Full Sail

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 04 October 2017. Posted in Blog

Full Sail

Dear Friends,

What do sailing a boat and growing spiritually share in common?

My family spent a portion of every summer vacationing on the coast of North Carolina. My summers were full and never boring. Snorkeling, sailing, fishing and water skiing were included. My father believed it was important for each of his kids to learn to sail a boat. When the winds were light and calm he would strap me into a life jacket, and together we would launch out on the water.

My father taught all of us three basic principles of sailing. The first was: sailing is all about dependency. All the training, effort and experience will do little good if there is no wind. Likewise, spiritual growth is not guaranteed through following techniques or gimmicks, but through daily and conscious reliance and dependence upon the ‘wind’ of God’s Spirit.

Secondly, Dad taught us that sailing is about discernment. Wise sailors look at a body of water and discern which way the wind is blowing. Sailors take note of the sky to discern whether sailing is worth the risk. They know exactly which sails to hoist to catch the wind most effectively. In the same way, spiritual growth requires discernment. Growth happens best when we are intentional about discerning God’s ways, His voice and His wisdom.

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

From the Field | Ethiopia

Written by Lee Heyward on Friday, 26 February 2016. Posted in Blog

Report 2

From the Field | Ethiopia

There are so many enriching benefits of a short-term mission experience! It is not just about the work you do or the shared experience itself; mostly it is about the relationships you develop.

For two weeks, we’ve sat together, eaten together, prayed together, worked together, struggled with language and cultural barriers together, hurt together, failed together, laughed together and learned together. Quickly and powerfully friendships form, barriers decrease and love grows!

It’s also these same things that make farewells so hard! These past two days the team has been saying their farewells to our Ethiopian friends. On Wednesday Pastor James and I (Pastor Lee) said good-bye to seventy-two pastors and church leaders. Over the course of the past week we have encouraged these servants of Christ to prioritize and model disciple-making in their ministries. We have instructed them about the importance and necessity of deepening their spiritual lives through daily interaction with the Word of God.

During our concluding session we reminded the pastors of the Apostle Paul’s words from Romans 10:14-15 and John 13:1-15.  We then had them gather in small groups to wash one another’s feet as a way of symbolizing, “how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Pastor James and I then gave each pastor a pair of socks that had been sent by one of our donors, along with a copy of the book, How to Understand the Bible (translated into Amharic). Pastors in this part of the world seldom have access to solid theological resources, and it was quite moving to both of us to see their joy receiving a book in their own language! Then the pastors gathered around us, showered us with gifts and prayed over us—one of my more memorable moments of our time here!

Thursday was our last day in the medical clinic. While the docs examined the few remaining patients, the rest of us helped pack up remaining supplies, hugged people and said our goodbyes.

In Ethiopia, like most African cultures, there are customs and cultural traditions that are important to observe and honor. One of those is the final farewell. And no farewell is complete without Ethiopian coffee!  Our entire team gathered in a tiny office along with our cousins—district administrators, medical personnel, government employees, grateful patients and giddy children. A sea of faces peered through windows and doors to say their thanks and send us off! We exchanged comments, testimonies of the week and gratitude between us. The District Administrator thanked us on behalf of the hundreds of people who were seen at the clinic throughout these two weeks. And then in the true spirit of African friendship we all gathered under the hot African sun for a final photo.

One of our translators commented yesterday that he has never been around a team of people with greater passion, love and joy for Jesus than this GHO Team! I’m equally grateful for the privilege of serving with these dedicated servants of Christ. The team is now back in Addis Ababa. We will spend part of the day in debrief and do a bit of shopping before heading to airport to fly back to the States tonight. We are truly grateful for your prayers throughout this two-week experience. We are tired to say the least, but it is a good tired. In both word and deed God has used each of us in unique ways to be, “Jesus with skin on!”

From the Field | Ethiopia

Written by Lee Heyward on Monday, 22 February 2016. Posted in Blog

Report 1

From the Field | Ethiopia

I arrived in Awash Afar, Ethiopia Friday night. Earlier that same day Kibru Tadesse met me at the Addis Ababa airport. Kibru is the National Director of Great Commission Ministries (GCM) in Ethiopia, the ministry we are partnering with the whole week. GCM is better known in the US as Cru.

In the early afternoon we loaded into a car and headed in a NE direction out of Addis to Awash Areba in the Afar region of Ethiopia. You pass along modern Chinese-built roads through vast semi-arid land with large deposits of volcanic rock. Oversized container trucks are common on this route as it’s a major corridor leading to shipping ports north at the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. The air is hot, dry and dusty.

When we pulled into the hotel parking lot the team was awaiting our arrival. I met the full team, had dinner, downloaded the events of the day and put my jet-lagged body to bed.

Yesterday (Saturday) we drove to the medical clinic located 20 minutes from our hotel. When we arrived, a large crowd of men, women and squealing children were already pushing and shoving at the gate waiting to enter. Our Global Health Outreach (GHO) team consists of four doctors, a dentist, two pharmacists, a physical therapist, a nurse, 2 logistics personnel and two pastors. Throughout the morning and into the early afternoon, I assisted by escorting patients to the various rooms to be seen by a physician and praying with and over patients. During the fours hours we were there over a hundred patients were seen.

Today is Sunday. There is no clinic today. We will worship together, rest and prepare for the week ahead. Tomorrow Pastor James and I will begin gathering with the Pastors who will come from nearby regions for training. We covet and appreciate your prayers for us.

From India to Ethiopia...

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 17 February 2016. Posted in Blog

From India to Ethiopia...

Dear Friends,

Imagine a roomful of bright, energetic and inquisitive young people, all of whom are preparing for ministry across the world’s second most populated country. While in India last month, I spent each morning with these students in their morning Chapels exploring selected Psalms. I loved it!


Following the morning Chapels at Hindustan Bible Institute the rest of my day was spent with these seven men and women doing a weeklong workshop on Biblical Preaching.


Each of them is either actively engaged in planting and pastoring churches or planning to go as a missionary to unreached parts of India, China or Nepal. One of these young men is a recently retired professional cricket player. Few Americans are aware that cricket is played by 120 million people across the globe, making it the second most popular sport in the world. Jonathan leads a national sports ministry using cricket as a platform to share the love of Christ with those who have never heard of Him.

A New Year to Serve

Written by Lee Heyward on Sunday, 17 January 2016. Posted in Blog

A New Year to Serve

Dear Friends,

Each December as the final days of the year wind down, I take time to look back on the previous year and think about the year ahead. I recount with joy and gratitude the opportunities God opened before BrookLink during 2015. Included among these...

the Afghani, Iranian and Syrian refugees we met and ministered to in Athens, Greece

the Pastors and Leaders we were privileged to train in the Democratic Republic of Congo

and the new opportunity to encourage Pastors in Poland.

It’s been a fruitful and productive year.

But I am equally thankful for those who gave so generously to BrookLink in the final weeks of 2015. Through your sacrifice and partnership, BrookLink met and exceeded its financial goal for 2015. God has once again proven that He can do abundantly more than we ask or imagine. Rejoice with us for the many individuals, churches and foundations that have helped to make this possible!

2016—THE YEAR AHEAD

Now I turn the page to the year ahead. Perhaps you’ve heard that I finished up my Interim Pastoral role at Meadowbrook Church on December 31, 2015. I left on Thursday for India to teach and train men and women at Hindustan Bible Institute who serve in churches across the world’s second most populated country.

Visit lbetting.co.uk how to sing-up at ladbrokes