Who am I?

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Monrovia, Liberia
I live in Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa with my wife and youngest son. We are recently arrived in Liberia where we are serving as missionaries with Evangelical Church Missions working under the Liberia Evangelical Mission. For most of the last thirty years we have served under ECM in Bolivia, South America. We are the happy parents of four children and the proud grandparents of two grandchildren.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Liberia, Here We Come

I have been posting in the past months about our potential upcoming change of assignment from Bolivia to Liberia, West Africa. I can now say that it is no longer a potential change but a fact. We have been reassigned officially from our ministry in Bolivia to the new ministry of Evangelical Church Missions (ECM) in Liberia. As we have been sharing this with people across the church there are certain questions that seem to crop up time and time again. So below are my FAQ with answers.

What will your ministry be in Liberia?

While there are still a number of details to be worked out, we will be working with the newly formed Liberian Evangelical Mission (LEM) denomination. As I currently see the situation, we can offer assistance in: denominational development, pastoral/leadership training and children's and women's ministry.

What is the relationship between LEM and ECM?

LEM is a legally recognized denomination in Liberia and is a sister church to the Evangelical Church in the US. ECM's role is one of assistance and cooperation. At this point there are no plans for ECM to incorporate in Liberia but rather we will be working under the umbrella and leadership of LEM.

Will you be returning to Bolivia at all?

Yes. We are tentivly scheduled to return to Bolivia in August 2014 for a short period from 12 to 16 weeks. In that time we will need to clear out our household items and, more importantly, say goodbye to the brothers and sisters in the church and to our coworkers and to leave in good order.

When will you arrive in Liberia? How long will you be staying?

Our assignment to Liberia begins in January 2015. We hope to secure visas and arrive in-country in January. Our term is for four years.

Who will be going? Are there other missionaries in Liberia?

Niki, Mark and I are relocating to Liberia. Mark is finishing 10th grade and so has two years left in school. While there are missionaries from other organizations, we will be the only representatives of ECM at this time.

What can we do to help in your transition from Bolivia to Liberia?

You can pray. We need God's direction, discernment and provision in this time of transition. You can consider giving financially to help with the establishment of this new ministry. We still need to raise some additional support in order to meet the goal set for us by the mission.

I hope that these FAQ have given you some answers. Feel free to write us (gordon@ecmissions.org) if you have other questions.

Deputation Advantages

Deputation, (aka home ministry assignment, fund raising, securing support etc.) is seldom considered the most desirable part of missionary life. In fact, some people have positively stated that if they had to do it they would not become missionaries.

I have written about deputation and its challenges before and I must confess that to a certain degree I can understand that sentiment. However, that statement is usually made without remembering that deputation never takes God by surprise. When God called Niki and me to serve in cross cultural ministry with Evangelical Church Missions he knew exactly what would be involved including the support raising aspect. Is it frustrating at times? Yes. Does it seem endless sometimes? Yes. Do we get tired? Yes. But that does not change the fact that God knows, understands and desires for us to be involved in this aspect of ministry. Also those things do not negate the very positive aspects and opportunities of deputation.

I have written before about the great opportunity we have of meeting so many people along the way, of seeing God's faithfulness in supplying our needs, and about the great love we are shown all across our denomination. But I have not commented much on one of the other great opportunities that deputation provides - the opportunity to see and experience many things that we would otherwise probably never see. In just the short time since Easter we have had the opportunity of being in at least 16 different states. Some of them have just been in passing while we have spent time in others. We have gotten to experience regional foods (boiled peanuts, biscuits and gravy, different types of bar-b-que), visited the Space Center in Alabamba, toured the Shiloh Battlefield and visited Giant Pandas in Tennessee, experienced the opera in Texas, and visited the World of Coca-Cola in Georgia. We have seen mountains, lakes, prairies and forests. What an incredible opportunity to explore America.

So I say, thank the Lord for deputation! This part of the ministry has enriched both my life and the life of my family. As we head out again tomorrow, I can hardly wait to see what will be next.