Vanderhoofs Extend Their Kingdom Legacy (4/15/18)

Posted by on May 5, 2018 in EventReport, Mission: Beyond our Community, Vanderhoof | 0 comments

For decades, Jim and Alice Vanderhoof were missionaries in Kenya.  For over 30 years they’ve been “Missionaries” with World Gospel Mission.  They’ve helped train new pastors at the Kenya Highlands Bible College, which is a post-secondary level Bible College in Kericho, Kenya.  They’ve served in Tenwek Hospital.  They’ve participated in the worship ministry at the Immanuel Africa Gospel Church.  A full career of answering The Call… in faraway Kenya.

But earlier this year, their mission field changed.  Instead of Kericho, Kenya, they now live in Waverly, NY.  Back in the US of A; no longer “Oversees Missionaries.”

But they discovered long ago that they were not called to be missionaries in Kenya; they were called to be followers of Jesus.

The Vanderhoofs have visited PUMC many times, but this time, they didn’t have to travel as far.  On this visit, April 15 2018, they didn’t speak of activity in Africa.  Instead, they challenged us to become followers of Christ instead of devotees to a cause.  As they shared their new visions, they challenged us to build our Kingdom Legacy.

 

Creating a Kingdom Legacy

During their visit, Jim and Alice gave the morning’s sermon.  Their scripture was from 2 Timothy 1:8-14, 2:2…

2 Timothy

2 Timothy 1:8-14

8 So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News.

9 For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.

10 And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.

11 And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News.

12 That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.

13 Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus.

14 Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.

 

2 Timothy 2:1-2

1 Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus.

2 You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

A legacy is defined as an achievement that continues after someone’s death or retirement.  Our legacy continues through the work of the Holy Spirit, but it begins with a call.  The Call can be difficult.  We may feel totally unqualified; we may even BE unqualified!  But God calls us to step out of our comfort zone to answer His call and to begin the creation of our Kingdom Legacy. 

Imagine being called to Africa!  You don’t know the language.  You don’t know the culture.  You probably don’t even like the food.  And yet, God calls you to go to Africa, of all places! 

This is what happened to the Vanderhoofs back in 1984.  They felt the need to serve in Africa, but they didn’t actually feel the Call until after they went.   Sometimes we might feel a need “laid on our hearts” but respond, “What? Who? Me!?!”  “God can’t be calling ME!  What good can I do?

Besides being dedicated servants of Christ, Jim and Alice are also gifted musicians.  One of Jim’s “Greatest Hits” is a song called “Please Don’t Send Me to Africa!“, by Scott Wesley Brown.  During the service, Jim pulled up to the piano to give us his rendition.

Part of the lyrics are:

Please don’t send me to Africa- I don’t think I’ve got what it takes.  I’m just a man, I’m not a Tarzan; don’t like tigers, gorillas or snakes.

I’ll serve you here in suburbia in my comfortable middle class life.  But please don’t send me to the edge of the world where the natives are restless at night.

 

But during their message, Jim and Alice didn’t talk about the things they did.  They didn’t talk about their qualifications, their fears, or even of how God helped them overcome their fears.  Instead, they focused on the people they met.  People who learned from them and people who taught them.  People who are carrying out their mission, and people who have ministered to them. 

They showed a powerpoint during their message.  But there were no bullet points; just faces upon faces of the people they met in Kenya.   Instead of making theological points, they told the stories of each of these people   They considered the greatest legacy that they left in Kenya to be the students they helped (and those who will be helped by these students).  The biggest souvenir that they brought from the experience and the legacy that they’ll leave behind is the story of the relationships that they formed.

Your Story is the greatest Legacy that you will leave to your friends.

It is the longest legacy that you will leave to your heirs.

Steve Saint, Missionary

 

What’s the next Chapter?

In June of 2017, Jim & Alice left Kenya and returned “home” to Waverly NY.  Instead of being mentors to Kenyans, they are now serving as mentors to missionaries going to Kenya.  Most of us invest in mutual funds and 401(k)s, but the Vanderhoofs continue to invest in people.  They are still with World Gospel Mission, but in their new role they are looking to develop FAT people…

Faithful, Available, Teachable

FAT Christians realize that they were not called to be missionaries in a certain location or to do a certain job for the rest of their lives.  Instead, they are called to follow Jesus… to wherever that might take them and to do whatever God calls them to do.  To be Faithful… Available… and Teachable.  

And being “Faithful, Available, Teachable Christians” themselves, the Vanderhoofs strive to “live at the intersection of our passion and God’s heart for the world.”  They have recently traveled to churches to lead workshops in topics such as Spiritual Gifts, Worship, and Missions.  They look forward to participating in this year’s Sing! Worship Conference, in Nashville.  They seek to use what they’ve learned from their 33 years in Kenya to help others discover and develop their gifts for service.  They continue to invest in people.  They continue to develop a legacy.

 

We’re writing the story of our lives every day…. 
Does that story arise from a safe life, or from an inspiring life? 
Is it limited by fears, or is it God-sized? 
Is your story stuck in a “safe middle class life”, or does it reach beyond yourself? 

 

To learn more about the Vanderhoofs’ ministry, check out their page on the World Gospel Mission website.

Click this button: Vanderhoofs

 

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For updates on the Vanderhoofs or to learn more about how PUMC is working with them, check out their page on our website:  Vanderhoofs  

 

 

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