Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Why I'm travelling

Our twins have been asking why we travel. We have been explaining. Recently our church had thanksgiving services on 6th May. A member said to me backstage that I travel quite a bit. I recall a similar comment by Keng Suan on this blog back in April.

Well its not because I'm a global city guy. Here's why...

Because our church is global. Initially our church plants were in South East Asia, then in Asia and Oceania. Then in 1997 our team landed in South Africa. In 2002, our team landed in Peru. Since then our teams have landed in Kenya, Chile, Italy, Ecuador and two other countries that are best unnamed. Today our tentmaking teams are spread across several continents.

We manage across distance, cultures, continents and time zones. This makes the ministry even more complex and difficult because the boundaries of distance, country borders and cultures are in constant motion. We do our best to provide prayer support, logistics support, financial support, communication support, ministry support and re-entry care. We use e-mail and Skype a lot. We also need to visit our teams, so I travel.

Because we are part of a global movement. In Jan 99, Dinah and I were asked to oversee churches in Europe. This role lasted till Aug 04. For almost 6 years Dinah and I traveled to support churches there. We made many good friends here. Then we were asked to help North America churches in Oct or Nov 04. We politely declined because of our involvement in Africa and South America on top of local church ministry. We were asked again in early 05. We politely declined again. Our leaders finally persuaded us in Jul 05. In a family of churches, we help one another.

Because like you our overseas churches consider Dinah and I as their Senior Pastor. All our overseas churches have a coordinator or pastor. We have a special bond. In Johannesburg, we were introduced as "Our Senior Pastor based in Singapore". In Chicago we we were introduced as "Senior Pastor of North America". In Quito, it was a similar introduction in Spanish.

We now have members across the world. Each person has a special place in our heart. We love them and consider them part of family. Together with our missions staff and leaders, we keep in touch with as much as we possibly can.

Those are pretty much the reasons.

As a boy I used to think that traveling was glamorous. That's probably because mom always did the packing and unpacking. Also I never traveled far enough to be stuck in transit or experience that terrible thing 'jet lag'. Amazingly the reheated airline food didn't seem to bother me.

Now I'm quite sure that I can't sleep on planes even when I get a row of four seats all to myself. Some time ago I got a book titled, "Why I Hate Flying". I haven't read it yet but I think maybe I should have written it. If not for the Great Commission...