In honor of Valentine’s Day and the 2011 mascot, we wanted to send a special message from our staff to you:
2005 was the first year iGosia had a mascot - the year of the Armadillo.
2010 was the year of the Moose and also a great Jimmy year!
Finally, it’s here. The moment you’ve all been waiting for. The unveiling of the 2011 mascot. Drumroll, please…..Ta-Da!
2011 is the year of the OWL!
Now, for iGo Alumns, you know that each year students get an awesome team shirt which features the mascot. This year, we’re doing something a little different! A CONTEST!
That’s right. We want YOU to design the coolest looking team shirt that features an owl and our slogan “Make Him Famous.” (Due to the locations our teams go, please do not include any sort of spiritual reference or “iGo Global” in your design.) The people of iGosia will review the designs and we’ll post our favorites online and let you vote for your favorite t-shirt design! The winning design will become the 2011 team shirt!
Hurry! Designs are due by February 14! Submit your designs to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to include your full name in the email!
When I (Jesse) arrived in Cardiff this summer, our JSI prepared us for what to expect at our ministry site. He told us about the team that was in “B” area the week before us. Apparently they hadn’t been able to share with anyone so he was talking to us about the importance of prayer walking.
The first day we arrived at the ministry site and began prayer walking. Thirty minutes later everyone on our team was engaged in conversation with people. We built a lot of relationships that day. Some of our new friends invited us to a youth center in the area and we played soccer with them and had a lot of great conversation. Our JSI was so pumped. He figured we would be prayer walking the whole time we were there. Instead, we only prayed for about 30 minutes. The rest of the time we were engaged in conversation!
For dinner that evening, we visited a small Somalian restaurant in the neighborhood. One of my trek members started talking with the owner. While they were talking, I was praying that God would give us a way to connect with the people in the restaurant. Pretty soon, the men playing dominoes in the back invited us to join them. We began playing dominoes and we got to know those guys really well. Our JSI nearly freaked out when he realized where we were. Apparently, in a year and a half of focusing on that area, no outsider had been invited to play dominoes or to even go in the back room.
The restaurant soon became our biggest focus of ministry during the week. We continued playing dominoes and having conversations with the men in the restaurant. Our trek was continually sharing the gospel with people. We even got to share with the restaurant owner. The people were so open about spiritual beliefs and would ask us to explain Christianity to them.
People would ask us “You guys are from America? You guys are Christians?” Many times we didn’t even have to turn the conversation toward spiritual things. They were asking us questions.
One guy even asked me to explain the Trinity to him. That guy had so many questions. “Why did Christ have to die on the cross?” he asked. We talked for about three hours. I explained who Jesus is, how he died and why he died.
Another time, we were prayer walking through the park and I began picking up trash as we walked. I was praying and asking God to send more people I could share with. Several kids were playing and one girl turned to me and asked why I was picking up trash. The conversation immediately turned to Jesus. “Who is Jesus?” she asked. For the next 15 minutes we shared with those kids. Soon their parents came over, wanting to know what we were talking about. We got to share with them as well.
No matter who we were talking to, each time we would answer a question you could almost see the seed being planted. They would pause and realize the truth of what we were saying. We were excited to know that they were really thinking about the things we were sharing with them.
The day after I returned to the US, I was at Falls Creek volunteering on their decision team. We broke up into small groups to pray and I went and sat by a guy, Nick, who I noticed, had the same iGo Make Him Famous notebook I had gotten at Base Camp prior to my trip. We prayed and then before we even started talking about our trips, I asked, “You were in the “B” area, weren’t you?” Somehow I just knew that he’d been in the “B” area prayer walking the week before my trip. Sure enough, he had. It was so amazing to share with Nick how God had answered his prayers through my trek. He had prayer walked miles each day, without getting to really share the gospel with anyone. My trek had gotten to sow the seeds of the gospel in the lives of so many people that we only spent about 30 minutes each day prayer walking! We were on different trips, but God used each of us in the life of the other – to further his kingdom and to grow us spiritually.
This summer I (Nick) went on the Falls Creek A trip to Cardiff, Wales. While there, my trek served in the “B” area, which is predominantly Somalian Muslim. Our all-guys trek spent the week in that neighborhood, prayer walking, playing “football” (American Soccer) with people in the park, and trying to have spiritual conversations.
There is one tiny little hole-in-the-wall Somalian restaurant near the park where our group would go. This was the “hang out” spot for the men of the neighborhood. They would sit in the back area of the restaurant and play dominos for hours. We were allowed to watch them play but never invited to join. We got to know the owner and his sons, and even tried to share the gospel with him, but he wasn’t interested.
Everywhere we turned we were hitting walls. No one was interested in hearing the gospel. No one wanted to stop and talk with us. So we prayed. A lot. We prayer walked an average of 5 miles every day. We plowed, asking God to move in that neighborhood, to break up the hardness of the people’s hearts so they would be receptive to the good news.
However, we were frustrated. We hadn’t really gotten to have any great spiritual conversations with anyone. I returned to my room the last night, disappointed. I’d been asking God all week for an opportunity to share the gospel and it felt like God hadn’t answered my prayer.
That night I noticed one of the security guards at the place we were staying had a guitar. I love music, and so I approached him and asked if he had been playing long.
“I’m just learning,” he replied.
We began a conversation about our love for music and I taught him a few new chords. While we were talking, it hit me. I’d been asking God all week for an opportunity to share and here was my chance! I kept trying to turn the conversation to spiritual things, but the guard seemed more interested in the guitar and music. I kept praying, “God, help me turn this conversation toward you.”
Soon, my friend Regan came over and began talking with us. Regan began playing “The Power of the Cross.” The guard was instantly captivated. As soon as Regan finished, he began asking questions: “Who were you singing to?” “What were you singing about?” “There’s something different about you guys, what is it?”
“Well, we have a hope that won’t die or fade away.” Excited, we began explaining the gospel – who Jesus is, the issue of sin, the penalty Jesus took on our behalf, and more. It was obvious that this guy wanted to know more. When we asked him what he thought about all that, he said, “I need to know more, but I don’t have a Bible.”
I instantly thought of the extra Bible I had brought. For some reason, while I was packing I sensed that I needed to bring along my old pocket Bible. It was a well-worn; I used to carry with me everywhere. I’d made notes in it and underlined things. What an incredible and exciting moment it was to hand this Bible to my new friend! I showed him passages I’d underlined that he could read to learn more about Jesus. God had answered my prayer – I’d gotten to sit down and share the gospel while in Cardiff!
Two weeks after I returned, I was serving at Falls Creek on their decision team after evening worship. Another guy on the decision team, Jesse, approached me and asked if I’d like to pray for the students. As he set his Bible down, I noticed he had an iGo notebook just like the one I’d gotten at Base Camp!
“Did you go with iGo this summer?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said. “Let’s pray first and then talk about our trips.”
After we prayed I found out that he had just returned the day before from the second Falls Creek trip to Cardiff. Not only that, but his trek had served in “B” area, the very same area I’d been two weeks earlier!
“So, did you guys do a lot of plowing (prayer walking)?” I asked.
“Man, EVERYONE was wanting to hear about Jesus while we were there” he exclaimed!
He proceeded to tell me how the men in the restaurant had invited them to play dominoes AND how they’d gotten to share with them! They’d even gotten to know the restaurant owner and his son really well and share with them too!
I was shocked. While I was there, we had done miles of prayer walking without really getting to share with anyone. Then I realized we had done tons of plowing – asking God to break up the hardness of the people’s hearts so they would be receptive to the gospel. While there, I felt like God wasn’t really answering my prayers. Instead, he answered them in a bigger way than I had even dreamed!
That night I was so excited to call the other guys on my trek and share the news with them. We were almost in tears as we celebrated the joy of the plower and God’s amazing plan! I was so thankful that God sent Jesse to me, to share how our prayers were ultimately answered and to reveal to us His greatness!
How have you done so far in keeping those New Year’s resolutions? If you’re anything like me, you gave up making those resolutions years ago because of your fear of failure.
However, there is something exciting about a new year and a fresh start to instituting the necessary disciplines of life. At the core of the Christian life is loving and knowing Jesus. How is this done? Through spending time in the Word. Why then, do so many believers neglect this critically important spiritual discipline? For many, it’s lack of a plan.
JR Vassar, pastor of Apostles Church in New York City, who also helped found iGo Global (back when it was iWitness Ministries) wrote a great article on “Planning an Intentional Devotional Life in 2011.” It is definitely a must-read! Please take a couple minutes to read through it. Let us know which option you choose! Ky and I are using the M’Cheyne Reading System and we are really enjoying it!
The season that began long ago as a time to remember and meditate on Christ has somehow become a time of stress, Grinch-like shoppers, long checkout lines, empty wallets, and frustration. The last few weeks I’ve found myself dreading grocery shopping. What happened to the simplicity, joy, and Gospel-centeredness of the Christmas season?
Wait a minute. Why another blog to redirect our focus to the “real reason for the season?” Truth be told, few of us have taken very little time, if any, to focus on the incarnation. We need this reminder. I need this reminder.
This past weekend, Ky and I, along with Chassidy and her husband, John, attended Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb concert in Corsicana, TX. Having listened to his album for the past few years, I knew it was bound to be a great evening. As the concert progressed, I was so moved. It was one thing to listen to the cd, but hearing the concert live, wow, what a worshipful experience. There aren’t words to describe how far it exceeded my expectations. (If you’re not familiar with his album, Behold the Lamb of God, well, you should definitely get your hands on a copy AND make plans to attend one of his concerts next year.)
Although the Bible appears to be many stories about many people, it is actually one big story about Jesus. The whole Bible points to Him. The Old Testament foreshadows the coming of the one who would redeem us from the burden of the law. The New Testament shares the life of Jesus on earth, his work through the church after his ascension, and his coming return. Andrew mimics this concept on his album. The first few songs walk through the Old Testament, talking about the Passover, the Exodus, the Kings, the Prophets, etc. He even includes a song called “Matthew’s Begats” (you know, the part everyone wants to skip over because of all the hard-to-pronounce names).
My favorite song on the album has always been Labor of Love. So often we picture the manger scene as this quiet, reverent, sterile environment. We forget that Jesus was born in a barn. A barn! I grew up working on a dairy farm and the last place I’d ever want to have a baby would be a place where people have to scoop up manure with a shovel. Most manger scenes and ornaments choose to leave out this piece of detail. This was long before they had running water, anti-bacterial hand soap and electricity! If you’ve ever been anywhere near a delivery room, you know that it is not a quiet and pleasant experience. I think the first verse of the traditional song, Silent Night does a great injustice to the true nature of the birth of Christ. I think Andrew opened my eyes to this disparity with his song: Labor of Love
It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyways that night
On the streets of David’s town
And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
Had no mother’s hand to hold
It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love
Noble Joseph at her side
Callused hands and weary eyes
There were no midwives to be found
In the streets of David’s town
In the middle of the night
So he held her and he prayed
Shafts of moonlight on his face
But the baby in her womb
He was the maker of the moon
He was the Author of the faith
That could make the mountains move
It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love
For little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
It was a labor of love
This song paints quite a different picture than what we’re used to seeing in the pretty and sparkly manger scenes. The incarnation is not a picture of a newborn baby shielded from the sin, the suffering and the hardship of this world. It is quite the opposite! Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, willingly stepped off his throne, clothed himself in flesh, and lived among sinful man. The Maker of the moon, the Creator of the universe, was born in a barn. God in flesh dwelt among us. How scandalous!
I challenge you, this Christmas season, don’t get so caught up in the “funtivities” that you lose sight of the outrageousness and scandal of the birth of Christ. Worship Him!
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” (Colossians 1: 15-23)
Every year, iGosia hosts a Christmas party for it’s staff and family. This year we made a few changes to the celebration - including an ugly Christmas sweater contest and a white elephant gift exchange. Thanks to Penny Rodgers, we have some great photos of the event! (If you haven’t ever seen her blog, go check it out! Need a photographer? We definitely recommend her! Penny Rodgers Photography)
Shu led out in the festivities, sporting a sweet Christmas sweater:
Crystal was decked out for the occasion:
The best ever white elephant gift made its rounds, finally ending with the Kent Jones family. Jami Lee is posing with it below:
Second and Third place in the Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest went to Allison Aycock and Kent Jones, respectively. Their prize was a $10 Facebook card. Those are some nice sweaters:
First place went to yours truly. A stocking, teddy bear, poinsettias, bells and more are attached to this awesome sweater. The prize for this - a Dallas coupon book worth over $15,000 in savings. So if you ever want to go out to eat anywhere in Dallas, be sure to call Ky and me. We’ve got the hook up on savings!
Although the picture quality isn’t as good, you can see Ky worked really hard on this creation - it even has working lights.
Finally, wishing you a Merry Christmas from the iGo staff!
At iGo we are so blessed to work with amazing M’s on the field. We love being a part of what God is doing through their ministry. It is so exciting to hear how God is moving among their specific people groups and drawing people to himself. Our M partners are so faithful to pour into our students while they are on the field - demonstrating to them what it looks like to live missionally. They show our students how to cross cultural barriers in order to share the truth of Jesus and plant churches. We love being able to serve alongside these friends who have given their lives to spreading the gospel among the unreached people groups of the world. What a huge encouragement they are to us as well! Several of our M friends sent us the following messages after their summer teams arrived back in the states:
I just wanted to write you and brag on the team and thank you for the work that you guys did to help prepare them. G and L did a great job leading the team. They all did a wonderful job learning language, getting out every day and pr-ing, sharing the g*spel, and traveling out to some hard to get places. It was great to see them develop a love for this place and the people. They were a huge encouragement and blessing to us. One of my prs for our teams is that they will multiply our work rather than consume our time and require constant attention. Every iGo team that we have had has been a team that has added to our min***y and created a big push. I hope that we are able to have more iGo teams in the future.
After years of partnering with iGo, we count it an honor to work with a group so focused on spreading G’s fame to the nations. We love how our iGo students arrive on the field well-trained, focused, adaptable, and ready to fit into the M team’s field strategy. iGo does a great job of investing in students over the years - helping to mentor them into the leaders of tomorrow. We could give countless examples of students who began their journey with iGo scared and inexperienced and grew into amazingly mature men and women of G who were able to lead teams all over the world. We look forward to partnering with iGo for many years to come.
iGo has been an encouragement to us personally and a vital part of our strategy. Work is slow in our city but the iGo teams bring enthusiasm and cover much more ground than we can alone. The students are well prepared to ‘get’ the things we teach them and impact lostness. But more than anything, we are excited to see these American teenagers begin to understand a life with Jesus in a new way, living missionally at home, some returning as JSI’s for the summer, or even a
6 month internship. iGo is helping to raise up a generation that lives life in a new way - for His Glory alone.
How humbling it is to be in partnership with these incredible men and women. It is truly a blessing to serve alongside them - shining as lights in some of the darkest places in the world while training up the next generation to live on mission. Join us in praying for these Ms and their difficult work on the field. May God continue to use them to Make Him Famous!
During this season of thankfulness, we wanted to highlight staff members and their families and let them share a few of the things they’re most thankful for. Let us know what you’re thankful for in the comments section!
- God’s unfailing provision
- Thoughtful family, friends, & supporters
- The opportunity to have some pretty amazing life-adventures
- The Lord’s provision in all things
- The people He has placed in my life, that I get to walk alongside each day
- Juice Boxes
- For the opportunity to get to serve the Lord and work doing things I love, through the church and through iGo
- For two really amazing kids who teach me so much
- My gracious and faithful, smoking hot wife
- The grace I’m shown daily that gives me a clearer picture of the Gospel
- A staff to work with that is encouraging, sharpening and like-minded
- Shoes. Cute shoes can make anybody look good.
Jami Lee Gainey
- The first ever iGo conference, and how it reminded me of how blessed I am to work with people who love and encourage others to love the church
- The undeserved opportunity to be a part of a church plant alongside my husband and other great friends
- The blessing of experiencing the TSSG trip this past summer in Japan with my husband, mother, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law
- For a little girl in Ethiopia who will soon become my daughter
- Thankful I was blessed to have 12 great years with my lab, Mo (he passed away in August).
- For Napoli’s Lunch Special. 2 slices of round Italian food for only 4 bucks.
- A son that’s potty trained
- Friends who faithfully petition the Lord on my family’s behalf
- Grace and hope that come through Jesus
- Getting to spend time with family
- Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin candles - basically anything pumpkin flavored
- My wife
- The people around me who have pointed us to adoption
- Getting to work with good friends and leaders
- Parents that live out the Gospel
- iGo Partners that give financially and walk alongside me
- Cute Aprons
- The Word of God
- My husband
Would you join us in praying?
Right now, around the world, millions of Muslims are seeking spiritual guidance. We are in the middle of Ramadan, a very important month to Muslims- a month of intense spiritual focus. They spend the 30 days of Ramadan fasting and praying from sunrise to sunset in an effort to grow closer to Allah. They are also seeking to obtain forgiveness for their sins, gain guidance for the future, and please God with good works.
During the evening, after breaking the fast, they celebrate with family and friends over a large meal. Most will stay up eating until around midnight, and rise again around 4am to eat before the sun rises and the fast begins again. In most Islamic countries, food and water are not sold during the day and restaurants don’t open till evening.
Night of Power
This Sunday, September 5, marks the most holy day of the year for Muslims - Laylat al-Qadr, also known as “the night of decree or measures,” “the night of destiny,” or “the night of power.” It is believed that this is the night the Qu’ran was revealed to Muhammad.
Muslims believe that on this night heaven opens and God hears their prayers. They believe that spending this one night fasting and praying is worth thousands of months of fasting in the eyes of Allah.
They will offer extra prayers and spend additional time reading the Qu’ran. Many will even spend the night and the remaining ten days of Ramadan in the mosque – praying, reading and seeking God. Through all of this, Muslims hope to obtain favor in the eyes of God and to receive spiritual blessing and revelation.
So, why write a blog about Islam? The truth is it’s becoming more and more common for Muslims to have dreams and visions of Jesus during Ramadan! “Year in and year out I see a heightened increase in God speaking to the hearts and lives of Muslims through dreams and visions during this focused time of prayer for Muslims,” said IMB International Prayer Strategy Director Ed Cox.1
Let’s pray that during the remaining days of Ramadan, God would reveal himself to Muslims in a mighty way! Would you join us in praying for Muslims around the world? We even encourage you to get a group of friends together to pray this Sunday, during the Night of Power. Ask that Jesus would reveal himself through dreams and visions.
For prayer points for each day of Ramadan, you can use this 30-day online prayer guide: http://www.30-days.net/muslims/category/featured/
For more information on the views of Islam, visit the International Mission Board’s website: http://btw.imb.org/news_research.asp