December 31, 2013
To my dearest friends,
“A belated MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A BLESSED NEW YEAR” to you! It’s been a wonderful year – and so full that it’s now New Year’s Eve, my first time ever to write my year-end newsletter at the very last minute! I hope that you are in the best of health, physically, financially and spiritually, as we end one more year in this fast-changing world! In this past year, democracy remains dominant, and we end the year with the recognition of Pope Francis as Time’s (and my) “Person of the Year,” and the celebrative funeral of Nelson Mandela, although the Middle East and Africa swayed in various upheavals. Most countries in Asia (esp. China, Japan & Philippines!) continue to prosper, while the West shows clear signs of recovery from the financial crisis of 2008. For Filipinos, it feels good to truly celebrate this season with hope for a better year ahead (a poll says 94% of us look at 2014 optimistically!), in spite the tragic earthquake in Bohol and the massive devastation caused by supertyphoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Visayas almost two months ago! I rejoice that the elite’s unrighteousness in our land has been given full coverage by the media and has agitated the middle class to march in the streets! We can truly sing “Joy to the world, the Lord is come,” for His reign of justice & shalom is being realized among us (“Emmanuel”)!
As we enter the 14th year of the 21st century, the next 6 years look bright as we seek to do effective missions in our generation, even with the big challenges of militant Islam, secular humanism and consumerist materialism. Closure to the Great Commission (Matt. 24:14) is more realistic than ever! The paradigm shift in mission strategy from the dominant Christendom’s imperial (with wealth & power) to transformational missions’ incarnational approach (with love and good works) has become mainstream, at least in practice, and I hope soon also in missiology. Asian Missions Advance (of the Asia Missions Association) in its latest issue (October 2013) featured my two articles: “History and Ministry of Philippine Missions Association: Leading the Global Shift to Tentmaker Missions” as well as “Asian Mission Movements in Asia Today.”
Thus I end this year with great optimism, esp. for my life-goal: “the evangelization and transformation of ASIA.” Thanks for praying with me as I pray, “Lord, give me Asia, or I die”! Amidst the natural disasters, increasing militarization and political turmoils, multitudes are being brought into the Kingdom through holistic and contextual “disciple multiplication movements (DMM)” in Asia and beyond! I thank God for my 60th birthday (yes, I’m a senior citizen now!) and the warm response of all my friends to my 7-year marriage to Maria Rosel Sumagaysay (nicknamed “Marie”); she has proven to be a most wonderful partner in my life and ministry. Jeff continues to be a simple yet effective family man and businessman; while Tsina Grace (Kibi) continues to excel in her Nursing studies at UP-Manila and in sharing leadership in her sorority there.
For me, 2013 has been a “Year of Soaring High,” esp. for my advocacy of setting up Christ-centered transformational communities (where God’s shalom/kingdom prevails) through “disciple multiplication movements” (DMM) in Asia and beyond. Although it remains very difficult for us in the “frontier missions” movement to call the mainstream church to do DMM, I rejoice to see many more missionaries and mission leaders make the shift quite significantly in recent years. As we pray and work for more “family-oriented” and “house/simple/organic church” strategies for DMM, I’m quite sure that there will be much multiplication and exponential growth in 2014 and thereafter!
2013 has truly been the year of “soaring high” — navigating and floating at high altitude, having reached the “normal height of flying at 36,000 ft.”! I see and feel this in my 4 major involvements:
1. As a member of Senior Associate for Tentmaking Berit Kloster’s core group and as Board chair of Lausanne-Philippines, I had the opportunity to be one of the 350 delegates to the Lausanne Global Leadership Forum held in Bangalore last June 17-21, as we planned for consultations to highlight the strategies that the global church must use to make a transformational impact in our generation. I was privileged a week thereafter to present at the Asian Church Leaders Forum (organized by the Asia Lausanne in which I serve in its Executive Committee) in Seoul a paper on “(Mission Strategies of ) Asian Mission Movements in Asia Today.” This conference was held upon the request of China’s house church leaders, who rejoiced to attend a major international conference for the first time, having missed Lausanne’s Capetown 2010. May there be more cooperation and partnership among Asian missionaries as we seek to win the unreached in Asia at the soonest possible time.
2. For community transformation, my school Asian School of Development and Cross-cultural Studies (ASDECS) has had our 4th batches of international graduates in our Masters in Development Management (MDM) program – 14 (for a total of 43 grads in Laos) and 10 (for a total of 37 alumni in Cambodia). Our certificate-granting Center for Transformational Development (CTD) continue to train church and mission leaders to become change agents in their community as “elders of the city” in Cebu, Baguio, Tabaco/Legazpi and soon also to Cabanatuan. As we begin our 12th year of operations, we’re glad to be offering Bachelors in Transformational Leadership (BTL) major in Community Development, and also to launch our Ph.D. in International Development (or Asian Studies) this year! We’ll be training about 25-30 students for the Master of Arts in Community Development (MACD) major in Language Development with the Translators Association of the Phil. (TAP) starting June 2014, too.
3. For national transformation, the Philippine House Church Movement, now called the Star Grass Coalition, had another fruitful strategic planning summit last Aug. 15-18, this time at Babatngon, and clarified our programs in multiplying disciples and simple/organic churches across the land. Besides our ongoing “barangay to barangay” and workplace DMM, we’re going to promote “healthy lifestyles” and “organic farming/gardening” as we seek to find and empower “persons of peace/shalom” in each community. This will be supplemented by our ongoing campaign to turn this nation into a “land of cooperatives and social enterprises” through “Investors Clubs,” where any group of up to 15 members can pool their savings together to develop a social business. May our people learn how to become employers and not just be employees! We officially adopted the Iloilo-based NGO led by Edwin Arana, Creative Community Foundation, Inc. (CCFI) to serve as our government registered entity. So when supertyphoon Haiyan/Yolanda hit the Visayas real hard, we were ready to lead Operation Hope right in “Ground Zero,” as we aim to model transformational relief and rehabilitation in 3 municipalities in Leyte for the next two years.
4. And for global transformation, the Philippine Mission Mobilization Movement (PM3), launched our flagship program for each church to set up an “OFW ministry” desk last April 2011. In October 2013, we launched the Global OFW Advance Movement (GOAM) for churches to set up “OFW & Family Care Services” locally in their town and city, as well as globally in each Phil. Embassy or Consulate. We continue to pray and work for 5 million intercessors for the nations, 2 million trained in Tentmaker Missions, and deploy 1 million Outstanding Faithful Witnesses/missionaries by 2020. As I finish my 3 year stint as the National Director of Phil. Missions Association (PMA) next year, I hope to hold a series of consultations on “the Best Practices of Filipino Missions,” and perhaps organize the Phil. Society of Missiology for our “reflective practitioners.”
My mission, China Ministries International-Phil. (CMI-Phil) has come to know that there are more OFWs entering China without going through any mission agencies any more. To me this is a good sign that our seminars and trainings in PM3 are working. Tentmakers are expected to build their support system in the land where God sends them to live and work, believing that the resources for God’s harvest are in the harvest-field! We hope to mobilize 20 more by the end of next year. I hope our DMM mission model will be promoted more and more as I also serve with the leaders of the Asian Frontier Missions Initiative (AFMI), Asian House Church Movement and International Council of Higher Education.
This has been another productive year of writing for me, too. Besides the two I mentioned above, also presented or published were six:
1. “Contextualizing the Gospel in Ancestor-Venerating Cultures.” In Melba Maggay (ed.). The Gospel in Culture: Contextualization Issues in an Asian Context. Mandaluyong City: OMF Literature.
2. “Developing Transformational Leaders for Church Multiplication Movements in the Buddhist World.” In Paul de Neui (ed.). Developing Indigenous Leaders: Lessons in Mission from Buddhist Asia. Pasadena: William Carey Library.
3. “Missiological Framework for Contextualizing Christ-Centered Communities in the Buddhist World and Beyond.” presented at SEANET’s 10th Missiological Forum, Jan. 8-9, 2013 (to be published 2014).
4. “The House Church Movements in Asia.” Asian Missions Advance 35 (January): 3-7.
5. “Curriculum for Economic Transformation.” William Carey International Development Journal 2.4 (October). In http://www.wciujournal.org/journal/article/curriculum-for-economic-transformation.
6. “Missional Discipleship in Roman Catholic Context.” Paper presented at Asia Missions Association (AMA) 11th Triennial Convention, October 7-11, 2013 (to be published 2014).
You may write me for a copy of any of these 8 articles. In all these, I’ve sought to promote what I believe is God’s simple (not complex) master-plan on how to disciple all nations fastest! Though 27% of the world remains totally unreached and 86% of today’s unreached do not have a Christian friend, we can accomplish total world evangelization by equipping all Christians (esp. the 99.95% non-clergy) to exercise their royal priesthood, to intentionally befriend and make disciples of their neighbors across borders – without committing the blunder of “extraction evangelism”! Properly trained in DMM, anyone can do community, campus and marketplace ministries to reach today’s non-Christians (Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Communists, Tribals, etc.)! I’m discipling DMM’ers via email and Facebook, too!
I thank God for your partnership in the Gospel! May I hear from you, too? May God bless you abundantly in the new year, so that you and your family will be channels of His blessings to all who He’ll bring into your circle of influence!
With best wishes for you in 2014,
(signed) David Lim