May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in you.
Dear ServLife Family & Friends,
As I begin to write the first of what I hope and plan to be a regular monthly message to you, my mind is flooded with many thoughts and feelings. I hope to be able to sort through some of those in this message and in the process allow you to get to know me a bit better as well as my thinking about this ‘thing’ called ServLife, the point at which our lives now touch.
I first came to know ServLife about four years ago after meeting its founder, Joel Vestal. My interest was immediately piqued. This was partly because I have lived and breathed God’s mission for more than 30 years, in various expressions, mostly in Southeast Asia. More than that, I was attracted to the vision and values of ServLife and the way those twins were being put into action by some really dedicated men and women in various parts of Asia and Africa. It didn’t take me long to recognize that there is a lot to like about ServLife. Here is a key piece of God’s mission being worked out by and for a new generation.
Now, through what I only dimly understand as the mysterious working of God’s Spirit, in the midst of some difficult circumstances, I find myself at the helm of a ministry that had caught my attention some years before. What to do; weep or rejoice? Actually, I’ve been doing a lot of both. Rejoicing at an opportunity to participate, along with all of you, in God’s redemption project to make his beautiful but broken world right again. And then, at the same time, crying out to God in prayer, for healing in individual lives, for myself on the upward side of a steep learning curve and for grace among all you who have been partners in this work, some for many years.
What can I say of my first few weeks on the job? So far, so good. God is at work. I’m encouraged almost daily with signs that he is with us. That’s what matters most. But there is much work yet to be done if we are to meet our commitments in 2011 to those we love and serve in India, Nepal and beyond . Our partners in need are our first concern. We are committed to doing what it takes to serve them well. In terms of our administration we are running a tight ship. Nothing is being wasted. Our hope is in God; may our integrity and uprightness protect us.
the vision thing . . .
With the recent change in leadership comes the inevitable question, “What is your vision for ServLife?” That is a question that can’t be avoided. And, why should it? Without a vision our lives are wasted. Without a mission we lose our way. If vision is birthed by God’s Spirit it will also impart to us courage to do that from which we might otherwise shrink back.
ServLife, from the very outset, has been present among the peoples of some of the most marginalized and oppressed regions of the world, places where the church is still small, lacking numbers and resources of its own to address serious issues of human need, both spiritual and material. This is key to understanding what we are about. We will not do for others what they could otherwise be doing for themselves. Rather, we are, with your help, seeking to live out what it means to love our neighbors in this globalized world. We intend to continue our work among such people and in such places of acute need with a special focus . . .
- To rescue and care for children-at-risk.
- To end hunger and bring hope through micro-enterprise initiatives.
- To train and release leaders to bring the whole gospel of the Kingdom to the whole person with the intention of planting local Christian communities.
It might be obvious but it still must be said that when we can do all these things in proximity and relationship to one another a remarkable synergy for God’s kind of change occurs in the lives of individuals, families and communities. This is a true sign of the Kingdom. This is our vision and it will be the first criteria by which we evaluate all potential opportunities to pioneer in new places and among new peoples.
Go! . . .
I will be on the road for most of April and the first ten days of May; first in Vietnam, later Singapore and finally in Nepal and India. I am especially looking forward to visiting the ServLife staff and ministries in Kathmandu and Raxaul. And I look forward to sharing with you a report of my observations when I write to you again in April.
Until then please do keep us in prayer and please consider how you can best express your continued support of this work in God’s harvest field.
Grace & peace to you,
By the way, do take a look at “The Vision that Guides Us” and “The Values that Direct Us.” It’s good stuff. You can find it at http://www.servlife.org/wp/index.php/about-servlife/values-vision/