by: Derran Reese
First of all, thank you! Thank you for supporting our family during our years in Phayao, Thailand. Your prayers, encouragement and trust were enormous blessings to our life and ministry there. It was an honor to have been sent out from this church. Second, I am extremely grateful that I am able to continue a partnership with all of you in my new role as Director of Global Ministries. I have experienced your passion for connecting with what God is doing throughout the world, and I am thrilled to have a part in moving us even deeper into God’s restorative work around the globe.
This is an exciting time in the story of Highland Church of Christ. Our Restoration Movement vision has generated initiatives and ministries that are already having a huge impact on Highland, Abilene, and beyond. I am confident even greater things are ahead, which is exactly why I signed on to help develop and implement a robust vision for the Restore the World portion of the Restoration Movement. I can’t wait to join you in dreaming about how we can participate in God’s mission and cast a vision for what that looks like on a global scale.
Of course, the seeds of this vision have already be sewn through such efforts as the Paraiso Project in Lima, the Highland Pavilion at Sanctuary Home, and Change a Life in Nairobi, Kenya. We used Called Campaign funds to forge new partnerships around the world and construct projects with our missionaries on the field. Because of your generosity, we have had the privilege of joining the Spirit’s work in places as near as New York and as far as New Zealand. We thank God for these signposts of the kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven.
The next step is to formulate a coherent vision that builds upon these efforts and sets forth a path towards increasing our long-term global partnerships and expanding opportunities for members to connect to God’s activity throughout the world. During the coming months the Restore the World vision team will meet regularly to pray, discuss and discern where God is leading Highland’s global efforts. This vision, which is an extension of the initial Restoration Movement vision statement, will incorporate the following components: 1) sending out more long-term church planters, 2) partnering with humanitarian organizations engaged in economic and community development, 3) developing a process for maximizing the benefit of short-term trips, 4) encouraging member awareness and support of Restore the World ministries, and 5) equipping Highland members to be global Christians. Later this year we will cast the vision to the church and solicit your help in making it a reality.
While the Called Campaign will continue to be the catalyst for the implementation of the vision and the expansion of our global efforts in the coming years, the Mission Special offering will continue to sustain and support ongoing mission efforts. This collection will be used to support long-term church planters, send Highland members into all the world, and provide care for missionaries. These funds provide the means for missionaries in Brazil, China, and Scotland to proclaim the gospel and make disciples of Jesus Christ. We hope that you will join us in giving generously to the various mission works featured in this volume of The Avenue and at the Missions Fair on February 22nd.
So, while I say thank you for your past support and generosity that enabled my family to serve and love the people of Phayao, Thailand, I want to also express my gratitude on behalf of all the people around the world who will experience the kingdom of God coming on earth because of your faithfulness to God’s restorative mission throughout the world.