Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Are you sure you want to be a Missionary?

Got this today from a young couple I met last year when they were back in the States on furlough.  If you thought that missionary work only involved spiritual challenges, think again.  Sometimes theology can get tested in very physical ways.  Pray for the missionaries you know, OK?  Daniel  

Well we finally made it to Lichinga and have internet access. It has been quite the journey. Here is a little synopsis of it. We left Chicago friday afternoon, March 15th and flew to DC, from there we headed to Johannesburg, So. Africa. The 15 hour flight went very well. The kids did great, including Jurnee. They slept for a lot of it. We had to spend the night in Joburg and left the next morning for Maputo. We spent two nights in Maputo picking up our car and doing all the paperwork to put it into our name. We are very happy with our car and the family we bought it from were so incredible to us. They housed us and fed us and took us around to get all the paperwork done. The kids played with their kids and swam in their pool and had a blast. It was a nice break after the long plane ride. Then Tuesday morning we headed out to make our way back to Lichinga. We spent 5 days driving 8 to 10 hours per day until we finally arrived in Lichinga. If you really want to know what that trip was like, we encourage you to load up your vehicle with 10 suitcases, 7 carry on bags, 4 children (including an infant seat) in the backseat and drive through an open field for about 8 hours and you might want to drive some of that time in the rain and mud as we did, and then see what you think! It was exhausting and every night when you climb out of the car, your whole body hurts from the bumping. The kids did great though. They never complained about the room or the length of the trip. They sang, colored, and we played enough "I spy" to drive you crazy. And we did have a few perks of the trip. We saw some amazing scenery and got to spend an afternoon/evening at the coast. It was good to see more of this beautiful country we live in. For pics of the trip check out our blog

We are thankful to finally be back. We came back to "life in Mozambique" - no hot water, broken toilet, dirty house, inconsistent electricity, and crazy rules that make no sense. So it has been and continues to be a process to get our house back in order. It will take a little while. We have also been working on renewing our resident visas. This is always a fun process! Just to give you an idea of what that is like here, this is how it went for us...On Monday, Tim went to the immigration office to turn in all the paperwork we had gathered and filled out to renew the visas. We have to pay about $2 for each of the applications, which are just a simple piece of paper (you would think when your visa costs $600 each, the applications would be included, but not here). He fills out the applications, but their electricity is off, so they tell him to come back in the afternoon. He goes back in the afternoon and it is still off, so they tell him to come back tomorrow. We go back the next morning and turn in the paperwork because the power is back on. They tell us Tim made a mistake on his application and needs to pay another $2 for a new one. He fills out a new one and as we are writing the check they tell us we cannot apply for visa until we get the check verified by the bank (that we have the money in our account to pay for them). So we head to the bank to get the check verified and wait in line for an hour. We then return to the immigration office and can finally turn in our paperwork and get the visas taken care of! And that was just for Tim and I. We still need to do Jurnee's, so we'll see how long that one takes. Besides that though we have been reuniting with friends and Jurnee is the star of the show. Everyone loves to laugh and pinch all her fat. She is referred to as "gorda" or fat. Of course in the States she is only in the 20th percentile for her weight, but here she is just huge!

Thank you to everyone who prayed for our trip, for safety, that the kids would do well on the plane, that our luggage would all arrive without problems, they were all answered! We cannot tell you enough how much your prayers for us mean to our family. Please continue to pray as we get our house settled and get things fixed and figured out. The kids are loving not having to wear shoes again and play outside anytime they want. Jurnee had some rough days after the 5 days of driving, but is settling down again. Just continue to pray for our health as well. Jurnee is too little for the anti malaria medicine, so pray for that. Thanks and we will keep you updated!

FINANCIAL SUPPORT - Oh and a little update on our support. Many of you read and responded to our plea for an additional $600 of monthly support. Well, God was good and we are only about $150 short of what we need. So thank you for your response. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your intentional love and faithful generosity.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Why I'm Leaving the Voice of the Martyrs

Dear {Supervisor},

I told you a couple months ago that I was praying about resigning from the VVN when my year’s term of commitment is up in May.

I feel like the Lord is confirming that I should indeed resign then. I wanted to let you know in advance so that we can work together to make the transition as seamless as possible for the reps.

First of all, I want to make sure you know that I’m not leaving the VVN because of any problem with you, with VOM, or with any of my team. You have all been a delight to work with, and I feel like I have grown tremendously as a result of the training and opportunities that VOM has given me. I’ve experienced so many wonderful times with my VOM “family” and have memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Richard Wurmbrand’s writings have impacted me in ways that no other human writings have. I continue to believe that all Christians must support the persecuted church and that Tortured for Christ and the VOM newsletter are “required reading” for everyone. 

Here are the factors that have led to my decision.

First, getting to know the persecuted church better has shown me that they need far more than “tools”. They need models. Originally I naively imagined that all persecuted Christians were more or less junior versions of Richard Wurmbrand. Now I see that most of them have deep spiritual needs, not just physical needs. Sending dollars and blankets and even Bibles is not enough for me any more. Some day it would be my dream to actually live as a tentmaker in a restricted nation and disciple pastors and evangelists. 

Second, the Lord has opened my eyes to the strategic importance of strengthening the members of my own local church. It’s easy to “love” a persecuted Christian from afar, but quite another thing to love a Christian with whom you have to regularly interact. Yet, I have been realizing that the love of local believers for one another is one of the most important (and in my case, neglected) facets of evangelism. I am seeing the importance of strengthening persecuted churches, not just persecuted individuals. As you know, I have gotten more involved with ministry at church and so far, it’s been great. The experiences I had with VOM helped prepare me for it, and I hope that the experiences I am gaining in church ministry will in turn prepare me for better ministry to the persecuted church in the future.

Third, during the last year or so it seems that my VVN team has wilted under my oversight. I am down to just four active reps now. I think it would be best to transfer care of these reps to someone with fresh energy and vision. 

I will check with the inactive reps and ask them whether they think they may get active in the (near) future. If they say no (I’m pretty sure all 3 will), I’ll formally deactivate them as reps so that the new area coordinator doesn’t have to be the “bad guy”. 

Things are coming together for our annual “in person” team meeting to be held on Saturday, May 12th. This year, it will be in north Tucson. (Most of the active reps are now in southern Arizona so I thought it best to hold the meeting closer to them.)

My thought is to make that team meeting my last official act. This will give me a chance to say “goodbye” in a meaningful way and bring closure to what has been a wonderful season of my life. 

Your thoughts?

In the joy of the gospel,

Daniel B.
Area Coordinator (AZ, UT)
Voice Volunteer Network
The Voice of the Martyrs
"Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?" -- Leonard Ravenhill's tombstone.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What to tell an adulterous pastor?

Mom recently had a pastor in another nation write her.  He had committed adultery with his best friend's wife.  He had not told anyone yet, and asked for her advice.  Wow.  That doesn't happen to us every day!  What would you have said?  Here is what she told him.  (Pray for this man.)

My family and I are praying for you. 
First please take time to prayerfully read and listen to the messages on this link. This helps someone to know their true spiritual condition as God sees it.

Operation World states that of those who claim to be believers in {your nation}, sadly only 10% are truly converted. So I always ask a person to examine themselves [read 2 Corinthians 13:5], and if needed ask a mature believer to speak with you to see if you are genuinely converted. Many pastors are NOT yet converted. I read the testimony of a pastor's wife who was an evangelist for many years. 12 years after being married to her pastor husband, she came to genuine repentance and faith in Jesus.

Now as to what the Bible teaches regarding what to do with this sin you have committed. You must repent, trust Christ and be born again of the Spirit of God if this is not your true condition. After this, you can ask and receive forgiveness from God.

We are forgiven because of what Jesus did on the cross... Jesus took the full wrath of God against our sins... and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sins. Our faith is in the Person of Jesus, not in our prayer or confession of sins.

You must also confess this sin to the ones you have sinned against. This includes the husband of the woman you slept with, your friend... also your wife. 

You must also resign as pastor for a time until you work through what is needed to be restored. According to the teaching of 1 Timothy 2 and Titus 2, you no longer meet the Biblical requirements for an elder [pastor]. This means to notify the man coming from {another country} that you will not be part of the planned crusade. If you are part of a network of pastors, they need to be told. You don't need to tell them who is the woman. You do need to confess adultery. The idea here is to get under the authority of local Godly men who will help you rebuild your marriage and your life.
God forgives all sin, even adultery. However you need to think seriously about the teaching in 1 Corinthians 6 as well as following chapters. It may take a very long time to rebuild trust.
There are sometimes bitter and lasting consequences to such a grievous sin. 

Proverbs 28:13 gives advice about if we should keep silent about our sins. "People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. "

Psalm 51 is the prayer/confession of King David after he committed adultery with Bathsheba.
Psalm 32:1-4 is also a good place to read. Here in English:
Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one
whose sin the LORD does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.

James 5 tells us how to confess our sins to others.

So, first look at website above. If you are NOT sure you are true child of God, please contact us.

Next, you need to confess this sin to a local Godly pastor who will walk with you as you will need to: resign from being a pastor, confess and ask forgiveness of the husband of the woman, confess and ask forgiveness from your wife, put yourself under a pastor who is trained to help people get restored to wife and to understand what is God saying to you now.

Here is a message from a Godly pastor on the subject of what has happened in your life.

We love you and are praying you will come through this time once again doing the work of the Kingdom.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mom's Knee is Improving!

Well friends, it seems that our gracious and all-powerful God is answering your prayers by bringing healing to Mom's body once again.

Last Friday the doctor loaned us a “pivot disc” which is like a lazy Susan that she stands on. It makes it much easier to transfer her from chair to walker to toilet to bed. Since then it has only taken one of us to move her rather than two. This in turn has meant that Dad and I have been able to take turns getting out of the house, going to church events, etc.

This week her pain level has improved. She has been able to get better sleep at night.  The sound of my mother's soft snoring in the other room is one of my favorite sounds.

 A physical therapist has come twice this week. She has been quite knowledgeable and helpful, recommending exercises that Mom is capable of and which actually seem to be helpful. Mom is now able to put some weight on the leg, and is able to move it more freely.

 Another amazing thing is that Mom has been able to tolerate the smell of a natural muscle ointment (smells and works like Ben-gay). In the past the smell would have made her sick.

We are so thankful for your prayers and support during this time!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Is Youcef Nadarkhani a Christian?

Hi ____,
An Iranian Christian news agency is reporting in more detail about Youcef’s non-trinitarianism.
Perhaps the Iranian gov't is shrewd enough to use Mr. Nardakhani's membership in a cult as a way to try to escape Western pressure. Martin' Niemoller's statement about "First they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist..." comes to mind.
The video almost makes the "Christian" Iranian pastors seem unconcerned about Youcef... "Agh, he's doesn't believe in the Trinity. Let him die while we go burn some more incense."
A double tragedy if Youcef is executed: he goes to hell, and the Iranian government is emboldened to further restrict religious freedom.
All the more reason to pray for our brothers and sisters in Iran.
In the joy of the gospel,

Reply I received from M____:
Please note the following comments
The best source for information about Youcef and the small network/movement/denomination of which he is a part (“Church of Iran”) is Jason DeMars at Present Truth Ministries ( ). Here is the key point, including a quote from Firouz, an elder in Youcef’s network:
Recently, Mohabat News has claimed that the Church of Iran network is closely associated with the United Pentecostal Church, believes in baptismal regeneration, salvation by works, Jesus only Sabellianism and that “speaking in tongues [is] the main sign of true salvation.”
The assertions that you see above are false. I have met personally with pastors, missionaries and evangelists that are a part of the Church of Iran network. I can assure you that they preach the Gospel and that salvation is through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. They reject the teaching of the initial evidence of the Holy Spirit being tongues, Jesus only Sabellianism and baptismal regeneration. Not one of the brothers that I have been in contact with has stated they hold to these beliefs, but in fact have told me directly that they do not believe in them.
Firouz Sadegh Khandjani, an elder in the Church of Iran, states that, “We disagree with the oneness [Jesus only] understanding of the unity of God. We do not believe in a simple unity, as in God being one as your finger is one.” Pastor Firouz informed me that he has also written an article in Farsi detailing why the Oneness doctrine is Scripturally wrong.
We know the individual that is spreading the information to the contrary – and he is not close to Youcef as Jason and Firouz are. So, I recommend we say that we have definitive sources that refute the claims about Youcef advancing oneness theology and being part of a cult.
My replies to M____: 
Hi M____,
Thanks for the link. I had seen this before. What you may not be aware of is that Present Truth Ministries (Jason DeMars) is itself Branhamite. William Branham believed he had found a position halfway between trinitarianism and oneness; but when you study his teachings, it quickly becomes apparent that it is just another spin on modalism (sabellianism).
You can find corroboration of what I have just told you on Present Truth Ministries’ web site:
Hope this helps!
P.S. M____: here is even more clear oneness theology as written by Jason DeMars:
If you hover your mouse over “Biblical Doctrine” on either of these pages, you’ll see articles by Jason supporting other Branham doctrines such as the Serpent Seed (Satan had sex with Eve and produced Cain).
Note: another person pointed out that oneness theology would be very appealing to a person coming out of Islam.  It seems to offer them a way to be a Christian without believing in the Trinity.  To a Muslim, the Trinity is abhorrent (because they think it violates the Quranic injunction against "ascribing partners to God").  Sadly, oneness theology is just another route to hell. True Christians believe that God is one being in three persons.  For more background on the importance of the doctrine of the Trinity, see the teaching I gave last year.