Category Archives: World Missions

Vineyard Kenya: The 15th Association of Vineyard Churches

Vineyard USA just sent out their monthly newsletter with some great articles highlighting some of the things God is doing in Kenya, Africa. Apparently, a few weeks ago the churches in Kenya were released as their own Association of Vineyard Churches (AVC) – meaning that Vineyard churches in that country are now self-governing, self-promoting and self-funded. (yay!!!)

The first article talks a bit about the formation of the Vineyard movement in Kenya and how things got started there:

“Really, it started off with a small prayer group of women near Nairobi that mainly focused on praying for other women who had come to faith for different reasons. They were praying for their husbands and for their own spiritual renewal. One of the key leaders of the group was from Australia; she and her husband returned to Australia for a visit and ended up going to a conference about the Vineyard in Perth. When they returned to Kenya, they brought the Vineyard materials and teachings with them, and that one small group there ended up being the formation of the first Vineyard church.”

From there, the Lord connected them with the the South Africa Vineyard AVC (who ended up sending them a pastor missionary early on) and the Vineyard USA (via an Vineyard missionary working with a NGO in Kenya). The rest they say is history.

The second article is by Mark Fields, Vineyard USA Missions Task Force Director, who talks a bit about Noah Gitau who Jesus choose to lead the new AVC:

“Then he [Noah] told me a story of something that happened while he was working for the government. He was wrongly identified as a criminal that had earned a shoot-on-sight order. Police cars came in, surrounded his car, pulled out their guns and opened fire. There were 47 bullet holes in his car, not counting the windows, which were also shot out. But Noah got out of the car and walked away untouched. The police were scared to death of being around him, because there’s no question that you can survive 47 bullet holes in your car and walk away unscathed unless something supernatural has happened.

“Noah told me story after story. I walked away realizing that God was at work in Kenya and intended to build the Vineyard there long before Bubba Justice or the Hanawalts from Evanston or the South Africans or anyone else showed up. God was at work there, preparing Noah, protecting him for that day and for what the future holds.”

Mark also shares a bit about his heart to see 10,000 Vineyard churches started around the world in the next ten years. A goal that has been embraced by the Vineyard leaders in Brazil:

“While I [Mark] was in Brazil in May, I shared about the idea of learning to plant thousands of churches. Two of the Vineyard leaders in Brazil came up to me and said, ‘We believe we can plant 1,000 of those churches here. We want to buy into this.’”

God is definitely on the move around the world – and we get to play a part! How cool is that?! 😀

Pakak Project: Organic Farming

Chris and Cathee Mapes, Vineyards missionaries in Pakak, Philippines, recently started an awesome organic farming project teaching farmers how to make and use “homemade natural fertilizers and pesticides.” This will save the farmers TONS of money that is usually spend on chemical fertilizers and pesticides – items that are normally bought on credit with a 10% monthly interest.

As one farmer said:

“…on a good harvest, which is May or June harvest, i get around 43 cavans, i set aside some for our consumption, and i sell the rest….sometimes i get paid 15,000 pesos…i use 10,000 to pay off the fertilizers, pesticides, etc that i get on credit with interest…2000 to 3,000 i use to pay for the hand tractor, fare, milling and other things….i barely have enough left to get basic necessities for my family….at least this time i don’t owe anyone fertilizers or pesticides.”

While this sounds good, the use of homemade natural fertilizers and pesticides is something really, really new in this areas. This means that not everyone in the village is ready to make the switch as they are concerned with how good the organic products will work… as in are the fields going to be protected against rats, birds, insects and other such things…

Accordingly, Chris and Cathee are asking for folks to pray for a good crop yield for these farmers and their fields. If things go good, then more farmers will be willing to make the switch, saving them necessary funds for their family.

Read more about Chris and Cathee’s ministry on their website, “Mapes Mission.”

Ministry Highlight: Loving people in Tribal Mountains of the Philippines

The Mapes

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of traveling to Cebu, Philippines, where I was able to visit with some old friends, Chris and Cathee Mapes.

Cathee was our Filipina host and guide in 2004 when Emily and I joined with a team of midwifes and medical doctors to love the people in the remote mountain tribal villages of Northern Luzon, Philippines. We met Chris a year later when he came to Boise as a student at the Vineyard College of Mission out of the Vineyard Boise. After graduating from the Mission Medics program, Chris moved to the Philippines where he met, and later, married Cathee.

Together they have been involved in many different types of ministry within the tribal mountain or resettlement villages in Northern Luzon. The first major focus was medical outreaches sponsoring medication for children and adults with tuberculosis.

They also ran a boarding house for college students from the tribes – allowing them to disciple them and guide them deeper into a loving relationship with Jesus. Today, while they no longer have run a boarding house, they continue to focus on discipleship and strengthen the body of Jesus through a bi-lingual video bible school in the villages.

“Through this Bible School, we have had testimonies of healings, of boldness in witnessing, and many powerful class teachings and discussions. These classes go out and evangelize other villages in their own tribal dialect. Our last outreach, we saw 11 salvations from older people who understood the gospel in their own language for the first time. After that we learned that one of the old ladies died about a week later. Praise God for his perfect timing. Facilitating this Video Bible school is one of the few times I have had complete assurance that I am where God wants me to be.” -Chris

Recently Chris posted a phenomenon letter on their blog with more information about their “heart, vision and needs” as they love people in tribal mountains of the Philippines. While they have been doing a great work over the last seven years of their married life times are getting tough as the world’s financial situation has greatly reduced their missionary support….

I pray that you all will wander over to their blog and see what God is going in their lives.

Stories of the Coming Age Breaking into This Age (Part 2 of 2)

Same conference; different day than the story...

Yesterday and today I have been sharing some stories from last week’s Asia Summit about the Coming Age breaking into this Present Evil Age. They are stories of God’s physical, emotional, and spiritual provisions to which we give thanks and praise to the Lord Most High.

These are not the only stories out of that week – nor are they ‘special’ in the sense that they are rare or unique. They are stories God loving His kids.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. –Hebrew 12:28-13:1

Story Two: God at Work

We were supposed to hear from a panel on culturally relevant mission last Thursday evening as part the Summit’s focus on the Vineyard’s Five Values. God, though, had other plans – leading to a night of worship and prayer.

At one point during this impromptu worship session, the session emcee asked if anyone had a word to share from the Lord. Some folks came forward with different pray topics and what not…ok…truth be told, I don’t know what they said as I was too busy thinking about kidneys.

Continue reading Stories of the Coming Age Breaking into This Age (Part 2 of 2)

Stories of the Coming Age Breaking into This Age (Part 1 of 2)

Today is Thanksgiving – a time in which we stop our busy lives and give thanks to the Lord for His provisions in all areas of our lives.

Along those lines I want to share with you a couple of stories from last week’s Asia Summit about the Coming Age breaking into this Present Evil Age. As will see over the next two days,  these are stories of God’s physical, emotional, and spiritual provisions.

Story One: Gray Feathers

There were four of us standing in a circle praying for unity and tribal reconciliation among the Filipino followers of Jesus. As my companions prayed, my eyes slowly closed and there out of the darkness stood a grey feather off to the right side of my vision.  Looking closer I saw that the feather was sticking out of a red headband…

Still not sure what was happening, I asked the Lord what I was seeing. As did I did so, the red color of the headband moved up towards the feather – turning it red before becoming a dense red cloud blocking all sight.

Continue reading Stories of the Coming Age Breaking into This Age (Part 1 of 2)

Asia Summit Debrief

The last few days have been crazy!!!

Just about every spare minute was used talking to people, building relationships, and networking with folks from 15 different nations. Worshiping the Lord with these guys and gals gives one a picture of heaven – the nations rejoicing and praising the King Most High!

The focus of the conference as been the Vineyard Values – with each of the main sessions tackling one of the five core values of the Vineyard. Phil Strout, the new Vineyard USA National Director, spoke Tuesday night about the Kingdom of God and following the King.

Wednesday morning saw a panel of speakers from various nations talk about and answer questions concerning being a reconciling community. That evening a lady from the Philippines spoke about compassionate ministry using stories from her life and the people in her church.

We ‘played’ Thursday morning with folks going swimming, shopping, or sleeping. But that evening we were right back at it with a session on culturally relevant mission. Or we were suppose to have a panel talking about that… God had other plans as we spend the evening worshiping, praying for each other, and basically experiencing the presences of God.

Continue reading Asia Summit Debrief

Sitting In An Airport

Courtesy of Wikipedia

I’m sitting in an airport today waiting for my plane to load….

Not much is happening other then that… just waiting…

In a little bit I will be boarding a plane for Seoul, South Korea, and then to Cebu, Philippines for the Asia Summit.  It should be a good time hanging out with old friends, God and a ton of new friends.

Sunday should be really good as I get to attend one of the Filipino Vineyard churches! 🙂

Prayer Requests:

  • Travel mercy
  • Focus – I am hoping to spend some time writing during the layovers and at the hotel in Cebu, only I know myself and I can see myself getting sidetracked… 😛
  • Connections – As the Philippine Partnership representative, please pray that I will be able to make some good connections with the pastors and missionaries at the summit.
  • Presences of G0d – pray that I will see and hear God throughout this trip as I want to walk with Him.

That’s about all… Hopefully the hotel will have wifi so I can post updates throughout the week…otherwise you will all have to wait a week or so. 😀

Blessings.

Headed to the Philippines

Map Courtesy of Wikipedia

Two weeks ago I had no plans for leaving Idaho, let alone for going out of the country… yet, I can now announce that I am headed to the Southeast Vineyard Asia Summit in Cebu, Philippines in ten days (Nov 11-19th).

It is a good things I keep a passport on hand. 🙂

How did this happen? And why so fast?

Well, a few weeks ago, I was attending the Vineyard Boise Christian Fellowship Missions Board meeting when it was discovered that the folks who were originally planning on going to the Asia Summit were unable to go. Being part of the Board and having visited the area previously, I was asked to attend the Summit and foster the connection we have with the Vineyard churches in the Philippines.

After a few days praying about the trip and talking with folks, I felt like Jesus said to go…so I bought tickets and made the proper arrangements. 😀

I would appreciate it if you all would be praying for me as I still has some travel details to work out… this will also be the first time I have embarked on solo international trip as all my other trips have been with teams, so please pray for travel mercy as I navigate all the ins-and-outs of international travel. :/

Oh…and above all, pray that this will be a relaxing, peaceful trip as life has been really hectic lately. :/

Thanks.

2010 MLM Highlights

Picture by Christie Costello
Glen Eyrie Castle Conference Center - Picture by Christie Costello

Here are some personal highlights from this year’s Vineyard USA Mission Leaders Meeting:

South America Meeting – All the partnership leaders working in South America got together last week with the goal of networking and seeing how we can help each other love the people of South America. I personally made some good contacts in the meeting which, Lord willing, will help me encourage and bless the Vineyard Church in Paraguay.

As an added bonus, one of the national leaders of the Brazilian Vineyard Churches attended the meeting and shared about the move of God throughout Brazil (they have over 20 churches and 40 church plants!). She also encouraged us to keep communicating with each other as networking and trust can take a long time.

On a lighter note, this meeting was rudely interruptive by a black bear who wondered past the conference room’s windows – causing chaos as everyone scrambled for their cameras!

Yearly Reflection – One that that came out last week as we talked to friends was the joy in our voices. Last year during the MLM conference, we were pretty beat up and wore out… Being so close to everything, we had forgotten the amazing things that Jesus had done in our lives over this past year.  Chatting with friends and catching up with them provided an outlet that brought God’s blessings to the forefront of our minds and hearts. Thank you Lord!!

Worship – It was wonderful! No instruments to play; no chairs to set up – nothing to do at all but worship the Lord and dance with my son. Refreshing waves of pure water. 🙂

Continue reading 2010 MLM Highlights

The Wk That Makes The Other 51 Go Around

Picture by Christie Costello
Picture by Christie Costello

Last week we had the honor of attending the 2010 Vineyard USA Mission Leadership Meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  To me,  this is THE meeting within the Vineyard Movement – bar none.

Why?

Because the Mission Leadership Meeting (MLM) brings together those within the Movement who are playing on the front lines – those who are constantly having to rethink how they do church as they are trying to share the Kingdom message of Jesus with those of another culture.

In addition, the MLM is a relational focused meeting versus a task orientated conference jammed full of meeting.

This means that the organizers scheduled plenty of room for rest, individual meetings, hikes, worship, and sleep. There was also a prayer team on site to pray for everyone at the meeting (and unlike other leader conferences, folks at the MLM actually WANTED prayer!).

This is why I call the MLM week the one week that helps the other 51 weeks go by.  🙂