Equipping: Montana, Sth East Asia, and a short video. August 29, 2016
Joel receives special school award June 2, 2016
We just had to show this.
Joel receives the special, 6th grade “Dawn Bowker Award” given for excellence in character, integrity, and citizenship. Only one individual in the 6th grade, one in the 7th grade and one in the 8th grade at his school can receive it, for the entire school year. Knowing that he would be away next week (when the other two are given) his wonderful teacher organized a presentation with his other 6th grade classes and teachers so, “he could receive it in front of his peers”. She called us earlier in the week to let us know and ensure we could be there.
We are so proud of him. He had no idea it was going to happen 🙂
After that we took him to get a treat, anything he wanted> “a cheeseburger, fries and EXTRA LARGE cookie-dough Blizzard”. Ugh! (see pics below)
May 2016 Update June 1, 2016
I have just returned from Maui where I was teaching in a Discipleship Training School; the topic, Identity in Christ and Discipleship. This school is now only 3 weeks away from their outreach in Bangl.adesh (spelling deliberate). This was a very fulfilling week. A small school, yet huge in heart. So dedicated to the teaching, application in their own life, and commitment to taking the gospel to the nations. When there they will be working strategically alongside existing long-term ministries.
7 |100 |160 in Cambodia April 4, 2016
7 days in Cambodia, 100+ degree temperature, and 160 people.
Fruit: 21 Years in the Growing February 17, 2016
“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matt 13:23)
In the late 70’s the Khmer Rouge regime implemented a widespread genocide across Cambodia in an attempt to create the perfect agricultural working class. Millions were killed. By 1995 – after ongoing conflict, government crises, internal corruption, and a somewhat lingering Khmer Rouge – the nation was being rebuilt. YWAM was right in the middle of it. My brother Andrew traveled to Cambodia as part of a YWAM outreach combining his aquaculture school (building a fish farm), and a construction school (building basic huts and homes). Together they built a new village for widows and orphans created by the country’s recent genocide and ensuing civil war.
They were granted use of an island in the Mekong river, just outside of the capital Phnom Penh. This island was considered ideal because it was un-mined, as it had been a former execution camp for the Khmer Rouge. Andrew’s team, with the assistance of scores of widows, children, cripples, and war casualties, dug massive ponds and created a fish farm. Mass graves were unearthed, but a small village of new life was created. That was early 1995.
Fast forward to December 2015
In December I was in Cambodia conducting staff and leadership training at YWAM’s Battambang campus. Living with the staff and students there, I asked a young guy one morning, “Where are you from? How did you get involved in YWAM?” I was dumbfounded by the answer. “Actually, I was living on a small island near Phnom Penh, which we call the “YWAM village”. My mother was divorced in the early 90’s and had nowhere to go and no way to take care of us. We were taken into the village by YWAMers. I became a Christian there, and wanted to serve God. When I got older I left there and joined YWAM in Phnom Penh, Then eventually coming here to Battambang.” This young man, Dara, is now married, has a child on the way, and is a respected DTS leader and missionary. He has traveled to China and back 4 times, led and discipled multiple students, and is in the process of reversing the dysfunctional family system he grew up in.
Could this be the same village? I quickly asked some questions, and to my added surprise discovered that there were others in our location who came from that village and are now working in full time ministry in YWAM and the surrounding nations; including the leader I was closely working with that week. We were able to gather the other island-village guys and captured a quick photo.
When I came into YWAM in 1995 it was directly on the heels of Andrew’s project in Cambodia. A few years later I started sending teams and going there. Today I regularly go there and scores and scores of fruit has come out of that country – and is growing phenomenally. What was a bold venture to build a resettlement village for the outcast, provided with an ongoing food source, has been bearing lasting fruit for years: in the families who were on the island, in my life, in those I led, and and the nation of Cambodia (and beyond!).
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15: 8)
Last December’s trip was probably one of my greatest rewards in ministry. First for my brother Andrew. He had confided in me that he had sometimes wondered what had happened through his work. Anything? “100 fold”, at least! For myself, Andrew essentially introduced me to the nation of Cambodia. Several years after that it became a true focus of my (and my program’s) ministry. When I catch a glimpse of fruit from my own work, I sometimes (gratefully) stagger. But on this last trip, I saw what came from a small group of guys in early 1995. My work has come from their work.
We often dream about the time when the fruit of our labor produces recognizable fruit. Unfortunately, it can sometimes feel absent, or at the best, unclear. But it is there! Seeds that are sewn in righteousness do bear fruit. As an encouragement to many out there, stay “mission-true”. Whether in family, friendships, ministry, or work, it will happen! It took 21 years for a massive revelation of a tiny team’s work. But the wait just made it sweeter, and time for more fruit to grow.
This has been long enough. But if you want just a little more info about the guys in the photo, read below (I highly recommend it).
He grew up on the YWAM island village on the Mekong. Now co-Leading a Battambang DTS, which is part of the huge ASEAN DTS. A wonderful guy with loads of potential and a very hopeful future in discipleship and leadership. His goal for the next year is to “be grateful, be generous, and lead well”. Leadership eyes are on him to be a key leader within his generation.
His mother was divorced, poor, and had nowhere to go. She took Dara to the island village (“YWAM village”) when he was very young and raised him there. He became a Christian and entered YWAM. Now a successful DTS school leader, married and child on the way. A dynamic leader and couple, missionaries to their generation and the nations around them (led teams to China 4 times now); an influential young guy. His story is one of complete family-system redemption, and of a person now in missions according to their calling. Raising their generation in the nation.
Very poor background, living in the remote jungles of Cambodia. Taken into the YWAM island village when very young. Now a DTS Leader and pioneer in Stung Trang province, where he came from: a very difficult, very remote place. There, he worked among a small unreached people group in the jungle. This tribal people group consists of 6 small villages; these villages are known for their animal sacrifices, raising their animals simply to sacrifice them, often to various gods and spirits. Over the last two years they have seen a huge revival: four villages simultaneously came to the Lord! Then out of the remaining two tribes, 1 and a half of them have also just turned to Jesus. The rest gave up their sacrificing habits.
The DTS has taken some of the tribal converts into the DTS. On their own DTS outreach they went back out to the tribes in the jungle. The students were very poor, but because they knew how to live in the jungle, they would catch food to eat, eat plants, and the whole team was able to live with the tribes.
The people became Christians but didn’t know how to express it properly. They want to be grateful for what they have. Sophat was preaching and teaching in a village about making offerings to God. Everyone walked away in silence; they returned later with lots of meat, food, and other items to give to God! They love to sacrifice and give. Making “offerings” is one way that they know to do it so they gladly did that. The tribes started offerings to god by bringing food for “god” and for the team!
Introduced to Cambodia as a mission-field by Andrew before Jeremy’s DTS. A few years later, God speaks to Jeremy to start sending teams to this “overlooked” nation. Teams go, individuals go and stay, and entire DTS schools go. Thanks to those individuals who went, bases were planted (Battambang being one of them), ministries pioneered, disciples made, and the story is still being written in Cambodia today.
There are numerous other stories from the village that was YWAM built on the Mekong island in the mid 90’s. So many converts, disciples and missionaries have come from there.
Fruit from Cambodia, Dec 2015 December 15, 2015
On my way back from Cambodia. …Such a worthwhile and fruitful trip.
It was a joy on two fronts. Firstly the opportunity to teach and encourage the new generation of disciplers. I taught on effective discipleship skills, strategic discipleship for the long term, and core spiritual identity.
Secondly, encouraging the old friends who have been working for a long time there. They are taking significant ground, but you don’t always see the victories across the landscape when you are fighting day to day in the trenches. Even the long-termers – the leaders of the others – need encouragement too (who lifts their arms up?). It was such a privilege to be able to meet with people, acknowledge their work and lives, and say so many times to so many people, “We are so proud of you.”
The ministry here in Battambang is almost 10 years old. It is hard to comprehend all of the victories achieved, souls saved, difficulties faced, and even the seemingly endless vision that the people here keep producing. Among many others, we are very privileged and proud “spiritual parents”.
I believe we are beginning to see long-awaited (and hard-fought) fruit emerge: the shift from being a people who see themselves as poor Christians, survivors and recipients only, to people who are now becoming a training and sending nation, walking in their individual and cultural calling. I saw a body of Christians who are talking steps in their God-given calling as trainers, contributors and senders. Not just surviving day to day; the sense of a nation crippled under a poverty mentality and the brutality of the past feels like it is slipping. The believers here are standing up, and going out.
Part of that is the formation of the upcoming ASEAN DTS, combining DTS’s from 8 nations in the region, for the region. What I witnessed up close was a group of young leaders, dedicated to applying the Word to themselves, because they see their role in changing an entire nation within their generation, as well as influencing the nations around them. It was absolutely amazing to stand there with them, to help draw out the leadership, vision and discipleship within them.
Coming up in the next blog:
In January I will share possibly the greatest highlight of the trip. Stay tuned, you DO NOT WANT TO MISS IT. This event impacted me deeply, but the story actually started 20 years ago! I only saw the results last week.
People often ask us, “what do we do?” Over the next few months we want to highlight a few people we have helped train and got to know over the years who are making a tangible and eternal difference. I think that these people have been among the most important “work” we have been involved with. As Paul says, “You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (2 Cor 3:3)
What a way to end the year – so blessed. That is a glimpse of Cambodia December 2015, and some of the upcoming stories on our blog for 2016.
Love and blessings this Christmas season. He is the reason we all do this!
Equipping November 3, 2015
We hope you have been enjoying the change in season, regardless of where you are. Here in Montana, fall has officially arrived, and in true north-west fashion, is almost gone; winter is hard on its heels! Read on for some short updates from various parts of our lives and ministry.
2015: I recently received two encouraging emails from participants of our last leadership school (DTS Equip) for trainers, evangelists and disciplers from various parts of the world. It’s good to know the work is hitting the mark. They write,
“I honestly can’t say enough about you or DTS equip so I’m hoping we have more guys out there next year.” (Pacific)
“I just wanted to thank you for everything you did for equip… I have been processing all of equip lately going through my notes and listening to the audios from lecture. I am so thankful; the school taught me so much!” (Eastern USA)
2016: Next year will be another year of empowering leaders and bolstering discipleship training and evangelism across the globe. We have Equips planned for 3 global regions: Armenia (for Eastern Europe and Russia), Cambodia (for South East Asia), and in Montana, USA (for the Americas).
Summer included Mum West visiting us for an extended time. She was able to have 2 great months of relaxation, input into our family, grandkid-time and of course the opportunity to mother me around! It was wonderful and we look forward to the next visit.
The family keeps us on our toes! Eden just turned 8, the boys are well into 6th and 8th grades, basketball, Scouts, friends and who-knows-what-else, keeps us “active”.
In December I head out to Cambodia to train DTS staff for an upcoming 8-nation DTS. It is a collaborative DTS focusing on Asia and the opening of “ASEAN“, becoming a truly border-less region. This “ASEAN DTS” consists of DTSs from 8 nations (Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, Singapore, Philippines, and USA (Kona).
News from teams in the field:
Here is an excerpt from a DTS team on outreach in Taiwan right now. This is a specialized DTS focusing on the outdoor industry and backpacking culture.
“Currently, we are in Xsinchu serving at ‘Rock Climbing Church’.
This church was started by a pastor and his family who had the idea 20 years ago to reach out to the aboriginal people (Hakka tribe) through outdoor activities. He hosts a kids summer camp where he uses rock climbing, biking, river trekking, along with other outdoor skills to share Jesus. “
Thank you for following us, and for all of your involvement in making practical missions happen in the world today. Lives are being changed, a generation is being affected, and good work is getting done! To Know God and Make Him Known, Together!
Jeremy & Molly