Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Shifting Into a Higher Gear

Kathy & I were back in the Wycliffe office in Toronto on Monday, answering the phone, welcoming visitors, and doing whatever else needed to be done. I got an intriguing message on Facebook that afternoon (yes, I know many offices don’t allow their employees to be on Facebook during working hours, but since I was the chief administrator there that day, I gave myself permission :)

A lady who is the missions committee chair for her francophone Baptist church in New Brunswick first got in touch with me just over a month ago about the possibility of doing a presentation in their church before we go back to Africa. Although this is something we would certainly consider doing, we had our hands full at the time with a trip to the USA and several upcoming presentations right here in Ontario. She, however, has not given up and has continued to drop hints, encouraging us to come to New Brunswick too.

Yesterday, she tried something more direct. She suggested the possibility of coming to do our “Welcome to Ouagadougou!” event at a weekend retreat for four francophone Baptist churches in the area. Kathy & I talked it over and said that if she would be willing to suggest it to the planning committee, we’d be willing to come and do it. If they accept, we’ll take it as clear direction from God to go. If not, well… that’s an answer too!

Ever since coming home in the fall of 2005, we’ve been searching for new, more dynamic ways to present both our ministry and the ministry of Wycliffe Bible Translators in general. A simple PowerPoint presentation just didn’t cut it anymore. We were putting ourselves to sleep! We needed something that was more entertaining as well as informative.

So we prayed, looked around, stole… I mean… borrowed stuff & ideas from other people and places, experimented with some different arrangements and, after a bit of trial & error, gradually put together a couple of programs called “An Evening With Wycliffe” and “Welcome to Ouagadougou!” We’ve gotten lots of positive feedback on both of them. People say that they’re different from any missions presentation they’ve ever seen before. We’re hoping that’s because they really are, not because it’s the only one they’ve ever seen :)

In any case, we’re praising God for the ideas and the response, but are also praying that He will use these presentations to move people beyond mere entertainment to some real action. If the 2200+ people groups still waiting for God’s Word in their own language are ever going to get it anytime soon, we as God’s people are going to need to shift into a higher gear to do it because it’s not gonna fall from the sky!

Later on this month, we’ve been asked to hold a training session for some other Wycliffe folks who are involved in rep work too. Since we’re leaving soon, they thought it would be good if others could learn to use and further develop some of the stuff we’ve put together. Sounds good to us! If others can do presentations like that or even better, maybe we’ll even have some time to pack and get our stuff in order before it’s time to climb on the plane back to Burkina in September!

1 comment:

Ron and Jeanette said...

Here's another testimonial: "Welcome to Ougadougou" is an excellent presentation (and it is not the only mission presentation we've ever seen!) Informative, involving the audience, entertaining, and presenting a real "call to action". I hope you are able to pass the format on to others! I wish John and Kus could have an opportunity to see it!