3D Gospel | Part 1

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By: Dr. Karen Stoufer

All of us want to learn how to be more effective as Christ’s ambassadors to those who do not yet know Him.  When taking the gospel to those of another culture, whether overseas or right here in diverse America, we want to avoid an “American” or “Western” style presentation of the gospel that may not be understood or accepted by those of another culture or worldview. 

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Roadblocks to Missions: Part Three

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By: Dr. Brad Frye, Program Director and Latin America Director

This is the third and final part in our series on roadblocks to missions. In part one, we talked about calling and responding to God’s call to missions and we identified the six roadblocks we believe hold people back from pursuing the call to serve overseas. In part two, we specifically addressed the roadblocks of the need for more veterinary education, the issue of debt and paying it off, calling and how to discern where God might be calling you. In part three, we will address the roadblocks of spiritual preparedness, family and raising children on the mission field, and separation from family.

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Roadblocks to Missions: Part Two

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By: Dr. Brad Frye, Program Director and Latin America Director

This is the second part in our three part series on roadblocks to missions. In part one, we talked about calling and responding to God’s call to missions and we began the conversation of addressing the roadblocks that hold people back from pursuing the call to serve overseas. In part two, we will specifically address the roadblocks of the need for more veterinary education, the issue of debt and paying it off, calling and how to discern where God might be calling you.

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Letting Go of Material Things

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By: CVM Fieldstaff, serving Wolof in Africa

The final countdown is here, and in less than 90 days we leave the country to spend the next three years abroad serving the Wolof tribe and others in Africa.  It would be a lie to tell you that letting go of our house, cars, and other belongings has been easy.  It’s strange and sad how material things can establish such a grip on us over the years, and how they can stir up emotions of fear and uncertainty when they are not there.  But the Lord clearly teaches against relying on money and other material things

A missionary mentor of ours once told us, “We sold almost everything to go to Ethiopia; and God supplied.  Again, we sold most everything to come back to the States; and again God supplied!!  Four kids through college debt-free?  Incredible!”

 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!  No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” –Matthew 6:19-24 ESV

In Matthew 13, Jesus addresses love of material things to the rich young ruler.  Jesus sees right through his apparent righteousness as an upstanding law-abiding citizen and instead focuses on the idol of his heart – his “stuff”.   The Bible says that Jesus loved him and told him the truth, “One thing you lack.  Go sell all you have and give to the poor and come and follow me.”  The rich young ruler couldn’t do it; his wealth had ensnared his heart.  David Platt, president of IMB quoted another author reminding his congregation, “God doesn’t call everyone to sell all they have in order to follow Him.  But the ones who feel relieved to hear that are probably the ones who most need to do it!  The struggle for our hearts is real.

We pray that any snares entangling our hearts that we are still holding onto will be loosed!  May we each rely solely on Jesus every day for the rest of our lives!  To God be all the glory!

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We still wonder why us?

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“Why uproot your family? Why Africa? That’s not what Americans do”, I thought. “Moving to Africa is not part of the American dream.” But I knew, ever since I was a teenager, that I was meant to serve on the foreign mission field. So, what did I do? I ignored it, even ran from it. I spent 20 years focused on…well, me. As I married and became a father my focus turned to being a good provider. As men, that’s what we do, and that’s good. But, let’s face it, God is the only true provider. All the material things we provide can be gone in an instant (remember a man named Job?) The best provision I can impart to my family is love and faithful obedience to our Savior.

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The Animal Bridge

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By: Dr. Denise Thagard

After deciding to go to Ethiopia I needed a project name to describe me and the work that I would be doing. After thinking it over, I decided on the name, “The Animal Bridge”.

In any culture there is a gap that exists between Christians and non-Christians (ex: those that know God personally and those that do not) and it was even more distinctive for me in Ethiopia, since I was a foreigner. There needed to be a common bond- for me this was the animals.

As a veterinarian in the states, I have seen that people love their animals and many lean on them for support. In many instances they are even incorporated into the family as though they are children. But as I look around, I see the trend has been to depend on animals for emotional; support, while depending on them less and less for financial stability. This is not the case in most developing countries. In these countries people’s whole lives center around their animals: for food, for social status, and for some, animals represent their entire life savings. In some families, a death of a person or entire family In multiple areas some believe that a cow is worht more than a person–they will tell you it is easier to replace a wife than a cow.

In recent weeks I have heard of a few people who were loved into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Christians had shown them love and through their gentle actions they were drawn to Christ. That is the type of impact that I hope I have been a part of in Ethiopia. By showing that I care for their animals I want to show the nationals that I care for them. When they see Christ’s love in action toward that which matters most to them, the animals, it will bridge the gap between two very different worlds.

One thing you may know about the engineering of bridges, is that from a distance it appears to be just a road spanning a ravine, but from up close you can see the multiple parts of the frame supporting the road. Without such support, the bridge couldn’t stand up to much weight or pressure and would fall prematurely if left unsupported. My bridge, and the bridge of those serving in missions, needs strong support of prayer, finances, and encouragement. Without prayer (the largest support) I may not be successful in communication, or I may fall prey to health or safety problems. Without finances I would have been able to even go, and without the encouragement from others it would be easy to fall into loneliness or depression. So I ask you to pray for me, and others who serve in missions, that our bridges would be strong and effective and that it may carry the weight of the Lord’s good work, as we faithfully try to carry it out.

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