Reboot-18: Closing

From XFamily - Children of God
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To the Mission! To the Future! To You!

01 June 2010

After reading the reboot package, we imagine you have a lot of thoughts going through your mind. Some things that you’ve read may have thrilled and inspired you. Other things may have made you feel sad or confused or uncertain. You might not know what to think.

No matter how you’re feeling, it’s okay. As Peter expressed in “Change Journey Manifesto,” it’s normal if you’re experiencing some difficult or strong emotions. What’s important at this point is that you give yourself time to get used to the changes, to let things settle in your heart, to reread any material that you may need a better understanding of, and to let the Lord speak to you about any questions that you have. Please don’t feel hurried to grasp it all, nor to make decisions or plans.

Just as it took us time to assess the Family and pray and make the decisions that we presented to you in the reboot material, you should give yourself ample time to also pray and to adjust before making personal decisions. As you know, it’s generally not wise to make rushed decisions based on initial reactions or emotions.

Don’t let your emotions move you ahead of the Lord. Let the dust settle, and take some time for reflection and contemplation. It will take time to assess your life, make decisions, meditate and recalibrate. Coming to terms with the changes and how they affect you personally and gaining a deeper understanding of them will take time.

I have total confidence that the Lord will speak to you and give you the answers you need. Each one of you is connected to Him. You’ve been following Him all these years, you’re desirous of finding and fulfilling His will, you’re sensitive to His voice. He’ll clear away the confusion, heaviness or uncertainty. He’ll show you what He wants you to do; in His perfect time and way, He’ll make His plan for you clear. As we each take time to think things over with the Lord, He will shed new light on the future and what He has in store for us.

And you know, what He has in store for you might not be so different from what you’re already doing. He might want you to keep doing what you’re doing. But if He does have a change in store for you, be assured that He will guide you to it. You won’t have to try so hard to figure it out. As long as you’re seeking and open to His guidance, He’ll unveil His plan when He’s ready and when you’re ready.

Whatever your situation, whatever you’re feeling right now, remember that you belong to something greater than yourself. You belong to Jesus. You’re also part of a worldwide network of friends and loved ones—your fellow Family members, who I know will do their best to support you through this time of change as you in turn do your best to support them.

That’s one of the benefits of being part of the Family, and being a part of our community of faith: to feel that sense of belonging, camaraderie and support, to know you’re not alone, to realize that in addition to Jesus, Family members will be there for you—through their support and prayers—just as you’ll be there for them. Being one in Him is something that we can draw strength from.

It’s wise to pause at times like this, when we’re dealing with our thoughts and the emotions of our hearts, trying to discover where the Lord wants us to go from here. It’s a time of getting back to the basics in our hearts and spirits, of clearing away any “rubble” that might have been there, and reminding ourselves of those constants that will never change—Jesus, His love for us, His care for us, and His need for us to give His love to others.

It’s clear that things aren’t going to be the same, and it’s a good time for each of us to adjust our compass, as needed, to make sure that we’re in the place the Lord wants us, doing what He knows will bring us the most joy in Him, and will ultimately make our lives a story of faithfulness to Him and greatness in His eyes.

Why we’re committed to the Family

In the course of praying about and discussing the Family-wide changes that have been ushered in with the reboot, Peter and I have also taken time to think and pray about where we personally stand, what the Lord wants from us in the future. There are some things we know for certain.

  • We want to serve Jesus to the best of our ability.
  • We want to help others in a big way.
  • We want to make it possible for you to shine brightly for the Lord.

Our primary goal is to see the mission advance, the world reached with Jesus’ love and truth, and those of you who are doing the job—our frontline witnesses—empowered, aided and supported in your efforts. What we are interested in is you, and in doing whatever we can to support you and provide you with what you need.

To Peter and me, the constants are Jesus, the Great Commission, and the privilege we have been blessed with of serving you and helping you to shine. You are the big deal, because you are the ones who make the Family’s mission possible. You are the Family—the over 6,000 members (18+) in close to 90 countries. We love you and we want to see you prosper.

When we receive testimonies from you in which you tell us about the things the Lord is doing in your lives, the doors He is opening, the supply He is giving, the lives He is changing, we smile, we cry, we praise, and we thank Him for people like you who are willing to fulfill the Great Commission come rain or shine, no matter what changes present themselves, no matter how tough the going or how heavy the load.

I’ll sometimes put together a compilation of some of your recent testimonies and give them to Peter to listen to, or we’ll read them over lunch. They always give him a boost. He’ll say, “This is what it’s all for. These are the ones who are doing it, who are making it happen, who are reaching the world, who are a living example of the Word to the world. That’s why investing in the Family is worth it.”

Your testimonies give him renewed energy, and they do the same for me. I’m so eager to hear about what you’re doing. Every time I read an account, my admiration for all that you give and are is renewed.

Peter and I have faith for the future of the Family, because it’s made up of you—Jesus’ disciples for today! We’ve seen you love and give to others, even when it’s cost you. We’ve seen you face disappointment and bounce back. We’ve seen you obey the Lord even when doing so didn’t seem to make sense.

We will give our all to the success of the Family of the future, because that Family is you, along with all those who will join us or collaborate with us in the future to fulfill the mission. We’re going all in! Our motivation behind these changes, and our wanting to continue to invest in the Family of the future, is our love for Jesus, our love for the lost, and our love for you.

Names and faces

I want to put some faces and names on the “you” that we’re talking about here, to sketch a basic picture.

In the past we haven’t highlighted individuals much, for a variety of reasons. But a few things tipped the scale in favor of me doing so:

  • It’s a new era, and so much is changing. I felt that a change in this regard would be worthwhile too.
  • Each of you deserves credit for all that you’ve given to Jesus. You’re amazing! Even though I can only mention the names of a few of you due to time and space constraints, I hope that you who I don’t mention will be able to identify with those mentioned, and be encouraged too. I look at these examples as representative of all of you who are doing great things!

Thank you, in advance, for understanding if I misrepresent anything, or if I have gotten my facts wrong (I was working with limited information), or if I have overlooked mentioning someone who is involved in or has contributed significantly to a home or work or project that I highlight. Although I might have recently heard about or received news of someone by name, and have mentioned that name here, I am aware that, for the most part, these individuals aren’t doing the work on their own.

Almost every Family member’s accomplishments are the result of a teamwork effort, and a lot of love and support by others over time. For example, a long-term work in a country might be flourishing, and perhaps certain people have been there for many years, but the work has been made possible and has been added to and built on by other members in previous years who have contributed their blood, sweat and tears. If I fail to mention your name in connection with a home or work, please know that it is not intentional. I honor you, too, for your amazing sacrifices.

There was no way that I could have realistically named everyone here. But I felt that it was worth it to name at least a handful of Family members, so that we can honor and celebrate one another, rejoice in each other’s successes, while also thinking about the many, many more great members and their accomplishments that are too numerous to number. Because our work for the Lord has been very much a teamwork effort, we can feel a part of one another’s wins, and praise our Husband for all that He has done.—And for all of you, dear Family, whose names I am not specifying, I know that He that “seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”[1]

I’m not picking favorites or elevating certain individuals above others. I want to celebrate, to praise, to honor all of you, dear Family! What Peter and I do is for you. Although the love of Christ constrains us, our love for you is also a big motivating factor. We love you!

Getting specific: New endeavors

First we’ll talk about some of you who have stepped out to do new things. You inspire us when we think about the potential for the future. When the Lord says He’s going to provide new opportunities, we think about you. When the Lord says He wants us to take risks, and that as a result of those risks, He’s going to bring about greater success, we think about you—and so many others who are taking Jesus at His word and seeing His promises come into being.

Take Tina, in Africa, for example. We’ve heard she’s the kind of missionary who’s full of new ideas to reach people, and is eager to follow the Lord’s call to pioneer, even if it’s unconventional or different. She also met her husband, Eduan, through a rather unorthodox outreach method of belly dancing at restaurants. They were married in May! Congratulations to both of you!

We have those at the Lodge Home, in Japan, who have begun a coffee-shop ministry. It’s apparent by their trying something new that they love a challenge. Their courageous and adventurous spirit is inspiring and motivating to see.

Franco and Sara, and other members of the team in Albania—including their Active members and friends who heavily invested financially—started a social club and pizza restaurant called “The Home,” which is an ideal networking platform, location for Bible studies, avenue for distributing Family products, and fundraiser.

We’re blessed with young people like Luz and Aurora in Colombia, who have been setting up a foundation to provide food, schooling, and medical aid to children from poor families in Cartagena. Visit their website or scroll through their photo-packed blog. Good going, girls!

In Mexico, Isabelle has a work based on distributing our children’s books among needy children in many parts of Mexico, Central America, and Cuba. She has taken courses to learn more about developing social projects and life coaching in order to be more effective in her work, which has now gained recognition. I’m so proud of everyone who is involved and helping to make this work happen!

Simon and Ikumi, in Africa, didn’t choose their new adventure, but during their recent kidnapping ordeal, they were brave and faithful witnesses. They’re examples of our Family members who are missionaries to the core, who put their trust in Jesus, and can make the best of any situation, and come out the better for it—and be an inspiration to us all at the same time.

Founding a charitable ministry in Mexico is what Cush and Zara have done. They own a property and have almost completed a large construction project on it—purely by faith—consisting of a free dining hall (that 200 children attend daily) and a medical clinic. In addition, they teach a Bible class every Friday night, and have cultivated a group of disciples who are now an indispensable part of their work.

Making a difference from her desk is Joy, in the US, who ministers the Word to hundreds of leave-takers through email. She does her work quietly and faithfully every day. Such consistency and dedication is a hallmark of our missionaries around the world.

Joel and Maria, in the Middle East, began a drama ministry that involves Family members, friends, and local college students. They have also been instrumental in facilitating several area projects, through their monetary support.

Haven, in the US, dared to try something new when she responded to an ad for an executive assistant, which led to her becoming a part of a team opening a house of hope for teenagers. She’s also been using her music in new ways to reach many.

What our Family members in Romania are doing also sounds incredibly inspiring. They run an active charity with operational bases in three major cities (soon to be six), with projects in the fields of sport, health, and disability. They have the largest volunteer base in Romania, an established work that can now offer opportunities to others.

We’re seeing the beginnings of new projects that Family members are involved with all around the world. Some haven’t gotten off the ground yet, but have great potential. We admire each of you for having the courage to make the visions the Lord has given you reality.

Getting specific: Longtime missionaries

It’s not only the new methods and opportunities that Family members are undertaking that we value. At the heart of our Family are all our many faithful longtime missionaries who have been laboring in their country of service year after year.

All of you who fit this bill—so many more than I could list here—have given many of your best years to Jesus, to the Family, to winning the world. Not one sacrifice or moment of forsaking is unnoticed by the Lord; not one act of giving or selflessness is lost. Jesus knows each one, and will bless and repay you. He “is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have showed toward His Name.”[2]

These Family members—and many more around the world; this is just the tip of the iceberg—are obviously passionate about reaching their part of the world, because they are willing to live and serve in these countries no matter what the personal cost. They don’t pull up stakes at the first sign of trouble or adversity. As a result of their long-term commitments, their works are flourishing.

In Hyderabad we find Mark and Faithy, missionaries in India for the past 26 years. They, along with their nine children, faithfully witness, including to many deaf people. Mark was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease five years ago, but he has continued to give all of his energies to the flock. He travels two to three months out of the year visiting those he’s ministering to, conducting retreats/seminars, even though it is becoming more physically challenging. Their small home has over 20 Active members and many close friends.—An example of long-term efforts paying off in fruit!

Moving around the globe, we honor Timoteo and Crystal, in Fortaleza, who pioneered the north of Brazil and have had very little fellowship for the past 15 years. They’ve built a follow-up work and have been faithful Activated distributors despite the hardships and extreme poverty of the region they live in. That’s a beautiful thing about our Family members: The personal cost is irrelevant!

There’s the team in Nepal, which currently consists of Anita, Arthur, Lily, and Sam—as well as their Active and General members. They (including Josiah and Jewel, for many years) have been a small team in a difficult field. They’ve faced tremendous difficulties with their visas, have had little fellowship, and all the while have kept up with the challenge of witnessing to people with no Christian background. In spite of untold obstacles and sacrifices, the fires of witness and truth are burning brightly in Nepal, as this team changes lives and leads people to Jesus.

Isaac and Ruth, missionaries in Asia for over 30 years, pioneered Myanmar over 12 years ago. They have sacrificed a great deal in order to maintain a work in a difficult field with little fellowship and plenty of lacks in the physical, such as daily power cuts, water problems, Internet trouble, and much more. In spite of the difficulties, they run a Christian school and kindergarten, have a flock of Active members, and translate Family and Christian materials into Burmese. At the beginning of 2010, Ruth went through a successful operation for lung cancer, and they remained cheerful and full of faith throughout.

Jim and Lily have committed their energy and talents to reaching those in Turkey for the last 15 years. They provide dance therapy at refugee camps and work with cancer hospitals. Their kids speak Turkish and actively help them in these projects. They’ve also participated in a whopping 99 earthquake disaster relief projects over the years!

In Ghana there’s Emanuel, who joined the Family about nine or ten years ago. In Nigeria, we have Simon, who joined over 20 years ago. They both head up successful Family-run schools for underprivileged children, which were also made possible by the faithful labors of Joan and several others. In spite of hardly any fellowship, they have remained faithful to the Lord, the Family, and this ministry.

Peter Lance has been a missionary in the Philippines for over 30 years, and since the Activated program began has dedicated himself to promoting Activated, garnering up to 30 (and often many more) subscriptions per month; he’s developed a wonderful follow-up ministry as a result. That’s what I call doing your part to see the Lord’s promises fulfilled!

Also in the Philippines are Michael and Joan and team in Cebu, who, over the past ten years, have established an exceptional and growing dental mission work, with Danish dental students giving free service at the missions they organize. Their other mission projects include medical internship, teachers’ programs, building their own center, and livelihood training projects.

Longtime Family members in Pakistan—Richard and Heidi, Sam and Samaria, Stefan and Joy, and Mary—have been building a work for over 20 years, a chain of deaf centers, despite untold challenges and setbacks. To top off many years of giving, Sam and Samaria recently gave a generous offering to their region.

Getting specific: Generosity

Speaking of giving, our Family is filled with generous individuals who are willing to give, in some cases even of what little they have, to others and to the Family.

Not everyone is called to be a career missionary, but it’s the many folks who aren’t career missionaries in the Family who help to make it possible for those who are, to have what they need.

Every bit of giving and sacrificing is seen by the Lord—whether you’re giving financially, or giving of your time, or of your services or prayers.

In Japan we find Steven and Tabitha, who not only recently donated a large financial offering to the Family, but are also found regularly on the streets of downtown Tokyo with a witness for whoever the Lord leads them to. They’re passionate about souls and getting out the Word, and are an example of doing so in spite of their age and health challenges.—A great example of giving as much as possible to Jesus and the mission, like so many of you around the world!

Jim is another Family member who deserves credit—not only for being a generous donor and facilitator for the last 27 years (contributing specifically toward projects that would benefit Family young people and enhance their education and training), but also because he is our oldest Family member. He turns 100 today (June 1), and has been living on the mission field of Mexico since the age of 92. Joanna, his wife, has lovingly cared for him, in addition to being an integral part of the work and a great witness herself. Happy 100th, Jim!

It wouldn’t be possible to talk about valuable facilitators of the mission without mentioning Johane and Lydia, in Japan, who have given so much to the Family financially over the years. In spite of their fragile health, they keep going for the Lord, witnessing and helping others in need, using Lydia’s testimony of healing from cancer and the book she has written about it as a wonderful witness.

Kanti, in India, has given faithfully to the Family for over 25 years. In addition, several hundred missionaries and young people have benefited from receiving missionary training at his property in the mountains of Kodai, which he has graciously allowed the Family to use these many years.

Richard Story, in the US, pretty much single-handedly built a work based on the Activated vision and follow-up, in addition to a fruitful prison ministry. He has also helped to support the work in Mexico financially, as well as through cultivating a contact who freely printed tens of thousands of tracts and other publications in Spanish.

Tracy and Jodie, in Brazil, are others who have given a lot over the years to the Family, helping to make numerous ministries and productions possible. Thank you!

These are just a few examples of the unselfishness of Family members. Many more of you have given “above and beyond” like these. Whether you had a lot to give or a little, what matters is that you gave as unto the Lord. We know who you are. And so do those whose lives you have touched. Jesus most certainly knows, and He will reward.

Getting specific: Sharing/Acts 2:44-45

In addition to giving financially, which is one way that generosity is manifested, many are called by the Lord to sacrifice in other ways—by sharing their donated goods with others, or by taking someone in who is in need of a place to stay (long- or short-term), or by giving love and providing camaraderie to support someone in need.

Year after year our Family members have been examples of living the principles of Acts 2:44-45. This is one of the qualities of Family members that I consider to be most outstanding. Giving and sacrificing is a daily occurrence in the Family. I wish I could highlight everyone I’ve heard of who has gone out of their way to show and give love!

Someone recently wrote about Dust and Ahlai, in Mexico, saying: “Their sample of generosity (even to their own hurt) set the precedent for the way homes in our area have worked in unity. They gave of their provisions, shared contacts, suggested witnessing spots, offered their house for various meetings. They are heroes in my book.” Our prayers are with you as you continue to set up your new missionary outpost in Puerto Vallarta.

There’s Jonathan and Amy and Embu home, in Brazil, who I was told “graciously help to provision area needs, and have given unselfishly of all that the Lord supplies for their home to other homes in need.”

We also have a lawyer in Brazil, Igor, who in addition to witnessing to judges and lawyers, donates his time to take care of the legal work for an association run by Family members. Your help has been invaluable, Igor!

Juan and Angela, in the US, were also recently highlighted for their example of love and giving. Someone wrote me that they “draw others around them into their circle of love, making them feel like a part of their friends and family. One ‘gets’ the meaning of living the Law of Love in its totality by seeing their example.”

A woman recently wrote me about a Family shepherd who showed her love in a tangible way. I don’t know the shepherd’s name, but this account brought tears to my eyes.

She said: “There was a misunderstanding between myself and one of the home members. It was the proverbial straw on the camel’s back. I basically made up my mind to leave the Family. However, the next morning, the home shepherd who was on his rest day called me in for a chat. He had heard about the incident and that it hadn’t been my fault. He then apologized with tears in his eyes for the lack of love shown and begged for forgiveness. I was floored! I couldn’t believe he would take responsibility for something he hadn’t even done, and take his time off to make sure that I was not hurt by the incident. Because of this one act of love and kindness, I decided to give it another try, to stick it out regardless of the things that hurt me, because I felt that if this brother loved me enough to care like that, the Lord must love me too.”

I recently heard about Tom and Donna, in the US. Someone wrote: “They run a border base. Their doors are always open to Family members passing through. They incorporate visitors into their outreach endeavors and home, and drive teams to fundraising spots. They go the extra mile, trying to help their visitors reach their goals. Tom’s illness (hepatitis) has not hindered him from actively witnessing and helping. Donna has always been positive through all these years of Tom’s illness. May we all shine like these!”

In Frankfurt lives Christiana. Lots of Family members passing through stay with her; she is a caring and generous hostess.

I’ve heard about the tremendous support that Rose Glace, in Australia, has been to the Family there and in ACTON for so many years through her contacts—connecting the need with the supply. Whether people’s needs have been great or small, personal or for larger projects, she’s been there to help meet the need willingly and cheerfully.

There’s Simon Peter, in Uganda, who has not only built a fruitful radio-and-follow-up ministry over the years, but is often found going above and beyond to share resources—audios, dramas, inspirational music, radio show productions, etc.—for others to use in their mission activities.

Simon and Natasha, now in South Africa, have served the Lord and the Family faithfully and sacrificially. They weathered the BI court case and remained in the UK for 18 years until their son came of age. During that time they began a prison ministry, which continues to this day, along with opening their home to hundreds of Family members passing through or in need of a place to transition from, donating finances to Family projects, and more.

Getting specific: Overcomers

Family members are resilient! You are the type of people who don’t let setbacks or problems derail you, not even serious accidents or debilitating health problems. Your faith tends to grow stronger and your light seems to shine all the brighter when you face such difficulties.

Michael, in Canberra, Australia, is an amazing example of the power of strength from weakness. He’s a paraplegic and has been wheelchair bound for the past 20+ years. And yet he is faithful to witness to anyone he meets, and has helped four people to find a place of service for the Lord in the Family. He’s got a wonderful sense of humor despite his severe handicap. He ties a pencil to the back of his hand in order to type on a computer, which he uses as a tool for his witnessing. He introduced Marianne, his wife, to the Family, and she has lovingly cared for him for well over a decade.

Marc (of Suzy), in Brazil, also doesn’t let his disability stop him. He’s been an Activated mag distribution shiner, and by his example wins many to Jesus. He has faith and patience for those he ministers to, and he travels regularly on long boat trips to remote villages to follow up on people and distribute Family products. That’s dedication to the mission!

Peter, in the US, is limited in how much he can get out and about, due to multiple sclerosis, and yet is not limited in what he’s doing for Jesus. The Lord has shown him to create an online resource on the theme of overcoming adversity, helping others to be powered by their challenges.

Stephen and Amber, in Cuernavaca, Mexico, haven’t had it easy either. Stephen has had chronic and very painful back problems (sometimes leaving him bedridden for days and weeks) for seven years now. Yet he keeps going, despite the pain, investing in follow-up and witnessing. In addition, they have experienced personal heartbreaks and loss, and yet have put Jesus first, even when it’s been so costly to do so.

Priscila, in Romania, is another individual that our Family is blessed with. Her husband (Francesco) went to be with the Lord several years ago in a car accident, while they were living and working in Moldova. She became a single mom of four kids overnight (the two youngest were twin boys, just a few months old). Yet she continued to witness and to glorify the Lord (including through her husband’s photography site) and to trust Jesus. There’s much more to the story than this, of course, but the bottom line is that her faith and trust and perspective and love for the Lord throughout all of this is truly amazing! It has touched many lives.

Anim and Ezra and Mark (of Maria), in the US, are currently dealing with what to most people would be tragic—the birth of Anim and Ezra’s baby William with a rare and incurable skin disease. Yet, they’ve clung to their faith. They’ve smiled through their tears. They’re praising through the storm. They’re being a testimony to many doctors and nurses and have touched hearts and lives with the peace and trust that the Lord has given them. Their actions and testimony show God’s love and care in vibrant color. (Thank you, Paz, for your selfless love and the time you’re giving to help care for baby William!)

Others who’ve recently experienced a tragedy are Paul and Leilani, in Japan. Their oldest son, Gideon, was hit by a car and passed away. In the midst of their own grief and pain, they couldn’t help thinking about others. They went out of their way to forgive the people responsible for their son’s death. Even in the throes of such heartbreak, the love of Jesus shone through, as His Spirit moved them to reach out to heal other hurting hearts. This same love beats in the heart of every Family member. We hear similar stories time after time. What unearthly love!

Our respect and admiration go to Tim and Sharie, in Guatemala. When Sharie was pregnant with her fifth child, and they were on their own, Tim had a heart attack that left him weak and unable to keep up with his regular workload. They chose to put their trust in Jesus—and He has met them, bringing them through these many difficulties into greater fruitfulness. They’re continuing with their program for educating orphans, and it’s bearing fruit. As a token of the Lord’s love, He’s led a young woman to them who, after being touched by their sample of love, wanted to live with them (and presently does) to help them with their children. What a wonderful example of the Lord’s ability to care for His Own.

Daniel and Marie Fighter are indeed fighters. Daniel has battled a life-threatening tumor, which continues to cause pain and discomfort. Marie fought her own battle with cancer and afterward developed fibromyalgia (a chronic, painful condition which she has struggled with for years now, leaving her bedridden for months at a time). In spite of all of this, they are “soldiering on” in Taiwan, spreading our message though music via the site. What an example of rising above!

Getting specific: Parents

I admire all of you parents who have raised or are raising families on the mission field—both our first-generation parents in years past and our second-generation parents who are making amazing sacrifices today so that the “Gospel can be preached in all the world.”[3] Your faith to do so, often despite dangerous conditions, disease, poor health, and sometimes the lack of basic essentials, is worthy of praise.

I’m highlighting people like Vas and Joni in Mexico, who have been there for years, serving the Lord and raising a family of six children—contributing their music to reach the youth and developing a repertoire of witnessing songs in a style that appeals to the young Latins. No doubt you’ve faced challenges I can only begin to imagine, but what a testimony you are!

Francesco and Crystal, in Japan, have had their challenges too, as parents raising seven children. They have supported and facilitated the hosting of FDTPs, countless youth camps and fellowships, and have been instrumental in inspiring and training many young people. In the midst of all of this they’ve had to fight varied and at times serious battles for their children’s health, while Crystal has also struggled with her own health—yet through it all they’ve continued to give for the sake of others. “Greater love hath no man [or woman]….”[4]

James and Alyse[5] in China, other second-generation parents with their seven children, are also heroes! They pioneered a home in Thailand where they had a successful work and, along with their children, a music ministry. They homeschooled all of their children, two of them with dyslexia, and have now been in China for three years, where they and their team are doing a great work along with ministering to earthquake victims. May the Lord bless you and provide all of your needs!

There’s Oli and Marie, the second-generation couple in the Family with the largest family (12 children—one in Heaven), who have been faithfully serving the Lord in West, East, and South Africa. They left England to pioneer a work in Nigeria with four small children in tow, and have remained in Africa for more than 15 years, despite facing challenges such as malaria, armed robberies, and raising a son with learning disabilities. Incredible!

Michael and Tabita, along with their children and home, in Brazil, are helping to maintain and pioneer mission projects with passion and drive. They helped to promote a new youth training course, run a design company, organize and promote parties and social events in hospitals, slums and orphanages, and run a Kiddy English Course and teach weekly Word classes. Wow, talk about busy!

Matt and Melissa, now in Germany, have served the Lord with their six children in Sierra Leone for years, and are amazing pioneers. Working in difficult conditions. Doing great things. I loved your article in Link about your last travels back to the mission field.[6] It was a privilege to get a peek into your life of faith!

Simon and Maria have pioneered and developed a witnessing, provisioning, and follow-up ministry, while raising their nine children (including twins). A few years ago Simon had a bad accident, falling from their second story home, but in spite of his serious injuries and the resulting ongoing pain in his foot, he continues with the mission. They are presently working with a great team of active and fruitful missionaries in the Philippines.

In addition to our parents, we have many wonderful and selfless teachers and caregivers in the Family who have been sacrificial and giving through teaching and caring for others’ kids for many, many years. Your loving efforts have helped to facilitate and support the mission, and have made it possible for so many of our families to have their needs met. You are unsung heroes!

Getting specific: Facilitators

There are plenty of individuals in the Family who may not have had an active missionary work, but have given their efforts, energy, skills, and/or artistic and creative abilities to the Family in other ways—for free, or in exchange for small donations.

We have many talented individuals in the Family who could have been using their gifts and know-how elsewhere, but for many years they have chosen to give their time, sacrificially, for the sake of others. Individuals who are willing to volunteer or donate their professional talents and skills and time for the benefit of the Family will always be appreciated and needed—and that’s one tremendous and far-reaching way to facilitate the mission.

It wouldn’t be possible to list everyone who deserves credit for playing a role in facilitating the mission—the board members, coaches, Family artists, teachers and educators, media spokespersons (who put their name and reputation on the line for the Family), those who prepare and host seminars and retreats, those who’ve managed the PCs, the Aurora team, the print centers, longtime servants of the Family in WS, those who’ve played support roles in service homes, Family secretaries everywhere, etc.

Here are just a few.

I’m talking about people like Kevin and Angelina, the brains behind the InfoStore program and Amika project. They did these projects on their own initiative. As a result the Family has benefited from InfoStore for years now, and Amika more recently. What a great work!

The Web Advisory Council (WAC), working in conjunction with the CCR WS team, has volunteered many hours (much of which was in their free time) over the last few years to improve TFI’s online presence. They’ve provided regular advice and development assistance to boost TFI’s Web presence.

I’m thankful for the FCF team (which has involved a number of people over the years), who started up a not-for-profit organization that is a huge blessing to those served by many TFI missionaries and others around the world.

I admire our talented musicians who have produced so much beautiful music for the Family for pennies. Their work is worth more than we could ever pay, but they have given it to the Family basically for free, to benefit us and the lost, as unto Jesus.

Many of our translators have been on the job for many years, despite obstacles, other responsibilities or challenges, or being on their own. Collectively they have translated thousands upon thousands of pages of material for our non-English speakers. Thank you for making it possible for a large percentage of our Family to receive the Word in their native tongue, along with helping to provide them with the local language materials to use in their outreach.

We have Crystal, in Thailand, who has been serving the Lord in Asia for 31 years. She’s not only been a dedicated and professional teacher, but she uses her free time to witness and feed others through the mail, on the phone, via SMS, and by any other means she possibly can—an example of so many of our teachers and caregivers around the world.

Activated Ministries, a US-based nonprofit, is dedicated to spreading the Gospel, and has sponsored TFI projects around the world. They’re now launching an educational Scholarship Program for the children of current or former Family missionaries.

Getting specific: Salt of the earth

Whatever Family members do or are, each one is amazing. Some are career missionaries, some are doing a work for the Lord from behind a desk. Others might have a career intertwined with or in addition to their mission service and facilitation.

We share something in common no matter what we do—whether we practice medicine, write books, run a business, program websites, or educate children. Our aim is to do what we can for the mission, whatever Jesus is asking of us, with a passion. You do what you can do, and give what you can give, with all of your heart. You find out what God is asking of you, and then you give it your best effort.

We have a number of individuals in the Family who are “flavoring the world” as the “salt of the earth” while being involved in some sort of business venture or employment. No matter what their career or line of work, they are committed to bringing people to Jesus and changing their part of the world.

We have Tito and Rosi, in Peru. He’s a practicing physician with a clinic; they cater to the spiritual needs of patients as well as their physical needs. Rosi also does life coaching.

Mauricio, in Brazil, is an airline pilot and Activated distributor, a very faithful witness to all of his crew members. Celina, his wife, has dedicated most of her time to teaching Family children, teaching Bible classes, and helping to support the Family through prayer.

Rosa, also in Brazil, is a travel agent who has helped many Family members secure good ticket deals. She’s an amazing witness to all she meets and has been a faithful supporter of the Family for many years despite hardships.

In addition to being a missionary, Alberto has also been a professor of architecture at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro since 1992. He’s used his position to reach many—students, professors, administrators, and staff—and has won a number of disciples.

Sara, in Guatemala, has used her translation job for many years to help establish and support many homes, while she and her husband Peter stayed true to their personal calling from the Lord on the mission field.

Dr. Chris, in the US, is a practicing physician, caring for the aged, while giving all that she can to help to support the Family. She’s also a cancer survivor who has been a faithful witness.

And more…

Time fails me to tell you of…

Robin, in Africa, who is one amazing missionary. Someone wrote me: “She’s lived in many countries in Asia and Africa, and seems to be always pioneering someplace new, often fearlessly driving into the jungle or wilderness or mountains to spread the faith.” Robin wrote me that her latest pioneering involves building a school on two acres of donated land with a multinational team of young adults.

Or the Wildwind team, who have been mission-focused for years, boldly using their gifts and talents in the way the Lord has led them.

Or the home of young people in Serbia who are active and doing the new, judging from their website, which is well done and professional, with a fresh spin.

Or Fran and Quiti, in Mexico. Their innovation in merging business coaching with the mission and their experiential seminars have inspired us. They are pioneers.

Or Josh, Rima, Elene, Andrew and team (past and present) in Nigeria, who are active and professional. They’re involved in all sorts of work, such as medical camps and sustainable development projects on a large scale. Josh was asked to consult on the Nigerian delegation to Haiti, and also gained experience in the recent hostage negotiation involving Simon and Ikumi.

Or David and Rose and a team of faithful home members, in Thailand, who have had a ministry at a child protection home for over a decade.

Or Rejoice, in Japan, who has given much of her thought, time, prayers and tears toward the bimonthly production of the Japanese Activated mag, ever since its birth eight years ago.

Or Maggie, in Mexico, who’s been there for over eight years, conducting a prison ministry and a well-recognized program of eye prosthetic treatment that has helped many to recover their sight and hence their job opportunities—in addition to sacrificially helping many Family members in other ways too.

Or Jakisa, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose witnessing accounts have been featured in a number of testimonies.[7] He has a wonderful ministry with refugee children and others, and is an example of faith.

Or Paul and Joy, in Taiwan—wonderful parents who have raised ten children, have fought for the Family in the legal and media arena for years, and have served the Family via the boards.

Or individuals like Claire (author of “Dancing with Jesus”[8]), in China, about whom someone wrote me: “She is a woman of exceptional faith—a faith which no doubt has been cultivated over decades of missionary life on various fields in Asia, as she persevered in service for the Lord, despite difficulty, heartache, and adverse situations and conditions. Through it all she has remained steadfast in her love for the Lord and commitment to the Great Commission.”

Celebrating you

Those words could be said of all of you. “Exceptional faith” is a quality that runs wild in the Family. “Perseverance in your service for the Lord” is something you’ve all had a lot of practice in. I doubt that there is any Family member who hasn’t faced “difficulty, heartache, and adverse situations and conditions.” You are steadfast in your love for the Lord and commitment to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”[9] Peter and I are humbled by all that you do and are.

It’s crystal clear to us why we feel like we’re part of a great Family, and why we want to do all that we can to do and be what the Lord wants us to—together. How could we not feel privileged to be part of such a great team?!

There’s one thing we’re 100 percent sure of: Despite our faults and failings and the problems we’ve faced over the years as an organization, the Family is made up of GREAT people! We want to make it easier for you to do your work for the Lord. That’s Peter’s and my deepest desire and what we will work toward.

We will continue to work hard for you. We want to provide you with tools that can benefit your faith, enhance your times of spiritual feeding, and aid your mission. You are the links that join the Family together, that transform it from words on paper and organizational specifics into a living, breathing, world-changing phenomenon.

We’re not highlighting the preceding ministries or ventures because those are “the” things to do, or just how we see the Family of the future operating. We’re thinking, Wow, we have a tremendous Family, full of awesome people! Imagine what we can do in the future! There will be new successes and accomplishments in the future, and that inspires us.

It’s not the specifics or details that I’ve highlighted that equal success in our eyes. It’s the faith, passion, love, sacrifice, selflessness and soul behind every action or accomplishment that we’re in awe of. Those qualities are part of who each of you are; they’re some of your signature trademarks.

Peter and I are fully supportive of you following His guidance for your future. The Lord may have new plans for you, or may lead some of you to operate in a different manner. Our success lies not in doing things the way we’ve always done them, but in keeping our steps in sync with His!

We’ve talked about a few of you today, but this is only about 130 out of over 6,000 Family members (18+). So you can safely multiply all of the things I’ve said here many times over, and even then you’ll only get a small glimpse of the beauty and worth of the Family as a whole. And that’s not even mentioning the thousands of others who have been a part of the Family at some point over the years, many of whom contributed significantly. It’s all about you. Your efforts, your love, your obedience to the Lord, your sacrifice, your passion combined are a huge part of what makes the Family special.

I could have said so many of the same things that I’ve said here about each one of you. You’re each outstanding in your own right, with qualities that have been cultivated through countless acts and deeds of love over the years. You’ve each made many personal sacrifices and have overcome in beautiful ways. But due to limited time and space I could only make note of a few individuals here, simply—and only—because these were some of the Family members I’d recently received news of. There are thousands more top-of-the-line missionaries and disciples that have served with the Family; what’s represented here is just a tiny fraction.

I don’t want anyone to miss out on due recognition. You’re all worthy of celebration and commendation. For this reason, today we’re launching a site to celebrate Family members around the world. It’s not a permanent site, but we’ll keep it open long enough for you to be able to post the names and a few details of anyone that you’d like to give credit to before all.

You can log on to the site and write about anyone that you admire. It’s a forum for celebrating the great people you know. You can applaud mission-related achievements, acts of love and kindness and generosity, courage amidst adversity, and more. This is your chance to highlight someone(s) who deserves appreciation and honor.

Let’s celebrate each other, while giving praise to our Husband for all that He has done!

TFI members’ outstanding qualities

As I mentioned above, each of you is outstanding in your own right. Collectively, as a Family, we also have some valuable strengths that I want to highlight.

It’s challenging to pin down just a few things that we consider to be some of our greatest strengths—both individually and then collectively as an organization. But we’ve identified some of the qualities that we want to be sure to preserve and bring with us into the future. These are qualities that we can continue to cultivate and build on, encourage each other in, and promote in the days to come.

These, we believe, are strengths that we have as a Family, which we can incorporate into the mission. These are qualities or attributes that we pray that we will continue to weave into our future.

As you read through these points, take the time to relate your own personal life experiences to each point. Realize that these qualities truly are a part of who you are—fruits of the Lord’s anointing, His Spirit, and your commitment and love for Him and others.

—TFI members form a faith-based network of quality, amazing people. You’re deeply dedicated to serving God and others. Whatever you do in life, this goal drives you. You’re motivated to give to society, to help others, to smooth over conflicts, to make the world better than it is, because of Jesus’ love in you.

You’re skilled at knowing how to work in less-than-ideal circumstances; you’re versatile and able to achieve outstanding results on a shoestring budget, and get things done with minimal to zero resources.

Whatever you do, you put spirit and love into it. Not many people in the world are so dedicated, loyal, reliable, and sacrificial.

—TFI members have a unique and personal style of witnessing. You know how to present Jesus in a way that is both relatable and personable. You can share Him and His love with everyone, from the simple to the educated, from the poor to the rich. You appeal to those who haven’t found Jesus through other avenues, and you believe that the Lord never gives up on someone who is searching for His love, that He’s always there for them.

Family members are good at helping people through crisis situations one-on-one, helping them to navigate through things in their life that are going wrong. Think about it: You’re able to take the huge concept of God and personalize His love for the individual.

We’re all quite familiar with our style of witnessing, having done it for so many years. You probably don’t see it as being anything outstanding, but trust me, your simplicity and sincerity in your witness is priceless, and has resulted in millions of lives changed and souls won.

—TFI members employ practical spirituality. The way you integrate the spiritual into your physical lives, how you interact with all things spiritual, more so than most people, is noteworthy. Whether you’re accomplishing mundane tasks or achieving great things, you’re acknowledging the Lord. You blend the spiritual with the practical in order to find solutions to life’s problems. This is certainly not average thinking for the average person.

You have a relaxed, close, comfortable relationship with the Lord; you don’t feel the need for formality or ceremonialism or buildings in order to feel close to Him, to talk to Him. Being close to Him in any situation or circumstance is almost like part of your DNA. You’re not afraid to ask for His thoughts—from the simple, little details and happenings, to the more important and weightier matters of life.

You’ve developed a satisfying personal relationship with your Creator. It’s something beautiful that you can share with many.

—TFI members are adaptable and value diversity. You’re willing to drop the old and embrace the new when necessary. This is an asset in a world that is changing so rapidly. Being willing to adapt and change often is a key to survival and success, not only in our line of work, but in any sphere of society.

Our vision

We can’t hang a label on everything that we see in the future, but we definitely look ahead with a sense of hope and anticipation. We’ve scaled back on many fronts and we’re building a new Family, which will be what we each make it. There are untouched, unthought-of possibilities and opportunities on the horizon.

When we think about you—young and older alike—with all your skill and talent, your enthusiasm, your abilities and qualities, we’re inspired, because we see so much potential for the Lord to use you in even greater ways. This is true of every one of you. It’s inspiring to think and talk about the future, to project ourselves into it.

Here are some of the points and concepts that Peter and I would like to see take stronger root in the Family of the future. These concepts inspire us; we’re excited about them and we look forward to seeing them develop and thrive. Some of these things we already do to a degree, or are even quite good at; they’re points that we can promote and capitalize on. Some of them are related to or build on the points I mentioned above, about your qualities.

The ability to interact with and relate to people in any country and of any faith. This is valuable to the religious world, the humanitarian world, and the corporate world. It’s in demand.

A global network of quality people with assistance and talent to offer. Within our fellowship, we already have a network of trusted believers in so many countries around the world, based on shared history, common knowledge and faith. But we see the potential for forging new networks with others in order to enhance our ability to do the mission and to be a stronger force for good.

A community of dependable people, a community that’s a happening place, in as many countries as we have Family members, creates international value.

An empowering environment. “We envision the Family providing an empowering environment—one that infuses members with inspiration and confidence to enact their dreams and plans for God; to act on God’s will for their life, whatever path or career it leads them to; to grow in Christian faith, discipleship, or missionary service; to reach for the stars in finding effective means of bringing the Gospel to those who need it.”[10]

We’re excited to explore and create this atmosphere with you. What do we need to do in order to foster that environment that “empowers” and “infuses members with inspiration and confidence”? We want to find those answers together.

Here’s what Peter and I want to do, to help contribute toward this future that inspires us so much. Of course, we rely on the help and expertise of many individuals who help us to serve you; we know we can’t do all of this on our own.

Our vision for the future—through facilitating, promoting, encouraging, enacting—includes providing you with:

Involvement in TFI, so that each individual can feel more a part. We want you to have a degree of “ownership,” helping to shape the Family’s actions, future, and success. We want to help release the potential in you—your drive, influence, ideas, visions, plans, and talent to carry out those plans. Our aim is that TFI will have a more open environment where members can contribute to its decisions, direction, and leadership.

What you need in a more up-to-date manner. Being current and relevant—not only current in spirit, but current in our services to you, as you strive to meet the needs of the world in this modern day and age.

We need people who have a vision to promote the Family—reporters, marketers, advocates—to update us on Family happenings around the globe, and to package those happenings in new and different ways. Through greater connectivity everyone can celebrate each other’s successes and enjoy being part of something great.

We see this as something that could not only generate more inspiration for career missionaries, but also help to secure more commitments and provide funding for the career missionaries from those who are primarily called to be facilitators.

Quality user-friendly spiritual feeding. We want to provide you with material that will enrich your connection with the Lord and help to keep you spiritually nourished, even when things are busy and you have less time than you’d like to devote to your spiritual life.

A happier atmosphere and greater celebration of you. Part of the reason why we’re making these changes is so that everyone can seek the Lord as to His will for them, and in finding and fulfilling the Lord’s will for them, find greater joy. If we each give what the Lord is asking of us, whatever it may be, we will continue to find fulfillment and ultimately greater and deeper happiness personally, and as a Family.

Pioneers, explorers and visionaries

We’re at a turning point now; we have a new environment in which we can each achieve a new personal best. We have the capability of pursuing the future that Jesus has for us personally. In doing so, we have the opportunity to collectively realize the Family’s future success.

There is a dreamer in each of us. Family members are pioneers, explorers, and visionaries at heart. It’s one of the valuable parts of our culture and heritage that we don’t want to lose—that of being visionaries!—Those who not only see the potential, but those who are willing to put their time, heart, and action behind that potential in order to make those visions and dreams a reality.

Whatever you’re doing—whether you’re established with a long-term ministry, or just getting started, or still aren’t quite sure what mission or personal calling the Lord has for you—know that He’s more willing to give than we are to receive. He’s eager to help us make good on our dreams as we build our future.

These changes are only the beginning. We are building with you and for you. We are committed to developing and enhancing the changes that we’ve made at this time, in order to facilitate your efforts in the mission, and encourage you in the eternal legacy you are building. With God’s anointing and your drive, energy, vision, and putting your shoulder to the boulder, anything is possible! “Great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.”[11]

We hold no illusions about the reboot; it doesn’t guarantee perfection or that all of our problems will be solved. The road ahead will not be without its obstacles, trials, and difficulties. We can expect those things as part of life. But with the change of our model, and the array of changes that the Lord has shown us to make, we are confident that the groundwork is laid for each Family member to discover more success in the mission and greater happiness in your life for Jesus.

We’re sure you have ideas for how you’d like the Family of the future to develop. Please write us with your thoughts, ideas, and visions—along with the landing gear that you feel would make those dreams reality.[12] We want to see your ideas unfold and take shape.

With you always …

As you have experienced from your many years of trusting in the Lord and His supply, as you do God’s work, He will keep you and provide for you and yours. And He will continue to do so. You have obeyed the commission to “Go ye therefore and teach all nations,” and as such you can count on His follow-up promise that says, “I’m with you always, even unto the end of the world.”[13]

You’ve been giving to the Lord all these years, and He’s not going to forsake you. “If God clothe the grass … shall He not … clothe you?”[14] “Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.”[15] “He that spared not His Own Son … shall He not also freely give us all things?”[16] The Bible is full of promises along these lines, and the Lord stands by them. These are unchanging.

The details of the future are a mystery, but we know Who holds the future, and we know He’s the same One Who is holding our hand and guiding us each step of the way. That’s a knowledge that we can rest in, a confidence that we can walk forward with, a promise we can prove.

You are those who are willing to make tough choices and pay steep prices. You’ve given your all, even when you weren’t applauded for your labors of love. You’ve had the guts to try, even if you didn’t win every time. You are those who have “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief” but have been “strong in faith, giving glory to God. And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.”[17]

Paying the price for souls and walking as Jesus walked to seek and to save those who are lost is difficult. But you have not “cast away your confidence.”[18] Rather, you prove every day that you can give and serve, even when it hurts, with a smile and with joy!—Knowing that “after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”[19]

You are men and women of courage, initiative, and faith. You are those who “look not at things which are seen, but at things which are not seen.”[20] You rank with those who have exhibited great faith, and thus will receive the “substance of things hoped for” and “the evidence of things not seen.”[21]

Receiving the things we’ve hoped for and that the Lord has promised is a bright and wonderful future to look forward to! Peter and I want to be a part of that future by helping to provide you with whatever we can to assist you. It’s our prayer that we will be faithful before the Lord to be your servants, doing our best to give you the love and support and facilitation that you are so worthy of. We honor and celebrate you!

We believe that there are spectacular moments ahead, for each of you personally, as well as for all of us as a Family. All of our candles can combine to form a bright light that will “shine before men,” to glorify the One Who makes all that we do possible.[22]

As we do the Lord’s bidding, He will in turn fulfill His every word. He will honor His promises! “Blessed is she (or he) that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her (or him) from the Lord.”[23]

We toast to you, dear Family! To the mission! To the future! To you!

Copyright © 2010 by The Family International


[1] Matthew 6:4.

[2] Hebrews 6:10.

[3] Mark 16:15.

[4] John 15:13.

[5] Names changed for confidentiality.

[6] Melissa, “The Adventures of a Missionary Family,” Link 52, November 2009, 9-11.

[7] For example, see “Our Amazing Trip to Congo,” FSM 375, August 2001; “Followers of the Teaching,” FSM 387, May 2002; “Into the Congo,” FSM 391, August 2002; “A Light Shines in the Deepest Darkness,” Link 7, February 2006.

[8] FSM 305, January 1997.

[9] Mark 16:15.

[10] Peter Amsterdam, “Blueprint for the Future,” HIM, May 27, 2010.

[11] Matthew 15:28.

[12] You can communicate with us at:

[13] Matthew 28:19-20.

[14] Matthew 6:25-26,30.

[15] Matthew 6:8.

[16] Romans 8:32.

[17] Romans 4:20-21.

[18] Hebrews 10:35.

[19] Hebrews 10:36.

[20] 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

[21] Hebrews 11:1.

[22] Matthew 5:16.

[23] Luke 1:45.