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A Global Mapping International Newsletter Winter/Spring 1999


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From the President

Michael G. O'Rear

You've heard the line before. "I believe the time has come when I can serve better by being off the board."

I hated hearing those words from Dr. Michael Phillips last year. I had come to rely on him - his spirit, his personal warmth, his intellectual brilliance, his commitment to diligent board governance - so deeply.

The trouble was, Michael had developed a deep yearning to get hands on, to personally jump into significant new research efforts related to GMI. And he did not feel he could realistically do both GMI program work and board work.

I feared, however, that this was merely nice sentiment or wishful thinking. So I took his resignation from the board with personal sorrow. I would miss him greatly.

You will understand, then, how absolutely delighted I've been to see Michael become GMI's first Senior Research Fellow and to become deeply involved with him in launching new GMI ministry initiatives. (Read more about these on pages 4 and 8.)

Michael was right. He is now doing far more with and for GMI than he ever did on the board. And I couldn't be happier. Thank you, dear brother.


Three Earn New "Certificate of Applied Research In Mission"

Joao Mordomo (a pseudonymn), Rudy Dirks and Tim Bertsche recently became the first three overseas workers to complete GMI's four-month e-mail course on applied mission research, coached by Dr. Stan Nussbaum, GMI's staff missiologist. Joao works as the director of a South American mission agency. Rudy and Tim both work under the auspices of Mennonite Ministries, doing Bible teaching (extension education) among African independent churches in Botswana.

Each trainee selected a concern arising from his ministry. Joao wanted to find a way to mobilize South American Christians to reach out to Arab Muslim immigrants, Rudy explored the marital fidelity issue which is a huge problem among Tswana Christians, and Tim considered the Tswana understandings of sin and repentance. They each designed and carried out a field research project on their subjects and wrote both a formal research report and a short paper on the practical implications of their findings.

Of course none of these subjects could be exhausted by a short research project, but all three trainees made significant, practical breakthroughs on their topics. On his evaluation form for Tim's work, Rev. Erwin Rempel (Tim's supervisor) commented, "Quite apart from the practical outcomes, i.e., proposal to write new study material to deal with these issues, I think there has been tremendous value in sharpening the thinking processes for the trainee. It was a good exercise in study/research disciplines."

In light of the experience of the first three guinea pigs, the curriculum was revised in time for another group to begin the course on February 26th. The next course will be offered from September through mid-December for up to five participants. If you are interested in applying for the course or using the curriculum to do your own coaching, please send e-mail to or download the course description and application form from the GMI web site, www.gmi.org.


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