Dear NHF Family,

What day is today?  Am I awake?  Are we really halfway through our trip?  You’re telling me we haven’t been here for 2 months already?

Yes, it’s been that kind of day — the Hump Day, the middle of our trip, the hinge between one series of activities and the next.  

First the funny: U10 performed its skit twice today, at 2 different church services, and each time was a tragi-comedy unto itself.  At 10a, we worshiped at a “daughter” church of NHC.  Because this church is much smaller than NHC (only about 30 people), its worship space is also much smaller . . . which means its stage is, well, near-miniscule.  Width-wise, it was probably about the same as the performance width at home.  But depth-wise . . . I could lay depth-wise, and my feet would hang over the edge.  =O
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Dear NHF family,

Thank God for “Day Two’s” . . .

Chae led us this morning in a devotional from Psalm 43, and encouraged us to put our hope in God, to remind ourselves, speak to ourselves the reminder to trust in He who shines light, and in whom our hope comes to strong fruition.

And with that, we headed back to the “You Are Special” VBS for the final day’s celebrations.  I think we say this every year, but every year, it continues to be true: there is something really special about the little ones here.  There is an affection that is unguarded, a physical closeness that isn’t tainted (for the kids or their parents) by an American suspicion of strangers, and a curiosity that is not hidden (yet) by concepts of shame or false-politeness.  The hugs come quick — we knew the VBS kids for all of 6 hours yesterday, and this morning, they were bombarding us with hugs, hellos, run-on sentences in Russian that none of us had any hope of understanding.  One girl, Katya, even told us that she had prepared some gifts for our team members, but left them at home.  !!!!!  I know, please, take a moment to melt!

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Commending Christ: The Pastor, the Church, and the Perishing
Desiring God 2009 Conference for Pastors

On my business trip to and from Boston this past week, I was able to listen to most of the sermons from the recent Desiring God 2009 Conference for Pastors, gathering of 1500 pastors from around the world on Feb 2-4, 2009. My dear brothers & sisters of New Hope,  I do hope that you will take the time to listen or watch these sermons. They challenged me, moved me to tears, and made me realize once again the importance of evangelism and missions. The 3 keynote sermons by Mark Dever (Capital Hill Baptist Church) clearly laid out what Gospel means, and the responsibilities and the joys we have in sharing this precious Gospel with people around us.

Matt Chandler (Village Church, Dallas) spoke on evangelism, especially in our American context where the society has been dulled by ‘cheap grace’, legalism, and post-modernism. Michael Oh (Korean American from Philadelphia) is a missionary in Japan, leading church planting ministry as well as a seminary for training young Japanese believers.  John Piper, as is tradition, gave a biographical message on evangelist George Whitefield.

These conference messages were especially relevant for us at NHF in 2009 as we make special efforts on the ‘broadcast’ part of our NHF vision.