Our Rear View Mirror
A glance back at 2016
We crested a small hill and saw a congested group of vehicles on the road before us. That is a sign that Kruger National Park in South Africa has revealed a special sighting of some rare animals. Susan Skelton, Cathy and I pulled up to the back of the traffic jam and stopped. We assumed our chances were slim that we would see the special sighting.
Immediately a female lion exited the bush and walked in front of our car. She turned and looked back and called to those following. Then they came into view. Four baby lions, only weeks old, bounced out of the bush and came toward our car. Cathy partially rolled down her window to hear the little ones calling to their mother. They walked right beside our car!
This rare sighting was a special treat for all of us. God had orchestrated our position at the back of the line to give us front row seats as the little family came near us. The little calls from the babies to their mother was a thrill to hear. Cathy was saying thank you to the Lord in whispers as they went by.
This year has repeated that experience in the ministry many times. We have found ourselves on the front row of missionary hearts, minds and souls throughout the year. Over one-hundred missionaries have participated in retreats, solitary activities and get away events to recharge and renew their hearts. Intensive inductive Bible Studies have been conducted dozens of times with people from a wide range of backgrounds being involved.
We have been on the front row of the refugee crisis in the Middle East. We could hear their spectacular stories of survival in a chaotic world of destruction and death. Friends beheaded and churches destroyed. Muslims and Christians racing to escape the turmoil caused by such evil.
Cathy stood next to a ten year old boy from Afghanistan as he shared some pictures with her. Thinking he was going to show pictures of his family the boy began to scroll through graphic pictures of be-headings, body parts and suicide bombers. This has been his world during the last year.
We found the experience to be shocking and riveting. Seeing the truth about items portrayed as only political by our press was very sobering. Cathy said, I didn't expect to see that!
This year has been something we will always remember. But next year may be just as eventful. We never know where the Lord may take us but the opportunities are far beyond our ability to participate in all of them. Next year could find us in the Asia-Pacific area for the first time. Associates are working with us in Africa and Europe to multiply our efforts. New missionaries are being trained in Central America and they have asked us to come and visit. "You were with us four years ago when God started his call on our life. Please come and visit us!
We seek your prayers for wisdom in making our decisions. God has blessed us beyond anything we have asked. He has even surpassed our thoughts and dreams. Go with us in your prayers and hopefully God will allow you to come with us to the front row of spiritual events around the world. May God bless you and your family in 2017.
Cathy and Danny
Copyright © Danny Sartin and Deeper Still Missions. All Rights Reserved.
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So many of you responded to our request for prayer and we are deeply thankful. We desire to bring your heart alongside our experience here with the Lord.
Snow whispers among the winds. Red tailed hawks majestically fly over the valley below. We see the beauty of God in the mirror of life and recognize the book of holy teaching that we call nature. All of it shows the goodness of God. The silence is deafening! Yet God’s voice speaks distinctly among His creation.
Cathy and I read from the Imitation of Christ as Thomas A Kempis writes, HE WHO follows Me, walks not in darkness,” says the Lord. By these words of Christ we are advised to imitate His life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and free from all blindness of heart. Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus Christ.
Thomas was a scribe in early 1400 and was charged with teaching novice believers how to follow Christ. His devotion book is the second most read book in all of history. The quote from above is the opening line of his book.
We are deeply encouraged by your prayers before the Throne of God.
 Thomas à Kempis. (1996). The imitation of Christ (1). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.
Cathy and I are on a personal spiritual retreat in the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina. We just left Hampton Roads, Virginia and a great week with Sean and Christina Connable. We had a productive week of work focused on the Strengths Finder tests from Gallop, Inc. Both of us are encouraged by the plans laid for a Missionary Tool Box we designed. We also had some great laughs, fellowship and worship together.
Tonight we are at the log cabin of Charlie and Connie Dunn in the mountains. We would like to ask for your prayers. This is an essential time for us to review that last three years of Deeper Still Missions and reflect on the lessons that God has taught us. We will renew our goals for the future and refresh our personal walk with the Lord.
Please pray that he will meet us on the mountain. Thank you.
My father at the end of World War II.
Life goes on as I sit in a flood of memories today. It is not a slow backup of thoughts from a lifetime but a torrent of rushing thoughts covering over sixty years. I sit with my mom and dad in a rest home. My mom is faithfully attending the needs of my dad who is struggling with the affects of Parkinson disease.
Sometimes he remembers and sometimes he doesn’t. The sparkle of a smile and the squint of wit continue despite the struggles. The friendly wave of patients shuffling past the open door. Respect and dignity are the values most sought along with attention and a listening ear. The Encore Western channel continues to roll from one saga to the next. A quick pat on the arm and the words I wuv you between my mom and dad. Then a kiss on the lips. Sixty five years of marriage have built a bond that is inseparable.
Daddy talks to people who are not there and recognizes work that needs to be completed in the corners of the ceiling and the yard beyond the window. His mind continues to process the carpentry work he conducted for over seventy years. He measures a length, from his bed, to cut some trim needed to complete his project. What a joy to watch as his mind continues down familiar paths. His work ethic and diligence to complete a job has not dimmed with the disease. Neither has his respect of others.
I loved the sparkle of my dad’s eye when he put down a domino in the game of train last week. The same twinkle and crooked smile was typical of my dad when we played board games as teens. Parcheesi, Sorry and other games that he relished and just as often won. It was the same with Jack and Bonnie Matthews when they played a weekly game of canasta on Durfey street in Jackson, Mississippi.
In moments like this a lifetime seems just like a vapor. But the recollections are rich with warmth, smiles, laughter and tears. I am deeply thankful for the gifts of God through my parents. My love of Christ came from their faithful attendance in church and a moment when I was eight years old in our living room. That was the day I prayed to receive Christ. I can only hope that my life will have such a deep affect in the lives of the missionaries we serve.
Our return home from Africa has produced a significant amount of travel and activity. The last two months of ministry has continued in Missouri and Florida with the Area One Camps. What a joy to see hundreds of young people come to a deeper understanding of Jesus.
At the same time multiple personal issues have swirled around us with the veracity of a tornado. We ask for your prayers as we walk these difficult paths.
I have two requests now that we are back from Africa. Each has to do with a missionary that we are closely mentoring.
First, pray for Rolf Weichardt and the Youth for Christ ministry of South Africa. Audits of local ministry centers have uncovered some issues that must be addressed. Those who are responsible are vowing to bring down the organization. The new leadership of YFC has decided to return to the emphasis of evangelism that YFC was founded upon. Social concern had been the focus in the previous leadership. Rolf is under tremendous pressure. Please pray for him as he returns YFC to its roots of evangelism.
Second, pray for Emelio Gassibe, Center Director for Cape Town YFC, and his brother Stan. In the words of Emelio, my brother Stanley has been diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Failure. Doctors advised an emergency operation by Tuesday and later immediate dialysis in order to save his life. The operation costs at least R30 000 and thereafter an amount of R13 000 per month until a suitable donor is found. Please pray for the funds needed and a suitable donor for Stan.
Your faithful prayers will work miracles. Thank you.
Darryl and Janine Mather-Pike of Nelspruit, South Africa.
This month has found me on Skype with Darryl many times. They are currently in Boston, Massachusetts attempting to clarify some state department issues for their family. Native South Africans, Darryl and Janine have several children here in the states. Unfortunately we will miss them when we visit South Africa this month. Please pray for them and us as we return to Africa soon.
Our vision for Deeper Still Missions is the following.
And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. 2 Timothy 2:2 (NIV)
The ministry of multiplication spoken of by Paul is God’s method of touching the lives of countless generations. Many invested in my life and the resulting years of ministry. Each deposit into my mind, heart and soul cut a pioneer path forward that resulted in the changed lives of many. Our vision is to multiply that wisdom and skill through the lives of other leaders and increase missionary retention in many locations.
Handing over our commitment, character, capabilities and relationships requires great care and wisdom. It also requires a significant investment in the lives of others. Ministry experience, leadership and skills must be deposited in the hearts, minds and souls of trustworthy young men and women who will also be able to pass it on.
Deeper Still Missions seeks to partner with leadership to provide pastoral mentoring and leadership guidance to missionaries in the field. On-site visits are essential in order to assist them in the most effective manner possible.
Ronas and Busie Marule of White River, South Africa.
One of the activities we work on while at the home office is regular contact with missionaries who have become intensive mentees from around the world. Skype has become a great tool for regular phone calls to update, pray, challenge and encourage missionaries on the field. The circle of missionaries continues to grow.
And Jesus kept on hewing a pioneer path ahead, making steady progress in wisdom and maturity and in favor in the presence of God and with men. Luke 2:52 (The New Testament, Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest)
The final objective in Deeper Still Missions is intensive mentoring, focusing on two desired outcomes: transformation and replication. We become spiritual guides who provide accountability, direction and insight for decision making.
We begin at the unique place in each missionary’s development that meets their needs. We want missionaries to recapture what it means to lead a balanced spiritual life – to live, learn, and lead as Jesus did. We look to transform the way the missionary sees their world. As Wuest points out in the verse above, their “pioneer path” helps them integrate their spiritual life with all other areas of life.
We deeply desire to see the missionary replicate themselves. Mentoring others as they have been mentored creates ripples in the lives of many.
This makes strengthening and encouraging a person’s relationship with God the central component of any member care programme. (Kelly O’Donnell, ed., Missionary Care: Counting the Cost for World Evangelization, p. 44)
Rick Beck of Honduras at the city dump of Tegucigalpa.
During December we spent time with Rick and Kim Beck from Honduras and spoke at their partnership dinner. Rick and Kim came into the ministry after Kim attended a class at Mid-South Bible College I was teaching. She brought Rick, her boyfriend, along and they both came on staff at Memphis YFC. We have mentored them for over twenty-five years. We have cried, laughed and worked together on many occassions during these many years. Our relationship has certainly become a true friendship.
I no longer call you servants…Instead, I have called you friends. John 15:15 (NIV)
Following casual mentoring, our second objective is to establish active mentoring by becoming a discipler and coach. We work to develop a meaningful, trust-based relationship with the entire family. This time spent “walking alongside” provides an opportunity to build intimate friendships.
We provide time for the missionary to reflect and to attentively explore their spiritual life. We work to take the missionary away for a time of personal reflection so that they can return refreshed and renewed. We work to refocus their spiritual life through pastoral care and close friendships that are safe.
We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too. 1 Thess. 2:8 (NLT)
Annual spiritual life retreats should be scheduled that are not encumbered with business agendas. (O’Donnell and O’Donnell, Helping Missionaries Grow, p. 81)
Altered on stage opening the program for the camp.
One of our objectives while in the States is walking alongside missionaries who serve here in America. At the same time we find ourselves ministering to missionaries who are home on furlough. This month we are spending time with Kiley and Rachel Butler, of Area One Ministries (the picture above is from the Area One Camp in Florida), and Rick and Kim Beck from Honduras.
Our first objective with each missionary is to establish casual mentoring through teaching, counseling and sponsoring activities that complement the needs of missionaries. We come alongside and serve them in the field. This will help:
…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… Romans 12:2b (NIV)
Yesterday I drove to Nashville to spend five hours with Rolf Weichardt planning future visits to South Africa. Rolf is here in the states to speak at a worship conference in Ocala, Florida.
It is exciting to see God use our relationship to encourage and focus our eyes on the Lord. The staff conference in September and the training of teams next January will be focused on the theme “Family! Matters”.
Ministry teams which will be the future spearhead of YFC ministry in South Africa and will be a focus for my teaching. Returning to prayer, God’s Word and His family the church will be the desired outcomes of training. Rolf says, we want to return to biblical training, equiping, loving and leading our youth and staff.
I will be preparing bible studies that they can take with them on the field of ministry. I will be helping them to defend their faith and be effective in discipleship. This will require their trust in God’s Word to be enhanced and help them to know what they believe and why they believe it. Wow, what a task!
Pray with Cathy and I as we begin prayerfully planning these future visits. I can see God using Rolf to transform the Youth for Christ culture of Africa into a powerful ministry wave that is blessed of God. Serving on his mission field is making a big difference. Your support has provided safe relationships and Christ-centered mentoring that is catching the breath of God. Thank you.
Four decade veteran of youth ministry in churches, Youth For Christ and now is the Founder and Executive Director of Deeper Still Missions. Danny and his wife Cathy spend most of their time mentoring missionaries in Africa, Europe, Central America and North America. Future opportunities include South America and the Asia Pacific area.