Vagabonds. Gypsies. Travelers. That’s our identity in this Journey Services Update for August.
Christian Barriers to Jesus released in July and is now available in both print and Kindle versions from the following sources:
- William Carey Library (20% discount for $18.39 at http://bit.ly/2fjAaIE)
- Amazon (Print retails for $22.99 at http://amzn.to/2vZQm6j; Kindle for $9.99 at http://amzn.to/2v7NmCv)
- A print version is already available in Thailand (300 Baht; http://publish2day.org/shop/product/wcl-christian-barriers-to-jesus-783
- A Kindle version is available in India through Amazon.in (₹ 449 at http://amzn.to/2vo8auJ)
- An Indian print version in English is available at Pothi.com (₹ 349 at http://bit.ly/2gE7VRR)
Paul Teaching in Yangon, Myanmar
One significant barrier to Jesus involves the dependency mentality that Christianity has too often fostered in different parts of the world. It makes believers in other parts of the world permanently dependent upon Western funding or church handouts.
In parts of Asia we have visited, this has also fostered an anti-business mentality among believers. It sees business people as spiritually suspect and business as somehow evil or inimical to “ministry.”
Paul headed to Yangon, Myanmar on August 10th on a team of four people to teach business principles to people who want to start self-sustaining enterprises of various kinds. The team worked with Opportunities NOW Myanmar [see http://www.onowmyanmar.org/ for information]. ONOW Myanmar has developed creative, contextualized training for business
ONOW Myanmar has developed creative, contextualized training for business start-up and development in Myanmar. Their Mr. Finance chatbot has been recognized as a cutting-edge training and coaching tool for learning to manage business finances [see recent Forbes article: Meet Mr. Finance].
During the ten days Paul was there, they met with team leaders, presented a week of entrepreneurship training, and visited some of the businesses that have been started. We ate at a restaurant run by one of the graduates.
These business people are struggling with church attitudes toward business that sometimes question their faithfulness to Jesus and their spiritual maturity. They face a Christian culture that says “professional ministry” is the only legitimate occupation. Business is deeply suspect. So we spent considerable time helping them see that God’s word actually affirms business and responsible use of financial resources. We have to provide tools not only to succeed in business, but to challenge the anti-business sentiment of many leaders and churches in their country.
Coming Home and On the Road Again
Paul returned to the US from Myanmar on Sunday, August 20th. We washed clothes and repacked as he fought jet lag Monday through Wednesday. Then we hit the road that Thursday (August 24th) for another road trip, this time to different places east of Cincinnati.
Stop 1 – Toronto
We first drove to Toronto, Canada to observe the Toronto Satsang (worship gathering). We got to meet some of the musicians from Aradhna [see Aradhna Music for information and samples of their creative music. You can also listen to the Aradhna music channel on YouTube].
On Friday night (August 25th) we attended the monthly Toronto Satsang. It was held at the Toronto Beaches as the sun was setting. Everyone brought vegetarian dishes to share in a joint meal and then we sang bhajans in worship of Prabhu Yeshu (Lord Jesus) for couple hours in that peaceful setting.
Stop 2 – Vermont
We then drove from Toronto to Vermont to spend some time with our son and daughter-in-law there. We don’t get to see them often. We did some hiking in the Vermont woods, caught up with their family, and met some of their friends. We went to the town hall to hear John jam some bluegrass tunes with the Tuesday Night Townhall Boys.
Stops 4-6 – Albany, Parsippany, Philadelphia
At the end of the week, we bade farewell to our kids and drove east to Albany, New York. Had lunch with the author of Authentic Lives (another William Carey publication available at Authentic Lives).
The next day we spent time with Tim Shultz, author of Disciple Making Among Hindus (yet another William Carey book available at Disciple Making Among Hindus).
We closed out our trip with a stop in Philadelphia to meet some new friends. While there, Margaret and I also checked out Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell for the first time.
- We are grateful for the many ways the Lord has used us to encourage, counsel, and coach people this month, in often unanticipated ways
- We thank God that the book is finally out and available!
- Pray that God uses Christian Barriers to Jesus to spark revival and renewal across the US and around the world. It is fostering intriguing conversations with people in many disparate contexts about what is essential for following Jesus and what are dispensable cultural inventions.
- Pray that we will have the focus and direction for what the Lord really wants us to do in the middle of a growing array of opportunities.
- Pray for our marriage relationship that the Lord will help us to grow closer and stronger as the demands, travels, and requests for our time and attention grow.