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What if…

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When it comes to progress in evangelism, I like to celebrate as much as any other believer. I’m not one to criticize any effort especially when, looking at current trends, so little is being done. Still, I’m not content to simply celebrate, I want to evaluate as well. I want to ask the questions of myself and my students that will help us maximize our effectiveness as we share God’s story, the gospel, with our families, friends, and neighbors.

A case in point is what happened just yesterday. One of my students, who hasn’t been able to visit his home church for a while due to distance, was happy to see that five new families had started attending the church since his last visit. One of them had been attracted to the service by the sermons that they could hear broadcast through the loud speakers attached to the church building. We celebrated with him, but afterwards I asked, “What if we knew our neighbors and had assessed their spiritual needs so that the messages that they heard were not only touching but truly touched them?”

I feel there is a tendency to assume certain conditions are present as we address nonbelievers, but although those conditions may be felt generally throughout the society, each individual’s needs may be radically different. That’s why, when we share God’s story with individuals, it’s so much better to know where they are coming from before we try to direct them in the way that they should go.

That same class, I had the pleasure of directing my students to the Engel Scale of Receptivity. This tool will enable them to quickly assess the spiritual need and accommodate their message so that this who receive it can understand and take positive steps toward discipleship. I hope you find it useful as well.

Its my prayer that these steps of evaluation, combined with useful tools, will encourage all of us to continue to share the gospel in an increasingly effective manner.

How about you?

  • Have you taken time to evaluate your involvement in the work of evangelism? What have you found?
  • Are there any tool that you have found to be helpful in sharing your faith? Let us know where to find them!

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The stereotypical image of the sleeping campesino has been immortalized with its use in everything from ceramic figurines to restaurant menus. Even one high school class was inspired enough to make it into a scarecrow for a cultural celebration (pictured above.) Nevertheless, it would seem that the people of San Felipe, a fishing village on the coast of Yucatán, have broken so far from the image of the lazy Mexican that they’ve gained international attention.(article is in Spanish)

A diplomat from Timbuktu, Mali, who had arrived to participate in the first ever World Tourism Encounter of City and Local Governments United, was so smitten with the work ethic of the fisherwomen of the Yucatán that he decided to ask permission to take one home with him.

“Ï have four wives, but the law of my country allows me to have six. I would like to ask authorization from the governor of Yucatán (Ivonne Ortega) to marry a fisherwoman. I’m surprised that they get up at three in the morning to fish and return to take care of their families.”

The delegates who had gathered for the event originally thought that Dédéou Traoré, the diplomat from Mali, was joking, but he made his remarks in all seriousness.

So far, there has been no response from either the governor or a fisherwoman.

Photo by Rebecca Plevin available at blogs.vidaenlavalle.com

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I took a trip this past weekend to Washington, DC. No, I wasn’t being called in for the Supreme Court Justice hearings. Nor was I called in for my opinions on financial regulations that are being discussed in Congress. I had the opportunity to spend some time with my twin brother and his family while holding a service at the Bridge Community Church in Warrenton, VA. Here are a few random photos (It’s a work in progress, so check back if you’re able):


“Some random shots of my trip out east to hang with my brother and his family and to minister in Warrenton, VA”

From Washington/Virginia Trip 2010, posted by David Godzwa on 7/03/2010 (9 items)

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As itinerating missionaries, we know travel. We’ve put over 40,000 miles on our car. We’ve stayed in homes and hotels. We’ve eaten in restaurants from Niagra Falls to the Gulf shores of Texas. But this last weekend, my boys and I experienced travel of a different kind: Royal Ranger Pow Wow 2010: Knights for Christ.

Pow Wow meant travel to Rocky Mount Royal Ranger Camp in central Missouri. It meant sleeping in tents, and eating in the open air. It meant BB guns, and tomahawk throwing, and non-stop action from early in the morning until late at night.

I took a few pictures of the event that I thought you might enjoy. Take a look, and relive with us a change of pace for this itinerating missionary family:

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Reading this via text email or RSS feed? Are the captions showing? If not, check out the pictures here:
http://www.disciplemexico.org/?p=1331

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NL22DaveRunningFor those of you who have been following our updates or have met us in one of our services, you know that I’ve been planning to run a marathon in order to raise funds for our return to Merida in the fall of 2010. Well, that marathon is only days away! That’s right, this Sunday, November 1st, at 7:00 AM, I’ll be toeing the line of the Bass Pro Conservation Marathon, preparing myself for the 26.2 mile journey through Springfield MO to the finish line.

Now, you may ask, “Why are you telling me?” It’s because there is still time to be a part of this major event in our itineration schedule. We need $48,000 in cash in order to return to Mexico, $30,000 of those dollars to be raised are designated to expand the Bible school facilities in Merida, Mexico, which currently houses 4 separate programs, from undergraduate to the master’s level, in just 2 classrooms.

I understand that 48,000 may seem a bit overwhelming, but if we break down the sum into the miles that it takes for us to return to the field, that total can seem much more attainable. It takes 2240 miles to reach Merida from Springfield, MO where we currently reside. Breaking that total down, we come to roughly $22 dollars per mile for us to reach our destination. Would you be able to commit this week to a mile or perhaps more to get us closer to our destination?

If you’d like to know more about this effort, you can visit http://www.disciplemexico.org/marathon-for-mexico-2, where you will find a PDF flyer and a link to enable you to give securely on-line.

If you’ve already responded to another request, thank you! If you haven’t, there’s still time, but only if you respond today!

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We’ve made it back from Muna, and we’ve got an update in the works about the trip. However, as we get things organized on our end, we thought that you might offer you something practical:

Breakfast burritos. Their popularity is undisputed. Far from being a Mexican restaurant only fare, they can be found nearly everywhere from McDonald’s to 7 Eleven. Still, although you may have enjoyed a breakfast burrito, perhaps as recently as this morning, can you say you know how to make one?

If your response was no, then Jonathan, our 6 year-old offers you this visual step by step guide on how to make and eat the famous breakfast burrito in this video. Enjoy!

Double Take

doubletakelead.jpgWe’ve made it to Cincinnati where an estimated 6,000 have gathered to respond to the challenge to “give a year and pray about a lifetime.” Of course, with this event being sponsored by Chi Alpha, my brother twin brother, Mike, is also here, having brought his Chi Alpha team from American University where he serves as a campus pastor. This has made for an interesting mix of “worlds” where several, knowing either Mike or I but not the both of us, have found themselves greeting a complete stranger when they were expecting to talk with an old friend. As the interactions became more frequent, I decided to catalog the encounters and put up an album of my new friends. Click here , or on the picture of Mike and I to launch the album.

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Here’s something to cheer you up:

Piñatas are a common site these days, cropping up in kid’s parties almost as often in the US as they do in Mexico. But what happens when the piñata is for adults? Take a look at this video from Mérida and see how piñatas have the tendency to bring out the kid, and the competition in everyone of us.

Can’t see the video. Check it out here.

It’s a common scene, actors, tears streaming down their faces, holding their award, reciting the list of people who contributed to their success, and although recent years have seen limits placed on award acceptance speeches, we’ve come to expect the laundry list of names; we’ve come to think of it as a natural part of graciously recognizing that one’s accomplishments are not achieved without the contributions of others. It’s funny though, when we think on special occasions, like the Father’s Day that we just celebrated last Sunday, we tend to bask in the attention and forget those who’ve made us the fathers that we are, our kids.

As I woke up Sunday morning, on the breakfast table sat the new desk set that Kelly had purchased for me–a letter organizer, a pen holder, and a nifty paper clip dispenser, but what gave me pause was a picture frame holding the image that you see above. Immediately, it put the day in perspective. If it wasn’t for my kids, I wouldn’t be a father. So permit me to brag on them a bit in this post.

Rebekah our oldest, aside from being the beautiful 9 year old that she is, is a voracious reader and extremely intelligent individual. When it comes to trivia, she loves to be right, and usually is. Not limited to book knowledge, however, she’s amazingly creative and has style all her own. She’s a lover of animals like her mother, especially horses, who she hopes to treat one day as a veterinarian.

Joseph is our dreamer. He’s got big plans and the persistence to achieve them, but he doesn’t just have his head in the clouds; he’s firmly planted on the ground, often on all fours inspecting the latest insect that has caught his eye. We expect him to take up a career as an electrician, planning skyscrapers or as a biologist studying the nature that he loves.

Jonathan, our youngest, is a happy-go-lucky kind of kid. He knows no strangers and is quick to converse with whoever might be around. He has a natural kindness and an attention to detail that enables him to know just when to use it, be it to give the timely hug to lift a parent’s spirit or the well placed comment to receive the sip of juice or cookie that he’s had his eye on. We expect him to take up a career in public relations.

Yes I’m a proud father, and although it’s come with it’s challenges I’m thankful for the ones who have made it possible for me to be called Dad. And while I have them with me, I’m intent on enjoying every moment.

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