we were talking about. There was something so powerful about seeing all of those names, being able to touch them, pray over them, know that they represented nearly 6,900 people groups, and know that they stood for approximately 2.8 billion people. Those numbers were staggering to say the least. For the first time for many of us, these billions of people who don’t know Jesus became real. Not that we had seen them, or heard them, or touched them, but they were real, they were tangible, they were visible. For the first time, we felt called and empowered to do something about it. And we pray that this calling will only continue to flourish and ultimately result in reaching the lost.


The Wall also impacted many people on a personal level. The time of prayer for the unreached people groups and how and where God might be leading our church

also provided a time for self reflection. For many of us it was a reminder of our personal mission as followers of Jesus to reach the lost. It reminded us in a very fresh and real way that there are people in our own communities who desperately need to hear about Jesus as well. We are so thankful that we serve a God “who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (I Timothy 2:4). And it is our prayer and longing that that would become our desire as well - that we wouldn’t just talk about reaching the lost and talk about proclaiming the name of Jesus, but that we would actually do it. We can’t wait for the day when a people group is no longer unreached because of the efforts of the members of Discover Christian Church, when its name is taken off The Wall, and instead written in the Book of Life. And we do this not for our glory but for His, the one “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask

(Clockwise from left) A man and his son pray for an unreached people group. Discover Christian Church experiences the Unleashed for the Unreached Wall. A woman intercedes for the people of an unreached area.

or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen� (Ephesians 3:20,21).

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Team Expansion’s

summer 2013





Back in the States after Being Gone for a Long Time by craig thompson Back in the States after being gone for a long time, I’m standing in the cereal aisle at Wal-Mart. My list says “bran cereal” with no instructions on how to pick out the right kind. I tell the kids to quiet down and remind them that “everybody here knows English so they can understand everything you say now.” A friend turns the corner and sees us: “Hey! Long time no see. Didn’t know you were back. Look at you. A little grey around the edges, but not too bad. Bet you’re glad to be home.” He’s describing me like you’d describe a used book: Acceptable. Slight shelf wear. Dust jacket missing. Discoloration on edge of spine. A few underlined passages and extensive notes in margins. Some dogeared pages.

We chat some about how big the kids look and about the new high school being built, and then he says again, “Bet you’re glad to be home.” This time I respond with “Well, both places have their advantages.” My daughter shows me a box of off-brand Fruit Loops, raising her eyebrows like two question marks. I shrug my shoulders and she puts it in the cart. That is the way I feel, like a used book. But deep inside, I’d rather be a manuscript. Like one of those manuscripts that’s been sent to 44 publishers and rejected 44 times. Then the author’s wife sees it in the trash folder on the computer and sends it in for one last try. It’s picked up and becomes a bestseller, and it’s made into a movie that wins two or three Academy Awards. That’s what I’d like to be, now that I’m starting over with this new life in a new place that everybody says is home.

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Coming Home When Missionaries Come Off the Field by CARLA WILLIAMS



hey were so vulnerable and wounded, barely able to look me in the eye. They’d gone into missions directly after college, bright with hope and the thrill of obedience. With sincere love and determination, they’d adopted an unreached people group. Thousands of dollars had been sacrificed for their language study and living expenses. And here they were, three years later, looking so lost and alone, feeling all the weight of their supposed failure. When many missionaries come off the field, churches and families don’t know what to say and the missionaries themselves don’t know how to move forward. The people who participated in this article represented a range of situations - decades of service and brief experiences, successful ministries and fruitless ventures, expulsion, burn out, family health issues, and redefined purposes. Despite their different circumstances, their responses were amazingly similar. There is a growing supply of research about why missionaries leave their fields and how to prevent undesirable attrition, but there isn’t much about how churches and individuals can help the missionary family standing right in front of them. Here is a start.


FORCED EXIT Many missionaries find themselves back in the States for reasons completely outside their control. Closed countries do not hesitate to deport missionaries to the States with little or no notice. Sometimes there is a crisis in the family that gives them no other option. They didn’t choose to return, and if they could, they’d still be there. Most of these missionaries have had no time to process the sudden change in their lives, and their grief is often intense.

HEALTHY TRANSITION There are good, healthy reasons why workers return from their fields overseas. Maybe they have successfully handed the ministry over to local believers and no longer need to be there. Maybe they recognize serious red flags in their family life and are wise enough to return before there’s an emergency. Maybe they realize that they are ineffective in their role and rather than stubbornly persisting in unfruitful ministry, they come back to the States to evaluate and pursue a better fit. Maybe they simply know God is closing that chapter. For these people, even though they believe it was the right decision to come back, they are still grieving the life they left behind.

The people they love have grown and changed, and they themselves aren’t the people they were before they left. POTENTIALLY AVOIDABLE REASONS There are situations like team conflict, moral failure, loss of vision or passion, and others that seem like they could have been dealt with before it led to attrition. It’s easy in these situations to make assumptions about what should have happened, but none of that can be changed once the family has returned. One missionary said, “We tried to change the factors and could not,” and he eventually realized that, “I had arrived at the point that I cared more about being a missionary than I cared about my family. Ministering at the expense of your family isn’t really what God had in mind.” That family wisely chose to change the circumstances before they suffered more serious consequences.


These families usually have the grief from the loss of their field, but also from the baggage they carry about the cause. They need the freedom to learn from their experiences without the added guilt and condemnation of those around them.


LOSS and CONFUSION For most of the missionaries who return to the States, their loss is great - but difficult to explain. First, there are people they’ve left behind. There are teammates who have filled the roles of family, support systems, coaches, partners, teachers, friends, co-workers, and everything in between. The people they saw and lived life with every day are suddenly not there anymore. They are also losing local friends, language tutors, believers, disciples, shopkeepers, house helpers, guides, translators, etc. Basically, they lost their entire community with the close of an airplane door. And they have lost the people group they love and desperately want to see transformed by the love and salvation of Christ. They no longer have access to the very people they wanted to reach. When they come back to the States, they are also losing their sense of normalcy. Most of them have learned how to live daily life in their host culture. They understand those rules of transportation, the social and political climates and conversations, and the expectations of casual interaction. They learned how to shop and cook and communicate and entertain in those cultures. So when they come back to the States, they’re a little lost. They don’t know the bands or TV shows or political topics in this country. They haven’t kept up with the ever-changing fashions or trends. The people they love have grown and changed, and they themselves aren’t the people they were before they left. One missionary explained, “You know yourself, but you don’t know yourself here.” There is often a sense of confusion and search for a purpose. After spending so much of their lives and energy in missions, how do they move forward? What was the purpose for their time on the field? What career options will fit them now? At the same home




time, suggestions and advice about what they should do next, if given too soon, will simply add to their confusion and stress. Many returned missionaries echoed the sentiments of one worker, who confessed,

HOPE Being in the States has its benefits. Aside from consistent electricity, orderly lines at stores, and the ability to speak English everywhere they go, there is comfort in being around those who love them. They cherish the time to share life with their friends and family. They are blessed to experience corporate worship again, and to see the Church responding to their family in love and encouragement. Most returning missionaries feel great chords of hope. They know that God is faithful, and they hold on to the promise that He works all things together for His ultimate purposes. They want to continue serving Him, and they look forward to seeing how He will use them. Most of them have spent crucial, difficult months praying and seeking His will before they moved back to the States, and so they returned with the belief that their decision honored and glorified Him.

Validate their experiences by letting them share with you - even when you don’t understand. “It was difficult to hear some people suggest ideas right away. We were numb and not in a good state to make big decisions.” Depending on the situation, the returning missionaries could also be feeling a mixture of guilt, disappointment, excitement, exhaustion, uncertainty, relief, purposelessness, and pressure – just to name a few! And they will probably not be able to succinctly explain this to their families, supporting churches, or even themselves. Even if they are sure about their decision to return, it still came with a cost, but because no one else has experienced that cost, it’s difficult to explain. One missionary observed, “I have to figure out how I can explain this to someone who’s never done this and they’re just not going to understand the depths of emotion and the highs and lows that come with coming back.” Well-meaning comments like, “I bet you’re glad to be home!” hurt the missionaries much more than they help them. In many cases, they no longer feel at home here, and the transition is harder than they ever expected it to be. Returned missionaries regularly cite this phrase as being enormously painful to hear and respond to.


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As a church, family, or individual, you can help the returning missionaries you know. Your direct involvement will change based on the relationship you have with the family, but following these basic guidelines will go a long way. PRAY Pray for their family to adjust. Pray for the friends, teammates, and people group they left behind. Pray for their

decisions and future. Tell them you are praying for these things. Ask to pray with them, and ask them what they see as their greatest needs. The most influential thing you can do for them is stand next to them in prayer. TANGIBLE THINGS There are a number of physical things that will assist the missionary family in their transition back to the States. Your church can encourage and pay for formal debriefing. This will give the family the tools they will need in the next few months and years to properly process, celebrate, and grieve their experiences. You can also find out what physical things the family needs and provide them. Usually, when workers come back to the States, they lack most of the standard household furniture and supplies they need to create a normal life. You can help with finding a house and with the moving expenses and physical labor. Offer to baby-sit the kids to allow the parents time to talk and plan. You can also provide normal activities like hanging out over dinner or renting a movie to all watch together, without expecting them to feel completely natural or at ease. Don’t be offended if they need to decline for awhile. LISTEN Ask about their lives in the field, about the everyday things and the defining moments - and then let them talk. Give them a chance to remember, laugh, and cry. Validate their experiences by letting them share with you - even when you don’t understand.

Don’t give suggestions or try to encourage them until you’ve listened for as long as they need, which is probably not going to be as soon as you want. Be a safe place for them by deliberately refusing your impulse to fix the situation. You can validate their experience and decisions, simply by letting them share those with you. In an interview for Expat Women in 2007, Ruth Van Reken explained, “Comfort is simply acknowledging the loss, validating its reality, and giving the person space to grieve properly before pushing him or her to move past it.” WITHHOLD JUDGEMENT The most important thing to remember about when missionaries come back: You do not know what God is doing. It’s easy to

front of you. Chances are, they already have thought of all those things. They’re probably beating themselves up for all of the things they simply can’t change. They usually already feel like they failed in some major ways, questioning most of the decisions they made along the way. They are hardest on themselves. Remember that God moves in ways we seldom understand. Remember that He redeems the broken situations and the hurting people and He creates something beautiful. He took a team conflict between Paul and Barnabas and created two successful ministries instead of one. He used Joseph’s forced exit from his home to deliver two nations from starvation. After Peter failed morally by publicly rejecting Jesus three times, God made him the founder of the modern Church, and when Jesus’ father Joseph relocated out of family welfare concerns, he unknowingly fulfilled a prophecy that validated Jesus as God’s son. Once we let go of judgment, we find the freedom to love the returned missionary family exactly where they are.

Remember that God moves in ways we seldom understand. Remember that He redeems the broken situations and the hurting people and He creates something beautiful. judge whether they should have stayed, or should have done something differently, or should have come back a long time ago, but we simply don’t know. They can’t change any of those things now anyway. So let go of what you think should have happened, and focus on the person or family standing in

their experiences won’t cripple them forever. They will reclaim normalcy eventually. God can and will use what they’ve learned and accomplished for His Kingdom. The young couple from the beginning of the article has been back in the States for two years. Recently, they realized, “In the moment of everything happening, it feels like such a heavy burden. We felt guilty that we weren’t following through with what we told people we would do. We felt like failures. But in the end, we can appreciate everything that we learned and did and can see how much more effective it has made us in the ways we are able to serve now. Coming back to the US wasn’t the end. In a lot of ways, it was just the beginning.”

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Returning missionaries need a time of transition and a time to re-adjust, just as they did when they first arrived on the field. They need patience and grace and the freedom to grieve what they’ve left behind. But





a dream. a journey. by DEBBIE STARR



When God gives us a dream for His Kingdom’s sake, it will always be beyond our ability to accomplish. That’s just God’s way. Such is the case with aRefuge, a dream God gave to my husband, Rick, many years ago. In 1981 Rick was serving as minister at Bethlehem Christian Church in western Kentucky. We lived in the parsonage with our two children. When missionaries would come to visit to give their field reports, they would stay with us. Time after time, these weary families would unload all their belongings and their bulky projector and slides out of their car. They would repeat this routine every weekend while they were in the States on furlough. This would go on week after week for months. Most of the time they would stay with families like ours. Because they were staying

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with us, they ate what we ate and had to be on the schedule that we were on. It was difficult for them to have any kind of normalcy for their children and family life, and private time was almost unheard of. Seeing this broke Rick’s heart. Knowing the sacrifice they were making for the gospel and seeing them sacrifice even more when they came home was hard for us to watch. Rick knew that God was placing a dream in his heart for missionaries. The dream was to build housing for missionaries when they came home on furlough. If even for one or two weeks, they would have some down time to relax and recharge before going out again. In 1984 we added twin boys to our family. With the demands and requirements of raising four children, the dream of missionary housing was placed on the back burner

for many years, though it was not far from our hearts. During these silent years, we hired a company in Colorado to do a study for us. We gave them these parameters: Find the central location within a 200-mile radius of where the largest concentration of Christian churches are located. When we received the report, it indicated that the central location was southeast of Louisville, Ky. We were hoping to be able to buy land or purchase a home in this area, but due to much cost and limited income, it was once again put to the side.


In 2006, Rick and I were ministering at First Christian Church in Clearwater, Fl. Rick took his staff to Orlando to a conference, where he met two workers from Team Expansion. Rick knew nothing about Team Expansion,

(From left) The house the Starrs first used for missionary housing. One of the many families that have been blessed by aRefuge. Emerald Hills Prayer Center & Atrium, where the next phase will include missionary housing.

but when he found out it was a large missionary organization he quickly told them his dream of building housing for missionaries. To Rick’s surprise these two told him about Team Expansion’s plans to do just that. They had long-range plans to build housing after the first phase of their new campus, Emerald Hills, was completed. Then Rick found out Team Expansion had purchased property southeast of Louisville. He knew we had to find out more. After hearing this news, praying and making several trips to Team Expansion, Rick and I decided to leave the ministry and become full-time missionaries with Team Expansion, with the specific purpose of seeing this housing become a reality. We moved to Louisville in 2006, and Rick was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 2007. Due to Rick’s health, he had to quit working for Team Expansion during this time. Because of his prognosis and the long-range plans for the missionary housing, Rick and I decided to start our own non-profit foundation with the hopes of getting the housing completed quickly on a smaller scale. We named the foundation aRefuge, taken from Nahum 1:7. “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.” Even after forming the non-profit, we continually ran into one wall after another as we tried to make this dream of missionary housing a reality. In February 2009 Rick had a recurrence of the tumor. It was clear that unless the Lord provided a miracle and healed him, his time here was short. That knowledge tremendously increased his desire to see aRefuge completed before he went Home. He knew in his heart that God had given him this dream for missionary housing many years ago and he had not yet completed the dream. For him to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” he felt strongly that this dream had to become reality soon. Knowing this, our family decided to take action. Rick and I had purchased a smaller house earlier in the year, so we decided to move our

family into the smaller house and turn our larger home into aRefuge. The larger home had a main level and a finished basement apartment. We would be able to house two missionary families at one time. On November 9, 2009 we moved. Two weeks later, we opened aRefuge to the Hatter family, missionaries in Mexico. The dream had become a reality. Rick heard “Well done, good and faithful servant,” on December 24, 2009 when he met Jesus face to face.

Rick and Debbie Starr


For more than two years, aRefuge has housed missionary families from all around the world. Thinking that this would be the final dream, I settled into that routine. Then I saw Doug and Penny Lucas (Team Expansion’s president and his wife), who told me that once again, the missionary housing had come to the forefront of Team Expansion’s plans.

Doug explained that with so many missionaries on the field and so many others coming for training, they desperately need to provide housing at Emerald Hills. Doug asked me if I would come in and meet with him. Two weeks later as I sat across the table from Doug and listened, I knew that God was calling me to yet another dream. This time the dream of completing the calling Rick and I moved here for in 2006. Now, aRefuge Foundation and Team Expansion are partnering to see this dream, once again, become reality. Instead of just meeting two families’ needs, we hope to be able to accommodate many more by providing a place where these families can come and enjoy being a family together while going through training. They will be able to prepare meals and eat together as a family, take walks on the beautiful trails at Emerald Hills, and maybe even see a deer or two. For this to become reality, we will need to pray much, plan much and provide much. I know now after seeing God work though all these years, His plans really do prevail. When we keep His dreams close in our hearts, He will make sure they become reality. I am in awe of a God who works in our past, present and future in ways that are hidden from us, but are brought into light when His timing is complete. I am so honored that He is allowing me to once again be part of this dream, providing aRefuge for His servants who have given much for His Kingdom’s sake. May we be found faithful as we pray, plan and provide for those who bear the name Missionary.

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(Clockwise from left) Village of Hope sits in the hills of Bohol, Philippines. The Propp family wanted to be a part of something that would new homes. Each new child at Village of Hope gets to

estled high in the hills of Bohol, Philippines is a small village that, at first glance, looks like most any other – houses, roads, and children everywhere. You wouldn’t know that the families there are made up of once-orphaned, abandoned and abused kids who happily call Village of Hope their home. You wouldn’t know that the story of this Village is an adventure of faith and prayer. You would know, very quickly, though, that God is in this Village.

It All Started with a Prayer

Building an orphanage wasn’t in our plans. We were young and newly married and thought we knew what we would do with our lives. We were in a good place, but wanted more out of our new life together, so we prayed a dangerous prayer: “Father God, we want to be a part of something so big that it will only succeed if You show up in obvious ways.” A few days later someone approached us with land for sale, which hadn’t happened before. We prayed about it and realized that this would be one of the first steps in God’s answering our prayer. We told the seller we would buy the land, but we were newly married and had no money and no credit but we


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could make payments, sometimes. The deal was made and we were in debt for a piece of land that we didn’t even know what it was for! Months passed and God provided for the land in ways we couldn’t have predicted (like a church we had never been to held a fundraising concert, which raised just enough to make the down payment). God was showing up in obvious ways, just as we had asked Him to do. Then He caught us off guard. We began to sense the land would be for ministry to children. Months later we clearly heard God say the land was meant to be an orphanage. We reacted in a very spiritual way: “That’s funny, Lord. Seriously, what should this land become? You made us for evangelism and church planting and training new workers, not humanitarian projects. What’s the land really meant to be?” His answer remained “orphanage” and we could only choose to obey. We drew up plans for buildings and prayed for construction funds. We visited other orphanages to get ideas of what to do, and we kept praying for funds to build buildings. We researched laws pertaining to orphanages in the Philippines and talked to engineers about the land, and prayed for funds to build. We hired our first house parents and took in a few children; they lived in a bamboo hut

on the grounds of our Bible college while we kept praying for funds to build buildings. As the months of waiting turned to years, we kept visiting other orphanages, changing drawings and developing our plans, but we

“Father God, we want to be a part of something so big that it will only succeed if you show up in obvious ways.” didn’t have money to build. We never thought we misheard God’s calling, but we were growing weary of waiting. We began to understand how Noah must have felt as the years passed and those around him doubted his purpose. We continued to wait. Then God showed up in an obvious way. In 2006, five years after the first payment on the property, a friend and ministry supporter visited the office of a man he

How You Can Help

only succeed if God provided. The Village of Hope kids find a sense of joy, purpose, and love in their add their handprint to the wall. Recent graduates celebrate their against-all-odds accomplishments.

hadn’t done business with in more than a decade. Somehow Village of Hope came up in their conversation. A few days later that man showed up in our friend’s office with a check large enough to build the first home at Village of Hope. Two years later we broke ground on the next three homes. God continues to show up in obvious ways.

Orphan Care in Families

Waiting for funds to build seemed to take forever, but the delay turned out to be one of God’s greatest blessings. It gave us time to think, dream and plan. It was during this time that we realized one of the most important aspects of Village of Hope’s ministry. Not only would we provide orphans with food, shelter and an education, but we would give them a new family, as close to a natural family as possible. Village of Hope is orphan care in families. We create new families of up to ten orphaned, abandoned or abused kids led by a Christian couple who has pledged the years to raise the kids in their care. We don’t adopt kids out from these new families; their new house parents become their mom and dad for life. In each family, there are chores and responsibilities and a sense of identity. It’s a beautiful thing to see how quickly the true bonds of

• Pray for us and for the kids in our care! Please pray the children will find healing from life’s hurts and will grow in a passionate relationship with Jesus. Pray that they will grow into the men and women God designed them to be, with a spirit of generosity and a passion for reaching the lost. Pray for growth and provision, so we can build more homes to rescue more kids. • Consider sponsoring a Village of Hope child. We’re seeking individuals and families to commit to a $35 per month partnership to help us meet the needs of an orphaned, abandoned or abused kid in our care. Sponsors will regularly get letters and photos and have a chance to develop a unique relationship with a special child. • Collections of gently used children’s shoes, books, eyeglasses and toys are always appreciated. Any financial assistance will be used to further our ministry to the children in our care. • You can come to Village of Hope on a short-term mission project. We’ve hosted missionaries from a week to a year. Past projects have included building, painting, teaching, evangelism, community service, and ministry training. The skills God has given you can be used here! • Have your church or community group sponsor a building project. We have space and need to build more homes, a school, an office, and a multi-purpose building in the Village. If you would like to be a part of one of these larger projects please contact us.

brotherhood and family form among strangers when there is love in the home. This is where the healing happens.

Rescuing Kids for the Sake of the Gospel

On Sundays, the Village hosts a simple worship service under a mango tree. The kids rotate through leading worship, and the staff rotates through teaching. The kids experience a lot more of church than this simple service, though. Each family has chosen a nearby community where they share the Gospel and serve the community with the goal of seeing a new church form. Some of our older kids recently enrolled in a Jonathan Training class we’re teaching at our Bible college ( Jonathan Training is a church-planting program Team Expansion requires every missionary to attend). Village of Hope has also created other opportunities for the Gospel to advance. When we enter a community to rescue a child, people ask why we would take in a child that was not our own. It gives us opportunities to share. It’s our prayer, of course, that every kid at the Village will have a loving relationship with Jesus, and that they’ll be able to introduce Him to as many people as possible. Recently in their community outreach, the family from the first home introduced

two girls, Mercedes and Eliza, to Jesus. Those girls started praying for their school. Soon others were praying with them, and then one of the teachers. They were able to introduce their teacher to a relationship with Jesus. That teacher made a way for the parents from the home to teach Bible lessons on campus.

A Lasting Legacy

There’s still more Village of Hope to come. Our plans include building 16 more homes, a school, an office and a multi-purpose building. Village of Hope’s true legacy will be the effect our kids have, not only in the Village but in the world around them. Some of our older kids have already begun college or trade school to learn to be electrical technicians, seamstresses, or social workers. Others have told us they want to grow up to be pastors and church planters. One girl wants to be a missionary to Thailand. We’re excited to see what Kingdom impact our kids from Village of Hope will have in the world around them.

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News and Notes

Updates and information about a few of Team Expansion’s fields around the world

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1 - Ghana - Permaculture The team in Ghana is building a Permaculture Training Center. It will have three bedrooms and a training room, which can be used to house mission teams and area leaders that will come to the center. The team will be using it to teach students organic farming principles that will help them raise food and animals for their families and villages. The concept of being good stewards of the land by replenishing the soil with compost material (instead of burning), controlling insects with local plants like neem and lemon grass, and containing animals by the means of living fences is unknown to them and, at best, rarely practiced. The team will also use it to train Christian leaders and church planters. Whether the training is to help church leaders and church planters, or to help the people with practical methods of agriculture that will help their villages, the team prays that God will be glorified!

2 - Ecuador - New Field The team that has been working in Trujillo, Peru over the last seven years has begun working in opening a new area of church planting in Santo Domingo, Ecuador. They have left the ongoing work in the hands of the Peruvians and the house churches that they have started there. One Team Expansion family and five Peruvian families moved to Ecuador to begin this new work. The team goes through the barrios, talking to whomever they meet along the way. They work alongside the residents of the barrio with manual labor, while also spreading the Gospel. The team has already seen several people give their lives to Christ and be immersed for the forgiveness of their sins.


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3 - Ishinomaki, Japan Jewelry Project

In tsunami-torn Ishinomaki, there is a new venture to bring hope, creative outlets, and income to the women of the city. The new business, “Nozomi,” which means “hope” in Japanese, is training women to shape broken pottery from the tsunami and use these pieces to create unique, meaningful pieces of jewelry and other art. They are still in the early phases of learning the skills and working out the business side of the venture, but already the project is bringing healing and hope to the city. With the help of workers in Ishinomaki, Team Expansion submitted a grant request to IDES in support of a vision to bring long-lasting help and hope to a few of the affected communities. IDES granted the request, and the team in the region now has more than $175,000 to apply toward several projects, including Nozomi. They hope to be ready to begin selling the jewelry and art in the next few months.

4 - Eastern Europe - 40 Days of Prayer For 40 days, a team in Eastern Europe sent out daily prayer requests and committed themselves to extraordinary prayer for the deliverance of their country and for guidance and wisdom in choosing the city where they should serve. At the end of the 40 days, the team had a good idea of where to live and is

currently working out the details and logistics for that to happen. At the beginning of each of their prayer updates, they included Acts 4:31, “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

During the time of their prayers, the country suffered more than 25 low-impact earthquakes, literally shaking the country. The team experienced many new opportunities to talk about where their security rests. They are praying for continued opportunities to speak the Word of God boldly.

5 - Boston - New Team Boston is the fourth most densely populated city in the U.S. Only 3.7 percent of people are evangelical Christians and 77 percent list no affiliation with any major faith tradition. Jamaica Plain, the area where the new team is living, mirrors the religious statistics of the city, and it is an economically and ethnically diverse neighborhood that poses unique opportunities and challenges for gospel ministry. Initially, the team will be working regular jobs and getting to know the neighborhood and its people through friendship, hospitality, volunteer opportunities, and community events. As they do that, they’ll begin strategizing the best ways to plant a church in this context. The goal is to plant a sustainable, disciple-making church that reflects the needs, strengths, and people of the neighborhood. Over time, they pray that this church will plant more churches in the surrounding neighborhoods. The team needs jobs in the area, teammates, God-ordained connections in the neighborhood, and continual prayer.

news and notes





A Prayer Journey


rayer journeys are a regular and essential part of our ministry in this country. Our home church sends teams regularly whose specific goal is to go throughout the country and pray over its cities and people, and our team also stops to pray as often as possible. It’s the most crucial strategy for fighting this spiritual battle. Several months ago, as we were leaving a remote town where we’d been meeting with new believers, we noticed a small hill. We decided to stop, ascend the stairs built into the side of the hill, and offer our coming day to the Lord in prayer. As we reached a cave near the top of the hill, we heard the crunch and crackle of breaking bones under our feet. Simultaneously, we all felt a sense from the Spirit that the Lord had called us to the front lines of a battle that was not against flesh and blood. We had ascended to a sacrificial area used in folk Islamic practices to call on ancestors, “angels,” and the god of Islam for healings, provision and more. There were chicken and sheep bones scattered all over the area. I thought of other countries where these practices are common in calling on demons to provide for the worshipper. The dryness of the area was a stark reminder of how the souls of those seeking the power of something greater were even more arid


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by workers praying and serving in a sensitive location than the place. Countless people had given all they had to come to that place and offer it to something that will never bring them the fullness and life that Christ can. As if we had been joined by the calling from the Spirit with one another, the four of us began to call on the Lord for forgiveness of the people in that valley. We asked the Spirit to fill that place and make its claim to that land and fill the people of that valley with God’s presence – to begin a work on that day that would bring salvation to the people living in sight of that hill, and to make Jesus Christ famous. We sang praises to the Lord and gave the glory to Him that day because He is Holy, and that place had not been treated in a way that brought glory to the name of Christ. We prayed for the Spirit of God to fall on that place in full force. We came back to that hill a few months later on another prayer journey. When we got there, we saw the physical evidence of our prayers, as the cave where all those sacrifices had been made had collapsed on itself! It couldn’t stand against the force of God’s glory. The Spirit is working God’s will in that town and surrounding areas. We have full confidence that if He needs to, God will level that hill to the ground in an effort to make the name of Jesus famous in that place.

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