THE FRONTIER journal
NEWS + STORIES FROM THE MINISTRY OF FRONTIER FELLOWSHIP
MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PAGE 2
REGIONAL UPDATES PAGE 3
DISCOVER THE FRONTIER PAGE 8
THE RISK, SURPRISE + JOY OF MISSION JOURNEYS PAGE 4
MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RICHARD HANEY
What do you pack before setting out on a trip? Clothes, snacks and books top my list. What if you picture your life as a journey? What do you need for your spiritual journey? For that, I want some traveling companions. Years ago, a movement called on followers of Christ to become “world Christians.” A world Christian cares about and prays for the many distinct ethnic groups across the globe who’ve never had a chance to hear even the name of Jesus. Today, we might say a follower of Jesus who’s truly concerned about the world sees himself or herself as a pilgrim on a frontier mission journey—moving beyond the church walls to take special notice of the more than two billion unreached people still waiting to hear the Good News of Jesus. At Frontier Fellowship, our mobilizing work includes inviting individuals and churches to embark on a frontier mission journey. We call ourselves a “fellowship” because we join together to declare the Good News. We help and encourage one another. We share the load. Jesus calls His followers to be witnesses who participate in making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). We’re privileged to call others to remember the unreached “least of these” (Matthew 25:40) in this work of bearing witness and disciple-making. I’m pleased to introduce three new staff members joining Frontier Fellowship this fall to strengthen our mobilizing work. Rev. Dr. Kristin Huffman, located in Houston, has traveled extensively in her previous assignments as a mission pastor and is a natural connector and educator. Bob and Nancy Von Schimmelmann live in Southern California and bring with them decades of mission engagement, including numerous trips to Ethiopia. From my first days as Executive Director I’ve been praying for mobilizers in Texas and Southern California. Praise the Lord for providing these friends whose personal journeys have led them to join us. (You can read their stories of God drawing them to frontier mission beginning on Page 4.) Frontier Fellowship takes our calling seriously to invite others to begin and take further steps in their frontier mission journeys. There are many steps, seasons and places. There are guides to help you along the path. There are beautiful things to see God doing in the world. Do you sense God calling you in a new way? Come discover the frontier with us.
GLIMPSES FROM OUR ASSOCIATE DIRECTORS OF GOD AT WORK AROUND THE WORLD
AFRICA // ETHIOPIA
LIGHT OF HOPE (LOH) MINISTRY
The Ethiopian government has lifted the state of emergency due to the recent relative calm and stability, but continue to pray for peace in the country. The local government relaxed its warning to LOH after issuing a notice that ministry land could be seized if it remained undeveloped. LOH was able to work on their action plan and construct a temporary fence around property designated for the future academy. An architectural firm completed design work for the school, and plans are currently under review with city officials. Oromo language Bible translation continues to progress, and the team’s Wycliffe consultant just finished checking eight Old Testament books. TO LEARN MORE, VISIT FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM OR CONTACT INFO@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM.
Translators have completed a draft of the New Testament in the Dizi language. Next steps include checking the translation with language consultants and local native speakers. Last month, translators finished preparing Revelation for the consultant check scheduled for later this year and have continued on with John. Despite the moles plaguing the Maji Highland Apple Orchard, this spring’s harvest yielded huge, juicy apples from trees that had to be propped up to support the weight of the fruit. In August, the Jimma Bethel Synod made a push to share the Gospel with nearly 20,000 people. Christians gathered in advance to pray for God’s strategy and felt God show them Christ would reveal Himself to people in the night. As they began sharing about Jesus in their communities, some Muslims reported they’d already met Him in their dreams. Two hundred people decided to follow Jesus, including 42 from a Muslim background. They’re now connected with Christians and discipleship training opportunities. Pray that God would grow the seeds planted in all who heard the Gospel, and for the faith of new believers, especially five families now being persecuted for their belief in Jesus. TO LEARN MORE, CONTACT TARA CHASE (TCHASE@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM).
// NIGER In July, representatives from various ministries including Frontier Fellowship met for the new Niger Mission Network. We look forward to continuing to connect with these ministry leaders and strengthening our relationships in Niger. The Eglise Evangelique de la République du Niger (EERN) is sending missionaries into rural areas of Niger to share the Gospel. We’re connected with five workers serving through water projects, youth ministry leadership training and Community Health Evangelism. A ministry leader from an EERN church partner in Virginia recently traveled to Niger with us to depeen their partnership. TO LEARN MORE, CONTACT DONALD MARSDEN (DMARSDEN@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM).
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
THE RISK, SURPRISE + JOY OF MISSION JOURNEYS
HANNAH TEAGUE CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Nancy Von Schimmelmann didn’t expect to find herself “on the field.” And she hadn’t planned to end up in places like Kenya or Spain or Egypt, especially after her window of opportunity for international ministry had long since closed—or so she thought. The world of global missions wasn’t unfamiliar to Nancy and her husband Bob. They’d grown up in a missional culture at their church, nurtured by visiting missionaries and leaders like Cam Townsend (Wycliffe Bible Translators founder) and Ralph Winter (missiologist and founder of Frontier Fellowship). Both participated in short-term trips to Mexico in their high school and college years, and as a young adult, Bob had begun leading other short-term teams. In one sense, mission engagement—and a specific focus on the unreached— was somewhat of a given. But while their hearts and theology had always aligned when it came to missions, their interests and gifts didn’t fully intersect with each other. Bob’s experience as a civil engineer led to opportunities for development projects in Ethiopia. Working in partnership with missionaries and local leaders, he made several trips to support water and road projects in the southwest part of the country. His second trip to Ethiopia proved to be an important step in his mission journey. “It was the first time I’d gone to a place more than once,” Bob relates. “Seeing people with tears in their eyes as they thanked me for returning was a significant experience in my growth process as I realized the importance of deepening relationships and continuing investment.” Nancy describes her journey as the process of God steadily cultivating her heart for missions. While she’d been open to overseas work in early adulthood, having children began a new season of life in which she thought international ministry was no longer a possibility. Her involvement in missions continued, however, and she later began a position as a prayer coordinator for Wycliffe Associates. Then God started bringing people across her path who challenged her to consider opportunities to serve on the field. Stepping out in faith, far beyond where she felt comfortable, Nancy visited Spain, Kenya and Ethiopia—experiences that were both unexpected and heart changing.
BOB + NANCY VON SCHIMMELMANN
(CONTINUED ON PAGE 6)
RISK, SURPRISE + JOY (CONTINUED)
When Dan McNerney from Frontier Fellowship invited the Von Schimmelmanns on a trip to Egypt, Bob and Nancy continued to follow where God led. That trip had a tremendous impact on both of them as they met Egyptian Christians and heard their stories of transformation and perseverance in the midst of difficulties and persecution. “It never ceases to surprise me how God creates connections between people,” relates Bob. “It was one of those experiences of God opening doors, even when we weren’t expecting it.” “It completely changed my perception of who Jesus is and what He can do,” Nancy adds. “I came back wanting to tell people what I’d seen, wanting them to be part of it, too. I started praying, ‘God I want to join what’s going on. How do I do that?’ And that for me was a turning point.”
THAT SPACE OF RISK HAS BECOME A FUN AND PAINFUL AND BEAUTIFUL PROCESS... THAT’S GOD’S GRACE AT WORK IN MY HEART.” —KRISTIN HUFFMAN
Kristin Huffman’s mission journey has taken her through different career paths and seasons of life and ministry that have increasingly drawn her to care about the unreached. Originally an elementary school teacher, she discovered God had given her a deep compassion for the spiritual lives of others. That realization led her to seminary, where she met, married and was ordained with her husband. After his unexpected death from cancer, Kristin moved with their two young children to San Antonio. She later met her now-husband Mike, and the next step of their journey led them to Houston, where she became an associate pastor. After her first mission trip to Mexico, her eyes were opened to the thrill of joining what God was doing among the global Church. As her ministry evolved into a role as Outreach Pastor, many cross-cultural experiences followed both in Houston among refugees and beyond US borders. When she heard about Light of Hope’s ministry in Ethiopia, Kristin says her ears “pricked up,” and she immediately began pursuing an opportunity to visit. That first trip to Africa and first experience serving among the unreached was instrumental in developing her love for those without access to the Gospel. “Before I wanted people to know Christ, but didn’t really know how that related to me personally,” Kristin shares. “Then I started getting to know people and my heart was just broken. I realized that as believers, we have both the privilege and responsibility to invest in the lives of people who don’t yet know Jesus.” She later traveled with Dan McNerney to Egypt and then to the United Arab Emirates. The stories she heard from pastors in the underground church and those serving refugees and the unreached confirmed her commitment to helping the American church deepen its engagement at the frontier.
As upcoming transitions rose on the horizon, Kristin began considering next steps in ministry. Fuller Seminary’s Texas campus (where she’d taught since 2001) approached her with an opportunity to serve part time as Director of Strategic Engagement, a role focused on partnership building between Fuller and churches, non-profits, alumni and prospective students. And when Richard Haney reached out to ask if she’d be interested in serving with Frontier Fellowship, Kristin says it’s as if God did the impossible—creating a place in which she could blend the gifts He has given her for this new stage of her journey. “My whole life has become this wonderful synergy of opportunities and connections and friendships,” shares Kristin. “It’s such an unfolding realization of what God has called me to do and the vehicles He’s providing to do it.” God’s hand is evident to Kristin as she steps into these new roles, and the relationships He has provided are the fuel for her ministry. She has experienced God’s grace moving her from fear to trust and wants to help the church do the same. “Fear of the unfamiliar holds us back from investing deeply in mission,” she says. “I know, because I’ve been there. I’ve been afraid to engage with people who are different from me. But stepping into that space of risk has become a fun and painful and beautiful process,” she continues. “I don’t have to be afraid of being unable to relate to people. That’s God’s grace at work in my heart. I can love and be curious. I can move towards others, even if I’m just taking baby steps. And the more I’ve done it, I’ve experienced a continual softening of my heart, and it helps others let go of their fears, too.” The next chapters of Kristin’s, Bob’s and Nancy’s mission journeys officially begin this fall as they take on their new roles as mobilizers and frontier mission advocates with Frontier Fellowship, coming alongside to strengthen and grow our partnerships and invite others to join us. It’s perhaps a bit unorthodox, and even risky, to embark upon a new season of ministry while many other people nearing retirement are contemplating a slower pace of life. But their stories affirm Frontier Fellowship’s conviction that God calls each of us—irrespective of background, age or gifting—to proclaim the Good News of Jesus to those who’ve never heard. Wherever you are in your frontier mission journey, know that you have company for the road ahead. We’re grateful to be a fellowship of wayfarers with you, believing in and beholding the coming of God’s Kingdom to every frontier of the world.
“I CAME BACK
WANTING TO TELL PEOPLE WHAT I’D SEEN, WANTING THEM TO BE PART OF IT, TOO.” —NANCY VON SCHIMMELMANN
DISCOVER THE FRONTIER AS LONG AS THERE ARE PEOPLE STILL WAITING TO HEAR THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS, OUR WORK ISN’T FINISHED. WE’D LOVE TO HELP YOU EXPLORE HOW GOD IS INVITING YOU TO TAKE NEW STEPS IN YOUR FRONTIER MISSION JOURNEY.
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We’re excited for the beginning of a new semester at the Bible school. There are two new potential students coming from Darfur. We’re waiting to see if there are enough funds for their travel expenses, tuition, room and board ($1,000/student). Pray that God would make their way clear and that He would provide us with the means to help support these students.
The school has financial difficulties due to the pressures on Christian institutions. Pray for the teachers who often have to wait months for a paycheck and for the Sudanese government to loosen its restrictions on Christians. TO LEARN MORE, CONTACT DENISE SCIUTO (DSCIUTO@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM).
CENTRAL ASIA Millions of unreached Central Asians live in Russia. In August, a group went on a Frontier Fellowship vision trip and visited with Central Asian workers sharing the Gospel with migrants. They also met leaders of the Institute for Bible Translation and heard about the publication of the Bible in two Central Asian languages. In November, Associate Directors Haemin Lee and Donald Marsden will travel to explore potential partnerships serving local people groups as well as diaspora communities from other Central Asian nations. We praise God that one of our ministry partners was recently able to take Christian materials to a securitysensitive country. Pray with us as we seek wisdom and clarified strategy. TO LEARN MORE, CONTACT HAEMIN LEE (HLEE@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM) OR DONALD MARSDEN (DMARSDEN@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM).
// MUSLIM OUTREACH This summer during Ramadan, Associate Director Dan McNerney had the privilege of helping a number of American churches reach out to their Muslim neighbors. We believe God calls us to build bridges of genuine friendship and understanding and participate in interfaith peacemaking—powerful opportunities to bear witness to the Good News of Jesus. Recently a Fuller Seminary professor visited Dan in the Chicago area to interview him and a Bosnian Imam with whom he has cultivated friendship and interfaith dialogue over the last nine years. This professor will use their interview in her curriculum to encourage students to take the initiative in developing interfaith relationships in their own communities. We’re receiving requests to teach, preach and offer training to a growing number of churches ready to build bridges of friendship with Muslims. Pray as we develop resources and mentoring relationships with these churches and others. TO LEARN MORE, CONTACT DAN MCNERNEY (DMCNERNEY@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM).
MIDDLE EAST Radical Muslims are afraid of the growth of Christianity in Egypt and believe violence will prevent it from continuing. But the Egyptian Church is becoming stronger with each wave of persecution. People are hungry for Jesus’ message of love. Pray for the Christian families that have lost loved ones to senseless terrorist acts. They need healing, hope and economic aid to rebuild their lives after these tragedies. We’re encouraged by the group joining us for an upcoming trip to London and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) November 1–10. Pray for this unique opportunity to interact with the diaspora of Persian followers of Jesus in London. One of our UAE partners recently returned from a highly successful witnessing campaign in Europe. He leads teams of trained Arab believers to share their faith with thousands of people from the Arabian Peninsula who vacation in Europe during the summer. These tourists are far more open to dialogue and spiritual exploration there than in their home countries. Pray for those who expressed sincere desire to learn more about Jesus and received materials to continue exploring the Gospel message. The Revolutionary Guard in Iran has recently cracked down heavily on the underground church. Two Christian leaders have been given unusually harsh prison sentences of up to 10 years. Pray for the faith, hope, stamina and ultimate release of these men. TO LEARN MORE, VISIT FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM OR CONTACT INFO@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM.
SOUTH ASIA // INDIA
Seventy-five new workers are currently in church planting training. The six couples who will be working among the four people groups of our Finishing the Task commitment are participating. Pray as they continue to prepare to serve in this new frontier mission field. Pray for partners as they respond to the devastating effects of the monsoon season in northern India. Pray for followers of Jesus facing persecution. Anticonversion laws were just passed in the state of Jharkhand. India’s prime minister and president have spoken out against Christianity and don’t believe Christians deserve equal rights. Four participants are joining Associate Director Cody Watson for a vision trip November 6–16, supported by a praying team in the US. Pray for God to prepare and lead them as they travel and meet with our partners. who are ready first time. TO LEARN MORE, CONTACT CODY WATSON (CWATSON@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM).
// PAKISTAN Pakistan is going through political turmoil following the ousting of its prime minister by the Supreme Court in July. We’re thankful Associate Director Haemin Lee was able to obtain a travel visa and can visit this fall to connect with Christian leaders and learn how God is at work in this region of the world. Continue to pray for Haemin’s safe journey and wisdom as he travels and meets with our ministry partners. TO LEARN MORE, CONTACT HAEMIN LEE (HLEE@FRONTIERFELLOWSHIP.COM).
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Quarterly magazine with news and stories from the ministry of Frontier Fellowship