There are two approaches to take when it comes to offering trainings for youth and church leaders globally. One is to accept almost every invitation for a training event. The other is to insure the partners you work with are: 1.) Strategic influencers 2.) That the host understands the long-term potential impact (versus a one-time only event). We always look for hosts who are interested in a long-term, far reaching ministry impact. One way we describe this strategy is with our seminar levels (or steps). Each of the paragraphs below refer to our steps in ministry development in different locations globally.
Our work in Ethiopia began back in 2012, with our current partner. Sure it has taken some patient work and diligent discussions, but it is great to
see that we have a partner who understands the beauty of long-term multiplication versus only a one-time event. Our Kenya based Africa team recently finished a training of 65 leaders in Ethiopia. Not only did they train this group, but they also worked with the host to select three Ethiopian trainers. Just a few weeks after our Kenyan team had returned home, the Ethiopian leaders carried out their very first locally run training of 58 leaders! This is the exciting phase of the ministry to see take place. Once local leaders own the trainings, then they can impact their country and beyond. Our role then changes from being the main trainers to being the ones who encourage, assist and lead them in planning for the future impact. Our Ethiopian group has the potential to impact over 7000 churches. This great leadership team is well on its way up the steps.
Bangladesh is a small Asian country surrounded almost totally by India. This highly Muslim country is home to 164 million people of which 99.3% are considered non-Christian. The need here is tremendous and our teams are taking the next steps to continue to provide local leaders for ministry in their local languages. Jomesh Tamang, the Northwest Asia GYMN Director, recently trained our first group of Level 2 leaders in Bangladesh. Together with the host, Alfred Biplob, they selected a team of local trainers as well. It was exciting to see that while Jomesh was in Bangladesh, Bishal Gurung, (GYMN Nepal Training Coordinator) was busy leading a training (without Jomesh) in Pohkara, the second biggest city in Nepal! The work continues to multiply globally.
One of the updates from another training in Nepal allowed us to hear from Bala Ghale, who is a youth leader at Valche Church, that attended our recent Level 1 training in Kahule, Nuwakot, Nepal:
“We have over 150 young people in our youth ministry where our Church congregation is over 1200. I am a youth leader in the Church but I have never been to this kind of training that teaches us how to do youth ministry. I have been to many bible trainings and leadership trainings but have never been to one that only focuses on youth ministry. This training has been eye opening to the areas we need to cover in the youth ministry and how to lead youth step by step in orderto make them leaders.” – Bala Ghale
In another region our wonderful Kenya team of Nick Korir and Martha Sijenyi were busy overseeing the trainings and planning times in Kenya and Uganda. The Embu, Kenya training was a Level 2 training with 79 partici- pants. In addition to the work in Kenya and Uganda our team also sent Kenya trainers, Morris Opati and Jackson Maina to lead the before mentioned training in Ethiopia.
You have heard us always mention different levels of trainings. We are continuing to expand our work globally by adding a Level 4 or what we call: Heart of the Leader. This is a two part event that helps experienced leaders be positioned to run the long-haul marathon of life and ministry. These are not “how to” events, they are, “how are you doing personally?”, events. These gatherings help us to be available at GYMN to pastor other pastors and leaders and provide encouragement and personal spiritual guidance. We are excited to do retreat one starting October 24th (retreat two will be in July, 2015). Our Southeast Asia team in the Philippines asked to take the lead in continuing this ministry. We should have leaders from several countries attending! Please pray for the necessary finances and details to come together for all of the invited participants.
Thank you for the steps you take in prayer and financial support, not just monthly but above and beyond in additional offerings as well!
Have you ever heard the statement, “No pain—no gain”? Usually this refers to sports and their training regiments. However, this is true in our ministry and at times in our life as well. As I write this final version of this newsletter, I am in pain. I am just into a recovery stage of a very bad lower back strain that has left me in the bed and immobile for a few days and now only able to stand for short periods of time. The painful part also is not just the physical pain, but I had to make the hard decision to cancel my upcoming ministry trip to Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia). At first this bothered me deeply, but when I called to talk with our Africa team they encouraged me to stay home and rest and said that the ministry programs we planned will go forward! My pain is causing additional progress of the next stage of local ownership of the ministry in Africa! I am reminded that all things will work together for good as Paul stated in Romans 8:28. The notes below are the notes I wrote regarding the training trip over a week ago before my injury.
We have a place in our front yard for a small tree. This location was set by the original landscape designs to have a small tree in an area with other smaller bushes. The only problem is that whenever we plant a tree here it never lives more than a few years. At first I thought it was just the tree, but after pulling out several of the trees we realized the issue was the soil and the fact that a large area around the house was filled with gravel beyond the original design. This reminds me of growth in areas of our life and the ministry we all are a part of, Global Youth Ministry Network.
For something to grow it needs the right soil and setting. In addition the growth first has to be deeper in order for the visible growth to be wider (and higher). Just like a tree, our ministry is constantly assessing our growth in depth so that we can continue to grow wider. One of our GYMN board members referenced this principle from the prophet Isaiah in regards to a tent (wider) and it’s stakes (deeper). Isaiah 54:2 reads, “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.” Thankfully the ministry is growing in both directions as you see here.
Many of you know that in the past few months I was able to literally travel around the globe as I served our teams in India, Nepal and the Philippines. In a short time our Africa team will be leading another three-country ministry focus in the continent of Africa.
I am so proud of our staff and volunteers in Africa who have kept the ministry moving forward despite some difficult circumstances. The work there in Africa continues to go deeper and wider. The teams have been a solid stake in the ground as they reach youth and leaders in this continent. Led by Pastor Nick Korir and our GYMN Africa Board, staff and volunteers we are embarking on expansion in depth and width.
The Africa teams will be working in Kenya, East Africa. First, they will be meeting with and developing vision and plans with our trainers, Africa Board and staff. This group is our group of roots that support the growth of the ministry in Africa. Their work will be to water, strengthen and fertilize GYMN’s Kenyan roots so they can con- tinue to spread throughout Africa.
Next will be a trip to Ethiopia to the north. This incredible group of over 7000 churches in Ethiopia is entering it’s next phase of trainings. Jackson Maina (from Kenya) will travel to Addis Ababa to lead a Level 2 event. After this the leaders will be prepared to lead their own trainings locally in the future as we select qualified trainers. As you can see the branches are growing wider in this region!
For the final leg of their trip, our Africa team will meet up with our Uganda team inKampala. Here they will be putting together plans and trainings for them to grow the ministry to spread outside of Kampala to unreached areas of the countryside! Our administrator for GYMN Africa (Martha Sijenyi) from Kenya will be there to also deepen the ministry by teaching the administrative aspects needed to run the trainings in Uganda!
It is so exciting that you as GYMN supporters get to be the water and fertilizer that partners in the growth and fruit of the ministry around the globe. Together we all have a role to play that can seem painful but brings eternal progress. We are seeing first hand the fruit of multiplication as local leaders take over key areas!