Recent Posts from the Mumena Team

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: One of those days…


We called the propane gas company to find out when there would be any gas for sale. We use gas to run our stove and refrigerator. We were told that there was a national shortage and that gas was only being sold to the big companies that depended on it. IF there was any left over after the big companies purchased, then they would sell to private individuals. O.K. no gas for cooking… we've been there, done that. But no gas for refrigeration?!


"Brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience."
James 1:2-3 KJV


Just as we thought that we might have to count something "all joy", we received news that resolved our potential trial: our one grocery store in the town 30 miles away from us burned to the ground. So now we don't have to worry about not having refrigeration… there will be no food to put in the fridge anyway.


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You ever had one of those day?!
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


Pictured: spoiling Sondra with a new, fully equipped Kaonde kitchen.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: The Biblical Center


Did you ever ride an "antique car ride" at an amusement park while growing up? If you didn't steer to the center, your car would bounce back and forth from one side rail to the other for the entire way. Mission work is often a study in extremes… especially regarding beliefs. The missionary endeavor brings together at least three (if not more) cultures: the host culture, the missionary culture, and the Heavenly culture. The host culture and the missionary culture often find themselves on opposite extremes; but the Heavenly culture (Biblical truth) often is somewhere in between requiring both the missionary and the host to move from our pre-conceptions to the Biblical center.


In a recent seminar for church leaders from Southern Congo, we were studying the principle of Biblical unity. Taking a note from Dr. Everett Ferguson's "The Church of Christ: A Biblical Ecclesiology for Today", we explored the two extremes of uniformity and union. "Uniformity" denies the kaleidoscope of cultural expressions possible within the obedient application of Christianity; while "Union" denies the doctrinal requirements of revealed truth. Thus uniformity leading to legalism and union leading to license define the extremes. Biblical unity, seen in the oneness yet triune nature of the Godhead itself, meets the standard of doctrinal truth while having room for all nations within the Kingdom of Christ.


"… just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd."
John 10:15-17 NIV


On a more personal note, while our team was dealing with an alleged demon possession in one of our new church plants, the different nationalities represented on our team had to struggle with the extremes of "Satanic power only being the influence of psychological suggestion" (in other words, "If I don't believe it, it can't hurt me.") and "Satanic power has unlimited range in the world today" (in other words, "Even if I am IN CHRIST, Satan can still destroy me."). As an international team, we had to struggle towards the Biblical center of Satanic power being real, yet total safety being assured in Christ.


"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
John 10:27-30 NIV


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Isn't that Good News!
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


Pictured: church leaders from Southern Congo.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: Continuing Education


One of the great church leaders and missions elders that I have known was a man who inspired continual study. Oddly enough, he only had a rudimentary education, but that didn't stop him from availing himself of the advantages of study.


In a polarized world, many scoff at seeking better understandings; others hold formal education up as a false idol. Miles Henry just wanted to serve Christ better and took the Word at its word…


"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15 KJV


When study is true to its purpose, God can use it for great things. Our team endeavors to keep this spirit by spending the first portion of each of our team meetings in study - sometimes theological and sometimes missiological - but always for the same purpose: to serve Christ better.


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I wonder if grandpa would have enjoyed working on this team?
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


Pictured: Miles Henry Davis


Friday, January 4, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: Values (Team Strategy 10 - Conclusion)


Our team strategy wouldn't be complete without mentioning the set of values that our team has chosen to guide our decision making process. All of our values are derived from theological reflection, but some fall more into the theological camp and others fall more into the missiological camp.


Under the theological, we attempt to make decisions that are Biblical, in Kingdom context, Christ centered, Restorationist (that we restore ourselves to the ideal in the mind of God as revealed in the New Testament), Transformational, and Incarnational. By incarnational, we mean the attempt to embody Christ among our target community by living among them in a transparent fashion, identifying with them, and opening our hearts for reciprocal relationships with them.


Under the missiological, we attempt to make decisions that are indigenous, sustainable, accountable, non-institutional (specific to the church planting focus), holistic, and cooperative. Three of these terms may warrant further definition. By indigenous, we mean the attempt to plant something that can grow naturally. We believe the seed of the Kingdom is universal, but we must be careful not to mix our culture's peculiarities into the formula lest the end product cannot grow naturally in the host culture. For example, the mixing of the value of western physical facilities within a subsistence farming community who could never replicate the same. By sustainable, we mean the implementation of programs that can be fully supported and sustained by the local economy. This produces mental ownership and functional control of the church within the hands of the host culture from the very beginning of the work (which is essential for indigenous growth). And by cooperative, we mean the awareness that in many cultures (including developing ones) maturing fellowships already exist that want and need to work hand in hand with their sister congregations from more developed economies. These maturing fellowships - when willing to assume the full responsibilities of true cooperation - are a gold mine of skills, gifts, and servants called of God to participate in His mission. Furthermore, their fellowship's continued growth and maturity depend on the opportunity to engage in ministry outside of "self". We mustn't let our "formal education" or our "economies" cause us to assume that we alone are equipped to serve. Our brethren in the farthest corners of the world have store houses of faith, knowledge, and the will to self-sacrifice that sheds light on some gaping holes in our western fellowship's maturity. We very much need each other.


I hope these 10 journal entries on team strategy specific to our setting have been helpful to your understanding of what we are perceiving God to be doing among the Kaonde, and how we are trying to participate with Him… empowered by Him.


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Thanks for taking the time to read the more lengthy "boring" entries along with the ones that attempt to be short but pithy,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


Pictured: a gathering of elders, missions committees, volunteers, and missionaries discussing our team values as our strategy takes shape.