A Sprint to the Finish

I moved to Ghana 2 years ago. Tomorrow morning, in my final week, is my Magnum Opus here.

We are launching The Justice Thread, a Bible study/ book/resource/ tool that I wrote (in collaboration with the awesome IJM Ghana team) all this last year. I did 7 drafts over that period, each improving on the last. We did field tests on three of those versions with hundreds of pastors and church leaders from communities all around Lake Volta. Many week-long road trips. Hundreds of hours in books and at my laptop. Many strategy meetings. Countless rounds of editing and designing. It has been a long road.

The evolution of the project!

But now we are finished, the book is printed and I am sprinting to the finish line!

It is traditional here to throw a big event to launch a new book. Tomorrow is the launch! Attending will be a number of very prominent high level church leaders coming, two members of parliament, government officials, the head of the anti-human trafficking unit, IJM staff, friends, and reporters from TV, radio, and newspapers.

As part of the ceremony, I am to give a 30 minute introduction and overview of the book. I ask for your prayers!

I am so grateful to my long time friends, the Purnell family, for flying all the way from California to support me in this moment and to represent my sending church at the event.

Please pray also for Joy and the kids. Our new apartment in Pasadena flooded multiple times since I left and now mold is affecting their health (the exact reason we had to leave Ghana in November)! This kind of thing seems to happen every time I leave on a trip. Your prayers are most welcome.

Hitting the Presses!

A big moment for me, my book is being printed!

The video below shows the printing of the cover.

The book is called The Justice Thread. It is kind of my baby. I wrote it as my major IJM project for the year in Ghana while also basing my doctoral project around it.

It is designed as a introduction to Biblical Justice for Ghanaian churches. It also introduces the current problem of child trafficking and IJM’s work against it.

We’ve been blessed to get endorsements from several prominent Ghanaian professors and church leaders, as well as Gary Haugen, founder of IJM.

G-Pak, the publishing house associated with one of Ghana’s biggest newspaper (the Daily Graphic) is printing 8,000 English copies. When the translations are finished, they will print 2,000 each in Ewe and Twi.

Sammy, the designer of the internal layout, finishing up last minute corrections.

Dear tree who gave its life so that this book can live, thank you!… And sorry.

Special thank you to everyone at University Covenant Church for sponsoring the publishing and launch of this book with your Gifts from the Heart offering!

Finishing at Fuller

I am so grateful for this opportunity. I am working in the Fuller Seminary library to meet a deadline…once again!

I have been working for about 7 years on my D. Min. (Doctor of Ministry) degree. I did my M. Div. (Master of Divinity) here from 2003 to 2006.

It is hard to describe how much I love Fuller. I first chose to study at Fuller because the people I met who graduated from Fuller seemed to be the kind of people I wanted to be like. I was not wrong. It is a place of true Christian scholarship, thoughtfulness, dialogue, diversity, faithfulness, and generosity of spirit toward all.

Tomorrow, my first full draft of my doctoral project (in place of a traditional dissertation) is due. It is on my work in Ghana, with the Justice Thread curriculum as the centerpiece. I have done most of this academic work and writing in Ghana, but it is really a cool opportunity to finish here at Fuller.

I ran into my content reader (like a supervising professor), Mark Labberton walking across the quad. So fun.

So far I am at 150 pages and counting!

On Wednesday, I fly back to Ghana for the official launch party of the Justice Thread. Below is the most recent cover design courtesy of Landon Ellis, a friend who was once a student leader in Catalyst.

We have moved into our temporary apartment where we will be staying through June, as I finish my IJM work and my D. MIN, and hopefully discern my next call. The family is loving it down here. Joy’s mom and sister have been over a lot and my kids love apartment life: tons of kids to play with! My kids are just euphoric about other kids knocking on our door to see if they can play. This didn’t happen in Ghana.

We are particularly grateful to my Mom and Dad for hosting us for the last 6 weeks, and more than 6 months over the last two and a half years.

Saying goodbye on moving day…

Thanks Mom and Dad!

Please keep us in your prayers.

Matt