2016: The Year in Review

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Year-end meetings are behind me and the beginning of a new year provides a brief window to take a breather, look around, and reflect.

I flipped back through my calendar to remember what happened in January 2016 and reviewed all the milestones that led us to where we are today.

This was a challenging ministry year. And while there were whispers of God’s faithfulness sustaining us through each challenge; looking back His overwhelming providence is loud and clear.

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Last year we entered into a partnership with John Maxwell to launch the Lead Today tween and teen leadership program in Ghana. This biblically-based leadership curriculum emphasizes the development of character and leadership competencies training young people to use their influence for good and to make their world a better place.

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In the spring, we unexpectedly lost Jim Byh, our Regional Director for French-speaking Africa, and wondered if the newfound momentum of the Lumière church planting initiative might be lost with him.  But God was faithful. There’s a report sitting on my desk right now to update me on Lumiere’s progress. What seemed impossible in the days after Jim’s passing, by God’s grace, the rising up of John Walada stepping into leadership, and faithful partners rallying, the progress is continuing in strength.

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The Bible App for Kids launched in Japanese in January of this year. According to the CIA World Factbook, only 1.5% of the entire population of Japan identifies as Christian. More than 126 million people live in the country, and now the children have access to the Good News through this free app.

My family has seen a year of transition–Diandra got married and so did my dad! Through it all, Kim has been faithful to ground our life and ministry. I’m so thankful for her intentionality to reorient us to our next season of ministry as a couple.

Stepping into 30 years—we are building new programs and have fresh opportunities to work alongside the church. And while we don’t know exactly what these will look like or what God is going to do, there’s a keen sense of anticipation for what lies ahead.

Final numbers aren’t in yet, but we’re on target to have reached 101 million children and youth this year. While that number is impressive, it’s stories like Cornelia’s that vividly remind us that it’s not a number that we are working to attain. Each number has a face, each face has a name, and it’s each individual heart that keeps us racing to do Kingdom work. As we head into 2017, may your heart fully embrace this truth:

Sing a new song to the LORD, for he has done wonderful deeds. His right hand has won a mighty victory; his holy arm has shown his saving power!
~ Psalm 98:1 (NLT)