Dear Friends and Family,
Several years ago, I had the great privilege of attending one of the best seminaries in the world. It was a wonderful time to form friendships and be trained for pastoral ministry. Sadly, many pastors around the world will never get the chance to have a similar experience. Imagine the implications. What would your Christian life be like if your pastor struggled to understand the Bible and make its message clear in his teaching, did not have the tools to distinguish between biblical truth and false doctrine, and was unsure how to counsel you through struggles with sin or offer comfort from God’s word during times of distress? Sadly, this is a real experience for many Christians around the world. Consider this striking statistic: There is only one formally trained church leader for every 450,000 people outside the United States.
In recent years, this great need has been identified by many missions agencies. Now, there is not only a push to take the gospel where Christ has not been named, but also a plan to train the local leadership so that they can better pastor God’s people. Training is part of Christ’s call to make disciples by teaching believers to obey all his commands (Matt 28:18-20; Titus 1:5). One of the missions agencies that helps meet this need is Training Leaders International (TLI). They use long-term partnerships and short-term trips to bring resources and training from the Western Church to the Global Church.
This summer I have the great privilege of going with TLI on a trip to India this summer. On this trip, I will be serving the local pastors there, teaching from the Gospels of John and Mark. Helping to train them will, in turn, help them to equip the believers in their churches for the work of ministry. I’m also looking forward to the friendships I’ll form with these brothers in Christ and the clearer vision I will gain of how God is advancing this kingdom around the world.
I’m writing because, like the apostle Paul, I know that I need the prayers and support of God’s people for my ministry to bear fruit (Rom 15:30). As I prepare to go, I invite you to partner with me in prayer. Here some specific ways that you can pray for me and my team:
- Pray for safety in travel (2 Thess 3:2; 3 John 2);
- Pray for fellowship and unity among our team members (Rom 15:5);
- Pray that our teaching would be clear (Col 4:4);
- Pray that our teaching would bear lasting fruit among the believers there (2 Thess 3:1);
- Pray that the local pastors and my team will be able to encourage one another’s faith (Rom 1:11-12; Col 4:8);
- Pray that all we do will bring glory to Christ (Eph 3:20-21).
In addition to your prayers, I am also asking for financial support to help fund this trip. This trip will cost $3600, which must be raised before I leave. Since is the trip is in less than three months, with the Lord’s help, support must be raised quickly. If you feel led to support me financially, you may submit payment online or via mail.
- Online. After following the link below, click on the “Short-Term Team Members” section. From the drop-down you can find my name. Select my name and follow the instructions. Online giving link: https://trainingleadersinternational.org/support/give
- Mail. Send a check/money order made payable to: Training Leaders International, P.O. Box 310, Wheaton, IL, 60187. Please include my name on a separate card (not on the check) along with your gift.
If you have any questions concerning the details of this trip, prayer and/or financial support, etc., please contact me through the comments section.
I look forward to seeing how the Lord will advance his kingdom in the lives of our team and the pastors we will be serving. I will send you a follow-up letter, reporting all that we saw God do shortly after I return from India.
For the Gospel,
John E. Botkin