We are doing well. Lois is recovering well from her chemo and radiation and is back to work. Our spirits are good. It helps to have grandkids!
As for my work, as a missionary with Latin America Mission (LAM), I continue to serve Latin American leaders as they serve Christ and care for people, in many parts of the world. LAM recently merged with United World Mission (UWM). The new mission is global in scope and, because of the entrance of LAM, the majority of UWM looks at the world from Latin America. Many on the staff are Latin Americans themselves. UWM carries on LAM’s commitment to do what we do with Latin Americans, and to follow their visions for ministry, because we believe that God is using Latin Americans for the good of the world and for the advance of the gospel.
Personally, this merger means a lot more work for me. But it is work that I think that all these years of experiences with the growth the the church in Latin American and the growth of the missions commitment of Latin American evangelicals has prepared me to do. I am on the Integration Team that is working on aligning the two missions. This team is led by two of us, who were strategy advisors to the respective presidents of the two missions. We report to John Bernard, President of the new UWM. My main task is to introduce UWM to the more than 80 partner ministries scattered throughout Latin America with whom LAM had partnership arrangements. This means that over the next year I will make sure that the leaders of these ministries, in most of the countries in Latin America, receive a personal visit from me and Alex Araujo my co-leader in this project, or other representatives of LAM and UWM.
Undoubtedly, in the future, I will have a role for envisioning how this newly united ministry builds on the foundation that was laid in our separate histories. The stories are complementary. That is we each bring something the other needs, and together we are more than 350 missionaries, working in 40 countries. If you count in the partnerships, particularly with Latin Americans, we are in many more than 40 countries, sharing the gospel of God’s blessing to all peoples, and we do it in both words and deeds. We have projects with children at risk, against human trafficking, church planting, leadership development, etc. In all cases, our real specialty is supporting the multiplication of churches, agencies and grass-roots leaders who do these things. More and more the work that gets done is supported locally, which means it is becoming more sustainable.
Thirty-six (36) years ago we were sent as a young childless couple of idealistic missionaries to Brazil. We have learned a lot in these years and count it a privilege to still be involved. We owe a great debt to our friends and supporters for sending us on this journey, and to those who faithfully continue to make it possible. We love to find ways to pay back that debt, especially as we recognize how the increasingly multi-cultural reality of the USA continues to call us to deepen and broaden our understanding of the mission we are called to live out as followers of Christ. We want to do what we can to help new generations think about how they will be faithful to that mission, too.