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Dear <<First Name>>!
“Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit.” Je 29:5, NKJV

Are apocalyptic-looking skies part of our new normal of disasters, loss, masks, and injustice? Under very different circumstances, the Israelites too had to accept a new normal.  False prophets promised escape. Yet the Lord commanded the Israelites to settle into the new normal, to engage for the long haul, and to seek the peace in their city. How relevant these words are to us today to embrace this new normal and to seek the peace of our own communities, orange skies and all.
 

Christian history reveals times when Christianity rose during transitions and new normals (e.g. the early Church, communist regimes, previous pandemics) I don’t know God’s purposes during this current pandemic,  but I do know that God is using Kingdom Rice’s equipping to impact spaces well beyond me. 

For example, we have two weekly cohorts being facilitated by leaders I am currently mentoring. In the words of one facilitator, “I value Steve mentoring me in skills I have never been taught, such as making safe space for participants to share vulnerably and empathetically.”


Cohort participants develop clearer lenses for seeing themselves, God, and others. They are bringing God’s love to essential workers, special needs families, software engineers, medical staff, neighbors, and others. One previous cohort participant, Pastor Perry Sakai, is ministering to Southeast Asian church leaders. He reports, “Through the Kingdom Rice cohort, I learned two questions that help unearth moments for deep observation, reflection, and discussion among Southeast Asian leaders. These two questions are: ‘Growing up, what were you taught about the ‘other’?’ and ‘What Gospel were you taught?’”  The cohorts are perhaps the most direct way in which we are multiplying our equipping efforts. 

Sometimes, KR comes alongside existing ministries serving marginalized populations. Can you guess what group reports being bullied at a rate 3 times the national average and is 6-8 times more likely to identify as LGBTQ+ than the general population? (The picture offers a hint :))

If you guessed the anime community, you’re right! A staff member from an organization called Jesus Otaku watched our YWAM interview and subsequently contacted me. They told me how it was the first time they heard validation for their evangelistic approach in reaching this marginalized community that attracts an autistic, nerdy crowd that often experiences rejection from mainstream. Yet Jesus Otaku is reaching these circles ignored by much of the church. 

Kingdom Rice has a grid by which we assess any organization we work so we can wisely steward our work. That’s where Kingdom Rice is with Jesus Otaku. I invite your prayers as we discern and imagine something mutually beneficial for the Kingdom together.

 

David and Solomon’s dream was dismantled at the hands of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. Amidst their grief, there was comfort knowing that even Nebuchadnezzar was God’s servant. With our current darkened skies and looming elections, God is still sovereign. As we continue training vocational and lay ministers to reach their circles with the humility of Jesus, we thank God for the fruit. Thank you!           Love, Steve
 
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