Why Plant Churches in the US

Why Plant Churches in the US   The mission of Every Nation Ministries work, which Cindy and I have served with for more than 15 years, is to make disciples and establish Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered, socially-responsible churches and campus ministries in Read more

Why Reach International Students in the US for Jesus?

Reaching the Nations from Your Doorstep   With world evangelism as a priority, Christians have moved all over the world taking the Gospel to every nation of the earth.  Personally, Cindy and I have spent the last seven years starting Read more

Every Nation in Our Generation

Every Nation Ministries is part of a worldwide movement that exists to honor God and advance His Kingdom through church planting, campus ministry and world missions. Since its inception in 1994, Every Nation Ministries has grown from a handful of Read more

Our Little Missionaries: Hannah, John Jr, Christian and Daniel

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Selamat datang and Merry Christmas to you and your family!  We hope you are having a great holiday.  This past year has been an amazing year of transition for our family from New Zealand to Malaysia.  But the goodness and grace of God has followed us to this new land. We home that goodness and grace is all over your life also.

When the Lord called us to New Zealand and now Malaysia, our family came as a team and we knew we all would have to make sacrifices, even the children.  So we wanted to dedicate this newsletter to our littlest missionaries, Hannah, John Jr., Christian and Daniel.

Let’s start with Daniel, our little guy with the handsome smile.  Look out for him in a GAP Kids catalog coming soon!  Daniel’s 3 years old and is an action packed boy, always trying to keep up with his big brothers.  He is the family comedian, always laughing and making the family laugh.

This year has been a year of transition for Daniel also.  He moved from diapers to “Spiderman underwears” and from a small bed to sharing a “big boy” bunk bed with Christian.  A few of his loves are watching “Kung Fu Panda” (he prefers Viper), having water fights in the side yard (as long as he has the hose), snuggling with Mom and Dad and eating anything Chinese, Indian, Italian, Mexican! Let’s just say this boy eats a lot.

Christian also loves reading his children’s Bible, performing “freestyle” on the piano, playing with his Fisher/Price “Little People” (just like Dad 35 years ago) and building forts out of the couch pillows.

And next is John Jr who is now 6 years old.  He is such a thoughtful soft spoken boy with a sensitive heart.  Johnny as call him is in kindergarten at Dalat International School and absolutely loves it.  He’s made many new friends from Korea, USA, New Zealand and Malaysia.  The other day I asked Johnny his favorite classes at school and he said “Lunch, playtime and nap”! Amazing, those were my favorite subjects in school.

Some of Johnny’s passions are kicking the soccer ball, playing Sonics on the computer, baking with Mom (seriously!) and smimming at our friend’s pool.  Watch out Michael Phelps, Johnny swims like a fish!

And last but not least is Hannah who is 6 years old.  What an amazing, beautiful and GROWING girl.  Where did my little girl go?  Hannah is in first grade at Dalat and has made many new friends there.  After school she plays on a soccer team, goes to Brownies and has friends over to play.

Hannah loves spending time with her best friend Sabina (from Philippines), having sleepovers, drawing, reading Junie B. Jones books, playing Webkinz on the computer and swimming also.

Our life as missionaries has been filled with challenges, but it has brought our family incredibly close together.  Thank you for helping us bring the great news of Jesus to the Malaysia, and for being such a blessing to our family. Hannah, John Jr, Christian, Daniel and Cindy and I say a huge thank you!

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.  We pray that 2009 will be the greatest year of your life! God bless.

Myanmar, Malaysia, Loas, China, Thailand, Iran, India…

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Barack Obama is elected president, the world is rocked by a financial meltdown, gasoline shortages in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, Malaysia is in the midst of political upheaval, yet the Lord of Heaven is still sovereign over all.  It is amazing all the change that can take place in the matter of one month.

Like you, Cindy and I are facing a time of great testing in our finances and ministry assignment.  But in the midst of it all, the Lord is using these trials to make us more dependent on Him (a good thing) and is teaching us how to live above the circumstances of life (good thing).  We pray He is doing the same for you!

Another lesson we have learned, is that when the markets go DOWN, people’s openness to God goes UP.  The global markets make be in a recession, but the work of the Lord is advancing like never before, particularly here in Asia.

This month we gather in Kuala Lumpur for Every Nations Asian Pastors Equipping Conference.  It was an incredible gathering of EN pastors from the Middle East, SE Asia and Central Asia.  Over 160 pastors and their wives gathered to encourage one another and strategically plan EN’s work in this region.  You would have been incredibly proud to see the team of which YOU are a part.

Currently, there are 94 existing churches and church plants taking place in 24 nations throughout the Middle East and Asia.  So many pastors and there young families are making incredible sacrifices to make Jesus known in such difficult places.  Some of those pastors we spent time with are serving in Laos, UAE, Egypt, India, Myanmar, Laos, China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Mongolia and the North Korean border.

Your partnership is what allows missionaries like Cindy and I to proclaim the Gospel and help establish churches here in Asia.  God has always used people to spread the Gospel message.  And today He is using YOU to make an impact in Malaysia and throughout Asia.  We are incredible grateful to be paired up with you in spreading the good news of Jesus here.

Remember, true peace is not calming the storms of life, but like Jesus, being able to sleep peacefully in the boat as the storms rage.  We pray the Lord will do a great work in your life today and in this coming season.  God bless and have a great holiday!


3 Simple “Steps” to Change a Person’s Forever

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What if redirecting a person’s forever really is as simple as walking across a room?  Is it possible that 3 (or more) simple steps could be the key to someone spending eternity with their heavenly Father?

While most Christians don’t get called to the overseas mission field , we are all called to just walk across the room to begin the process of introducing people to Jesus.  Often those simple steps, can seem as terrifying as a move to a foreign nation.

Until our family gets fully settled into our new home, we know it is not the time to focus on “community outreaches” or “evangelism strategies”.  But everyday, everywhere we go in Penang we are committed to be led by the Holy Spirit are are willing to just walk across the room.

Because of this, we have met so many amazing and ethnically diverse people here.  We’re not sure where these relationships will lead yet, but we dare to believe and are praying their lives will be eternally changed because of our simple steps.  Here are just a few of the people we’ve met so far:

 

  • Anaaz, the Malay (Muslim) Starbucks barista who’s wife is about to have her first child and wants to meet for parenting advice.

 

  • Hafeez, the Malay (Muslim) salesman at Celebrity fitness who talks with me during each visit to the gym.

 

  • Paschal, the Indian personal trainer who was assigned to me for 5 complimentary sessions of personal training. He later agreed to 5 sessions with me to help train his “inner man”.

 

Ayang and Koon, the Burmese couple who sell fruit drinks at our favorite Penang street food “hawker”stand.  They were in shock when we invited them to our home for dinner.

From Nashville to New Zealand, from Cleveland to Kuala Lumpur, there are endless people who are longing for someone to just walk across the room and take an interest in their lives.  And help themexperience God’s love through YOUR smile, love and encouragement.  We’re cheering you on from Penang, go take a walk today!

Thanks so much for encouraging us and praying for us in our move to Malaysia.  Through your support you are planting a church in a Muslim nation.  Cindy and I are so grateful for you and will continue to keep you in our prayers. Thanks again and God bless you!


 

Starbucks, Venti Lattes, Anaaz and the Gospel

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Malaysia is a land where the world’s “great” religions collide like no other.  And there is a very realspiritual battle for the heart and soul of young Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus here.  But surprisingly I’ve found a “neutral” place where guards are dropped and minds are most open.  That place is Starbucks, and Old Town Coffee and Gloria Jeans Coffeehouse, pick your coffee shop.

It amazes me that almost every time I enter a coffee shop, which is almost daily, there’s someone eager to have chat and have a conversation.  And when they find out I am an American their curiosity and questions usually increase.  Nothing seems to drop the guard of the young cross cultural crowd at Starbucks like a Venti Triple Shot Vanilla Latte.  That coffee drink does the trick for me.

In fact, my last 30 minutes were just spent with Anaaz, a young Muslim barista at Starbucks who without asking left his cappuccino machine to sit down at my table.  We began to converse about life in America and Malaysia, his 1st child due in December, how he feels about Ramadan fasting and that he really does not understand what “Islam is about”.  Wow, what a first conversation!

Everywhere Cindy and I turn here in Penang we find young people wide open to conversations and hearts more open to the Gospel then we could imagine.  Thanks to Wi-Fi cafes, Venti Lattes, Satellite TV, Singapore Airlines, Google and the internet, the world has grown smaller and the great Gospel is able to be spread like never before.

Cindy and I are so grateful for your support and prayer of this ministry.  Through your partnership,you have planted our family in this Muslim nation and together we will be a part of the Lord “building His Church” here.  Like the 30 year old Mango tree in Cindy’s Kuala Lumpur front yard that still bears fruit, we believe a church will be established in Penang that will “bear fruit” for generations to come.  What an opportunity!

Thank you so much for supporting this wonderful work and helping us plant this “mango tree” in Malaysia.  Romans 10:15 how can they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”  Thank you for sending us. May the Lord bless you and your “beautiful feet”!

New Year, New Nation, New Church Plant

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One cool spring morning this March in Nashville, TN, I sat at water’s edge at Radnor Lake (think Walden Pond).  This was the spot I spent hundreds of hours seeking the Lord as a new Christian.  As I prayed about a transition Cindy and I knew was approaching, I heard a “still small voice” repeating over and over Penang, Malaysia.  Was the Lord leading us to Malaysia? Time would tell I thought.

To be honest, I knew very little of Penang, Malaysia.  What I did know was Penang is an island off the coast of Malaysia, it’s the birth place of Cindy’s father, Hokkien is spoken there (a dialect of Chinese Cindy speaks fluently), it’s EXACTLY 180 degrees from my birthplace Cleveland, OH (see Google Earth) and is home to a new Every Nation church plant.

As we continued to seek the Lord about the future, many more signs began to lead us to Malaysia.  We knew by June 10 our VISA’s would expire, we would need to move out from our rental home which was put on the market, our two congregations in Auckland would be combined into one for a season and we would be on an airplane to Malaysia for Cindy’s sister’s June wedding.  Then a van was leased for us and a house made available to us in Kuala Lumpur for free .

To make a long story short, our family has just spent the last 4 weeks in Penang “scouting out the land” and we know the Lord has truly called us to help plant a church in this amazing place.

In the last four weeks, we fell in love with Pastor Jojo and Ida Henson and family from Manila (planting their 5th church), the ethnic diversity of Penang (45% Chinese, 40% Muslim Malay, 10% Indian, 5% others) and we saw an amazing harvest field woefully short of laborers.  The Lord had made His will so clear it was impossible to say no.  So we said “Here we are Lord, send us!”

But without you, our church planting work with Every Nation would not be possible.  Your prayer and partnership is literally planting a church in a Muslim nation that desperately needs the light of Jesus to shine.  So we say to you also, “Here we are (in Malaysia), send us”.

Thanks so much for standing with us in the this time of transition.  We could not imagine life without friends like you.  You are so so important to our family.  We love you and God bless you and your family!

Farewell Our Beloved New Zealand

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As our family walked through the airport at 3 AM with tears in our eyes for our flight to Malaysia, we were shocked to see the 40+ crowd waving good bye to our family from the windows of the terminal.  I mean, who goes to the airport at 3 AM to say goodbye?  What a touching last memory of our time in New Zealand to cherish.

I must say that Cindy and I gave all of our heart and soul to these people, and we saw the Lord do amazing things over our four years in Auckland.  Even on our last Sunday, as we were being sent out from Every Nation Christian Church – Auckland, we were told that a Maori girl and single mother of six children who recently got saved and wanted us to baptize her.  What an amazing moment as we packed 16 people in a bathroom for the baptism of Noru!

We are now in Malaysia and Cindy is catching up on 15 years apart from her parents.  Our time in Kuala Lumpur is part sabbatical, part family wedding and part mission to see the Lord move in her parent’s life.  Most days we wake to the smell of incense burning at the Buddhist altar of her mother, but we trust the Lord is using us and our children to get into the hearts of her parents who so desperately need Jesus.

Please keep our family in prayer in this season as we minister to her parents and seek the Lord about our future ministry assignment in Malaysia or the United States.  Thank you also for your patience as we rest and prepare for the most amazing season of ministry that lies ahead.

Each day in Malaysia, we find myself looking into the eyes of burqa clad Muslim women, young professionals burning incense at a Buddhist alter and 18 year old Hindu’s bowing down to an altar of a moustache clad “god” that looks like Tom Selleck.  And we realize how much this world is in bondage to false religion and how desperately they need to know our savior Jesus.

Thank you again for your prayer and partnership.  We believe the Lord has hundreds of young lives waiting to be reached through you and our family laboring together. Please pray that the Lord would make His will clear.  Thanks again and God bless you and your family.

Big News from the Simpsons in New Zealand

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When the Lord brought Cindy and me together 8 years ago, we knew He would take us on a global adventure if we would faithfully follow His lead.  We knew our cross cultural marriage was brought together by God’s hand and would be used for His glory.

Believe it or not, the home towns in which we grew up (Hudson, Ohio and Kuala, Lumpur) are exactly 180 degrees on the opposite side of the world.  Visit Earth.Google.com for a closer look!  Cindy and I have always been amazed how the Lord has guided our steps.

From the beginning, what knit Cindy and I together was our love for Jesus, our love for one another, our love for young people who were far from God, and our love for the nations (the mission field).  Our years in Auckland have only made us more passionate about these loves and the vision of Every Nation Ministries.

That vision being to plant churches, to reach the next generation for Jesus, train up Christian leaders and send missionaries to every nation of the world.

But after months of prayer and counsel, Cindy and I know our season in New Zealand has come to an end.  And we will be transitioning into a new ministry assignment with Every Nation Ministries.  It is difficult to say goodbye, but we know the churches here are in the great hands of Kiwi leaders. This was our vision from the very beginning!

So in late May, our family will be leaving for a two month sabbatical in Malaysia to spend time with Cindy’s family, enjoy a family wedding and seek the Lord about some amazing doors that are opening in Malaysia and the US.  Please pray for a time of well needed rest for our family and that the Lord would make His will abundantly clear.  Our desire is to serve wherever He leads.

You have been such a valuable party of this ministry from the first day.  Literally, this work in the South Pacific has been made possible only through your partnership.  For many years to come, hundreds will continue to know Jesus through these churches we have labored together to build.

Thank you for your continued prayer and support. Cindy and I love and appreciate you so much!