Archive for August, 2009

Back in the U.S.A

On Wednesday morning at the Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport, a very joyful event took place:


I’m thrilled to be back with my family.

Since Internet access was limited during my time away, I would like to share over the next few days  more of what God did during our visit. Many prayed for this trip, and I want to tell you about God’s answer to your prayers.


Hana Kate is holding a ring-tailed lemur toy..


08 2009

Caution and the Kingdom

Real Christianity is risky business.

  • “Barnabus and Paul: men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 15:25-26).
  • “Priscilla and Aquila: who for my life laid down their own necks” (Romans 16:3-4).

We respect Paul and Barnabus for their courageous ministry. We also admire Priscilla and Aquila, a husband/wife missionary team, for their Kingdom work.

These people were risk-takers. In fact, they “hazarded their lives” and “laid down their own necks” for the sake of His name!

That’s convicting. As I look at my own life, I have found that our cautious culture has crippled my Christianity. Rather than bold forays for Kingdom causes, I tend to retreat into Christian huddles and debate standards, labels, or exegetical minutia. Risk-taking is an alien concept, a bit extreme actually. It’s the kind of extreme reserved for the missionary biography kind of people. Not me.

Where is Gospelelliotthumb risk-taking today? Where are the Hudson Taylors, starting missionary organizations with no promised financial support? Where are the John Patons, disregarding ‘wise’ counsel and obeying God’s call to cannibalistic islands? Where are the David Livingstones, trekking lion country to reach the unreached with the Good News? Where are the Adoniram Judsons, openly starting a Bible study in a hostile pagan environment? Where are the C.T. Studds, who preferred to run rescue shops on hell’s doorstep than living within earshot of church bells? Where are the Jim Elliots, leading his family and others into danger-infested jungles because there were people living there who hadn’t heard Jesus’ name?


We have given in to a timid Christian culture where the “safe,” “wise,” and “cautious” trumps biblical-risk taking. Obviously, risk for risk’s sake is foolish and presumptuous. But risk for the Kingdom’s sake is biblical and right. There may have been a day when more ‘caution’ was necessary to balance foolhardy ventures by thoughtless believers. But today, that is not our problem.

‘Caution’ and ‘wisdom’ may just be our pious-sounding evasion of a risk-filled Christian life. Our philosophy of risk is misaligned with the world’s ideal of safety, security, and materialism. Based on the biblical model, I would suggest that the correction we need is to return to Christlike risk-taking—a God-inspired, faith-filled, grace-empowered passion for God’s Kingdom. Sacrificing my money, my job, my health, or even my life is a small price to pay for God’s glory.



08 2009

An Unexpected Stay in Johannesburg


I am writing this from a little Bed & Breakfast in Johannesburg, South Africa. The flight I was supposed to be on is probably somewhere over Namibia right now. Since the flight had excess luggage, and I was flying as a standby passenger, the excess luggage got to go, but not me. While waiting in line for the flight, I heard some American safari hunter bragging that he shot three animals, including a Cape Buffalo. If his trophies are on the plane, than it’s no surprise…

The little delay is a bit disappointing, because I was looking forward to seeing my family, and a 24 hour delay is…well…a 24 hour delay! I really can’t wait to see them. It’s been a long time.

On the other hand, I’m content to be here for a day, because God has a perfect plan for it–kind of like my Fort Dauphin misadventure. Everything about this entire trip has been evidently and beuatifully orchestrated by a sovereign God–each little detail.

My reason for being here may be as significant as the conversation I had with Kenneth, the shuttle driver. He told me, “I was raised a Christian, but I am not a born again Christian.” You can imagine the conversation that followed. The bottom line is this: Kenneth does not want to give his life to the Lord, because he is afraid of failing Him and falling away from the faith, disgracing Jesus Christ. He realizes the serious nature of a giving one’s life to Christ. Pray for Kenneth’s salvation.

And, if you don’t mind, pray that I’ll be able to get on the flight tomorrow night. Thanks..


08 2009

They Had Never Heard Jesus’ Name

Before Tuesday morning, these people had never heard of Jesus.


The village is located in an isolated area of Madagascar, nearly inaccessible by land vehicles. When we landed by helicopter, some ran in fear and some approached us with a nervous curiosity. We watched people swimming across the lake from neighboring villages to see us. Some of the children, seeing white men for the first time, screamed in terror and ran away.


That day, these villagers heard the good news, and we believe that God saved some from the satanic oppression of animism.


Since we recently returned from several days in the bush, I haven’t had any opportunity until now to provide updates. The rest of the team is either back home (Steve Hafler) or on their way (Jim Wiginton and Paiton Wiginton). I will be leaving Madagascar this weekend. In the next few days, I hope to give a more comprehensive update of what God did during our time here..


08 2009

Quick Update

I’ll have to be brief. Internet access is occasional and intermittent.

  • On Monday, Jim Wiginton, Paiton Wiginton, and Steve Hafler arrived in Madagascar.
  • On Tuesday, we flew to the rain forest (eastern Madagascar) via helicopter. There, we landed in a rural village and preached the Gospel. We believe that people were saved.
  • The next few days, we will be in and around the capitol, surveying and learning as much as we can about this needy country.
  • Beginning Sunday of next week, we will launch a three-day intensive survey into the extreme north. Part of this survey will involve locating unreached villages that have never heard the name of Christ. Pray for the opening of their hearts.

Read the rest of this entry →


08 2009

Update from Jim Wiginton

Jim Wiginton, part of the Madagascar team for 10 days, shares part of his Madagascar journal. Read the rest of this entry →


08 2009

To Antsirabe and Back Again

I returned today from a visit to Antsirabe, a major city several hours south of Tana. There, I visited a church planted five years ago by a missionary. The church is now under the leadership of a Malagasy pastor named Kris. He was saved through the ministry, and subsequently trained by the missionary. Kris and I spent over three hours on Saturday night talking about Madagascar and his ministry there. What a joy! I met many wonderful Malagasy people during my visit there, and worshiped with with them on Sunday.

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08 2009

“This is a Mac.”

Today, I spent several hours in the office of Helimission. I was there to meet several people and plan for our upcoming trips to rural villages.

This aviation map is a centerpiece in their office.

This aviation map is a centerpiece in their office.

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08 2009

Around Tana

Yesterday, I took a walk around a neighborhood. I found some guys playing foosball at a little game hut. They call it baby fut.

BabyFut Read the rest of this entry →


08 2009

Arrival in Fort Dauphin

I am currently in Fort Dauphin. I have been to some beautiful places in my life, but this has to be one of the most beautiful locations I’ve ever visited. The City of Fort Dauphin (otherwise known as Tolanaro) is situated on a peninsula that juts out into the ocean and rises several hundred feet above the sea level. Formerly, the peninsula was home to a French military base. I saw some of the ruins of this base during my walk around the city. Now a Malagasy military base operates on the tip of the peninsula.

FlyingIn Read the rest of this entry →


08 2009