God's middle name...

A few weeks ago I wrote to you and our other supporters about expecting the unexpected. 

Since then, many have shared some of the unexpected events in their own lives. Beautiful but bewildering blessings.  Sudden struggles.  Unanticipated challenges.  Unforeseen family crisis. 

One of my ministry colleagues once asked, “Do you know God’s middle name?”   

“Uh, no.  I really don’t!” I mumbled.

“It’s ‘Surprise’!” he responded with a grin.  And I had to agree!

Why do I bring this up again?

Well, once again over the past few weeks we have experienced the unexpected in the ministry of L.I.O.N. Outreach International and in our personal lives.  It shouldn’t surprise us.  Yet, it still does.

Let’s start with our leaders in obscurity in India and Nepal.  Ezra and Alexina William, our India directors, expected a hard struggle to find new lodging in Calcutta after the birth of their son.  Unexpectedly, a colleague from the Baptist Missionary Society offered their home while they returned to Europe for a sabbatical.  It is a beautiful sheltered setting in the heart of the city.  Surprise!

Several dozen young L.I.O.N. evangelists are teaching and mentoring in rural north India using what are called orality techniques. “Orality” is thought and verbal expression in societies where the technologies of literacy (especially writing and print) are unfamiliar to most.  Unexpectedly, they discovered that combining computer training with these story-telling techniques is very effective.  Surprise!

In Nepal, while preparing for a medical team to come later this fall, our young leader, Kabel, expected the remote mountain communities to jump at the chance to get medical help.  The people were happy about the medical aid, but even more excited about the possibility of L.I.O.N. computer training combined with orality methods. Surprise!

In South Sudan, hoping and expecting more L.I.O.N. mentoring and training, out precious brothers and sisters were suddenly in the middle of civil unrest exploding again in the capital city of Juba.  An unexpected difficult surprise presenting new challenges for the future of our leaders there!  

And personally, after an unexpected surgery in April for a blocked carotid artery, I was expecting to return last month to India and Nepal.  During a recommended follow-up testing, the medical team discovered that I am now in need of a triple bypass heart surgery.  Surprise!  On July 13 my heart and life will be literally placed into the hands of God provided surgeons.  

Once again my next trip is postponed.  Yet the amazing grace and work of our surprising God goes on!

That’s why I’m sending you this report and request.

Be encouraged!  In spite of unexpected and heart rending events which have rattled our nation and challenged the Church over the past few weeks, remember we serve a living and wonderful God.  He is in control and “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

God is using L.I.O.N. in far away places to encourage, equip, empower, and engage leaders in obscurity.  The greatest need right now is for the computers and training of leaders ready to serve.  Each team traveling to remote areas takes six portable laptops in a custom made case.  This equipment costs about $2,500 per team.  (You can check the website for more information:www.lionoutreach.org)

Would you please consider funding the equipment for one of these teams or contributing to their training and transportation?   Summer is always a “dry” time for contributions.  May we count on you?

We would also love to hear about any “surprises” in your life.  We will share your stories with our international leaders and prayer team.  You are so very important to us.  Please let us pray for you!

“The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  (Philippians 4:6)

His servant, and yours,

Jerry Vreeman
Executive Director

P.S.  Just before sitting down to write this letter, Cori and I received the not unexpected, but still surprising call that Mom Peters (our only remaining parent) had been called home to glory!   We do not mourn as those without hope. Yet we mourn.  Praise God for the message of hope He has entrusted to us.  Thank you for your prayers and support!