Evergreen SGV Outreach Is Going Quiet Online

In this age of instant replies, instant commenting and instagrams, it can be easy to expect instant updates from our Outreach projects and missionary endeavors. After all, we would love to read testimonies and see videos moments after they happen on the field.

However, as God continues to call more individuals to serve overseas and teams to reach unreached places, Evergreen SGV Outreach Outreach will grow increasingly quiet online.

No blogs.

No daily email updates.

Nothing.

And that is not a bad thing. In fact, it reflects a very good thing that is happening.

For one thing, our work is increasing in closed countries where missionary or even Christian activity is illegal. To protect our missionaries and partners in these areas, you will not hear about any of this online.

For another thing, our work is increasing in remote areas where there is no wifi, much less electricity or running water. Our teams and missionaries will grow silent for days or even weeks while they minister in these areas.

Now there may be teams that minister in areas that are completely open where wifi and cellular data are easily accessible and thus, online activity more frequent (e.g. Serve/OKC and our Japan missionaries). However, that is the exception and not reflective of the majority of our Outreach activity (e.g. Thailand and E. Asia).

Our missionaries and teams will keep their supporters up to date with snail (sic) email updates when they are able. Outreach testimonies and articles will be published on our newsletter, The Leaflet, for subscribers to view.

But as a whole, Evergreen SGV Outreach will grow increasingly quiet online.

I hope we can all agree that this is a good thing.

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Reflections from the Village

View of the village of Chamadenga and Bright Vision
View of the village of Chamadenga and Bright Vision

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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.

Reflections on the Philippines -Wells Around the World

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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 “Reflections on the Philippines -Wells Around the World”

One Word to Sum Up all of Outreach

This picture represents not quite a thousand relationships but a lot. -LA County Regional Planning Public Hearing 2/19/14
This picture represents not quite a thousand relationships but a lot. -LA County Regional Planning Public Hearing 2/19/14

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:

Relationship.

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.