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This is the New Iberian Mission Association (NIMA) Update for January-February, 2014, sharing the latest news from Morning Glory in Guatemala.

NIMA is the outreach of Agape Christian Church of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and friends around the world. Our main outreach in Guatemala is the Community Christian Hospital, Morning Glory Christian Academy that includes the primary school and the college preparation secondary school located on the Llano de la Virgen properties near San Raymundo Guatemala. There are now several Christian churches that are under the direction of NIMA with the mother church being Sacsuy Christian Church. We partner with Casas por Cristo in serving the people of the area in many ways.

Inside this edition…

  • “Nothing Less Than Gold”
  • “Traditions & Gratiude”
    • by Lori Nij

  • “2014 Housekeeping”
  • “Our Partners”
    • by Herb Pinney

  • “Urgent Need”
  • “The Longest Mile”
    • by Dean Pinney

  • “Focus”
    • by Rob Courtney

 


New Iberian Mission Association
January—February 2014 Update

Nothing Less Than Gold

Lori Nij, Colegio Cristiano Mañana Gloriosa, San Raymundo, Guatemala

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As we begin the fourteenth year of Morning Glory Christian School, we look back on where we have been all the while pressing forward to what lies before. Many people have asked me what it is like to
witness the wonders and miracles that God has performed over the years. It has become a tradition to share the testimony of God’s provision and grace with each group that comes to San Raymundo to build a house or work with the school. One recurring theme seems to come out each time.

Years ago I read a book about the life of praise and the sacrifice that God requires. The author used the illustration of how fine china is formed. The difference between earthenware vessels and fine china is marked by how many times the vessel is scraped and placed in the refining furnace. Both are formed from clay and mud. The test of fine china is when it is transparent and light shines through. The Christian walk is like china. The more we are placed in the furnace of testing the more transparent we become. Years ago I received a letter from Chinese Christians during one of the darkest hours of my life with a phrase that I have never forgotten. “God places His most precious and chosen china in the hottest fires.” The theme of the Morning Glory story is a theme of testing, trials, and the presence of God in the furnace.

God says it in His book. According to Zechariah 13:9, “This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on My Name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.'”

Again a recurring theme at Morning Glory Christian School is seeking excellence—giving our best, doing our best—because God deserves the best. We encourage our students, teachers, and ourselves to not conform to mediocrity but to strive for excellence. We set the bar of expectations high and expect the students to reach for the sky. We encourage, push, motivate, scold, and praise the search for excellence. We teach that excellence can only come with sacrifice and hard work. We practice over and over, we try again and again; if we fall down, we get up, we brush ourselves off and start over. If we fail, we learn from our mistakes and press on to the goal. Giving up is not an option at Morning Glory. We teach humility in victory and grace in defeat. We always remind the children that there is a long road ahead and we are far from the goal. But if we want to be God’s best then we must know we will be
placed in the fire again and again.

I use life lessons to teach, and right now it is the season of the Olympics. As we talk in class about what it takes to be an Olympian, we emphasize over and over the long hours of practice, the many, many hard falls, the early morning hours, the sacrifice and dedication all to attain a moment of glory; a moment on the victory podium, an instance of fame and a small round piece of gold that testifies to the world that for one moment you were the best.

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Our new theme for 2014 carries this message, NOTHING LESS THAN GOLD! Don´t conform, don´t settle, don’t give up, not even in the fire, not even in the darkest night, not even when the road gets
rough, not even when our strength is gone, not even when we fall; keep striving, keep walking, keep getting up, wounded, hurt, tired and hungry; keep your eye on the prize, look to the goal. NOTHING LESS THAN GOLD!

At Morning Glory Christian School we know we have not arrived. We have a long road ahead. We will fall, we will grow tired and weary, but we will not give up. NOTHING LESS THAN GOLD! Hebrews 12:1 says “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” And 1 Corinthians 9:23-25 asks, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the
prize.” Will you run with us?

 

 

 


Urgent Need

Dean Pinney, Executive Director or Organizational Relations, Royse City, Texas

I have spent years training managers and leaders in the business and
ministry fields. One of the key concepts that I attempt to convey is that you are only as good as the tools you have to use. With the right tools, and the leading of the Holy Spirit, a man can do anything. At the New Iberian Mission Association, the sending organization for Morning Glory Christian School, we take great pride in the fact that we are able to streamline our operating expenses as much as possible so that the money that comes in can go straight to the Morning Glory Christian School.

With that in mind, I have a request. Up to this point, we have relied on
international telephone lines for the majority of our communication with our field missionaries and others involved in our ministry. In addition, we are attempting to retire some very archaic computers that we work with at the mission office. These expenses have always been just a part of doing business and were a necessary evil as far as we were concerned. Now, thanks to technology, we no longer have to waste money on international calling and bulky archaic computers if we have the right tools.

Our President, Herb Pinney, takes no salary and gives relentlessly towards the mission work in Guatemala. In attempting to enable him to better manage and direct the work internationally, we need to equip him with an iPad. With the iPad, Herb can videoconference Lori and the other workers, he can orchestrate meetings around the world via internet conference, and he can streamline the different electronic needs into one very portable unit; he can FaceTime® churches and mission boards around the world in realtime communication. It occurred to us that many of you might be upgrading your older iPad for one of the newer models and might consider donating the older unit, or you might just find this a perfect challenge for one of your families, or Sunday School classes as a fundraiser.

We are committed to make this addition without financially affecting the work at Morning Glory Christian School; so, that is our purpose in seeking your help. If this is something that you can help us with, please
contact Dean Pinney at 682.888.2183, by e-mail at deanpinney@missionoffaith.org, or even on Facebook at facebook.com/dean.pinney.
It is such a pleasure partnering with you in this work and I look forward to how God is going to use you to answer our need.

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NIMA names Dean Pinney to Executive Director of Organizational Relations

Herb Pinney, President of the New Iberian Mission Association announces that, effective immediately, former Vice-President Dean Pinney is now the new Executive Director of Organizational Relations. This move will address the growing need for a specific person who can handle the public affairs and foster greater partnerships among the volunteers, churches, and medical teams that are affiliated with the New Iberian Mission Association as well as the community hospital and Morning Glory Christian School in San Raymundo, Guatemala. “We have a tremendous group of people involved in all aspects of this mission and we just need to be able to streamline communications, information, and direct projects in a way that
uses our resources wisely,” states President Pinney. This change will enable the supporters, volunteers, and those interested in getting involved in some aspect of the mission to have an initial contact person
who can handle questions, address concerns, or present ideas and comments directly to the president and the board.

Dean Pinney holds a degree in Ministry and Leadership from Dallas Christian College, with a Masters Degree in Organizational Psychology; He will graduate this summer with his Doctorate in Executive Coaching and Organizational Leadership from The University of the Rockies, Colorado Springs, Co. Dean is the Lead Pastor for First Christian Church, in Royse City, Texas, and is the President of Living Legacies Leadership Consulting out of Fort Worth, Texas. Dean and Lisa, his wife of 27 years, have four beautiful adult children: Tim, Tom, Tobias, and Tiffany. Dean has spent almost 30 years in the ministry and has written several books that have been accepted for publication. Dean also has his Firefighting I and II, HAZMAT, Confined Space Rescue, and CPR Instructor certification, and his Intermediate EMT licensure from New Mexico State University. Dean can be contacted by email at deanpinney@missionoffaith.org, or you can text or call him at 682.888.2183.

Note from Herb: This is extremely important since Lori is swamped with two schools and all. The protocol now for contacting Lori is to go through Dean if it is about the operation of the school or related missions in Guatemala. Dean will handle your request and contact Lori and make your connections.

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[Victory Prayer Hotline]

Some Beginning Of 2014 Housekeeping

Herb Pinney, Agapé Christian Church, Las Cruces, New Mexico

The first thing that you probably noticed was a new masthead for the NIMA Update: Morning Glory Ministries. More on this later in this housekeeping report.

A good seventy years ago while working with my father, he taught me that I would never meet a man that was so ignorant that he didn’t know something that I didn’t know. That to be a “learned” person, I was to learn something from every person that I came into contact with, no
matter if they were the bums asking for help on the corner or the bank president. It has been good advice that has served me well over the years. The past six months I have been getting a lot of advice and ideas about the future of the work in Guatemala, as well as the leadership and operation of the Agape Christian Church in New Mexico.

It all began early in the fall up in central New Mexico at the Valley View Christian Church in Edgewood. I had been excited for a couple of months about the leader of the Bridges Seminar put on by the Church Development Fund and an old friend Steve Miles and our New Mexico
new church evangelism guru, Errol Stepp. The presenter was going to be Dan Scates; the last time I had seen Dan was in 1964 or ’65 as a grade school kid chasing and being chased by my kids in our yard in Aztec, NM. I was a trustee at his grandfather’s Intermountain Bible College, and his father, along with Vernon Hollett and I had been the instigators of the Navajo Christian Churches; at that time we had broken big time into the Navajo Reservation, and the church at Teec Nos Pas was thriving and also on the Checker Board of northwest New Mexico. Kids grow up and become contemporaries in the kingdom work. So it was with Dan. He was
now Outreach Minister of LifeBridge Christian Church on the front range of the Rockies in Colorado, serving with Senior Minister Rick Rusaw.

As I sat listening to Dan, at times getting so involved that I forgot to take notes, I realized just how much like his grandfather he was. I brought home his book, Recaluclating, 8 Directional Changes New Churches Face, (and by the way, 8 directional changes older missions
and churches needs to face and make to grow and be relevant to the Gospel direction and goals).

One of the areas that I had taken some flack from some of my fellow old fossil friends was that we had opened our arms to folks helping us in Guatemala that were not of the independent Christian churches and churches of Christ family. I reminded them constantly that we were a church dreaming of fulfilling Jesus’prayer in John 17 and that we were “not the only Christians, we were just Christians only.” Our work in the Llano de la Virgen has been partnered with Baptists, Mennonites, Roman Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, secularists, Charismatics and many other Christian groups and a few straggly cocker spaniels. We have
found a fellowship in believing in the deity of Jesus Christ and/or the human dignity of the children all created as Imago Dei. I cannot tell you how many nights over coffee and cake that Lori led into late night the discussions of the Restoration principles that have flowed through our family since our ancestors’ baptisms at the Cain Ridge revivals by Barton W. Stone.

['Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.' Hebrews 12:1 NIV84]

About half way through his lessons, Dan lit my fire with the diagram and lessons as recorded on page 41, “Adapt an Outside-In Ministry Approach.” The diagram was a series of circles that began with a small core that would be your inner group. This was our core group and beliefs in Guatemala and Las Cruces; this was not negotiable. Next was the circle surrounding the core, the dedicated family that keeps Morning Glory going 24/7; we are one in the Lord. Next was a circle surrounding the others marked “Attenders”; these are the visitors that come to help build homes, work on the campus and be treated in the hospital. Then there is the circle surrounding all the others marked Visitors; these are the political, many parents, and friendly neighbors. Then there is the last circle, the Community at large, all our neighbors and friends from around the world. This also draws them into the core beliefs of yourorganization.
The tendency of religious organizations is to place all the work, authority and decisions on the core with the other circles mostly in the cold. This makes a very small work core, and everyone is over-worked and few new ideas or people are allowed in.

Dan suggested that you keep the decision-making and direction of your group in the core, but that you reach out and draw the circle inward from the community, visitors, attendees and dedicated, making all of them welcome in the organization and workers that can bring ideas, help, and suggestions to improve and direct the operation. Suddenly, I had my approval of what Lori and I had been doing for years. And I realized just why it was working and God was blessing the John 17 efforts that were so Biblical. Thank you, Dan; it was good to be with you one more time. I do miss your daddy and granddaddy; it is good to know their work is forging ahead in you.

The next suggestions came from Karla Kulh and Sam “Frog” Houck–that the work was getting much larger than could be done with my small operational group in the United States; I wrote about that in the last Update. I thought that putting together a team would just happen overnight; it didn’t, but we are working on that. We are not re-incorporating, or getting a new 501c3 number as we first thought we might. At the suggestion of our lawyer we are adding non-voting friends that are taking on assignment to a certain department/branch of the very diverse mission work of the Morning Glory Ministries under the New Iberian Mission umbrella. We have some non-voting directors already in place that are working under the elders of Agape Christian Church that are to be foundational decision-makers for the incorporation; more will be coming.

Dean Pinney of Royse City, Texas, has been involved and on hand to help as my assistant; now, due to conflicting suggestions and ideas coming from many directions, he has become the Executive Director of Organizational Relations. All suggestions and ideas and contacts for the
operations in Guatemala and in the United States are to be run by him and he will direct through me to the proper place. Mary Beeks of Dallas, Texas, is the Director of Student Sponsorships. What began as a good idea a number of years ago and took six months to get off the ground with the first sponsor is now so successful that it had become unmanageable. Mary, with Rob Courtney’s help in Guatemala, is well on the way of getting the sponsorship program in good operating condition and will see that it stays that way. Sam Houck of Antioch, TN, is Director of Financial Website Coordination between Guatemala and the United States. He is my youthful “Timothy” that is willing to take on any assignment to help along with his wife Tiffany. More responsibility is being considered at this time, but not yet assigned.

In Guatemala Rob Courtney has been assigned full-time to seek sponsors and work with Mary to make our sponsorship program the very best in the hemisphere. Along with that assignment, Rob has been named Director of Social Media, and given a full six months of assignments to get him going, and the schools spot-lighted for 2014,and preparing for 2015. Rob is very good at making videos and putting them at important places. One of his jobs is to have fresh videos up on the Guatemala website, morningglorychristianacademy.org, a couple of times a month. We are to have a video up now of the new annex building that has classes in itat this time.

One of the suggestions that made a lot of sense these past couple of months is that in the United States as you attend the North American Christian Convention or the National Missionary convention, now called International Conference on Missions, the name recognition for our work in Guatemala is Morning Glory Ministries, not New Iberian Mission Association that is our incorporated name. A number of folks were missing the information on Morning Glory because they saw NIMA, and did not
recognize the connection. For this reason, the masthead of our Update has changed and we are adding Morning Glory more prominently in the websites and on the mail-outs. Nothing has changed in the incorporation, only in our riding our most positive name recognition in the broader world of church people.

At the December 29 meeting in Dallas, Texas, on a very cold afternoon, I was asked, “What would happen to the mission if I were struck by lightning?” I made a smart aleck remark about being turbo charged, then cleared the air of euphemisms, and said, “You mean, what would happen if I were in a car wreck and died, or in an airplane crash and died?” I responded, “Good question.” I explained that I had spent Christmas afternoon before this trip, after taking Melba out to dinner, making sure all bank accounting was up-to-date, and that all checks were deposited
in the night deposit and all the bookkeeping was in order. That was not a satisfactory answer as far as I was concerned, and I can believe it was not satisfactory for others, either.

By January 1, 2014, I had worked with the trustee/elders of the church and mission to appoint Elder Kurt Huff, a civil engineer that graduated from the local New Mexico State University, and has worked in Greenland and South Africa and is familiar with international business and travel, as Assistant CFO of the New Iberian Mission Association. I was planning
to select someone out of the new directors, and as I am finishing off my 80th year here on earth, it was a good time to have the safety net in place. Also, Kurt has taken over typing in all the checks and PayPals to the international financial website that Sam has set up so Lori can
check daily the incoming money and financial health of the mission. This not only was a good idea, it also was the answer to one of my time-consuming problems.

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At the same meeting, there was considerable concern about a replacement for Lori at Morning Glory. Lori’s health is better today than it was five years ago. She has trouble walking and makes it from the car to her wheelchair, and as David Robinson of Casas por Cristo says, “She reigns from her throne.” Remember, American history buffs, that we had a four-term president here in the United States that was stricken with polio as an adult and wheelchair-bound that became Democratic governor of New York, then President of the United States at the end of the depression and to near the end of the Second World War, and served both as governor of New York and President of the United States from a wheel chair. This is no reason to seek an immediate replacement for Lori.

The problem is really that over the past few years there have been some, without knowledge, and with ulterior motives, that have spread prayer requests for “dear sister Lori,” saying “she is in very bad shape, and is in denial, just as she is about the deterioration of her marriage to Queno.” This has caused some concern about what would happen to Morning Glory if Lori died right away.

Again, Lori and I have been in constant contact on that subject, and
as I stated, her health is improving and she is as mentally sharp as a tack, and she and Queno are still very happily married. He really shined for Lori and Morning Glory in remodeling the old block house into the three-beautiful-classroom annex for this school year.

We are not in eminent danger of having to replace Lori, and we are working for a long-range plan that will be revealed in time. To get in
too big a hurry, we just might place ourselves in the position of Abram
and Sarai who selected Hagar and got Ishmael, when God had an Isaac in mind if they had just waited on God. So, be assured, there are plans in the works. So, do keep praying for Lori and Queno, but pay no attention to the bleeding hearts prayer concerns about “poor Lori in denial.”

The last thing that I have to tell you is that like every other ministry at this time, we have taken some economic hits this past couple of years. Now I want to say up-front that God has also brought new personal supporters and new churches into our Morning Glory family, but the economic hits and the new churches leave us at about a $2,500 shortfall in our new budget from regular supporters.

Here is a quote from a mature church in South Carolina, one with a great history and a beautiful brick building, that has been a blessing: “First Christian Church of ______, SC, regrets… this discontinuation is due to a recent change in our membership and a sharp decline in revenue…” If you are able to take up even a few dollars of that shortfall, I know that the Lord will be thankful,
and we sure will also. We are praying for churches caught in this kind of economic and cultural hard times, and as that church said, “When our situation improves….” They will be back.

For those of you interested, we have the printed financial statements for NIMA for 2012 and 2013 that show the cost of raising the money stateside at 5.77% where over 20% is the national 501c3 average. We also have the financial budget for 2014 for both the school and the churches and preacher education in our present “skunk works” preacher-Bible training school. Just phone me at 575.650.3915 or email me at nima@missionoffaith.org and I will mail it at once. We do not publish either for security reasons.

I want to brag on my elders at Agape; they are doing very well in training, and can step into the pulpit at any time to preach if I am away. Melba and I, together and separately, will be doing more traveling this year. We will be attending a granddaughter’s wedding–the good Lord
willing–on March 1, and preaching the next day at First Christian Church in Vidor, Texas. We are opening up to some mission presentation dates in 2014. Also Dean, Rob, and I are working on some live mission presentations that we can forward to your church via the internet, and you can show on the big screen in your sanctuary or on teaching TVs in your classrooms at your convenience. Contact me or Dean with requests.

God bless you and keep you.


['The language of a grateful heart transcends barriers of culture and worlds.' - Lori Nij -]

Traditions and Gratitude

Lori Nij, Colegio Cristiano Mañana Gloriosa, Guatemala

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Years ago when I made the decision to dedicate my life to Guatemala
and set the course to live and minister among the Guatemalan people, I made a conscious choice. I feel very strongly that children and families desperately need cultural identity and missionary children have a very hard time adapting anywhere because they lack that identity. At home they are North American and in every other aspect of their lives they assume the culture of the nation where they live. So I chose to raise my children Guatemalan, giving them the cultural identity of the nation where we were to live.

The one concession and the only North American holiday that we have always celebrated my style has been Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is my one day a year to be fully and totally American and nostalgic.

In our very first years in Guatemala, money was tight, American goods
were scarce, and so we celebrated with baked chicken, cornbread dressing, squash, and apple pie. As the years went by more and more North American grocery products were brought into Guatemala and pretty soon I could buy a turkey; fresh vegetables were never a problem, and I made my own cakes and breads. Pumpkin was nonexistent but I could make a killer squash pie that tasted almost the same. I learned to crush fresh cloves and fresh allspice to make the powdered spices that I needed. Part of our personal family tradition was to invite the people who had been special to us during the year and for whom we were grateful.

Years went by and our celebration grew to include many friends, and my children grew along. In Herbert’s teen years he began to sneak food out to his buddies waiting on the corner. I noticed that I had to make more pies and cakes. Finally about four years ago Herbert asked me if he could invite his buddies in. Of course I said yes and we moved the celebration to the garage to have room. That first year the boys sat sheepishly at the back table and put on their best manners. The next year more came, and from the first of November friends began to ask, “Are you celebrating Thanksgiving this year?” Obviously they were fishing for an invitation. And our celebration grew once again. Each year Queno brings a devotion about gratitude and we share our faith with all who are there. Then came the November that the monetary crisis hit us full force. We barely could pay the bills and make ends meets. There was no way we would be able to celebrate and feed sixty people. I informed my family that this year we weren’t doing Thanksgiving, maybe just a small quiet family meal. So Herbert passed the information onto his buddies. A week before Thanksgiving a group of young men sheepishly knocked on my door. “Miss Lori, if we buy all the stuff, will you cook it and celebrate Thanksgiving with us?” Tears came to my eyes and of course I said yes. That year the group of young men and our friends bought everything on the lengthy list that I made. Again the girls and I cooked for two days and we had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration and a new tradition was established.

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Fast forward four years to 2013. Our list of friends and coworkers
has grown, Herbert’s buddies have multiplied to include wives and
girlfriends, my family has grown and this year there would be a group
from Colorado building a house Thanksgiving week. So we debated but once again Thanksgiving won out. Again the boys brought food and our friends cooked and brought food. The celebration was way too big for my garage so we rented a local hall with tables and chairs. Heather, the wife of the Casas Por Cristo director for Guatemala, joined in cooking two hams and desserts. We made a feast for over eighty people. As I sat at the table looking out over the rooms full of loved ones, family, coworkers, friends, and new friends, I realized here in Guatemala we were having a shadow of the first Thanksgiving. Two cultures coming together after a year of testing and trials, two cultures who spoke different languages but shared in a language of the heart. The language of a grateful heart transcends barriers of culture and words. We were laughing together, sharing a table and feasting on the grace of God and shared love. Tears flowed down my face and I realized I am truly blessed.

 

 


Our Partners

Herb Pinney with Harold & Enid Fowler, Agapé Christian Church, Las Cruces, New Mexico in partnership with Matelica, Italy

Many decades ago, Harold and I were fellow students at Ozark Christian College. I preached full-time at the Joplin Heights church of Christ, and Harold in Northeastern Oklahoma. His senior year, he spent two nights a week on our couch since he had evening classes and the next day started at 7am in class; no time for the trip home and back. We spent the late nights after supper studying, getting a Spanish vocabulary–in Harold’s case as a base to learn Italian–and talked missions. The following is
Harold’s review of 50 years on Italy. The church at Matelica is a faithful supporter of Morning Glory, and one of his ladies always sends Euros transcribed into dollars for “Her Children.” She has personally heart adopted the whole student body. We are also prayer partners for the work that Harold and Enid are doing in greater Europe and on our part in the Western Hemisphere. Our influence spreads via the written word. A few years ago Lori aided a couple of Italian nuns to get Guatemalan accreditation for their small little school in San Raymundo, one of the oldest Roman Catholic towns in the Western Hemisphere. Lori helped them write their curriculum, including their Bible curriculum. (I thought it was neat for the Christian church to write the lessons for the
Roman Catholic children, and they were good Bible lessons.) One of the nuns’ brother was a very prominent surgeon in Rome, Italy. The nun and Lori invited the Roman doctors and surgeons to come every January and do a medical clinic at our hospital. I will say right now, these guys are
tough at soccer (fútbol), and I don’t believe we have ever beaten them yet. One of the doctors was sitting at coffee and cake with Lori when Lori mentioned that the church in Matelica, Italy, was a regular supporter of the school, and mentioned Harold that had been her friend as she was in grade school. The doctor’s ears perked up and he said, “You mean Professor Harold Fowler?! I have books by him in my library; he is a good writer!” I so believe in the gospel “sans fronteras”
(without borders). We are involved in and in part responsible for the gospel reaching the whole world. What fun it is going to be in heaven as we trace all the crossed and recrossed lines of information, lessons, and written material; how good is our God!

Harold and Enid Fowler Celebrate 50 Years of Ministry

On January 16, 1964, Harold and Enid Fowler arrived in Italy to begin what, with the Lord’s blessing, has turned out to be their life’s work as long-term missionaries in Italy. They had four children with them when they arrived in Italy, Carrie, Linda, Malcolm and two-month-old Stuart. Two daughters, Lisa and Roberta, were born in Rome. They all grew up in Italy and retain much of their Italian cultural heritage. When they get together in the States, they enjoy their own Italian home-cooking while they speak Italian and even some joking in the Bari dialect! After high school, they left home and went to the States to begin their college education. They are all married and have both children and grandchildren, making Harold and Enid great grandfather and great grandmother. They are grateful for the Lord’s help with their family.

Harold’s Bible college education (Ozark BTh 1961) and knowledge of the Italian language led to a specialized ministry. Their main thrust consists in developing a publishing ministry in Italian by writing
Bible study textbooks or full commentaries on Acts, Revelation, Hebrews, and 1 and 2 Peter. Harold published three books of sermons for use by preachers in the local Italian churches. “One Body”
is a book-length monograph promoting Christian unity. Enid created a coloring book for children depicting the Ministry of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of Mark, plus several children’s lesson and activity books. In recent years, Harold has translated into Italian two significant books from English by other authors and collaborated with others to publish them. These books are now distributed in congregations in other areas of Italy. Harold has written scores of detailed studies targeting specific
topics requested by Italian leaders.

Harold takes his turn teaching and preaching in the local church at Matelica, providing a role model to the younger leaders. This strategy was put to the test when Harold was taken out of the lineup
due to a serious accident; the Matelica men came through with leadership making the transition smoother. Twice a week he continues to teach in-home Bible studies. Harold and Enid have spoken at various men’s and women’s conventions where they make their books available to individuals and churches.

Their mission philosophy takes the long view of evangelism that leaves churches better informed and more ready to do their own work long after they are gone from the scene. By the Lord’s grace, books are helping them to accomplish this. Rejoice in the Lord with them for His great encouragement and strength throughout all these years with its ups and downs. For those who would like an up-to-date report of their activities, they send out an email monthly update to everyone who requests it. It is basically a newsy note they share with supporting churches and their family. To receive this, merely make a request giving a valid email address to which they can direct your copy. (Herb can connect you.)

They are sometimes asked, “When are you coming home?” Having completed 50 years of ministry in Italy, the question is legitimate. Obviously, they are already at home in Italy and what they are doing,
others are now already doing. They have given a working model of Gospel publication and younger leaders have taken up the challenge to write. So, they are beginning to think about making a shorter (possibly two-month) trip to the States to renew acquaintances and visit their family.

They appreciate your prayers so much as they collaborate with our Heavenly Father and you in this work of love.

—Harold and Enid Fowler


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Pappy Harris came down to build a house and his groups donated instruments.
We are naming our Music Hall the Pappy-Manion Hall in honor of their support. Here are pictures of a presentation we did for them.

The Longest Mile

Dean Pinney, Executive Director of Organizational Relations, Royse City, Texas

A few years ago I had the opportunity to take my older two boys to Guatemala to do some filming and promotional work for the mission and the school. It’s hard to believe that so much has changed since then; yet so much has remained the same. We were desperately trying to raise money for buses because we had 500 children being transported in one 25-passenger shuttle bus, two 12 passenger vans, and a few rogue pickup trucks. I recently watched the video of 150 kids piling on the people mover, ten in
each seat (stacked from big to little), and thirty standing (I had to film from the emergency exit where I was standing/hanging. I was about to stop the video, when it shifted to 500 kids walking home; I had forgotten about this part of our visit. This particular year the rains had been so bad that they had washed away large segments of the main road leading the five miles from San Raymundo to the Morning Glory campus. The city was repairing the road so we could not drive on them for two days. So, for two
days all the teachers, administrators, volunteers and the two boys and I walked the kids home on that treacherous journey into town. Many were concerned that I wouldn’t be able to walk it because of my size, but I not only walked it, I piggy backed two five year olds the whole way. My son Tim was amazed because instead of complaining about having to walk this long walk (on the side of the mountain, because the roads were closed), the kids were singing and laughing–enjoying the fact that the school day was extended because of the walk together. Girls were chasing boys, boys were pretending to hate it, and a group of girls serenaded my sons all the way home.

[IMG_6173.JPG] For those of you who have never been there to visit–this may seem strange to you, but for those who have been to Guatemala who know exactly what I am talking about, this defined this ministry for me. In America, there would have been an outrage if our precious children had to walk home from school because of road construction. Parents would be demanding answers, school officials would be blaming city leaders, city leaders would be exchanging blame, kids would be forever damaged because they had to actually walk further than the kitchen. But there on that day, parents were thankful that we cared enough to walk the kids home safely, city officials fixed the damaged roads rapidly, and the kids sang and laughed all the way home. When we neared the city, there was the final “climb” as we ascended the 80 degree grade into the city. One of the boys named Miguel asked if I would trade him shoes because his feet were hurting. We had about the same size shoe. My hiking boots felt like heaven as he put them on his feet. I was
shocked to find that his shoes had no rubber on the bottom, only sewn plastic from a milk carton. The big kids were carrying the little kids and all the adults had at least two kids each on our backs and in
our arms as we sang the Spanish version of “Higher Ground.” The little girl on my back was rustling my hair and shouting, “¡Vaya caballo!” (getty-up horsey!) as the little boy in my arms smiled and held my face in his hands and said, “Señor, usted es muy fuerte.” I looked back and my boys were right there with several little munchkins dangling from them as well. That climb was painful as this “Tenderfoot” felt every rock, crack, and paper on that road in those shoes. My feet ached as they never have before, but when I looked at Miguel, he was smiling from ear to ear–for the first time in forever his feet weren’t hurting. I decided that the pain was not all that bad and told him to keep the shoes. He refused at first, but I insisted. Walking that last mile in his shoes was the biggest lesson of the day for me. It reminded me that while I had been walking with them, we still were not on equal ground because I had better shoes. Only when we traded shoes could I know what every journey felt like for Miguel. As we got to each child’s house, they wanted us to come in and stay, but we explained that we had to get the other children home. When all the children were safely home, we walked the final road to
Lori’s house where I discovered that my feet were bleeding from the walk.

It is easy for us to look at others and make judgments. We view the world through our experiences and perspectives and we observe everything from a lens. Some of our lenses are thick and everything we see seems close up and critical, while others view from very thin lenses and problems are far away and trouble is distant. Still others have lenses tinted with sin and separation from God and everything is distorted from its actual appearance. Many are trying to use someone else’s lens and things become
morphed and skewed. Some of us have broken lenses, so the world looks fragmented and disconnected and nothing we see makes much sense to us at all. We pass judgment on others based on what we have seen through our lenses. Likewise, we are critical of another’s walk with Christ. We don’t know the journey that has brought them this far, only the part of the road we can see now… so based on that we make judgments. The problem is that each journey has a story and a history of victories and losses that have brought them here to this place. Until you have walked a mile in those shoes, you cannot know their journey. We lash out against abortion, but how many of us are currently opening our home to foster kids? We preach against homosexuality, but rarely do you see any of us inviting them to sit with us at church? In fact, how many of your friends are practicing homosexuals? Right. Don’t really want to walk a mile in
their fashionable footwear, do we? How would it change the church if we traded shoes with those whom we condemn? What if you had to endure sexual assault and rape from a member of your family who was supposed to love and protect you–but instead abused you. How would you base your dating and sexual decisions if you were a woman whose world was filled with men who use and abuse? How long would you last in a violent home where the only escape from a daily onslaught of violence was in a pipe or a drink? Oftentimes I feel like instead of being “Born Again” we seem to be just “Born Against.” Where are the moccasins of the one caught in adultery, or the thief–I am not asking you to condone these things, but before you
condemn them, you should at least understand what made it so easy to succumb. We talk and sing of “Amazing Grace,” but we hoard that for ourselves while we dish out criticism and condemnation.

A mile can be a long journey, depending on the shoes. Walk in my friend Misty’s sandals. You will be walking in the shoes of a teenage mother, who at 14 became pregnant because for the first time in her
life someone said they loved her. His love was so genuine that he bolted when he found out she was pregnant. Maybe you could wear Jason’s shoes. He just got indicted for fraud because he was trying to keep his home and belongings while feeding his children–because when he went to his church for help, they ignored his pleas. Sometimes the longest mile we can walk is in another man’s shoes. Elders should have to walk in the shoes of the ministers that they keep firing. They ask for a shepherd, but want an
evangelist; they want someone to bring in lost people while coddling spoiled rotten Christians. They want a preacher who can preach like that guy on television, but they pay him like that guy holding a sign on the street corner. They want his family to be perfect, while they cannot get their own kids to even come to church. Maybe the preacher should walk in the shoes of the members once in a while. Maybe he would understand what is so important about hospital visits to families who are grasping for hope and help in their most desperate time of need. Maybe we could get our ministers to start counseling once again if they had to walk in the shoes of the members who are at the brink of failed marriages, failed
parenthood, and failed Christianity. Instead, we all just criticize and condemn.

Except…and here is where things get weird. Except…and only those who have been to Guatemala will completely understand this. Except, when you are a spoiled rotten American used to having whatever you want and you come face-to-face with one of those amazing kids at Morning Glory Christian School, and the first thing they do is offer you the only piece of candy they will get all month. Or patiently teach you to speak their language so you aren’t embarrassed for messing it up. Or invite you to come to their house where there isn’t enough food for them, but they are glad to give you theirs. To go with these children to their chapel service and suddenly realize that you have never worshipped like this before–pure, honest, genuine–sel€fless worship. With a group of children whom we might think have nothing to be thankful for, but who are so thankful for the simplest of things. Sometimes the longest mile is spent in someone else’s shoes. We are so grateful for the givers–you make it possible for us to do so much for these kids, and we can never say “thank you” enough to you. But you owe it to yourself–you owe it to
these kids–if only once, you find a way to go. Yep, a day to “trade shoes” with them and experience the world from their point of view. Be careful, though, because if you do it just right, you may never want your shoes back.


['Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.' - 1 Corinthians 9:23-25 -]

Thank you for your continued faithfulness in prayer and giving!

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Focus

Rob Courtney, Colegio Crisiano Mañana Gloriosa, San Raymundo, Guatemala

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Hey everybody. Ministry is hard. It’s hard to have your students, your boss, your supporters, your family AND your enemies looking at you. It’s hard to live up to their expectations. I wouldn’t dream of trying to please them all–especially the enemies!–but trying to meet the expectations of everyone who deserves it? That’s a big call. And it’s really hard.

I am writing this at noon and I am yawning. (Okay, I may or may not be in Lori’s exceptionally comfortable chair right now, but let’s stick to the point.) It’s exhausting trying to be “all things to all people.” And I’m terrible at it. I am all about growing and broadening my horizons and I progress a little bit every day–I think. But this year, I am looking at around 700 students, all of whom have an expectation of me.

To some, I’m the bad guy. To others, I am a nice guy. To some, I am an expansion of their jungle gym, and to a few, I am a friend. I look at all these kids and can’t help but be terrified at the numbers: 700 opportunities to fail. 700 opportunities to be just another jabroni to
some kids who have terrible experiences and heart-breaking stories.

It’s extremely tempting to hide myself in a corner. Lori actually gave me a corner for my office, so it could be a convenient hiding spot because, to be honest, I can’t always be the man I need to be to my family, much less my boss, much less our supporters who love our mission so much, much less [than] the 700 pairs of eyes watching me, seeing what I am all about, what I represent. And last year, I know I dropped the ball big time. I was a jerk to some of these kids. I let my desire for education get in the way of their desire to know Jesus. Oops. So this year, I took a deep breath and asked myself what I am going to do.

I only came up with one answer: No matter the cost, be the man the Bible describes to the kids. I figure the rest will fall into place. Now, there are a lot of descriptions in the Bible. But one that really seems to cover all the different roles I have is found in 2 Peter chapter 1: “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

That’s my job this year. I would love for the kids to be quiet when I am talking, but this verse seems to be more conducive to Kingdom work. There is my focus and there is my goal. I hope you will pray for me and all of us as I partake to do simply that: Focus.


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