September 30, 2011

Great Blog Post: Deep Influence and Deep Pain are Intimately Connected

Suffering... who wants it?  In my quiet time this morning, I finished up Jeremiah and read the preface (in The Message) to the next book, Lamentations.  It basically told me that Lamentations is all about suffering.  My first thought was to skip this book and find a happy, uplifting book in the Bible to focus on next.  Then I came across T.J. Addington's blog post from this past Wednesday and was reminded so well that Jesus went before us and will be in the suffering with us.  We don't ask for suffering, but we may ask to become more like God, or that He would give us a heart like His.  The reality is that only when we are going through suffering do we learn and trust and become more like God - more compassionate, more loving, more prepared to serve Him.

Read it... you'll be encouraged!

Deep Influence and Deep Pain are Intimately Connected

September 18, 2011

Holiday Prayers...

We are praying God will provide 100% of our financial budget so we can begin ministry in Lyon, France by the summer of 2012. Please join with us in prayer that each financial partner that God is speaking to will take action now to reach Lyon with the Gospel of Christ!

Being ReachGlobal missionary candidates, God has placed us in an organization that loves to effectively prepare their staff to serve in cross-cultural settings. Our final training session before departing for the field is 3-pronged - two online courses (each 6 weeks long) followed by one onsite, 8-day training session in Minneapolis.  The training in MN is only offered two times per year - April & October.  We are aiming to attend in April 2012.  The online courses that prepare us for the April course begin in January 2012 (only 3+ months from now).  We need to have 50% of our financial needs committed by the end of December to be able to begin these courses.  We will then need to be at 75% by April to be able to attend the final onsite training session in Minneapolis.  Otherwise, our departure date will need to be moved out further to the end of 2012.

We would ask that you join us in specifically praying what we'd like to call "holiday" prayers...
  • Pray that 57 new financial supporters will make commitments and begin giving by this Christmas 2011!
  • Pray too that an additional 34 new financial supporters will make commitments by Easter 2012!
  • And, pray that the final 33 supporters will join the team by Memorial Day 2012!

God is at work all around us! He is working in...
...the lives of so many in France who we will one day we will meet, interact with and share His love
...our lives, preparing us for life & ministry in France
...others' lives, preparing them to join the Lyon Team as prayer partners & financial partners

Is He working in your life? What is He asking you to do?

September 15, 2011

Crooked Fences...

On our way to work every morning we pass a curiously-installed fence.  You have to have things in life that just make you kind of giggle, and this fence does it for me.  I’ve not had any training in how to install fences, and so my ability to do so, no matter how good of a heart I have, would, I’m afraid, result in something that looks pretty similar, or even worse.  I’m thinking that nobody told the person who put the posts in that they probably should have done some good planning and gathered the appropriate tools before they began the job.  A simple internet search might have provided some training on effective use of a mason’s line to make sure the posts were all at the same level.  But then, it wouldn’t be any fun to drive by each morning.

Crooked fences aside, we have been so very impressed with the commitment of ReachGlobal, our sending agency, to properly train its staff.  They’re not training us to build fences, but rather to effectively navigate the ins and outs of missionary work and life.  With over four hundred missionary staff serving in more than thirty nations, there are many who come to ReachGlobal like us, who have little formal theological, missiological or cross-cultural education.  Our life-long ministry work suits the needs well for where we will serve, but we do lack other appropriate training for the work that is ahead of us. 

One of the guiding principles of ReachGlobal is that it is a ‘learning organization’.  Toward that end, they have created a virtual warehouse of resources that provides a go-to place for staff to find relevant and quality information that helps to facilitate training on a variety of subjects that will provide the means to not build ‘crooked fences’.

We had the opportunity to already take one of the online courses, Intentional Living, and really appreciated the tools and skills that we learned in order to be more effective in how we live our everyday lives.  It was a five week learning module that “teaches missionaries and those in ministry essential skills of self-management and strategic planning from a Christian perspective by highlighting four themes:  Guard Your Heart, Minister From Your Strengths, Figure Out Your Big Rocks, and Connect the Compass to the Clock”. 

Once we reach a certain percentage of committed monthly support and get within about six months of leaving for our ministry assignment in France, we will be enrolled in two sequential online classes called “Pre-field Training”, followed by an eight-day live event at the headquarters in Minnesota.   This training deals with tools for successful life and ministry in another culture, including segments on spiritual warfare, healthy team dynamics, effective communications, addressing poverty, the balance between compassion and proclamation ministries, evangelism, being coached, crisis management, discipleship, introductory missiology, and culture shock.  We appreciate the fact that ReachGlobal believes that missionary families are most successful and will be able to stay longer on the field if the entire family is adequately prepared.  Because of this, all our kids will join us for the portion of that training in MN.

We are flying to Minneapolis tonight to attend a weekend for missionary candidates designed to help in the process of raising both prayer and financial support.  We are excited about the great information and tools we will receive from this time with Dave Sherman from Stewardship Ambassadors.  We’ve been told that "Dave's philosophy on doing Ministry Partner Development is more about challenging others to be kingdom minded and to pray about how God might have them be good stewards, rather than doing ‘an ask’ for an amount of money or for financial support.  As the name of the organization says, it is about stewardship, not about raising financial support.”

We’re grateful that ReachGlobal takes seriously the need to train their staff properly.  We’re excited for what this weekend holds and for the ministry that will be enabled because of it. 

You can read more about some of ReachGlobal’s philosophy on being a Learning Organization, and a great paper on how they are all about Enhancing Missionary Training ThroughTechnology by clicking on the hyperlinks.

September 11, 2011


A friend of ours wrote this letter to the terrorists.  It's profound and difficult.  No matter if your faith is peaceable or leans more toward "Onward-Christian-Solders", I think we can agree that Jesus lived forgiveness and asks us to do the same.  My loss in the event only involves increased airport security, I suppose, so I read and post from a very naïve framework.  Even so, I appreciate Jesse's words.

“Dear Terrorists”: An Open Letter To My Enemy In Honor Of 9/11

Dear terrorists,

This September 11th is one of looking back, grieving our losses, celebrating our heroes, and looking forward to what is, hopefully, a better future. It’s been ten years since that awful day. Ten years. In many ways it still feels like it all happened just this morning.

I’d prefer September 11th wasn’t a national holiday, a big arrow on the calendar that reminds me and reminds me and reminds me. I’d prefer there was nothing to debate about what a proper memorial of the Twin Towers should look like, no reason for awkward body scans at the airport, no reason to suspect people who look a certain way or wear a certain article of clothing or practice a certain lifestyle. It’s a terrible thing to walk through life being suspicious, squinty-eyed, afraid. But I guess that’s what you wanted.

Out of my fear and hurt I’ve wanted you to be afraid and to hurt, too. I’ve wanted to smash you, terrify you, eliminate you, no matter what the cost to life and soul.

But ten years later, I don’t want that anymore.

I’m tired of hating. I’m tired of being suspicious. I’m tired of living in fear. It hasn’t brought me any satisfaction, meaning, or peace. It hasn’t done anything to make me feel better or to bring comfort to families who lost loved ones that day. In fact, nurturing my fear and hurt seems to have only added to the problem. It’s multiplied it. Exponentially. And now we’ve lost so many more.

It’s only made the world – my world, your world, the one we share – a darker, uglier place.

And here’s the thing. My son, my very first child, has September 11th, 2011 – the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 – as his due date. And I don’t want him showing up in a world where everyone’s so afraid of each other, where people spend their entire lives working to destroy each other. I don’t want him looking up at me and asking me why I pulled him a little closer when someone who looks different from me (someone who looks more like “them”) walks by. Yes, it’s just that ugly. And I’m sick of it. And I want out. So here’s my out:

I forgive you.

I don’t excuse you. I don’t justify what you’ve done. I don’t forget what’s happened. But I forgive you.

Because you, like me, learned what matters most from those who came before you. And you, like me, were raised to believe certain things about how the world works. And you, like me, are trying your hardest to live as faithfully as you can to what you believe. But especially because you, like me, keep getting it wrong, keep missing the point, keep needing rescue from all this hurt we’ve caused each other.

So this September 11th, my son’s due date, the ten-year anniversary of a terrible, unforgivable tragedy, I choose to forgive you.

And not reluctantly, but wholeheartedly. Not “you stay over there and I’ll stay over here”, but I’ll run to you and embrace you and welcome you into my house and give you something really tasty to eat, and we can talk to each other and listen to each other and maybe, hopefully, our unprecedented, unimagined, but entirely possible friendship can write an entirely new future for our children.

I hope you’ll forgive me, too.

Believing it’s possible,


(photo credit: Denise Gould)

September 10, 2011

Lyon Remembers 9.11.01

In an effort to keep up-to-date with some of the news from Lyon, quite a few months ago I clicked the "like" button to follow the posts on the Facebook page, Lyon Info.  This afternoon they posted a link to a news article paying tribute to the lives lost ten years ago.  How neat to think that countries all over the world are also remembering the many lives that were lost that day.

Thanks to Bing Translate, this is what the article roughly says:

Lyon à l’heure du 11 septembre (translated: "Lyon at the time of September 11")

"10 years after the attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center New York, Lyon pays tribute to the victims and their families. Several events are planned in the City Hall and Tête d'Or Park.

The consul of the United States in Lyon Mark Schapiro and Gérard Collomb will preside over a ceremony to be held Sunday, September 11 at 14: 30 at the Memorial of the the human rights of the Tête d'Or Park. In parallel, an exhibition in a tent installed near the entrance to the door of the Rhone children invites to relive events each and press published aulendemain of this disaster.
The Town Hall, two light beams projected into the sky, the nights of 10 and 11 September will represent the two towers of the World Trade Center. Then, for these events, a concert carillon will be given Sunday 11 p.m. at City Hall. Proposed XXIII carillon Festival and performed by American carillonneur John Courter, it will be dedicated to the memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11. The national anthem of the United States prior to this concert. Admission is free, and chairs will be installed in the courtyard of City Hall."
Here's the link to the actual news article:  Lyon-a-l-heure-du-11-septembre

To the Ends of the Earth I Will Follow...

September 8, 2011

Deja View - August eNews...

We have many friends on our email list that receive our monthly newsletter.  We also send out praise & prayer notes to those interested in being on our prayer team.  If you are NOT receiving either of these and would like to, please feel free to sign up in the box located at the top right section of our blog site.

Here is our latest newsletter - Dahlgren eNews - August 2011

September 5, 2011

Great Blog Post: Straight Talk About Results in Missions

Are we willing to plant or water, knowing the harvest may not happen until years later?  We cannot control when "harvest" comes... only God controls the "harvest" through His power and in His time. 

Here's an excerpt from TJ Addington's post:

"God intends to bring an amazing harvest in His time, in His way and through His power. We are asked to simply live in His power, see through His eyes and live in faith filled expectancy. Harvest will come but we do not control the timing. The question is whether we will partner with God not only in harvest but in sowing and watering. Those who focus only on the harvest have settled for expediency. Those who focus on all three focus on a Biblical view of global missions."

Read the full post:  Straight Talk About Results in Missions

September 2, 2011

Catching up with the ICCL

The International Christian Community of Lyon (ICCL) is a group of worshipers from various countries and cultures around the world who now live in Lyon.  This community welcomes all walks of life no matter where they are in their spiritual journey.  It is this church plant that we will be ministering through worship ministry.

After having a few weeks off during July, the ICCL enjoyed a casual gathering at Parc de la Tête d’Or at the end of July.  The ICCL family at Parc de la Tête d’Or

Then to end the summer and kick off the new season for ICCL, they enjoyed a BBQ on the church grounds at the end of August.  The ICCL Kick-Off BBQ Pics

Even with the little time we've spent with this great group of people, we long to be back with them and to begin ministry with the ICCL.  Continue to pray that God will work all things out in His time.