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January 1, 2024

Friendship is…


Dean and Tomica:

We met these two Croatian men in one of our first PI equipping schools 20 years ago as young leaders in a church movement based in Zagreb, Croatia and would never believe that today, we would be friends, good friends! We taught them, coached them, helped with marriage and raising children as they were both first generation followers of Jesus, but today we are FRIENDS. Friendship is one of the richest gifts we can enjoy in this breakneck paced world we live in where genuine life-giving relationships are becoming quite rare. Callie and I are rich. . . . we have friends!  

A few weeks ago, we visited friends in Zagreb, Croatia together with our son, Josiah.  Recently, they told us how grateful they are for our influence, but “…now it’s time to work side by side as Kingdom Friends!” Together, we held a city-wide conference these two men led with Callie, Josiah, and myself playing a minor part. It was packed!

Our friends have become great MEN in every sense of the word. They carried the weight of ministering and releasing Jesus over the hundreds who had gathered. I sat back and marveled. Our friends . . . look at them. The last evening, we were all together, walking as friends through the Zagreb Christmas markets, filled with wonder at the festive scenes only to end up at a pizza restaurant for a long, beautiful meal together. We celebrated 20 years and a weekend of Kingdom influence! Friends!  I’m so proud of them! They are the bearers of Jesus to their love starved world.

Friendship Pt. 2

Speaking of friends

Drew and Dawn Brown have served with us as our right-hand partners at PI for 18 ½ years and I want to bid them a heartfelt, tear-filled goodbye as the Lord Jesus takes them into the next field of service for His name. On January 1, 2024, Drew will become the CEO of Paradiem, a Christ-filled, Kingdom oriented wealth management and advisory group based out of New Orleans, Louisiana. It is an amazing opportunity for the Browns and is the culmination of several years of Drew’s guiding this company on how to make Jesus the center of their mission and operations as they serve the world. What a blessing they will be to this new group.

As we have discussed and contemplated, as a team, Drew’s departure, there is an amazing thing I’ve noticed. We’ve never once mentioned ‘replacing’ Drew. It’s impossible.  He’s not just our co-worker, he’s one of the best friends I’ve ever known. We have shared so many successes and triumphs together while shedding many tears in pain and loss as well. Solomon must have been speaking of Drew Brown when he wrote, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. . . . A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Drew and Dawn . . . Thank you is far too shallow in bidding you farewell. So, let me leave you with this . . . You will always be our friends and His best is yet to come!”

Friendship Pt. 3

Speaking of Friends…

I want to also take this opportunity to introduce to you Duncan and Cathie Vincent of Highworth, England. The Vincents are joining us January 2024 as trainers for our work in Europe and the East. I’ve known Duncan for about 20 years also and he is truly one of the most brilliant and honest-hearted men I’ve ever walked this life journey with.  Cathie brings a child-like exuberance and deep teaching gift beside Duncan into the team. We are so fortunate they’ve said a big Yes to our invitation to serve the Lord Jesus in the nations of the earth together.

“Vincents…..Welcome and we can’t wait to see the fruit we will bear unto His name in the years to come.”