Sunday, September 29, 2013

My part in the written curriculum is complete.

This is the testimony of Safwat & Pearl Habashi, long-time friends of George & Bobbie Anderson, and faithful supporters of Lisa and her family.

“The day you presented the entire curriculum you and your team have written over the last 30-years I was stunned. I have tracked with you over the years, carefully read your newsletters, and yet had no idea of the breadth and depth of writing you were involved in. I am impressed with the professionalism of the materials. It is like you have an entire university curriculum completed for Christian camping, with college level professors prepared to teach it as well. These folks have chosen to belong to this team, they each have full lives, have their own jobs and families to take care of, but here they are with a long-term commitment. It’s obvious they look beyond themselves to the next generation of Christian leaders these materials will help them shape. They came as learners, with a vision to impact their sphere of influence in Latin America. They are not one-time camp counselors trained for one summer of service, they are being trained for a lifetime of service.”

The team of professors who are assuming the responsibility to teach instructors how to use these training materials to develop leaders in Christian camping all over Latin America.  
“Lisa, regarding your particular role in CCI’s publications. I see it like this: Once a house is built, the residents often celebrate with a house warming. That is what we did during the party held at North Way Christian Community—we celebrated. In a manner of speaking, you have built the house; the curriculum is completed. Now it is up to the residents of the building to maintain it. Let them make corrections, tweak, and improve it. Beware of the tendency to dependence, don’t become a nanny to the professors. Keep coaching them but don’t hold their hands, let them fly.”

This trip to Pittsburgh granted me many opportunities to listen to wise counsel like this.

You can view a series of 4 video clips on where I present CCI/Latin America's written curriculum:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bobbie Anderson's enduring legacy

Lisa translating for Baha Habashy's workshop: Living your strengths
One day when we were at North Park Evangelical Presbyterian Church receiving a workshop on “Living your Strengths” I walked into the bathroom and was greeted:
Bobbie Anderson! Oh I’m sorry, I know you are Lisa Anderson, but when I saw you, you reminded me so much of your mom. Do you know that your mother led me to the Lord when I attended her Bible study at Woman-to-Woman over at Memorial Park Pres. Church?
At this point my eyes are filled with tears as we embrace and I praise God for how the Lord used my mom in her life. I return all teary-eyed to the workshop to continue translating and everyone wonders why I am crying:
As I related this story, I said: Where else in the world could you be where you would hear first-hand stories of my mother? Only here in Pittsburgh can stories like these convey the impact my mother had on me and countless others whose stories we’ll never know until we are all together in heaven.
George & Bobbie Anderson

It happened again while we were at Ligonier Camp when Ray Speicher dropped in for a visit. As we introduced him to the team, he told a story about my mother that heretofore I hadn’t known:
After my conversion in Dec 1976, I was attending a Bible study at  Ingomar Methodist Church. There I met Betty Pomeroy who was talking to Boobie about the upcoming Easter play at Memorial Park. Bobbie told Betty that she wanted someone a little older than the kids in Memorial Park’s youth group (called F.U.D.D.) to play Jesus. Betty suggested to Bobbie that she call me. I came to Memorial Park to meet and talk with Bobbie about the play. The first person that greeted me was Marcia McCabe who is now my wife of 33 years. Bobbie was also a great encourager and mentor for Marcia.

While I was getting in involved with F.U.D.D. (Fishermen’s Union of Devoted Disciples) and the play, I met Dave Van Gorder and he told me about Vision 77, the evangelistic outreach at North Park. I started to help with the prep for this event and during a time of prayer Bobbie prayed for the Holy Spirit to come fill us. She prayed in tongues and it happened for me as well. Another wonderful thing that happened during the Vision 77 event was my younger brother received Jesus and he was born again by the Spirit. Bobbie in many ways was functioning in an apostolic way to the FUDD leaders and Pastor Jay Passavant. She was bold but gracious and effervescent. I loved her and admired her.

Where but in Pittsburgh could my dear Latin American friends hear first-hand stories about my parents and their impact as parents and fellow co-laborers in God's Kingdom work?

This is one more of the reasons why it was a dream come true for me to have had these Latin Americans in my hometown of Pittsburgh.

Do you have any memory of my mother or father that you would like to post? I would love to hear about it!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Alliance of churches--The power of unity

Alvaro Cordero admiring the Pittsburgh skyscape
The vision for the Leadership Summit in Pittsburgh was conceived after the summer of 2010. That summer, Henri Doren and I had invited a group of eight Latin Americans to travel to Pittsburgh to help lead team building initiatives for North Way Christian Community ‘s week of summer vacation bible school. We were impressed by the impact on both the Latin Americans and the very few church leaders they met with. Since I was in the midst of forming this other team of professors, we both felt the Lord leading us to project such a trip as this but for the entire team of Latin Americans and with greater participation of my supporting churches. She and I tweaked our ideas and during the summer of 2011 we presented our proposal. I still remember our first formal meeting when we gathered in the offices of Memorial Park Church, with one person attending via Skype and representatives from all six mission committees present and accounted for.
1.     Don Creasy, Safwat Habashi, Jim Crawford from Memorial Park Evang. Pres. Church
2.     Joe Lenkey and Walter Siegfried from First Presbyterian Church (representing Ligonier Camp and Conference Center as well)
3.     Bruce Allison from North Park Evang. Pres. Church
4.     Shannon Lidengood  and Chuck and Henri Doren from North Way Christian Community
5.     Tom MacLaughan and Kevin and Michelle Bowers from Union Pres. Church
6.     Bob Whitaker from Elfinwild Pres. Church

The group approved our proposal and we began—Henri, Don, Shannon, and Bruce—all worked on the details in Pittsburgh and my co-worker Bob Sabean and I prepared the team in Latin America.

Union Presbyterian Church

North Way Christian Community (Wexford campus)

North Park Evang. Pres. Church

Robert Bruneau preached at First Pres. Church
First Presbyterian Church
Memorial Park Evang. Pres. Church
These are their impressions as they got to know each church:
When we went to the daughter church of North Park (New Hope on the North Side of Pittsburgh), we saw the USA from a different perspective. We had not seen the needy side and we happy to see that we could help with specific tasks. (Analu, Peru)

Alfredo and Victor helping out at New Hope Church

I loved leading worship, each church was so different, its liturgy and physical environment. Each was unique and there I found the multifaceted grace of God. (Karina, Argentina)

I admire how they used their gifts in administration and logistics to back this Summit. I loved watching their faces when they saw the numbers and statistics of the fruits of their partnership with Lisa and CCI LA. (Manuel, Costa Rica)
We loved seeing Chuck and Henri’s servant heart, filled with compassion, they were flexible, and attentive to our needs. Truly without them, this trip would not have been possible. (Analu, Peru) 
So many of our co-patriots have had terrible experiences here in the USA but we never felt looked down upon by the churches, on the contrary, we felt affirmed, even spoiled by our host families not to mention the amazing Mexican meal we were served after church at the East End (North Way Christian Community).
 We realized that we need to pray for the USA to not discard their senior citizens whose wisdom and experience is vital. It seems that the bright shine of youth blinds them to the virtues of the elderly. (Analu, Peru)
What insights have you gained from an outsider's perspective on your country? Share them with us in the comments below.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Steps of faith to get to Pittsburgh

Before we bowed our heads to thank God for this momentous occasion, I looked into the eyes of each of the team members and images flashed through my mind of all they had sacrificed just to be here.
Gloria’s father had just spent one month in her home convalescing from a sickness and returned recovered to his home the day before Gloria and her husband Victor Hugo flew to Pittsburgh.
 Carlos (Honduras) took out a loan to pay for his airfare. His mother had passed away just 2 months prior and this trip was serving as a time of comfort and solace.

Rixy had been back home in El Salvador for just 3 weeks after having been gone for nine months in Niger, Africa as a short-term missionary teaching CCI/LA’s training courses. She was still recovering from dysentery. 
 Evelyn’s mother had just had surgery for cancer of the mouth and daily Evelyn was in contact with her siblings who were taking care of her. (Evelyn’s mom passed away one week after she returned from Pittsburgh.)
Karina left her four young children in Argentina with her husband and got a friend to help in their family bakery while she was gone.
Robert arrived to Pittsburgh in the throes of having to raise missionary support for a severe shortfall he and his family are experiencing.
Each team member had taken a step of faith and had seen the hand of God move mightily just to enable them to be seated there in front of me.
Henri Doren, Pittsburgh-Lisa's partner in ministry
Tears blurred my vision and a hush came over the group as we breathed a collective sigh: Whew, we finally made it. We are here. We have dreamed of this moment for 3 years. I looked over to see Henri Doren’s smile lighting up her face, without whose help this Summit would never have taken place. As I have toiled in Latin America for this trip to become a reality, so has she toiled in Pittsburgh.

After we prayed, Karina approached me and said:
“As a mother of four children, my own needs for new clothes takes a back seat but once I got my US visa, I knew I needed to remedy that. I began to make up my packing list starting from a suitcase to the little shampoo bottles to shorts and tee shirts. God is a God who cares about the little and big details.  One by one the women of my church began to call me asking: Karina, what do you need for your trip? At first I gave them a polite answer that all was fine but when they insisted I finally showed them my list. Look at my list, every item is crossed off! One additional need I had was for US dollars which under the current Argentian government are illegal to have much less acquire. When my great-uncles found out, they went to their stash of dollars that they literally had under their mattresses from years ago and gave me exactly what I needed.”

What steps of faith have you taken recently and where has it taken you? 

Please share your comments in the space provided on the blog below.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Broadening our global perspective of God’s Kingdom work

Robert Bruneau, Lisa, Evelyn Umana, Carlos Baca
The atmosphere breathed excitement as I anticipated the arrival of our multicultural team of professors. This would be the first time all of us would be gathered in one room, face-to-face. For the last year, we had been meeting monthly via the internet, planning, preparing, praying for each of the team to get US visas (14 out of 15 got visas).

I breathed a prayer of gratitude as I saw them arrive with their host families, smiling, moving their hands and making great efforts to communicate.

Analu Cornejo (Peru),  Patti Salla, Norma Canales (Honduras)
Warms hugs, kisses on the cheek, loud greetings filled the room. “Finally, Karina (from Argentina) we meet face to face!” Oh Rixy (from El Salvador) “I haven’t seen you since 2010 when you traveled to Honduras for Lisa’s 50th birthday! “Victor Hugo, wow, you are much taller in real life than on the screen, ha, ha, ha.” Just the greetings and introductions took 15 minutes!
Mimi Seigfried, Alvaro Cordero (Boliva), Walter Seigfried, Bob Sabean (Costa Rica)

I looked over the faces of the team gathered and tears sprang to my eyes. So many dreams were coming true in this moment. Here is one of those dreams:

This event is a landmark in the life of the association of Christian Camping International, Latin America  (CCI/LA) because it gives a group of leaders whose gift is teaching a global perspective of how God’s Kingdom works.

Pastor Manuel Cortez (Costa Rica) & Pastor Alvaro Cordero (Bolivia)
CCI/LA's curriculum for developing leaders in Christian camping
Manuel Cortez works year by year since 1974 with my fellow missionary, Bob Sabean, in the rural area of Costa Rica. He is a pastor and daily he labors to give his fellow pastors a vision for the power of Christian camping (the power of camp). When he travels from his rural setting to Pittsburgh he meets the churches that have been supporting CCI/LA through me and discovers that due to their provision, he has ample written material with which to do his work in Costa Rica. His eyes light up as he makes the connections. He says: I see this curriculum as a dream come true. Bob and Lisa envisioned CCI/LA's written curriculum long before it was published. I ask myself: What do we see 5-10-20 years from now? What vision do we anticipate? I believe our point of entrance is the church, specifically through the pastors. I recently saw how the vision of one pastor expanded when he took one of our CCI/LA courses.

The diagram below attempts to convey how Manuel's perspective is broadened. Starting from right to left, the circle represents Manuel's starting perspective and progressively expands as he critically reflects throughout his short-term missions experience in Pittsburgh. 
Diagram attempting to illustrate how short-term missions trips broaden one's perspective.

What experience have you had that broadened your perspective? Please share about your experience and how your perspective was broadened in Comments below.