Monday, December 22, 2008

December 2008

"Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." Luke 1:38

"Do you trust the Spirit enough to say: 'I am your slave; take me; use your omnipotent power to put me where you want me, when you want me there, doing what you want me to do'? Do you know why we can entrust ourselves to the Holy Spirit? Because he exists to exalt the glory of Jesus Christ. Therefore, if the heartbeat of your life is the glory of Jesus Christ, the Spirit will empower and help you with all his might. Let's live and speak so that men and women might know that Jesus Christ is a great Savior, the Son of the Most High, and the never-ending King of kings. That's the passion of the Holy Spirit. To be full of that is to be full of him." -- John Piper

God has used this year to stretch us and grow our trust in Him. From trying to raise support in a struggling economy; to seeing two new missionaries approved to join the Global Youth and Family team... From wrestling with how to do marriage, family and relationships while ministering around the globe; to watching God raise up national leaders in eleven different countries hungry to be equipped in reaching youth... From dealing with illness and injury abroad, to experiencing the strength of God and the power of prayer... From caring for missionary kids and families in crisis, to seeing third culture kids embracing their gifts and callings.

Thank you for standing with us through it all! We know God has used the prayers of our friends, family and support team to make all the difference. Piper asks (above): "Do you trust the Spirit enough to say: 'I am your slave; take me; use your omnipotent power to put me where you want me, when you want me there, doing what you want me to do'?" Apart from the work of the Spirit in response to your prayers and support, we would not even begin to be able to trust Him and abandon ourselves to this mission.

Please pray for...
1. The launch of the first two International GYFI (Global Youth and Family Institute) sites this coming year (2009): training national leaders and indigenous churches for youth ministry in their context. We need wisdom to know the most strategic location for these pilot sites.

2. John & Saras Chung (Karis and Jaron), and Ruthanne Burch--newly approved MTW missionaries for our team--as they raise their support in hopes of joining us this year.

3. The 400 missionary kids and families we're called to care for around the world as they face the challenges of adolescence and the compound stress of cross-cultural missions.

4. The upcoming Area Retreat (April 09) for our missionary families from across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. We will be recruiting and leading a team of 20 youth ministers and counselors to run a program and build relationships with MKs.

5. For the Larsen family as we continue to embrace our calling and look to the Lord to guide us through the stress and strain of cross-cultural ministry, heavy international travel and separations, and the demands of pioneering a new ministry.

6. For our financial support: we currently stand at approximately 70% of our total monthly commitment needed.

All of us have been hurt at some level by the economic downturn. Word just came that MTW will be cutting all staff and US based missionaries by 5% beginning January 2009. That will be tough for our family of 6, but we are grateful to be employed. And we are confident that God will supply all our needs according to his riches in Christ. Your financial giving continues to go to our support account, but the amount apportioned to us in salary will be 5% less, and the adjusted amount apportioned to our operational/ ministry budget. None of your giving is being redirected to other missionaries, ministries or to MTW as a whole, but continues to directly contribute to the Global Youth and Family Ministry. Thank you!

This Christmas may you and I be able to say with our whole hearts, "I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said." As John Piper writes, "Let's live and speak so that men and women might know that Jesus Christ is a great Savior, the Son of the Most High, and the never-ending King of kings. That's the passion of the Holy Spirit. To be full of that is to be full of him." May you be filled with the Spirit of Christ this Christmas as together we proclaim with passion the love of our Savior to the nations and the next generation.

Merry Christmas!

The Larsens

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bulgaria, November '08

I'm writing from an internet cafe in Velingrad, Bulgaria. About 25 missionary leaders from across eastern and western europe have gathered here for a Leadership Training Conference. My purpose in coming is to cast the vision of the Global Youth and Family Ministry, build relationships, network with leaders, understand needs, and explore opportunities to launch Global Youth and Family Institute sites in strategic areas in Europe. We want to equip the church to reach the next generation here in Europe by providing youth ministry training for missionaries, local leaders and indigenous churches. Please be praying for this important week! There is so much need in Eastern and Western Europe. Many are discouraged by little visible fruit. It is tough soil for sowing the Gospel. But while the seeds planted may be small and few, our Lord reminds us the kingdom is like the tiniest mustard seed which grows to become the largest of trees. Join us in asking the Lord of the Harvest to raise up workers for His harvest field: those called to reaching the nations and the next generation!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Prayer letter, October '08

October 17, 2008

Dear Support Team,

Rebecca and I want to say, “Thank you” for supporting us with your prayers and giving . And I want to apologize for not keeping you informed with regular updates.

It has been a crazy year and a half since we stepped out in faith to launch this new ministry. We knew the need to reach youth (both MKs and kids of all people groups) was huge, but we didn’t know how urgent and overwhelming this ministry would be. It’s been like opening Pandora’s box—the hurting missionary kids and families, and the cry of churches and pastors around the world to help them reach kids in their countries, cities and villages.

I (Eric) am not a strong administrator to begin with, and found myself quickly over-extended responding to needs and developing new ministries. Though I have felt more stretched than ever before, I have also been more fulfilled than ever. Our weaknesses and inadequacies have been revealed in new and painful ways, but God has met us with his grace and shown us his faithfulness to multiply what little we can offer to make an impact. Know that he has done the same with your gifts and prayers. We couldn’t do this without you! And we are humbled and grateful to be sent by you to reach the nations and the next generation with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

October has been the first month all year that I haven’t traveled internationally, so Rebecca and I have spent some needed time evaluating the ministry and our lives. One of the things we’ve been convicted of is our neglect in communicating with our support team… with you. Please forgive us. Your gifts have been so meaningful—especially during such an economically turbulent time. We have been really blessed by everyone’s consistency and feel so badly that we haven’t shared the “proceeds” of your “investments”.

You’re committed to us, and we want you to know we are committed to you, as together we are committed to Christ and his kingdom work. Our goal is to keep you updated by email or snail mail. We’re also working on creating a blog and website. We want to be a team together with you—sharing the highs and lows, celebrating triumphs and lifting up prayers. Please email us and let us know how we can pray for and encourage you (

Please pray for God to supply administrative help to the Global Youth and Family Ministry. And in the mean time that he would make up for my deficits and help me grow in this area.

Here are some of the ways your investment has paid off this year:

Ø Through local contacts I was introduced to the VP of thelargest University and teaching hospital system in the Philippines. After spending some time with this man, he extended an open invitation for me to place campus ministers and hospital chaplains on every campus to reach-out to the students. Right now there are NO evangelical campus ministries at any of these schools!

Ø I have been in communication with an Iranian pastor of an underground church. He has asked us to come and bring training and encouragement to the persecuted church as they wrestle with how to reach the next generation who are questioning Islam and open to the gospel.

Ø I spent some time in Chile with church planters and national leaders from all over South America. Two Columbian pastors have been trying to train up the next generation of leaders. God has brought them 100 young men who want to study for the ministry. This group is meeting in secret weekly. They have asked me to come and provide teaching and training to help them reach the disenfranchised youth in a country torn by drug trafficking and corruption.

Ø I have been able to meet with missionary leadership in Asia, Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Muslim ministries—traveling to 11 countries this year. All have overwhelmingly embraced the vision and we have more opportunities than we can take now.

Ø This year we launched our first ever MK mission trip—bringing high school and college age missionary kids from around the world together to serve in ethnic communities in New York City. Many students remarked how the week changed their lives—helping them see God’s call on them as individuals, not just as extensions of their parents. It was so cool to see them minister to each other as no one can quite relate to an MK like a fellow MK. And we brought them together with new missionary families preparing to got to the field---giving them a chance to share out of their experiences and help new missionary parents and missionary kids. Get ready to live and serve in another culture.

Ø Rebecca and I brought our family to the other side of the world: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. There we enjoyed a sweet (though exhausting) time of ministering to missionary families from across the Asia-Pacific region—caring, counseling, leading a team of youth workers ministering to Mks, giving parenting seminars, etc…

Ø This year I’ve been called in to help with 2 suicide interventions of teenagers on the field, as well as helping missionary kids with eating disorders, depression, substance abuse, sexual addiction, and abusive relationships.

Ø God has given opportunities for counseling and corresponding with adult missionary kids who have come to me privately, sharing their ongoing pain and sense of abandonment, and their struggles with God and the church. Some say they’ve given up on the faith, but are thankful that we are doing what we are doing… wishing they’d had an advocate and safe place growing up.

And these are just a few examples of the work God is doing. Needless to say, you can imagine—with me as the only one leading this ministry right now—it’s been CRAZY! Pray for a team!!!