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.
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.
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.
Are 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?
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.
“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.
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!
Recently 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.
“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 →
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.
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.Youmay 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.
Point Judith Lighthouse in Narragansett, Rhode Island.
We are Back!
After a ten-day road trip, we are back in Sanford, Florida. We traveled to New England visiting the ‘Biggest Little State in the Union,’ Rhode Island, as well as Massachusetts and Connecticut. It was a joy to see family and old friends again. We were able spend a day as a family in Narragansett and explore the rocky shoreline of the Ocean State – a much needed respite after that long drive!
We visited churches in New England who are remaining faithful to the Lord’s work. We also had opportunities to meet with pastors and decision makers of churches in Virginia who have sent short-term teams to Cherokee. It seems we will have three, possibly four, new churches supporting us.
On our way up, we visited the National Museum of the American Indian in D.C. and took some quick pics of the Civil War Memorial in front of the Capital.
Civil War Memorial in D.C.
Wampanoag Mashpee Natives, Greg Joseph and Nick Hendricks
Old Indian Meeting House, 1684, Mashpee, MA
A particular joy was visiting the country’s oldest Indian church in Mashpee, MA. The actual date of the establishment of the building is debated, but you can read more about it here. We were told by one of the men keeping the grounds that day that there is no longer a congregation meeting there, but nonetheless it was edifying to be in a structure where Wampanoag Indians worshiped the Lord so many years ago. Not only were we able to have a private visit in the Meeting House, the caretakers arranged for us to have a private tour of the Wampanoag Museum down the road even though it was basically closed for the season.
While in Providence, RI, we visited the very first Baptist church in the country (see our Instagram for a pic of that). Later that night we were in a church located in the same area where the great missionary to the Indians, David Brainerd, ministered while in Connecticut. On our way back home, while traveling to Centreville, VA we stumbled on Manassas National Battlefield Park where Gen. Thomas Jonathan Jackson earned his name “Stonewall.”
Cannons at Manassas Battlefield
Remembering the Past, Looking to the Future
We had no idea how much history we were going to take in on this trip, and especially did not know how that would evoke such variegated thoughts and emotions. But our mission to Cherokee is about what the Lord is doing today. At the same time we as the church always need to keep an eye on the past examining our successes and mistakes while looking to see what the Lord wants to do with Native America in the future. I hope our posts and newsletters challenge you to think more in Kingdom categories that transcend our political, cultural, personal, and (dare I say?) denominational preferences, which will allow us to better examine ourselves as we seek to be true Reformers tenaciously embracing the doctrine of Semper Reformanda – Always Reforming.
Below are photos of the exhibits from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C.
Appeals to Washington
Compulsory prayer at an Indian mission school
Removal (click on photo to enlarge)
Great Nations Keep Their Word
Now that we are back in Sanford, we are back to writing newsletters, blog posts, and appeal letters, stuffing envelopes, making phone calls, presenting in home and church gatherings, and doing all the things necessary to raise our support. Please pray for perseverance on our part. The Lord has the funds out there somewhere. It is up to us to pray, work, pray, wait, pray, receive, pray, and repeat.
All for His Kingdom!
Above is an excerpt from November issue of Lennox Letters newsletter. See it here. Click here to SUBSCRIBE.
Where are we financially?
Currently we are a little over 30% of our pledged regular giving, although more is coming per month in the form of one-time gifts. We need 100% before we can get to Cherokee. Only 70% more to go! Please pray with us that we get to more than 50% by year’s end.
End of the Year Giving
“Sleigh Bells” are already ringing in the malls heralding the encroaching Christmas shopping season. As much as we complain, we eagerly look for the sales. If you are the average consumer in the U.S., then you are projected to spend around $700 on Christmas gifts this year, perhaps in November alone. Before we are consumed by the holiday rush, please consider making a year-end gift to our mission that we may further the Kingdom Jesus was sent to establish.
Regular giving is essential, but we also need one-time gifts to cover additional costs. We need to raise approximately $15,000 for CCMI (Cross-Cultural Ministry Internship). This is a month-long training experience in New York City for the whole Lennox family, which we must go through before we can serve in Cherokee.
Pledge Now, Give Later
You may pledge now and give later when we actually get to Cherokee, but please remember that without pledges, we don’t get there at all. Many folks are already giving, which helps us now, but if you would like to give, but can’t right now, you can still pledge for the future. Please contact us with any questions about that.
All for His Kingdom,
Above is an excerpt from November issue of Lennox Letters newsletter. See it here. Click here to SUBSCRIBE.
Fall is here. Facebook and Instagram are lit up with beautiful pics from our friends who are beholding the glorious autumn displays of the Northern states. I love the four seasons. Our memories are better cataloged using them as reference points to measure this short fleeting life. I will never forget my first broken arm the summer before fourth grade or the February snowstorm that first Sunday morning I went to church as a new believer.
Seasons change with predictable segues punctuated with defining moments that don’t submit to the calendar. When I lived in New England, the defining moment when I knew summer was over was when I stepped outside and felt that first real chill on a late August/early September morning . Even though it would warm up later in the day, you just knew that the summer was fading into the past, another chapter closing.
Yet there are other seasons of life that are not measured by changing temps and foliage. I not referring to the four-fold division we use to measure our stages of life, e.g. young years = spring, young adult = summer, etc., but rather the different places we find ourselves that are measured by emotional, spiritual, situational, relational, and even vocational influences. Unlike the four seasons of the natural world, these seasons are not so easily predicted and never truly repeated, yet there are segues and defining moments that are written in to our story by the One who orders our steps by the loving hand of providence.
Currently our family is experiencing another transition into a new season. After a fast summer of life changes and significant milestones, the Lord is moving us forward. After hundreds of phone calls and letters, along with blog posts and newsletters, the phone is starting to ring. The Lord is bringing forth fruit from our labors. We are now at 30% of our pledged giving. We have had many friends, family, and churches join us on our journey to Cherokee. Yet we have a long way to go, but I truly believe that if everyone we knew pledged just a little right now, we would be in Cherokee at by spring of 2015. Pray for that if you dare.
No Turning Back
Now we are about to embark on our first road trip. We have received numerous invitations to churches in New England and Virginia. Although the full glory of the New England autumn will be gone by the time we get there, we are rejoicing in this new season of life for us. We leave October 28th and return November 6th. We then return to a home gathering on November 7th in Longwood, FL. If you live in the area you are invited. Please pray for a successful and safe trip, that we would be able to awaken people to the need on the Native American reservations that only Christ can solve.
We are also praying that the Lord will enable us to sell or rent our house and live in an RV for the duration of our fundraising effort. We have a lot of traveling to do, not just this year, but as missionary life requires, we will continually be traveling throughout the years. We have a lot of work to do on our house and a lot of money to raise for an RV. If you or someone you know has a class C motor home to give or loan us, please let us know. Does this sound impossible? Yes? Good, even better. We would hate to have you waste time praying for things we could accomplish with our own power.
In the meantime, please venture around our pages to learn more about the Cherokee, what we are hoping to do, and how you can help. We will be posting on our usual social media outlets during our trip. Stay tuned…
Thank you for taking the time to read this message. According to advertising gurus, I am supposed to fill this post with some really good pictures of things that will either inspire you or give you a warm fuzzy feeling to keep you interested in reading, and my word count should not exceed 300. So I will try (and fail) to meet those industry standards and hope you are smarter than a fifth grader and trust you will take some time to read on. If you don’t think you can persevere, jump down to the #ThePoint section below. [insert cute winking smiley face here]
According to our last count on Facebook, we have 603 friends. That means we either sent a friend request to you or we received one from you. Either way, I am glad we are friends. [insert lots of smiley faces in a row here]
I never really used FB much. It was mostly Regina who did all the liking and commenting. I saw many of the viral videos of flash-mobs singing in the mall and tear-jerking pics of cute animals. But over the last six months, I have come to understand the potential social media can have for the kingdom of God. Since March we have been posting about our new direction that the Lord has taken us. So we post, and post, and post, yet with limited response. But then I learned that only 20% of our posts ever get to our ‘Friends.’ I am not even sure what that statistic means. Does it mean that only 20 out of 100 posts get to all 603 friends, or does it mean that 100% of our posts get to 20% or our friends? [insert funny face that looks confused]
#Warning: By the time you finish reading this very long sentence, I will have reached my maximum word count of 300, and I will lose a significant amount of my reading friends to boredom. [insert sad smiley face]
But that is not all that bad, because I just got a FB notification that someone just ‘commented’ on one of Melissa Gill’s photos, which I must say are always beautiful. Behold…
Melissa’s inspiring and envy-inducing photo of her neighborhood in Alaska, which 56 of her friends ‘Like.’
Now to the point. As 20% of you may already know, we are going to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians in North Carolina to plant a church. We won’t have a worldwide ministry with books, conferences, alliances, and lots of free stuff, nor will we ever reach that level. Nor will there be trendy t-shirts with pictures of Calvin et al smoking a peace pipe with Geronimo and Sitting Bull and a cool Latin phrase signifying ‘Reformation on the Reservations.’ And for the last nail in our coffin, we probably won’t even have an app. Sorry. But we hope our church will raise up missionaries that will go through Native America both on and off the reservations and even throughout the world. Then maybe an app.
As missionaries we need to raise our support to get us there and keep us there. So far we are at about 28% of our goal. Many of our FB friends are already part of that number. For the rest, this is our plea to you:
Would you prayerfully consider pledging $12, $25, $50, $100, $200 per month for at least a four-year period?
If every one of our friends would pledge even at the lowest amount, we would be packing our bags tomorrow. No amount is too small. Really. But don’t wait for the other person to do it. We are depending on you. Churches only account for about 30% of a missionary’s budget. You are the 70%.
If you really have no money to give, you can still help us by connecting us with others who may have a desire to see the kingdom spread throughout the Native American reservations.
Go to the ant! Proverbs 6:6
Here’s some other things you could do:
Do you attend a Bible study with a mix of people from different churches? Tell them about what we are doing. We will send you some of our prayer cards.
Talk to your pastor.
Consider having a home gathering at your house with us to share our vision with your friends.
And here is the easiest thing you could do: Re-post our FB posts to your friends. Remember that dreaded 20% number.
On the upper right hand corner of the pages of this blog is a widget. Click it. It gives you updates whenever they happen. Re-post.
We can do more with Facebook and all social media than pour water on our heads and create flash mobs. Please pray about what you can do and act on it before another trendy viral post hits. [insert long string of happy faces with ice water being poured on them as they sing the Hallelujah chorus in a mall]
Truly and seriously, thank you for taking time to read this post and prayerfully considering joining our support team. If you decide to give, simply go to our Giving page. If you would rather call (as we prefer), our number is 407-416-1482 or 407-416-2348. We would love to talk with you.