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The Blessings and Cursings of Time

I got left at home, a lot! Every other week my mother had to be at school early for the kids who got dropped off before day light. This was a fun time that I really looked forward to each day. I liked being the first one to arrive and hang out with my mom and play before school. But, because I was not ready to go when my mom left I got left at home. Don’t worry, my dad was still there. I just wanted to go in early with her.
Time was valuable, and still is to my mother, and it eventually became valuable to me. But, when I reached the point in my life where time became valuable, I was subjected to a culture that didn’t have the same values as I did. This culture, like many others, did not operate on a time system. They operated on a relationship system.
Have you considered the value of time?
In our Western culture, time is relatively valuable and fairly reliable. The majority of this culture stays true to our time boundaries.
The same is not true in most other parts of the world. Time has very little to no significance.
We are not talking about 10 minutes late to a meeting or dinner. We are talking dinner is at 5:00, and your guests might start leaving at 5:30. But, they don’t have their own car, so that means 3-5 bus stops and then walking from the main road into your village.
We are not talking about laying out the plans for a project start to finish and being a week behind schedule. This is, the city went on strike and no one shows up, or the workers decide they will not work today, or another random holiday that lasts for a week or there aren’t enough resources to get your job done so we just wait because you aren’t sure if they’ll get that in stock ever again.
We are talking about days, weeks, months, years of walking a community before you see signs of interest in the good news you are sharing.
We are talking about days of travel back to the main city to have to shop, bank and do paperwork which takes away time from the work we are there to do.
We are talking having a schedule for your kid’s homeschool routine, but the neighbor shows up at tea time and wants to visit.
Have you considered the value of time for your missionaries and the cultures they live in?
It is nice to not be tied to a clock, and the value of relationships helps shed light on priorities. However, the western mind that most of our missionaries have is driven by time and time equals progress.
The frustrations can get you.
The expectations can haunt you.
The pressure will wear you down.
MAKE TIME to talk to your partners about what time is like where they serve. What time does to their hearts and their minds and their relationships with family and teams. ASK them about ways you can pray for them, encourage them, and keep them accountable to the time pressures they face where they serve. This is a great opportunity for you to learn about and pray for the people group where your partners are serving.

Where Is Your There?

Traveling recently, I had the opportunity to see many diverse people traveling through both busy and not so busy airports. Even the not so busy airports had multiple destinations both here and abroad. My first thought was, “Where are all of the people going?” which led me to my thought for this writing. The second thought was, “Where are we going to share the Good News next?”

One of Here2There’s focus and anchor scripture is Acts 1:8 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. In that context Jesus was challenging those believers just before His Ascension into heaven. They had thoughts on what was to happen, but I am sure they had no idea that almost 2000 years later we would be facing the challenge He put before them that day. To be witnesses to the end of the earth.

They travelled by foot, donkey, camel, chariot, but powered wheels or even flight was not even thought of. We have so many options of travel now, but the challenge is still the same. Sharing the good news is not a matter of where or how we travel. It is a heart matter and a desire to tell those that cross our path that Jesus loves them. We tend to put that burden on our
Pastors, Teachers, and Missionaries, but it really is our mission. Our there is where we are. Where we live, shop, work, and play is our Mission Field. We can walk next door, across the street, drive across town, or even fly across the country, yet the challenge is still the same. It is up to us to share Jesus.

We at Here2There help churches develop strategies to determine where they can reach best and most effectively. We help missionaries through partnerships develop relationships that assist them in the field. The key to us, your church, and those missionaries being successful in reaching people is you. You are the church, you are the partners, you are the voice of Jesus.

As Operations Lead for Here2There my 2020 focus is to help us be more efficient in all we do. Ensuring that we are intentional in our work as well as effective helps us utilize what God has put before us. Booking flights to other countries has already begun. Our next Cohort will have already started by the time you read this. Where is your there?

Operations Lead
Wayne Pierce

Missionary Kid

by Tim Pepper

I vaguely remember saying goodbye to my friend, Kevin Varnes, in 1986. His family, close friends of ours, dropped us off at the airport. My brother and I wore dress pants and button-up shirts. I was 9 years old. We were moving to South Africa. I’d been on an airplane before but I’d been too young to remember it. So I was excited. I was also nervous. I don’t think I really wanted to be going but I was too young to have a say in the matter. In my 9-year-old brain, it was a thing that was happening. It just was.

Click here to read the rest of Tim’s story.

My Long Journey To Goodbye

A Look Inside the Journal of a Mother of a Missionary

This 3 part guest series is written by our friend Lori Strickland and it shares her experience watching her son’s journey to the mission field. We hope you gain insight on what it’s like for a parent who’s child is called to GO.

In Retrospect…Selfishness and Grief…

Doesn’t everyone feel this way from time to time? We want what we want. We know it’s not right, and we may even wish to feel differently, but we don’t. We just simply want what we want.

Looking back on this time in my life, I think I was starting to experience the beginnings of grief. Grief can do strange things. It can fog your thinking, and it can trick you into thinking irrational thoughts. My mind was in a whirlwind most of the time. I would go back and forth in my thinking until I was so confused. I didn’t know what to think about the situation anymore. I was starting to admit that this was going to happen whether I liked it or not, and I was mad. I was mad at God for doing this to me. At the same time, being the good mom that I was (and of course the good Christian too) I felt forced to put on a mask…a mask of happiness and support. I didn’t want my son to feel guilty that I was feeling this way. I didn’t want to add to his burden. I didn’t want to be seen as non-supportive in the eyes of other Christians. I mean, good grief! My son was a good guy, trying his best to do what God wanted for him and his family. How could I not be thrilled? How could I not be ecstatic that I had raised a man like this? I was sure this was what others were thinking, and so I couldn’t be honest. I couldn’t voice my doubt, my selfishness, my anger. At least that’s what I told myself…that’s what the grief told me.

Since then, I have learned…

In Psalm 56:8, David says this, “You have kept count of my tossings, put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” David penned those words after he had been captured by an enemy. Looking back, he knew that God had known every movement he made during a night of tossing and turning in fear. He realized that God had not only seen him crying, but He had kept track of every tear he had shed in his grief. He knew that God cared enough to keep a record of and remember the details of his anguish. The God of David is my God too. He sees me when I am selfishly acting out. He knows when I am grieving and scared, and He makes a note in his book. He knows. He understands. He is ready and waiting for me to pour my heart out to Him.

How could I not trust the plan of a God like that? How could I not willingly hand over my life, my will, my desires and even my son to Him? How could I not say goodbye with peace and joy? Life is a journey, for sure. Learning to trust Him is a journey. Learning that He is worth it all…that is the ultimate journey, and so worth it.

So now, I am finally willing to say…goodbye.

My Long Journey To Goodbye

A Look Inside the Journal of a Mother of a Missionary

This 3 part guest series is written by our friend Lori Strickland and it shares her experience watching her son’s journey to the mission field. We hope you gain insight on what it’s like for a parent who’s child is called to GO.

The Journal Entries…

April 11, 2017 2:32 p.m.

I had a realization a few days ago. I’m ashamed to admit it to anyone…even myself. When I heard of new support being committed, instead of being happy that they are reaching their goal, my heart sank. That meant it was one dollar…and one step…closer to when I would have to say goodbye. I’ve come a long way in my thinking, but I’m not ready yet. I am still selfish in my thinking. I don’t want them to reach their goals. I don’t want them to get all the support they need. I don’t want them to leave. It’s not fair. I don’t want to be the understanding, supportive mom anymore. I don’t want to try to hold back the tears as I try to explain to people what they’re doing. I don’t want to smile when they share a piece of good news about the field. I don’t want to be nice anymore. I want to run away. I want to leave the room. I want to scream until they understand what this is doing to me. I am weary of it, and yet…what else can I do?

April 12, 2017 8:29 a.m.

…I want what I want. I don’t want what God seems to want. I have pleaded with Him to change His plan, to make some other way for them to fulfill their calling on their lives. I have prayed for a burden on their hearts to work domestically. I have prayed, even, for setbacks so that there would be more time for them to change their minds. (In my mind…for them to see the light.) I realize that sometimes (if not every time) when I prayed like this, I was praying against God’s will. What kind of a person (or Christian…or even Mom) am I? Sheesh. I see the “wrong-ness” of it, yet it is what I want to do. I know the outcome is never good when you are working against the will of God, but I find myself doing it over and over.

5:55 p.m.

I actually had a lady say to me today, “Boy, I wouldn’t want to go over there (my son’s intended destination). Those people are crazy.” Thank you…that helps a lot. Think about what you say people. This is my son!

10:34 p.m.

God, as I come to the close of this day, I’m trying. God, You know I am. I am trying to want Your will for my kids and for me, but it’s hard. I know You already know that, but I just have to say it to You…it’s really hard. I’ll keep trying.

April 18, 2017 10:11 a.m.

I’m trying to remind myself today that I have to want God’s will more than I want my own will. I have to trust God to take care of my kids. I have to want other peoples’ salvation more than I want time with my own kids here on earth. I know all this is true. I will remind myself of this today…over and over if I have to.

May 24, 2017 9:49 a.m.

As I was sitting at a dinner after a revival service in Burlington, CO this evening, the conversation somehow turned to our children, and someone asked about mine – how old they are, what they do, where they live, etc. When I said that my oldest and his wife were raising support for missions work and would be leaving (we think) sometime in the fall, I got this look. She smiled at me, but it wasn’t a regular happy smile. While she smiled, she looked sad, tilted her head to the side and sort of said, “Ahh..” It was pity. She felt sorry for me. Part of me hated that look she gave me. She was trying to be nice, to sympathize with how I must feel, but I hated the look. Another part of me felt satisfied. I want people to pity me. I tell the story of my kids leaving in hopes that someone…anyone…will feel sorry for me. I hope that they will have enough pity to hurt along with me. I want them to understand the feelings that go along with this life, but then when they try…I hate the look they give me.

I’m pitiful.

May 28, 2017 9:00 p.m.

Today was hard…and good. I have known for some time that Evan was supposed to preach this morning at church. I always shed a few tears when I watch my kids speak or perform. I’m not sure why. It’s just an emotional mom thing I guess. I was prepared for that. What I was not prepared for was the way his words rocked me to the core.

He spoke on “The Question of What”. My son and daughter-in-law get a lot of questions from people when they find out they are planning to move to the mission field. Things like, “Where are you going? With whom are you going? How are you going to do that?” These are questions that they expect. But they also receive questions they almost wish they didn’t have to answer. Questions like “Why? Why would you ever leave the United States?” “Why would you throw away financial security?” “How? How could you leave your family?” “How could you call yourself a good husband…a good father and drag your family off to a foreign country?” “You want to go where? The largest Muslim nation in the world? And you want to talk to who? The witchdoctor?”

Who…where…why…how…All perfectly valid questions for somebody who does not understand the question of…WHAT.

Matthew 13 records the parable of the great treasure in a field. When a man finds out about this treasure, he sells all he owns and buys the field…and therefore, the treasure. I’m sure some people thought he was crazy, but he knew it was worth it. Jesus said that this is what the kingdom of heaven is like. It costs everything you have, but it’s worth the price.

So that brings us to the “what” question. What is Jesus worth to you? What is Jesus worth to me? People are always looking for a way to get something for nothing. That’s a dangerous place to be when you are talking about your relationship with God. Don’t you think? We want to obey the easy commands, but like it or not, Jesus asks of us some pretty hard things. “Do not kill.” Ok, that’s easy. But, “love your enemies?” Who wants to do that?

We try to make the hard commands more palatable by saying things like, “Well, I know Jesus said that, but what he really meant was…” When we do that, we distort Jesus until He no longer looks like the Jesus we see in the gospels, or throughout scripture. We end up portraying Him as a picture of whatever we want Him to be. That’s blasphemy. We each have to decide for ourselves if we really believe who He is. If so, then we have to be devoted to whatever he asks us to do. We cannot say we believe He is who He is and not obey. It’s impossible. It comes down to total, complete, non-negotiable surrender and obedience. Is Jesus worth that to you?

(At this point in the sermon I started to see a little glimpse of the train wreck that was headed right for my heart. What is Jesus worth to me? Is He who He says He is? Yes, I believe He is. Am I willing to do what He asks of me? In theory, yes…but I know in my life, my answer would have to be no. I have not been willing. I have not been willing to give my son away to a land and a people with whom I am not familiar. I have not been willing to give up the close relationship that I have with my grandchildren. I have not been willing to say goodbye to the relationship I have had with my son and his family and build a different kind of long-distance relationship.)

In Mark 10, there is a rich man who asks what he must do in order to follow Jesus. Jesus gives him a list of things, but it’s the last one that he really has a hard time with. Jesus tells him, “Go sell everything you have…Then come, follow Me.” He went away sad because he was rich and was apparently unwilling to give it all away. Jesus wasn’t worth that to him.

“Are we not rich people? Use what you’ve been given to advance the Gospel, and hold it with an open hand, because God will ask for it, and He doesn’t want reservations. Is Jesus worth that to you?”

(When my son said those words, I knew that train was bearing down on me. It was too late to dodge it or get off the tracks…which is what I’ve been doing to months. It hit me head on, and I knew…it was like I heard God saying, “Lori, you better hold that boy of yours with an open hand. I’m asking for you to give him to me with no reservations. Am I worth that to you?”)

The Gospel is free. God’s grace is free…to any who will accept it. However, it is most certainly not cheap. Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book The Cost of Discipleship said this, “Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of His Son: ‘ye were bought at a price,’ and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.”

“No, this…is not cheap. It costs everything, but everything is something that everyone can afford to pay. Is Jesus worth that to you?” When Evan said those words, I knew I had to make up my mind. I knew He had to be…worth it, that is. The thing was, now I had to live like it. I had to quit wallowing around in the muck I had cultivated for myself. Yes, Jesus was worth it. Yes, I would have to say goodbye to my son. Yes, I was willing to do that…finally.

It’s funny to me that it was my own son’s words that finally brought me to a place that I was willing to let him go. It was his wisdom conveyed to me that made me realize there was really only one decision I could make.

I once heard someone say, “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.” I don’t think I’m an outstanding mom. I don’t think I’m any more important, or even much different, than any other mom trying to raise her children to follow God. While I do anticipate that my son (and all my kids) will accomplish great things for God, I think the most important thing I could do is to let go. I did the best I could at raising this kid. Now, I need to let go and let him do what he was raised to do…follow the Lord, love Him with all his heart, and listen to His call. I have accomplished something if I can do that.

My Long Journey To Goodbye

A Look Inside the Journal of a Mother of a Missionary

This 3 part guest series is written by our friend Lori Strickland and it shares her experience watching her son’s journey to the mission field. We hope you gain insight on what it’s like for a parent who’s child is called to GO.

A Little Background…

I think he was 6 years old. That’s when I knew…or at least, I had my suspicions. That’s when my journey really began, even though I didn’t know it at the time. He had started kindergarten in a small private Christian school in Kansas. Half way through that year, our family moved to Southaven, MS. Southaven is a southern suburb of Memphis, TN, and at the time was in the fastest growing county in the United States. There were all kinds of people from all over the world emerging on that city. It was booming, and because of this, my son met, and become friends with, all kinds of people with varying backgrounds and ethnicities.

We used to laugh and say that he had his own little United Nations at school. He and three or four other little boys in the 1st grade became good friends. Our son was white, Leroy and Josh were Hispanic, and there was another little boy (also named Josh) who was Korean. (Prior to moving from Kansas, his best buddy was named Israel, and he was black.) At that age, I don’t think he noticed that anyone was any different than anyone else. They all got along great and had fun. I point this out to demonstrate what I began to notice about him. He was always drawn to people who were different than himself. If it wasn’t skin color or ethnicity, then it was something else. Many times, throughout his growing up years, I noticed he was friends with kids who were younger than him, kids who were picked on by others, kids who had special needs, kids who had much different interests/abilities that he did…it didn’t matter to him. I’m not sure if he sought them out or they were drawn to him, but as I look back over those years, it’s very easy to see that he loved and accepted people for who they were. He didn’t see how being “different” from someone made them any less likely to be a friend. I loved that about him…I still do.

When he was 11 years old, he told his dad and me that he wanted to be a missionary. I was not surprised. I smiled, told him how wonderful that would be, and forgot about it…at least for a while. I wanted to think it was a passing phase, a romantic ideal that he considered adventurous. He kept talking about it though. “Nothing will come of it,” I tried to tell myself, but in my heart, I knew better. I’ve always been that way. When I don’t want to deal with something, I tend to bury it or ignore it until later. Then, I hope beyond hope that later never comes.

During my son’s high school years, I watched as he lived his faith for the world to see…even if that meant he was alone. He didn’t seem to even consider budging. He knew what he knew to be true, and he was willing stand up for it. I think that’s why he was able to influence so many during those years. I watched several times as my 15-, 16-, 17-year-old son baptized his friends into Christ. He had guts, and grit, and conviction, but most of all, he had no reservations about telling people of the salvation that could be theirs if they came to know Jesus.

His first mission trip outside the country was right after his freshman year of college. When he told us where he wanted to go, it made me nervous. I wanted to tell him there was no way on God’s green earth I was going to give my teenage son permission to fly (alone) half way around the globe, live in a Communist country for months, and share the Gospel with people who could turn him in and have him arrested. He would be living in an apartment in a city of 10.5 million people, for Pete’s sake! What mother in her right mind would allow such a thing? Well…this one. It wasn’t because I wanted to, (I fought it kicking and screaming for a while) but because my husband reminded me that he was a grown man (18 years old) and could do what he wanted. “After all,” he said, “we’ve known forever that he wanted to be a missionary. We might as well let him start getting a taste of it.” Wait…what?! That set me back a few steps… I had to make myself admit that there might be a chance he could be serious about this. I cried a lot that summer. I’m not sure if he knows that. He loved it though, and emailed home about some of his experiences. He was confident that this was the life for him, but I cried. He returned home that fall and went back to school. I immediately went back into hiding. I ignored it. I denied it. I didn’t want my son living on the other side of the planet…now, or ever.

At some point during his sophomore year of college, a new family started attending the church we were ministering with. When we got to know them a little, we found out they had a daughter who was a missionary in Haiti. “That’s nice,” I thought. I can’t really remember all the details, but somehow (through Facebook, I think) my minister husband (and some of the other elders at our church) got to know her a little bit. The church helped her out financially in her work, and when it came time for her to visit “home”, we were able to meet her in person. That’s when I knew. My son had to meet this girl. (My husband had the same idea and hooked them up on Facebook.) As they began visiting with each other online, we began scheming how we could have them meet in person.

It finally happened in February 2013. They met…in person. It just so happened they were in town at the same time, and they had exactly an hour and a half before my son had to leave to head back to college, and she had exactly 18 hours before she had to leave to go back to Haiti (her home at the time, and her mission field). She showed up on our doorstep, they went for a walk together, and an hour and a half later our son returned with a smile on his face.

He was able to visit Haiti himself that summer, and they spent time working together. It was like clock-work, they complimented each other perfectly, in work and in personality. I think that pretty much solidified what they were already feeling. They spent the rest of that year praying and preparing. They knew they would spend their lives together spreading the gospel.

She returned to the United States in January of 2014. He proposed the same night. Four months later, I had myself a daughter-in-law. It was understood from the beginning that they were to live the missionary life. It’s kind of hard for me to explain my feelings about this. I had wanted them to meet each other because I knew that they had the same heart for missions and the Lord. I wanted that for my son. I wanted him to have the perfect help-mate in his ministry. At the same time, I hoped and prayed that they would choose to do some sort of ministry in the United States. After all, I reasoned, there are all kinds of people that need Jesus right here in our own country. That was my selfish mother’s heart taking over. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.

My prayer is that this somehow…in some way…will be a blessing to another parent that may be having a hard time learning to say goodbye to their missionary child. I don’t have all the answers. Gosh, I don’t have any of the answers. Everyone’s experience is different, everyone’s feelings are different, everyone’s goodbye is different. I know that. However, one thing is almost always consistent…saying goodbye with peace and joy is hard to come by. It’s a journey that takes each of us time and lots of hard work. There is no one way to do it, and there is no formula that will achieve it.

When it became clear that they would be leaving the country soon, I decided to keep a journal of sorts to try to help me cope. Some of the entries were just venting sessions. Others were information I didn’t want to forget. Still others were more like prayers. The excerpts that I will share tomorrow are from that journal. There was a month or two that were particularly hard for me, so I have decided to focus on those entries. I have since added some thoughts (shown in italics) that go along with some of the things I was going through when I first wrote it.

Care For Your Leaders

I Thessalonians 5:11 says: “Therefore encourage one another and build each
other up, just as in fact you are doing.

As believers, when we are involved in church we often hear a couple of things.

  1. We need to be serving within the church
  2. We need to be ministering to those outside of the church

The best way of doing so is by being an encouragement to those that we attend church with, and those in our neighborhoods and community. I think for the most part we try to be encouragers to others around us. We like the feeling of being encouraged and we know that by developing strong relationships with others it is important to build them up and encourage them in what they do.

That being said sometimes we can forget about the leaders in our church, as well as our missionaries and extended ministry partners we don’t see every week. They can be standing on stage or sitting in our classroom and talking about ways in which we can show love toward each other by spending time with them, praying for them, or just acknowledging them. As we are sitting there listening our minds can go a mile a minute thinking about who we know that we need to spend extra time with. Often we can think of a handful of people that are struggling and that could use our prayers or words of encouragement. But, how often do we think about giving that encouragement back to our leaders and missionaries?

How often do we pray for our pastors, teachers, and missionaries? How often do we ask to spend time with those that mean so much to us and have influenced our own spiritual journey?

In past blog posts we have talked about burn out rate among pastors and missionaries According to Pastoral Care Inc, on their website they list some astonishing statistics:
“35% of pastors battle depression or fear of inadequacy.
26% of pastors report being over fatigued.
28% of pastors report they are spiritually undernourished.
70% of pastors report they have a lower self-image now than when they first started.
70% of pastors do not have someone they consider to be a close friend.
27% of pastors report not having anyone to turn to for help in a crisis situation
The profession of “Pastor” is near the bottom of a survey of the most-respected professions, just above “car salesman”.
• 71% of churches have no plan for a pastor to receive a periodic sabbatical.
• 66% of churches have no lay counseling support.
• and only 1 out of 10 pastors will retire as a pastor.”

Statistics show that when churches have pastor appreciation, and support for their pastors the above statistics improve. I challenge you this week to think about the pastors, missionaries, teachers and spiritual leaders in your life. Then take one or all of these actions steps:
1.) Call/text/email them and not only let them know you are praying for them, but ask if they have a specific prayer request.
2.) Send them a card and even a gift card or special gift with words of encouragement telling them specifically what they have done or said to you that has positively influenced you spiritually
3.) Ask them to lunch, dinner or time getting coffee. Spend quality time with them listening to them and showing them that you care. Coffee over facetime and skype work too!

For more information or to get more involved supporting local pastors and missionaries please contact Here2There ministries at
-Christy Paul, LMHC

Here2There has a new missions devotional!!! Sign up at here.

What’s Your 2020 Vision?

What’s Your 2020 Vision?

                                                              By Wayne Dinsbeer

My dad is about to turn 91 years of age. He has been around the block a time or two. He is still very sharp, spending 4 to 5 hours daily on his computer researching and writing Bible study materials for his church. He teaches a Men’s Bible Study class weekly and preaches regularly at his home church and other places. His knees are bad and his eye sight suspect, but he doesn’t let anything slow him down, especially me.

Today a great deal of importance is placed on “Sight”. I am sure in this year of 2020 that the marketing gurus will take advantage someway of this natural theme. Having 2020 Vision is very good. Our optometrists get us to spend a lot of money trying to return our eyes to this quality standard. We know the importance that Vision is vital to the successful work of any church, business, and life. Yet too often we fail to discover and develop our vision, leaving us to flounder day to day failing to accomplish what God desires for us.

I was taking my 8 year old granddaughter to school this past week when she looked at me and with her serious look asked, “GrandPa. What do you want to accomplish this year?” Her question caught me off guard. I had to quickly think of a response. The one I gave her off the cuff apparently did not meet her guidelines for something I was going to DO. So I had to re-answer her with a more viable response.

That got me thinking about this same question posed in a spiritual setting. “What do I want to accomplish for the Lord in 2020?” I work with a lot of Pastors and Missionaries who would have a difficult time giving a clear response to this relating to their ministries.

This requires clear Vision for our ministries and lives.

Our Christian world is a Faith Based one which differs greatly from a society that promotes “Seeing is Believing.” The facts of our faith are that our Belief leads to Sight or Vision. What is it you Believe God has for you to accomplish and do this year? Your heart will turn this to seeing God’s plan for strategy development to bring your faith to Vision and Sight (reality).

Have you considered all the power which Vision holds?  One simply needs to study the life of Nehemiah to see the importance that Burden, Passion, Belief, and Vision play in accomplishing that which God is leading us to do. 

Note his Strategy, Plan, and Actions:

  1. Nehemiah Prays First  1:4
  • Prayer internalizes allowing us burden and deepens ownership
  • Prayer insists we slow our reaction allowing us to hear from God
  • Prayer influences Vision enabling us to see what God sees
  • Prayer initiates Vision and becomes a catalyst for action

      2.  Nehemiah’s MAP (Mission Action Plan)

  • Approached Key Influencers 2:1-9  Gained support from King Artaxerxes 
  • Assessed Situation  2:11-15 Saw Jerusalem damage first hand
  • Cast Vision to Others  2:16,17 Spoke with Jews, Priests, Nobels, Officials, and people to do work   
  • Reminded them of past successes  2:18 Hand of God is with them.
  • Got “Buy in” from people  2:18 “Let us rise up and build”.
  • Organized people to work  3:1-32 Families worked according to planned priorities, beginning with the city’s gates.
  • Defended his work against opposition  4:1-23
  • Developed others to carry on  2:5-6:14  
  • Completed Wall in 52 Days   6:15      

Nehemiah is a great example of receiving a Vision from God and  following a plan to carry it out. Truly we can see the importance that Nehemiah’s vision had on his actions.

Consider these important thoughts about the power of Vision which Malphures gives in his book Advanced Strategic Planning.

       Seven Ways Vision Impacts Ministry:

  1. Provides Energy for the Actions of People- not much happens without a compelling vision.
  2. Creates Cause and Gives Meaning to People’s Service with a Divine Purpose.
  3. Fosters Risk Taking as People are Asked to Respond.
  4. Legitimizes Leadership as Leaders Paint the Picture for What Can Be.
  5. Energizes Leadership and Becomes the Fuel Leaders Run on which Creates Action.
  6. Sustains Ministry as it Encourages People to Look Beyond the Mundane to the Eternal.
  7. Motivates Giving as People Accept Financial Responsibility to Accomplish the Vision.

We all understand and believe what scripture says  – that without Vision people perish.

Too often we fail to know what to Do about either the lack of it in our ministries or the response to structure a MAP (Mission Action Plan) to fulfill it in our ministries.

It is critical to be able to write down and articulate the Vision. It is not enough just to have a head knowledge, or even a passionate heart relative to the Vision. For Vision to be effective it has to be shared with others who will help carry it out. That requires definition, writing it out in a way it can be easily shared with others.

  1. Start with the Heart
  •    After much prayer, write out what God is speaking to you regarding His plan for the specific area of ministry being developed.

      2.   Once all your thoughts are written 

  • Ask God to give wisdom as to how He would have you accomplish His Vision He has placed in your heart.
  • Be specific in your search for this. Ask :

             “Who” is to be reached by this vision? 

What are the “Resources” it will take to fulfill this Vision

       3.  Develop a Strategy to accomplish the Vision which includes details sufficient to establish a viable plan which can be shared with others.

Vision and Strategy development are critical to the success of any ministry. Contact us to see how our H2T team can assist you with your ministry development and implementation in  2020. 

The above thoughts are shared from Here2There’s ampd (Association of Mission Partnership Development) curriculum for Church Partnership. This is an Eleven month Cohort designed to teach, coach, and develop the entire scope of ministry for churches.


Making Missions Personal

Have you heard the expression, “You don’t know what you don’t know”? (YDKYDK)

There has never been a greater sentence created for the understanding of missions. By the time you think you have a good handle on it, the trends change, the processes are updated, the focus points have moved and the care needed has shifted. 

When our team visits churches, holds seminar or just talks to people, we hear A TON of these YDKYDK. statements. 

  • “I didn’t know I could contact our missionaries directly”
  • “I didn’t know that was possible to just visit missionaries to encourage them”
  • “I didn’t know missionaries faced those issues”
  • “I didn’t know that was the reason missionaries struggle”
  • “I didn’t know missionaries needed my skill set in their ministry”

And the list goes on and on.

There has been a recent shift in missions from a Pastor or Mission Leader only lead connection between church and missionary to a church-wide, hands on engaged partnership model. The latter partnership model provides more individuals in the church the opportunity to have a personal involvement and even responsibility in the ministries of their partners. The partnership model also brings the overall mission back to the ownership of the church, and not all the weight is left of the missionaries shoulders. 

While this shift of engagement is happening, there also needs to be a shift in each church’s preparation to make missions more personal, accessible and realistic for each individual in the church body – young and old. 

  • Church’s have the opportunity to increase the amount of missions exposure the church is seeing to make missions a normal part of conversation and activity in the church. 
  • Church’s can increase the church body’s participation through Mission Support Teams (or whatever your church calls them), that include more people directly connected to each missionary the church partners with.
  • Church’s can prepare their body to GO, both short and long term, through mission classes, internships and leadership development. 

This personal involvement of the church body has created and will continue to create an excitement and joy that is not containable. Just like Isaiah, when He saw God in a new way responded, “I am ruined… I’ll do it”, your church will begin experiencing the same type of surrender. 

2020 is the year to expand your reach and make missions personal for each individual in your church. 

If H2T can help you create a church-wide missions strategy for 2020, or help you plan your missions focus month or plan better partnerships with your existing missionaries, we would love to speak to you today! will connect you with our team and get your partnership plan started right away.

Stefanie Nicholson

Founder and Team Lead

Top 5 Blogs of 2019

You’ve asked for it and we’ve delivered. Well, maybe you didn’t ask for it. Anyways, we have given our top 5 picks from our 2019 blogs. Without further ado and in no particular order here they are: