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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Special thanks to Garrett Inouye for producing this video!
I was able to spend two nights at the village of Chamadenga and see firsthand the ministry of Bright Vision. Here are some quick thoughts:
- The needs of the village are great if not overwhelming. Add to their material poverty the common broken family situation and it makes the situation dire. Today we visited two child-run households. These are orphans who take care of their elderly grandparent(s) and so most are not able to go to school. It is heartbreaking.
- It is good to know therefore that Bright Vision sponsors such households and also sponsors older children to go to secondary school (it’s not free)
- Shirley Ogata brought two soccer balls from home and when I kicked one to the children, they were so excited. I will never forget the look on their faces. These children don’t even have a ball to kick around.
- It’s strange that households don’t have running water but some people have cell phones! (They manage to disrupt meetings even there)
- There is need for biblical training for leaders. I assumed the leaders I trained knew the Bible but quickly realized some had heard the passages I taught from for the very first time.
- What makes a ministry like Bright Vision thrive is a key leader in the community who has the trust of the people like Stanley and a leader who can provide administrative insight and outside perspective like Kellen Hiroto. The village is being transformed because God brought these two men together.
- Though I led training sessions for leaders of Bright Vision, I told them that they trained me in what it meant to be faithful, diligent, content and committed to demonstrating sacrificial love to the children. In many ways, I learned more from them.
- Getting away from the distractions of the city, the biggest lesson may be realizing just what it is we need to live. Hint, it’s not much.
I’m grateful to God for my time in the village and experiencing firsthand the needs of the people and how God is moving there.
Was under the weather and getting over jet lag since I’ve been here but here are some interesting things I’ve learned about Malawi since being here:
- Malawi is now the poorest country in the world by GDP!
- 40% of its budget comes from foreign developmental aid
- Simple English is commonly spoken
- The famous missionary doctor David Livingstone resided here
- The people here are friendly and very hospitable
I’ll end with paraphrasing an intriguing quote from locals that our missionary friend Kellen Hiroto shared when were discussing punctuality and the common view on time:
“You [foreigners] have many watches but no time. We Malawians have no watches and all the time in the world!”
In a few hours I will be departing for Malawi, Africa. With any overseas outreach endeavor, I always ask people what their expectations are for the trip. Here are some of mine: Continue reading
Think of the one thing you can’t live without.
Whether you’re rich or poor, young or old, man or woman, Asian or Caucasian, you can’t live without this. No smart phone app or scientific breakthrough can ever replace this. Try as you may, you cannot live without it for many days. What is it? Continue reading
Actually, I really did not know what to expect from my recent trip to the Philippines. I knew that we would see some installations of the 60 bio-sand water filters ($10,000) our church members raised through the “Wells Around the World” ministry. I knew we would visit the recipients of the filters. I knew I would share at the dedication ceremony for the filters. I knew I would meet COO Darrell Nelson of BSF Philippines and Pastor Rudy Galambao, Emie Morita’s father. I knew our trip would be quick with only four days in country and a series of flights, boat rides and van rides to get to the village of Santo Niño. What more was there to expect? A lot actually.
Here are my reflections from my time in the Philippines. Continue reading
This article appears is the upcoming Evergreen SGV newsletter.
When I stepped into the role of Outreach Pastor late last year, I knew I had to wait. Before I could recast vision or implement changes in the ministry, I had to sit and listen to our missionaries, our partners, community leaders and most of all, God.
I still have a lot of waiting to do. But from these few months of sitting and observing, I have settled on one word to sum up all of Outreach:
Outreach is all about relationship -relationship with missionaries, relationship with partners overseas and in the community and relationship to Jesus, the One who calls us to reach out and the One we call others to reach out to.
It’s funny because many see Outreach, especially local outreach, as being comprised of programs such as evangelistic rallies, community outreach service projects or short-term missions programs. However, my time has been marked by personal meetings with our missionaries both local and abroad, community leaders and God in prayer. I like to say that my role as Outreach Pastor thus far can best be described as meeting God, meeting others.
Relationships have been key to what God has done through Evergreen SGV in our community and around the world. Our relationship with Don Julian Elementary over the years brought forth the Community Food Pantry and Thanksgiving Celebration. Our relationship with the Workman Mill Association and community leaders brought about the opportunity to testify at a Regional Planning hearing against an adult establishment in our community where multiple violations and crime were committed. Key relationships have spurred and sustained our ministry in East Asia and we are committed to Japan primarily because of our relationships with Ian Nagata, Garrett Inouye, ChildD and the Kagawa family.
Moving forward, I don’t anticipate anything changing Outreach being all about relationship. If anything, new relationships will be developed, existing ones will be strengthened and more friendships will continue in partnership for the spread of the gospel in Avocado Heights/La Puente, greater San Gabriel Valley and to the ends of the earth.
Outreach is all about relationship. But then again, such can be said about any other ministry or the Christian life.
Hopefully you won’t have to wait to discover that.
I didn’t take as much video once my family came (footage with Ian Nagata and Pastor Joshua Hari’s family is nonexistent). As such, this video is not exhaustive of everything I experienced, but hopefully this gives you a glimpse into my journey through Japan.