Today I was on the phone with my freind Steve (http://passionfire.org) and we were discussing his upcoming trip to romania this spring/summer (we think). He has been speaking in a few churches and doing the beginnings of rasing support before the trip. What was humorous was I was recomending to him that he should be a little more dillegent in posting to his blog. I was relating about how with many people the only connection you have with them after you leave thier church or speak to them over the radio is your blog. That it is nessasasry to continue to produce some form of online content to remain in touch with those who have supported you and who look to you for inspiration in thier own missions and ministries.
I have a Sence of humor I guess. I have had writers block and there has been little going on in my life that I have felt I needed to put on paper for a while. I am not in life threatening situations, or in some country where I dont speak the language and am in jepardy of being shaken down by corrupt officials for bribes. Basicly it has got a lot more boring. I have been doing a little bit with the Gypsy community here in the States in preperation for a future trip of my own, as well as developing resources for others.
http://gypsysforjesus.com is the current result of that. I am attempting to aid a good man in canton ohio with the tools he needs to run an online ministry, and at the same time develop evangelisim tools for later use over seas. It is also my hope that there can be a little more unity between the different churches here so that we may be able to launch a few Gypsy speaking american missionaries over seas with some of the freinds I have thatt are doing work in those areas and struggilng with lan guage and culture issues.
I find a lot of my days are spent in developing or researching technology that can bee usefull on the mission field. Most of the time I am able to assist or solve in problems of communications and tech for ministries in minutes now. The amount of research and time spent growing white like a mushroom in front of my computer is growing though, and I am in need of some outdoor time and time away from tech for a bit. I am also in great need of more person to person fellowship, not just texting and phone conversations.
with this in mind it is my hope to return to Elk, Wa in the near future and see if I may be able to assit them with a few tech problems, perhaps help with some of the missions planning and connect people with the right resources to get where they need to go, and have more time one on one with people I know rather than just text chat.
On new years I went to VA to preach at a conference at the hampton Roads convention center, and ended up being the last speaker to speak to a very large room. I have been on radio a few times in the last month or two as well, and I am form time to time preaching or counseling on Paltalk. it is off that my ministry has gone from living 24/7 with people with drug/alcohol issues to being alone most of the time and only dealing with people by adreassing crowds or over the net via text or phone. I wonder what this is to prepare me for as I know God has some reason in all of this.
I still have al lthe notes for my book, but I seem not to be able to get it off to a decent start. I also have my own website in total disarray and it looks worse than it has in years. I pray that the fog that clouds my writing ability and organisation skills will lift soon. Perhaps after much prayer and study at The Lord's Ranch ( http://www.worldharvestmissions.com/).
I have been doing a lot of research and thinking on cross cultural evangelisim as well lately. While I seem to do this well instictualy I am trying to find a way to communicate what I have learned into a systemm to teach others. Often we combine things into our view of evangelisim that do not need to be there.
A good example of this was when i was talking to some friends that are from a very hot island where it gets 110 degrees and there is no airconditioning in the church. They were evangelised by a group from the northern and mid-western part of our country where we both have airconditioning and cooler tempratures. the small island church was having a hard time atracting members not because of a lack of persuasive preaching, or lack of bible teaching, but because of a dress code that required suit and tie for men and long sleeves and all skin below the neck covered on women. So to be a good church going christian you had to pack yourself into a small building for 3 hours in 110 degree heat in long sleeves and stew in your own juices. You may avoid hell, but before you get to heaven you will be medium well.
I have also seen many from the USA that get overseas and the goal is to make them live like us. that somehow salvation is dependant on haveing all the modern apliances and living in houses that look western. That we might somehow win more to Jesus by teaching them the american way of doing buisiness and spreading a capitalistic system or Democratic way of government (both civily or in the church). We even at time think we should export the american Idea of prolonged male adolecence. Often when we go to preach the Gospel we are mistaken in our idea that we come from a better culture rather than learning about the one we are currently with.
This is not always the case but unfortunatly I have seen this true in the magority of cases. Most of the large well known missions agency seem to choose to locate in big cities that are the most western for that country. they then try to create a community that is as much western as they can by creating a mini version of the USA that at times spans a city block or so. They even with the aid of a greater income from home than the natives possess begin to influence the young to become more american. This is a far cry from what Paul says "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."
Luther had some good ideas in that he began to seperate Gospel from tradition in the church. This same concept when extrapolated out to it's logical end in missions produces much fruit as well. Solas Scriptora is a great idea. The principle that the Bible alone is sufficient. There is not need for anything to be taught outside of the bible itself in the ministry if it is not referenced or contained inside it would mean the bible is not complete, or God forgot something. If what we are bringing is mostly western Ideals and culture with a little bible thrown in I question the effectiveness of the mission. The difficulty is to seperate what we consider in many cases to be a part of our identity from the mission.
Just as when we 1st begin to follow the Lord we learn to seprate our Job and our money from who we are. we no longer Identify ourselves as a plumber, or an automechanic. Who we are is the new creation in Christ that happens to fix cars. Our Primary identy is sons and daughters of Christ and we just use or Job, money, cars, etc as tools for doing the work we have to do during this short time here on earth. This lesson must be learned and elablorated on to be truly effective in missions. To not not be the loud obnoxious american overseas it is nessasary to see ourselves as citizens of God's kingdom not boast in the country stamped on our passport.
Well again I am write to long and I am not fully ready to adreass this. I hope that in the next few weeks I will have some time to dialoge with a few missionary freinds. It seems many of my freinds and associates are now hearing God's call to go where I have come from. I am hoping that perhaps with God grace I will be able to asssist them and remove some of the difficulties from thier paths.
Yours in Christ,
Donald C Phinney II