Focus Article: Missions on Remote Control (Sabbath Recorder 3/14)

3/1/2014

Garfield Miller’s visa application was denied. The letter told us we could make an appeal, but the lawyers told us it would not do much good. We knew Garfield was the man for the job, so why was he not allowed to leave Jamaica to do it?

Our preconception was that at this time he needed to be working from Rhode Island. But it appeared that there was a different plan for this phase of his ministry. We began to work out how he could still perform what we all felt he was called to do, while still in his homeland.

We soon realized that much of the duties required for his part in the global SDB Missions ministry could be done remotely. After all, I had been doing much of my communications from airports and computer cafes around the globe. Why could he not carry some of that load from a home office in Jamaica?

The Jamaican SDB Conference was more than happy to hold onto Garfield and do whatever was needed to employ him to his calling. With their help we began working out the logistics for this interim period, while we seek whatever doors God may open to help us bring Garfield to the U.S. with his family, in the Lord’s time.

Since December, from the warmth of his home in Jamaica, Garfield has been messaging, emailing, video conferencing, tweeting, and posting around the world. His being there physically has been a boon for coordinating this summer’s cooperative SCSC Mission to Jamaica. It also positions him perfectly to be the onsite director for that project.

Garfield was instrumental in organizing project proposals from various countries for our quarterly board meeting, which he attended by video. He has been authoring and distributing our missions MiniMessages for our church Advocates, including the one about SDBs Joel and Laura Sutton and their call to a long-term ministry in Haiti. (See the Sutton’s article in June 2013 Sabbath Recorder). Garfield also helped with much of the research and coordinating necessary for the short term team to Gambella, Ethiopia in February 2014 and being on the team, as well.

Upon his return, he and I plan to actively collaborate on the training for the SCSC mission team and work with our far flung board of managers for a project to train our SDB youth for cross-cultural missions. We hope to have at least one SDB Youth Group on a mission as God leads before the end of 2014.

Meanwhile, I shovel snow in Rhode Island, and pack to go to visit the churches in Guyana, Puerto Rico, and Nicaragua. The technology cannot substitute for personal evangelism, but the way it helps us coordinate our ministry efforts is amazing. I thank the Lord that we have these tools to help us reach out remotely and go into all the world to God’s Glory.

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