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

Windows to the World Event

Written by BrookLink on Friday, 07 April 2017. Posted in Blog

Sunday, May 7, 2017

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.

Save the Date | May 7, 2017

Written by BrookLink on Sunday, 12 March 2017. Posted in Blog

BrookLink's 8th Annual Windows to the World Event

 
 

Prayer Requests

Written by Lee Heyward on Friday, 10 March 2017. Posted in Blog

May 2017

  • Lee has just returned from Cairo, Egypt where he and Canadian Pastor Ian Lawson were teaching/training at the Tyrannus Missionary School. There were 22 Sudanese church planters (ages 22-25) and 6 Egyptian believers (all preparing to serve Christ somewhere in Middle East). This was a thrilling week! Please pray for all of these students as they plan to graduate from this program this month and return to Sudan to plant churches across Sudan, South Sudan and the Darfur region.
  • Due to Lee’s recent travels he has had to take a hiatus from book writing. He plans to resume next month. Continue to pray for clarity, wisdom and creativity as he writes.
  • Lee leaves on Thursday, April 20th for Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. He will be preaching at the National Cathedral in Kinshasa on Sunday April 23rd. April 24-28th Lee will be joined by Dr. Diet Schindler (Germany) and the two will be teaching at the Cemiler Center with Congolese Church Planters and Pastors. Please pray for the Holy Spirit’s anointing upon Diet and Lee as they train these men and women in Expository Preaching and Church Planting.
  • Continue to pray that God will supply the financial needs of this ministry. We rejoice and give thanks to God for a good beginning to our second quarter.
  • Give thanks to God that BrookLink was recently accredited by the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability). This accreditation is based on the ECFA Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship, including financial accountability, transparency, sound board governance and ethical fund-raising.

April 2017

  • Lee has just finished teaching a course at the Elmbrook Christian Study Center on Preaching. Give thanks that the feedback he has received from the students has been very positive. Give thanks for the 10 students who will now take this learning and apply it in their ministries.
  • The Book writing project continues. Lee has just completed chapter 4. He hopes to have this book ready for publication by early Fall 2017. Please pray for clarity, wisdom and creativity as he writes.
  • Lee will be in Prague, Czech Republic March 19-27, 2017. He has been asked to consult with Czech, Dutch, German and American Church leaders in Prague about a citywide vision for Prague. Pray for fruitful, cooperative and kingdom-oriented initiatives to emerge from these meetings.
  • Lee will be traveling to North Africa April 1-9, 2017. Canadian Pastor Ian Lawson will accompany Lee. They will conduct weeklong training at the Tyrannus Missionary School. Pastor Ian will be teaching through the Book of James and Pastor Lee will be speaking on the “Art and Practice of Spiritual Leadership.” Please pray for the Holy Spirit’s anointing upon Ian and Lee as they teach and that believers will be encouraged and strengthened.
  • Pray for BrookLink’s Board of Directors that God might guide them with spiritual wisdom, discernment and godly decision-making.
  • Offer thanks for BrookLink’s incredible staff team—Becky Riebesehl (Operations), Ann Woelfel (Strategic Development) and Kathy Myszka (Marketing Asst). Pray for life-work balance, team unity, and blessing upon their families.
  • Every year about this time, we struggle to maintain our cash flow, which results in having to ‘dip into’ our reserve account. Pray that God will supply our financial needs during this stretch and also pray for an increase of monthly donors and one-time donors.
  • Please pray for the strategic conversations/communications we are currently having with churches about support for BrookLink. Pray for openness and willingness on their part to partner and support BrookLink’s mission.
  • BrookLink will be hosting our annual “Windows to the World” event on Sunday evening May 7th from 6:00-7:30pm at Meadowbrook Church in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Our theme will be “The Faces of BrookLink.” Pray for the planning details behind this event that have to be coordinated. Pray for Jan Keddie, our volunteer Program Coordinator, for the technical team as they are preparing the videos and technical pieces, for the worship team and for Lee and Terry as they prepare to share.

March 2017

  • Lee is currently writing his first book for the global church. We hope to have this book ready for publication by early Fall 2017. Please pray for clarity, wisdom and creativity as he writes.
  • Lee will be serving in Prague, Czech Republic March 19-27, 2017. He has been asked to consult with Czech, Dutch, German and American Church leaders in Prague about a citywide vision for Prague. Pray for fruitful, cooperative and kingdom-oriented initiatives to emerge from these meetings.

For Un-Adults Only

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 01 March 2017. Posted in Blog

Years ago while serving as a youth pastor I received a nasty and critical letter from a high school parent upset about a decision I had made. I was young, defensive and agitated by what I perceived to be an unfair and unfounded charge leveled against me. Stuart Briscoe, the Senior Pastor at that time, walked into my office, observed my fainting fit and said to me these words: “Every pastor needs the heart of a child, the mind of a scholar and the skin of a rhino.” In reality, my heart was anything but childlike! My heart was like a rhino—ready to charge at my critic with some hostility of my own.

Over the years, I have often repeated Stuart’s words of wisdom—both to myself and to others serving in ministry. One of the qualities I regularly need to cultivate both as a pastor and a person is that of childlikeness.

Recently, I preached a message on one of my favorite Bible characters—Zacchaeus! Remember him? Luke is the only one of the four Gospel writers to include his story. Frederick Buechner reminds us, “Zacchaeus was a sawed-off little social disaster with a big bank account and a crooked job, but Jesus welcomes him aboard anyway.”

A surprising feature of this story is Zacchaeus does something that a child would do, but no adult would do—he climbs up a tree. He does something so childish, so undignified, so silly—he hikes up his toga and climbs up a tree.

Only moments before this incident Jesus said, “Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:17).  Here’s a fiendish and corrupt little tax-collector taking Jesus at his word. He climbs a tree.

A New Year of Ministry

Written by Lee Heyward on Monday, 30 January 2017. Posted in Blog

A New Year of Ministry

“For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.” Psalm 92:4

As BrookLink prepares for a new year of ministry in 2017, I want to take this opportunity thank you for your tremendous support during our ministry in 2016.

  • Your prayers sustained us as the LORD granted us safe passage to and from six different international locations.
  • Your encouragement helped us to say yes to invitations to train church leaders in under-served parts of the world.
  • Your commitment to our mission helped us to deepen the knowledge of Christ in lives of those we equipped.
  • Your generosity helped us to finish strong at year-end and positioned us for what lies ahead in the New Year.


We at BrookLink would like to extend a heartfelt thank you for the way in which you prayed, encouraged, committed and gave generously to us in 2016.

What’s New in 2017?

Our Board of Directors recently met to celebrate what the Lord has done for us and to look ahead and review our plans for 2017. We would ask that you continue to remember us in prayer as we enter into this new season of ministry.

  • Pray for the completion and publication of a new book Lee is writing for the global church.
  • Pray for the men and women BrookLink has been invited to train in Czech Republic, North Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia in 2017.
  • Pray as we continue to tell the “BrookLink story” both locally and nationally. We are exploring new partnerships, cultivating new sources of funding, onboarding new trainers/facilitators and participating in new gospel movements across the globe.
  • Pray as we take bold steps of faith into the future, that God will enable us to achieve 100% of 2017 Annual Budget.

BrookLink Welcomes Ann Woelfel, Director of Strategic Development

BrookLink has grown steadily since our beginning in 2008. Our dedicated Board of Directors has undertaken some bold initiatives for the future. To continue to support these initiatives and the future growth of our ministry, the Board recently hired Ann Woelfel as our new Director of Strategic Development. Ann began to support BrookLink in a limited operational capacity in June 2015. Over the past 18 months, as Ann began to take a deeper interest in serving BrookLink, the Board created a role to merge her strategic, interpersonal and operational functions. Her primary areas of responsibility will be to strengthen donor relationships, help identify and execute strategic initiatives, manage global and affiliate ministry opportunities, and continue to support BrookLink’s internal operations.    

Ann grew up in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, attended Menomonee Falls High School and earned a degree in International Relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining BrookLink, Ann worked for 15 years in various roles for Robert W. Baird & Co., with her most recent role being a Senior Vice President, and Manager of Baird’s Corporate Events and Conference Center departments. Ann and her husband, Pete, have two children, live in Wauwatosa, WI, and are members of Meadowbrook Church.

Please join me in welcoming Ann Woelfel to BrookLink’s team.

Make a Final Gift in 2016

Written by Lee Heyward on Tuesday, 27 December 2016. Posted in Blog

Make a Final Gift in 2016

During 2016 I have received feedback like this from church leaders we serve:

What Dr. Heyward taught us during this conference was the exact opposite of what many of us had believed. It helped us, not only to understand the bigger picture of Bible, but also to see how the Old Testament is related to the New Testament. I learned the value of the Word when it is studied deeply and correctly.

                                                                                                                                                          A leader from the Middle East

Comments like these illustrate for me the impact you have made through your generous financial support and prayers for BrookLink’s ministry. Your large-heartedness is truly the strength of BrookLink’s ministry in unreached and unengaged places across the world.

Several weeks ago, I updated you on our financial situation. There are still a few days left in 2016 to make a year-end gift to the ministry. Many of you have already responded generously to our need, for which I am deeply grateful!

If you still wish to make a financial gift to BrookLink, use the enclosed card to send it to the address below. And please remember to send your check postmarked by December 31, 2016.

BrookLink
N105 W20939 Oak Lane
Germantown, WI 53022

You can also make a gift online right now.

Thank you again for “excelling in the gracious ministry of giving” (2 Cor. 8:7). May God make His grace abound to you in 2017!

Every blessing,

A Seed Has Sprouted

Written by Lee Heyward on Thursday, 01 December 2016. Posted in Blog

A Seed Has Sprouted

“For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.” Isaiah 61:1

Dear Friends,

Wisconsin has long been known as “America’s Dairyland.” Travel anywhere across our state and you’ll see beautiful, rolling farmlands dotting the Wisconsin landscape. It’s no secret; farming plays a major role in the Wisconsin economy.

Have you ever wondered what farmers do during the cold winter season? Do they use the time to catch up on their sleep? Read lots of books? Binge on Netflix? Certainly the winter months afford farmers more leisure hours, but most farmers use the dormant months to prepare for the next season’s planting schedule. Among other things, they order seeds, tune up their tractors and make necessary repairs to their trucks and equipment.

Like a farmer, I’ve learned there are seasons of ministry. Every year at this time we are busily planning for the next year’s planting cycle—where we’ll go, when we’ll go, and what kind of seeds will we plant.

But we also take time to celebrate what God has done this past year—to enjoy, as it were the fruits of our labor as BrookLink traveled to six different countries on four continents during 2016. The seeds that BrookLink is planting across the world are bearing great fruit. A few examples:

  • A young pastor we trained in South Africa several years ago took BrookLink’s material he received, translated it into Portuguese and has now trained over 300 pastors in Angola. A seed has sprouted!
  • Mahesh from Nepal wrote, “The guidelines and practical methods you taught me about preaching will help me prepare sermons, but also help me equip others to preach in Nepal.” A seed has sprouted!
  • Arif from Pakistan e-mailed, "Dr.Heyward's teaching was relevant and challenging. We want to see similar training happen every year.” A seed has sprouted!
  • Terry and I celebrated the birth of our third grandchild this past year—Ethan Charles Riebesehl! A seed has sprouted!

As we near the end of 2016 we have already received invitations to North Africa, Congo, Czech Republic, China and Ethiopia in 2017. Please pray with us about these opportunities and help us by planting a seed of your own.

It is not unusual for non-profits like BrookLink to receive the bulk of their annual contributions during the month of December.

As of December 5th we need to raise $135,000 by year-end.

Can I count on you to plant a seed?

Your financial gift will help us finish in strong fashion and also set us up for the good work God has opened before us. Please consider making a gift today!

When the Apostle Paul thanked the Christians at Philippi for their generous financial support (see Philippians 4:10ff), his primary concern was that God’s blessing would be upon them—for having been ‘seed-planters’ and givers to God’s work.

This is my prayer for you—that the seeds you generously sow will not only cause “righteousness and praise to sprout up among the nations,” but that you yourself will be enriched in every way by our ever-generous God.

 

Ever grateful for you,

 

Lee Heyward

Join the Generosity Movement

on Monday, 28 November 2016. Posted in Blog

Join the Generosity Movement

“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
Jesus in Luke 6:38

We have a day for giving thanks. We have a day for getting deals. Now, we also have a day called #GivingTuesday, a day devoted across the globe to giving back. It’s sort of an underground movement of generosity.

#GivingTuesday reflects a very simple idea that Jesus introduced in the New Testament called, “the law of self-administered return.” Here’s how it works: God promises when I turn on the faucet of generosity in my life, there is a heavenly reservoir waiting to flow back toward me with a whole lot more than I could ever contain. My capacity to receive is always in direct proportion to my capacity to give. Learning to give is a key to learning to live!

That’s why #GivingTuesday is not just a good idea—it’s a good practice! Think of a way for your family, your business, your small group, your community or your organization to come together and give more. Invite your friends to join you, and be a part of a celebration of generosity.

As you plan for #GivingTuesday, or any year-end gifts, I hope you will consider making a gift to BrookLink. Help us further the work of equipping, empowering and releasing church leaders across the globe.

To make a gift to BrookLink this #GivingTuesday, visit www.brooklink.org/get-involved/make-a-gift. Thanks for joining the celebration!

Many blessings,

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