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Brigada Today is “the missionary helper newsletter!”
Compiled by Doug Lucas DLucas@teamexpansion.org>, Louisville, KY
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In this issue….

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RASCAL POINTY BRACES

It started with my 12-year-old not liking his braces. Now I don’t like mine either! :-) ‘Course, he’s talking about the silver kind on his teeth, and I’m talking about the pointy kind on my email addresses. So for today, I’m using “(” parentheses to be safe. More later, after I’ve been able to work this out with the developers of my email client (Goldmine 4.0). Seems that it drops out pointy braces “
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“FRIENDS OF BOSNIA” TO GATHER IN WASHINGTON, DC

“When it comes to future hope and peace for Kosovo and Bosnia & Herzegovina, this event has the capacity to bring together some of the most informed church and government leaders ever!” That’s what one church leader has said about the “Friends of Bosnia” Conference slated in Washington, DC for April 9-10, 1999. Organizers hope the event can:
  1. serve as a launching pad for an informal international network of churches, agencies, and individuals who want to help make a lasting difference for hope and peace in Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Kosovo as well,
  2. encourage churches toward a more active role in participating in Bosnia’s future (Goal: 30 “new churches” represented there, 5 new “adoptions”,
  3. Continue building more and more camaraderie between churches and mission agencies already in Bosnia, and to
  4. Lift up the needs of Bosnia to the Washington, DC, community to reduce the likelihood of forgetting about its future.

The event has already attracted many key leaders in current Bosnian humanitarian outreaches and church planting agencies. Among those scheduled to participate in the event in one way or another are John Rowell and Tom Conway (Sr. Minister and Missions Director, respectively, from Northside Community Church, Atlanta, GA, whose highly successful and well-publicized work in Mostar has served as a model for many entering Bosnia), Doug & Penny Lucas (Doug is President of Team Expansion and is serving as a consultant to 2 churches and a missions agency currently involved in launching new projects in Bosnia), George & Hannah Miley (George is Director of Antioch Network, which has featured Bosnia as a “showcase” field), Jim Rosania (a specialist in Bosnian refugee work in Phoenix, AZ), and many others.

Planners have launched an “online email conference” to facilitate pre-event communication. To join, just send a message to subscribe-fobih-input@xc.org. FoBiH stands for “Friends of Bosnia & Herzegovina Input Group.” To find out more or register for the Washington, DC, event, email DLucas@TeamExpansion.org. Earlybird registration is set for the incredible low price of $69 per person, which includes facilities charges, supper on April 9th and lunch on April 10th. (Any excess funds will be used to convene a similar event in the year 2000 in a site to be chosen at the April conference. Write for details on housing. Registration on or after January 1st is $99 per person.)

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CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH FREE INTERNET CONNECTIVITY

WebWatch The full kind! I’m not just talking about Juno. I figure they’ll lose their customers overnight once NetZero becomes fully operational across the country. Because if you ask me, Juno has captured people only because they’re offering a commodity. . . free email access. But nobody’s going to develop customer-brand loyalty to Juno. Admit it. You just love ’em ’cause they’re free! So now that NetZero is going to come along… and you can also get free unlimited web access and chat and email… then duh! Who in the world will stay with Juno! But here’s the big warning!!! Before you go hopping over to NetZero, first make sure they have a local dial-up in your city. They’ve already got local 56K access in dozens of places like Hackensack, Washington (DC), Bridgeport, New Haven, Birmingham, Seattle, Portland, Boise, Fresno, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Champaign, Miami, Chicago, Detroit, St Louis, Indianapolis, Akron, Mobile, Gainesville, and Olympia but . . . alas… they don’t have Louisville, Denver or Colorado Springs! That knocks out half the Brigada mailing list anyway! :-) But keep track… Steve’s stevepettyjohn@netzero.net been using them for a week with no trouble! Stay tuned to http://www.netzero.net/index.html to watch for openings in other locations! And when they do finally open in an area near you, pounce on it!
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*** SPECIAL “PRAYER FOCUS” SECTION ***
PRAYER IS ON THE RISE!

praying hands You should have seen the broad response received regarding the growing emphasis on prayer! From a church in Australia, birthed partly out of missions and prayer zeal to prayer advocates whose prayer lists literally criss-cross the planet, God is raising up a movement of prayer-partners! There are prayer days and web sites about prayer days… consider http://homezone.com/amf. There are full-time prayer specialists for certain denominations or fellowships – like Randy Sprinkle Randy.Sprinkle@IMB.Org for the Southern Baptists and David Butts Dave2000ad@xc.org for Christian Churches & Churches of Christ. And it crosses not only denominational boundaries, but also international boundaries as well! Consider Paul Haroutunian 76512.105@compuserve.com of an Armenian fellowship, who has started a Wed night prayer meeting at the church, along with an on-fire high school youth focused on prayer, a men’s group, and more! He recommended, (Pray Magazine, From the Navigators), Prayer Power Points, by Roth (Prayer quotes), Prayer Partners by John Maxwell, plus the video-it’s excellent and inexpensive, and Power Through Prayer by E.M. Bounds. Most of these should be available at your local Christian bookstore, if you have a Christian bookstore nearby, that is. One source passed along this quote from the Fall 1994, p 5, Cell Church Magazine. Seems that “It was pioneer missions at its best. J.O. Frasier, a missionary among the Lisus of the mountains of western China earlier this century, struggled whether to work among the southern tribes or the northern tribes. He came to the conclusion that he was to work among the northerners, but from sunup to noon he would intercede for the southerners. As he worked among the northerners, few accepted Christ. Later, Frasier discovered that as a result of one chance contact with a southern man tens of thousands had come to Christ in the southern tribes! Waves of revival had come to the southern tribe not beprayer!” If that doesn’t inspire us to pray, we’d better check our pulse! :-)
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A PRAYER INTERCESSOR FOR YOUR MISSION TEAM

praying hands Mike (we’ll allow him to remain anonymous, or else I fear he’ll be pelted with email and won’t get his work done!) sent along this note regarding a friend working in a creative-access country in Africa. His letter of June 12th speaks for itself. Pretty creative, I’d say. Kind of an exciting turn of events:

“When we tell people we are trying to recruit an intercessor for the mission team, their eyebrows go up ever so slightly. You can see the questions move across their faces whether they are ever voiced or not. A few even say, “An intercessor? We have never heard of such a person or a work.” This is a true statement among mission works in the Churches of Christ. But this should be said to our shame, not our credit. I think it is time to write about an intercessor and how I see him (or her) working on the team.

I actually envision the intercessor being the busiest person on the team. In the beginning, he would travel out to every congregation and preaching point. It would be imperative for him to get a feel for each place, the area, and to put faces with the names. On office days, he would visit and pray with each person who came to the office. He would keep and update his huge notebook of prayer needs. Such a notebook would help him pray more specifically and effectively for each person of place. In addition, he could begin to see trends or weaknesses/ strengths in individuals and congregations. This would be an important observation for those visiting in the field.

Special prayer times of at least one hour a week, would be encouraged for each team member. This would help facilitate communication, provide counseling opportunities, and give encouragement on a personal level. Special times could also be scheduled for church leaders needing additional prayer.

An important tool for the intercessor is similar to the war rooms portrayed in old war movies. In the movies, there was a large map table on which troops, tanks, ships, planes, and other strategic items were placed. Arrows and circles marked movements, battles, or ground held. The movies depicted junior officers running to and fro with dispatches. When news was received, long T-shaped sticks would reposition the map’s symbols to reflect the current situation. Generals would surround the map, watch movements, make decisions, and send out orders. The war room was the hub of communications and decisions. It was the only place where the larger picture was constructed providing the basis for wise and critical decisions that eventually affect the outcome of the war.

I envision an intercessor with a prayer war room. A large map reflects congregations, their level of development, their participation in Bible seminars, their spiritual assessment (strengths and weaknesses), and their prayer needs would be displayed. A whole wall of pictures, some of individual church leaders and others of whole congregations, would remind the intercessor to pray specifically for key people and places. The faces would bring a personal emphasis to each name and place. A wall calendar would reflect coming events which would remind the intercessor of important prayer items in the future. Another list of answered prayers would provide an opportunity for praise. It would also remind us all of the efficacy and power of prayer. Up to date information on clan spirits, shrines, witchdoctors and traditional ceremonies would help delineate the spiritual battlefront which needs assailing with prayer. The intercessor’s notebook would record information brought in by others working in the field. A comprehensive prayer list could then be developed and sent to prayer supporters in the States.

As the intercessor develops his work, new ways of seeing the mission effort will open. New activities and needs will present themselves that I have not listed. The intercessor’s role will change to reflect the mission’s needs as well as the strengths and interests of the intercessor. Future seminars on the discipline of prayer would be developed and taught throughout the area. Regular communication to the churches would mobilize Christians to focus on specific prayer needs. Local and national prayer concerns could be coordinated with other mission teams.

From my perspective, constant, consistent prayer would be one of the most demanding and physically draining works possible. The intercessor would require constant support from his team and family of friends. Also, an intercessor would be a key target for Satan’s attack and temptation.

Some have asked, “You mean all he is going to do is pray?” this shows a lack of faith in the power of prayer. It also reflects a gross misunderstanding of one of a Christian’s most important disciplines. We must remember our enemy is not flesh and blood and that our battle is a spiritual one. Therefore, we can not confine our work and emphasis to the physical realm only. The number of village visits we make, or the courses taught, or the miles traveled all contribute some to the advancement of the kingdom. But prayer – powerful, focused, consistent prayer, can tear down the bulwarks of Satan and free an enslaved people in the darkness of sin.

Let me remind you of the quotes from these famous men of prayer:

  1. “I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer” – Martin Luther.
  2. God does nothing but in answer to prayer – John Wesley.
  3. Prayer – secret, fervent, believing prayer – lies at the root of all personal godliness – William Carey.
  4. Prayer catapults us onto the frontier of the spiritual life. It is original research in unexplored territory…… – Richard Foster.
  5. I know what a lovely, gracious, bountiful Being God is, from the revelation which he has been pleased to make of Himself in His Holy Word; I believe this revelation; I also know from my own experience the truth of it; and therefore I was satisfied with God, I delighted myself in God; and so it came, that He gave me the desire of my heart – George Muller.”

(snip snip — end of note)
note Editors Note: So how ’bout your team? Should you designate a prayer specialist?

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WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT PRAYER FOR CREATIVE-ACCESS COUNTRIES?

praying hands John abweprayer@citynet.net wrote telling of how his mission’s president had helped inspire more prayer in his large mission agency. “As an agency we have daily prayer meetings in the home office that cycle through all of our missionaries. We also produce a weekly digest of prayer requests gleaned from prayer letters, e-mail correspondence and communications that come from the field to the home office. This digest is sent out to all of our missionaries that have access to e-mail plus a growing list of churches and individuals who are prayer for our ministry. Once a month we print and mail a “hard copy” for those who do not have e-mail. We also send a shorter summary (weekly) to Christian college campuses for mission profs., prayer bands and individual students. Between Oct 18 and Thanksgiving we have called our agency and friends to “40 Days of Prayer Around the ABWE World”. Each day one of our 40 countries of ministry is highlighted with background information and current prayer requests from the field. Our web site has daily updates on prayer requests and needs within our mission family on our “family news” page: http://www.abwe.org/family/family.htm” However, John also brought up a very good question: “One area of concern is the difficulty in collecting and reporting requests from those who are working in sensitive countries. When requests have to be hand carried out it limits the communication we receive. If we publish these requests they at times end up getting sent back to the country in the form of personal letters, e-mail or church bulletins that mention that which should remain out of the hands of those who may intercept such correspondence. The bottom line is those who “most” need intercession are our weakest link. Any suggestions?” If you have an idea for John (and the rest of us), please email it to DLucas@teamexpansion.org. Thanks!
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