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Silver Moccasin Trail from Angeles Crest to Charlton Flats

    I had to down shift to second gear in my 1938 Packard 120 sedan as I approached Lake Jackson and Pepperdine Boy Scout Camp on the desert side of the Angeles Crest Coastal Mountains in Southern California the summer of 1951. I was excited I was the only high school student out of the Los Angeles Area Boy Scout Council that was chosen for staff at Pepperdine. I would be working with men from USC, UCLA and Pepperdine that summer. I was chosen because of my Church activities at South Bay Christian Church and chaplain of Explorer Troop 288X to be the Chaplain and minister of Scouts Own each Sunday morning at the camp.  Also because of my mountaineering and desert survival skills I was Activities Director and had my picture from the Los Angeles Times taped in my work assignment book.

LakeArrowheadScout  I tell you all of that to tell you this. In 1951 there was not a single voice in the L.A. area that was not for the teaching the morals and precepts of Jesus Christ and the open reading of the Bible to the scouts from LA over the next 12 weeks. The Los Angeles Times proudly had my picture alongside the picture of my running buddy Max Bar Jones, the only high school staff at Lake Arrowhead Boy Scout Camp 80 miles away. The article not only spotlighted our summer promotion and positions, it also reminded the LA area that Max and I were the trailblazers that took hundreds of LA youth from Watts to Hollywood on the survival Silver Moccasin 75-mile hike the summer before. That is just dusty history.

   What it does do is give us perspective of the change of 66 years.  A few years ago the Boy Scouts were struggling and had been banned from activities and locations in Southern California cities for standing on their promise to be “morally straight.”  They buckled and allowed open homosexuals into their midst. Today they are in national decline. And what can I say that is printable about the morals of California and the “Left Coast” as a whole with the Bible banned. Jesus an unmentionable word, bathroom doors open to whatever sex and all weirdos; it is not 1951!

   What engulfed the “Left Coast’ and the North East in the 1960s overshadowed the whole of the United States of America by the beginning of the twenty-first century. It isn’t that just the USA has changed, the church in America has changed. We have become enamored with the mega churches with 20 to 30 thousand attenders each weekend.  Ministers struggling with the handling and teaching a congregation of 300 are dreaming of a church of 25,000. Thousand of Christians are driving by dozens of smaller churches to get lost in the thousands attending a mega church. Now, they have their place and they are not at fault. All too many the 90% of churches that range from 35 to 300 have all but given up evangelizing their neighborhoods; they are just holding on.

Brush Run church was organized by Thomas and Alexander Campbell May 4, 1811 with people from their community. The church met here until about 1826. The location is marked now only with a small statue with engraved markings. Photo courtesy of Scott Harp, taken 10.2003   The big thing is in the thinking and policies in these churches and the ones that are plateaued in the 500 to 1000 bracket as well as the smaller ones.  In the ’50s, ’60s, ‘70s many of these churches supported one or more complete missionary operations in a foreign country. Every few years the missionary would furlough and come and spend a week to a month reporting and being involved with their local church. The original direct supporting independent method that proved so successful that we became the mission example to the Christian world began with the elders of supporting churches being the mission directors and the church becoming the direct support agent to handle all the money with no local salaried position. That rapidly changed as elders ceased to be spiritual leaders and became more business managers and 990 forms and financial statements became for many more important than personal relationship with the missionary.

Cane Ridge Revival Meeting

   This created a host of nightmares in the church-missionary world.  With the 501(c)3 becoming necessary to give federal income tax credit, the 990 for certain types of incorporation was a government demand and no problem to copy and send to each church requesting. For missionary groups such as N.I.M.A. that are federally incorporated as a Federal 501(c)3 in the original Christian Church/Restoration Movement way, we do not have to do a 990.  We do what you are receiving here an annual report of income and expenditures.  This is a reasonable and honest and above board service to our supporters. This has been a major change in how the church handles mission expenses. N.I.M.A. financial income statement shows the giving of the largest supporting church is a little over 6% total of our income that has totally changed since our beginning to raise money in 1964.

   The next thing that has changed is the scriptural epistemological base that was the foundation of our churches in America 66 years ago; the Bible was the absolute rule of faith. This has changed for many churches across the U.S.A. and even in some Christian Churches. This changed has caused a shift to a university taught, relativity, no absolutes, epistemological base that has called into question the certainty of Biblical statements.  No longer do the majority of churches teach that the pagan in the foreign land and the secular professor of Humanities at our universities are lost eternally without the knowledge and acceptance of Jesus the Christ. You have to live in an air-tight plastic bubble not to know that is happening. So, missions has fallen from the major Great Commission and main goal of Jesus for the church to a good idea for leftover money or a small percentage of total budget.. Also since 1951 many churches have given up their Sunday night evangelistic service, Wednesday Bible study and even Sunday Bible School. All of this has and is happening while Christianity has exploded in what we used to call the third world.

   I keep touch with Christian expansion all around the world; world mission organizations report that the daily baptisms including thousands of Arab and other Muslims are averaging 60,000 a day; the Christian world excluding Western Europe and North America are exploding and the cost of reaching them is skyrocketing. I do not have time in this report, nor is it my point to discuss the rest of the world.  I am concentrating on Guatemala and Morning Glory’s phenomenal growth over the last 15 years and the requests that are unfulfilled and potential project we could be doing that are snuggling in Lori, Dean and my mind and heart.

 Morning Glory Christian Academy is the gold standard of Guatemala and there is a demand and need right now for another five Morning Glories in Central America; all we need is another million dollars a year to turn Lori and Tabi free to select and train the people needed. While Morning Glory Christian Academy has grown exponentially over the years both in students, faculty and expenses our supporting churches have plateaued with new supporters basically replacing churches that have closed or cut their mission budget or redirected their budget to do remodeling and local improvements. God is blessing, but this is not 1951.

  Dean and I have never restricted Lori and her budget. As genius as Lori is in student counseling, teaching, she is brilliant in budgeting and educational programming. This year in fact with Lori adding the Diversity School she sent me a original draft of the 2017 budget then after getting school started she realized that she had miss-figured the budget low over $800.00 a month. Lori in her sweet nature was going to try to cover the budget shortage in Guatemala.  I said, “No,” add it on to what we have to raise each month.  We have a “toad strangler” budget this year but if Lori and Morning Glory are not worth an increased support, Dean and I will stay up nights to find new sources of money to get the job done.  But this is not 1951.

   The most unproductive thing we could try to do is bring Lori to the U.S.A. and visit churches; that is so 1951.  Dean and my traveling to churches to meet with missions committees and churches is again a lost cause in most cases. The money spent sending Dean and Rob to ICOM (International Conference on Mission) bought us some corporation recognitions and friendly contacts but was a total loss in the raising money field.  As financial officer I have to evaluate financial return for dollars spent.

  With networking for information with major mission organizations we have selected a multigenerational program of fund raising.  We reach the under 50 with the screen, cell phone, e-mail, one punch color reports with good news on their computer, iPhone, or other handheld devise. To reach the 50 and older the Cell phone, e-mail and the 64-Page Morning Glory Stories. By far our highest return for expense is the Morning Glory Stories quarterly, large font magazine with the news e-mail from Guatemala in second.

  This year we are adding the weekly news blasts that including financial commercials that will be less than three minutes long total.  We have bought Rob a new camera and we want Lori to do the vast majority of these weekly news blasts and we will be using e-mail, and all social media as we get rolling on this project.

  One last bit of information to close out this report. Agape Christian totally provides the office space, utilities, state side vehicle, phones, office equipment, internet/WiFi expense and the desktop printing and mailing of Morning Glory Stories. With nearly a third of a million in income to properly handle, we have had to pay some office labor this year to have acceptable bookkeeping and immediate response with receipts for all income from a $10.00 gift to a $25,000.00 gift.

  This is not 1951, but in my 83rd year I could not be more excited about the potential as a minister in America and as a missioner in a third world country God is winning, the church that is holding to the Bible and God’s way of doing things are winning and Morning Glory is exploding with potential and accomplishments thanks to all of you and our gracious, mighty and dynamic God the Father, God the Son Emmanuel and God the Holy Spirit.


Herb Pinney