African American Missionaries MAKING History – Lloyd and Jan Chinn

IMG_0035Thank you for reading my blog during African American History Month as I highlighted some of my heroes. Tomorrow I will return to reflections from God’s Word. I hope that you have learned a lot and that the stories have been a blessing.

I know these people best – so I saved their story for the last day …

Lloyd and Jan Chinn are native to Texas. Lloyd from Edna, TX and Jan from Houston, TX. The Chinns met, married and their careers were rising when Lloyd sensed the Lord’s leading into ministry. Jan was working for Ernst & Young LLP in Private Client Services; Lloyd was working as a very successful political strategist in Houston, TX. In 1998, when Lloyd acknowledged his call to ministry the Lord spoke to the Chinn’s that May 15th would be Lloyd’s last day of secular work. The Chinn’s moved to Dallas that June where Lloyd attended Dallas Theological Seminary with a plan to return to their home church in Houston to engage in faith based community economic development. By now, Lloyd was in seminary full time and working for a local non-profit as an urban planner and Jan was working as Corporate Human Resources Manager for Rosewood Hotels and Resorts.

In 1999, Lloyd was invited to Ghana, West Africa on a short term mission. Lloyd and Jan had never even met a missionary and had no desire to enter into missionary service; they scarcely knew where Africa was – and had never heard of Ghana. Jan was resistant to Lloyd’s going; but God provided the funds for the journey and they took that as confirmation that Lloyd was to go. 5 days into Lloyd’s trip, he was asked to preach in the village of Pusupu – he had only preached twice before that and was nervous, but he preached from Ephesians 2 and about 10 people prayed to receive Christ! Lloyd was blown away. He returned to his room and while journaling about the day, God spoke to him clearly that Africa would be his context of ministry – it was May 15th – one year exactly from the day Lloyd left the secular work world. Lloyd returned to the USA and did not tell his wife about the call to Africa – but before the year’s end, Jan wanted to go and see Ghana. In 2000 they took all of their children and 22 other people to the same little town in Ghana – and on that trip, Jan’s experience opened her eyes to the need for discipleship in Ghana. Lloyd’s firm message to the African American church became: “Pray! Pay! or Pack!”

In 2002, Lloyd and Jan were appointed as long term missionaries with CBInternational (which is now WorldVenture) and were approved to open a new field of ministry in Ghana. Their mission agency was concerned that as African Americans, they wouldn’t be able to raise the financial support – but God had another plan! The Chinn’s had unprecedented support from the African American church in Texas. In 2004, the Chinns sold everything they owned and boarded a plane with their sons and one way tickets to Ghana, West Africa. It wasn’t easy – they did not have a team; they did not know the language or culture; they had to send their sons to boarding school in Senegal; they endured loneliness; the pain of being misunderstood; the hurt of being taken advantage of; a complete change of systems and culture and yet – they persevered. The Chinn’s call their ability to move to Ghana as a family and have effective ministry God’s anointing. They say He called them to it and He equipped them for it. Lloyd and Jan as well as their sons learned the Asante Twi language and developed friendships in both national and local government and across denominations in Ghana and learned to submit to the leaders in the church and in the community which gained them respect and love in the country. The Chinns served in Ghana for 10 years mainly in pastoral leadership development. The needs of the community in Nkwanta led them to also engage in orphan care, educational development and community economic development.

In 2013, they returned to the USA on a home assignment which was supposed to last 10 months. During their first few months in the US, the leadership of WorldVenture called and asked them to take on the role of International Ministries Director for Africa. In March 2014, they stepped in to this new role where they are now missionaries to the missionary; providing pastoral care, leadership development and strategic planning assistance for 108 missionary units (some families; some singles) in 12 countries across Africa. They are the first African Americans to serve in this capacity with their mission.

Forgiveness and Blessing

God’s people are not exempt from falling into sin.  In fact, it is overtly stated throughout scripture that there is none who does not sin.  However, as God’s people – His dearly beloved  – we can rest assured that when we sincerely repent from our sin; crying out to Him to forgive us and change us and and committing to change and turn from it – He will not only forgive and cleanse us – but He will surely bless us!  What must we do? Humble ourselves. Pray. Seek His face. Turn from our sin.  This promise was spoken to God’s people Israel, but I believe that as God’s people today this truth still applies.  When you sin (and you WILL sin) – submit to God’s authority; cry out to Him for forgiveness; listen for His direction for you; and commit to never go back to doing that thing and I believe that even when we sin grievously and find ourselves in the hand of our enemy – He will turn that thing around!  Our sin will surely bring with it unpleasant consequences but it is His good pleasure to bind up our wounds – even those He inflicts upon us.  Our pride will bring us to destruction – but if we humble ourselves under His mighty hand – He will exalt us in due time.  He knew we would falter – and He has always made a way for us to set things right with Him.  Forgiveness and blessing!  Who wouldn’t serve a God like that?!

If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:13, 14

We better watch out!!


I was reading Deuteronomy 32 this morning. If I removed the Old Testament names and references, this could be talking about America!!

We (The United States of America) were never a Christian nation – we were built upon a foundation of religious freedom and freedom to pursue personal satisfaction —  BUT we’ve always had a reverence for God and godly people! This was evidenced at one time by things like: not using profanity in the earshot of ministers; turning down our radios when we passed a church; removing our hats in a place of worship; keeping our hateful words and thoughts private; attending church at least on Christmas, Mothers Day and Easter; etc. I’m sure you have your own lists. But now …. we who call ourselves Christ followers align ourselves with those who profane His name; who minimize His ministry of grace; who make themselves high; who spew venom…..

Y’all!!! We better watch out! God blessed America for many years and we are not even His chosen people! He blessed us because there was a time when we, as a nation prayed for the peace of Jerusalem; there was a time when He could see at least one righteous among us.  He blessed us because in spite of our grievous sin, we had a reverence and respect for the things and people of God. But, in the words of my friend Eulalia King, “We have lost our Plum D minds!”

Believers – rise up! Speak out! Act justly! Love mercy! Because as for me and my house – we ain’t trying to go out like that!!

From The Message Bible. “Jeshurun put on weight and bucked; you got fat, became obese, a tub of lard. … You walked out on the Rock who gave you your life, forgot the birth-God who brought you into the world.  GOD saw it and turned on his heel, angered and hurt by his sons and daughters. He said, “From now on I’m looking the other way. Wait and see what happens to them. Oh, they’re a turned-around, upside-down generation! Who knows what they’ll do from one moment to the next? They’ve goaded me with their no-gods, infuriated me with their hot-air gods; … I’ll pile catastrophes on them, I’ll shoot my arrows at them: Starvation, blistering heat, killing disease; I’ll send snarling wild animals to attack from the forest and venomous creatures to strike from the dust. Killing in the streets, terror in the houses, Young men and virgins alike struck down, and yes, breast-feeding babies and gray-haired old men.”” ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭32:15-25‬ ‭‬

 

Righteous Longing — He is the only Peace

righteousThis Advent season I have found my heart particularly desirous of His coming. My heart longs for errant thinking and behavior to be made right; for the bitter/rigid heart to be made light; the heart that is low to be lifted up; and the heart that is haughty to be brought to humility. I long to see the Kingdom of my God active and alive in this world! I long to see peace and love shine brightly within the Body of Christ.

I am one of those people that has to shut my brain down at night in order to sleep well. I don’t worry about things, but I am always thinking about the best ways to accomplish what is on my plate the next day; or thinking of a solution to an issue that one of our missionaries is having. But the last couple of weeks I have found that my mind has only been thinking of what needs to happen in order for there to be honesty, integrity and truth at the forefront in this world. God has answered me so clearly – it is His presence and His way that will make things right.

As a Christ follower, I am convicted that my desire should be for Him to be manifest in every situation rather than desiring for the situation to change. I should be pining away for Him in the midst of it all, because He is the one who is my Keeper. I was reminded that when I started in this new role Lloyd and I had to travel across East Africa in 9 weeks – and in that time we took 13 flights!! Across the ocean, across Africa — and we did not have one incident! He is our keeper – our caretaker! He was with us and all was well.

Further, as a Christ follower, I am convicted that I must see every circumstance as His will. That is a difficult one when things are horribly unjust and painful; but, as I endeavor to have the mind of Christ, have thoughts that are in unity with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit); He makes it so. I don’t know, nor do I need to know, what God is doing in hard circumstances; but I am assured that nothing can happen in this world that does not pass through His hand. So, as I commit to seek His presence – I will not only know that He will care for me – but that He is working things out for my good and for His glory.

Lastly, I am reminded that we are not yet living in the new heaven and the new earth. In other words — living down here we have to contend with the enemy’s own form of crazy! Satan is loose, he is active, and he is very dangerous. His actions are a terrible distraction for us. Satan uses wickedness and hatred to cause us to focus on a particular situation in order that he might cause us to take our eyes off of our Lord! As a real life example, he is using the media to lull us into a belief that hate, brutality, racism, sexual immorality, greed, and MUCH MORE – or what this world has to offer. We do not have to accept that! We can believe what God has said — He Reigns! We don’t have to fight for holiness — we just have to live in holiness. We must commune and fellowship with God every dayI We must make the choice to serve Him and to live His way. He is speaking to our hearts and guiding us – but we must make the choice to listen.

I know that the troubles of today can consume our thoughts; I too want to see things set right. But I have the GOD sense to know that unless God enters in to a situation, it will never be made right.We can never be tricked into forgetting that our war is not with one another, but against the spiritual forces of wickedness — against our enemy, Satan, and all his demons.  We must remember always that our battle gear is spiritual and is meant to tear down Satan’s work and to bring about in the world lives of obedience –  make disciples.  So — my heart longs for Him — for Him to be present in the current situation — for His will to be carried out even if in doing so I have to experience pain. This world will never know what justice looks like until He is invited in to the process. Lord, have mercy on us all.

At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭26‬:‭9‬)

Living Like an Overcomer

OvercomerNo matter what is happening in this broken world, I am an overcomer. So many things in the last few months have happened to make my heart heavy, sad, broken — it can be difficult to muster the strength to hold on to joy and peace. But — I have chosen to hold on to joy and peace. As believers in Christ the adversity, grief, heartache, woe and injustice that we experience is to be expected. We are not citizens of in this earthly realm; our home is in heaven – we are foreigners here, aliens on a journey. It would stand to reason that we will experience enmity, bigotry, bias, hate. The world will not embrace us nor will its systems treat us with fairness.Sadly, many of us, who are citizens of heaven, have forgotten our place and are treating other citizens of heaven in ways that we should not — but I digress.

As we grieve the things that happen to us on this earth, we can rejoice that we are not alone nor or we forsaken! We have a great High Priest who is acquainted with the troubles that we face. He is limitless in His mercy and grace and He invites us to cast our cares upon Him. We are His chosen children – He loves us and wants what is best for us. You see, the world wants us to believe that all is lost, that our case is hopeless, that the battles will never end, that we are less than deserving of a peaceful life. But God has told us over and over again in His word that this is simply not true. We will overcome!

We can hold on to joy — because our hope does not lie in the things of this world or in the systems of this world – but in He who cannot and will not fail; in He who loves truly and perfectly; in He who is our all! Much like those three Hebrew boys who were in the burning furnace, we have to make the choice to believe that there is One that sees us, hears us and will deliver us in His own perfect time. We have to choose to embrace His truth – He is our peace.

Yes, it is painful; it is unfair; it is discouraging — all of it feels so wrong; but don’t lose sight of the truth that it is not contrary to what our Lord has spoken to us. He has foretold that the trials would come; but more than that He has revealed a future victory that no world system will be able to snatch from us. The troubles of this world can touch my flesh and they can prick my heart, but I will not allow them to swallow my heart and He will not let them cover my soul in darkness. I am very grateful that my life is filled with friendships that include people of all races, colors, religious backgrounds – I am blessed to have good friends across the color spectrum. But even if no one down here values me, I know who made me and I know He adores me. Man can hold me in disdain, but He is exalting me as His called out one. I am an overcomer — and I intend to live like it. Make the choice to believe His truths no matter what is happening around you so that you can experience his peace that man cannot understand. The one who dwells within you is greater than any issue that you might face. Don’t lose heart – in the end, you will win!  Yes! In the end He will reign!

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (‭John‬ ‭16‬:‭33‬)