This is Wai Lin with his wife and two beautiful children. While only 37 years old, Wai Lin leads the major association of churches in the southeast area of Myanmar. In this strongly Buddhist and animistic nation, Wai Lin oversees 47 churches with nearly 6,000 members. Network Beyond works alongside Wai Lin in his desire to develop mature leaders to advance the gospel in his nation where Christians are a small minority. He is also a great translator, helping to bring ITI materials into the Burmese language. Pray for this family and God’s blessing on the work.
Thanks for your prayers. Last month, we shared several requests. God was faithful in His answers.
Trainings continue to expand, such as the youthful Cuban team pictured here. Separate ITI trainings occurred on both ends of the island with 99 leaders present. A week later, sixty Costa Ricans participated and left with great excitement. It is a delight to work alongside leaders from multiple nations. Intercessory teams worked hard, investing significant times in prayer over each leader. Intercessors and teachers are needed as God gives opportunities. Let us know if you’d like to explore what this might look like!
Hours on airplanes are a mixed bag--planes typically jammed with people, all of us with arms full of carry-ons, and disappearing leg room as the seat ahead reclines (you know what I mean). But my recent flight home had the unusual blessing of an empty seat next to mine, an excellent bag of peanuts to go with my water, and a few hours to reflect on my recent week. It was wonderful.
I thought of my particular class, “Leadership,” with the exceptional group of men and women in this photo. They were engaged, asked questions, expressed an unusual degree of vulnerability, each desiring to be a better leader.
What lies ahead for the work God has given us? Only God knows, yet I was encouraged. I wrote as my flight progressed on its journey home—thoughts turned to what I learned, a week packed with experiences both humorous and serious, and what God might have in future months and years. The future is a curious thing, I thought. As my journal pages began to fill, my heart quickened with the majestic sounds of worship music in my ears. I felt these truths were for me, though I hope you may enjoy this collection of thoughts on God’s faithfulness and your own future: “In Christ alone, my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song … From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.” … “I know who goes before me; I know who stands behind. The God of angel armies is always by my side.” … “Who can stop the Lord Almighty?”
I’m filled with hope when I think of the future and the God who directs it all!
Please pray with us--
We are now well into the most adventurous era of our history as an organization and ministry. We’re humbled to realize God exceeded our dreams and requests. Through you, the Network Beyond family, ministry occurs in 15 nations this year. Training opportunities sustain movements, spreading the Gospel ever outward through vital partnerships. Many works flourish; others face opposition as Christians face suffering and persecution. Some works exist within limited windows of opportunity that will not always remain open.
I recently read Erwin McManus’ book, The Last Arrow, based on the story of the dying prophet Elisha and his instructions to the king of Israel. It’s a book about courage and raising the bar of faith, sacrifice,
and expectations of what God desires to do.
McManus speaks of Christians sometimes living as if our arrows are too valuable to shoot. We tend to organize and preserve what we have, forgetting that arrows’ real value lies in their being released. Don’t quit, or as the author says, "Don’t die with your quiver full.”
Part of Network Beyond’s DNA includes these same values—a willingness to do whatever God desires,
go wherever He leads, and to do so with great faith. In this update, we’d like to present an overview of
the work and where we believe God is leading. We hope it encourages, and we hope it will increase both
your faith and prayers...right down to the last arrow.
God talks about doing new things, making things new, and even recreating us as new. It seems we find ourselves facing some of that newness as a regular part of our lives at Network Beyond. It’s wonderful! New people, places, and partnerships.
First, a little context … Refugee resettlement brought many people from many places to our country. Our own Colorado community is home to people from fifty nations, speaking many languages. One of those people groups is the Karenni Burmese people of Myanmar. Several years ago, local Karenni people embraced Jesus as their Savior, and a church was formed. It continues today.
As leaders from Burma connected with their people here, we learned of an association of 47 churches and 6,000 people back in Myanmar. We also learned of a need they faced—developing leaders.
As a result, The International Training Institute (ITI) began in Burma.
Our initial class of twenty-five was young, attentive, and eager to learn. These leaders represent the future of the Karenni church in Burma. God favored us with good translators and growing relationships, even with significant cultural differences. Plans are in place for the next series of classes.
We’re thankful for these new friends in our Network Beyond family. Pray for God's continued direction for them plus vision to reach nearby people groups with the Gospel. Burma still has unengaged tribal groups—some Buddhist, some animist—who know nothing of Jesus.
In addition to developing leaders, Network Beyond remains committed to works of compassion and justice, along with disciple-making and church planting globally. Would you pray over the following important needs?
• A team leaves this week to work in India. We support a vibrant church and organization in India that cares for young girls rescued from the pain of sex trafficking. The team will work with our friends there who are expanding their work, both with minor-aged girls and young women.
• Our Ugandan initiative leader (Kelly) has encountered a serious health issue. Pray for her healing as she desires to return to Uganda.
• A work in a sensitive region of the world needing Jesus has struggled. Local leaders have received some training, but obstacles remain. It is a dangerous, but needed work.
• One of our partners desires to expand their work in reaching unengaged people groups in Africa. Plans call for expansion in North Africa and parts of West Africa. The specific need is for $12,500 for equipping/training centers on the continent.
• The Girls’ Rescue Center in Kenya will soon celebrate 10 years of rescuing young girls from forced marriages and ritual abuse. It is a good and needed work.
• Our friends on the ground in Syria greet you and ask for your prayers. Recent fighting and bombings have impacted Christians. In a recent week, three church members in Damascus were killed. Our Syrian national leader is presently meeting with his leaders there and elsewhere in Syria. We are unsure of his ability to return to the United States.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.