Monday, November 19, 2012

Bouncing Around Asia in 2012!

Dear friends,
           It has been a long time since I have written. There are a few reasons. The main one is that I was cautioned that I could compromise my ministry if I said too much in my blog. But after thinking a lot about this, I think it is more costly to not keep my friends up to date on what is happening and where I have been. So many are curious and asking, so I will at least summarize the last 6 months.
         Another reason I haven't written is that I have been BUSY! Here are the highlights since April...

         * I attended the gcmEQUIP conference in Chaing Mai Thailand. (gcm= global children's ministry) at the end of May. I helped with registration, hospitality, and taught a sample lesson of our curriculum to several leaders from approximately 6 countries during our post conference.

Here is the group that attended the 1for50 retreat after the gcm EQUIP confernece. 65 from 40 countries! What a wonderful group to pray with! It sounded like Pentecost! I'm sure it made the Lord smile.

We had a reception at the end of the gcmEquip conference with international clothing. Here are some of my new friends!

Here I am with Kathleen Chapman who was a plenary speaker at the conference. She is a fun person I really connected with. Her book, "Teaching Kids Authentic Worship," is excellent. I taught some principles from it when I was in Asia and SE Asia this fall. I have also used her ideas to teach kids about worship twice and it has been powerful. It is a must read for serious disciplers of kids.

We had a field trip to an elephant park at the beginning of the 1for50 retreat. My first elephant ride. I decided that day that riding an elephant should be on my bucket list and I also checked it off! I am riding the elephant with a key children's ministry leader from Ethiopia.

            * In August our oldest daughter, Laura, married Kagiso Phaladi from Botswana. Laura met Kagi in the UK where he is studying Pharmacy. They were doing ministry outreach when they met. He will be done with school in May. The wedding was August 18th near Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Niagara Falls on the Canadian side (rt) and the Niagara River in the background on the left.

Botswana engagement outfits, reheasal, wedding and the happy couple!

Father/daughter dance- so sweet!

Jesse was able to come for less than a day to be with us from his base in CA.

The Electric Slide, African version! So very fun to watch!

3 generations!

Laura made her own wedding cakes- Reeces Peanut Butter and White Almond. Yummmm!

Our new family including my new boy!

                * In late September I went to East Asia for 2 weeks for my 3rd visit there. We did 2 trainings of about 80 people. All were extremely pleased with the training. One woman said she had been through several other trainings and this one was very practical and spiritually uplifting to her. I was able to visit a Sunday school class the day after training #2 and watch our student use the things we had taught her to share the Gospel with her class of 5 years olds for the first time. She did an amazing job! It was so exciting to see our training put to practice in a real setting! And the kids loved it!

This nail demo is a favorite. On our way to the airport I put the nails in my carry-on luggage- not thinking- but since we were in a hurry, I can understand why it happened. Anyway, I was pulled to the security counter with Wendy to 'discuss' these nails and why I had them. Wendy explained in Chinese that they are part of our performance. They asked to see our 'performance' and were delighted with it! They clapped, gave back the nails, and sent us on our way!

Wendy likes taking pictures of me eating. The food was so good everywhere we went!

Slippers are the footwear of choice in this training. Mine happened to look like pigs. (-:

 Translators are a necessity for us when we train. They work very hard. I am slowly getting better at remembering to go slower for the translator. 

 A restaurant with a specialty in soup cooked outside in this big pot.

Creative sheep with ears made out of towels!

A new structure at the Olympic Park.

How it looks up closer...

And closer...

 And right up close you can see an intricate pattern on each circle of light.

 The Bird's Nest at night.

The Swimming Cube at night. 

The Olympic Torch. Very beautifu.

 This man was so touched my the training that he was making plans to integrate what he learned into his school.

 Rose tea- so good, along with fantastic hospitality.
 * And then home for 2 weeks before heading to SE Asia for a 3 week, 4 training trip. Three of us went to 4 different cities from late Oct. to mid Nov. #1 was to speak at a conference. I taught 3 workshops, and my teeammates taught 5 others and each of them were plenary speakers as well. There were 180 at the conference and we were invited back to do more training.

#2 was a training of 90. Most were in positions of leadership with children and represented 52 entities. We had a university Christian Education professor, many gov't Christian Ed teachers, directors of Compassion Int'l projects, orphanage personnel, full-time Christian kindergarten teachers, pastors and some Sunday school teachers. They were a very fun and active group of students. Lots of laughter and some tears.   

Here I am teaching about application. You can be taught things, but if you don't apply what you have learned, it won't become part of your life. This is where a child either becomes a disciple or not. "Present. Discuss. Apply." It is a montra I teach during training. By the time we are done, I tell them my goal is for them to say it in their sleep!

My trusty chicken is a crowd pleaser. It announces the end of games or of tea break. 

These puzzle pieces have been assembled after each attendee wrote the gifts they have to apply to children's ministry.
As a Body, all the bases are covered. This was very encouraging.

Training #3 was 2 flights away in another city. We had 25 students mostly from one church. What a wonderful group there! We fell in love with these students. We had never seen any group so ready to jump into the outreach part of the lesson! They were already doing outreach and were figuring out ways to do it even better. On the Sunday, in the middle of our teaching days, Kimberle and Sheryl went to an inter-city outreach location and shared a Bible story, and I taught Sunday school for the church hosting us- 70 children ages 1-17. I taught on worship. (Hint from Kathleen's book: Serve a salty snack and then teach about thirsting after God.) At the end of this training we had tears as we said good-bye. In 3 days we had developed deep attachments to each other.

The Sunday school class I taught.

My teammates enjoying a delicious fish dinner including coconut milk and avacado drinks.

Here I am teaching my apply lesson by telling a story about a boy and a plane.

Here we are hot but rejoicing in a great training.

Praying a blessing over the participants as they go forth to apply what they have learned in discipling children.
#4 was another plane ride away. Kimberle went home while Sheryl and I went on. We were with 25 very interactive students. Half or more were like training #2, ministry leaders who worked for various organizations. One Hope, Compassion,
Postbox, orphanage workers, Pesat, pastors and Sunday school teachers. They LOVED the games and how practical everything was. Again lots of laughter and some tears. They lined up to invite us to their ministries to train their people. So we had a discussion about long term plans and their need to eventually have their own trainers. They all agreed to assemble a group of 20 of their best trainers from all the ministries and we would begin training those 20 next year. Whether I am involved in that training is up in the air. If I could be helpful and it fits my schedule, maybe I will get to go back. I learned a great deal from Sheryl and Kimberle on this trip.

As hard as we tried, we could NOT get that ball out of the window!

Look good? Found at your friendly HyperMart store!

Now that training was over, Sheryl began to relax. Now THAT is scary!

And I am eating jelly fish much to the delight of our hosts! And this was just before we ate durion!
A great way to end our time in this beautiful country!

I am home now and Greg is in Zimbabwa with Laura. Greg has just come from Ghana and has some amazing stories to share when he gets home. If you have made it through all this, I salute you and thank you!

Thank you especially for your prayers. There were a few times when I was gone and the Holy Spirit talked for a little while. At those times I really felt your prayers! You have a huge part in training the 325 we worked with in SE Asia. AND the other 80+ we trained in Asia.

Until all the children have a chance to know Him,


P.S. If you have any questions, feel free to email.