All posts by brianvir

XTrack Coaching of International Missionaries

Each of these name tags represents a SENT ONE God has raised up to go the world!

      Thank you for praying for our family this summer. It’s been a whirlwind of a summer and far from a break in ministry. However, God has shown His goodness to us in some amazing ways and we look forward to giving you a snapshot.

       Over the last 5 1/2 weeks, we have been in Colorado at “XTRACK,” CRU’s training for international, cross-cultural missionaries. We have been required to attend this training, but because of our cross-cultural and international experience, Christine and I were both asked to be trainers and help come alongside 70 new international missionaries in their preparation and training! Now we already have been training international missionaries in Asia, but this summer we got to help train more Americans God is sending to the world.  We want to introduce you to the people we have had a chance to pour into and that you have had a share in preparing and sending in God’s global mission!

Being a mom of young kids as an international missionary is WAY challenging. Because of Christine’s journey and experience she was asked to come alongside a couple other mom’s and families heading to very different parts of the world:  Thailand and Bosnia!

Cory and Jesse and their two kids below have been in Bosnia for a year and are going back for a longer term to build spiritual movements on multiple universities.

The Kramers are heading to Thailand to work with the Jesus Film Ministry and will be in close proximity to many unreached people groups throughout SE Asia. Their daughter Lola was Kaelyn’s good buddy this summer.

In addition to these two families, I (Brian) had three single guys that I came alongside and helped prepare this summer.

Shun (far right below) went to Tokyo for a year and felt God’s call to go back long term and reach students in a place where there is a very low percentage of Christians. He was one of my highlights of the summer!

Chad (to my right) is a thoughtful guy from the Maryland area who spent 2 years in Brisbane, Australia helping CCC Australia strengthen their campus ministry. He is returning full-time to Melbourne, Australia.

Fraser (far left) is from Georgia and is returning to a very large country that is closed to launch spiritual movements among students and young people in a large city where he spent two years on STINT.

We both have enjoyed coaching out of our own experiences and struggles – it wasn’t our personal plan to coach this summer, but God placed us with people that we connected with and that we were able to help encourage and prepare on their missionary journeys.  We’ll share more about our own learning as a family this summer, but we wanted you to celebrate and share in the joy of sending these new missionaries to the international harvest field. SEVENTY new missionaries along with another SEVENTY missionary kids are heading to the world to proclaim the good news of Jesus!

One of the more challenging training sessions last week related to Risk Management and all of what could happen. It confirmed that we really want to be able to have a fully funded emergency travel fund. Right now based on generous gifts this summer it’s about 60% towards what we need.  If God leads you to give above and beyond what you may be doing already, it is possible for you to give online by clicking this link right here.

We love pouring into people and helping them become more of who Jesus made them to be and equip them to live out His purposes for them. You make this possible for us to help train and equip workers for the Lord’s harvest so thank you so much. We’ve been so grateful to you and to the Lord during this experience so far.

                        In His Service,
Brian & Christine

Hashtag Re-Entry!

      Peter Jordan in his book “Re-Entry” uses the metaphor of a space shuttles return to earth as a metaphor for missionaries returning to their home culture after significant times of service overseas. Re-entry is full of disorientation, stress, confusion, celebration, and grieving – and as you can see from the family quotes on the previous page, we’re now going through it!

      This has been really our first significant time back in the U.S. after almost four full years in the Philippines. Right now, we are going through a lot of the surface level adjustments, but people that have gone before us have told us that in the weeks to come we will start processing the challenges and difficulties of living between two worlds and what that means on an identity level and in terms of our well-being our calling.

      This is the main reason we believe this summer has been God’s timing for us to go through Cru’s International Staff training. Christine and I will be able to get training, coaching, and fellowship with other international staff. But our kids will get those things as well! They each will have contextualized training and mentoring facilitated by people with MK2MK (a third culture missionary kid ministry). Please pray that each of us processes our experiences and current reality well and in a spiritually significant way and that we as a family would celebrate and grieve together the joys and costs of doing life and ministry away from home.

       We are CELEBRATING that God has provided all the costs for the training through so much generosity over the past year! We’re grateful as it helps us to process re-entry and life on the mission field without extra stress. But in our support consultation in preparation for the training, we were exhorted strongly to raise support for crisis and matters of risk management.

      This past week the President of the Philippines put Mindanao under Marshall Law after a police chief was killed by Muslim extremists. He also casually threw out that he would extend Marshall Law to the whole Philippines if hostilities persist. We have felt very safe, but it’s a reminder that the political climate can shift quickly and we need a contingency plan in the event of medical or political crisis. If there is no crisis, the money will go to our eventual transition back from the Philippines.

      To meet this part of our new budget, we need to raise an additional $6500 in one time gifts to cover emergency airfare and related travel expenses. Would you prayerfully consider giving $100, $200 or whatever God may lead to help us meet this strategic and proactive need?  It is possible for you to give here at our web site at this link.

      One of the reasons this “re-entry” metaphor resonates well is that it describes a season that feels out of control. Despite enjoying some of the comforts of home, re-entry for us has included that vulnerability and sense of life being out of control that is pushing us deeper towards faith and dependence on the Lord. This is part of the journey, but we’re grateful we have a good God and many great resources and people that can support us through these transitional experiences.

In His Service,

Brian & Christine

P.S. We head to Fort Collins, Colorado on Tuesday, June 6th so you can pray for our 2 day road trip and then we’ll kick things off there on the 8th.

Click to View An Interactive Presentation On Our Ministry!

Please click on the “view in fullscreen” button at the buttom or go to the icon on the upper right hand corner of the presentation, which will say “More Options” when rolled over. Be sure to select “Enable Full Screen” to view the presentation.

         We pray you are encouraged! 

If you have trouble with any of the links, exit full screen viewing and select the link you want to click on. If you are on a device than cannot view the presentation below, you can download  it from the following pdf link:
Download “Virtue’s at IGSL” Here

Family Update: U.S. Arrival Edition

We made it back to the U.S. a few days ago! Coming from hot season in Manila, Southern California has felt like the frozen tundra 🙂   This week it has been great to see Brian’s family and we’ve been trying to do about 6 months of doctor’s and dental appointments in the one week we’re here before we go to Christine’s parents all the while battling jet lag.

Please pray we maximize these couple of weeks we have as it is really not enough time to connect with all we want to before we leave for the CRU training in Colorado in early June. 
Here are some initial prayer requests for us:

      • For quality connection for us and our kids with our extended families.
      • That we would be able to squeeze in all needed medical appointments, including orthodontic consultations (we’re at that age!) and Morgan’s orthopedic doctor, in the limited time here.
      • For healthy and honest processing as we go through cultural “re-entry.” We are already processing a lot of complex emotions regarding our reality of living in between two worlds and there’s a deep strangeness to coming back that includes a confusing blend of celebration, grieving, confusion, and gratefulness.

PS:  From some of our special need appeals over the past year, we want to celebrate with you that the Lord has provided through many of you the full amount we need for our summer expenses this summer! We’ve now been advised to focus on raising emergency funds in case we have to take a sudden return trip to the U.S.  But it is a huge relief and source of thankfulness for us this summer that we can focus on helping our kids process their third culture reality and the missions training we are attending.

Double Agents!

       Based on past updates you might be thinking this update is about students who are actually secret agents and doing crazy covert missions work.  We’re sorry to disappoint! The last season of life was unique for our family as all 5 of us were students at the same time. While Christine and I both taught courses this past term, we also finished courses as students. Christine will give you an update about her evangelism and the gospel class pictured in the “selfie” above…

Reaching Your World was the course I taught this last term. The focus of the course helping the women get a better understanding of how to share the gospel effectively in their cultures so they can introduce people to Christ.  We started the 10-week class by looking at the different worldviews people have in their countries and how to share the gospel in light of that worldview belief.

Then we talked about different evangelistic strategies and approaches such as different gospel presentations, building pre-evangelism relationships, asking questions, using social media and more. It’s crazy how people in the remotest villages and places throughout Asia are still on facebook somehow!

We ended with teaching the ladies how to disciple and build into others.  As I was teaching, I learned a lot about the different challenges our students face in the sharing the gospel and doing discipleship in Hindu or Muslim countries. I was moved by the many sacrifices the women have made to share their faith in places where Christian’s are persecuted and face rejection from their families. Teaching this class reminds me of one of the many reasons why our family is serving here.

BUT….that’s not all!

I got to be a student again this term as well.  Now that Kaelyn is doing full days in school I can keep making progress towards completing CRU’s certificate of Biblical Studies. I took a systematic theology course on the doctrines of God, The Holy Spirit, and the Scriptures.  To my surprise, I really enjoyed it and it really helped ground some of my processing about my life and ministry here in Manila.

I liked getting a deeper understanding of scripture and getting a better understanding of more complex theological positions and discussions. I did a paper on the Holy Spirit and the book of Acts – been a while since I had to write a paper!  In studying this, I was reminded of my need for the Holy Spirit to lead and to guide me – especially as I drive every day on the roads of Manila!”

While Christine was working on systematic theology, I was able to finish 3 out of the 4 doctoral courses I’ve been taking over the past year. I hope to finish my 1st year of PhD work by the time our training starts in June. What a demanding year!  But I enjoyed teaching this past term to keep me connected to the students while I invest so much helping lead the school and in my studies.

Teaching strategic leadership is my favorite course to teach because most are about to graduate and I get to work with a couple dozen graduates in depth on their ministry visions and plans. I was able to coach church planters going back to Cambodia, a graduate who is helping launch Norm Geisler’s apologetics ministry in the Philippines, the head of a network of a dozen churches, a megachurch youth minister, a missionary couple that met at IGSL and just got married and is now going to India as church planters, and many more. I love working with this class in groups and in one-on-one coaching to help them feel equipped and prepared to mobilize and lead teams to see visions become reality through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. See the picture of this great class below!

So while we weren’t quite double agents this term, we both enjoyed being teachers and students and were reminded again of the joy of being lifelong learners. We’re immensely grateful that you allow us to have this kind of teaching and training ministry with these great students from all over Asia that are full of faith and thankful for the opportunity to keep learning along the way!.

In Christ,
Brian & Christine

The 2017 Strategic Leadership section I taught representing about 10 countries including Cambodia, Nepal, Malaysia, India, and Sri Lanka among others.


IGSL Write Up on One of Brian’s Classes

The IGSL web site ever term selects one course to write up for the web site based on the feedback that was given from students.  My course on interpersonal relationships was chosen after it got so much positive feedback this past winter.  If you have a minute, click here to read “Why a Leader’s Relational Skills Matter” to read their write up with some quotes from students that took the course.

Captain Sharon

This is Captain Sharon. Halfway through the first class she took with me she told me that she had thought I was a snob because from a distance and on the basketball court when I played with or against her husband, I always looked so serious and focused. This was when we were in the processing of transitioning from short-term to full-time and it was very stressful! She is the most recent in a long line of people that have told me that I should smile more 🙂

But apparently I won her over and when she graduated she told me that I was one of her favorite professors and she was amazed at how different I was from her first impression. But I think what really impacted her, from what she shared, what that I used her feedback in another of my classes, interpersonal relationships, to illustrate the benefits of feedback for relationships and leadership. In Asia, and especially the military, for people in roles of respect or authority to share how they are learning from the people they lead or are teaching is extremely rare. She shared that she heard about me using her feedback and she was blown away and that this really helped shape her view of leadership and the kind of leader she wanted to be.

And it was a great reminder to me – we can sometimes exert the greatest leadership influence by being learners ourselves!