The new year has started off with quite a bang. I spent 7 nights in my own bed and the rest of the nights in Jerusalem, Migdal, Tel Aviv, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Penang. Without question one of my favorite Januaries in my 45 years.
As a family we were able to strike off of our bucket list a trip to the Holy Land where we were lucky enough to experience Hanukkah, New Year, Orthodox Christmas and my birthday all back to back. I can't recommend this enough as a must do for anyone who wants to more deeply understand the Jewishness of Jesus and the radical earthshaking ministry he practiced on earth.
Ashley and the girls returned to Kenya for the start of school but Duncan and I stayed behind in Israel for an extra spell as I misplaced his passport and we had to reschedule flights....Duncan and I had a great, though slightly stressful, time as we ate at every possible street shawarma joint we could find :) We finally convinced Ethiopian Air that we were not in Kenya but still in fact standing before them in Israel and eventually were issued new flights. The story is long and fun so remind me to share it when we see you this summer.
After a quick laundry marathon and changing of luggage I jumped off to Kuala Lumpur to be trained in "Cultural Intelligence" so that I can better learn to lead teams of multiple cultural backgrounds living in multiple cultures. I'm also willing to share more on that one on one with anyone interested in the details but holy moly was that a super valuable oportunity and I have no doubt it will pay huge dividends for our ministry over the long haul.
From Kuala Lumpur I jumped over to Singapore where Ashley met up with me to start our South East Asia Team visits. (Thanks to Joan and Ken Stewart for traveling from the US to stay with our children in Nairobi. They loved time with the grandparents!) Singapore was AMAZING and we had the great pleasure of being hosted by our beloved friends Jesse and Stacie Price along with their super star kiddos who have the blessing to live in this very interesting city-state.
Next Ashely and I traveled to Penang to meet up with both of our SE Asia teams for a time of reflection and retreat. Our chance to do our part to help ensure they are healthy and whole as they serve His great Kingdom. It was not all prayer, reflection and "caring" as I was also able to get some strategy and planning time in with my team leaders. A highlight for me was being presented with our just contextualized and printed Chinese versions or our Xplore and GoMobalize Bible Studies by our team.
Are you excited by and interested in playing a vital part in our work? If so please consider joining our monthly financial anchor team at www.mobilization.org/magruder.
At the end of the day I can also look back and realized I spent a good deal of January eating my way across Arabia and South East Asia. So much street food so little time :)
From top: Penang is famous for all manner of street art. Chinese versions of some of our resources fresh off the press. Doing "strategery" with a team leader. The region was celebrating Chinese New Year - its the year of the Fire Cock y'all. Street food, did I mention how hard it is to get down a street that has hundreds of fast food options? The little hut where we accomplished a lot of our team retreat discussion sessions. Teams gathering to bless dinner.
Well, I still feel like I have so much more to share about life and ministry but I better hold off as I'm told our newsletter are too long......so I will save something for next month. Instead I'll leave you with a little bit of Kenya fun in the photo below. I'll leave the captions up to your imagination.
Prayer & Praise
Please pray with us for:
Pastor Petr Jasek - sentenced last week to life in a Sudanese Prison. You've been praying for him and we hold in confidence that God has a plan for his time in prison while lawyers and ministries work for his and his compatriots' freedom.
David Preston - as he continues to recover from a stroke. Big news is that he is released to home health care and continues to get stronger.
My time in Tanzania and S.Sudan - I will be in the field with a team from With Open Eyes mobilizing indigenous missionaries to the unreached starting Saturday this week.
Additional recruits for our ministry. We are pushing towards final planning on a "60 Team Dream" in the most strategic locations in the world to complete the Great Commission. Pray with us that the workers will flow towards this with our dreams.
For our next round of 60 Team Dreaming where we will gather 11 of our ministry leaders from around the globe in a final planning push "somewhere" in the middle east in a couple of weeks.
Please give thanks with us for:
All of the above prayer needs. Through challenges we get to see God's provision and glory come forth.
Our kiddos doing so well with all of the ongoing travel and me being on the road so much this season. I promise I'm gearing up to refocus on them very soon.
A marvelous close to 2016 and a 2017 that is so bright we have to wear shades.
Speaking to me today:
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
"God has rigged the world so that it only works when we embrace risk as the theme of our lives, when we live by faith. All attempts to find a safer life, to live by the expectations of others, just kill the soul in the end."
We appreciate your part in sending us to the frontline of mission mobilization. It is a joy to share our family updates with you. Let us know how we can, in turn, be praying for you! "I always thank God for you, remembering you in my prayers..."
- Ashely, Lillian, Ella Jade, Duncan and MacGregor
Transforming the mission field into a mission force