As you may know, the world of leadership training has taken us many places. To date, over 7,500 leaders have been a part of the International Training Institute (ITI) in two dozen countries. Sometimes we’ve been privileged to work with Christians within people groups largely disconnected from traditional forms of Christian ministry. One of those groups has been the hearing impaired people of East Africa. The challenges of communication have limited ministry, meaning many people do not know Jesus, and many leaders have no opportunity to receive training as they lead churches and ministries. Presently, ITI graduates from the hearing impaired community are teaching and training others. What does this look like? Click the button below for a fascinating two-minute look at these leaders in action.
A young woman probably in her early 30’s, came to my group for listening prayer in March. We shared with her what we felt God was saying and then after we prayed for her, she started crying. She said, “I know that God is asking me to do something in particular. I am tired [as a ministry leader and a wife/mother], and I just don’t want to do it. But this prayer time has confirmed that this is what God wants me to do. I have taken the Nehemiah course on leadership before, and I am taking it again this time. And I will take it again next time because I know that God is wanting to develop me as a leader, and I want to be obedient.”
Network Beyond supports the training of almost sixty health professionals and students in Western Uganda. This team works to provide quality care and the hope of Jesus to people they serve. Nearly all are young (in their 20’s) with a commitment to Jesus, each other, and expanding the work of Christ’s Kingdom. In addition, Kelly--our initiative director--is freeing up her schedule to move into ministry full-time. Pray for Kelly in this big step she takes.
Zoe’s Café in Greeley, Colorado, is a great place. Behind quality coffee and an inviting place to meet is a story. A Peruvian Network Beyond partner not only leads a church in the beauty of South America’s vast jungle and teaches with our ITI team, but he also grows coffee which is roasted and sold in Colorado. Profits are poured back into the work. A team of volunteer Zoe’s Café baristas will soon travel to meet and work with Benjamin and Anita in Villa Rica, Peru. They will get a hands-on feel for what’s behind a cup of coffee, and they will experience lives being impacted through the coffee they prepare and sell.
These have been interesting days for the Network Beyond family. Thanks for your part. I am encouraged by this biblical word in Isaiah 43 which follows a recounting of the amazing things God had been doing for His people: “But forget all that. It is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new...Do you not see it?”
Life brings many seasons. Presently, Network Beyond is restructuring how we operate to better accomplish ministry and address future opportunities. We have a ways to go, but we welcome new board members, as well as the formation of a Collaborative Leadership Team to move the work forward. So many volunteers make up the NB team. We have much to be thankful for. There is a sense of newness to the work as we learn together. As always, we welcome your input.
We wanted to report to you operational and ministry stories. The diagram at the top of the page provides a quick look. We were pleased to invest $735,926 last year (2018) in the lives of people around the world. We attempted to keep administrative and fundraising expenses low, resulting in 96% of all funds going toward Compassion & Justice, Expanding Networks, and Leadership Development.
We look forward to what lies ahead.
Following Jesus often means involvement in places of great need. Men and women serve at great personal risk in places like Syria and Myanmar. This year, teams will begin work in El Salvador, Paraguay, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. Invitations have come to train leaders in both Iraq and Nepal. All of this is daunting and calls for God’s leading and discernment. As this year is still young, will you join our team and pray?
Venezuela--a mineral-rich, once prosperous South American nation that now stands as an international tragedy. The story fills our news and breaks our hearts. Nearly 3 million Venezuelans fled the country. Health services are disappearing, food is scarce … and expensive. Imagine an inflation rate of over 60,000%. But also imagine this: our Peruvian, Colombian, Ecuadorian, and Costa Rican partners traveling to this politically unstable country to encourage and train pastors and leaders! They bring money from their churches, along with basic life necessities for their brothers and sisters living through this pain. Some 93 leaders of the church in Venezuela turned out for their second ITI training week, despite the risk. God was present as well. Joy filled the gathering. The contrast amazes me, yet it’s how the gospel works—into darkness, God enters with light and hope. Pray for these leaders who will bring the transforming power of the Gospel to Venezuela.
Over 3 billion people are identified as part of an Unreached People Group, meaning people with little or no access to the Gospel. Within our network, we support wonderful leaders serving and now living among people who have been extremely difficult to connect with. One particular work has literally been years in the making, complete with setbacks and extreme danger, located in the heart of Islamic extremism. We’re encouraged to know we are strategically placed in this area of opportunity. Pray for four workers who visit homes, provide health awareness, build relationships, and bring Jesus to where He is needed.
Marlon (not his real name) was born near the border of Myanmar and Manipur in northeast India. Losing his parents at a young age, he quickly learned how to survive. He came to the TB Center led by the New Generation Trust (NGT) team. The team found him lying on a thin mattress in a room without ventilation. Twenty-four years of drug usage and smuggling reduced him to skin and bones, deep loneliness and despair, malnutrition, and the malfunction of internal organs. The NGT team took him to a TB hospital. Sadly, Marlon was dead the following morning.
Our friends in India long to find ways to connect with the many “Marlons” who live in the region. Network Beyond teams have been there. We have witnessed this hard and dangerous place where people are vulnerable and often exploited. Many are just children.
Our New Generation Trust friends care for young girls who are trafficked. They host childrens' club for kids caught in broken and dysfunctional home settings. A new wave of refugees from Burma join those they serve.
I’ve been working through getting my mind and heart around a rather huge paradigm shift--seeing life and ministry more and more like Jesus. One area is that of surrender. Author Francis Chan noted that in much of American Christianity, “surrender” is that lifelong process of slowly deciding whether we will give up certain things for God. Global Christians see “surrender” as a basic requirement to follow Jesus. Network Beyond is privileged to see that and work with some of the most incredible people on the planet. Perhaps more than anything, I’m impressed with the courage they exhibit. Theirs is a high capacity courage that reaches out to those hard to love, caring for people living in dangerous places, with a persistence that doesn’t want to quit. We are thankful for your partnership and prayers.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.