KEN CHITWOOD’S NEWSLETTER TO PARTNERS IN MINISTRY
Not Namaste, Jayamasi! “We don’t say ‘Namaste,’ we say ‘Jayamasi!’” corrected Om Maya Tamang, the wife of Pastor Abraham Tamang on my visit to their house church in Southwest Houston. Knowing I was going to be joining Nepalis for worship I made sure to practice my hand clasping, my bowing and my ‘Namaste,’ the common greeting in much of India and Nepal. I learned that for Christians in the Nepal region the proper greeting is “Jayamasi” which is a more direct pronouncement of peace in Jesus Christ; and peace in J e s u s C h r i s t i s exa c t l y w h a t I experienced while visiting, worshipping and sharing the Word of God with my Nepali brothers and sisters. Operating out of a multi-cultural immigrant community apar tment com plex in Sout hwest Houston, Abraham and Om Maya’s congregation consists of about 30 or
so adults and 20 some kids, all gathered into a one bedroom apartment for worship, Sunday School and fellowship. When I visited we sang some praise songs to begin, read a few passages and then welcomed visitors. I was not the only visitor present that morning, there was a pair of young adults, one named Banni, who shared that this was their first time visiting the church and that they had to do so by sneaking away from their Hindu parents’ home. While she was a believer, her brother, who was with her was not. Following my introduction I was then asked to share the message for the day. I spoke from Genesis 22 and Matthew 11:30 and shared that Jesus does not require our sacrifices or our good works in order to be saved. Instead, he bids us to come to him for rest and peace because of the things he has done and the sacrifice he made for our sake. It was a translated
message and I prayed that God’s Word was clear. As I sat down the young man who was visiting looked at me and nodded his head. After the service I talked with Banni, her brother and pastor. The young man shared that he had never heard the Gospel before. Pastor Abraham prayed with him and asked me to drive them to their home. As we talked on the way I learned more about their story and why they felt they needed to sneak out of their house. The young man shared that he was nervous to become Christian and I told him that nervous or not, God was calling on his heart and that I would pray for his strength to proclaim Jesus as His Lord and be baptized. As he left, instead of wishing me Namaste he clasped his hands, bowed and said, “Jayamasi!” -Ken Chitwood
My Way in Mission
There are numerous stories of missionary sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel. While mission work certainly does involve sacrifice and some suffering there is one thing that never deters me from living missionally for the sake of the Gospel - the food! Working with folks from all over the world here in Houston I get to enjoy all types of culinary delights. Just today I chomped down on some “gulbi” from the Korea House in Spring Branch and this evening I will eat some Texas BBQ. The food certainly is good, but the best part is sharing a meal with others, learning about their lives and sharing Jesus...even over a taco or a bowl of curry.
Pastor Abraham and his wife Om Maya are reaching out to people from Nepal, but also preaching the Gospel in their apartment complex to people from Bhurma, Mexico, Nigeria, Ghana, Guatemala and elsewhere!
Highlights & News: 1. Visiting Churches, Sharing the Word As I shared in the opening story I’ve had the pleasure of visiting and preaching at several churches in the last few weeks including Prince of Peace in Fremont, CA; St. Luke’s in Westminster, CA; Nepali Lutheran Fellowship, Houston; Trinity Lutheran Houston; and Trinity Lutheran in Simi Valley, CA. Thank you to all the churches I visited and if you are ever interested in having me I would be humbled and honored! 2. Exciting Training Opportunities As a vicar and as a student I am always in the process of learning, but these last two months I had some very exciting opportunities to learn and grow. The first was my Systematics I class in CA where I learned more about the relationship of the Trinity, the second was a gathering of missionminded sacramental church leaders at t h e F i ve Two W i k i c o n f e re n c e (www.fivetwo.com) and the third was a Hispanic ministry seminar here in Houston with Prof. Marcos Kempff. 3. New LBI Website In June the LINC Bible Institute rolled out its new website with fantastic features for all prospective and current students and any visitor to the site. Check it out at www.linchouston.org.
Sacred Duty Blog In June I started blogging for Houston’s city newspaper, the Houston Chronicle. My blog, Sacred Duty, is meant for a wide and diverse audience interested in learning more about religion from a cultural, educational or sociological perspective. I am asked to write it from a neutral point of view and I write on all types of faiths. As a testament to the diverse audience I am writing to, the first month my blog had over 25,000 page views and some 200 comments. Feel free to stop by and read the Sacred Duty blog at www.houstonbelief.com and keep an eye out for new articles by following me on Twitter (@kc hitwood) or following Houston Belief (@houstonbelief). Peace.
Our Summer Funding Scenario Over the last 10 months Elizabeth and I were blessed to receive some awesome and humbling gifts of support from donors like yourself. We also appreciate the continual e-mails, messages and letters of prayer support we receive from you as well. Through ministry here with LINC Houston, I’ve been able to directly train 87 different individuals for mission work in Houston, Austin, Kazakhstan, Peru and South Africa because of your support. Furthermore, I’ve had the opportunity to share Christ directly and through relationships with individuals in Katy and in Houston coming from all over the world. I’ve seen people get excited for missions, get reconnected with Christ and His Word and seen individuals come to faith through the preaching of the Word. All of this is humbling to a mighty degree. It is often in times of great personal weakness and questioning that I see Christ at work in the ministries I am part of (2 Corinthians 12:9). In March I challenged my support network (that’s you) to help me get 50% funded ($6,000) by the end of April. We are still far off from that goal. As of right now I am ONLY 50% FUNDED for this year of ministry (October 2010-September 2011). With continued school expenses, rent going up in August and some recent medical fees for a surgery I underwent, Elizabeth and I are starting to feel the pinch. As I am sure most of you understand, this economy limits the availability of extra cash, but I am asking you, out of a generous and thankful heart, to consider becoming a monthly supporter of mission and missions training at LINC Houston through my ministry. The present need is for me to fundraise $1,700 a month over the next three months. It is a BIG ask, I know. However, Elizabeth and I trust that the LORD is faithful and that He will raise up individuals and churches to help us here in Houston. If you are interested in helping the best way you can support us is by giving $10-$50 a month. These small gifts add up. If we had just 50 individuals or churches giving $10 a month we would be 50% funded easily. If we had 50 individuals or churches giving $20 a month that would mean our funding would be at 100%. I humbly ask you to consider giving $10-50 a month and becoming part of our core donor team. This month I am looking for 20 of you to make this commitment. That way by the end of July we could be at anywhere from 60-70% funded by August 1. Thanks for your time, your prayers, your gifts and your consideration. Whatever the Spirit puts on your hearts, please pray for the following for us: +Peace and presence as Elizabeth and I continue to deal with times apart this summer. +Thanksgiving for recent witness opportunities with some friends and in local mission contexts. +That financial support would come as we serve Christ in this place
PLEASE SEND YOUR SUPPORT TO LINC HOUSTON, MEMO: Ken Chitwood (161 West Rd., Houston, TX 77037) or Visit http://www.razoo.com/story/Ken-Chitwood-Missional-Training