Rosene, welcome to All About Missions and welcome back to Kansas! How did you end up in Thailand and what did you do?
What was one of the best parts of your life in Thailand?
So you were the last staff at Chara Ministries. Is there still a need for the services that Chara provided?
Would it be possible for someone to start a similar organization?
In the future, possibly. At this point there are some options being explored for starting up a program in another country.
What’s next for you?
What are some of your favorite books?
What advice do you have for someone considering ‘child care as ministry’?
Hi folks. Today’s interview is with a great guy who can’t go on the record, so to speak. Here it is!
Welcome to allaboutmissions! What do you do?
I’m a business professional living with my family in urban setting in a Muslim country. My goal is to be a disciple of Christ in the marketplace.
How did you end up there?
It’s a long story! God gave me a desire to be in a place like this and then through a long, twisting path equipped me with skills and training to come.
What do you like best about being a tent-maker?
I love the work I do. I love having the privilege of working alongside colleagues here in a professional setting. And more than anything else I love it when I realize that I am having the opportunity to live Christ here in everyday life. In Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell said “When I run I feel His pleasure.” That’s how I feel when I go to work each day.
What do you like the least?
The schedule is tough — it’s hard juggling a full-time job, family, ministry, language learning, and the overhead of life abroad.
Should everybody be a tentmaker?
No. I’m an enthusiastic advocate of tent-making, but it’s not the right thing for everyone. Make sure that the career is really a good fit for you. For example, if you wouldn’t enjoy doing business at home, then it’s probably not the right thing for you abroad.
What do you love about the culture?
It’s an incredibly warm, friendly culture. Their hospitality puts us to shame so many times.
What about the culture do you find wearing?
Jealousy and suspicion are deep-rooted problems here.
What is it like to raise a family in a Muslim country?
It’s a privilege. I don’t know any place I’d rather be. There are aspects that are harder than in the West, but there are others that are easier. We have many friends here and have felt a lot of respect from them for our faith.
Is there a need for more people to be reaching out to Muslims?
Absolutely. So few have had the opportunity to see a true follower of Christ or to hear His message.
What advice do you have for someone considering business as mission?
Pray. Prepare both professionally and spiritually. It will be a tough road — prepare yourself for a long, strenuous marathon of faith. Run with patience and with your eyes on the cross.
Hey folks, I’ve got a great interview for you with Rachel Yoder. Enjoy!
How long did you work in Romania?
I served there a total of seven years: four years in northern Romania under CAM, and three years teaching Christian Counseling courses at the Baptist Theological Institute in Bucharest.
What were some of the things you did under Christian Aid Ministries?
I helped with projects at Natanael Christian Orphanage befriending the young people, mentoring and encouraging them as well as with the youth from Natanael Church, in their walk with the Lord. I helped in other departments, Jericho Road Ministries for an example: with seed distribution, Bible studies, visitation, and Vacation Bible School with the Roma people (aka the Gypsy population). I provided transportation to court houses for couples living together who wished to legalize their relationship by marriage, a project initiated by JRM. At a Bible School sponsored by the Natanael church and other Mennonite churches in southern Romania, Ukraine, and Moldovia, I served as dean for the girls in attendance. I taught a class for the girls and women at this same Bible School entitled, “Facing the Future with Faith,” using women’s stories from the Bible as examples to live by. I also served as an interim housemother for girls from the Orphanage in Phase II who lived in a group home after they turned eighteen years of age. For a bit of community of involvement, I taught English one to two hours a week to children at a local kindergarten for two school terms.
Were you employed by the Baptist seminary in Bucharest or supported some other way?
The Baptist seminary provided housing for me and helped me get my residence visa to stay legal in the country. My home church and friends supported me with my living expenses. The seminary was not legally allowed to pay me, so as not to take away paid positions from Romanians.
How were your two posts different?
In northern Romania I worked much more in rural settings and humanitarian aid activities and under a Mennonite run organization. In Bucharest my interactions involved a wide cross section of people. I met people from numerous mission organizations, churches, countries. I loved the wide diversity in people and experience that urban living provided. Another difference was in my work. In teaching at the seminary, I was in academia, a role I really enjoyed.
What was one of your worst experiences in Romania?
I can think of unpleasant things such as someone attempting to rob me on a tram once, or poor customer service. Probably one of my hardest experiences in Romania though was living with unfulfilled dreams. I think this phenomenon is not unusual among missionaries. It can be quite common for workers to go forth with much energy and vision, but the reality of one’s life can turn out to be quite a bit different than earlier held expectations.
What was one of your best experiences?
This hardest experience also proved to be one of my best experiences. It is because it drove me to the Lord and in new ways He became my expectation/ hope. Looking back, I can see how God used this time to prepare me for fruitfulness and joy in later ministry.
What do you see as the most effective way to reach Romanians with the Good News?
First of all by becoming a friend. Romanian people are very friendly and hospitable people who love to share their culture and great food with you. I found that to receive and learn from them was a great way to build trust and friendship. By truly enjoying one another it became a great segue to talking about Kingdom principles and God’s ways of living.
What was one of the hardest parts of reentry?
Leaving very meaningful relationships and ministry in Romania and wondering what in my home community could parallel these.
Where are you working now?
I am working as a counselor at New Hope Counseling Services at 400 S. Main in Hutchinson, Kansas.
What is your advice for someone who is considering counseling training in preparation for missions?
Take all the missions courses you can and training for counseling cross culturally to gain an understanding of what to look for and expect. At the same time, work to give up the need to live in comfort. Embrace the learned experience of Paul: in whatever circumstance, with poverty or with much, to be content… because in this he knew he “could do all things through Christ” who strengthened him (Phil 4:11-13). If possible, partner with others on your mission team who have had similar training as you had. Finally, find seasoned missionaries, as I did, who can mentor you in all phases of your mission experience: prior to leaving, during, upon your return from the mission field. And remember that even after you are no longer in the classroom, you will still be in God’s school continuing to learn what He wants you to.
I got to know Lyndon as a fellow student at Institute for Global Opportunities. I’m very happy to share this interview with you. I hope to continue featuring missionaries and aid workers in the future.
Me: Welcome to allaboutmissions.com. How did you end up in Haiti?
Lyndon: I got there largely because I went to IGo and I met up with Merle Burkholder. He introduced me to the idea of micro finance. I was intrigued by it because you could help people help themselves. I told him that I was interested in the project they were starting. That eventually led me to contact him and that’s why I’m in Haiti.
Me: What do you do there?
Lyndon: We have some staff that work for us and I provide some oversight for them. I also work on tracking savings and I also did a survey with some individual group members.
Me: What organization do you work for?
Lyndon: I work for Open Hands which is under the umbrella of Anabaptist Financial.
Me: Is there a spiritual side to what you do?
Lyndon: Yes there is a spiritual side to our program. In order to relieve poverty we need to deal with spiritual issues that manifest themselves in broken relationships.We have bible based curriculum that we teach in the savings group because we want them to see the Word of God as a guide for their life and for their business. We also work with churches in hopes that savings groups in the churches will reach out in their communities, exposing people to Christianity through contact with the group. Unchurched Haitians who join a savings group to save money can start attending church as well.
Me: What makes some savings groups successful?
Lyndon: One of the things that makes a group successful is when relationships are built between members of the group. They can assist each other spiritually or monetarily. Another factor is good group leaders who take their responsibility seriously. Like Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”
Me: What was one of your worst experiences in Haiti?
Lyndon: My worst experience was the earthquake on January 12, 2010. I was living by myself and I was brand new, having been there only 3 months. My second worst experience was dealing with cross cultural stuff in trying to work with people. There was a lot of tension and conflict that went with that.
Me: What was one of your best experiences?
Lyndon: An ongoing best experience is when I hear about people who have become Christians or started attending church as a result of contact with other Christians in their group. Also when I hear about people who’s lives have been improved through their involvement in their group.
Me: How do the locals see you?
Lyndon: There’s an aspect in which as a foreigner, they see me as the person with the money. I think that has changed as I eat rice and beans and buy food off the street. I intermingle with them a lot, since I live by myself.
Me: Do you have any expansions in the works?
Lyndon: Yes we have. In Haiti our goal is to work in areas with Mennonite churches. In this coming year there is a possibility of expanding in two new areas in Haiti. There’s even the possibility of starting in a new country.
Me: In what kinds of countries do savings groups work best?
Lyndon: In any country where people are willing to work together and make sacrifices to save small amounts of money.
Me: What is your advice for someone who wants to help other people financially?
Lyndon: Make sure that you’re not creating dependents. People need a hand up, not a hand out.
To learn more or contribute, visit Anabaptist Financial