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

July 2023 Update

The past six months have been very full and rewarding. In February, I taught for two weeks at the Caleb Institute near New Delhi, India. I’m working with them to develop a strong missiological curriculum and am providing books for their library. Next February, my former student and colleague, Dr. Jay Moon, will join me and teach a course on Intercultural Discipleship.

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December 2022 Update

I’m writing this from the beautiful mountains of Nagaland, India, where I’m in the middle of teaching for two weeks at Nagaland Bible College a course on “Anthropology for Christian Mission” trying to encourage 23 young students from India and beyond that the days of colonial mission methods should be long gone, but unfortunately, many of them are still alive. Many of the students are experiencing my teaching as rather radical, but that’s OK. It’s not the first time I’ve heard that.

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October 2022 Update

I was feeling insecure and anxious as I boarded the Singapore Airlines flight to the Philippines September 10th. I wondered if perhaps I had forgotten how to travel internationally and how to engage people in cross-cultural ministry. I hadn’t done any teaching and training with a live audience in person since February 2020. But it didn’t take long for me to recover my “sea legs” and I could sense that many people were praying for me as I taught with 70 Filipino missionaries and church workers with the Free Methodist Church, the church in which I grew up.

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The Conversion of a Missionary: A Missiological Study of Acts 10

Keynote address, American Society of Missiology annual meeting

June 18, 2022 | Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame

November 2021 Update

It’s been over a year since I wrote in September 2020 with my opening line, “Who could have seen this chaotic year coming?” I’m glad to report that we have not just survived, we have flourished in this pandemic period. I had to pivot from in-person teaching and training in China and India to using Zoom. Those of you who know how technologically challenged I have been may be surprised to learn that I have become right at home, if not adept, at using Zoom for teaching and training. I needed some tutoring, to be sure, but now “sharing my screen” is as natural as drawing diagrams on a large white board, which was my favorite teaching format for four decades.

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October 2020 Update

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.

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Brief Report on Trip to India

January 27-February 14, 2020

I’m on my way home from a most rewarding trip to India.  I crammed as much as is humanly possible into 2 ½ weeks – teaching and speaking in three theological colleges and a 10,000 member church to their young people during their mission emphasis weekend.  Each setting required nimbleness to speak to the different contexts and varied audiences, but in each place I sensed God’s presence and power pulsing through my veins, giving me what seemed to be needed and was appropriate for the setting.  I have always made a habit of cramming as much as I could into a brief amount of time to get the best return on investment of my time because of the high cost of airfares.

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Working on my “To Be” List

“Retirement… counting the days!”  How often have you heard those words from people who are looking forward to leaving their work place and enjoying more leisure to travel and play and spend more time with family and friends?  But what if your vocation has been so fulfilling and rewarding over many years that the thought of retiring brings more anxiety than anticipation, more dread than delight?

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Reflections on October trip to India, October 9-26, 2018

Dear Friends,

I am presently halfway through my flight from Amsterdam to Seattle, returning home after a very rewarding and Spirit-led trip to India the past 2 ½ weeks. I’m confident you must have been praying for me on this trip because I felt so empowered in my teaching and training, and there were so many “divine appointments” along the way. I was in four different places in India with a variety of audiences and venues, and it felt like the Lord gave me just the right words and topics on which to teach and speak at each of these places. I received so many invitations to return that it would take a couple months to fulfill them all, but I will begin to make plans for 2019 and 2020.

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