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 (eric.larsen@mtw.org).

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!!!