"Let love be your highest goal..." 1Corinthians 14:1

July 7th, 2016

EVFree Fullerton: Encouragement Inc. Members’ Replies about Prayer


If you are someone who has a “war room,” a place where you are quiet/still and spend time with God in prayer, will you tell others about that and how you came to that discipline?

  • Commute to work (sometimes miss an exit!)
  • Before I go to sleep on my bed, reflect back on the day and the concerns and needs which have come up
  • Running, trail walking
  • A downstairs couch, my office, a backyard bench, on my front porch with my coffee… so still there.
  • Having a designated “prayer chair” for the children from the time they were small
  • In the car, or shower, or bathtub (alone, undistracted, quiet)

What are some of the group’s best prayer tips for spending personal time communing with God? …or knowing what to pray for/keeping track of the things you’d like to remember to speak with the Lord about?

  • “Before your feet hit the floor” –asking God to bring to light what He would have for you today. “Before going to sleep at night”—thank God for the things he showed you that day.
  • Have a prayer group for accountability.
  • Reading written prayers by others help us focus on God and not on our feelings of inadequacy at prayer.
  • Look in the Bible for passages that you can pray as prayers (Mom’s in Prayer taught this, Beth Moore has a book called Praying God’s Word). This also helps in beginning to pray aloud.
  • Photos, objects to remind us of the person or thing we are praying for. A map of the world, an excel spreadsheet…
  • Getting out of the house so I’m not distracted.
  • Pray for God’s will.
  • Don’t stop being amazed that we can be connected to God through Prayer.
  • When you hear of something to pray for, pray immediately, wherever you are. If possible to pray with someone when they mention a need, just ask if you can pray with them right then and not just say, “I’ll pray for you.” (Steven Curtis Chapman has a song “Let Us Pray” about that)
  • If you wake up in the middle of the night, ask what to pray for.
  • Keeping a journal of requests and how God answers. “God sightings” journal.
  • Use a smart phone/computer to remember and remind (ie. on your outlook schedule with a reminder, and a text automatically goes to the person prayed for!)  I use iCal in iOS and have set up a separate calendar for prayer–from the computer, it doesn’t work from other devices.  Requests are entered as “all day” events, and show up at the top. I schedule them for as long as I want to be praying for that, or on the day before or day of a time oriented request. This way, it’s accessible on all my devices and I can check to have it showing, or not…only looking at it when I have time for focusing on prayer.
  • I learned from my parents about having a “Day in prayer”
  • Schedule it as part of your day.
  • When you noticed you’ve been “derailed” by a distraction, instead of feeling guilty, pray for that distraction, and get back to it.
  • When your heart starts beating faster and you are nervous, you are probably supposed to be praying about it!
  • You must practice to get more comfortable with it. Praying regularly helps us get past the “list” of things we should pray for, and focus on communion with God.
  • “organic prayer opportunities” being aware of God’s leading and His conversation toward me.
  • Praying out loud also teaches our children how to talk with God (they also can’t read our minds!)

If you used to be uncomfortable praying aloud in a group, why was that and how did you get over it?

  • “I’m still working on it.”
  • Coming up with the words to say used to be difficult. Unless someone models it for us, you feel very self-conscious.
  • Learning how to “add on” to what someone else has been praying about.
  • “popcorn prayer” like conversation, you can interject short prayers of agreement, or petition, or change a subject and not feel the pressure to pray a lengthy prayer.
  • A pastor said he liked to hear new believers pray aloud because it was sincere and was not about eloquence.
  • I need to feel safe with the people whom I am praying with. Prayer is so intimate, I have to gauge whether I can be intimate with God in front of certain groups.

 Besides Matthew 6:9-13, What has been the best teaching you’ve had, or book you’ve read on prayer?

  • ACTS = Adoration, then Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication
  • Modeling by mentors showed us how to pray specifically and out loud
  • The Pursuit of God, Tozer
  • Prayer, Richard Foster
  • Praying Jesus’ Way, (?)
  • With Christ in the School of Prayer, Andrew Murray (a free or cheap Classic on Amazon. He breaks down Matthew 6:9-13 with written prayers after teaching on every segment. His complete works are great!)
  • What Happens When Women Pray,
  • Practicing the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence
  • Prayer books by Chuck Smith, EM Bounds,
  • The Prayer of Jabez, Bruce Wilkerson

A Reminder about walking it out…

  1. For sharing with your prayer partner this week: Has Sin, lack of Prayer, or Denial about the war we’re in kept me from my freedom in Christ? How can you move forward?

iCal calendar

You can subscribe to Kimberly’s Put Off / Put On: 31 Days of Prayer for Freedom in Christ (beta). Copy and paste this link below in your iCal /Mac under File>New Calendar Subscription and it will show up at one of your calendars. If you don’t want to see it all the time, deselect the box on the list to the right (on your Mac) or under Calendars at the bottom of iCal on your phone, you can deselect it.


June 13th, 2016

Spring 2016: Developing Leaders Who Reproduce

Developing Leaders Who Reproduce
“The pastors don’t have any vision, and they are not working together.  You’ve got to come mentor them!”
Pastor Lee had been in one of my mentoring groups for the past two years.  I really liked him, and was impressed with his insight and his desire to develop younger pastors.  For one of our meetings, he had written a paper on older pastors mentoring younger pastors, which the group members said should be read by every pastor in Vietnam.
Pastor Lee works in a county in the south of about a million people.  The first church started there in 1930, and Pastor Lee started the second church in 2005.  Now he is thedenominational leader for the county, which has grown to 7 churches and 7 preaching points.
When I met up with Pastor Lee in early April this year, he pleaded with me to travel to his county to help him mentor the other pastors and churches. I spent one day with them in April, and will be with them for another two days this month.
Leaders like Pastor Lee are the reason we were called to Asia 19 years ago, and the reason I feel called to go back there every other month from the US.  We are called to invest in leaders who are reproducing – through developing people and ministries in their churches, and collaborating with other churches to reach their society.  
Having mentored about 45 leaders like Pastor Lee over the past 5 years, I keep hearing the same concerns about the maturity of the church.  One is that pastors are not developing leaders.  Another is that churches are not working together.  While they are starting new churches and reaching lost people, they are lagging behind in developing depth and maturity to support the new growth.
I continue to look for leaders like Pastor Lee, who are reproducing.  Most of my mentees are having significant ministries in their churches and communities, but not many have a vision for the larger Body of Christ in Vietnam, and what is needed to help the whole Church grow.
As I leave for another three weeks in Vietnamplease pray that our meetings will not only help these pastors and churches grow, but that the Lord would be giving them a vision for developing people and collaborating, so that new ministries can be started that would mature the Church and reach more people in their society.
Family Update/Prayers:
  • After his freshman year at Liberty University in VA, Cameron is with us for a long summer break. Thank you Lord that last week he started working two days a week as a home care assistant, joined a men’s Bible Study and is finding ways to plug in and make friends in the South Bay.
  • Tyler wrapped up nearly a year of various trainings as an Infantry Officer at Ft. Benning, GA. He is with us now for a week before reporting to Ft. Bliss, TX. Lord, as he deploys in July and joins his batallion for 9+/- months overseas, we entrust him, those he’ll lead, and his future to your good care.
  • June 18-22nd Kimberly will fly with Tyler to share the drive with him from Columbus, GA to El Paso, TX before midnight the 20th. Safe travel in his 20′ UHaul is her prayer request! She comes back to LA on June 22nd, our 31st anniversary. Thank you Lord for the satisfying ways you’ve given her to serve her family. 
  • Jim is flying overnight (Sunday) to Asia for three weeks mentoring pastors in various locations. June 12- July 3. Lord we pray for stamina, health and wisdom.
Lord, in so many places overseas …
…your church is desperately under-resourced and in need of support in order to effectively lead and grow and bring your redemption in their cities.
Thank you for the honor to serve you as a catalyst and mentor in Vietnam for your glory. 
Through all of your laborers around the world, continue to bring redemption to the lost, which not only brings the hope of heaven later, but also brings your peace and blessing to these places now! 
Father, increase the fruitfulness of those who support your Kingdom work in these places so far away. Living in the USA this year, we have experienced how the needs of our Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria cry out for support! Thank you Lord for those who still think about the ends of the earth and can hear your voice and leading where to pray and invest amidst so many competing requests for help! 
Your redemption and regeneration is our only lasting hope for change in this broken world! AMEN!
with gratitude for your partnership,
Jim & Kimberly Creasman
Church Resource Ministries: 1240 Lakeview Ave, Ste. 120, Anaheim, CA 92807 
June 2nd, 2016

An Amazing Story of Fruitfulness, from Missionary Pioneers in the 1960s

Two weeks ago, Jim was in Portland and he met a couple there who we had met in 1997. They had trained us in language learning techniques, back before we left for China. The Gradin’s week of training was the most practical and memorable of our entire missionary training that summer. Nineteen years later, they were both attending a three day Vietnam Ministry Partnership conference where I was too. I had forgotten that their pioneering missionary work had been in the hills of rural Vietnam.

They had a spectacular missionary story. The tribe where they had gone to serve in the 1960′s was from a language group with only 40,000 people. There was not one follower of Jesus in the region among the entire people/language group. With one other couple they had been the first to share about the love of our Creator God and how he made a way for us to know him. Then, surprisingly, one day some men from the village told the missionaries that they had decided to follow Jesus, and asked them how. All of them at the same time! They knew what to do as soon as the missionaries prayed with them, they went back to their homes, took down their idols and took them outside the village and burned them all. Soon they were traveling to other villages to invite them to follow Jesus too. It was, what is called “a people movement.” According to the Gradins, 20,000 from this people group are now Christians. That’s half.

Not all of us who serve overseas get to experience such remarkable fruitfulness. Most of us do a lot of planting seeds, watering and weeding.

But in Vietnam in 2016, it does seem like it is harvest time for the Vietnamese Christian workers who are sharing the gospel in their country. In the last eight years the Christian population has doubled. Granted, that means it went from 1% to 2% Christian. One church Jim works with has evangelistic meetings every Friday and last year 1500 came to Christ through these meetings. Another church has a goal of planting a new church every year. It is rewarding to have a part of helping this movement. And they need a LOT of help!

Gathered in Portland was a unique combination of people: Some were Vietnamese pastors and ministers who have immigrated to the USA, but continue to have ties to Kingdom work in Vietnam. There were missionary statesmen, like the Gradins who have served longterm there even before the 1970s. There were some who currently live and minister there who had come back for the conference, and those like me who may not live there, but have some kind of work serving the growing church and her needs. This group meets once a year in Bangkok (for secrity reasons, they meet outside Vietnam), and once in the USA. He’s gone before, but this time it was the most insightful.  He had a few chances to lead sessions on mentoring. While everyone was interested in what he was teaching, his future partner(s) in doing mentoring remains a mystery. Quite a few friends would consider taking a trip with him, and that will make the travel more enjoyable. He has been following up with people and preparing for his next trip June 13th.

Thank you Lord for what you are doing in Vietnam and for the favor you have given among these influential and fruitful pastors. We pray for these leaders as they lead their congregations in this developing nation where many are now open to following Jesus. Give us wisdom in planning Jim’s next trip from mid to end of June.


March 29th, 2016

Praying for Jim’s trip to Pastors in V – April 2016

 If you would like details for prayer, send Kimberly a message and she will give you the password.
On this blessed Monday after Easter,
Jim is on a plane back to SE ASIA! 
On this trip, he’ll meet up with two of our CRM Asia colleagues Roger and Kim to reconnect with Christian pastors & marketplace leaders who he has spent the last five years with.  Thank you Lord in advance, for what you are going to do in and through this team of experienced Asia mentors. Thank you for the favor you have given Jim among these influential and fruitful pastors.
Reunited with four of his mentoring groups, they will bring along other new leaders to join the in their discussions and prayers asking: Lord, How might you want us to collaborate together to show your glory in this city and our nation?
As Jim has sought the Lord for direction during our sabbatical, the answer for now is clearly an ongoing role in two particular cities: “GO on back, and take others with you. With those who will travel with you, you can seek my direction on ministry partnerships.” For the rest of 2016, Jim intends to take extended trips to Asia every other month. Thank you Lord that Jim’s mom successfully moved out of her large house to a community where she has many friends. For all of us wanting to be a blessing and assistance to our older parents, we trust you for wisdom and grace to serve them well.
The Number of Christians in V has doubled in 8 years!
Only 2% of the population of V now professes Jesus as their Savior, but that is twice what it was 8 years ago! Praise the Lord for this spiritual awakening!
With many of the leaders being the first generation of Christians, there is a great need for spiritual fathers to shepherd them, and believe in them, and challenge them to things they haven’t asked or imagined is possible beyond their local church ministries.
Praise you Father for the harvest among the Vietnamese!
Thank you Lord for the calling you gave Jim when he was just out of college and in Asia for the first time: As just an untrained kid from a big church in Orange County, he realized he already had more resources and knowledge than the pastors he was helping! 
Lord, in so many places overseas your church is so desperately under-resourcedand in need of support in order to effectively lead and grow and bring your redemption in their cities
Use Jim, and all you have taught him over the years, to be a catalyst among them for your glory. 
Through all of your laborers around the world, continue to bring redemption to the lost, which not only brings the hope of heaven later, but also brings your peace and blessing to these places now! 
Father, increase the fruitfulness of those who while sersving locally, support your Kingdom work in these places so far away. Living in the USA this year, we have experienced how the needs or our Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria cry out from our televisions, and stuff our mailboxes and email inboxes without ceasing! Thank you Lord for those who still think about the ends of the earth and can hear your voice and leading where to pray and invest amidst so many competing requests for help! 
Your redemption and regeneration is our only lasting hope for change in this broken world! AMEN!
One last note: If you are a Vietnam Era Veteran[thank you for your service!] or in some other way have a connection that draws you to prayer for Vietnam; will you please write and tell me about that?
Blessing and Joy,
Kimberly Creasman
About the photo at the top of this email: It comes from a music video produced by our friends. Traversing the country, finding Christians among many of the minority peoples of the nation, they recorded Don Moën’s HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD, in multiple dialects. When it was finished, Nissi Studios uploaded this testimony to YouTube and other social media sites. These young urban V Christians wanted all of the people of V to understand that the Christian God is not merely something for westerners. He is the God of all the people groups of this nation!
March 29th, 2016

Protected: Details of Jim’s meetings in V March 31- April 19. Write K for PW

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

March 20th, 2016

Update on our transition. March 2016 Newsletter

“While we love what we do in coming alongside Asian Christian leaders to support their growth and the growth of their ministries, we know that we cannot continue to do it without American partners. Jim is looking for some other mature missionaries he could work closely with in pioneering and growing mentoring ministries for the church in Asia.” (from our November newsletter)

This weekend we are spending five days with a ministry in Colorado getting to know possible collaborators for Jim. These are seasoned missionaries in leadership development on the national level who are also seeking the Lord about how to re-engineer their ministries.

At the end of March, Jim will return to Ho Chi Minh City with two veteran cross-cultural CRM colleagues who are also considering a partnership with Jim.

As the Lord refines what is next, Jim is clear that he should resume itinerant (non-residential) ministry in two cities where the Lord has given him deep relational investment with gifted local pastors. There are few models for fruitful churches in these countries, and some of those Jim mentors have tremendous potential to serve as model churches in their cities, and perhaps even their countries.

He will travel every other month to Asia - April, June, August, & October – to build on the help he has given for years to pastors and churches. He is exploring how to move forward with them from building their individual churches to now helping other pastors and churches in their cities, churches helping churches.

Thank you for your partnership and your support for us – we need it and we feel it!  While we don’t have all the answers for what the next chapter of ministry will look like exactly, we are moving forward with what we can do from where we are at.

Tyler & Army Ranger School

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. –Lamentations 3:22-23

Since January 3rd, many of you have prayed with us as we followed and supported our older son Tyler through what we hear is the toughest training the Army offers: Ranger School. March 4th we were at Georgia’s Ft. Benning to pin on the hard earned tab.

Oh Lord you were merciful to Tyler in allowing him to pass through the 3 phases without “recycling” or injury. We are astounded by the toughness you have built in him, and trust you for what your plans are for him to have received this status. Lord, in this ordeal you have carved a new depth of faith in Tyler to know your presence in the midst of real suffering. Thank you for the evidence of power through our prayers as we joined together for Tyler, and may we all be more viginant to be praying for others, as we’ve again seen the blessing and power that comes when we partner with You on behalf of others in need.

MISSIONS CONFERENCE. Since late last year, Kimberly has been caught up in helping plan a missions conference at our sending church, Rolling Hills Covenant Church. Before the holidays she began collecting and writing stories from missionaries supported by our sending church where many of our individual donors attend. Facebook and Instagram are now littered with some Amazing Stories of what God is doing around the world. See for yourself by typing #beamazedrhcc in the white search window at the top left of the screen while logged into Facebook. For the most amazing sermon on the “why” of missions. Click here.

Thank you Lord that we are nearby and could have a part in serving the church which sent us. Bear fruit through the inspiration of this weekend, that our congregation would grasp your heart for the nations.

PRAYER. The session in the conference for prayer that she helped lead with Andy Douglas, a younger missionary from RHCC, was as wonderful as she dreamed it would be. We searched out and found many of our church’s older prayer warriors to share from their experience and inspire us. We gathered requests from our missionaries. We offered 1-to-1 prayer coaches for those who might be shy about praying in a group of strangers. But best of all, we spend a good amount of the time praying.

Oh Lord! that we all would keep leaning in to knowing you, our heavenly Father better through prayer! Teach us what it means to be effective partners with you in salvation, protection, strengthening, fighting our enemy the Devil, and changing our world through the privilege of prayer! We are so weak in this important part of being your children! Forgive us Lord! Lord, teach us to pray! Give us more disipline to practice prayer!

Jim & Kimberly Creasman

And if you didn’t catch it before, SERIOUSLY, for the most amazing sermon on the “why” of missions. Click here. You will not be sorry if you take the time to listen.

February 12th, 2016

On the Needs of the World, Wanting my Missionary Kids to not be Dorks in America, How Your Job is Just a Platform for the REAL Calling & My Most Important Values (Which Should Be Yours Too)

I spoke for the Rolling Hills Covenant College Group this week. Here’s what I had to say:
It’s Missions month here in the College Group and I’m your first Missionary Speaker. It’s a little scary because I don’t know you. What do you think of missions and missionaries? 
What do you know about the
I’ve had this yellowed cartoon on the fridge of my home in 4 different countries. You see, I grew up a Californian and didn’t know the STATES, let alone the WORLD.
After my sophomore year of college, I went on a Mission Trip to France and met kids from all over. I feIl in love with a guy from Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania and he was mortified, MORTIFIED, that I thought he lived on the East COAST. 
(It’s not) 
Do you know much about Geography? I want to play a game to test your knowledge of World Geography. I’ll give you a card with a country name on it, and you all go make a map of the world. Let’s let the students who own passports go out there and place themselves where they’ve traveled, and then you can fill in the rest.

Where do you get your news?

Do you pay attention to world news? Why should we care about the news? If we want to really be like our Heavenly Father and care about the same things he cares about…duh. John 3:16 God so LOVED the world…

My son Tyler turned me on to VOX
news. This article shows some really astounding GOOD news about last year.
The world had a rough year in 2015, with the ongoing
civil war in Syria and rise of ISIS’s international terrorism, the intensifying
global refugee crisis, a spate of mass shootings in America, the rise of Donald
Trump, and so on.
But it’s worth keeping things in perspective. For all
the ways 2015 was a terrible year for the world, there is at least one metric
by which it was a very good year. According to data from a United Nations
report released this July, this year saw a historic decline in global poverty.
The number of people living in extreme poverty has decreased so rapidly that
it’s been cut in half just since 1990.
This decline in global poverty has been mounting for now
200 years,
and took off in the latter half of the 20th century. Decolonization and
economic reform in places such as China helped much of the developing world
catch up to the developed. Between 1990 and 2015, about 1.1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty
(defined as living on $1.25 a day). That means that in just the past 25 years,
a full seventh of humanity has been saved from terrible want.
$1.25 a day defines Extreme Poverty.
The article goes on to explain that now parents are earning incomes and getting
health care and more kids are going to school. Cut in half in 25 years, about
1.1 billion people… And then. Wait a minute. I have to stop celebrating. See
the chart? 836 million people STILL live in extreme poverty.
836 million people still live on less
that $1.25 a day.
That’s roughly 2 ½ times the population of the ENTIRE UNITED STATES. Sorry to be Debbie Downer. But there’s still a lot of freaking need in the world that doesn’t even compare to a homeless or lower-income or undocumented person in the USA.
Why I became a missionary: 
As a young person I became convicted about the imbalance of resources in the world. I met some pretty amazing missionaries who inspired my young faith, and I realized that the USA has plenty of resources and Christians to share the good news and help things here get better…I mean, really, even among our most destitute, not many are living on less than $1.25 a day. The resources for Christianity and the ’cause of the Gospel are also as imbalanced. I wanted to go somewhere where I’m needed more.
I would have never in a million years ever guessed that I’d eventually be a missionary who speaks Chinese.
Nor would I have guessed that by the time my children were grown and left the house, I would have traveled to as many countries as I am years old. 
I came to RHCC…pretty soon right
after I graduated from College.
I had worked in the Entertainment department of
Disneyland and was a Drama Major in University. 
I chose Theatre, because I love ALL the arts, and couldn’t settle for just ONE. I loved singing, performing, writing and
bossing people around, uh leading. In drama you can do it all: acting, set
& costume design, playwriting, and directing (bossing people around)…Theatre gives a multidisciplinary artist a chance to use not just the triple threat…but a whole toolkit of skills! 
During College I started getting even more interested in the things God was doing around the world. I had a couple chances to go on mission trips. I was always interested in language and cultural anthropology…understanding other ways of life, and then trying to imagine how I could combine my love for the arts with being a missionary
somewhere in the world.
When an older guy in seminary started
chasing me
I thought, “Oh dear…Pastor’s Wife….that will be a challenging role to
play…” And then we got more serious. We got Married.
He started being the Missions and Evangelism Pastor here the week after our honeymoon. I led a weekly ministry in drama with more than 20 actors in a theatre company here. Below is a STAGED photo from our first Missions Retreat together.
Twelve years later we decided to move from being ministry specialist practitioners to coaches – and after a year of seeking out our options, we sensed God was leading us to be missionaries in Asia.
When we left RHCC my two boys were 4
years old and a baby. We went to China to learn language and culture, and then spent 15 years based mostly in Singapore to help Christian leaders & missionaries be better leaders and missionaries (Well, that was my husband’s focus. I learned from him what he was doing in mentoring leaders and used it
with artists. 
Mostly performers).
Being a theatre artist was not who I
was. Our JOB doesn’t define our identity. My vocation in 
the arts has been a tool. A satisfyin platform for making relationships with others and sharing the hope we have in Jesus with them and living a wholehearted life together sharing the pain and the joys that are part of the journey. Your VOCATION isn’t the
main thing. It’s the platform you have for allowing you to do what are the most
important things in life. What are those most important things?
We’re going to get to that in a couple minutes. I want you to know me and my family a little better.
I now have two boys who are around YOUR age. 
They are 19 and 23. 
Cameron is a Freshman in college. Business Major. Loves Movies. Wants to work in the Entertainment industry in some business/marketing capacity. He’s not a creator. He’s a consumer. Because of this passion for movies, he longs to work in this industry with others who are also passionate about visual storytelling. He’s a big soft lovable
happy-go-lucky teddy bear of a guy who LOVES people and loves helping people. Like you he is figuring out faith as a young adult trying to also figure out what his role is going to be in the world with his unique package of gifts, talent, interests…and faith in God.
The older son, Tyler just graduated last summer from Cal Poly SLO in Political Science. He did ROTC and, well, he is Captain America. Seriously. Tonight I’m having a hard time focusing. I’ve never been a worrier…But right now, since the beginning of January, Tyler is in ARMY Ranger School out in Georgia. Today is the last day of Mountain Phase of Ranger School and he’s been underfed, sleep deprived and outdoors sleeping in below freezing
temperatures the last couple weeks. I’m kinda freaking out. He survived the first 3 weeks of the Camp Darby torture. Just search it on YouTube: “Army Ranger Training.” It is INHUMANE. (Why do people choose to do this?) Sometime
tomorrow we’ll get a phone call to let us know if he will recycle (not pass) or get a “GO” to the Swamp Phase…where he’ll learn to do things like wrestle with
Deep breath. Focus. 
So, there you know my kids.
Walking with my boys in this stage of
life, I know that in College you are in a season of figuring out your strengths, gifts, seeking God for his will for your future. Growing and going in a direction that he seems to be leading you. It is a mysterious time. It’s an exciting season of life. But it can also be a scary time too.
I’m in a mysterious time too. All my life I’ve been passionate about the arts, especially theatre, and I’ve had AMAZING (things I could not have imagined) experiences, being able to use that as a platform for ministry all around the world, like: 
  • Teaching Drama at a Christian College in Singapore where students want to learn how to use drama as a ministry. 
  • With Arabic speaking youth drama teams who share the Gospel through
    drama all over Egypt.
  • In Cambodia with orphans who use the arts to go to villages and
    share the Good news of Jesus using traditional Khmer art forms. 
  • And through all the years, being the drama queen adding spice to
    life in our family of four and with our friends and neighbors.
But I’m in this crazy mid-life
transition time.
For a couple YEARS now. We said goodbye to our ministry and
life in Asia, and came back for a year Sabbatical 15 months ago, waiting
waiting waiting on God for what our next steps are… and the end is not yet in
However, in this 15 months…We’ve had two graduations, a major surgery, two deaths in the family, our parents taking a big decline in their abilities to live independently…. I’m not DOING any drama. I’m living in drama!
While there’s NO DOUBT that God has us here in the USA for some important things, still, I, LIKE YOU, wish I knew what God’s plans were for our future so I could feel more settled.
HOWEVER, I do have peace in the midst of
the unknown.
And that’s what I want to unpack tonight. Why do I have peace?
Tonight I’m going to share with you a few of my favorite verses, and why I think they should be YOUR favorites too…I’ve put them in the Feed of Your College Facebook Group.
My Most Important Values, based on God’s Word:
1. LOVE GOD, (really love and honor the mystery who is the Trinity) & LOVE OTHERS
Mark 12:28-31  
[this is REPEATED!!! Deuteronomy 6:5,
Deut ch11 & ch 30 3 times, Matt 22:37 Luke 10:27]
One of the teachers of the law came
and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he
asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered
Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the
Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind
and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as
yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Lamentations 3:19-28
I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them, and my soul
is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my
therefore I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope
is in him,
 to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke
    while he is young.
Let him sit alone in silence,
    for the Lord has laid it on him.
Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
3. Focus on the GOOD, PRAYER & THANKSGIVING keys to staying mentally healthy
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-13
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every
situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
[how do we get that peace?]
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or
praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard
from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you….
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry,
whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
1 Peter 5:6-9
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due
time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
Commercial Break: I mentioned that I’m in this season of not knowing how to move forward career-wise. I don’t like being in the middle of a transition.
I want to know what God’s plan is for our future.
His answer is “You know what my direction is for today, and tomorrow…even next week. Wait for the rest.”
So, THAT being known, I believe my purpose – what I bring to the world – is “adding spice to life,” and my motto has been to BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED.
The Bible lets us know that after this short 100 years or so, on other side of what we know here, is where all your dreams will be fulfilled, heavenly bliss, the perfect life…forever. Man, let me come back another time and talk about our hope of heaven! mmm. My perspective on that keeps me going on many days!
So, while I’m around here, going to RHCC, waiting on…seeking God…I’m finding ways to add some spice around here, by
helping out with our Missions Conference at the end of the month. I was thinking after being here for awhile,
“MAN, AMERICAN CHRISTIANS ARE SO DEPRESSED! Everything is so doom and gloom! Stop watching FoxNews and let’s start noticing that God is at work in the world! He’s doing amazing things!”
Saturday morning the 27th is our Missions Conference. It will be packed with 6 great sessions focusing on Amazing stories. I’m going to do a session on learning how to pray better with Andy Douglas who is your speaker next week. We can see God do amazing things in and through us through the mystery of
communing with him in prayer. 
But, spicey me, I didn’t think it was enough to focus on being amazed at God just one weekend in February. SHOOT, NO. 
We’ve started a campaign on Social Mediapost where you are seeing God at work in your life, or what you’re hearing or reading about God doing Amazing things, and use the #
BeAmazedrhcc. Take a second and check it out #BeAmazedRHCC.
Find ways to bloom where you are planted…even in places where nothing seems to grow let alone bloom! We know the ending of our story, no matter what twists and turns are on our path, the ending is “and they lived happily ever after.”
John 17 Jesus’ last prayer for his disciples…His greatest longing for them in the future was unity. But I have a relatively new fav verse: v4 I have brought you glory on earth by
finishing the work you gave me to do.
When Jesus started his ministry and he called his Disciples from a life of being fishermen, he said he was going to make them “Fishers of Men.”
His last words were, (and you know that a person’s last words have a unique gravitas – importance) his famous last words were…do you know what they were?
Let’s look at another of my favorite verses, that I think should be your fav too:
Matthew 28:16-20. Read that.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in
heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am
with you always, even to the end of the age.”
  • GO make disciples.
  • Teach them what I’ve taught you.
  • We’re going to do it together.
1.Which of the verses shared tonight would you say is your favorite too? How did this come to have significance for you? 
2.Is there any that you have wrestled with in the past?
3.Is the Holy Spirit convicting you about a new value you should adopt/live by? Is there some action
you need to take?


February 6th, 2016

Discernment Through Prayer

Yosemite in the rain, November 2015

NOTE: Today I’m posting a devotional I wrote for the River Church Women as they prepared for a retreat in February last year. Today & tomorrow they meet again for the IF: Gathering in PV with women from Rolling Hills Covenant Church. I wish I could be with them, but am enjoying a special time with my brother and his family in Georgia. – Kimberly


Father God, Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ; blessed Trinity you are a mystery, but I don’t want the idea of hearing your voice to stay so mysterious to me! As the Psalmist prayed “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” (Psalm 119:18) Today I ask that you will teach me from your Scriptures how I might better know your voice, and have insight from you through prayer.

SCRIPTURES. Meditatively read over these passages. Mull over them without rushing. Read it out loud so that you can hear yourself, and keep from distractions. What phrases or even a word captures your attention? What questions are raised? Is there new insights or reminders you have forgotten?

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. -Jeremiah 33:3

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. -1 Peter 5:6-11

In John chapter 10, Jesus said,

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.

PRAYER. If you are in a place where you can, pray this aloud.


It is a beautiful picture of care and attention to think of you as a shepherd to me. You are good; so good that in this passage you didn’t call us “dumb sheep” though that’s what we are some times! Thank you that you don’t let my mistakes define me.

You know me so well, you can anticipate what my needs are. You want to keep me safe from harm. I also want to know you like a sheep knows her master. I want to know your voice, and ask for more discernment in this. I know it is your will, so I can pray that with confidence.

Almighty God, Holy Spirit, Jesus my Savior, blessed Trinity. I’m not quite sure how it works, but I do know, your voice is kind, and gentle, loving, and firm. You call out what is wrong in me without harshness.

You would never cause me to feel like a hopeless case, or make me believe that I deserve to live in shame or have done something unforgiveable. When I hear that kind of a voice in my head (and I hear it a LOT!) I know it isn’t you, but your Enemy the Devil who is like a predatory animal wanting to devour me!  I refuse to listen to his accusations, and choose only to listen to you. I will be alert and sober. I humbly give you my cares, and trust you are working all things out for good in my life, even if sometimes life doesn’t make sense to me.

When you lived upon the earth, you showed us what it looked like to walk in communion with the Father. You were sure that the Father knew you, and you also knew your Father and could sense his will. You were so united in Spirit as you made decisions each day. At that time you were made of flesh, and he was unseen, and yet you could know one another. I desire that too. You said that like a shepherd with his sheep, I will know your voice. I want to grow in my ability to hear you and discern your voice from my own thoughts, self-talk, or any ways the Enemy is tricking me. I admit there is so much “static” as I try to tune in to your voice.


Show me Lord what might be standing in the way of having this type of communion with you.

Where have I sinned? I am listening. [Wait. Listen.]

Where have I believed lies? What false beliefs keep me from hearing you? [Wait. Listen.]

What do you want to say to me now?

SHARE. If you have had some revelation today, please share it with someone else! Let’s rejoice with one another as we receive insight from God in our pursuit of him!

AND If you feel like you met with a stonewall and silence as you prayed through this, PLEASE share with someone whom you know will pray with you to break through whatever is keeping you from the joy of knowing communion with God and discernment through prayer. James 5:16 tells us, Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” DO NOT believe that you are a hopeless case, or that you need to keep things hidden to be loved.

If you can’t identify sin and God is silent, still share with a friend who will pray with you and bring comfort. Sometimes God chooses to be silent.

If you don’t know who you can go to who will pray with you, ask God to bring to mind who would be best, and text her right away so that you don’t let the opportunity slip away.

December 6th, 2015

Christmas News…

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 3.40.54 PM

December 6th, 2015

Christmas p2

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 3.47.43 PM

November 25th, 2015

A Snapshot of Sowing & Reaping – November 2015 Newsletter

Facebook icon Twitter icon Forward icon

“Since you left, we have started three satellite churches…”

I looked around me as the dozen Vietnamese pastors shared how the Lord has been teaching them and leading their ministries in the past year.  We had really grown fond of each other over the years of our bi-monthly retreats. Being back with them during the month of October gave us a chance to catch up, and was wonderfully encouraging. I met in small groups and individually with many of the 45 Christian leaders I have mentored there.  God gave me a snapshot of their growth – reaping after years of sowing -and inspired me with some marvelous testimonies like these:

On Evangelism, Church Planting & Growth

  • One pastor has seen over 1,500 conversions to Christ so far this year.  They hold evangelistic events every Friday night, and like many churches have daily 5am prayer meetings.
  • One pastor had told me his church’s goal is to plant 10 churches in the next 10 years. He reported that they just completed this years’ church plant is doing well, and they have launched another church planter to do evangelism and form a small group to begin a church next year.
  • Another seasoned pastor in his 50s planted a new church this year.  The first week they held a worship service, the offering was $7.  After half a year, attendance and offerings have grown to be able to support his salary.
  • Four of the pastors are now making plans to purchase property for new church buildings and are praying for money to pay for the expansion.
  • (The Protestant Christian population has doubled in the past 7 years in Vietnam, now numbering 2% of Vietnam’s predominately Buddhist 90 million people.)

On Spiritual Formation & Biblical Training

  • One pastor took his deacons on a retreat for the first time, imitating our pastor’s mentoring group’s retreat from last year. He was so happy to see the benefit of getting away together.They are going to do another one for other volunteers in the church.
  • Another pastor with a new church has his church recite the Apostles’ Creed on Sunday mornings.  However, his people were silent when they got to the statement about Jesus descending into Hell. His people didn’t like that part.  He decided he needed to start a doctrine class, and now his people recite the full creed during services.
  • One pastor started a Bible School in the past year, and has 13 full-time students preparing for ministry, with an average age of 30 years old.  He asked me if I could come teach an intensive course next year, or send other teachers.  Let me know if you want to go together!

On Local & National Church Leadership/Influence

  • Three pastors in my groups will probably be elected to denominational leadership next year. Other pastors told me that next year’s election will be crucial because many of the older leaders will be retiring and it is an opportunity for renewal in the denomination.
  • One pastor told me he has a “new group of deacons.”  They are the same people I had held two retreats with last year, but he said that since we studied deacons in the Bible and the role of serving together, his deacons have a completely different mindset about their role in the church.

“When are you coming back?”

They kept asking me, Why don’t you move here? Duing this Sabbatical year, and especially while I was there, on the ground in Vietnam again, I kept asking myself, and the Lord, “Shall we move here?”

The Lord used their enthusiasm for my role in their lives to confirm to me that he has a continued ministry for me in Asia, especially in Vietnam and in China.  He has blessed me with a good understanding of pastors and churches there, strong relationships with many well-respected leaders who will be role models in the future of the church in these nations, and strategic open doors for expanded investment among other Vietnamese and Chinese leaders.

In the weeks I was away in October, the Lord encouraged me that I could be a great help to Asian leaders through regular itinerant visits. Just as Kimberly got a similar sense when she attended an Arts in Mission conference in Thailand in July, I sensed the Lord was not leading us to live in Asia for the near future.

What is next?

This week marks one year since we returned to the US. If you’ve followed the emails, you know that the Lord’s timing was perfect for us to be here in support of our parents; but we are not as far along as we had expected to be in the planning for our future full time ministry in missions.

While we love what we do in coming alongside Asian Christian leaders to support their growth and the growth of their ministries, we know that we cannot continue to do it without American partners.

Jim is looking for some other mature missionaries he could work closely within pioneering and growing mentoring ministries for the church in Asia.

We are exploring some options with CRM colleagues and with others outside CRM to find the right partners to keep going strong.

We wish we had the answers about next steps already, but the Lord continues to reassure us that we are right where he wants us, and that he will make clear the next steps at the right time, which we believe is right around the corner.

Thank you for your patience and your support for us – we need it and we feel it!  Please pray with us as we seek God’s will for where and how to get back to serving his church in the world!

Blessed Thanksgiving,

Jim & Kimberly


About the photo at the top of this email: It comes from a music video produced by our friends in Vietnam. Traversing the country, finding Christians among many of the minority peoples of the nation, they recorded Don Moën’s HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD, in multiple dialects. When it was finished, they uploaded this testimony to YouTube and other social media sites. These young urban Vietnamese Christians wanted all of the people of Vietnam to understand that the Christian God is not merely something for westerners. He is the God of all the people groups of Vietnam.

Nissi Studios:  https://www.youtube.com/user/NissiStudio

October 9th, 2015

Do You Sometimes Feel Like a Googoot?*

Facebook icon Twitter icon Forward icon
Which kind of Legacy Will Be Y/ours?
*Googoots = Slang. Literally, in italian, a big squash. Used as slang it means “a useless person.” In other words, all that person is good for is to sit there like a big squash and get bigger. “Jank” is another new slang word meaning the same thing: fruitless & useless.
In the great chapter on the heroes of the faith, the writer of Hebrews wraps up the long list by telling about two different kinds of earthly legacies: those who conquered, and saw the rewards of their faith, and, not unlike current Christians from Syria or Egypt or Oregon, those heroes who sadly went to their graves after suffering and hardship, not knowing the impact of their witness and service. 
And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about …. the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. 
There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Hebrews 11:32-40
It was the late summer of 1999.
Our family was in the final months of our two years’ language and culture study in Mainland China. We did this before our move to Singapore for long-term missionary service. During those two years our home was in Kunming, the capital city of the Yunnan Province of Southwestern China.
You may not know of Kunming…or the Yunnan Province for that matter. The size of China’s population is hard to wrap your mind around. When we lived there, the population of this Province was more people than the entire country of Australia. The size of our city Kunming was over 3 million people (by comparison, the city of Los Angeles was larger, at 3.7 million people).
Before we finished our time in China, we wanted to take a trip to the village of the sweet older teenager who had been the babysitter for our boys while we had been in language school.
Shiao Yan was a Christian young woman from the Yi Minority Group. She had come to the big city from a Christian family in a remote village.
Getting there was an adventure. A large bus from the capital took us a few hours away to a smaller town Luquan. The next morning, we got into a smaller touring size bus and rode for hours with more than a dozen people and a few chickens. The roads went from bumpy but still paved, to only dirt. Somewhere along those roads we changed to a smaller vehicle; a crowded minivan.
Thirty-five hours into the trip, the minivan stopped, and we got out of it. There was nothing but nature as far as we could see.
We walked a dirt trail 40 minutes to Shiao Yan’s family village of less than a dozen wooden homes. She told us that every one of the people in her village were Christians, with the exception of her father, who was the village representative for the Communist Party.
Her family members were all delightful and hospitable. From our broken Mandarin to their native Yi, Shiao Yan shyly translated for us, “She has been such blessing these two years that we’ve lived here in China.”
They didn’t have many visitors coming through this remote place.
They wanted to make sure we were comfortable. No visitor comes out this far unless it’s for the census or tax-collector. This long weekend, they killed a chicken and fried a few varieties of vegetables like corn, and sweet potatoes…and sweet potato leaves. Normally all they ate were potatoes with chili paste.
In the late afternoon, Shiao Yan produced a can of RAID that she’d purchased back in the city. She sprayed our wooden bed palate before covering it over with some scratchy woolen blankets. Then she went down underneath the room to spray the ceiling…of the animal pen. She explained why: She didn’t want us to be bitten by the fleas.
I won’t use words to describe the outhouse. There are no words for that!
The women’s colorful Yi costumes stood out against the plain earthen floors, and natural surroundings. The men wore white shirts and black pants synched up with a belt because the waistline was too big. The older men wore raggedy blue “Mao suits,” simple pants and shirts. Until only a decade ago when China began to reform and open up to the outside world, this is what everyone wore during the Communist revolution in the late 40’s.
On our second night there we went to another nearby village. It took more than an hour to walk the trail across the hills. It was the only way to get there. In this village, there were many more homes. There was a well for drawing clean water. And most memorable to us, there was a church.
After a tour of the town and another meal, the mayor rang a bell outside the wooden structure as the sun disappeared over the mountains. The mayor, we discovered was also the town pastor. It was a call to worship. It didn’t take very long before the place was packed, dimly lit inside by only two light bulbs hanging from cords in the ceiling.
Their energetic worship lifted the rafters. The singing went on for longer than we are used to, but none of us, even our two year old, got tired of it. We were asked to speak. Jim and I each shared a short greeting; a blessing and our thanksgiving for being able to meet them. “Even though our cultures and nationalities make us so foreign to one another, we are family because of Christ.” 
They were all clearly joyful and hopeful; even though they were all desperately poor subsistence farmers.
As the service wrapped up, I thought I had experienced one of the most moving experiences of my life as a follower of Jesus. However, what followed the worship service, was even more profound.
Sixteen years later, it’s still surreal.
We gathered in a common room of the pastor/mayor’s home (just like the one in the photo here), jostling for how to fit everyone in on small wooden stools. We had some gifts to give them. They had some simple gifts, and some words for us. This is what we understood the pastor told us as he kneeled before us earnestly trying to be understood:
We have wanted to meet a white person for a long, long time. We are so thankful to you. Once 8 years ago, when our school was finally finished, we heard that a white person was going to come to help us dedicate the school. The children prepared dances and songs for weeks. On the day of the dedication, they lined the road and stood for hours, waiting. But the white guest of honor never came. Now, here you are! Without any notice at all, you showed up and surprised us! We are so grateful to you!
Jim and I looked at each other, stunned. We’d done nothing but come to this place out of curiosity. We were the ones who were thankful that Shiao Yan for being willing to take us to where she was from. This honor from the pastor felt awkward and stunned us.
You see, before the revolution, we had [the name he said we didn’t know] come here to tell us about the love of Jesus, and his Father in Heaven. We all had lived in poverty and fear of evil spirits, but [whoever he was] introduced us to the Way, the Truth, and the Life, through Jesus. Now we had Savior who gave us hope and joy! We are all so thankful to [him, whoever he was].
He was killed and is buried nearby in [this place and time we couldn’t understand either], and we all honor his sacrifice for us to come to know God.
You are the first white people to come to us since then. You are the first white people we are able to thank for sending [this mystery Saint].
He finished by saying, 
Thank you for being missionaries in this generation. Thank you for being people who are willing to come all the way out here to bring us the Good News!
Friends, I ask you to look again at Hebrews 11:38-39
“…the world was not worthy of them…. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised,”
Had this [missionary] come to them some time before the Civil War of the 1920′s, or the Japanse invasion of the 1930′s, or the late 40′s during the Communist Revolution? Had he ever known the spiritual fruit that would come from his difficult and life ending labor? Had he, before his death, seen the beginnings of his legacy in these hill tribes? Or had he gone to his grave feeling like he had not accomplished for the Lord what he had originally left his homeland hoping he would do?
Later that night back in Shiao Yan’s village I heard singing. I walked out away from the dimly lit wooden house to listen. Across the completely dark valley I could faintly hear a group of people singing old hymns that I had known as a child growing up in a Baptist Church. I’d long ago forgotten words, but the tunes were familiar. There in the remote mountain ranges of this communist country, the hearts of an entire people group had been won for Christ, and I had been undeservedly thanked for it.
*Wikipedia’s page on OMF (China Inland Mission) reports that by 1939, 200,000 Chinese and Minority people had been baptised by CIM workers.
Our Season in China seems a lifetime ago.
My boys are grown. They probably don’t remember that trip, let alone, that night in the pastor’s home.
Even our service in Singapore which wrapped up nicely last year, seems longer than that. We are back this year looking to Jesus for what is next because we’ve passed our ministry of mentoring on to a group of Singaporean pastors. They are now continuing the ministry that we’d gone to start.
What we did in Singapore (and China those first two years) for the sake of the Gospel and the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ was dedicated, and intentional, creative, faithful…and quite honestly…I sometimes feel like it was pretty unremarkable.
In January this year, I was reading the Hebrews heros passage above. I decided I liked verse 35 the best:
Women received back their dead,
“Now,” I whispered to the Lord in confidence that anything is possible, “THAT is something I’d like to see happen on this sabbatical!”
Though I believe this could happen, the reality for me is, compared to that [unknown missionary] who we’d been proxy to receive thanks for so many years ago, I sometimes feel like a “googoots.”
Coming back to the USA, I also am tempted to compare my accomplishments to other Americans in Christian Ministries.
There seems no end of celebrities in American culture who are pastoring mega-churches, or writing best-selling books, making major motion pictures, appearing on talk shows, or invited to speak for congress, or retreats, or chapel in Christian universities where they are awarded some Outstanding Alumni award…
Nope. I’m gonna stop this comparing right now!
Let’s read some more from that Hebrews passage as it flows from the end of chapter eleven into chapter twelve:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
I may be in a season of transition, waiting on the Lord for his marching orders of where he wants us for the next lap in a life of serving Him.
You might be in a season of transition, or what feels like fruitlessness or failure.
But let’s not lose heart.
Let us remain steadfast in listening for the voice of our Good Shepherd to continue to lead us to the legacy he has destined for us.
In this brief life on earth, let us keep following and serving, and refuse to compare.
Just stay faithful.
In the end, you will get recognition from who matters!
Remember the parable Jesus told in Matthew 25? When we begin eternal life–a life of joy and fulfillment–the first words we’ll hear Jesus say to us face to face is,
“Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
That mystery Missionary to China has been enjoying that joy for 65+ years now. He has only begun his forever and ever joy in the presence of the Lord. I’ll bet he doesn’t have any regrets looking back at the faithful tough life he spent with the Yi people in those mountains of China.
So how do we keep from losing heart? 
Whether we are saints of old, the modern martyrs, or the average Christ follower who sometimes just feels googoots:
For the joy set before us, let’s stop comparing. Let’s leave our “legacy” up to Jesus, and simply keep our eyes on him and follow as he leads!
30th Anniversary!
With so much gratitude,
Jim & Kimberly Creasman
On sabbatical in San Pedro, CA. 
Well, actually Jim is in Thailand and Vietnam. He left last Sunday and will be gone until the end of the month.
Lord, thank you for Jim’s opportunity to be with missionaries to Vietnam, and some of his mentors who are meeting to share vision, ideas, and strategies. We expect you to illuminate our way to the future by the people he meets, the time he’ll have alone, and as he meets with the mentoring groups in Saigon that he’s not seen for a year now. Thank you for the joy it is to dig in where you’ve planted us this year. Thank you for the opportunities to serve here. Thank you for the chance to be with family in transition too. Thank you for your presence, your faithfulness, your peace!

September 9th, 2015

How We Approach Mentoring



JIM: Seeking Ministry Colleagues
For these past 18 years, we have been learning about the Christian leadership context in Asia and relationally empowering pastors. We began in Singapore and then reached out to several nearby countries.
While in a transitional sabbatical year to discern what is next for us in ministry, I am still passionate about serving Christian leaders in Asia, where the resources and support and role models are scarce. We see a great need and the Lord has given us many open doors, especially in Vietnam and China. 
Some of the distinct characteristics of how we approach mentoring:
Personal - it is built on relationships more than curricula, so we meet in small groups and individually many times over a period of years. As the relationships grow, the trust and personal support grows with increased understanding of the leader’s gifts, personality, challenges, and dreams. We go deeper with fewer, and encourage the leaders we mentor to reproduce their lives by investing in others.
Pastoral - it is focused on spiritual and character growth more than on skill development. When we are together, there is a lot of group Bible study and reflection and discussion that is attentive to what the Holy Spirit is pointing out in a leader’s life for change and direction. We focus on who the Lord is shaping us to be, where he is leading us, and what he is calling us to accomplish for his kingdom.
Practical - mentoring starts in the context of where the leader is serving, and is put into practice within the leader’s relationships and ministry. The starting point is where God has put us and what he wants to teach us, and the end point is applying what we are learning where we are at. We are not finished until the learning is put into practice.
Being the pioneer and the leader – and usually the only Westerner in the room – has been fulfilling. But is also tiring and sometimes lonely.  While my greatest desire has been for reproduction and I have seen that in many, many Asian leaders, I also recognize the need for more colleagues around me to keep going strong. To go the next lap in a healthy and effective way, I am looking for others who share the same values and vision and who want to work together. Here is a link to a fuller description of my ideal for an apostolic mentoring team.
Would you please pray with us over the coming months that the Lord would lead us to close ministry partners? If you have input regarding this search, please let us know!
Father, thank you for Jim’s fruitful service over the past 18 years and for the many leaders, ministries and lives that have been touched as a result. Now please lead Jim to others who share his passion and perspective for developing Asian leaders. Give him colleagues that will sharpen each other and complement each other and lead to greater multiplication across Asia in the coming decade, in Jesus’ name.
Helping people understand who Jesus is…
Have you heard of the Alpha Course?
We will be part of a team who is hosting tables for this 10 week investigation of what it means to follow Jesus Christ. A course from the UK, it has had a huge impact in Singapore. For years we have known those who have led groups or have begun to have faith in Jesus while attending this course. We are excited to help out in this initial run with The River Church (where quite a few of our supporters attend).
If you have friends in the South Bay who are curious and might consider investigating the Christian faith invite them!
Social: Open for invitations
We’re making good use of a grill and had quite a few guests to our condo over the summer!
We’ve also had some sweet times with other RHCC missionaries who were traveling through So Cal during the summer.
As we move into fall season, let’s plan some time to get together!
30th Anniversary!
Thank you friends for your prayers, financial support, and personal encouragement through this season of transition! We continue to be so thankful for the timing of our year back in the US – caring for parents, supporting our children, and treasuring the all too few opportunities we have to catch up with longtime friends.
In this sabbatical for discerning God’s direction for our future ministry, we continue to feel his peace and provision.
Jim & Kimberly
Lord, thank you that you continue to give us everything we need – financially and relationally. We look to you for clear guidance for our next chapter in ministry. Renew our vision and passion, that our next chapter wil be tremendously fruitful in serving you!
The Boys: 3 Time Zones Away in Virginia & Georgia
Last month, we had a simple launch party for Cameron in Orange County. Some of the men he looks up to shared advice, affirmed and prayed for him. He’s ready for this next big step.
The boys are now settled at Liberty University VA (Cameron/Business Major), and at Ft. Benning GA (Tyler/2nd Lt Army Leadership Training).
We find that being in the US this year gives us closer connection with them. Even if it’s not a lot of face to face time, text messages come more friequently when we’re only 3 time zones away.
The boys had a great time with Jim in Colorado in July. And Tyler flew from Georgia to spend Labor Day weekend with us!
Our prayer for them is a growing hunger for God and finding good friends and role models with godly values and lifestyles.
August 2nd, 2015

The Arts in Missions

Forward icon
Join us in Praying for our Boys’ Beginnings in August:
Today Tyler begins his career as an Army Officer. Stationed at Ft. Benning, Geogia. He drove safely from Boulder, Colorado last week, while Jim and I were involved in another family memorial service (My dad’s older sister Joyce).
August 19th Cameron moves into the dorms at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
This is the ninth time in their lives they are starting from scratch with a new city and new friends. God has made them outgoing & personable men, but it’s still tough!
Reply to me for their addresses if you want to write or send a little care package! 
Lord, we trust you are with them and have even gone before them. You are always with them. Please make your presence known to them while they miss old friends and make new ones. We trust you to guide them to a new circle of honorable and loyal friends whose hearts are committed to you.
The Arts & Missions in the 21st Century
Working with arts in a cross cultural context has changed dramatically in recent years.
Western missionaries now realize that often we have exported our cultural biases and styles as we brought the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Through translating western hymns, wearing western clothing and in other ways, wetransferred culture along with the Truth (as shown in this photo from worship in an official church in Vietnam taken in 2013).
Cherished cultural practices of indigenous peoples were thrown out as “pagan” when they could have been redeemed and transferred to become part of their Christian worship. Imposing our cultural styles along with the message of Salvation has caused unessesary conflict for peoples who decide to follow Jesus. They have been taught that they must “put off” more than their sinfullness, and “put on” more than Godly righteousness. Because of this, wherever the Gospel has gone in the past the Christian church and Christianity often seems like a religion of foreigners. Why? Because the way they worship is foreign.
My Trip to Thailand Last Month
In missions today, there is much more sensitivity and appreciation for indigenous expressions of culture, and a desire to sensitively bring an uncompromised message of truth in a form not so foreign.
This has also changed how we use the arts. Where the model for arts in mission historically was to bring it, translate it, teach itthere are now more collaborations done that build bridges between cultures, and a preference to find the existing art forms in the culture and encourage the creative people among them to create new works (giving extra attention to local artists who represent geographically or ethnically rooted traditions).
A large part of this new trend for Christians in cross-cultural work has happened because of the Lausanne Arts Network, the Global Consultation on Music and Missions (GCoMM), and the International Council of Ethnodoxologists(ICE). July 6-11 in Thailand, I attended a conference for Ethnodoxologists, those using Arts in a cross cultural context. Ethnodoxology is a big word, it simply means “Peoples” + “Worship.” Last year the September issue of Mission Frontiers was given to unpacking this subject, and an inspiring handbook of case studies and teaching on the subject has been published. If you have any interest in this beyong this short report, follow these links!
Orality and storytelling was the topic of some plenary sessions and one of the teaching tracks because many in the world do not read. Telling our story well in a culturally appropriate way is important! Julisa Rowe from Kenya was there with her instructional book Dramatising Scripture (She is the friend who in past years has invited my particiaption in the Egypt Drama Ministry Camps). Various Ministries and Christians from Thailand had an opportunity to lead in worship and share their forms of drama, dance and visual art.
Exploring During this Sabbatical
During the week a course was offered teaching a methodology for learning the arts in a culture and encouraging new works for Kingdom Goals. Becoming a standard for some mission organizations in their training for missionaries, Creating Local Arts Together was offered during the conference. I now have some more good tools in my toolkit for using arts as a platform for ministry!
This course and the conference were a part of the puzzle in this Sabbatical as we seek God’s direction for our future. As I prayed before the conference about this, I sensed that my role there was to encourage other participants that I would meet. Over meals, I learned more from faculty about schools like Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, in Dallas. I was especially fascinated by the innovations in education that B.H. Carrol Theological Institute offers. Formerly Deans of Southwestern Seminary, this group in Dallas have created affordable accredited programs online (and on location) around the world.
Even before I exited the plane on the first of three flights going there, I recognized the woman standing behind me. Though I’d never met her, I knew she was a professor from Fuller Seminary, a part of the conference planning committee, and a mentor to some of the missionaries I know. I suprised her by asking her, “Are you Dr. Roberta King?”  She was shocked! Soon after we were in a transparent conversation. From that first layover, and many times through the week God confirmed this role of “Encourager” for me.
I am sure the Lord will use some of the many connections I made at GCoMM in leading me to more opportunities to empower ministry leaders in their use of the arts for the glory of God.
After the conference, God provided a way for me to extend my 10 hour layover in Singapore to 5 extra days! I’ll spare you the details how, but it was a testimony to the reality that “no way” doesn’t always mean “absolutely no way.” Each night in a different bed, I made my way around the island with my little suitcase and backpack. God made a way for me to have numerous divine appointments to encourage friends who have been stuck, depressed or frustrated for different reasons.
Blessing, Joy, Humility, Gratitude, Grace,
Kimberly Creasman
BTW: What do we mean by “Kingdom Goals?”
Our Mission as followers of Christ is not merely Evangelism and Church Planting, though this is still essential part of our work. Our Good news is the Gospel and new/eternal life through Christ. However, signs that the Kingdom of God is present in communities can also include more in addition to this essential task of sharing our news. With a Christian worldview, we can also assist people in building a strong sense of identity, and other issues like sustainability, peace, justice, availability and knowledge of Scripture, healthy growing churches and church leaders, as well as building up individual believers for a stronger and more vibrant personal spiritual life.
What I’m Reading: Jim
A Patch of Ground: Khe Sanh RememberedA poignant, often humorous, recollection of the siege of Khe Sanh–a pivotal turning point in the American war in Vietnam. Under constant bombardment from the enemy, Michael Archer and his cadre of young Marines managed to survive and, in the process, learn about manhood, sacrifice and the darkest recesses of fear and loneliness..” -Amazon
In the Bible for August: Joshua
What I’m Reading: Kimberly
How to Sell a Boatload of Books. I’m still hammering away at my Put On / Put Off project (link to the work in progress where I welcom your comments!). An editor friend from Singapore joined me in Thailand last month and offered to work with me on the project.
This little ebook was freeand was a quick and informative read from the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelso Publishers.
What I’m Reading: Kimberly
Link to All the World is SingingGlorifying God through the Worship Music of the Nations, Frank Fortunato
July 5th, 2015

What’s New(s) for us in our Search

Forward icon
Investigating Options
After our 18 years of serving in China/Singapore, we are in a season of asking where we fit best for our next chapter of God’s kingdom work.
Lord, you know the answer, but as we wait on you to find out, we also seek and knock!
This month we’re looking forward to these opportunities to explore:
July 3-18 Kimberly travels to Thailand for the Global Consultation on Music & Missions. She’ll meet and study and pray with others who have similar convictions about the power of the arts in shaping convictions, communicating God’s truths, and worshipping our Creator.
Last week she met the Department Head of the MA in Applied Theatre at USC for a stimulating and educational conversation. She continues to explore and consider what her role should be in using drama and creativity along with her love for shepherding Creatives. She continues editing: Put Off/Put On: 31 Daily Prayers for Freedom in Christ.
July …  Jim is getting some personal coaching from ministry friends, and is looking for the right context to continue mentoring in Asia.  Whether that will be living in Asia after this year, or based in the US and traveling to Asia regularly, he knows that it will include working more closely with some American colleagues – he is longing for more teamwork.  Jim has always enjoyed facilitating ministry partnerships for others, perhaps he will find a fitting partnership focused on developing spiritual leaders in Asia. 
Vietnamese pastor from his mentoring groups is visiting California this month. They will catch up, and he wants to introduce Jim to some Vietnamese American pastors.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the privilege of serving you vocationally. Thank you for this faith stretching season!
Can we brag a bit?
Intoducing, one of the Army’s newest officers! Tyler is headed for Ft. Benning, GA at the end of July.
A friend of Cameron’s from his former school drove 10 hours from New Jersey to suprise him at graduation in Tennessee. After only one year at TKA, seeing friends and teachers enjoying him and saying goodbye was a witness to his big heart.
Grateful to be in the USA for Significant Milestones
  • Jim’s recovery from his long overdue knee replacement in January has been steady and without any complications.
  • Hospitalization, Hospice and saying farewell to Grandpa Howard in February – April, in Fullerton. Jim helped his mom through the illness, and now in managing her affairs. Each week this summer, we’ve enjoyed having her come stay a night or two with us in San Pedro.  It has truly been a gift from God to us to be here and serve them during this time.
  • Cameron’s High School Graduation in May. We are enjoying time with him now before he reports to Liberty University in Virginia, August 19th.
  • In June, Tyler graduated with honors from Cal Poly SLO with a BA in Political Science and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army. He begins his service August 9th (Singapore’s National Day!). He is spending the in-between weeks with friends in Boulder, CO.
  • Kimberly’s brother and children traveled from Georgia to be with us for both graduations. Super support and good extended family time.
  • Our 30th Wedding Anniversary. Wow! Really?
  • After our lunch together on Fathers Day, Kimberly’s (always healthy) Dad fainted and took a fall. This resulted in a broken nose, an implanted cardiac monitor and the suspension of his drivers license while doctors figure it out! YIKES! Mom stopped driving last year. Friends & neighbors in Yorba Linda are stepping up, which is a tribute to Dad’s investment in relationships.
Lord, we are yours. Thank you that we’ve been here for these events in our immediate family. We ask for guidance as we all move forward in big life transitions. We long to honor and care for our parents and wonder if through these events you might be asking us to stay in the US.
30th Anniversary!
In this sabbatical for discerning God’s direction for our future ministry, we continue to feel his peace and provision, though we don’t know yet what next year will look like.
Lord, thank you that you have given us everything we need – financially and relationally. We look to you for clear guidance for our next chapter in ministry. Renew our vision and passion, that our next chapter wil be tremendously fruitful in serving you!
1 Corinthians
California Coastline. Who has time for reading when being outdoors is so breathtaking?
Creating Local Arts Together. The text for the course I’ll be taking in Thailand.