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Ministry Report: February 2000
Just click on the phrase you want to go to:
“how-ly” as I am “how-ly”. ..........................................................An open
mind opens doors.
open (non-constraining) hands. .......Imparting
compassion by example to the next generation.
Developing the Next Generation
“It’s always the process that gives meaning to the product
and not the other way around.”---Vik Muniz, photographer.
As a photographer, I admire Vik's work. Interestingly, what he
says about his profession applies also to ministry. I’ve never been more
convinced that the “how” of missionary work is more important than the
“how much”. How have we ministering here? Why do I use the pronoun
“we”? Stay tuned. Our heroes are thrilled to exhibit what God has been
doing in Romania.
Be “how-ly” as I am “how-ly”.
The process is first purity, then peace, gentleness, and unity
in Christ (James 3:17). I never want to coldly broadcast
###-of-conversions or $$$-in-aid-distributed. The results of focusing on
the “how much” may impress the press. But my experiences show that such
organizations have little, if any, spiritual impact. Ministries
pursuing what the MBA’s call “stretch goals” often compromise ethics to
get there. This makes for a terrible witness and discourages followers
of the Lord. Those involved in this ministry consider God to be
responsible for the product. It is not our place try to do His job. For
the first time since the Army, I have found an organization who cares
about the process and doesn’t say, “We don’t have time to research the
ethical misconduct of our people.” I can’t tell you how proud I am to
be a part of Go Ye where ethical “hows” are important.
An open mind opens doors.
“I really enjoy studying the Bible with you. I’ve learned so
much about the Psalms in our times together. You don’t condemn
everything like others do. Bob asks me why I cross myself. He won’t
accept that it is the proclamation of my belief in the Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit.” (Simultaneously, Aurelia, my Romanian teacher, makes the
sign.), To her statement yesterday, I replied with empathy. I had the
same experience with the sect. Non-Scriptural legalism pits brother
With open (non-constraining)
Gelu, left, has carefully extricated himself from leadership
in a cult in Curtea de Arges called “the Repenters”. He left while I was
out of town to demonstrate that he was directed by God, not by me. In
my year with Gelu, “how” included sharing my life, a Galatians study on
the freedom of Christ, and the Observation- Interpretation- Application
method of Bible study. (Thank you Dave Green and InterVarsity.) He had
already been questioning the teachings and coercion of the group’s
primary leader before we started meeting. This leader has told me that
he wants “to see that [I] receive the consequences of [my] actions.” A
secondary leader of the group assured me, “He has left us before. He
will be back,” His anger is over having lost not just Gelu, but three
co-leaders in about a year. As they were in apostolic times, godly
partnerships are powerful-- Gelu enlightens me to the religious
dynamics of the town and I am there to defend him against the attacks
of the cult. Please pray for our new fellowship where I can try out the
church- planting training in I received in January.
Imparting compassion by example to
the next generation.
As you know, in November-February a short-term team worked
with children who are HIV positive and did remodeling in an orphanage.
We saw God enter the hearts of dozens of children. Since we did the
remodeling on behalf of a missionary couple, we not only improved
conditions for orphans and workers, but we also helped open the doors
for the couple to do Christian work there. The team brought clothing
which we distributed to poor, orphans, and street children. Some of my
generous and industrious donors in the US rounded up two containers of
baby food and clothes. As the team, the missionaries, and I distributed
them, God opened doors to more orphanages and to partnerships with
other churches. Opening these fields was important because 3 other
missionaries will join this couple this year.
"Relationship" describes how supporters and friends are
involved. Those supporting the work here have known me an average of 13
years! The survey I took says that the #1 reason they support me is
because you "know and trust me." I so appreciate that those who know me
best, have the most confidence in me. Welcome to all our new partners,
as God's work here has entered a new phase. In January, God provided
the finances to hire a partner in Romania. Claudia is a Christian
social assistant who will counsel and teach orphans and children with
AIDS. God has motivated volunteers from a local church to colabor with
her. They have seen half a dozen children and parents come to know
Christ. I praise God for their generous support of this work. We
are now 80% up to the level we need for continuing the ministry.
Focus: Developing the Next Generation
In December, I was asked to speak to 32 school directors in
Arges county about updating teaching techniques through “Cooperative
Education”. This was the first time I had spoken in Romanian before so
many educated people. It was indeed an honor and opened many doors. The
County Director for training invited me to write for her journal and
I’ve been asked to do continuing education at a school. If I only had
“The moment we step away from reality,
we objectify it, we accept it.
We need to do that on and off to remain conscious.”---Vik Muniz
In February, I got my much-needed Christmas
vacation-sabbatical. I was invited to speak to churches in Italy and
Germany. Additionally, I wrote an article and gave some public
addresses to encourage people to integrity and missions. While giving
my first sermon in Italian, I tossed in some Romanian, just to confuse
my audience. After 4 years, it was great being in my “hometown”,
Vicenza, Italy. For 15 minutes, tears of joy flowed from my eyes as I
meandered in “il centro” once again.
Back in Romania, I’m greatly encouraged from Christ’s
followers who echoed the words that this ministry is proclaiming: “An
obedient life is of greater importance to the Lord than a sacrificial
one.”(taken from Hosea 6:6) We aim to be examples to those who
acknowledge their non-belief in Jesus. Perhaps, like Jesus, who was
focused on the “how”,(Matt 9:13) we can also win some who are
religiously sacrificing from their pocketbooks but are not living lives
of integrity and loving obedience to the Lord.(I John 4:7-8)
Praises regarding prayer requests in
--people would come to know Him: Continues to be answered: see
--school director seminar: Answered: see above.
--full-time partner in orphan ministry: Answer: Claudia
--an American teacher: still open.
--funding for the orphanage repair project: Answered: see
--jobs for Valy’s family members: still open.
--Jason, a Chinese student whom I discipled in Ann Arbor helped his
wife to come to Christ!!!
--that we might link up new believers with Bible-based churches.
--jobs for Valy’s family members
--that either an American volunteer will move here full-time to take
some of the opportunities that God has provided or that I will be able
to gently ease out of some of my activities.
--that the remainder of ministry support may be raised. We are
presently at 80% of budget. If you or someone you know is interested in
a “how-ly” ministry for development of neglected children, please let
me know or inform them about us.
I’d like to support your ministry:
[ ] In prayer
[ ] By coming [ ] long-term (hint, hint) [ ] short-term
[ ] Financially: Pledge $________ /month. One time gift
(Make checks payable to Go Ye Fellowship,
with "For LJ LaBrie #26" in the "Notes" blank.)
Address: Go Ye Fellowship
PO Box 40039
Pasadena, CA 91114-7039
[ ] Intellectually.
[ ] child education and development
[ ] fixing Windows ([ ] in the veterinary sense)
[ ] translating English - Italian
[ ] translating Romanian - English
to Timisoara, Romania
More information about Timisoara