There's more to weaving a tapestry than just accumulating threads. There are looms, shuttles, and spinning wheels and the hand of a master weaver. Some things about this Bulgarian experiment seem more like spinning wheels or shuttles than they do tapestry threads.
One of those revolves around some mobile prayer meetings in 1992-93. That year, an Southern Nazarene University world missions organization organized "Joshua Walks" on campus. These are prayer meetings which take their name from the way Joshua captured Jericho.
In this modern version, a group walked around the campus, stopping to pray at various locations. They paused in front of each building and prayed aloud. At the dormitories, they prayed that a passion for world evangelism will consume students housed there. At classroom buildings they prayed for professors and for the Lord's presence in classes. The last stop was the administration building, Bresee Hall. That campus focal point is right on "Main Street USA" Route 66, the historic Chicago-to-Los Angeles highway. There, facing SNU's oldest building, a group prayed earnestly for President Gresham. They prayed that he would discern God's vision and that he would be divinely empowered to carry out that vision.
Those Joshua Walk organizers had never been to Bulgaria. As it turned out, none of the Bulgarian volunteers were involved in those Joshua Walks. So there is no direct link. However, those prayer walks do loom as a backdrop to the Bulgaria experiment.
Who can say what influence those prayers had on the global vision that then-pesident Gresham began articulating so clearly only months later? Did those prayer walks prepare the college campus to rise to the challenge of the Bulgaria experiment? One wonders if those prayers somehow fueled the zeal of those applying for the Bulgaria project? Surely, it was more than just mere coincidence that these events occurred one after another.
Evangelist Chuck Milhuff represents others who have indirectly contributed to Bulgarian tapestry design. Dr. Milhuff talked for years about Nazarene young people emulating young Mormon volunteerism. He has been the evangelist for several college spiritual renewal weeks at SNU. In his visits to the campus, did he ever talk to Dr. Gresham about his idea? Neither remembers talking to the other about the Mormon model of volunteer service. Still, it is interesting that both men thought and talked a lot about it.
There were some pathfinders or trail blazers for the Bulgaria volunteers. For example, after his 1991 graduation, Paul Springer left Oklahoma for Central America. There, he spent a year helping missionaries. In 1993, Cheryl and Jeff Crouch left for a two-year volunteer assignment in Papua New Guinea. There, they were "house parents" at a boarding school for MK's (missionary children).
To go back even earlier, in 1966 SNU sponsored what is probably the denomination's first Work and Witness trip. That spring, students and faculty raised money for construction materials. Then, a group of them spent their 10-day spring break in northern Mexico building a church.
Clearly, the ethos challenging university graduates to give a year to world evangelism has arisen from more than just one person's efforts. . . . [ continue reading ]
1: Weaving the Tapestry |
2: A Presidential Thread |
3: Thread from Empty Spools
4: Directors' Threads |
5: A German thread |
Colored Thread |
7: Broken Threads |
8: A Youthful Thread |
9: Of Shuttles or Spinning Wheels
10: Faded Red and Gold Threads
11: Discarded Threads |
12: Some West Coast Threads
13: A Very Weak Thread |
14: Some Mexican Thread |
15: Threads of Greenbacks and Tears
16: The Compassionate Ministry Thread
17: Some Parental Threads |
18: The Emerging Pattern
| Next→ |
-- Howard Culbertson
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