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Filtering by Category: Local Partners



My wife often jokes with me that I have the spiritual gift of networking (which is often followed by her telling me I also have spiritual gift of hanging-out).  And while there isn't necessarily anything spiritual about networking, God definitely uses connecting with others as a way to do ministry. Over the past couple years as we've set out to try something new and use coffee as a way to sustainably reach villagers, there have been countless connections with people that have made it possible.  Literally, I tried to count up the connections last night, many of which came completely out of the blue, and lost track somewhere around 83.  From knowledgeable and passionate guys on our board, to coffee roasters, to missionaries, to pastors and church leaders. . .  And when we had to make a move to a new country a few months ago, I wasn't sure if it would work because we had so many unique connections in the place where we were.  After we made the move, God has once again reminded me that He is in control of this by setting up more relationships in this new country.  I saw an example of this just a couple weeks ago:

A missionary in the country that we're now in is currently in my hometown on stateside.  He is a friend of a friend (a friend of several friends actually) that has gotten mixed up with us.  We go out every few weeks for lunch or coffee and talk about ways that we might be able to work together when he gets back overseas and how we can minister to the people there in better ways.  And even though the country that he serves in is small, they have a fairly large population in my neighborhood with several restaurants.  The past couple times we've gone out, we pick one of these restaurants for lunch.  About a week ago we went to a new place, and because my friend speaks the language, we quickly met all the waitresses and the owner.  As we were talking to the owner, she tells me that she is from the town that Luv-Luv is currently living in, and she has some things she would love for me to get to her parents who live there.  We talk for a while and eventually ask her about her faith, and she lights up and tells us that she is a Christian.  She then begins to ask us if we can take a Bible to her parents, because she has shared with them over the phone and they are new believers, but they don't have a full Bible to read.  I told her that my friends who live there would love to take them one, and she gives me their address in a village outside of the town.  As it turns out, the missionary who helps Luv-Luv has been wanting to start ministry in this village.

Half a world away, in a town with a population of about 80,000 and a Christian population of less than 2%, and their daughter owns a business about a mile from my house and needs someone to give them a Bible and share the Gospel.  What are the odds?  The only explanation I have is that God connects people together.

A Quick Update on Luv-Luv


Just wanted to update everyone on what we've been up to lately.  A little over a month ago Luv-Luv went to East Asia to be a full-time missionary.  He's been meeting local guys, traveling out to their villages and getting relationships started. Luv-Luv has also been traveling quite a bit.  There's a retired missionary who has partnered up with us that has helped us with some relationships in town.  He is currently trying to get some ag work up and going a little further south that we could potentially work alongside.  Luv-Luv spent about a week and traveled down there to see if it was a possibility for us.

Luv has also been working on his visa a lot.  He came in on a tourist visa and has been trying to switch to a business one so that he can freely go out to villages and not raise any questions.  It turns out switching visas is nearly impossible for us to do in-country.  Sometimes working with foreign countries and visas can be a little tricky.  Actual information doesn't always match the information they'll tell you and a lot of it can depends on the mood of the guy working the visa counter.  We're trying to figure out the best solution for Luv's visa and hope to have it all resolved in the next few weeks.

I'm leading a group out there in June, so the plan is that Luv will be back in time to meet up with us on that trip.  He'll help us out with translation and hopefully we can encourage him as well.  Plus I'm excited for our group to see him again and hear about the work in person.

Profile: The Guy Who Now Sells Rocks


While living in East Asia a couple of years ago, we worked with several villagers that allowed us to grow coffee test-plots on their land.  When trying to find village partners, we looked for farmers that were believers (if possible), trustworthy, and willing to take the risk on trying a new crop in their area.  Because we were trying something new, we would provide the coffee seedlings and training on how to grow the coffee, but the farmers would be responsible for the land and taking care of the coffee.  Once the coffee produced beans, we would be able to collect data but the farmer was able to keep the crop.  This was our strategy on most test-plots.  Once we discovered if the crop would work in that area, we could then go on to sell seedlings to farmers at a discounted rate, but we didn't want to charge for something that could potentially fail (after all, it hadn't been tried before).  The strategy typically worked out well in a culture where people had some unusable land and lots of free time. One of the people that we partnered with was Uncle SG.  Uncle SG lives down by a large river, which has a lot of fertile land and is an economically better-off area than most villages.  Uncle SG is a believer, but his family is not, and his village is one that we hadn't been able to do much sharing in.  Uncle SG is one of the most outgoing local guys I know.  Every time we would visit his house he would be joking about something.  He's also had a hard life.  His teenage son had an accident to his head which has changed his behavior and ability to speak.  His wife is also a different minority group and has a speech issue, which has caused her to be an outsider to most of the village.  Uncle SG is a great village partner to have, however we could never leave his house without having to stay and talk with him for HOURS.

When we first went to plant our test plot at his house, he showed us this beautiful field surrounded by mountains and with a clear view of the river.  He said we could use as much of the field as we needed.  Every time we planted coffee, we needed to dig a 1 1/2 foot deep by 1 1/2 foot wide hole before filling it with fertilizer, dirt and the coffee seedling.  We planted 100 plants for each test-plot; which, using just shovels and pickaxes, makes for a very long day.  Our plan was to dig the holes one day and then return the next with the seedlings.

When we returned the next day, several people from the village showed up to watch what we were doing.  We had several people ask us if they could have coffee seedlings to plant in their own fields.  When we told them that we were doing a test and they could have seedlings later if it worked.  I could hear them telling each other in the local language that they'd pull the seedlings out of the field at night and plant them in their own.  Apparently, the other villagers had told uncle SG this as well, because he was worried about the field.  So we decided not to plant seedlings in his nice field, and instead Luv-Luv and I came back later that week and dug another 100 holes on a hill in his back yard.  I don't think I've ever been so sore in my life.

We came back to visit uncle SG this past summer.  Most of the people who would partner with us are generally forward thinking and early adapters compared to most villagers (which is why they would let us try something new), and Uncle SG was no exception.  When we came back to visit him, he had added two new rooms to his house, including one with nice furniture and a TV.  We started talking to him about where he came into all of his money, and he said that he'd started a new business of selling rocks to rich people in the capital.  Because his village is close to the river, there are lots of smooth stones.  Uncle SG goes down to the river and finds areas with lots of the rocks, hires a truck to take it to the city and makes a few dollars off each ton that he ships.  He started having so much business that he ships rocks a few times a week.  It may not seem like a lot of money to us, but in a village where the cost of living is almost nothing, it is a lot of money.

Like every time we visit Uncle SG, we spent HOURS with him this summer.  When he heard we were coming, he killed a chicken (which is the not so subtle way of saying you have to stay for dinner, because well... there's no refrigerator and the chicken ain't coming back to life again).  He also rode with us and showed us another village a few hours away that had a different people group we had been trying to find.  Please pray for Uncle SG and his family.  Pray that his family would come to know Christ and that doors would open in his village so that others may hear.