Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sharing the Vision

During the month of June, Nathan Dunlap had two opportunities to share the vision of Forward In Africa; one in Michigan and the other in Illinois.  The first invitation came from Fr. Terry Moore of St. John the Apostle, located in Clinton Township, MI.  During their visit, Nathan, Julie, and their three younger children were graciously hosted for the weekend in the home of Fr. Terry and his wife Nancy.

On Saturday, Nathan met with Dn. Bob Chalmers for some practical diaconate training, while Julie and the children were treated with a day at the Detroit Zoo along with several members of St. John the Apostle.  That Saturday evening, a "meet and greet" fellowship cookout with the local church family was held at the home of the Moore's.  On Sunday, Nathan shared his vision for the FIA ministry during both the early and regular church services.  After the second service, Nathan presented an informal slide show about his recent trip to Tanzania.  The church family was very welcoming and created a pleasant weekend for the Dunlap family.

The second opportunity was an invitation to speak at the Forward In Faith North America 2011 Annual Assembly in Belleville, Illinois.  This event was hosted at Our Lady of the Snows Conference Center near St. Louis.  This gathering is described as "a fellowship of people and churches who embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and uphold the Evangelical and Catholic Order which is the inheritance of the Anglican Way".  This annual assembly has supported the teaching ministry of FIA in the past, and for this we are grateful.  While attending this assembly, Nathan was able to set up a ministry information table, and to engage in many thoughtful conversations with those who expressed interest in this work.

In his presentation, Nathan described the background and purpose of FIA (formerly known as Office of Foreign Missions).  After giving a brief history of the presence of Christianity in the continent of Africa, he went on to describe the typical needs and arrangements of the teaching ministry while in East Africa.  Nathan challenged the listeners to examine their worldview of missions ministry to third world countries.  He described the danger of going into another culture operating from our western cultural mindset instead of operating from God's perspective.  He said, "This ministry is not about sympathy for the poor (there are opportunities for that with other types of ministry), but rather a coming along beside our African brothers and sisters in Christ, strengthening them in the historic Christian faith, enabling them to minister and build up the Church more effectively".

As Nathan is fond of saying, "Not all can Go, but all can Participate!"

Many thanks to those who made it possible for Nathan to travel and share with others about this ministry.

May the peace of Christ be with you.

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