"We mustn't drive drunk!" Percy Muleba

 Percy Muleba saw snow for the first time at the Grand Canyon!

Percy Muleba saw snow for the first time at the Grand Canyon!

A year or two ago, my dear Zambian friend, Percy Muleba, and I were talking on the phone about all the amazing ways the Lord was at work in our mission efforts. Things were just flowing, slowly and smoothly, like the Zambezi River.

I commented, "We just have to stay on our raft in the middle of the river and let the Lord take us where he wants us to go." To which Percy replied, "Yes, we mustn't drive drunk!"

Puzzled, I asked for an explanation. Percy said, "We're drunk in the Spirit right now and when you're drunk in the Spirit, it's better to get into the back seat and let the Lord drive."

Indeed!

So why do I bring this up now? It's because ever since Percy arrived in the U.S. on February 2nd, it's been another one of those times when we simply mustn't "drive drunk." Things are flowing, and the Lord's leading and timing are leaving us stunned and amazed.

 Percy enjoyed time in Phoenix with GTN President Paul Madson and his wife, Lisa.

Percy enjoyed time in Phoenix with GTN President Paul Madson and his wife, Lisa.

The purpose of Percy's trip was to: 1) interview with the Global Training Network (GTN) board during GTN's annual leadership gathering in Phoenix on February 17th ; 2) visit Liberty University to learn more about their Worship Leader courses of study; 3) raise financial support from new ministry partners for his Zambian mission.

Percy's interview with GTN went great. President Paul Madson had visited Percy in Zambia last September and spent three days with him there. The board's interview built on that and was characterized by the Christ-centered, relational and practical approach Abby & I have so appreciated over the years we've been on staff with GTN.

 Percy is now Senior Staff with GTN!

Percy is now Senior Staff with GTN!

Most importantly, the board offered Percy a Senior Staff position with GTN and he became the first fully indigenous member of GTN's staff!

Wes Tuttle, the Worship Pastor at River Oaks Community Church (EPC in Clemmons, NC graciously arranged a visit to Liberty University (LU) for Percy. Wes had been one of the people the Lord used in the mid-90's to launch LU's Masters and Doctoral programs in Worship Leadership in partnership with Integrity Music. In addition, Wes had served as the Director of Integrity Music's international worship leader training prior to coming to River Oaks.

Wes had set up a meeting for Percy with Dr. Vernon M. Whaley, the dean of LU's School of music. Dr. Whaley was so encouraging and visionary. He warmly welcomed us, reviewed the courses of study, and then offered Percy the opportunity to study for his M.A. in Ethnomusicology and then go on to the Doctor of Worship Studies. He explained that both degrees can be done online! He then handed Percy an application which Percy filled out. His admission is currently in process!

 We enjoyed a fantastic mini-concert by LU Praise!

We enjoyed a fantastic mini-concert by LU Praise!

Dr. Whaley then arranged a tour of the amazing new Center for Music & Worship led by a great guy, Tim Williamson. After that, we were treated to a mini concert by LU Praise, a 25-member gospel concert choir that serves as an official representative team for Liberty University's Center for Music & Worship.

Percy's efforts to build a stronger mission support team are underway and have begun well. He has met or is scheduled to meet with several churches: Oak Island EPC; Lake Forest EPC; Centre EPC; Bethlehem EPC; First Presbyterian (Mooresville); Lighthouse EPC; and others. He has received commitments from churches and individuals for about half his 2018 budget. We are praying for more!

If you'd like to join his team, you can do so by sending support to him through GTN. You can mail a check (see below) or phone GTN at 623-217-3867 to use a credit card or set up a bank draft. (Percy's staff page will be up at GTN (www.GlobalTrainingNetwork.org) in a week or two for online giving.

Make check payable to: Global Training Network (Memo: Percy Muleba - #50212)                  Mail check to: Global Training Network, P O Box 6507, Peoria, AZ  85385

Many other things have flowed well, also...

Percy has been blessed medically by the unbelievable generosity of Dr. Kimberly Christman (Dentist), Dr. Christopher Mills (Optometrist) and Dr. Steve Ferguson (Internist) and their awesome teams. Dr. Ferguson prescribed an inhaler to help Percy with the reactive asthma he's been unknowingly dealing with since recovering from tuberculosis in 2012, and it's made an amazing difference with Percy's stamina and singing voice!

Percy was warmly welcomed to Steve & Lisa Hunter's community group where he taught on biblical worship. Steve and Lisa also graciously hosted Percy and us for a long, lingering lunch following worship at Lake Forest one Sunday.

 Percy has enjoyed hanging out with Andy Muhich, the Missions Pastor at Lake Forest Church.

Percy has enjoyed hanging out with Andy Muhich, the Missions Pastor at Lake Forest Church.

Our own Callan & Grimes community group welcomed Percy back - he had visited in 2015 - with open arms and welcomed his mission report with enthusiasm.

Last, but certainly not least, Percy has enjoyed reconnecting with many old friends and making new friends, as well.

What's upcoming?

Percy is preaching at Lighthouse EPC in Mooresville on March 18th.

Lake Forest Church (LFC) will be hosting a GoLunch for Percy following worship on March 25th at 12:30pm where he will share his vision. Prior to the lunch, during both morning services, Percy will sing with the praise team and be interviewed by Harrison Gillming, the Director of Worship Arts at LFC.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ATTEND THE LFC LUNCH on March 25th, please click on RSVP!

 Harrison Gillming, the Worship Arts Director at Lake Forest Church, will interview Percy at both Huntersville campus worship services (9:30 and 11:05am) on March 25th.

Harrison Gillming, the Worship Arts Director at Lake Forest Church, will interview Percy at both Huntersville campus worship services (9:30 and 11:05am) on March 25th.

Westminster EPC in Burlington is hosting Percy at a mission dinner on March 25th.

Percy will fly to Colorado (April 12-27) to spend a couple of weeks with old friends and mission partners, Eric and Jan deNeve.

On April 29th, Percy will be the featured speaker at Fifth Sunday Fellowship sponsored by United Faith Alliance in Statesville. It will be held at First Baptist Church, Statesville.

Percy returns to Zambia on May 3rd.

We are so grateful to the Lord and all our mission partners for making Percy's visit such a success so far. Please pray that the last half of Percy's visit is as full of God sightings as the first half!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mission: The Times They Are A-Changin'!

 Pastor Percy Muleba (L) with three of his students in Mongu, Zambia

Pastor Percy Muleba (L) with three of his students in Mongu, Zambia

For the last several hundred years, mission has flowed from the West to the East/South. Yet, over the last fifty years, Christianity has begun to wane in the West. The mission flow has begun to reverse, moving from the East/South to the West. God's Kingdom never stops growing!

Today, more than 75% of the world's Christians live in the Majority World (non-Western). The church is exploding in places like Southern Africa where we do most of our training. And the Christians in places like South America, Asia and Africa, who are the fruit of the West's mission work, are now becoming missionaries themselves to the West. What goes around comes around!

One such missionary is Pastor Percy Muleba from Zambia, our dear friend, brother and colleague, who will be arriving in NC on February 2nd and will be in the States for twelve weeks!

Pastor Percy is coming as a missionary, Bible teacher and worship leader who is hoping to strengthen and expand his Mission Support Team while he is here.

To welcome Pastor Percy, we are holding an open House on Saturday, February 10th from 7-9pm at our home (151 Spring Grove Drive, Mooresville, NC). We'd love for you to attend.

Please RSVP to Doug and Abby at: dkvinez@gmail.com.

And, please pray that Percy's time in the States will be a fruitful time of mission and of building his mission support team!

La Republica Dominicana fue Maravillosa!

 Our Cabrera students' enthusiasm was contagious!

Our Cabrera students' enthusiasm was contagious!

The Dominican Republic was wonderful! But, wow! What a whirlwind! Our two weeks in the DR just flew by. We had a great time, enjoyed working with our teams, and feel confident that our training had a positive impact. All in all, it was time well spent!

 Motorbikes and motorcylces were everywhere, and the traffic patterns were amazing!

Motorbikes and motorcylces were everywhere, and the traffic patterns were amazing!

We went to the DR as the guests of Steve and Toby Hopper, our GTN colleagues. They've been working in the DR for some time and we so appreciated the opportunity to join in. Regrettably, Toby couldn't make this trip - she was caring for their adult son, Steve, who had recently broken his hip and elbow!

 Week 1 Team (L to R): Doug, Abby, Ann, Michael, Mary, Mesa & Steve

Week 1 Team (L to R): Doug, Abby, Ann, Michael, Mary, Mesa & Steve

Our DR hosts, Mesa and Mary Taveras, were amazing. Their warm welcome, wonderful personalities, constant consideration of our needs and outstanding translating abilities really made the trip easy.

 Week 2 Team (L to R): Mesa, steve, Sandy, Mary, Abby Compa & Doug

Week 2 Team (L to R): Mesa, steve, Sandy, Mary, Abby Compa & Doug

Our fellow team members, Ann Yorty & Michael Brogna (week 1) and Sandy Brown (week 2), were so much fun and were very gifted teachers, as well. It was wonderful to work with them.

Our driver, Compa (short for compadre), was terrific. Watching him negotiate the motorcycles in cities where stop signs are "only a suggestion" was truly a sight to behold.

And, last but certainly not least, Steve was a great team leader who kept us Christ-centered and focused every day, encouraged us every step of the way and was a delight to hang out with.

 Templo Biblico del Sur in Barahona was one of our host churches.

Templo Biblico del Sur in Barahona was one of our host churches.

We taught in four locations, Rio San Juan (10/23-25), Cabrera (10/26-27), Barahona (10/30-11/1), and Azua (11/2-4). At each location, we were warmly welcomed by the host pastor and his wife. We taught pastors, pastors' wives, elders, key leaders and laypersons at all four locations. Everyone warmly welcomed us!

 Our students were focused and attentive.

Our students were focused and attentive.

Abby taught Family & Church Systems, helping the students to understand the Lord's plan for their lives and ministry. I taught Key Themes of the Old Testament in Rio San Juan and Making Disciples in the other locations.

 Abby's Barahona students were very responsive!

Abby's Barahona students were very responsive!

The need for training in the DR is enormous. Mesa explained to us that, outside the larger cities, pastors are typically untrained and work full-time jobs outside the church. Comments we received from pastors echoed this:

 Pastor Jesus and his wife, Virginia, warmly welcomed us in Azua!

Pastor Jesus and his wife, Virginia, warmly welcomed us in Azua!

One pastor said, "I've never received teaching like this before!" Another commented, "You have planted a seed in our hearts which will not fail to bear fruit." Still another, "When are you coming back to teach an overview of the New Testament?"

 Eddie, the Worship Leader in Azua, was an especially enthusiastic student who spoke English fluently, and it was great to get to know him.

Eddie, the Worship Leader in Azua, was an especially enthusiastic student who spoke English fluently, and it was great to get to know him.

Our hosts in Cabrera were Pastor Julio and his wife, Maritza, who welcomed us into their home, fed us several great meals, and gave us a tour of Maritza's Christian school which welcomes special needs kids. The school was beautiful and the presence of the Holy Spirit was palpable. It was great to get to know Julio and Maritza who both spoke great English, by the way. Ahh...

 Pastor Julio and his wife, Maritza, were delightful!

Pastor Julio and his wife, Maritza, were delightful!

 We enjoyed meeting this precious girl, a "little person," who attends Maritza's school.

We enjoyed meeting this precious girl, a "little person," who attends Maritza's school.

Steve, Mesa and Mary have graciously invited Abby and me to return to the DR to do further training. Would you join us in prayer as we seek the Lord's will about this? One thing we do know, if we decide to return we'd like to learn a bit of Spanish. No debería ser muy difícil, ¿verdad?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a great start in the DR!

 Abby and I have been getting to know Pastor Miguel and his wife, Persida, a delightful couple!

Abby and I have been getting to know Pastor Miguel and his wife, Persida, a delightful couple!

We weren't sure what to expect when we left home for the Dominican Republic. On the one hand, we knew we had a great team leader in Steve Hopper, one of our GTN colleagues. But, we hadn't met our other team members, Michael Brogna and Ann Yorty, or our hosts, Mesa and Mary Taveras. Well, what a wonderful few days it's been! Our hosts are awesome, our team has meshed beautifully and Steve's doing a great job leading.

We've been training in a great church in Cabrera and the training's gone very well. Abby & Ann, with Mary interpreting, have been training about sixty women and Michael and I, with Mesa interpreting, have been training about thirty men. 

 Preparing the whiteboard for training! (The chart at the top is © 2017 by Michael Brogna.)

Preparing the whiteboard for training! (The chart at the top is © 2017 by Michael Brogna.)

Abby & Ann have focused on the family and Michael and I have focused on the Old Testament, both per request and the teaching has been well received.

The response from the students has been great with lots of interaction. Mesa says the students are "on fire" about the training and are already asking when we'll return to do more!

 Persida cooked an amazing lunch for us today!

Persida cooked an amazing lunch for us today!

We ate an amazing lunch today at Pastor Miguel and Persida's home. Persida's quite a cook and we feasted on roast chicken and pork, cucumber & avocado salad with salsa dressing, rice, beans, plantain balls stuffed with cheese, and papaya for dessert! Wow!

All in all, we're grateful for such a terrific start. Thanks for your support and prayers. Please keep praying!