November 2023 Update

Once again at this time of year I’m writing from Mokokchung, Nagaland, India where I’ve been teaching and training students at Nagaland Bible College and speaking in other places around the city. This year, however, I’ll be home in time for Thanksgiving.

This is my fourth time to come and I feel very invested in this small school, that by some standards may seem to some people to be inconsequential. But I love it here and the passion and commitment of the students is inspiring. One of the challenges is that the form of Christianity in Nagaland after 150 years is fairly nominal. Ironically, Nagaland is the only state in India that is officially “Christian” but it is also known as the most corrupt. Several times the students this week have said, “What you’re teaching seems true and biblical, but if we really took seriously what you are teaching, we would be kicked out of our church.” I heard the same thing in Cuba at the end of a week of teaching and training. Increasingly, I’m seeing that the form of the religion called Christianity is very different from simply becoming a follower of Jesus. Young people in Nagaland, like young people in the USA, are leaving the church in droves.

In September I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand training Chinese missionaries in cross-cultural understanding for more effective ministry. I began working with the Chinese in 2018 when I learned that 90% of the people who are sent out by Chinese churches and mission organizations return back to their home within the first 18 months, frustrated, burned out and depressed. They’ve been told that all they need to be successful in cross-cultural ministry is a Bible, a little theology, and a one-way ticket to their destination of ministry. Unfortunately, without some cross-cultural training and understanding they are not prepared for the culture shock they will face and the depression and sense of helplessness that comes when we first enter a culture that is different from our own. So, I’ve committed to working with the Chinese three times a year.

I’m looking forward to the new year of 2024. In February my book, Crossing Cultures with the Gospel: Anthropological Wisdom for Effective Christian Witness, will be published by Baker Academic. They are offering the readers of my Global Development Newsletter a 40% discount through the end of the year, which will enable you to purchase the book for $16.79 and free postage. If you’re interested, visit this link, add the book to your cart, and then click View Cart. There is a spot on the right to add a discount code: WHITEMAN40. Once you type it in and hit apply, then $11.20 should come off the price of the book, making it $16.79.

During February 8-10, Frontier Ventures in Pasadena is holding the Ralph D. Winter Memorial Lectures conference on the contribution of missiological anthropology with the focus on my new book. They are bringing together most of the world’s missiological anthropologists, and unfortunately, we’re nearly all retired. A younger generation of anthropologists committed to serving the church and mission has not yet emerged. Here is a link to the conference, which will be in-person as well as online.

In late February and early March, I’ll be at the Caleb Institute near Delhi, India again. This is another school I’m working with, helping them to develop their missiological curriculum and helping them build their library with solid missiological books. I’ll overlap at the Caleb Institute with one of my former students, Jay Moon, who will be teaching a course on Intercultural Discipleship to accompany his book by the same name. It’s such a joy and privilege to be teaching and training a younger generation of people committed to God’s mission in the world.

In April I’ll be giving a course for Chinese pastors along with missionaries, but since we can’t meet in China, we’ll be meeting in Thailand for a week. I’m so grateful that at nearly 77 I’m able to continue going strong, teaching and training people for effective cross-cultural ministry around the world. I don’t have any plans to slow down and stop, and because of the prayers and support of so many, I’m able to keep going, hopefully until 90. Thank you for your part in enabling Global Development to flourish. Blessings on you.


Darrell Whiteman