Category : Missionaries
This is Hannah Leman Eloge, a photographer and marketer for Children’s HopeChest. I had the pleasure of getting to know sweet Hannah during my trip to Guatemala. She has such a heart for orphans. You can see her just light up when she is in a foreign country and working with orphans. Hannah is a gifted photographer, and you can check out her blog at http://hannahelogeblog.com/. As you can probably tell from these photos, Hannah has a great personality and is a ton of fun to have on a mission trip.
This is Arlo Serrano. He works at the Department of Human Services in Colorado Springs, and he is the pastor of a Hispanic church called DivineFaith. Alro is married to a Oaxacan from Baja, Juanita, and they have two beautiful daughters. I became very close to Arlo during our trips to Baja together. He has such a heart for the Lord and Christian missions. You should have seen Arlo during the alter call after “The History of Jesus” play in Baja – he was in rare form as so many came down to accept Jesus as their Savior. I love this guy. I hope the Lord will allow Arlo and I to go on many more mission trips together in the future.
Rich Wolfe became involved with Mission to the World (MTW) in 1991. Soon thereafter, he and his wife, Lori, started serving as missionaries in the Philippines. They worked hard to plant new churches and train national leaders in those churches. The conditions in the Philippines were fairly rough – like not having electricity for long periods of time or running water – but Rich and Lori felt like the Philippines were a “perfect fit” for them. They were happy. God was blessing the ministry. The Wolfes believed they had found their lifetime ministry. That is when their young son, Chris, began to have serious health problems. The Wolfes discovered Chris had bacteria in his lungs that would kill him if they stayed in the Philippines. Rich and Lori would have to leave their beloved Philippines ministry.
In their time in the Philippines, Rich planted 45 Christian churches, which is very impressive given how hard it is to plant new churches. The training of the national leaders paid off as most of those churches are still going today.
The Wolfes were forced to find a different climate for Chris, as well as doctors who could treat his condition. They moved to Colorado Springs in 1999, and Rich began serving as the MTW Regional Director over Central America and the Caribbean. Chris’ condition improved, and he has grown into a handsome young man. Rich is still involved in church planting and training national leaders. He and MTW are also heavily engaged in mercy ministry, medical missions, education and caring for orphans and poor children. Rich is also the “resident missionary” at Village Seven Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs, where he leads short term mission trips, works with refugees from other countries and counsels individuals who are becoming missionaries.
I have known Rich for many years and had the pleasure of his company over dinner several times. Rich truly loves Jesus, and he has always been an inspiration to me. Personally, Rich has such a kind and gentle nature – and a great sense of humor. I wanted to take a “serious” black and white photo of Rich for the blog, but that just didn’t work; I just had to go with the smiling photo above because it captures some of Rich’s warm and engaging personality. I sure hope the Lord will give our families many more fondue dinners together in the future!
If you want to contact Rich or find out more about his ministry, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is me. I have been praying about this blog and thinking about why I’m doing this. God has given me a deep passion for missions and photography, and I hope to make missions “real” for Christians in developed countries. It has always seemed to me that when missionaries speak at church or at some presentation, they fail to effectively convey what God is really doing in the field. It’s like the audience hears, “Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, blah blah blah….” Such presentations are sometimes followed by a few statistics meant to impress and some (terrible) photographs of groups of nationals and a missionary standing under a mid-day sun. Boring, boring, boring. The audience sits politely and wonders how long the presentation is going to last. The mission work sure does not seem “real.” The heart of the matter is lost. It certainly does not compel people to action. The bottom line: most of us Christians, with our busy lives and worries, don’t really care about missions.
Oh, sure – we want to see the Gospel preached to all people on a theoretical level, but that vague desire fails to motivate us to do anything. We feel like missions is for “those people” – not us. We’ve got jobs here at home, kids to raise, mortgages to pay, games to attend, errands to run and conflicts of our own to handle. So, why should we care about missions?
To me, Christian missions, is sharing the Gospel and meeting the human needs of people in America and around the world. People who need Christ. People who are just like us and live real lives just like us. Our God is a a God of love, and God calls us to love each other. How can we not have a burning desire within our souls to see others find true life in Christ? How can we ignore the real needs of people just like us? We can’t solve all the world’s problems, but we can each do our little part – the part that God calls us to.
So, that is what my daughter, Waverly, and I are doing with this blog – trying to do our part to give Christians in developed countries a heart for what God is doing in the field. To make missions real. To show the beautiful souls of people all over the world. To help support and encourage missionaries who are so often beat down and discouraged. And to hopefully be used by God to move Christians to share God’s love with others.
We were walking to see a Broadway play in Manhattan, and I stopped to watch this man conduct street evangelism. I usually doubt the effectiveness of such efforts because the speakers so often seem harsh and somewhat judgmental. However, I was struck by this gentleman because he was so kind, soft-spoken, engaging and gentle.