Courageous Kingdom Decisions – that was the title of my message two Sundays ago from Acts 11. I didn’t realize then that the Lord intended to use that Scripture to push PPI to a next step that week!
I focused on Acts 11:19-26, and explained that God used opposition and difficulty to move the church out of Jerusalem and into Judea, Samaria and ultimately the ends of the earth. I said:
The Apostles stayed in Jerusalem, proclaiming the good news of Jesus, teaching and caring for those who trusted in Christ. And the Jerusalem church continued to grow. Some estimate the number of believers in the Jerusalem church at 20,000 people. Jewish people. In many ways, the first generation of the church was a Jewish revival – just what Jesus’ first disciples had envisioned.
But Jesus had given them a mission to all nations. He had commanded them to expand the message and ministry of the church from Jerusalem and Judea (Jewish people) to the hated Samaritans and all the pagan Gentiles (Acts 1:8). That was and is the mission Jesus gave His church. It wasn’t easy for the Jewish church in Jerusalem to look out its windows at the rest of the world. It’s not easy for us.
So God used persecution to move the church beyond Jerusalem. Opposition and difficulty created opportunity for the spread of the gospel. Watch the sermon HERE
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) caused the “opposition and difficulty” that pushed us take an important next step now rather than later – preparing national pastors to lead PPI training conferences.
On January 12, the CDC issued an order requiring all travelers entering the United States by air to show proof of a negative viral/antigen COVID-19 test 1-3 days before their flight to the United States. These requirements went into effect yesterday (January 26).
That means each person on our U.S. mission team would need to take and pass a viral/antigen test for coronavirus in Haiti and get documented results back within 3 days of flying back home.
I have worked long and hard on a solution to this latest hurdle to our February conference. Over the past 10 days, I have scoured the internet for reliable information. I talked with the CDC, American Airlines, local and state health departments, friends in Haiti, medical professionals, and four pharmaceutical companies.
Everyone is working hard on solutions, but no reliable solution will be available in time for our mission trip in February. So last week, the PPI board and I made the painful decision to cancel our February mission trip and postpone the pastors training in Gonaives.
I communicated this difficult decision to Pastor Esaii and Pastor Jasmin, our two key ministry partners in Haiti. We walked through a plan for them to travel to Gonaives to meet with church leaders there to let them know that we had to postpone the conference, to tell them we plan to come there as soon as the Lord allows, and to encourage and pray with them.
We are disappointed – especially the new and “alumni” Haitian pastors anticipating this training. Yet as our board discussed what to do, God began to make it clear to us that we needed to move equipping national trainers to the front burner this year.
Preparing national trainers has been part of our vision for Partnership of Pastors International from the beginning. And we have taken some good first steps in that area. But with all the time demands of a new mission ministry and “tent-making” as an interim pastor, I had moved the intentional training of trainers to the back burner. God used the “opposition and difficulty” of COVID=19 to move me out of Jerusalem. I’m so thankful!
Last week and this week, I’ve had fruitful conversations about equipping national trainers with my friends and mentors – Chuck Ballard with African Pastors Training and John Jauchen with Help for Christian Nationals. They described their criteria and process for preparing national trainers. They also put me in touch with key ministry partners on the front lines of their equipping of indigenous trainers – David Stevens in Africa and Hector Burke in Central/South America.
I’ll share more as this unfolds. For now we’re working toward going to Haiti in July to lead two back-to-back pastors conferences. And – because God used this opposition and difficulty to push us out of Jerusalem – we are committed to defining a “train the trainer” process and implementing it in Haiti beginning in July.
Please pray for these multiplication efforts!