Another Celebration of Missions

The end of October we made a trip to St. Simon’s Island, Georgia. No, we weren’t heading to the UGA vs. Florida game! We were spending the weekend at World Gospel Mission’s Southeast Celebration of Missions.

It was a small crowd, but represented in those numbers were years of faithful prayers and generous support of missionaries around the world. Many drove for hours to share this time together hearing of God’s call and His work transforming lives both here and abroad. We were blessed as we heard fellow missionaries share how God is moving in their countries and heard their heart for the people they serve. We were encouraged as we chatted with longtime supporters of missions and heard their heart for reaching the world for Christ. We were filled with joy to share a meal and memories with co-laborers from our years in Honduras. And we were so glad to spend this weekend with Len’s parents who have been a part of this missions conference for a number of years.

Below are a few glimpses of the weekend…

Honduras

With fellow missionaries to Honduras (thanks for the photo, Sharon!)

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Speakers Tommy and LaVern Anderson of Ireland. They hadn’t seen Luke since he was an infant!

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Luke’s new friends, the Bowen boys from Paraguay!

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It was a great weekend with Len’s parents.

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I learn, therefore I change.

Have you ever said, “I don’t like change.” I know I have. Probably every time we have had to move. Or every time someone we loved has had to move. Both of which seem to happen a lot. But my aversion to change is somewhat selective.

photo credit Luke Phillips

photo credit Luke Phillips

For instance, I do love the change of seasons. Last weekend  as I traveled from Georgia through Kentucky to Indiana, the change of seasons became more and more obvious with each mile northward. Here in Georgia we are still enjoying 80 degree days, but a couple hundred miles north, the cooler weather announced the arrival of fall, as did the golden, red, and orange hues of the leaves on the trees lining the interstate. Beautiful!

Seriously, what would life be without change? What would we be like without change? Change is inevitable. Sometimes change is thrust upon us. Sometimes we choose it ourselves. Sometimes we strive for it. Sometimes we do our utmost to avoid it.

How about when we think of education? Especially Christian education? Len and I have tossed around the term “transformational education” quite a bit this year as we’ve traveled and shared with our ministry partners. But what does that really mean? I want to be sure that Inigo Montoya (i.e. The Princess Bride) can’t say to me, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

I know there exists something called transformative learning theory, referring primarily to adult learning, to a sort of paradigm shift that happens as someone has new experiences, critically reflects on those experiences and changes their frame of reference or perspective in some way. That’s a pretty simplistic version of a much-debated and complex theory. But obviously, transformation means change. So applying that to education…learning leads to change…or it should, right?

In Christian education…whether that is in homeschool, a Christian school, a Sunday school class or a small group…it appears that transformational education is learning that leads students, and teachers (because we are still learners), to adopt a thoroughly Biblical worldview as the frame of reference though which all of life is filtered and which affects our every action, thought, desire, and relationship. Christian thinking. Christian living.

So how do we do this? Beyond, or maybe in spite of, curriculum choice and methodology, how do we inspire and encourage true Biblical transformation in those students God has entrusted to us? Len and I certainly don’t have all the answers. But we are both studying and thinking and reading and reflecting on our years in educational endeavors to get a better handle on it. Len, of course, is pursuing his masters in education. That’s a little more formal pursuit of answers than my own reading.

Right now I am re-reading an old classic, Teaching to Change Lives, by Howard Hendricks. In it, the author describes seven”laws” pertaining to teaching…the law of the teacher, the law of education, the law of activity, the law of communication, the law of the heart, the law of encouragement, and the law of readiness. Much of the book is likely familiar territory to experienced teachers. For me, it’s a needed reminder, from chapter one on, that I can only teach from who I am and what I know. And if I myself am not continuing to learn and to grow and to be transformed by my own relationship with Jesus Christ, seeing such transformation in my students will be impossible.

How do you pursue a vision of transformational education? What does that look like in your home or your classroom? How do you know when it’s actually happening? How do you make room for it in the midst of lesson plans and curriculum and testing and discipline and just getting through a day at school? And what are you doing to continue transformation in your own life as a teacher? I would love to know.

Posted in Education, Transformation | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Time for a Celebration

Our first Global Impact Celebration

Our first Global Impact Celebration

This weekend we attended our first ever Global Impact Celebration. It was held at the Washington, Georgia FUMC. What a warm welcome this congregation gave us! We were hosted and loved and blessed through a wonderful weekend of celebrating the mission and ministry of this local church!

 

 

Settling in to a beautiful guest apartment, a Friday night banquet and Q&A with missionaries followed by prayer was a hospitable and refreshing beginning to the weekend.

Opening Banquet

Opening Banquet

Q&A with the missionaries

Q&A with the missionaries

Sunday school class

Sunday school class

Breakfast on Saturday, a ladies’ luncheon, and cottage meetings in the evening allowed so many opportunities to really get to know the heart of people at this church and to share ours with them. The guys enjoyed an afternoon of fishing and archery, a highlight for Luke. Then on Sunday, Len and I split up to share with Sunday school classes and were blessed by their words of encouragement. The worship service was a fitting end to a three days of joyful commitment to reach outside the walls of the church in love and labor for His Kingdom.

An amazing missions committee!

An amazing missions committee!

An extra bonus blessing was finding that so many in the congregation were somehow involved in education. I can’t wait to see how God will bring us together again and give us opportunities to work together in missions and education in the future!

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Welcome and Bienvenidos!

You have arrived at our new blog. Thanks for visiting!

Through these pages we hope to keep you up-to-date on news about our ministry with The Global Resource Team as we continue serving in missions with both The Mission Society and World Gospel Mission.

We also hope this will be a place where we can offer some resources and ideas for those serving internationally in educational ministries. But we want your input too.

So comment on our posts. Share your ideas. Send links to the resources you refer to most often. Let’s make this a place where those of us who want to impact students academically and spiritually can encourage and help one another achieve that goal.

It’s a work in progress, this blog. As is this new venture in ministry. But here’s our vision for both our blog and our ministry:

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

Ephesians 4:11-16 (NIV)

Posted in Education, Ministry news, Resources, Transformation | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment