October 2017

A Forum for the Nations

By Mutua Mahiaini

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A landmark event in Navigator history just occurred in Malaysia. Our 2017 International Forum, the first in five years, brought together about 380 Navigator leaders from every part of the globe. These men and women display the remarkable unity and diversity of the Navigator Worldwide Partnership. We are unified in Christ to carry the Gospel into the nations.
 
Our purpose for the forum was to bring focus, alignment and energy to the Navigator movement. Over the years, we have found that significant, Gospel-advancing connections happen during this kind of forum. This was the case in Malaysia.
 
Leading up to the forum, God had spoken to my heart through Exodus 34:23-24, which says, “Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord, the God of Israel. I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory . . .” This scripture affirms the importance of bringing our leaders together before God, to hear from Him, to be strengthened by Him together, and to encourage one another.
 
The theme for the International Forum was “the Gospel to the nations.” As I travel around the world and meet with Navigators, I have seen how God is mobilizing us around that call. We as Navigators are strongly aware that we are called to reach the nations. This is not just for ministries that have plentiful resources; it is part and parcel of our relationship with Christ.
 
And yet, this call to reach the nations is daunting. It is far beyond our human capacity. So, as we think about reaching the nations, it requires us to expand our view of God. The call to the nations compels us to put our trust in God’s power and promises, to believe that He will do what we cannot do on our own. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.
 
Time after time during the conference, we heard stories of how God is fulfilling His promises to reach the nations. Leaders from each of our seven regions shared beautiful stories of God’s work through ordinary men and women who, in faith, are putting their families, finances and futures into service for the sake of ministering among the lost.

Reaching the nations happens on the local level—in neighborhoods, in family networks, in rural villages, on college campuses, in workplaces, in medical clinics, in urban slums. Navigators are working in all these places. A few examples:
 

  • In the Middle East and North Africa region, Navigators are serving refugees who have fled war-torn countries, and they are seeing the Gospel advance despite dangerous conditions.
  • In the North America region, pioneering missionaries are opening new works in the Caribbean and reaching out to the poor in the U.S.
  • In Latin America, we heard how God is using business professionals to bring Christ to their workplace and family networks.
  • In Eurasia, God is using sports ministries, medical teams, and orphanage ministries to share God’s love with the lost.
  • In Europe, young leaders are finding creative ways to bring the Gospel to a highly secular region.
  • In the vast Africa region, God is working powerfully through Navigators to bring hope to rural populations, to rescue prostitutes in urban centers, and to reach business leaders.
  • And in the populous Asia-Pacific region, Navigators are ministering fruitfully among followers of major religions from China to New Zealand.

During the forum, we spent extensive time praying for our work in each region. Prayer helped prevent us from putting ourselves in the center of this challenge to reach the nations. Moses made that mistake. In Exodus 3:7-10, God told Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Moses responded to God’s call (3:11) by saying, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” In that question, Moses demonstrated that he believed the task depended on him, when in fact it depended on God.
 
The same is true for Navigators as we respond to God’s call to reach the nations. We respond with bold faith in God, seeing ourselves in light of His promises, love, and power. As we move forward after the International Forum, we pray and minister from that place.

Mutua Mahiaini is the International President of The Navigators. Mutua and his wife, Stephanie, led our work in Kenya, then in Côte d’Ivoire, and then as Regional Director for Africa for 13 years. Mutua and Stephanie now live in Colorado Springs. They have four adult children.

Reaching the Hard Places

By Alan Ch'ng

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After more than 80 years of cutting-edge missions work, Navigators around the world continue to carry the Gospel into hard places and cultures. During our International Forum, we saw God again calling us to pursue the “high-hanging fruit,” the people who are most difficult to reach.
 
God deeply loves broken and lost people. Many are trapped in the darkness of major religions and philosophies such as Buddhism, Islam, Western materialism, and Hinduism. Others are living in faraway rural areas that are difficult to access. The population of refugees in the world continues to grow exponentially as nations are destroyed by wars and genocide. Millions live in urban slums under the threat of drug violence and human trafficking.
 
These people desperately need the Gospel, but to reach them is not comfortable. It requires tremendous courage, calling, and training to bring God’s love to these populations.
 
Because the barriers are so great, most Christian missions efforts focus on going to the “low-hanging fruit”—people who are generally receptive to the Gospel. As our regional director for Asia-Pacific demonstrated during the International Forum, about 90 percent of all Christian missionary resources goes to reaching this “low-hanging fruit.”
 
Although it is good to invest our energy in those who are easiest to reach, the Gospels show us that Jesus frequently served the high-hanging fruit. In Matthew 8, we see him helping a leper—a man who would have been considered grotesque in that time. He helped a Samaritan woman even though both Samaritans and women were demeaned within the Roman culture. He healed the blind and infirm, gave dignity to the poor and prostitutes, and embraced the marginalized.
 
During the forum, we heard from many Navigators who are seeking to reach the high-hanging fruit. In the Philippines, Navigators are serving the poor and rescuing prostitutes in the slums of Manila. In many parts of Europe and the Middle East, Navigator teams are bringing the love of Jesus to refugee communities. In Malawi, God is using Navigators to advance the Gospel among the rural poor. An American group called I-58 (based on Isaiah 58) is addressing the needs of the under-served urban communities in the United States. And many Navigators are penetrating the major religions in places like India, China, the Middle East and Africa.
 
Despite the barriers, we continue to see the effectiveness of our Navigator DNA. This DNA includes whole-life personal discipleship, investing in relational and family networks, promoting deep engagement with the Scriptures, fueling our efforts through prayer and focusing on spiritual generations.
 
But we also recognize that we must find new ways of ministering in each context. God is giving us wisdom, freedom, and creative ideas to overcome the challenges that make it hard to reach the high-hanging fruit. The Scriptures and the Holy Spirit continue to lead us forward.
 
As Isaiah 42:16 says, “And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.”

Alan Ch’ng is an International Vice President. Before joining the International Executive Team, Alan led our Asia-Pacific Region for more than six years. Alan and his wife, Connie, moved to Colorado Springs in April 2013. They have three grown sons.

A Faith Adventure

By David Lyons

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“What is God saying to us?”
 
That was the question before the Navigator International Executive Team after two days of seeking God in Nepal in early 2016. The answer was clear, yet mysterious: “Lead from and into bold faith.” Our hearts resonated. We knew God was leading. But what would that look like?
 
In the following months, I began asking Navigators all over the world, “What are you praying that God will do in the next six months that only God could do?” I began to hear how our fellow workers were embracing this faith adventure and seeing miraculous answers to their prayers: a transformed prodigal son, astonishing funding, even physical healing.
 
Then I was asked to organize prayer for the International Forum. “Lord, what would it look like to develop this forum with bold faith?” The Lord gave me an idea from Matthew 18:19, which says, "If two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by my Father who is in heaven.”
 
What would it look like for Navigators around the world to agree in intense prayer for something only God could do through the forum? We did not know, but we began with our team, agreeing in prayer for these three God-sized requests:
 

  • We prayed that God would lead our international leadership community to focus together on the greater things that the Father intends to do in and through us (John 5:20; 14:12).
  • We prayed that God would lead us into world changing oneness with Him and with one another (John 17:23).
  • We prayed that God would lead us to believe so boldly that we will see His glory displayed among the nations (John 11:40).

Month by month others joined us, agreeing in prayer around these three requests. Each month, more and more Navigators participated with us from all over the world, sometimes via video conference calls in the middle of the night. By August, 60 intercessors were praying together.
 
Then, two weeks before the event, someone suggested that we invite others to pray with us daily during the forum. We sent out a few invitations, and the response was beyond what we could imagine. Another 250 intercessors, people who could not attend the forum, volunteered! Our anticipation ballooned.
 
Then it happened. Every day at the forum we saw a flurry of answers to our prayers:

  • Greater things: Leader after leader spontaneously exhorted us to believe God to reach beyond our competencies, to believe God for greater things, to have courage in the face of danger, to see breakthroughs in hard places. There was an electric sense of anticipation of what God was about to do, combined with an authentic confession of our desperate need.
  • World changing oneness with the Father: Every day of the forum began with an hour of seeking God together. Plus, there were spur-of-the-moment gatherings of Navigators seeking God for a greater openness to the work of the Holy Spirit among us.
  • World changing oneness with each other: We saw remarkable unity emerge from tremendous international diversity. Humility produced that unity. A region that could have easily boasted about its fruitfulness instead “boasted” about its weakness and need to grow in partnering. Several other countries and regions were deeply challenged to follow that example of humility.
  • Believing boldly: Every day I saw unplanned and planned prayer gatherings springing up. Navigators were praying fierce warrior prayers together as they boldly sought God for solutions to challenging obstacles.

How about you? What are you believing God for in the next six months that only He could do?

David Lyons is an International Vice President of The Navigators. He serves our 5,000 staff in more than 100 countries by coaching leaders and leading change. David is author of Don’t Waste the Pain.

Forum Resources for Learning and Growing

By IET Communications

The Navigator leaders at the 2017 International Forum in Malaysia spent extensive time in the Scriptures. To share the wealth with you, we have posted video recordings (non-professional) of the International Executive Team’s teaching at the forum. You can find these videos on our international video library.
 
The videos include:

“Living with Focus, Alignment and Energy,” by Mutua Mahiaini
“The Gospel to the Nations,” by Mutua Mahiaini
Study 1: "Jesus' Ministry in the Gospels,” by Alan Ch’ng
Study 2: “Launching Movements of the Gospel,” by Eddie Broussard
Study 3: “Paul’s Pioneering Ministry,” by Mutua Mahiaini
Study 4: “The Planting and Growth of the Gospel in Ephesus,” by David Lyons
Study 5: “Paul’s Vision for the Fruit of His Ministry,” by Mike Shamy
"Freedom from Self, Faith to Dream," by Mutua Mahiaini

You will also find a video of a forum presentation by British Navigator Rosalyn Boydell titled "Hope for Europe."

While you are visiting the video library, check out some of the professional quality videos that display what God is doing through Navigators around the world.