Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Word from the Graumans


We are thrilled to announce the support of our first Grace Church supported global missionary. Josiah, his wife Crystal, and his daughter Abigail are a family whose ongoing legacy is the furthering of our Christ’s Kingdom mission. I know you will enjoy hearing from Josiah about the Lord’s direction in their lives as he answers the question, “Why are you leaving Mexico?”

The Lord’s sovereign, directing hand has always been unmistakable in my life. After open-heart surgery and a couple of strokes, 2 Cor. 1:3-5 drove me to the hospital chaplaincy. It was my overwhelming joy for almost five years to share the hope that Christ had given me, to the thousands that were dying without it. Another big factor was my own racial prejudice. To fight my sin head on, I decided to work at LA County Hospital, where over 90% of the patients were minorities. Yet the impossibility of reaching the multitudes was a constant burden. So when my own physical weakness prevented me from continuing as a chaplain, 2 Tim. 2:2 provided the direction I needed: if you want to reach thousands, train twelve.

One year after marriage, Crystal and I headed to Mexico City. For the past two years I have been pastoring in the local church and training men at Word of Grace Bible Seminary. By His grace, my students are reaching the multitudes that I as a weak/white American would have no chance of reaching. However, Mexico City is also rapidly becoming intolerable to my health condition (it’s at 7,500 feet with severe pollution).

Though we looked at a number of other places we could minister in Latin America as missionaries, it appears that the place where we would be most useful to the Lord’s Kingdom for the moment, is right back at home. As many of you might remember, during my years as a hospital chaplain in Los Angeles, one of the things that burdened me most was the spiritual weakness of the Spanish speaking churches in LA. Thus we have agreed to return to LA to help begin The Expositor’s Institute, which seems to be the most effective way to strengthen Christ’s Church in LA. The Expositor’s Institute is a training center for Spanish speaking pastors located at Grace Community Church. The institute offers three programs: 1) A two year certificate in Bible and Theology for all christians desiring to learn more about the Bible, 2) a two year diploma in 
Pastoral Ministry and Expository Preaching for men who are, or desire to be pastors, and 3) a two year program in Greek and Hebrew for those men who desire to deepen their study of Scripture through a study of the original languages.

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