It’s been a few days since I returned from the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. I thought I would give you all an update on what happened while I was there.
On Saturday, February 7, Mission Network News was awarded the NRB’s Short Feature Program of the year. We were nominated and selected by our peers to win the award. It was humbling and exciting. Afterward, during the radio reception, I was able to talk with dozens of radio stations who said our award was well deserved and shared their passion for what we were doing. Sometimes we feel like we’re an island. But on Saturday we didn’t.
Sunday, I attended an incredible worship service. It featured Paul Beloche, Selah, and John MacArthur. It was an amazing service. MacAurthur talked about slaves to Christ. We’re selected, paid for, provided for, disciplined, and loved by the Master. It’s still amazing that God loves me.
Then on Monday, Mission Network News was given another award, this time by Open Doors USA. It was the first annual “Passion for the Persecuted” award.
Then, I came home. It was a great time to see old colleagues (and they’re getting older). There didn’t seem to be as many people as there usually is at NRB. Probably economic difficulties.
I’m on my way to Nashville for the National Religious Broadcasters Convention!!
For those of you who know me, this is NOT my favorite place to visit. Albeit a necessity, especially this year. Actually, because of the downturn in the economy, I wasn’t planning to attend this year. I figure since donations were down and our budgeted expenditures are more aggressive this year because of some planned programming changes, I would stay home and save some money. But, things changed.
To my surprised, our broadcasting peers named Mission Network News National Religious Broadcasters best short feature program of the year. Then, Open Doors USA is honoring MNN with the Passion of the Persecuted award. Both of these awards are being presented at this conference. So, I decided (with the help of my staff) to go to NRB to receive the awards in person.
Actually, it isn’t costing that much, either. Cornerstone University had some “Biz Perks” award points saved, so I got to fly for $50. I don’t need a car. So, I’m only paying my conference fees and hotel room for two nights (even though THAT’S expensive).
I also hope to meet with a number of radio stations, talk with many of our partner ministries and potential partners, and renew friendships.
However, this conference is not on the forefront of my attention. Have you ever had someone in your life that God used to spiritually change your whole life? Pastor Dan Cummings was that person in my life (see gregorysyoder.wordpress.com). He was diagnosed with stage four cancer last March. On Thursday, February 5, 2009 — (the man I called Oh captain, my captain) was called to Heaven. His funeral in Monday. My heart aches because I can’t be there. I true wish I could honor him in a way fitting for someone I hold in such high esteem. One of the award ceremonies is 30 minutes after the funeral. For me to cancel would create an incredible headache for the ministry that’s giving it to us. While we’re receiving an award from man, I can’t help but think about the reward Dan’s experiencing right now of being in the presence of Jehovah.
Be praying for the Cummings family (his wife, daughter and two sons) as they’re missing their husband and father right now. Also for his church, Five Points Community Church as they’ve lost their Shepherd.
tricky internet connections made posting more often a challenge during the trip…but i wanted to share some afterthoughts about it.
one of the highlights was the kids in baale singing us into their home church. it was such a blessing of worship, and i thought about these believers as i sang with our worship team on sunday. i thought about how pure their worship was and how wonderful it is to share God with others halfway around the world. one of the other highlights was my visit with my sponsor child, misac. as we got acquainted, i found that although misac’s grandfather is a preacher, misac has not made a profession of faith. now, i know how better to pray for him.
as we spent time together assembling a lego set (tell me i’m ridiculous for giving him a toy with a million tiny pieces to lose out in the bush), we talked about his family and his village. misac had not been outside his village ever, so a bus ride into the big city, a stay in a hotel, restaurants, elevators, electric lights, swimming pools and white people were a bit overwhelming. english is also not his first language, so the project worker who chaperoned him also served as an interpreter.
we ended our visit by exchanging gifts. one thing i gave him was a soccer ball, covered with the colors of the wordless book. i explained to him what the colors represented, and in so doing, also gave him the Gospel. it was such a privilege, although misac didn’t seem like he was paying much attention.
still, as we parted with smiles and hugs, i came away praying the God would water the seeds that were sown…i left a piece of my heart in uganda, i think…
Well, it’s 2009 and already the news has taken a turn. We’re no longer talking about the incredible amounts of persecution in India, now we’re watching the unrest in Gaza and the Israelis continue their offensive against the Palestinians. They retaliated for Hamas’ rocket barrage, breaking a cease fire in the region.
According to reports, more than 900 people are dead — 250 of them are children. Thousands are displaced because of the constant air attacks.
In the last two weeks we’ve been criticized by both pro Israel supporters and pro Palestinian supporters. I guess that’s how you know you’ve done a good job covering a story when both side think you were biased for the other side.
We have some interesting things planned for MNN in 2009, but they are all dependent upon funding. Pray that funding will continue to come in to MNN. We hope to apply for two grants in the next few months. One is for equipment. We need four new computers for editing. The other grant we’re applying for would allow MNN to be not only translated on our website in Spanish, but translated on the radio in Spanish. That would allow MNN to be on Spanish speaking radio stations in North, Central and South America.
We also plan to do more behind-the-scenes videos and pictures. We’ll have trip pictures/videos and in studio pictures/videos. In fact, maybe I’ll do one tomorrow.
I would like to say how sorry I am for not keeping this blog up-to-date while in Ukraine. The only place I had internet access was at the forum, which ended Saturday. So, I wasn’t able to provide a complete report. However, there will be reports Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday about the forum and how it will affect outreach in the forum Soviet nations.
In the meantime, I’ve uploaded a video so you can see what took place during the historic two day forum.
Organizations that have been involved in ministry in Russia, Ukraine or other former Soviet countries are gathering this weekend for the International Evangelical Missions Forum sponsored by Russian Ministries/Association for Spiritual Renewal on the topic: “Missions Today: History, Analysis, and New Approaches: Perspectives for International Partnerships in Countries of the CIS.”
This Forum will take place at Russian Ministries new training center headquarters located in Irpen (Kiev region), Ukraine on October 24-25, 2008, and will begin with a dedication ceremony for this new facility which is already serving as a national center for our national affiliate, Association for Spiritual Renewal.
During the International Evangelical Missions Forum, leaders and representatives from many different national and international organizations, missiologists and theologians will analyze the experience, results, new opportunities and strategies for ministry in the countries of the CIS. Specific goals of the Forum include:
• To analyze missions during the past 20 years of religious freedom in the CIS;
• To understand the reasons for the crises facing national evangelical churches;
• To outline prospects for partnerships between churches and Christian organizations;
• To study successful models of church growth and effective missions.
I will be there representing Mission Network News and will begin special reports from this historic meeting Friday night, October 24. I’ll be featuring special interviews with mission leaders, videos and lots of photos.
Be praying for what God is going to do through this special forum.