July-Sept 2011 CCM Newsletter

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Deaf Ministries

The deaf ministry has been one of the great success stories here in Colombia in the last three years. This has been a joint effort between Dewayne Liebrandt of Deaf Ministries International and the Colombian Christian Mission. Dewayne has shouldered much of the financial burden for this work and I have been involved in leading the work and training the leaders. This arrangement has worked well and there were 22 baptisms at the deaf camp in late April. We are encouraged by this work as we work to encourage them in their outreach.

Recently, we have begun to set our sights on opening a second deaf church in Villavicencio. We are currently laying the groundwork for that project, much as we did in Bogota before opening the first deaf church in Colombia some three years ago now. At this stage, we are involved in cultivating contacts and relationships with the deaf community. As part of that project, we hold social events for them at the camp and have recently helped one of the community leaders with a small scholarship for study.

These expenses are starting to increase and are becoming difficult to meet from our general fund. Recently, the deaf leader almost missed out on the next semester as I was having difficulty providing the money for tuition. The whole deaf ministry has been a fantastic success and is showing signs of really taking off. If we are to take full advantage of the doors that the Lord has opened for us, we must be able to help provide for needs and meet opportunities as they arise. As a result we have decided to start a dedicated Deaf Ministries Fund. Why not partner with us in this exciting ministry and commit to monthly support or make a one time love offering for the project?

This is a great way to become involved in reaching a new population group with the Gospel here in Colombia. Simply designate your special gift for that purpose and indicate if you plan to continue supporting this ministry on a regular basis. If this work takes off as it appears to be on the verge of doing, we could soon see a significant growth as new churches are established in many towns and cities across Colombia. Do not miss your chance to be a part of this exciting ministry. We would like to raise $1,000 in additional monthly support to fully fund this ministry.

If you would support the Deaf Ministry outreach - send in your donation marked "Deaf Ministries".

The Future of Ministry - Translation

In our modern world, many missionaries are short termers going for only a few months or years. In fact, it is becoming rare for any modern missionary to stay on the field for more than ten or twelve years. While we certainly appreciate every effort in missions, this carries certain liabilities as well. One of the greatest is in the area of linguistic skills and the ability to write or translate teaching materials into the target language. While the ultimate goal is always to have such materials written by the nationals, it is also true that we all share in the wealth of theological writings produced over the generations and across cultural boundaries.

The American church has been enriched by the writing of the church fathers and great theologians and reformers such as St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and John Calvin. We have added to that richness with our own great scholars and theologians, such as Alexander Campbell and Jack Cottrell. In the early days of American Christianity and the Restoration Movement, much of the theological writing was imported and translated. It is almost a certainty that such a process will occur in Latin America and in the Spanish language as well. Yet, the one significant barrier to this process has been the short term nature of most missionary work in Latin America. True depth in linguistic understanding and capacity does not occur normally until a missionary has been working in country for some twenty or more years.

The skilled translator will need to have not only a deep understanding of the grammar and syntax of the target language but the host language as well. Foreign nationals often lack this second aspect of the equation. The skilled translator must also have a deep theological and Biblical knowledge base. There are many skilled translators who have great capacity with the languages but they lack the Biblical understanding to be able to correctly render the complex abstract ideas presented in the Bible. The doctrine of grace would be one stellar example.

As a result, in recent years, God has demonstrated to me over and over again that I have a responsibility to make use of the unique skills that come with a lifetime of living and working in Latin America. The fact that all of my education has been Christian based has given me the understanding of the Biblical terms and theological concepts as well. After nearly forty years of living, working, and thinking in Spanish, I can work in both English and Spanish with near equal ease and capacity. Because of my long period of service here in Colombia, I possess a college level grammar and understanding in both languages. And since my work has always been in the church, I have a fair grasp of Biblical terminology and theological concepts.

This means God has uniquely equipped me to do what few others can do. He has demonstrated to me the need for this type of ministry and has opened many doors for being so involved. At the same time, the realities of aging mean that I no longer have the stamina for the long hikes and extended periods of little rest and intense activity. Added to this fact is the obvious reality that a book can travel to many places at once and enter into areas too dangerous for missionaries to enter.

Increasingly, I have looked to the ministry of writing and translation as the field where God wants me to work in the period of time, be it short or long, that God has for me on this earth. I have begun to make a concerted effort to pull out of more and more commitments in direct church involvement and free up time for writing and translating. I currently have two or three projects in various stages of development; some are original writings and others are translations of significant works. Some are just in the beginning stages and other are in final revisions and should be printed yet this year. In the translation area I have begun working on Tom Friskney’s commentary on the book of revelation. Lord willing, I will be able to free up the time to get that finished yet this year.

I have been honored to have many great partners in this ministry; people who encourage me and provide the services in areas where I do not have the skills or funding. Great brothers such as Gordon Clifford, of Christian Mission Press, Jon Underwood, of Palabras de Cristo, and Ralph Shead, of LATM, have offered to publish and distribute the books that I write and translate. So this can and will be a cooperative effort to get the materials out and into service in areas far beyond Colombia.

In many ways I see this work as my “legacy ministry” or the ministry will extend beyond my geographical region where I have been called to work and will outlast the time that the Good Lord has granted me for service on this earth. In supporting the Colombian Christian Mission, each and every one of you will be helping to preach the Gospel in a geographical time framework that is greater than any one person. I see this as the future and as what may well become one of my primary ministries as I move forward in my missionary service.

Consider supporting our general fund to help us continue not only this endeavor but all of our ministry work in Colombia, South America.

Come Visit Us in Colombia

We are once again planning mission trips and work crews to help with projects in Colombia, South America. Whether you are a teenager or a senior, a stay at home mom or a cement mason, you can partner with us. We have a variety of projects that we’ll be working on from medical and educational to construction projects. We will be scheduling trips every year in February and late July/early August. Please consider joining us for a mission trip, you won’t regret it.

Winter 2012
February 11-22, 2012 we will be taking a group down to Colombia to help build cabins at the church camp in Villavicencio. This will be a construction work crew, but not all jobs will be heavy or hard work. We can use people of all ages and skills to work on this project.

I want to go
For more information, fundraising ideas, and other information visit the Work Crew website: supportCCM.com/workcrew. Send a $200 retainer to hold your place on the trip.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Need a project for your Sunday school,
small group, youth group, VBS, or church?

Consider raising funds for our Work Crew Projects: Cabins, Septic System & New Well, Swimming Pool, Electric Hookup and others.