Celebrating Our Partners

Written by Lee Heyward on Monday, 19 August 2019. Posted in Blog

Dear Friends,

It is summertime in good ole Milwaukee.  The temperatures have been reliably warm, the ethnic festival season is in full swing, and there is growing excitement around the city about hosting a presidential convention next year. Wisconsin is truly a great place to be during the summertime.

Recently an article was published in Christianity Today about Ethiopia being on the front lines of the next mission movement.  The article struck me in two significant ways.  Firstly, the evidence of seeds sown long ago by missionaries that have grown into what now are evangelical denominations of millions, is awe-inspiring. It recalls the verses in Ephesians, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” (Eph. 4:11-12). The Ethiopian Church has not only grown numerically, but spiritually too!

BrookLink in Ethiopia in 2017

Secondly, I was overwhelmed with gratitude as I read of the Ethiopian revival because of our faithful supporters. BrookLink has had multiple opportunities to partner alongside and witness firsthand the growth and success of Ethiopia's Kale Heywet church.  It has been a privilege for us to train pastors and church leaders for the past three years, and to have continued conversations with leadership about developing a long-term training partnership with Kale Heywet. This partnership includes expanding BrookLink’s influence beyond pastoral training to include child and family ministry training.  Our ability to “say yes” increases each year, and we are so grateful for your financial support which makes this possible.

BrookLink in Ethiopia in 2018

As the article points out “Africa is a young continent,” noting 6 in 10 residents are under 30.  “Soon the main harvest force will come from Africa.”  The perspective that “missions is not a Western responsibility,” is aligned to BrookLink’s values.  When we train pastors and church workers overseas, we enter their context to equip, empower and release them for greater kingdom impact.  Releasing leaders to influence their networks is how the Global Church is strengthened. 

A Summer Update

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 24 July 2019. Posted in Blog

Dear Friends,

BrookLink’s theme in 2019 is “From One to Many."

What began ten years ago as a hope and prayer, you have made possible!

Rejoice with us!

In June, BrookLink was invited to return again to Ethiopia to minister in the Kale Heywet churches. Pastor Timothy Ryder of Waukesha, Wisconsin and Pastor Ian Lawson of Alberta, Canada traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to lead church leaders through three days of training. Using lively discussion and readings, Tim and Ian spent these days resourcing and equipping forty doctoral students who serve as key leaders in these churches. Pastor Ian reports, "I am routinely impressed with the passion and the zeal of the Kale Heywet church of Ethiopia - currently 9,000 congregations and 1,000 church plants. This is a mission success story of the SIM who sent missionaries there one hundred years ago. Today she is a thriving and dynamic indigenous church reaching their own people with the gospel and sending their own missionaries to other countries on the African continent. How thrilling it is to help equip some of their pastors on the front lines!"

No sooner had Timothy and Ian returned to the U.S.A., when Pastor Jan Ryder (Timothy’s wife) boarded a plane for the same place. This time to train more than 40 Children and Family Ministry leaders, who minister weekly to thousands of children among the Kale Heywet. Pastor Jan writes, “It was exciting to learn about the family together, understand more of how children grow, use creative teaching methods to spark curiosity, and apply Biblical principles to practical aspects of ministry with children and families. I think the most useful session may have been one dealing with how children experience grief and trauma.”

These opportunities would not have been possible without your generous support.

Meanwhile, on the completely different continent of Europe, BrookLink affiliates Dr. Dan and Lynne Green traveled to Prague, Czech Republic to teach and train pastors and church leaders serving in this largely atheistic city.  Dan and Lynne have been offering their theological and counseling training and insights to the Czech people for 20 years with the last 4 years being under BrookLink’s banner.

Furthermore, would you please pray as Drs. Paul and Lisa Sinclair travel with BrookLink in August to two key cities in northeast India? They are uniquely equipped to conduct five weeks of doctoral-level teaching in the areas of Spiritual Formation and Grief & Trauma. Needless to say, it would have been impossible for me to step away from my responsibilities here in the U.S.A. to invest five weeks in India. The Sinclairs are excited to be a part of BrookLink and helping us move “From One to Many.”

A Turtle on a Fencepost

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 05 June 2019. Posted in Blog

Dear Friends,

Where do you turn in times of hardship and despair, in times of transition and change? Where do you turn when you need to gain perspective or inspiration or simply to bolster your faith?

If you’re like me, I usually go to a church. Why? Because you know that is where you will hear the Word of God, connect with brothers and sisters in Christ and build upon your faith.

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”– Romans 10:17 NIV

Many people are attracted to a church not just for what it can offer, but also because of what it provides by way of leadership.  Perhaps you are a part of a flourishing church body where members have identified their spiritual gifts, are serving with their gifts, and are witnessing the church’s capacity to bless and fulfill its mission on earth.

But as the church develops across the world, you may also share our concern that as it grows in width it must also grow in depth.  Depth comes about in many ways. One of those ways is where gifted spiritual leaders from most-reached areas of the world offer teaching, training, equipping and mentoring to least-reached areas of the world.  By providing access to this kind of quality and affordable biblical training, church leaders grow, their churches are strengthened and their communities are improved.

For the past 10 years, your prayers and financial contributions have helped make BrookLink the organization that it is today.   We are so grateful to you for sustaining and supporting our mission to equip, empower and release global church leaders for greater kingdom impact.

You are helping our gifted team of facilitators reach and impact the lives of thousands by investing in training for global church leaders.  Please consider giving a gift today! Every $200 will support one pastor or church leader receiving training in 2019.

Ten Years and Counting

Written by Lee Heyward on Tuesday, 26 March 2019. Posted in Blog

Dear Friends,

It is my hope this letter finds you in good health and experiencing the abiding joy of relationship with our God and Father during the Lenten season.  As we enter springtime, our hearts delight in extended daylight, rebirth and growth.  At BrookLink we are humbled and thrilled to be celebrating ten years in ministry and are steadfastly focused on why this ministry was created a decade ago.

"It is estimated that more than 80% of pastors around the world have little or no biblical training – that’s more than two million pastors that are not equipped to help believers in their churches understand and apply God’s word." Langham Partnership

Without strong leadership the spiritual vitality of a church cannot be shaped and fostered, and the community that surrounds it fails to benefit.  The risk of poorly trained pastors and leaders can result in "a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you…" (Galatians 1:8 ESV).

There are many barriers to international leaders including costs, availability of effective teachers, access to dependable and culturally-appropriate curriculum, and for some, even persecution.  Through your faithful support, BrookLink helps our partners overcome these barriers by providing free in-person training within their cultural context, so that they may spread the gospel of Jesus Christ among their people.

 

We recently surveyed our international partners, and here are some of the challenges they are facing:

  • Need for more trained leaders in theological education, discipleship and expository preaching
  • Connecting secular people with the gospel with great relevancy and truth
  • Need for more trained leaders in organizational management and staff development

Here are specific prayer requests we received:

  • For personal strength and inspiration in mission. -European church planter
  • For God’s presence, protection and provision as we serve in [Middle Eastern country]. -Middle Eastern movement leader
  • For the Lord to lead urban professionals to Him. -European church leader
  • So that [our network of churches] would grow deep to grow wide. -African movement leader

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.

From the Field | India

Written by Lee Heyward on Friday, 22 January 2016. Posted in Blog

Report 3

From the Field | India

Move Over David Letterman!

Rather than writing my usual trip report I thought I would take a page out of David Letterman’s book and give you my “Top Ten” for the day:

#10—My alarm didn’t go off this morning so I overslept. Over-sleeping is over-rated!

#9—You can run a ceiling fan and a room air-conditioning unit simultaneously in Chennai in the winter months and still sweat profusely.

#8—When you add cardamom and coconut to cold oatmeal it still tastes like cold oatmeal.

#7—Some Indian names are really hard to pronounce, but you can really botch the pronunciation with a smile and it doesn’t matter.

#6—My Indian dinner tonight was served with a toasted cheese sandwich (and I didn’t even request it).

#5—One of the doctoral students in my class has made a five-hour round trip every day this week to participate.

#4—Nagaland, a state in NE India is 98% Christian.

From the Field | India

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 20 January 2016. Posted in Blog

Report 2

From the Field | India

The Antidote to Discouragement

I’ve just completed day three of teaching. I spoke this morning to the students and faculty on Psalm 42-43 on “Finding Hope When You Are Discouraged.” No matter what country you’re in it’s not uncommon to find devoted servants of Christ who struggle regularly with discouragement and even depression. The demands of ministry are the same here as elsewhere—loneliness, struggle, betrayal and disappointment are common. There’s no better spiritual tonic for the soul than these companion psalms. I reminded those listening that some of God’s choicest servants—Martin Luther the Protestant Reformer, William Cowper the brilliant poet hymn-writer, Charles Spurgeon the famed English preacher and Soren Kierkegaard the Danish philosopher, all struggled with what Spurgeon called “fainting fits.”

Unfortunately, a lot of churches don’t fare very well in giving anyone permission to admit they are discouraged, much less their pastor(s). Consequently, many pastors and church leaders suffer silently and “fake it til they make it,” which seldom works and often compounds the issue. Fortunately the anonymous writer of Psalm 42-43 is refreshingly and disarmingly different. He lets himself go, tells himself the truth and points himself forward—and in the end finds solace and hope in doing so. I have long treasured these psalms during my own fainting fits. The author’s unpretentious words give me language and vocabulary to come out of hiding and confront my own discouragement.

Chapel was followed by another full day of teaching and training students in how to prepare sermons. I love these students. They are highly energetic, delightfully engaging and a blast to teach! Today I had them laughing hysterically at my imitation of an Indian agreeing with you—they shake their heads side-to-side (which means ‘no’ in America), but in India they are actually saying yes. They loved it!

I sure appreciate your prayers. Please keep them coming as the week is winding down.

From the Field | India

Written by Lee Heyward on Monday, 18 January 2016. Posted in Blog

Report 1

From the Field | India

It’s good to be back with old friends this week at The Hindustan Bible Institute (HBI) in Chennai, India. I’ve been here multiple times and always enjoy the opportunity to interact with a host of young men and women, all preparing for some form of ministry throughout India. Each morning I’ll be bringing messages from the Psalms to the students and faculty during their chapel services.

The rest of my day is spent with doctoral and masters level students who are either actively engaged in ministry or preparing for ministry throughout India and elsewhere. This is a smaller number than I’ve trained in the past, but what they lack in numbers they more than make up for with their enthusiasm and eagerness to learn.

One student is from Nepal. He came to Christ out of a strong Buddhist background, sensed God calling him to ministry, and made his way to HBI to prepare accordingly. All the members of his family are Buddhist and have proven to be very antagonistic toward him and the gospel. Another student is a professional Cricket player with one of the national teams. To say that Cricket is an obsession in India is an understatement. This young man and his father, also a professional player, actively lead a nationwide sports ministry using Cricket as a platform to share Christ.

Men and women are preparing for missionary service in remote parts of India or in larger urban centers. Mobilizing missionaries and church planters is one of the things HBI does exceedingly well. Many of these men and women are excitedly stepping out to serve Christ in parts of this country that have never heard of Jesus. What a joy to a part of their preparation!

Please pray for me throughout the week as I’m teaching, training, interacting with and encouraging these young people. It does my heart good to see the richness of their faith and their robust commitment to the cause of Christ.

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.

Make a Final Gift in 2015

Written by Lee Heyward on Sunday, 27 December 2015. Posted in Blog

Make a Final Gift in 2015

Dear Friends,

In two weeks time I will be traveling to Hindustan Bible Institute (HBI) in Chennai, India. Recently Chennai underwent record rainfalls resulting in massive flooding across this populated urban area, and the Bible Institute was no exception! Despite these challenges, our friends at HBI are insisting we come to teach and train eager young men and women preparing for ministry.

This will be the first of many influential training opportunities BrookLink will have in 2016. These opportunities would not be possible without your faithful financial support! Your generosity inspires men and women and equips them to serve Jesus in hard and desperate places!

There are still a few days left in 2015 to make a financial gift to BrookLink. If you have already made a year-end contribution, please accept my deepest gratitude! And if you are planning to contribute before year’s end, please send your check postmarked by December 31, 2015 to:

BrookLink
N105W20939 Oak Lane
Germantown, WI 53022

You can also visit the 'Get Involved' page on our website to make a gift right now.

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