A Blessed Burden

New Opportunities
Years ago I was given an open invitation to speak at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS, by my former professor, Dr. Elias Medeiros. While teaching in Orlando one summer, the Lord used him in a big way to get me onto the mission field. This past October, I took him up on his offer to teach in his missions class. What a privilege to teach in his class on a subject we love so much! We also were able to speak at a lunch the next day on campus. [excerpt from Lennox Letters Fall Report 2016 newsletter. Click here to read the full newsletter.]

I remember my first day of Missions class in seminary. It was one of those week-intensive courses during the summer with a visiting professor. That year RTS Orlando invited Dr. Elias Medeiros from the Jackson campus to teach us everything we needed to know in five fast days. For many of us, this class was the most memorable, and for me in particular, the most life-changing.

On the first day I realized that I couldn’t enjoy this class without Regina. I told Regina that she would have break from the kids at home and sit in on the class for at least one session. Regina and I met in Bible college, and missions was the original passion that drove us there, but it seemed like a distant memory at this stage in our lives.

Dr. Medeiros gave us four eight-hour days of preaching through missional passages of Scripture (I was not exaggerating about being taught everything we needed to know). On the fifth day we took a field trip to the largest mosque in Orlando. By the time we got to the mosque and parked the cars, Dr. Medeiros was already making friends and giving out gospel tracts in the parking lot. He is the real deal.

During that unforgettable week, the Lord reminded me of why I started out in went to Bible college in the first place. I wanted to be a missionary. Serving on church staff was a good experience in many ways, but my heart was always longing to serve as a missionary. There was a reason I kept bringing my youth group to Cherokee, NC every year. The Lord blessed me with that burden to serve among Native American/First Nations peoples. He has been faithful to give us the desires of our hearts, and he will do the same for you.

To help us serve among Native American/First Nations people, click here to GIVE.

To talk with or contact Patrick and Regina, click here.

A Better Ending

American_progress

This painting (circa 1872) by John Gast called American Progress, is an allegorical representation of the modernization of the new west. Here Columbia, a personification of the United States, leads civilization westward with American settlers, stringing telegraph wire as she sweeps west; she holds a school book as well. The different stages of economic activity of the pioneers are highlighted and, especially, the changing forms of transportation. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifest_destiny

We live and worship on land that once belonged to a diverse mission field. Living on this beautiful continent, which we now call North America, were many civilizations — great and small, peaceful and warring, admirable and some less admirable. We now commonly lump them together as one people called American Indians or Native Americans.  They lived here in great numbers until the American experiment decided to forcibly take it in the name of a superior civilization and progress–often with the blessing of the church, both Catholic and Protestant, under the pretense of God’s work.  Rome’s Papal Bulls of the 15th century gave birth to the Doctrine of Discovery along with the millennial theologies in Protestant circles created the perfect environment for Manifest Destiny and euphemistically, ‘westward expansion.’

Living Up to Our Values

We have told ourselves and the world that our country was built on Judeo-Christian values, yet when someone found gold in Georgia, for instance, the Cherokee and other tribes were removed from their home lands, marched away on the infamous Trail of Tears. Many of them were our brothers and sisters in Christ. I thank the Lord for the missionaries like Presbyterian missionary Samuel Worcester and the Moravian missionaries who fought tirelessly for the rights of the Cherokee and served among them for the kingdom of Christ.

American missions was once an exciting venture for our early forefathers like Jonathan Edwards and David Brainerd, while the country was forming. It just seems strange to me that now our country is established, and so much damage has been done by a nation that declares itself to be Christian, that our zeal for missions to Native America has waned. Yet they remain. More than that, their populations have rebounded from 250,000 by the end of the 19th century to over 5 million today. Some chapters have closed, but the story is not finished.

God’s Perspective

Isaiah 52:10 tells us that our God is a God of the nations:

The Lord has bared his holy arm

before the eyes of all the nations,

and all the ends of the earth shall see

the salvation of our God.

Our Lord Jesus tells us to “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:18). There are 566 sovereign Native nations within the borders of the US, and many more to the north and south of our borders. The Great Commission is to every tribe, tongue, and nation. To not recognize the 566 Native nations is to not recognize Jesus’ authority over the Great Commission.

By Grace, It’s Not Over

Let’s have a better ending. The first 500 years of missions in this country is a story of praiseworthy successes and dismal and lamentable failures. Sadly, it seems our failures have had the most lasting effect. But I believe we are in a new and exciting chapter of Native missions. There is a better ending to be written in Native American missions. The fields are ripe for harvest. The door is open, and the Lord bids us go.

I hope you will want to be a part of this new chapter and go with us. You can do more than you think. Please read Five Things You Can Do and Contact Us.

What Does the Constitution Have to Do with It?

us-constitutionAre you an American who loves your country? Do you believe in a nation of law rather than a dictatorship or the tyranny of the majority? Do you love your Constitution? What part of the Constitution are we allowed to ignore?

I ask these questions because I have spoken to so many Christian voters over the years who have wondered, how much is enough — when will we stop giving the Indians government money? They have their casinos, don’t they? In a world where people are conquered though out history, how can we be expected to keep paying for our sins as a country? Can’t we just say that bad things happen in this world, and they are lucky they were not completely annihilated?

Worldview Adjustment

From the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian

From the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian

I hope the following will help folks answer those questions for themselves. As Christians, especially those who defend the premise that our country is built on Judeo-Christian principles, we ought never argue from a “bad-things-happen-in-this-world-therefore-get-over-it” perspective. As Christians we know that God holds governments, i.e. ministers of justice (Rom 13), accountable for the upholding and the maintaining of justice. As such earthly governments represent our covenant-keeping, law-giving God. The “bad-things-happen” view is simply not the premise we should begin with when considering Native American relations, or any other people group.  Most American Christians I know would never accept this premise when their opposing political parties ignore the Constitution.

What About the Constitution?

Recently I was reading the new book, Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations, by Suzan Show Harjo. As the title suggests it traces the history of Native American treaties. I would like to commend it to any Constitution-loving Christian. The first thing that struck me at the very outset of the book was this clause from our Constitution:

The Constitution, and the Laws of the United States, which shall be made in Pursuance thereof: and all treaties made, which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” –United States Constitution, article 6, clause 2

Glen Douglas, Lakes-Okanogan Indian, (February 1, 1927 - May 23, 2011) joined the U.S. Army when he was just 17, the start of a long and distinguished career that saw him take part in three wars: World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam. He was with the 101st Airborne in Belgium in 1945, was injured by a grenade in 1953 during the Korean War. During his first tour in Vietnam he was an intelligence analyst with a Special Forces team...

Glen Douglas, Lakes-Okanogan Indian, (February 1, 1927 – May 23, 2011) joined the U.S. Army when he was just 17.

This is the same Constitution that so many Americans died defending, including thousands of Native Americans. The treaties with Native nations were made in perpetuity. The U.S. government has broken its treaties again and again. But breaking a treaty does not dissolve it, and time does not forgive. The treaties are still legally binding today. If you are a Christian who loves the Constitution, you should be all the more eager to recognize these things and even demand those who represent us in Washington do so as well.

More than a Political Issue

But lest you think this is political-activist post, let me assure you that I don’t wish to spend too much time in the political arena. My place is in gospel ministry. I bring it up only because I believe that false assumptions, ill-informed political opinions, and basic ignorance in our churches are dampening our missionary zeal to Native America. These ideas are prohibiting our mission efforts to the 567 Native American nations within our borders. And yes, they are real nations, and are part of the “all nations” to whom the Lord has sent us (Mt. 28:18-20). It just doesn’t seem fitting to me that so many churches who worship on land that was once Indian country do not have a line item in their missions budget for Native America.

I hope to awaken as many people as possible to the need in Native America, and how we as Christians should put the kingdom of Christ far above our earthly kingdoms.  Please prayerfully consider being part what we are doing in Native America. The harvest is ripe and the doors are open. Please read About our mission to Native America here.  All for His Kingdom!

Faith Promises, Hobbies, and Priorities

hobbiesRecently we had the opportunity to hear a missionary couple share their ministry report at a church dinner. The husband of the couple, who came from a business background, shared how one day he decided to re-prioritize his giving to missions. Before he was a missionary, he felt convicted on how much money he spent on his hobbies (hunting, fishing, golfing, etc.) in comparison to the money he gave to the Lord’s work. From then on, he decided to match every penny he spent on his hobbies with his giving to missions as a faith promise. To this day, even as a missionary, he and his wife support numerous missionaries throughout the world.

A pastor friend of mine recently awakened me to the fact that most hobbies of adults are at least $1,000 to start. Add it up: Golfing, hunting, fishing, biking, music, sports, and the list could go on. How much time and money goes into these things?

Have you been challenged by this idea? I know I’ve been. I lament the thought of all the money I wasted on luxury and self-indulgence in this life. Don’t get the idea that hobbies and creature comforts are sinful – they are not – but, I continually think of the scene at the end of Schindler’s List when Mr. Schindler learned that the war was over. He was overtaken with deep sorrow because he realized there was nothing more he could do to buy freedom for Jews in the Nazi death camps. Although the war was over, Mr. Schindler came to the haunting realization of how much more he could have done. That unforgettable scene shows Mr. Schindler, a wealthy business man who had given so much, looking at his car in deep regret as he estimated its value by how many people he could have set free, or even the ring on his finger for at least one or two more.

Although we serve a sovereign God who will bring all of his own to himself (John 6:37), I don’t think it is a stretch for us to imagine ourselves on the last day looking back on our lives and assessing our priorities. Will we be able to say that we strove to give it all for the kingdom?

Where are we now?

Currently we are unofficially at 45% of our support. Unofficially means that although 42.5% registers on our account, the other 2.5% is promised to us by new supporters. We are thankful for what the Lord has done, but we are praying and striving for the balance to come in as soon as possible. We are coming up on our one-year anniversary of becoming MTW missionaries. It would be great to get past the halfway point before then.

Currently we are itinerating around to different churches, but most of a missionary’s support comes in from individual donors. I cannot stress enough that if every one of our friends pledged something, we would be on our way to the mission field. To learn more about what you could do, please Contact Us. Before you write a check, please read Fair Winds first. Please take time to read Who Should Support the Great Commission? as well. If you truly cannot give any money, but want to do something, please read Five Things You Can Do. On-going pledged support is what we truly need to be able to minister in Cherokee. We would love to sit down with you and talk about what the Lord is doing and how you could actively be a part of it.

All for the Kingdom!

Is Jesus Calling You?

Is Jesus Calling You?

“Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He had no place to call His own (Lk 9:58). He stayed in various people’s homes, like Zacchaeus’s, and oftentimes under the stars (Lk 19-10, Lk 6:12). Perhaps someone today would call Jesus homeless. His critics may be tempted to label Him a free-loader. But as in the case of Zacchaeus and others (Lk 22:7ff), we know that the Lord of Creation has divine prerogative to use whoever and whatever for His purposes. And He still exercises His authority today. Now He is moving on people’s hearts and minds by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Please take a few moments to see if Jesus is calling you to help us get to Cherokee. Continue reading

Fair Winds

Hello friends,

As the year comes to an end, the Lord is blessing us in big ways as people are generously giving to our mission. This post is to help guide your giving in a way that will get us to Cherokee quicker. I have tried to make this post as short and sweet as possible. Not sure I achieved it, but please take a few moments to read it.

Types of Giving: One-time, regular, or pledged?

Allow me to give an illustration of what the different types of giving can do. Picture one of those 17th century sailing ships taking a long voyage across the ocean.

Carving of sail ships in Old Indian Meeting House in Mashpee, MA

I couldn’t resist using this picture I took of this carving from the balcony of the Old Indian Meeting House (est. 1684) in Mashpee, MA.

One-time gifts are comparable to gusts of wind in the sails, which provide extra push to move the ship forward—always helpful, always welcome. They cover various costs, e.g. initial and additional training, communication costs, support-raising travel expenses, etc., and they also close the budget gaps resulting from the occasional shortfalls in the pledged-giving responses. No matter how big or small, all one-time gifts are essential to the big picture!

Regular and pledged giving are like fair winds that are continually filling our sails keeping us on course—pushing us forward and sustaining our voyage. No amount is too small.

What is the difference between regular and pledged gifts?

Regular gifts come from friends who want to help by giving on a fairly regular basis, but have not committed to an amount or schedule. Those gifts are like repeating one-time gifts: they come in at varying amounts at varying intervals; we are not sure they will happen again; but they are always helpful and appreciated.

Pledges are what we can bank on. A pledge is a commitment that says, “I will give this amount and you can expect it every year for at least four years, either monthly, quarterly, or year-end.” This kind of giving will enable us to know we will be sustained throughout the journey. The most important things about a pledge is that it is predictable and dependable. Once we receive 100% or our pledges, we set sail.

Important note: Your actual giving does not have to begin the day you pledge, but pledging now will determine our start date in Cherokee. You may pledge now and start giving once our pledges are tallied at 100%.

Although very large one-time gifts have come in, we are still at 32.5% of our pledges. Our goal is to be at 50% before year’s end. One percent of our monthly need is $98.50. Average pledges are about $66, but any amount is helpful.

— If every one of our friends made a monthly pledge of $30 today, we would be packing our bags tomorrow! —

We truly consider it a privilege to be called to Native American ministries with the Cherokee.  We are asking you to prayerfully consider joining us in planting a church among the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. To get on board, visit our Giving page. We cannot do this without you.

All for the Kingdom!

Patrick & Regina

 

Back from Cherokee

Can you guess where Ryan is?

Can you guess where Ryan is?

The Parade

We just got back after a wonderful weekend in Cherokee.  We were asked to march in the Cherokee Christmas parade. Norm Dunkin and the gang from Carriage Lane Presbyterian who have been marching in the parade for many years extended the invitation to us last week and we jumped at the opportunity. They have been such a dedicated church committed to ministering to the people of Cherokee for two decades.

Looking for Our Replacements

As fun as it was to romp around in a silly costume, there was a very serious side to it. We were able to see the faces and meet more of the people we want to reach with the gospel. As I handed out candy and souvenirs to the little children, I wondered if any them would be part of the church we are looking to plant. I was looking for my replacement who would one day be a leader in the church and raise up others for the spreading of the gospel throughout all of Native America. Will any of those young boys grow up to be elders, pastors, youth leaders, or missionaries? Are any of those little girls going to become a Sunday school teacher one day, or maybe even a missionary like Tammy Jackson (MTW missionary to Cherokee and Lummi)? We can only wonder, but the Lord knows.

Regina and Shiah

Regina and Shiah

While in Cherokee we met with our fellow missionaries, Scott and Ruth Hill, as well as Norm Dunkin. We were able to dream, plan, and pray about what we hope the Lord would do on the reservation — a very productive and encouraging time.

We also had an opportunity to present ourselves during Sunday school at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Sylva, NC. We cannot recommend that church enough to anyone in that region looking for a great church — fine preaching and excellent music, and a great bunch of folks. Pastor Philip Sealy and his wife, Lori, really know how to show hospitality, too.

Regina with dear friends, Whitney and little Kailyana

Regina with dear friends, Whitney and little Kailyana

Giving Update

Over the last couple of days, some very significant gifts came in for which we are thankful. We also just got word of another church supporting us as well, although we are not sure of the amount just yet. But right now we know we are at 32.5% of pledged regular giving. Pray we get passed 50% before year’s end.

Norm and Blue (Ryan)

Norm and Blue (Ryan)

Rivercam Sham

We want to apologize to any of you who tuned into the Rivercam Saturday. We were told by a lady at the visitor center that it was turned off. We searched for it anyway after the parade in the dark. Although there were not enough votes for me to get into the water (thank the Lord!), we had something special planned, but it did not work out.

Last Words

It was a bitter/sweet time we had in Cherokee. The trip was out of the blue, but it turned out to be such a great blessing. We long to be the there and minister among the Cherokee full-time. There is so much to do. Please help us get there. Please visit our Five Things You Can Do to learn about how you can get us there.

Until next time…

The Lennoxes