Monday, October 30, 2006

My Prayer Letter - November 2006

What follows is my first prayer letter since joining OM in August. (I will be emailing it to many people who know me.) You can also download it in PDF or Word format.


Dear Friends,

I am writing this from 35,000 feet in the air - aboard a long flight across the Atlantic ocean. It is 12:30 at night, and this seat will be my bed tonight. I open with these details because, well, such is life as George Verwer's gopher; a whirlwind of airplanes, people, churches, books, and so much more.

This year began for me in early August when George Verwer's previous "gopher" (Nathan Smith) passed the baton to me. "Never forget the globe," Nathan warns as he hands me the enormous inflatable world globe George always preaches with. "You will carry this with you all over the world this year." And so, slowly, I learn the ropes of what it means to fill this role; the official job description being "anytime, anyhow, anywhere, no matter what the cost" (as George recently put it).

Next stop Germany, and the once-every-three-years conference for long-term OM'ers (Operation Mobilization missionaries). What a privilege to meet so many great yet meek people of God; people who had just the week before been serving tea in Tajikistan, doing "business as mission" in Nepal, and sharing the gospel through sports in Serbia - among other things in OM's 100+ fields.

The land of the Netherlands and "new recruit orientation" was my next stop. Being a new recruit, this was a place for me to learn and re-learn some vital lessons with 220 others from around the globe. This included teaching on cultural sensitivity. For example, did you know that in Arab culture it is considered very offensive to let another person see the sole of your foot? We learned a lot, but we also had a lot of fun; like when the Canadian group (of which I was part) hosted a "Canadian Break" half-way through the conference talent show and coerced some of the leaders on-stage for a techno dance competition. :)

And then it was back to the home base in England for local meetings, typing emails for George, carrying books and... driving practice (on the left side of the road, in downtown London, with a stick-shift vehicle). Let me tell you, I was so bad in my third lesson that my driving instructor said, "You have actually gotten worse! I really think you should think about just driving an automatic." Needless to say, it was quite discouraging. The good news is that I am much better at stick-shift driving now. :)

In late September, I had the privilege of accompanying George on a visit to OM's new ship "Logos Hope" in Croatia. I had been reading about the Logos Hope ( for a couple of years by this time, so it was quite something to actually see this 12,000-tonne ocean-going liner and to interact with her crew of fifty or so. It was also a lesson in servanthood for me to see the OM International Director’s wife down on her hands and knees scrubbing a very-dirty deck.
EXPOSURE. One thing I did not expect so much of this year was the almost-overwhelming exposure. Exposure to people of all backgrounds, with different hurts and needs and burdens. Exposure to churches big and small, with different visions and challenges and weaknesses and strengths. Exposure to needs around the world – like the 200 million "untouchables" of India, the millions of children orphaned by AIDS, the 500 million who were never born, the thousands desolated by the horrors of war in Sudan and Congo, the sobering reality of millions who have never heard of Jesus’ love. But I am also perhaps more aware than ever of the healing power and life-giving freshness, the unifying joy and sin-destroying power, the Divinely-found and deepest-depth-reaching eternal beauty of HOPE.
Not long after that, it was time for George, Drena and myself to fly to the United States for a month-long tour of meetings. This included their annual doctor's checkup in Tennessee, time with family in Idaho, meetings in California (my brother John was able to be with us for this weekend; great to see him again after 15 months), a dynamic Korean-American student conference in Illinois (in the town of Urbana, famous for the missions conference), and a motorhome-drive down to Georgia for meetings there.

This brings us to the present – to this flight from Atlanta, Georgia to London, England. It's a little later in the night as I type now, and I have just been handed my airplane dinner. :)

As I sign off, I just want to thank you for, well, being on the same team as me. What an encouragement that we can be part of God’s Story together (I Corinthians 3:9). Specifically, I know that many of you are praying for me, and I just want to thank you for that; and let you know that I am praying for you as well. Thanks too for your moral support, for keeping in touch, and for being part of the affirming and humbling way that God continues to provide for me so faithfully.

Until my next prayer letter—-which I intend to write every two months or so—-I want to encourage you to travel with me on my journey, anytime and often, by visiting my prayer blog: I update it at least once a week with things I am learning and write it with you in mind.

Together in Christ,

ar TORONTO, CANADA | 2023+



27 Sat (1) 11am Commencement speaker at R. University, (2) ~3pm+ time w/ V/AR+
29 Mon (1) 9:30am VT prayer, (2) 3pm mtg DerCh - Mississauga
30 Tue (1) 10am ph call (AA), (2) 5:30pm video mtg (IsTan), (3) 8pm neighbourhood prayer mtg

1 Thu (1) 11:30am Zoom mtg (LM), (2) 4pm mtg (VS,KBr)
2 Fri (1) 10:30am ph call (PVDW; SL w/ boys; ~J working)
3 Sat SL w/ boys and MG
5 Mon (1) 9:30am VT prayer mtg, (2) 2pm Europe call, (3) 5pm mtg/walk (YM)
6 Tue (1) 11:30am lunch (GD) - St. Jacobs, (2) 4pm mtg (AF) - Cambridge, (3) 7:30pm worship night
9 Fri ~J's b'day
10 Sat North Bay trip
13 Tue 11am mtg (DAy) (~J school trip w/ ~Co | text BD)
14 Wed 9:30am time w/ BD
15 Thu 4:30pm video mtg (Paul T.)
16 Fri (1) 9am video med appt, (2) 15-km run (Prayer Journey "warm-up")
17 Sat Prayer Journey (my own: 50km GTA bike-ride; Jessie's: 5KM) and speaking at GTA after-party
23-25 Fri-Sat poss. SL
26 Mon 2pm Europe monthly call
29 ... July 7 Thu-Fri poss. holiday in Arkansas

... 7 Thu-Fri poss. holiday in Arkansas
~8-17 SA+ in Toronto; P/H Bell likely visiting too
15 Sat aft+ baptism (Saj; NaB may be coming)
17-21 Mon-Fri Kids Kapers camp
24 Mon 2:45pm med. appt
26 Wed (1) 11am video mtg (SM), (2) 3pm Zoom mtg (SMa,SB), (3) 7pm ~J speaking at Greenhouse/Zoe - UofT downtown
27 Thu 10am video MVT board mtg
31 Mon 3:05pm med. appt
July/Aug CCWM board mtg / AGM

2 Wed 11am video mtg (SM+)
6-12 Sun-Fri Cottage w/ O/DN+ and UB/AC - Windermere; plus Muskoka
19 Sat poss. ~J fam beach day - Brighton area
25-29 Fri-Tue MoveIn staff retreat - southern Ontario

Sep 21 Thu - MVT board mtg
Sep 23 Sat poss. date of GV memorial
Sep 24 Sun ~Ch's b'day
Sep ~26-28 Poss. time in Lushnjë, Albania
Sep 29 - Oct 6 MoveIn Europe Conference+ - Durrës, Albania
Oct 21 Sat poss./unlikely date of GV memorial
Oct 21-27 Dollar-a-Day week
Early Nov Poss. fundraising event - Niagara
Nov-Jan Poss. time in India - Goa; Philippines - Manila+; Indonesia - Jakarta/Bali; LA/San Diego