I returned to the US in the middle of February to a wonderful re-union with my family. Some of you may know that our daughter Rachel was evacuated to Oregon by my sister and her husband last July during Hezbollah/Israeli war. My wife Sarah had been with her since last October, allowing her to complete High School in the US. There is nothing as calming to oneâ€™s mind and dear to oneâ€™s heart as being together as a family in peaceful â€œtree huggingâ€ Oregon. God may not be too readily acknowledged in Oregon, but the heavens surely declare His resplendent Glory!
On the Road:
* My first Deputation in the US began in early March, attending the ABCLA Missions Conference in Los Angeles, where I led a seminar â€œUnderstanding Islam and the Middle Eastâ€.
* March 18-23 We three attended our â€œDebriefingâ€ at MTI, Palmer Lake, CO. It is a process all the returning missionaries go through. It was immensely helpful to Rachel to work through her grief and loss. Following this, Dan traveled to St. Louis, MO. to speak at the ABW meeting. Our good friend Sharon Ware quickly arranged a series of visits to churches in the St. Louis area, as well as in Southern Illinois. It was Danâ€™s first visit to this Region and it was an immensely blessed one. In one of the churches, Dan had an emotional encounter, meeting an old friend of his dad who attended Northern Baptist Seminary with him back in 1955!
* April 1st to 26th In four consecutive Wednesday sessions at the First Baptist Church, Cottage Grove, Oregon, Dan conducted a series of seminars on the topic: â€œMORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: Understanding Islam and Muslim Peopleâ€. It was a large Ecumenical gathering consisting of four churches: Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, and Pentecostal.
* April 30th till 13th May. Dan visited several churches in the Southern California Region, sharing the story of our ministry in the Middle East. While he was there, he also witnessed the birth of a new Region-in-the making -- ABCOSH (American Baptist Churches of Southwest and Hawaii).
* March 10, Calvary Baptist Church, Salem. Sarah spoke at womenâ€™s meeting.
* April 13-15 ABW, Medford, Oregon where Sarah participated in Womenâ€™s Spiritual Retreat.
* May 4-6 ABW, Lincoln City, where Sarah spoke at a worship service.
The Challenges of Reconnecting with America:
As I travel the country, visit churches and speak to people, I am gradually reconnecting with the secular culture and religious climate of this great country. Four years is a long hiatus when popularity is measured by fifteen seconds sound bite. We are a nation that refuses to mark time at one place but move head long. In what direction and to what purpose, of course, are highly debatable issues. There are more translations of Bible in English language in North America, than anywhere on the face of this earth! After fourteen centuries of Christian interaction with Muslim Middle East, there are just three Arabic translations of the Holy Bible, one of them may never be accepted by the majority Protestant churches. We are, of course, rightly concerned that Gospel must reach every niche of our fragmented society. I have great admiration for pastors, evangelists, and people of God in this country. It must be a great challenge to lift peopleâ€™s eyes towards the face of Jesus, when over-indulgent society is ever so eager to propose Paris Hilton and Brittany Spears as more worthy icons.
World Mission Conference:
* October 12-14th Canandaigua, New York. Dan will be participating in the World Mission Conference in Upstate New York.
* November 16-18, Dan will be participating in the World Mission Conference in Shawnee, KS.
If any churches, specially those who are already supporting our ministry in the Middle East, would like Dan to visit them and share the story of our ministry, and what God is doing through the Ministries of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Lebanon, he would be only too happy to visit you.
* Let us pray for the people of this nation as they try to fathom the senseless violence in the Middle East.
* Let us continue to pray for the safety and the effective witness of the minority Christians in the Middle East and the Muslim lands.
* Pray for the ministry and service of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Beirut, Lebanon.
* After the courageous witness and service of the Lebanese Baptists during the last July war between Hezbollah militia and Israel, our seminary in Lebanon just received invitation from Shiite Seminary of Transcendental Theosophy, in South Beirut, to teach a course of Protestant History and Theology. May God pave the way for greater conversations between the Shiite Muslims and Baptists in Lebanon.
* Please pray for our daughter Rachel as she is still having health issues.
Sarah & Dan Chetti