So this is a belated Journey Services weekly update. Our travels caught up with us.
Perspectives Speaking in Michigan (4/7-4/12)
On Friday, April 7, we headed north to Michigan to teach the Perspectives course at four sites. We included reflections on the importance of respectful, understanding relationships with Hindus as we live and share our faith in Jesus. The sessions focused on fostering communities and congregations of believers that are deeply rooted in their culture and community so that people can hear about and consider the good news of Jesus in natural ways.
Friday night our hosts took us to participate in a Seder service led by a Jewish follower of Jesus. He walked us through the rituals and symbols of the Pesach (Passover) meal. Saturday and Sunday we taught in Ann Arbor and Northville. Then we drove to the middle of the state and taught the same sessions again at St. John’s and Lansing. We were able to explain why, in some parts of the world, some believers must follow Jesus without using the label “Christian” even though they are faithful disciples of Jesus only and follow His word.
Monday and Tuesday nights we stayed with a couple who own and run a dairy farm. Since the 1960s, they had used an automated feeding system that uses conveyor belts to deliver feed to the cattle. Four years ago, they installed a robotic milking system. RFID tags around the cows necks direct them to the milking machines when it’s their turn. The milking is done by robotic suction cups, so cows are milked on a set schedule all day and night. One of the cows was in heat, so Paul even got to also see the artificial insemination process.
The owner of the farm, has a Seminary degree, but God called him to take over the farm from his father and run it. He uses his business to serve and bless people in many places in the name of Jesus. On our journeys we have been blessed to meet many people who know that their “secular” job is their primary ministry for the Lord.
We returned from our Michigan journey with Easter weekend right in front of us. Paul has something growing in his throat (still being checked) and was scheduled for his 5-year colonoscopy. So our Good Friday involved going to a hospital so that the doctor could perform both endoscope procedures while he was under anesthesia. We then spent some time just regrouping and catching up from being gone most of a week.
On Easter Sunday, we attended LifeSpring Community Christian Church in Harrison, Ohio. We had not been there for some time. It was good to make connection with a number of dear friends and former students as we celebrated our risen Lord together.
Progress on Paul’s Book, Christian Barriers to Jesus
William Carey Library’s editor sent me a few minor details to decide on and fix in the book and that took about 30 minutes to complete and send back. It is exciting to see the book ready for the final formatting and typesetting phase. The day after I sent those edits, I received an email from a friend who is a Messianic Jew. He has read the book from his perspective and had several minor wording suggestions to better build understanding with Jewish readers. This just highlighted my continued astonishment that a book focused primarily on Hindu concerns about Christian barriers is being read and processed by people of very different cultures and faiths with the same concerns. So I made those edits and sent the re-revised revision to the editor. It’s now all in their hands for typesetting and printing in May!
Margaret and Missionary Pre-Conference
Every year, Margaret organizes and coordinates an overnight Pre-Conference for field missionaries prior to our annual missions conference—International Conference on Missions. She is in the middle of lining up discussion coordinators for this year’s interactive sessions to encourage missionaries and provide counseling support. A number of potential speakers are not available this year, so she needs wisdom to regroup and create a new list to contact.
Connections and Catching Up
During this last week, we Skyped with colleagues in India to catch up on how our life and work is going there and here. Paul Skyped with a man in Germany who works with Buddhist people who desire to follow Jesus. He wanted to collaborate on a possible online training and resource platform. We also met with a couple who are serving refugees from Bhutan and Nepal in a nearby city. The people they help come from Hindu backgrounds, and are alienated by many of the traditional Christian forms and expressions they have encountered. Our friends wanted to explore how to build relationships that are more respectful and understanding of the concerns their Hindu neighbors raise.
Family Time (Friday 4/22)
We closed out the week with some time with our grandkids, first in Cincinnati, then in Indianapolis. They had been watching a praying mantis egg case for weeks on their Japanese maple tree. On Friday, when we checked, the sack had just hatched and there were praying mantises everywhere. Paul posted a brief video on his Facebook feed of the scattering insects. It’s worth the time to watch the video just to hear our daughter, Rachel Heinbaugh, start naming them.
- Strength for three more Perspectives sessions this coming week in Columbus, Indiana; Dayton, Ohio; and Cincinnati.
- Wisdom as we connect with some people about house fellowship opportunities in Cincinnati
- Leading for Margaret as she recruits facilitators for the missionary Pre-Conference
- Guidance as we pursue connections and consulting opportunities that are arising from our Perspectives teaching
- Continued leading as we prepare for presentations to various groups and conferences in May and June (Dayton, Pasadena, Wheaton, Houston)
- Pray for wisdom as Paul explores a possible book project on understanding and relating to the Hindu diaspora in North America (more on that later)
Thank you for reading this Journey Services weekly update.