Overseas Mission & Cross-cultural Ministry

Below is a series of articles about Overseas Mission & Cross-Cultural Ministry. What is being shared here is from our life and ministry experience of 13 years of living and ministering throughout the nation of South Africa, including a number of missions to Brazil, as well as an additional 27 years of ministering into 20 different nations via the Internet. We have continuing ministry partnerships with friends that go back 40 years. And we continue to develop new friendships with the Lord’s people in nations around the world.

We are sharing Spirit-taught lessons and principles, and applicable practices based on Scripture and our personal ministry experience. You can browse around the various articles according to your personal interest. However, these articles are being presented in a kind of scope and sequence in which one concept builds upon another.

The opening article, “BEARING FRUIT”, was written about what we found on our return visit to friends and fellowships in South Africa after after being away for 18 years. I believe it is an affirmation of the principles shared in the articles that follow which address various things we have found to be significant for co-laboring with the Lord in His Field around the world.

* * * * * * *



Frances and I lived and ministered in South Africa for 13 years. In July-August of 2015, we revisited the whole of the country, ministering and enjoying fellowship with our many friends there. The time could not have been more perfect! God and His people were so faithful to bless us in every way – the fellowship of friends, the ministry of the word, generous material provisions and accommodations, all in the context of the cultural diversity and beautiful scenery which is South Africa.The purpose of our trip was to “Look, Listen & Learn”. Some of what we saw and heard encouraged and inspired us. Some of what we saw and heard challenged us. Some of what we saw and heard made us think and discuss what we were seeing and hearing.

All in all, I believe the purpose was fulfilled – we learned at every turn.As I try to communicate what God communicated to Frances and I during our visit to South Africa, I can only hope that you will understand that my intention is not to talk about ourselves and our ministry, but rather, about God and His work – to simply try to communicate what God communicated to us. We were INCOMPREHENSIBLY blessed by it, as it was affirming and confirming; but it was also instructional and enlightening for us.

It seems the best way to communicate this would be to launch off from these words written by the apostle Paul regarding his understanding of the work of God:

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but (it is) only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.”
1 Corinthians 3:6-14 (NIV)

As we traveled throughout the provinces of South Africa during July and August, visiting and sharing with our friends whom we had not seen for 18 years, we were blessed in a way which God has not guaranteed to those who serve Him – that is, to see the fruit of your labor in His field and building. We may hear later, “Well done good and faithful servant”; but occasionally one is blessed to be able to see the fruit of their labors here in this life.

I can tell you of a certainty that, when we left South Africa in 1997, I felt like Elijah under the juniper tree (1 Kings 19) – I definitely could not see the fruit of our labors there for 13 years. The Spirit of God told me – people told me – but I could not see it. And that is why I can share what I have to share here with no pride what so ever – because, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that “(it is) only God, who makes things grow”.

As we had fellowship with our South African friends, two things clearly emerged – that is, two things were repeatedly spoken to us by God’s Spirit, as well as, spoken to us by God’s people: During our years of living in and ministering throughout South Africa 1984 – 1997, we had PLANTED THE SEED and we had LAID A FOUNDATION.

With certain people, it was affirmed that we had PLANTED THE SEED of God’s word, which later sprouted, blossomed, and grew to bear fruit that still remains today.

And with others, it was confirmed that we had LAID A FOUNDATION of Christ, which, having been built upon for decades, still stands today.

So, that is what our friends repeatedly communicated. And that is what the Holy Spirit repeated showed us in ways that are not “unbelievable”, but INCOMPREHENSIBLE, because we know this is not something we could accomplish, but “(it is) only God who makes things grow”.

We feel enlightened by God regarding His work, as well as, instructed regarding apostolic ministry and spiritual parenting – lessons, which are also timely for us in the parenting of our natural adult children as well.

This is the “takeaway” from our recent travels in South Africa: “Keep saying what I have given you to say – keep doing what I have given you to do. With those whom I have given you for it is bearing fruit which remains.”

23 “Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”    John 12:23-26

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his.”    2 Timothy 2:19

It was affirmed once again “the words that Jesus has spoken are spirit and they are life”. (John 6:63 NKJV) “The word that God speaks is living and active”. (Hebrews 4:12 AMP) “He is watching over His word to perform it” (Jeremiah 1:12 NASB) – “it shall not return to Him void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which He pleases and purposes, and it shall prosper in the thing for which He sent it.”   (Isaiah 55:11 AMP)

But it was also confirmed to us once again that it is not our words but our lives which have the greatest and most lasting impact on others. And we realize that it is a God-given responsibility for us “to run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2) – to have a faithful testimony from beginning to end (Hebrews 3:5-6, 14; 10:35-36) – as an example and encouragement to others – particularly our children and our spiritual children. Truly, the work of God extends to even the third and the fourth generations.

* * * * * * *

2. “SILOAM” (Sent)


I thought it would be good to share a few words about ourselves, so you know a little bit about the life and ministry of the writer. I would also like to share a few scripture verses foundational to future articles.

These are “life verses” which the Holy Spirit used more than 40 years ago to guide my wife, Frances, and I into His calling of Overseas Mission and Cross-Cultural Ministry.

You have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us a kingdom of priests to our God.” (Revelation 5:9-10) I realized that in order to experience the fulness of God’s Kingdom, we need to experience it together with those from “every tribe and tongue and people and nation”.

“Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel 12:4 NKJV)

I understood that a “missionary” was “apostolic” – that is, “a sent one”. I was drawn to John 9:7 & 11 – “Siloam (which is translated ‘sent’).” We adopted the name “Siloam Ministries” for the first 13 years of our overseas ministry.

And accompanying these verses was the phrase: “International Partnership for Evangelism and Discipleship” – that is “The Great Commission”. (Matthew 28:18-20)

After years of God-ordained spiritual and physical preparations, as well as many wonderful Holy Spirit-led scriptural and circumstantial confirmations and affirmations, we were off! Off to a life of overseas missions and cross-cultural ministry.

* * * * * * *



“And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him.” Mark 3:13

The “call” is to always be with Him, for He will always be with you, as you co-labor with Him in His field. (1 Corinthians 3:9)

In his book “So I Send You” in a chapter entitled, Workmen of God: Recognizing and Answering God’s Call to Service , Oswald Chambers writes: “The call is the expression of the nature from which the call comes and can only be heard by those who are attuned to that nature.  The call of God is not an echo of my nature, but expressive of God’s nature.”

Mark 3:14 gives the “wide lens” perspective of the call: “so that they might be with him, and he might send them out to preach ….” The call is to be in relationship with Christ, to go out, and co-labor with Christ in His field. Christ calls us to Himself, His life, and His work.  This is NOT a situation of asking the Lord to come with you, and bless your life and ministry. In fact, neither is the call to meet some need calling out for our service. The call is a conscription into His plans and purposes. We must understand these things in order to answer the call properly.

This was God’s call to Abram (Abraham) in Genesis 12:1-2: “Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.’”

There is another call recorded in Psalm 45:10-11: “Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him.”

Christ calls us out of that realm which has been fashioned by ourselves, and fashioned for us by family and culture – our world, our comfort zone, business as usual, life as we know it. The Call is to “come in” to the realm of our Heavenly Father and His Christ. The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:9: “But, as it is written (Isaiah 64:4), ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Some of us will be called out of our land into a foreign land, and out of our culture into a foreign culture; and some not. But whether or not the call entails missions and cross-cultural ministry, those who are called are universally called to be “strangers and exiles on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13), “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-16), “witnesses” of the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 24:14), “citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem” (Hebrews 12:23; Cf. Philippians 3:20), as “ambassadors of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

In the Introduction of his book, “Following Jesus in the Real World” , Richard C. Lamb had this to say: “Today, Jesus says to us, ‘I chose you and appointed you to give your live for something that will last forever.’  There is no cause, no corporation, no movement that can promise its adherents that what they accomplish with their lives will last forever.  None, that is, except the movement that Jesus proclaimed, the kingdom of God.”           

* * * * * * *