INTERNATIONAL AID INC. IS A GREAT RESOURCE FOR OVERSEAS MISSIONARIES! Several missionaries have told us what a help this organization has been. International Aid Inc. is a Christian relief organization that serves missionaries (both Catholic and Protestant) by providing food, clothing, medical supplies, hospital equipment, personal care items, etc. to mission boards and missionary families to be used and distributed among the people they serve.
Over 1900 missionary families visit the Supply and Service Center each year, where they can select from a wide range of products including: small appliances, office and school supplies, baby-care items, vitamins, and over-the- counter medications. They are also assisted in areas such as: furlough housing, travel and transportation, insurance, agriculture, water supply etc. Items can also be mail ordered. "Customers" pay only 10% of the retail value of merchandise as a handling charge. Products are donated by U.S. consumer goods manufacturers and labor is provided by volunteers.
Medical missions should write for their medical supplies catalog. An average of 15 semi-truck loads of supplies are shipped monthly to established missions or churches in third world nations. Items include food, clothing, medical supplies, hospital equipment, tools, seeds, tractors, vitamins. Regular visits to recipients of larger orders monitor use of the goods. An entire warehouse is set aside for medical supplies, including used equipment donated by hospitals who seek the very latest for their own use.
Though the help is given in the name of Christ, they are also glad to assist secular organizations doing relief/development work in the third world. National relief or development programs are also eligible for assistance, not just U.S. missionaries. Anyone visiting the Michigan warehouse to make personal pickups must have a formal letter confirming their employment on official letterhead (unless they already know you). Mail orders are accepted only for USA addresses for missionaries who need materials to take with them overseas. Direct shipments overseas are by shipping container load only. For more information, write or call: International Aid Inc., 17011 W. Hickory, Spring Lake, MI 49456, USA; phone 616/846-7490; fax 616/846-3842.
SERVANTHOOD: THE VOCATION OF THE CHRISTIAN (121 pp.) by Darrow Miller, Food for the Hungry, 1985. Quite likely you began preparing for your present work as you came to realize in your own life that you were called to serve both God and others, rather than live for yourself. It is even likely that you have taught on this subject, seeking for your students a vision-expanding, life-changing encounter with the Scriptures.
Servanthood is not like most books. Each chapter begins with a half-page of three segments which he calls "review," "preview" (what the chapter will help you understand) and "know and do" (what personal change should result from this understanding). The rest of each chapter is an interesting mix of comments, quotes from other authors, Scripture to study, and questions to think about (with space in which to write your answers).
You can use Servanthood in several ways. The place to start is to use it yourself as a personal study guide. It then lends itself exceptionally well as the basis for a course on servanthood, perhaps in your church or for a series of talks for a visiting work team. He wrote it to encourage a group of Christian high school students from the States as they prepared for a work project in the Dominican Republic. Food for the Hungry uses it in training new staff members. They go through it as a group, but he asks students not to fill in any of the blanks. Then after they have been overseas for a few months and culture shock has begun to set in, they go through it again, this time carefully responding to all the questions. "Consistently over five years students later list the servanthood course as the single thing from their training that helped them most."
A few quotes give you a flavor for the book. "The revolutionary thing about this teaching is that these people [in a New Testament passage addressing slaves] to whom first-century culture affords no choice at all, are addressed as free moral agents. Paul gave personal moral responsibility to those who had no legal or moral status in their culture. He made decision-makers of people who were forbidden to make decisions."
[When confronted with the problem of hunger and poverty, people say, "What could I do?"] "The trouble is with the question. 'What could I do?' is the wrong thing to ask. Before we ask what we, as individuals, could do, we need to ask the personal question of commitment-'Am I willing to serve?' A person can be shown a thousand needs and be given ten thousand opportunities for service; but if there is no commitment to serve, the question will always be 'What could I do?' If a person has a commitment to act and to serve, then God will indicate the appropriate service."
You may order for $10 (includes shipping to anywhere in the world) from Food for the Hungry, 7729 E. Greenway Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85260, USA. (Make the check out to "Food for the Hungry," but please write "Attn: Darrow Miller" on your order.)
A BOOK TO HELP YOU WRITE MORE INTERESTING LETTERS TO YOUR SUPPORTERS. Many in ECHO's network periodically write newsletters to those individuals and churches who support them with prayer and finances. A publication that can add life and effectiveness to those letters is Bored Readers Don't Pray Much by Carrie Sydnor Coffman. Many times I have heard my wife Bonnie exclaim about how unusually interesting Carrie's latest newsletter was, so I was not too surprised to learn that she published a book on the subject.
One of the strikingly unique things about Carrie's letters is that no matter how much might have happened since the last letter, she only tells about one thing. "The problem with most missionaries' prayer letters is the attempt to share an abundance of data. ...As a result there is not sufficient space to include enough interesting details about anything to capture the reader's interest." Several pages of the book are devoted to how to select one good idea. Each is illustrated with a good example of that approach from an actual letter she has seen.
About half of the book is devoted to very helpful suggestions on how to take (black and white) photos for the newsletter (of course, complete with pictures). Many would be equally applicable to taking slides for the talks you give back home.
I found the section on taking pictures of people with black skin especially helpful. Carrie points out that faces of Africans often turn out almost totally black with almost no detail. To solve this, take the camera off automatic and hold it so that a black person's face almost entirely fills the frame while you set the light meter. If you take the photo at this setting, the black face will look more like the shade of an Asian's face. To correct for this, alter your aperture one half stop smaller. For example, if the reading was f 5.6, move it half of the way to f 8.0 (there will probably be a click at the half-way point). If your friend is standing by a white person, the latter will look white as a ghost. But this is not a problem. A custom lab can fix that easily. If there are several whites and blacks, options are fewer. People must either be grouped by race so the lab can darken the section where the whites are [this will probably look like your group practices segregation!], or the black faces will be obscure or the white faces pasty white. She illustrates the latter with a photo of a large mixed group that she took to illustrate that African leadership was trained and taking over from missionaries. The perfectly exposed smiling black faces stand out, the white faces are visible but almost fading away. It is a striking picture that was reproduced widely. The book sells for $15 plus postage (surface mail $2 in North America and $3 overseas; airmail $10) from Apples of Gold, 242-B Muldrow Court, Norman, OK 73069-5253, USA; phone 405/321-5332; fax 405/329-7063.
SERVANTS' MISSIONARY SERVICE. Kristin Kroll (Food for the Hungry, Kenya) writes that the periodic letters she sends to her supporters around the world are handled by this unique organization. Their primary purpose is to publish and mail prayer letters of over 300 Christian missionaries. To encourage supporters to write notes to you, they place at the bottom of each letter a "ShortNote." This can be returned to them in the envelope provided and they send it air mail to you. Kristin says, "They do a nice job, really quickly, it does not cost much, and a lot of people who never would have written send in the ShortNotes."
Founders Ron and Sue Faircloth say your letter can be sent to them by mail, fax, email, or on computer disk. They can scan photos, drawings, signatures, and clip art into the computer. Average turn-around time is 5-7 working days. For a list of prices and policies, write them at Servants' Missionary Service, Inc., PO Box 3488, Columbia, SC 29230-3488; phone 803/754-2929; fax 803/786-8903; e-mail email@example.com.
"THE BEACON: MISSIONARY INFORMATION EXCHANGE" is a very handy 8-page collection of information and contacts on many topics of interest to missionaries, including general information, audio-visuals and communication, pest control, medicines and health, and nutrition. There are many useful items on each page, and if you are on the field or furlough, you will want to receive this publication. Robert Hicks has been publishing this bulletin for 30 years. Write to "The Beacon," 23225 Berkley, Oak Park, MI 48237, USA.
There are about 55 items in the latest issue. Here is just a sampling of the topics: several books to assist in ministry with various people groups, a service that provides missionaries and church workers with vehicles while in the U.S., a digest of missions news, resources for deaf ministry, Mission Aviation Fellowship Web sites, an international law firm which provides legal advice, a new Nicaraguan Protestant University, missionary health insurance, home insect controls, small business development groups, and more.
BIBLES FOR THE BLIND AND DISABLED are available free on audio cassette in 40 languages. Recipients must send verification of the impairment with their order. Some Bible studies are also available. New Testaments are available in Arabic, Bangala, Cakchiquel, Czech, English, French, German, Haitian Creole, Hausa, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kalenjin, Korean, Luba Kaonde, Luganda, Maasai, Mabaan, Malayalam, Mandarin, Ndebele, Nepali, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Telugu, Thai, Tigrinya, Uduk, Ukrainian, Urdu, and Zande. Write the Bible Alliance, P.O. Box 621, Bradenton, FL 34206, USA; phone 941/748-3031; fax 941/748-2625.
MAP-LATIN AMERICA has formed a Christian Transformation Network for mutual encouragement among churches and people interested in the meaning and practice of social transformation in Latin America. Contact the Red Cristiana de Transformación Integral, Casilla 17-08-8184, Quito, ECUADOR, South America; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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