Back to Africa!

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 19 April 2017. Posted in Blog

I’ve just returned from a ten-day visit to Egypt. I was invited by my friend, Yani Mafdy, to teach at the Tyrannus Missionary School outside of Cairo. The school’s mission is to equip and train Egyptian and Sudanese national evangelists and church planters to proclaim the gospel to unreached peoples across North Africa. The school has plans to start 10 such training centers across the Arab-speaking world.

Pastor Ian Lawson, Lead Pastor at the Evangelical Free Church of Lethbridge in Lethbridge, Alberta, joined me. While we were students at Trinity Seminary 30 years ago we dreamed of one day traveling and teaching together. What a joy to see our dream fulfilled! Ian taught on the Book of James and I taught a course on Spiritual Formation for Leadership.

Ian and I were privileged to teach 22 Sudanese nationals—11 from the northern region, 9 from South Sudan and 2 from the Darfur region. Each year several hundred apply for the opportunity to study at Tyrannus, but only 10-12 are accepted into the 18-month program. These young men are all between 22 and 24 years of age. They come from challenging situations and know they will return to conditions of poverty, war and persecution. Upon completion of the program they agree to return to their homeland Sudan to plant new churches.

In addition to these 22 Sudanese, we also had six Egyptians join the training. These men and women all clearly articulated a call to serve Christ’s mission somewhere in the Middle East. One gentleman named Michel is a medical doctor preparing to practice medicine while planting a church in Mauritania. Another Egyptian couple are pursuing ministry among Syrian refugees in Lebanon or Turkey.

Students in Egypt

Students in Egypt

Bridge Building

Written by Lee Heyward on Monday, 20 March 2017. Posted in Blog

Several days ago I received a letter from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation alerting me that a bridge nearby was going to be reconstructed over the course of the summer. For weeks I’ve wondered why I’ve been maneuvering around orange barrels, detours and burly construction crews busily preparing the area for this sizeable undertaking. I now know why.

Building highway bridges like these takes time, effort and energy.

While bridge building is what I have to look forward to this summer, it is also an apt metaphor to describe BrookLink’s ministry. For the past few months I have been helping ten students (5 men and 5 women) build bridges! Not a literal bridge, but a bridge of understanding through communication and preaching. You see, preaching is a lot like bridge building. I remind my students that they are building bridges between the first century world and the world of today. The proverbial bridge every preacher constructs is a means of communication between two places that would otherwise be cut off from the other—the ancient times of the Bible and the modern contemporary world. This kind of bridge enables God’s revealed truth to flow out of the Scriptures and into the lives of real men and women today.

Building communication bridges like these takes time, effort and energy.

By the time you read this letter, I will be in Prague, Czech Republic building a bridge of yet another kind. It’s called MOSTY—the Czech word for ‘bridges’. This will be my second trip to Prague in the last six months to gather with Czech, Dutch and American leaders who minister in this post-Christian-urban-European city. Our purpose: to construct ‘bridges’ that resource local churches and ministries in disciple-making and mission in the church and society.

Building relational bridges like these takes time, effort and energy.

Unexpected: A Change of Plans

Written by Terry Heyward on Sunday, 25 September 2016. Posted in Blog

Unexpected: A Change of Plans

As BrookLink began in 2008, Lee and I agreed that we would continue to follow our philosophy from 25 years in ministry: “If we are asked to go, serve, or teach, and if we are available, we will say YES.” We strongly believe that the Lord is in charge of our schedules, so when the chance to return to China in October came, BrookLink agreed to join the team. A few months later that opportunity was delayed, and we understood that our partners on the ground have the best perspective to make that sort of decision. October was looking to be spent in Wisconsin, enjoying our beautiful fall season.

Then, a few weeks ago, a very strategic and unexpected invitation came for Lee to travel and serve in a country where less than 1% of the 200 million souls there claim to know and follow the Lord Jesus. Getting a visa for entering this nation has been difficult in the past, but the door was open and a visa obtained in less than a week. Lee is invited, available and has said yes! Now we are asking for your prayers as the October 9th departure day approaches. Would you consider marking your calendar and remembering BrookLink’s ministry that week? The estimates are that over 500 ministry leaders will be gathering for teaching and encouragement.

Twice Multiplied

Written by Lee Heyward on Tuesday, 05 July 2016. Posted in Blog

Twice Multiplied

Throughout my more than two decades of ministry at Northbrook Church, the congregation graciously encouraged me to travel overseas to visit our supported missionaries. Once or sometimes twice a year I would step out of my familiar and comfortable setting, travel to a foreign land and witness the extraordinary things God was doing in places quite different from my own. These experiences shaped me in profound ways. They also broadened my perspective about the issues and challenges I was facing at home.

When BrookLink launched, we wanted to offer U.S. pastors and church leaders a similar experience. So I began to invite folks from across the country to join in equipping, encouraging and empowering leaders across the globe. BrookLink has influenced and touched the lives of thousands overseas, but we have also influenced pastors and church leaders here, too! 

Mark Kiekhaefer is the Senior Pastor of Grace Evangelical Free Church in Jefferson City, MO. Mark and I met as classmates at Trinity Seminary thirty years ago and have remained friends. When BrookLink was invited by Rev. Justus Miwanda, the Executive Director of International Needs Uganda (INUG), to come again for some training, I invited Mark to come along. INUG is a holistic ministry seeking to enhance Christian community development, including three schools that serve over 2000 orphans and vulnerable children. The heart of their work is to establish strong Christ-centered and gospel-preaching churches in the communities where these at-risk children live. BrookLink was invited to bring resources to pastors in the area of these schools.

 Mark Kiekhaefer

Want to Go Far? Go Together!

Written by Lee Heyward on Monday, 06 June 2016. Posted in Blog

Want to Go Far? Go Together!

Dear Friends,

There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.” The Bible says very little about solo ministry. Instead there are an abundance of examples about collaboration: Moses and Aaron; Caleb and Joshua; Esther and Mordecai; Peter and John; Paul and Timothy. The list goes on and on.

On one occasion Paul urged his protégé Timothy to, “Pass on what you heard from me to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others” (2 Tim. 2:2 Msg). BrookLink is not only equipping those who are reliable and competent, we are also inviting and sending others who are reliable and competent to go along too! Partnering together in this way actually allows BrookLink to go further and multiply our impact across the world!

This is why I’m excited to tell you about what BrookLink will be doing in the month of June. From June 10-24th, BrookLink will be sending Dr. Dan and Lynne Green back to the Czech Republic to teach at the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Prague (ETSP).

Lynne and Dan Green

The Power of Story

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 30 March 2016. Posted in Blog

The Power of Story

Everyone has a story. When meeting people for the first time I am eager to learn their story. Good stories grab our imagination, invite us in and broaden our understanding!

Someone once said that God created human beings because He loves stories. As proof, consider that over 70% of the Bible was written in story form. The Old Testament tells about God through the stories of His people. Even Jesus used imaginative stories to tell the world about God’s outrageous love for human beings.

I’ve just returned from Awash, Ethiopia—a market town situated in the central region about a 4.5 hour drive from the capital city of Addis Ababa. The city sits atop a large gorge overlooking the Awash River, part of Africa’s famous Rift Valley. And oh—did I mention it was hot, dusty and desert-like!

The week was spent teaching and training 75 pastors and church leaders, all of whom minister among the Afar people (an unreached people group). Having little to no access to a Bible School or formal training, these men and women showed up promptly each day eager to learn how to study and teach the Bible.

One highlight of my week was inviting men and women to immerse themselves in the giant storyline of the Bible. Africans by and large are ‘storied’ people—stories feature prominently in their cultures. No wonder that seeing God as the Master Storyteller and the Bible as the epic story is so captivating!

Here’s the really cool part—God not only writes His—story, but He writes the lines of my story and your story too! And oftentimes He writes the storyline of our lives to make something known about His!

Lee, Luelseged (translator) and Pastor James

Study-Do-Teach

Written by Lee Heyward on Tuesday, 01 September 2015. Posted in Blog

Study-Do-Teach

Dear Friends,

If ever there were a ‘poster child’ for BrookLink, it would be Ezra. You can read all about his life in an Old Testament book named for him. Ezra lived during a very dark and discouraging time in ancient Israel’s history.

In today’s world, we hear regularly the plight of exiles forced from their countries because of famine, war or religious oppression. Stripped from their homeland and driven by desperation, these misplaced peoples risk life and limb for a better future. Who will minister to these displaced people?

Ezra was called upon by God to minister to a displaced people group who had just survived seventy years of exile. His mission is summarized in these words, “For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel” (Ezra 7:10).

Study, do, and teach—present a model for ministers around the world. Long-range effective teaching of the Bible does not happen without long hours of ongoing study of the Bible. We equip those we train in how to study their Bibles.

Multiplier

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 22 July 2015. Posted in Blog

Multiplier

Dear Friends,

It’s mid-summer in good ole Milwaukee. After a cool start to the summer, the temps have risen, the ethnic festival season is in full swing, and the debate ad nauseam about a new Bucks Basketball Arena has all but subsided. Wisconsin is a great place to be during summertime.

It’s been good to be home for a few weeks. June was a busy month for BrookLink with events in Seattle, ministry at the Advocate Summit of Mission Aviation Fellowship in Idaho, and my first-time trip to southeastern Poland to train ‘Free Church’ pastors and leaders in three cities.

This week I leave for Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR-Congo). In 2007 leaders from the African Evangelical Free Churches met to address the African Church’s need to reach Africa with the gospel. One leader shared, “It’s our job as African Christians to reach Africa’s unreached people.”  Pastor Nubako Selenga was their unanimous choice to lead this new movement.

Serving Abroad: Democratic Republic of Congo

Written by BrookLink on Friday, 01 May 2015. Posted in Blog

July 23-August 2, 2015

Serving Abroad: Democratic Republic of Congo

BrookLink will be in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo July 23-August 2, 2015. Lee will be training at The Mission and Leadership Equipping Center, a ministry of ReachAfrica. There he will serve alongside Congolese leaders to equip local church leaders in order to help them address issues such as corruption, violence, the prosperity gospel and the influx of Islam across the continent.

Additionally, Lee will participate in meetings with community leaders to explore how the Gospel impacts business, commerce and the marketplace.

This will be BrookLink's second visit to Kinshasa in 2 years. We invite you to pray for these important days of equipping “leaders of leaders” in the central region of the African Continent.

Impact in Cape Town

Written by Lee Heyward on Tuesday, 17 March 2015. Posted in Blog

Impact in Cape Town

Dear Friends, 

This past week I returned from a week of ministry in Cape Town, South Africa. Cape Town is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Situated at the southernmost tip of the African Continent, the city boasts stunning views from its mountaintops of both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Cape Town, South Africa
This was my third trip to Cape Town since 2008, where we have long partnered with the ministry of Cape Missions International headed by our friends, John and Barbara Doyle. I not only spoke in various churches across the city, but also, along with Keith Doyle, conducted a seminar and workshop for pastors on, “Preaching With Clarity and Relevance.”

Meet Raymond Katts. Raymond actually works as an officer in the Cape Town Fire Department, but he also serves as the Pastor of “House of Praise” in Ocean Side Township. Situated in a poorer area of the city, the church is only three years old and is having a deep impact on the residents of Ocean Side through its various ministries—especially those trapped in drugs, alcohol and gang violence.

Lee and Raymond

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