The I-TEC team joined up with multiple partners on a recent trip to Ghana. Check out the video that showcases some of the exciting ways God worked through this trip.
In late June and early July of 2016, I joined a group of 19 people from churches and ministries from the USA and Europe to get a first-hand view of the refugee crisis. The focus of our trip was Jordan and Greece.
We had the opportunity to learn from pastors, ministry leaders, missionaries, a government official, and a refugee how they had been impacted and how they are trying to help with the refugee crisis. While some people in the same category (Pastors) had been impacted and were trying to help somewhat differently to others in the same category, there were more similarities than differences within the same category.
The purpose of this article is not to give an exhaustive review of every refugee situation in these mentioned countries, but rather, it is to give Christ followers outside of the impacted areas a glimpse into the reality of the refugee crisis that the church is facing today. One similarity that was conveyed by almost everyone we sat down with is the importance of separating the individual from a religious system, and the need to think of individual refugees rather than refugees as a whole.
As we address this crisis, it will be helpful to put yourself in the shoes of a refugee. Many of the refugees are well educated and had professional level jobs in their countries before fleeing. Many had as little as eight hours to get a few things together and leave everything else they owned. As they go to a new country, they have no jobs, are not able to get jobs legally, do not know the language of the country that they flee to, have no family or friends who are living in these countries, and are often treated more like a number than an individual. Everything that they knew has now changed, all at one time. Many of the men who had previously been able to provide for their families no longer have a sense of worth because they were no longer able to work. Many of them stay inside and become depressed which compounds the issues facing each family.
Hi, this is Steve Saint with a thought for you on a frequently dreaded topic.
Evangelism is a scary undertaking for most of us. But it’s something all of us can do if we find a method that fits us.
Our church, many years ago, started a program called Evangelism Explosion. You may have heard it. I thought it was a pretty lousy idea. It involved learning a canned presentation of the gospel. Wow, I thought, “Who would ever want to listen to a canned promotion of religion like a life insurance pitch or something like that?
But, Ginny and I decided to do it. We went and started learning the pitch. In fact, I still know the outline: “Grace, Man, God, Christ, Faith.”
Earlier this month, nine students graduated I-FILM training in Ghana. The goal of I-FILM training is to train indigenous Christian students to film, edit, and distribute films that help spread the Gospel in their communities.
Most I-FILM students have no prior video production experience. In less than one week, they are trained and equipped as documentary filmmakers. Watch the video below to see one of the students final projects from Ghana documenting the testimony of Pastor Zakaria Amidu from the village.
Europe Refugee Training Trips
This fall, a team from I-TEC will be traveling to Europe to train refugees that are Christ followers.
How Can You Help?
In order to meet the needs in the area and create opportunities for continued outreach, we are asking for financial supporters to help offset the cost of the travel and expenses while on the ground. If God is leading you, please consider giving directly to this fund to offset some of these costs.Find Out More
By Steve Saint
We take a huge step forward when we start “teaching people to fish” instead of just “handing out fish” which creates debilitating dependency. But there is a trap we tend to fall into when we suppress our natural tendency to dominate those we take the Gospel to.
That trap is to think that INDEPENDENCY is the solution to DEPENDENCY. That makes me think of the climate of the Sub-Sahara Desert where I once lived. It is unbearably hot during the day. The air temperature can easily get up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It makes you dream of being cold – until night comes and the desert sheds its heat like a duck sheds water. Desert nights can be bitterly cold regardless of how hot it was during the day. The answer to “Too Hot” is not “Too Cold” and the answer to “Dependency” is not “Independence.”
Balance is the solution we need. “Balance” is central to living the Christian life. Unfortunately it is easier to talk about than to achieve. The solution to “Dependency” is “Interdependency.” I wish one extreme could solve another extreme because extremes are so much easier to achieve than “Balance.” Interdependency in missions is “Balance.” But it is very hard to achieve. For one thing, “Balance” means we have to learn to respect people who walk instead of drive, who communicate by sitting down and talking instead of texting or calling, who have to hunt food or harvest it instead of shopping for it at the local grocery store.
At a recent Global Missions Health Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, I-TEC had the privilege of filming an interview with Dr. Florence Muindi. She is the Founding President / CEO of Life in Abundance and is considered a leader in the ministry of community development.
A native to Kenya, Florence is a medical doctor by training and has pioneered Life in Abundance’s transformational development model. In the following four videos, Florence shares the story of how God began her ministry by empowering a local church to meet needs in their community. Please watch and share.
By Steve Saint
Don’t ask a fish to describe water. They are so immersed in it that they don’t even think about it. And we don’t think about our culture. It is so much a part of our world that it becomes invisible to us.
But, when we observe another culture it jumps out and grabs our attention. Why? Because it usually doesn’t make sense to us. It is like Mincaye trying to understand golf.
He can’t fathom why anyone would cut down all the trees in a large area and then spend untold days cutting the grass short unless it had something to do with getting food. He assumed that the grass was being cut with a machete by people squatting on their haunches all day in the hot sun, because he didn’t know about air-conditioned tractors pulling huge mowers.
I tried to explain that people golfing were just “playing.” But the Waodani don’t divide life’s activities into work and play like we do. For the Waodani it is just cae, “doing.” So I explained to Mincaye that the golfers we were watching were looking for little white round things. Mincaye commented, “They must be really good to eat!” I told him the little white things were too hard to eat. He said, “Tell them to cook them longer.”
You see, in Mincaye’s culture they have never known the luxury of having excess energy to spend on activities that are not intended to provide shelter, food, or protection for one’s self and family. They don’t have a concept of “play” or of “sport.”
When Mincaye was visiting us in the U.S. we went to an NBA basketball game. Mincaye laughed uproariously at the antics of these giant human beings that ran from one end of the flat place to the other end; violently throwing a ball through a net-bag with a hole in the bottom that the ball kept falling through.
I thought about trying to explain that for doing this activity (which Mincaye finally decided to call Ononki cae, “for no reason doing”) these big men with the colorful clothes were going to be given paper that they would trade for huts and food and cars and airplanes. I did try to explain that there were actually two teams of men and they were competing to see who could put the ball into the bottomless net-bag more than the other ones.
I could not make it understandable to Mincaye. It was just too complicated to explain certain activities that make sense to us, but not to a person from a very, very different culture.
On Sunday, June 26th 2016, Ginny and I were in New York City to help promote a new ministry for tribal people groups. It just happened that there was a large gay pride parade scheduled that same day in ‘The Big Apple’.
It also just happened that the restaurant loaned to us to introduce this new ministry to some New Yorkers was located right by the parade route. My quadriplegia was severely hampering my ability to walk from the parking garage to the restaurant that day, especially as we neared the parade route and the sidewalk traffic got heavy. A friend walking with us finally insisted that I allow him to help me.
At first I just held onto his arm to steady myself. As I tired, I rested my forearm on his, and finally ended up holding his hand while leaning into him with my arm on top of his. I was so weary that I failed to consider the message we were sending to the throngs of LGBTQ supporters whom we were dodging and bumping into.
Hearing about the parade or seeing it on the news, it would have been possible to be repulsed by thousands of people singing, dancing and shouting their solidarity with LGBTers and celebrating the new freedoms granted by our Supreme Court and our culture to do whatever makes us feel good. Up close revulsion was more difficult to feel. The realization that people were assuming my friend and I were together forced me to realize that many other people at the parade including couples with children in strollers were not LGBTers either.
Somewhere in all those colliding thoughts the idea struck me, what would Jesus do if He was here?
So much of the digital world that we live in is expressed through film and media. How might we see this as an opportunity for the sake of the Gospel? Can we use these platforms to bring messages of hope into the world around us and share stories of what He is doing?
Answering these questions is what the I-FILM training is all about. Training local churches to reach their communities through media. This training is for those who want to tell Christ-stories and share inspiration. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million!
By Steve Saint
Those of us who come from “developed” countries often make the assumption that we are superior to people who have less formal education. We also make the mistake of thinking that those who are poor are inferior. In North America, we are so isolated from radically different cultures that we make the additional mistake of thinking that our way of doing things is the best way, that our lifestyle is best, and that our language is best. All of these assumptions are not only wrong, but work against us in trying to be the “ambassadors” 2 Corinthians 5:20 says God wants us to be.
We can unintentionally intimidate indigenous believers into backing away from what God has called them to do. They are frequently overwhelmed by our superior technology, formal education and wealth. Let’s remember that once they are believers, they are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and they are Ambassadors for Christ.