Greetings from sun-drenched Fresno, where the plants are shriveling and the pavement is melting—and it’s not yet summer! I suppose one could express appreciation for living in a place that makes it so much easier to explain what Hell might be. Then again, it’s still only Spring.
Karon and I returned at the end of May from a wonder-filled ministry trip to England, France and Poland. Since I have to go and water my dying redwood tree, let me be brief as to the highlights of this trip.
Highlights in England:
- Preaching in churches primarily attended by a precious group of Afro-Caribbean people whose joy of the Lord is still contagious. (I am even smiling while I write this).
- Visiting the British War Museum and being reminded of the tenacity of the British people during both World Wars. I witnessed that “Never give up” spirit in many of the brothers and sisters in Christ, who face great challenges economically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Being a forthright and sold out Christian in Cosmopolitan London is not for the faint of heart.
- Yorkshire pudding — even though we who live on “this side of the Pond” are a bit shocked to find out that this is beef and gravy over an amazing bit of pastry. To die for…
- Spending hours hearing the heart of Christian in Action pastor and missionary, Freddie Roberson. His commitment to equip the people of God, even after three decades of ministering in South London, is refreshing and imitable.
Highlights in France:
- Watching my “brave” Karon traveling from London to Paris by train under the English Channel. Even a high-speed train traveling at 180 miles per hour was a bit too slow for her. My arms still have her fingernail marks in them. I told the kids they were European sunspots.
- Visiting the home of John Calvin in Noyon, France. Here in this museum, overshadowed by the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Noyon, we were struck by young Master Calvin’s courage to stand for the Gospel of Grace and against his upbringing and family expectations that he join the priesthood.
- Saying “Si” when asked in a French restaurant in Noyon, France whether I would like “still water.” Four years of French in high school doesn’t prepare you for such a big moment. (I was recently told that my brother, Brian, also made the same mistake in Montreal. I didn’t have the courage to tell him I did the same thing. After all, I am the “international”!)
- Enjoying the gracious hospitality of missionaries, Daniel and Margaret Kuehl. The morning serving of monk-head cheese, shaved from a huge block of fromage sent me to culinary heaven.
- Engaging in discussions regarding the possibility of future ministry in France, especially using the French nearly-finished translation of “The Purity War” book and training materials. Hopefully, without much revision those same materials can be used in France as well as French-speaking Africa (e.g. Congo)
Highlights in Poland
- Getting re-acquainted with many of the 720 delegates from 45 different countries at the European Leadership Forum, held in Wisla, Poland (just about 3 hours from Krakow).
- Surviving the grueling schedule of counseling, teaching, video-recording, mentoring and future planning meetings that for five days began at 6:30 a.m. and rarely finished before 9:30 p.m.
- Watching the translations of the Purity War in Polish, Czech and Romanian given to about 150 leaders in their own language.
- Responding to the many “divine appointments” God provided for both of us.
- Being counseled by our dear friend, Bobb Biehl, who asks us the most probing and profound questions. I summarize the three hours as “One old man to the other.” He assured me that I am not dead yet! (That’s good to know, given how tired I felt when he said that).
- Gratefulness for spending my real 66th birthday (May 16th) in England and my legal 66th birthday (May 17th) in France. How many people in the world can say that?
- Thanksgiving for the smooth travel, even though it took us four airplanes to return to Fresno from Krakow. Apparently, there are no direct flights from Fresno to anywhere. Perhaps it’s the heat.
- Praise to God for the many who supported us prayerfully and financially to make this ministry trip possible. Only heaven will reveal the eternal return on your investment.
- Concern for the many pastors and leaders we met from all over the world who are so desperately in need of training and are so grateful for our efforts to equip them.
- Prayerfulness as we process the many invitations to teach and mentor leaders in a number of countries. Join us we seek God’s regarding what He wants us to do, especially in 2017 and beyond.
- Spring, 2016 — In the few days left of Spring Jim will be completing reports, continuing plans for future projects, assisting staff in upgrading and improving both websites: www.jaron.org and www.puritywar.com. Check them out.
- Summer, 2016 — Jim will be raising the funds and recruiting translators for a number of translations of the Purity War book—e.g. French (near completion), Bulgarian (scheduled for February 2017), Tagalog (pending), Hungarian and Ukrainian—to name a few. Perhaps you might be interested in helping fund a portion or all of a translation (approximately $4000 per translation).
- Summer, 2016 — Jim working on a number of planning and writing projects, including re-designing the “Men in Action” program for international use and working on a newly revised and expanded version of his book, “Wise Living in a Foolish Age: Studies in the Book of Proverbs.” (Expected completion in Winter).
- Summer, 2016 — Jim travels to the Philippines to teach purity seminars and teach in local churches. He will be joined by our newest JARON Missionary and a dear friend, Pastor Brad Barshaw.
- Fall, 2016 — Jim travels to a number of cities in Romania to train pastors and church leaders to use the Purity War materials and start accountability groups throughout the country.
- Fall, 2016 — Jim also travels to Poland to speak to pastors and wives at a denominational leadership conference in Warsaw. In addition to presenting the Purity War Training Program, he will be introducing the “Men in Action” Training Program for local churches in Poland.
- Fall, 2016 – Jim travels to the Washington, DC area to teach an area-wide men’s “Winning the Purity War” Seminar, held at McLean Bible Church.=
- Winter, 2017 — Jim and Karon host a study tour to Israel. Let us know if you would like some information. Trip is February 27-March 10.
- Spring, 2017 — Jim and Karon return to Poland to participate once again in the European Leadership Forum. Other ministry opportunities during this time in Europe are still in planning stages.
- Spring, 2017 — Jim will once again complain about the Fresno heat. Count on it!