Here are links to various resources, including our church, organization and ministry, as well as some thought-provoking articles about development work and missions and evangelism, maybe even a few links to our friends as well.
Sanctuary – A Life Connection Community – our home church in Jenks, OK
Emmaus Road Church – previously our home church in Tulsa, OK (also the “daughter church” of Sanctuary), through whom we’re also ordained
Youth With A Mission (YWAM) International – the umbrella organization for our group in Madagascar. They do a huge variety of missions and other Christian work, all over the world.
YWAM Madagascar – the specific group we’re working with, mostly led and managed by Malagasy people themselves.
The A. Team “O” – The other family who is on our team – Steve and Bekah Orner, with their children, Ruthie, Douggie, and Heather.
Good Articles on Missions / Development / Evangelism:
The Surprising Discovery About Those Colonialist, Proselytizing Missionaries – This is a fascinating article about some incredibly thorough research into the long-term effects of (non-governmental) missionaries throughout the world. It’s told in narrative format and very enjoyable to read.
6 Ways You Can Support Missionaries – An excellent and succinct article on the good and the not-so-good ways to support missionaries, with the differences explained very well. The best short article I’ve read on the topic. If you have any interest in supporting missions in any way, I suggest you read this article!
Why Communicate the Gospel Through Stories – An great article (especially the second part) about rethinking the way we share the Gospel so that people can be saved by Jesus in the fullness of their cultural identity. People identify with stories and we should use them too!
Why Jesus Never Commanded Us to Plant Churches – An excellent article about the true (Biblical) foundation for church-planting – so often overlooked in Western Christianity, but crucial to the life and growth of the Church.
Things We Wish We Had Known Before Going Out on Mission (Advice from the Mission Community) – A great short article broken into several sections – preparation, settling in, relationships, etc. – each with multiple quotes from current or past missionaries. Very informative for anyone new to missions!
Solving Poverty Is Rocket Science – A great and comprehensive article about the diversity and depth of challenges when participating in any sort of international development. Rather than a “quick fix” as so many American individuals and groups are prone to offer, positive community development with long-term impact really requires a much more nuanced and skilled approach. If people and churches can look past the immediate gratification of just wanting to give money or stuff directly in order to “fix” the third world’s problems, it becomes more challenging but the long-term results are even greater.
Western do-gooders need to resist the allure of ‘exotic problems’ – This is a great article about the complexity of attempting development work internationally. I’ve experienced first-hand many of these challenges, including pressure from those still back home in the US to do things a certain way over here. But the answers aren’t as easy as they’d appear from a distance! Really a great short article detailing the basic realities of the challenges of international development work and a sober reminder of what to take into consideration.
The Church on Mission: A Subversive Kingdom excerpt – Excellent article! This is a great short article detailing the exact same kind of stuff Lora and I love to teach/preach about, the church’s role and individual Christians’ roles as citizens in the Kingdom of God. In God’s Kingdom, we’re ALL sent!
How Much is Left to Do in the Great Commission – An excellent short article. It’s doable, even now. But people have to do their part.
Indian Church Planter Once Thought Ministry Was a Failure – An excellent article by the IMB (International Missions Board). This is the exact sort of thing that Lora and I have as the goal of our work! Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, but the message of Jesus (and discipleship) spreading rapidly by the locals. We’ve been using very similar techniques ourselves (with YWAM Tamatave) and we’ve seen it happen! So now we want to bring it to Nosy Mitsio and the Antakarana people there. And timelines in Africa are often different than Asia, because the population density is much lower and obviously there are significant cultural differences. But with this sort of thing, it just needs to get to a point of momentum and then it keeps growing! Just like the early church!
From a Missionary to the Local Church – A great simple article about “5 Ways the Local Church Can Serve a Missionary”. Oftentimes, home churches just don’t realize some of the realities of missions life and the unique needs missionaries have. This article offers simple ways that local churches can do their part.
Throwing Our Hats Over the Wall – An excellent article about the sort of effort and determination it takes, as well as the need to reject our typical ambitions, to reach out in the last reached places of the earth. The most poignant part to me is near the end of the article, where they describe how commercial enterprises (like Coca-Cola) have been much more successful and determined at these efforts than Christians have.
Why You Should Consider Cancelling Your Short-Term Mission Trips – A great article detailing many of the problems with popular short-term overseas ministry today, including how many of them do far more harm than they do good. But rather than just the negative, be sure to read the same author’s follow-up article called: Toward Better Short-Term Missions
How Missionaries Lost Their Chariots of Fire – about changing philosophies and style of work in missions over the last century, including its current state today.
As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God – The author of this article makes a case for Christianity’s ability to achieve in Africa what non-Christians have not.
Links about Madagascar:
Madagascar Facts – our own website’s page with more detailed info about Madagascar, and further links
Madagascar News – an aggregate of news related to the country of Madagascar, powered by Google News search
Malagasy Language – Wikipedia’s interesting article about the Malagasy language, including quite a few short phrases that can be learned
Madagascar Education Hard Hit by Funding Cuts – Less than half of Malagasy students who enter school (only about 60-70% of school age children) reach grade 5. A well-researched article about how Madagascar’s education system is suffering under the country’s current political crises.
Malagasy Water Supply – Only 44% have access to drinking water, and only 7% have access to water at international standards
Madagascar: A Poor Country Gets Poorer – An interesting article on the current state of Madagascar’s economy
Madagascar: Sentenced to Malnutrition – About the lack of fair trials and frequent starvation in Madagascar’s prison system
Madagascar: Think Again: Sorry Madagascar, Your Problems Aren’t Hot Enough – A well-explained article about how Madagascar’s crises don’t get international attention and continue to negatively affect the country. These are the kinds of negative effects we encounter daily among our neighbors and friends.