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This has been a tremendous year in which God has richly blessed our efforts to serve him and share the good news of Jesus Christ. I have traveled to Latin America twice for missions efforts this summer and God has provided numerous opportunities for service. I realize that the verbal descriptions I share in the newsletter are not as exciting or as readable as the mission reports with pictures and brief accounts of the harvest God is providing, but I encourage you to read on anyway to get a sense of God's work.
I am reorganizing the website (again) to make it easier to access the mission reports and see the highlights of our work at a glance, but the details are in the newsletters.
Teaching at Oklahoma Christian. I was privileged to teach the OC graduate Bible class on Small Groups Ministry in January as a one-week intensive course. The readings done in preparation helped me see a current snapshot of the interest, value, and effectiveness of small groups (including various types of house churches) around the globe. A related aspect of small groups is their use in church planting (see separate paragraph below). Because of the great interest in this subject, I will teaching the small groups ministry class again in the spring 2007 semester, most likely as a weekend course to allow more students to participate. Contact me if you want to receive more information.
Interim Ministry. Many of you know that Jan and I were at Blackwell (OK) for much of January-May 2005 in an interim role as that church anticipated the arrival of a new preacher in June. In August 2005, we were invited to become the interim minister at 29th and Yale in Tulsa, a role which continued until recently. This was a wonderful experience with a church in transition and provided a good "laboratory" to explore the potential for interim ministry among churches of Christ. We just completed the interim ministry in mid-June with the arrival of the new minister, Daryl Hayes. During the interim ministry of almost 10 months, the church appointed additional elders and deacons, and the congregation participated in a survey to help evaluate the future direction of the church as well as the desirable traits of the new minister. I am more confident than ever of the value of interim ministry (as opposed to fill-in preaching). Some good materials for congregational evaluation and surveys were developed and I hope to continue to add to the materials on the website (www.bobyoungresources.com/interim).
Preaching and Teaching. In April I preached a 4-day series on strengthening the family at Blackwell where I found the church growing and encouraged under the direction of its elders and in the ministry Lanny Jobe is doing there. I was privileged to fill-in there again on Father's Day and share additional time with this good congregation. In May, I preached at Northside in Wichita, and I have taught an adult Bible class at our home congregation in Edmond this summer almost every Sunday I have been in town.
Website. I continue to work on and upgrade the website to make it as useful and current as I can. I am constantly working on materials and bibliographies for small groups, interim ministry, small church, and team development and enhancement. In addition, I post other materials-articles, reflections, book summaries, etc.-which may be of help in ministry or mission work. I encourage you to check out the website if you have not done so recently.
Church Planting. As I mentioned above, one of the interesting connections with small groups ministry is their effectiveness as a tool in church planting. I have been privileged to visit with Gailyn VanRheenen of Mission Alive several times this year about the potential in church planting. I encourage you to consult his website at: www.missionalive.org.
Mission Efforts. One of the highlights of my year regarding missions is the opportunity to be recharged and encouraged at the annual Teachers of Missions meeting in February. The meeting this year was no different-what an encouragement!
In April I spoke at a dinner meeting of the Association Amicus at the South MacArthur congregation in Irving, Texas. I serve on the board of the Association with connections to both Baxter Institute and the James Moody Adams Clinic in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I was honored to be asked by the host to share a dream for the continuing renewal of mission efforts.
A good book recommended to me by Dan Rodriguez from Pepperdine is Protestantismo en America Latina by Pablo Deiros. The book is written in Spanish, but I have provided a summary on the website for those interested. I have also posted a summary of Eugene Nida's Understanding Latin Americans. Although this is an older book, it is worth reading.
I was back in Irving on July 30 to preach for the Iglesia de Cristo that meets in the South MacArthur building. It was a delight to spend time with one of the elders of that good congregation, Terry Penn, whom Jan and I had first met at the Pan-American Lectures in Guatemala in November, 2004.
Honduras. From June 3-10, I was in Honduras with a group of 27 Christians, primarily from congregations in southeast Oklahoma. Before the trip during the spring I had been advising this group and encouraging them as they prepared for the mission trip to Honduras, and about the middle of June, an unexpected cancellation from one of the group members left a ticket without a name on it. The call went out for someone who might be able to go on short notice. Then it occurred to me, we have a ticket without a name, a ticket that needs a name on it. I have a name. Why not put my name on the ticket? That is the background of how I ended up in Honduras on an unplanned trip (unplanned by me, but certainly in the plan of God!).
The group had many members who had previously participated in a trip to this region of Honduras as well as several first-timers. I had taken a group of 13 in 2004 as I was completing my ministry with the Main and Oklahoma Church in McAlester (OK), and the interest generated in that first trip had spread through friendships and encouragement so that 42 participated in the 2005 trip. This church has many members with a heart for evangelism and missions (especially Randy and Nancy Hughes), and it is exciting to see these Christians reaching out to brothers and sisters in other congregations to encourage greater involvement in mission work. There were 8 congregations represented on this trip.
Despite my late decision to go, I was asked to preach an evangelistic campaign in a barrio where plans were in place to try to establish a new congregation. Also on Saturday I was able to present a seminar to about 50 preachers on the assigned topic, Developing Leaders in the Local Congregation. The work of the Honduran Bible School (Escuela Biblia Honduras, or EBH) is an important part of the expansion of the church in the department (state) of Olancho. There are now about 45 congregations in the region with plans to continue the church planting process.
The U.S. group was involved in VBS, distributing medical and health packets, evangelism, construction, and benevolence. There were 10 baptisms during the week. In addition, during the campaign four persons confessed Jesus and another was restored. The attendance during the campaign averaged about 125. This new church (we met in a tent on the property) is now meeting with an average attendance of about 50 during July. The preacher is in place and the building under construction.
A high point of the week was the opportunity to participate in the dedication of the new church building in Arimis. This is the third year the group worked in Arimis and now there is a congregation with a building in an excellent location right across from the town soccer fields. There were almost 400 present for the dedication.
On Tuesday night we met with a new congregation in La Mansion (established in March of this year). Randy Walters preached and I translated. There were about 100 in attendance. One of the group projects was to pour the floor in the building which has been erected since March. Much more could be said, but the mission report will have to suffice to tell this story. If you would like to know more, we are available to come to your congregation and make a mission report. It is difficult to keep the excitement down concerning what God is doing in our world when we are willing to be his ambassadors. Certainly Latin America is receptive and our efforts are being blessed and bearing fruit.
Guatemala. July 22-29 it was my privilege to travel with a Health Talents International eye surgery team to Ezell Clinic in Montellano, Guatemala. I served as group chaplain and was blessed to speak with and pray with the patients as well as to provide support for the mobile clinics and to help with a variety of projects around the clinic. Health Talents provides an excellent way for medical specialists in the U.S. to share their talents with those in need. Check out their website: healthtalents.org.
Columbia-Venezuela. The first week of October I am scheduled to travel to Columbia to participate in a preachers retreat for preachers from Columbia and Venezuela. Bob Brown is the primary contact in this trip. It will be a privilege to work with Bob and to see firsthand the progress of the church in this region. This will be a first trip for me to this part of South America.
Association Amicus. I continue to serve as secretary to the board of directors of Association Amicus. The annual December trip for graduation at Baxter and the board meeting is always a wonderful way to cap the year. If you are interested in seeing firsthand some of the wonderful things God is doing, I recommend this trip. This is a relatively easy trip with good accommodations and the opportunity to interact with Baxter students from a dozen or more Latin American countries. We also tour some of the work being done near Tegucigalpa. I am putting together a list of those possibly interested-contact me if you would like to receive more information. I will say more in the next newsletter, and you can check out this information on the website, but I want to mention again the possibility of making a real difference in the life of a Honduran family through the nutrition program at the clinic. Information also appears in the mission reports, or you can contact me directly.
Attention Congregations, Elders, and Mission Committees. Our purpose in this ministry is to help congregations take the good news of Jesus to our communities and our world. We have some minimal support needs as we travel and provide support for missions and are always appreciative of those individuals and congregations who help us-primarily with one-time gifts. All of those gifts are handled through our home congregation: Edmond church of Christ, Edmond, OK.
A greater need is to help meet the needs we surface in various aspects of mission work. I have a list right now of projects needing funding. Our philosophy is to do those things that the local congregations can support after we are gone. It is a joy to help with temporary needs and in establishing new churches. We are effectively training preachers for Latin America and sending them forth "into all the world." If you would like to know how your congregation could be a part of an exciting mission work, please contact me for details. This is an excellent time to consider additional mission options for your 2007 budget. There is no limit to what God is willing to do through us, "immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine." We solicit your prayers, your heart, and your involvement on behalf of the mission of Jesus Christ. We would be pleased to visit your congregation and make a PowerPoint presentation about what God is doing.
If you know others who would like to receive information or if you do not wish to receive this information, please contact us and we will gladly do whatever you ask.
Gracias, y Dios le bendiga (thank you and may God bless you),
Bob and Jan Young
© 2006 bobyoungresources.com
http://www.bobyoungresources.com/missions/mission-newsletter_0608-Aug.htm Last updated August 20, 2006