|GENE'S STORY (Continued)
|"Say, Gino, just how old are you?"
Well, let's put it this way: when I was in high school ,
THESE five guys were really influential, not least on me
|We radically revised the curriculum of the school from a four year academic program to a three year residence program
with a year of internship of practical ministry between the 2nd and 3rd years.
We renegotiated the financial relationship between the national church and mission,
We repaired and painted the buildings,
built a couple of new dormitories/apartment complexes to accomodate the tripling of the student population during our
We put cement sidewalks in place of the muddy trails, built a brick wall around the entire campus to keep out vandals,
trimmed back overgrown trees and shrubs, planted new flowers and trees . . .
. . . and made the college campus look like a park, instead of a dump.
|When we completed the two terms in Cote d'Ivoire we also felt we'd completed the work God had given us to do there.
After a year of home assignment ministries in the USA, in 1995 I began a Ph.D. program in New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL.
We lived right down the road from Michael Jordan, who along with the rest of the Chicago Bulls proceeded to win the NBA championship each of the 3 years we lived there in
Deerfield where the Bulls made their home.
Our first year there I pastored the Hyde Park Alliance Church near the University of Chicago. For the next couple years I focused on the studies.
|Now the question was, what did God want us to do with this investment of time, money, and effort? Should I pastor again, as many in our church were urging me to do,
or go back into teaching? And where: here in the states, or back overseas again? What seemed clear was that we are made for teaching God's Word, and for
intercultural or cross-cultural ministry. But where?
Just as the year 2000 was ending, the Alliance director for Europe called with a proposal. It seems that some French-speaking Africans had immigrated to Spain and had
on their own initiative started half a dozen churches. They wanted to start more, and to disciple their new converts. When they asked the CMA missionaries working in Spain
for help, both parties recognized that what they really needed was someone who can teach them in French (and maybe speaks a little Spanish too).
We fit that unusual profile, and as we asked counsel of trusted others in the body of Christ, it seemed to many people, including ourselves, that this was the right thing for us
to do. So we sold our house in Wheaton, packed up our stuff, and went to Spain. Two days after we got there, the two airliners crashed into the World Trade Center in NYC.
|Later, these influenced me even more
Karl Barth Martin Luther King
(with Dean Gordon, Princeton chaplain)
|Wheaton Chinese Alliance Church, which I had helped in its beginnings in 1978-79, called me as their first English pastor
when they began to have two services, one in Chinese, one in English. Our family moved from Deerfield to Wheaton,
bought a house, and had a fruitful & blessed 2 years ministering with 300 wonderful Chinese people.
I worked alongside an experienced Chinese pastor colleague, Dr. Job Lee, who loved his people and our ministry.
|As Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir sang,
"What a l o n g, strange trip it's been"
|Always loved mountains; Europe no exception
|Several chapters of that dissertation on Hebrews
have subsequently been published in academic
If you want to read copies, click here
|Note: our life and ministries since we came back from Spain in 2005 are
chronicled under the series of webpages entitled "Recent News,"
in reverse order from the present, back to 2004.
|. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
|Most satisfying of all: in 8 years we modeled and then saw gradually become the new paradigm: our students realized that they were receiving the education they were
privileged to get
in order to distribute this knowledge of God's Word more widely.
We showed them how to pass on what they had learned to lay leaders in the churches where they were placed.
Susan and I had a full and delightful ministry in Cote d'Ivoire, teaching future pastors throughout the week and doing many other ministries in between:
counseling, discipleship, preaching, Intervarsity conferences, and my personal favorite: lay leaders' conferences . . .
. . . I would take a carful of students from the Bible school and we'd go spend a weekend teaching elders and lay preachers of some district where one of our former
students was now the pastor responsible for 30 to 50 churches, and we'd train the lay leaders together, for hours.
The students caugbt the bug, enjoying having the opportunity to teach instead of just sitting in the classrom.
When they graduated, they too would invite us to come out, with another carload of newer students, to help them, in turn, with their dozens of churches that needed help.
|After a year of furlough in the States, once more the mission & the Ivorian national church
asked us to teach in the Bible school, L'Institut Biblique Yamoussoukro
|Though Waylon was singing about his career,
he was expressing what we all feel sometimes :
" I don't think Hank dunnit this way "
(click to play)
|Actually the cold was GREAT: it knocked out the malaria,
staphycoccylus, amoebas, schistosomiasis, and other critters that
had hitchiked back to America in our bloodstreams and intestines
|After four years in the heat of west Africa, a furlough in Chicago's snowy winter was quite a change!
|And our boys, whose whole lives had been spent in tropical Africa,
loved the snow for itself
|We represented the African mission in America . . . and enjoyed our cozy home in Wheaton (Sesame Street ! Mr. Rogers! WFMT classical music radio!)
|. . . and this time
we were able to spend an entire term, four years,
in ONE house, on the grounds of the Bible college.
|Suddenly, very quickly, our three boys went
from being little kids, to big kids,
But this was a fun stage too, especially
because all three of them were natural
musicians, and liked to jam,
as did their "old man"
| That cycle became "the norm," praise God!