October 1, 2020
Who could have seen this chaotic year coming? Many of you have wondered how the Coronavirus pandemic has affected our family and my work through Global Development. So I decided it was time to connect again. We are doing fine, being cautious but not paranoid, but all of my travel has come to a screeching halt since I arrived home from India on Valentine’s Day. I spent nearly three weeks in India mostly in the mountains of Nagaland, teaching and speaking in three different seminaries and at two mission conferences. It was a busy time. I love that part of India which brings back fond memories of the time we lived in the South Pacific 40 years ago. You can read a report of that trip here.
As a consequence of Covid-19, conferences and speaking engagements were cancelled as well as my teaching in Cuba and training in Malaysia. I confess, I miss getting on an airplane and flying off to some place on the globe to learn from others and to teach and train mission leaders.
Meanwhile, like many of you, I have discovered Zoom. In March I was scheduled to teach four classes in the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course in Atlanta and the Pacific Northwest, but those classes were all changed from in-person to on-line, and so I either had to learn how to use Zoom or shut down teaching and training for a season. I wasn’t about to give in and quit. The first time using Zoom was kind of rough, but eventually it felt more natural. Using Zoom is OK for passing on information, but it’s no substitute for being with people physically and informally interacting and participating in the dynamic give-and-take of learning together. I miss that!
For four evenings September 6-9, I spoke to Australian Baptist missionaries who are working with movements of Muslim and Buddhist followers of Jesus. This is a very different kind of mission work, but one in which I have been very committed and invested in for 25 years. Then for a few days, I overlapped with training Chinese mission trainers from 5:30-8:30 every morning September 8-18. Both the Australians and the Chinese were spread around the world, so I had to choose a time that would be convenient for most of their time zones.
One participant from the Chinese training writes, “The teaching from Dr. Darrell Whiteman is one of the crucial parts for any cross-cultural worker. We had the most fruitful 10 days, not only learning the material, but also discussing among our team how to train others in different languages.”
I am excited about the opportunities that are waiting for me in 2021. Meanwhile, these are good days to spend time reflecting deeply and preparing thoroughly for training leaders in God’s mission in the world. Thank you for your prayers and support that is making it possible for me to carry on. Blessings on you.