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LESSONS FROM A GLOBAL SUMMER
Greetings praying friends,
After an amazing - exhausting - fruitful - rewarding - challenging Summer of ministry, it's time for a report. Ministry and travel from May (GRADUATION x 2!) through early September has taken one or both of us from Budapest to Bhubaneswar (India), from Croatia to Cape Cod, from Taiwan to Indonesia to Australia to the Caribbean to our home church, Grace Chapel.
How do we summarize such a diverse few months? As we've talked together, we discovered four significant lessons we've learned through the people God sent us to and experiences He gave us in Summer 2007.
LESSON 1: YOUR PRAYERS, GOD'S PROTECTION. In the recent DAI Newsletter "Connect" (which some of you will receive by mail and others can request or view on-line at http://www.daintl.org/index.php?option=com_letterman&Itemid=435), the focus was on India. In the newsletter, our CEO Jane Overstreet states, "Sometimes we say to each other rather apologetically, 'all I can do is pray' - but for those out on the front lines this means EVERYTHING."
All we can say is "Amen." There were times of exhaustion this Summer where the only thing keeping us going was the thought that you who read our newsletters and reports were "helping us by your prayers" (II Corinthians 1:10-11).
The most acute reminder of this came at the DAI training in India where Paul was introducing a Masters course to 38 World Vision staff who are in the DAI-directed program. On the second morning, the hotel staff came and told Paul that his clothes and personal effects had been moved to another room because "your room caught on fire." An electrical malfunction in an air conditioner compressor had caused a fire that went right up one wall, causing considerable smoke and fire damage to both the room and the entire hallway! A return visit to the room was quite a reminder of the need God's protection: if the fire had occurred at night - when the air conditioner was one continuously - Paul could have suffocated in the thick smoke.
LESSON 2: ENDURANCE IS REWARDING! The summer was full of reminders of the benefits of trying to be faithful and "staying in the race" (Hebrews 12:3).
- Budapest: at the Lausanne meetings and the "Singapore 87" reunion, we were encouraged by seeing faithful women and men serving all over the world. Many of these serve in very tough places - like our friend John Sagherian, serving faithfully with his wife Nancy with Youth for Christ in Lebanon.
- Croatia: we were delighted to spend time in Croatia with our former Gordon College students Petra and Jeremy Bohall; they now serve as youthworkers in that country. Their lives encouraged us to stay faithful in teaching at Gordon College.
- Taiwan: Paul had the privilege of ministering alongside Jamie Taylor, a friend of twenty years, at the "Taiwanese Urbana," a conference dedicated to mobilizing more than 1600 Taiwanese students for missions. Jamie, Mimi, and their families serve as tremendous encouragements to us because of their faithful dedication to God's work in China.
- Cape Cod and Baltimore: we visited, preached, and were personally "loved on" at the Evangelical Free Church in Dennis, where long-term friends Dave & Trish Johnson serve as leaders. At the September Board Meetings of World Relief in Baltimore, Paul got to offer words of tribute to long-term friend and mentor Gordon MacDonald as he steps down from five years of serving as Board Chair. Gordon and Gail serve as examples to us of resilience and grace in the long race.
- Lexington: Paul even had the wonderful chance in July to preach again at Grace Chapel, our home church - since 1969 for Paul and 1976 for Christie. Our very long connection there is a reward in itself - simply because of the many people who encourage us through their partnership in prayer and support. (You can listen online to this sermon about "World Religions" at http://www.grace.org/audio and look for July 1, 2007.
LESSON 3: IT'S ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS. One of the reasons we joined the Development Associates International team was the priority placed on ministry through long-term relationship-building. It may sound trite and somewhat repetitive with lesson two, but it's a consistent lesson - that the Christian community is about building our relationships with each other and keeping each other in our hearts. We saw this in a fresh way…
- Through mentoring relationships around our home here in Lexington.
- Through grieving alongside our long-term friends, the Jacques family, as we said goodbye in July to Dan after a long struggle with Lou Gehrig's disease.
- Through seeing Dave Hazle, an old acquaintance from the "Amsterdam 2000" conference, become the pastor of Elmslie Church in the Cayman Islands, a church that supports our work with DAI.
LESSON 4: INVESTING IN LEADERS (ESPECIALLY YOUNGER LEADERS). In Development Associates International, we invest in training leaders. Although the summer was full, the greatest investment was with staff members of World Vision serving across India. In the DAI "Connect" newsletter cited above, Paul summarized his experience of the privileges we get in DAI to invest in strategic leaders.
"Any observant Christian visitor to India - especially Indian cities - is immediately overwhelmed by the vastness of the poverty living right alongside symbols of prosperity. Observing this poverty on multiple visits to India has often left me feeling helpless and hopeless - what can one person do? As I interacted with this World Vision cohort, I realized that God was answering my question. By investing in these men and women, I was partnering with the people and the teams of people can truly make a difference in the lives of India's poorest people."
In addition to specific DAI training, some of our investment focuses specifically on younger leaders. This was a very rewarding Summer. We got personal "investment" time with multiple younger leaders in Hungary and Croatia, had the opportunity to challenge younger leaders towards cross-cultural missions in Taiwan and pioneering outreach in Indonesia, and came alongside younger leaders in Australia who are committed to mobilizing the Australian church for outreach.
SUMMARY AND CHALLENGES AHEAD. Stay faithful, stay prayerful, and invest in others - that sums up our Summer lessons. Now we enter the Fall with a number of challenges and requests for you to partner with us in prayer:
We appreciate your partnership and prayers!
- Investing in leaders: please pray for our effectiveness in teaching in multiple opportunities to invest in younger leaders through mentoring relationships and through speaking opportunities like NIFES 2007, the Nigerian student mission conference where over 10,000 attendees are expected.
- Investing in leaders: please pray for Paul as he teaches at both Gordon College and Lanka Bible College, as well as completes the distance-learning DAI M.A. Course with the World Vision staff in India.
- Personal growth: please pray with Christie as she continues her training even after completing her MA in May. She starts training in "Spiritual Direction" this Fall.
- Personal health: we appreciate your prayers for Christie as she recovers and rehabs from carpal tunnel surgery (on September 17th) and for Paul as he continues to manage life with insulin-dependent diabetes (a challenge that intensifies with aging and ongoing travel).
- Development Associates International staff meetings - October 21-26 in Nigeria: please pray as all senior staff meet to pray, plan, and set direction as the organization grows.
Christie & Paul Borthwick
A NOTE ABOUT FINANCES: with increased international ministry ahead comes increased expense. If you'd like to join us in financial partnership, tax-deductible contributions (designated "Borthwick Support") can be made payable and sent to:
Development Associates International
P.O. Box 49278
Colorado Springs, CO 80949