November 29, 2016
“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me…” Psalm 50:23a (ESV)
“If anyone would tell you the shortest, surest way to all happiness they would tell you to make it a rule to thank and praise God for everything that happens to you. For it is certain that whatever seeming calamity befalls you, if you can thank and praise God for it you will turn it into a blessing.” —William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life
I trust this Update finds you well and still celebrating the goodness of God. As the biblical passage and quotation above indicate, thanksgiving is always an appropriate response to our gracious and loving Father. On behalf of all of us at IOM, let me offer a sincere, if belated, Happy Thanksgiving!
I wrote this last week in Kitale, Kenya where I celebrated Thanksgiving with my traveling companion and fellow teacher, Pastor Jerry Beavers, and IOM associate missionary Larry Neese. Larry was an already seasoned missionary (having spent many years in Haiti and the Philippines) some 18 years ago when he took over the responsibility for Kenya Ministry Training Institute. Under his wise and persistent direction, KMTI has trained and equipped some 2,000 men and women for pastoral service, primarily in rural Kenyan communities.
While I’m writing about Africa, let me introduce you to another IOM hero. I often use this space to highlight the activities of IOM associate missionaries around the world. Today I would like to take a little different approach and highlight one of our “hero” donors—someone who has raised thousands of dollars to help advance God’s kingdom and demonstrate His love in East Africa. Bob Vande Brake began his formal involvement with IOM about 10 years ago after taking a trip to Kenya with IOM Executive Director Emeritus, Gary Henley. A few years later, Bob stepped up to help raise funds to establish a KMTI sister school in Uganda. But he didn’t stop there. Bob has returned many times to Kenya and Uganda, not only to teach, but to provide entrepreneurial leadership. In recent years, his commitment has helped to fund several small business start-ups that are now providing basic income to dozens of KMTI and UMTI graduates and their families. Bob Vande Brake is a great example of how a retired pastor, teacher, and businessman refocused his life and energy to continue to make a difference for the loving reign of Jesus.
So, this Thanksgiving I’m thankful for Bob and his wife Dee, and for their commitment to making a difference in Kenya and Uganda. I’m also thankful for each of you and for the difference you’re making by supporting IOM Associates around the world. I’m also thankful to God for His promise to fill the earth with the knowledge of His goodness and glory. Thank you for partnering with IOM in this great effort; we truly are grateful.
His servant and yours,