Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Building through Sending - Ann

Ann Hrivnak is on staff STINT leading the team in London for 2nd year. The team is a mixture of two 2nd year STINTers (Jill and Shelley), a Brit and two Koreans who finished their STINT in February. But before we get too deep into the goings-on in London, she should start with the biggest news in Ann’s life this year…

“I was at the STINT mid-year conference in Nerja. Before I left, Adrian gave me a DVD that he had made which had him talking on it and had music and photos of us over the past year. I also received two letters from him during the week via my roomies, Jill and Shelley. (Jill and Shelly are on their 2nd year of STINT with Ann in London.) On Saturday night at midnight I went for a walk with Jill and Shelley to this cliff that overlooked the Mediterranean. Jill handed me her iPod and on it was a song that Adrian had written for me. It was really dark out so as I was listening to the song I could see tons of stars and I was able to look down over the cliffs in to the water. After the song finished, I heard his voice from behind me and I turned around to see him! Then he said lots of nice things to me... though I can't remember any of them because I was totally in shock still that he was even there in Spain! Then he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I think I might have said ‘Are you kidding?!’ at first, but then said ‘YES!’”

Ann and her team work primarily at the London School of Economics. Right now Ann is actually in the US for a little bit (wedding planning?) while Adrian, Jill and Shelley are with 5 students in Rotterdam Holland on a weeklong missions trip to reach students there. Their desire is that while they are in Holland that they will get to see 10 people trust Christ into their lives and become lifelong multiplying disciples. One of the students from LSE on this Missions Trip is Lola. Jill has been discipling Lola since last year and this year Lola started discipling a first year student called Precious and another gal named Jerusha.

The apostle Paul was like Ann, Jill and the team in London. Luke writes at the start of Acts 20 about several men who traveled with Paul. If you follow the story this is near the end of Paul’s 3rd Missionary Journey. He just spent a 3-year STINT in Ephesus establishing the church there that would take the gospel to all of Asia and launch other churches/movements in cities where Paul will not personally visit like Colossae and Laodicea.

Paul at this point knew it was time to move on in order to let the Ephesian elders lead and decided to go back and revisit some movements he had launched on his 2nd journey. So he goes to Macedonia and encourages the folks in Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea. He swings south through Athens and then Corinth where he 3 months in Corinth and writes the Book of Romans. Afterwards, he swings back through Macedonia and send these seven men who were traveling with him ahead of him to Troas.

Luke tells us of these 7 men (I will throw in an 8th). Look where they are from…
Cities on 1st Missionary Journey: Lystra – Timothy. Derbe – Gaius.

Cities of 2nd Missionary Journey: Thessalonica - Aristarchus and Secundus. Berea - Sopater son of Pyrrhus. Corinth – Erastus (not mentioned here but is mentioned in chapter before where Paul sends him and Timothy ahead of him from Ephesus. We know from Romans that he is from Corinth and he is probably not mentioned at this point in the narrative because he stayed in Corinth to continue his daytime job as Corinth’s director of public works.)

Cities of 3rd Missionary Journey: Ephesus - Tychicus and Trophimus. (If they are not personally from city of Ephesus but other locales in Asia, they may have heard the message while he preached at Hall of Tyrannus and been discipled in Ephesus.)

What do we conclude from this? While Paul was on STINT planting movements in all these areas, he was entrusting what he planted to leaders in these cities to carry on the work. Sometimes these leaders would go out on their own like how the church in Colossae was established by Epaphras. And yet we see here that Paul also was strategically taking young men with him. He was getting them outside their comfort-zone and involved in the mission. He was training these guys in the context of ministry. ‘Build’ happened in the midst of ‘Send’. ‘Win’ happened while he was ‘Building’ and ‘Sending’ others. He wasn’t looking to do ministry alone. He was always killing two birds with one stone.

I don’t know the end of the story for all these guys. Timothy we know. Erastus, as mentioned before, stayed in Corinth. Aristarchus would later be imprisoned with Paul. Maybe this Gaius is the same one John addresses his third epistle to. I am not totally sure. But the gospel was furthered because Paul took it upon himself to send (or technically ‘bring and send’.)

May The Lord raise up for all oi you a Timothy, Gaius, Aristarchus, Secundus, Sopater son of Pyrrhus, Erastus, Tychicus and/or Trophimus.

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