Brian & Christine
Brian & Christine
This week we are watching graduate after graduate leave IGSL for their countries or places of ministry. We’ll share more about some of those stories soon, but Christine and I were more personally invested in one family going home this week that DID NOT graduate.
It was a difficult journey for him and his family, but over the past 6 months since it became clear he would not fulfill his goal of getting an IGSL degree Umesh and his wife have demonstrated incredible teachability and humility, even in the face of a lot of shame (a big deal in this part of the world). From a discipleship standpoint, this experience took Umesh andI into some very deep parts of his life and past in Nepal that were very painful, but it was incredible to see God reveal his love and goodness to Umesh and his wife in pretty personal and powerful ways.
This all culminated yesterday when we sent Umesh and his family back to Nepal. Kuya Tom and myself and others were able to present a simple certificate to Umesh to honor his teachability and the classes he did get to take. Most of all – it was an affirmation that as it relates to character development, Umesh got from IGSL what God wanted him to get. It wasn’t a degree, but it is so much more valuable!
In a final dinner with our family over “momo” they shared that they were disappointed, but were confident that God had given them what they need to be faithful in their calling to reach the unreached peoples in the mountain ranges of their province in Nepal. Umesh shared humbly,“I don’t go back with a degree, but I go back with all God has done in my life here and all I have learned. We go back with God.”
What a lesson for all of us! Umesh took great comfort in the examples of the disciples as “uneducated” men, but who had authority because they had been with Jesus. No matter our education or status, it’s a great reminder that God bestows His authority and power on those who truly walk with and depend on Him. It’s a reminder too that the classroom is not always where the greatest transformation occurs!
Please pray for Umesh, Yoshida, and their two children – that God would provide for them and work through them powerfully as they ministry to mostly Hindu people groups.
The big news for our family this past month was that after waiting patiently as most of her friends and cousins were losing teeth over the past year, Kaelyn finally lost her first couple of teeth. She’s a tough one. She walked up to me and told me to “Get it out.” Love these fun family moments!
What’s a Boodle Fight?
It’s been about a year since I (Brian) joined the executive leadership team at IGSL and became the Director of Leadership Development and Human Resources. This role has meant that I oversee the development and care of not just the fifty or so IGSL full-time faculty, but also the fifty employees who help administrate the school. I was nervous at first because this is a more extensive cross-cultural leadership experience than working with most of the faculty here, but these people have really endeared themselves to us in our time here and especially the last year.
These are some amazing people and servants of the Lord. Seven are bi-vocational pastors and all of them participate in our ministry week outreaches alongside the faculty and students. It’s an incredible blessing to have mechanics, gardeners, construction workers, administrative assistants, registrars and IT workers who not only support IGSL through their daily service but who live out the IGSL vision of helping fulfill the Great Commission through disciple-making in their communities.
We’re highlighting this great group above because they are a part of our ministry and yours! It’s our privilege to steward their gifts and abilities while also providing spiritual development, care, and professional development. This is an investment in them that touches IGSL as well as the many churches they are helping lead and ministering to in Quezon City, Manila.
In the last six months over half of our staff have shifted in their roles or taken on very new job descriptions as a result of our reorganization. Please pray for them as they learn on the job and continue to grow with us as co-laborers in the gospel.
Also pray for me and my team – that we would shepherd them wisely and help each of them, along with the faculty, to maximize their unique contributions to IGSL’s vision. And please pray that we would care for them well and provide quality leadership to help our faculty and staff partner well cross-culturally.
We have an amazing team of almost 100 faculty and school staff that serve the students of IGSL together. It’s a great picture of the body of Christ in that we all have different roles, but when we all do our parts with the motivation of honoring Christ above all the results are beautiful and God shines through. As God leads, please pray with us for our employees and their families – they are a huge part of our school’s impact!
Brian & Christine
Last weekend we took our kids out of school for a day to join the IGSL retreat. This is the one time of the year that all the families of faculty, school employees, and students all gather out of the city for a weekend of refreshment, fun, and Bible teaching. This year’s theme was “More of Him, Less of Me” and centered on the John the Baptist narratives with Jesus.
The kids had a great time in the pool. My highlight was playing cricket with the South Asian students (an annual tradition!). And Christine loved getting a lot of extra time to connect with students without having to worry about traffic. We had some great conversations and it always is a highlight.
KK and her good faculty friends from Tonga and the Philippines had a great time as you can see 🙂
What does the Great Commission have to do with bras? Well – I’m sure one could have an interesting discussion about that, but in this story it involves a bra factory!
Every faculty member at IGSL coaches a student-led field ministry team that does grass roots ministry of evangelism and discipleship every week. The team this school year has been a group that has been pioneering a ministry among over 300 workers at a bra factory. The owner is a Christian and goes to church with one of our alumni Victor. They started to dream and to help launch this ministry, IGSL assigned a student team as well.
The team this year below includes students from Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, and the Philippines. I’ve been coaching this team and helping them strategize and plan for their ministry efforts. It’s a challenge since the non-international students don’t speak Tagalog and the workers are low English, but the team is faithfully building relationships and building trust with the students as they lead a weekly gathering where testimonies are shared and Biblical life skills are being taught as a vehicle for deeper conversation with individuals after.
Some have come to Christ, but most are nominal Catholic or belong to various pseudo-Christian cults that are quite prominent in the Philippines. However, after a year of faithful sowing, they are poised to take significant steps towards getting discipleship going within the factory. In June, a retreat has been planned with 15-20 Christians that have been surfaced from this year’s efforts, where they can be given basic evangelism and discipleship training to join in the next step of the outreach strategy.
This is just one of the environments in which our students are learning to have ministries. The Philippines allow for more open doors than most other places so we’re grateful because it allows for great training moments. Pray for Victor, Aaron, and the team as they continue their ministry at the bra factory and that they would see trained disciplers raised up from within the ranks of the workers.
They have wisely taken it slow for the sake of trust building, but the doors are opening for much more in the coming months. Please pray also for the ownership that is passionate and motivated to see their 300 employees come to Christ and for the two hundred other students involved in other weekly ministry opportunities as well – pray that these experiences provide a foundation of lifelong ministry and impact.
And pray for the success of the bra business as well, because as long as they are doing well, there are a lot of employees that are learning about Jesus Christ. So yes – bras are furthering the Great Commission! 🙂
Brian & Christine
A few weeks ago our family expanded. We got a dog – a 7 month old cocker spaniel and our kids named her Oreo, because she’s all black with a white stripe down her stomach.
I thought we might be in trouble when my wife suggested we go to the pet market (yes – it was essentially a market/bizarre of dozens of pet shops) a few hours after sending off my dad to the airport after he came for a short visit. Our kids were a wreck…now we have a puppy 🙂
Oreo has been great though for the family and despite typically puppy stress, it’s amazing how much love and affection dogs can bring out.