Cottle Family Update

June 26th, 1993 two kids got married. Lynette and I celebrated 24 years of marriage. Honestly, I’m not sure how Lynette has put up with me this long but I’m glad she has. I think we were made for each other.

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On a recent trip together, we were able to add an extra day to our travels to see the Palace in Beijing and a few Pandas. It just so happens our travel dates were on our anniversary…..so I credit myself for taking Lynette somewhere special on our anniversary.

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Also in June, I had the chance to observe the closing ceremony of Ramadan. This was a great experience and I couldn’t help but think of the verse when Jesus told his disciples “the fields are white and ready for harvest. Some estimate that over 200,000 Muslims filled the streets near the Mosque….I believe it. There were people everywhere.

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School House News

Lynette is teaching at Logos International School and one of her classes is Bible. She has some great things planned for students this year with the goal of helping them interact with God’s Word in practical ways rather than just viewing scripture as a book from the past. One way she is doing this is through using DBS (Discovery Bible Study). After reading a short passage of scripture (1-10 verses) she asked; what does this teach us about God, what does this teach us about man, is there a command to obey or an example to follow, is there a sin to avoid or repent of, and what truth will you apply this week? I have used this approach and we highly recommend it for all ages.

Rachel and Caleb are deep into their studies, making friends and enjoying sports. Rachel is playing High School volleyball and Caleb is playing Middle School basketball. Both of them are involved in Bible studies with other students and continue to grow in their faith. Since Logos is not too far from our house they ride their bikes to school and get to experience the high heat and humidity of Phnom Penh. I, on the other hand, choose to ride the motorcycle.

Area Ministry

I (James) continue to work with three different groups of leaders in Asia focusing on growing in our leadership skills and effectiveness. Each group meets every month to focus on various aspects of leading ourselves and others well. The training is not only about learning or sharpening our skills but also identifying tendencies and defaults that hinder us from serving others well. Starting in November I along with three other trainers will launch the Leadership Cohort. The Cohort will focus on developing emerging leaders throughout World Team. These participants come from South America, Africa, different countries within Europe, and Asia. The goal is to equip them now so they are better prepared to serve in any leadership capacity that God may lead them to.

Since we’re talking about leadership let me share with you a definition of leadership that I  like.  A leader is a person “with God-given capacity and with God-given responsibility who is influencing a specific group of God’s people toward God’s purpose for the group.” Dr. Bobby Clinton

Our well-being

Living in another country (especially a developing one) does bring its physical challenges and we’ve had our share of stomach bugs, viruses, and unexplainable symptoms but since we returned in August 2016 our health has been good and we’ve only encountered the typical illnesses that everyone tends to get. We thank God for good health and the ability to carry out the ministry.

However, we have experienced a decrease in monthly giving as a result of hardships some churches and supporters have had. We are currently averaging a $700 monthly shortage. As of right now, this is manageable but we would like for you to pray that all our needs would be met so that the work can continue.

Finally, we want to thank you for your prayers and support of our family and the ministry. As we enter our seventeenth year of serving in Cambodia we are amazed and thankful for each person, business, and church that has given their resources in order to reach others with the Gospel and establish the church.

Things to pray about:

  1. Moriah (our oldest) is getting married in Dec. We are assisting in the planning of the wedding via Facetime but there is still work to be done
  2. Rachel is taking SATs in October and obviously, she is hoping to do well
  3. That our financial support would stabilize…..and for others to join our support team
  4. I’m working with several teams in order to expand our ministry to Muslims. We need open doors and more workers
  5. I’m preparing my material for the Leadership Cohort….I’m still thinking through what to and what not to present

Thanks you,

The Cottles

 

 

 

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Life over the last few months

First, we would like to apologize for not keeping everyone up to date as regularly as we should. It seems that the days are so busy with daily activities and it’s hard to find the time to sit and record all that is happening. We would like to recommend that you connect with us on Facebook if we’re not already “friends”. That format will allow you to see into our lives a bit more frequently.

Grieving dad

No doubt the last 8 months have been difficult for James. Not being able to talk to or hug his dad of 47 years is a new aspect of life that is not welcomed. However, over the last few months, God has given much grace to James and James’ heart is slowly healing. James was back in the States in May for World Team leadership meetings in which James took two extra weeks to visit NC. to spend time with his mom, brother, and sister. This was a special time as the family worked on a memorial garden and placed the ashes under the maple tree like pops wanted.

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Graduation and Congratulations 

Lynette was also able to travel to NC and we (proud parents) watched Moriah graduate from Liberty University. Moriah has grown so much in her faith and as an adult during her four-year studies and we wait with joy to see how God uses her to impact the world as a light bearer of the kingdom. We also were present when Moriah was proposed to by Houston Yager on May 6th. We are excited for them both and we praise God for a godly husband for Moriah.

Wedding bells

December 17th, 2017 is the big day. The Cottle family will travel back to the US in two shifts. James will arrive December 2nd and Lynette, Rachel, and Caleb arrive on the 14th. Planning has started via Facetime calls and wedding details are shaping up. It’s going to be an awesome day.

School is out and everyone is moving up

After the cake has settled and the balloons have lost their shape we now have a University graduate (Moriah), a Junior in college (Kailyn), an 11th grader (Rachel) and a 7th grader (Caleb). Lynette is also moving. This past year she taught third grade at Asian Hope International School but will transition to Logos International School to teach Math this coming school year.

Parents in School 

Lynette is one class and a thesis away from graduating with a Masters in Intercultural Education. She plans to complete her studies in May 2018. James is also wrapping up his degree with only five classes to go. He plans to complete his studies by June 2018. Crazy times…all the Cottles are in school.

Ministry across Asia

Since October James has traveled quite a bit to the various countries (Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and East Asia) within Asia to encourage and has taken two trips to America. That’s a lot of miles.

  • The trip in November was to East Asia (sorry, I can’t give you the exact location) to meet with four families who are working among minority groups in not so friendly conditions.
  • The trip in December was to work with three other leaders to lay the groundwork for a new holistic ministry that seeks to enter restricted people groups; some of which are literally living behind barbed wire. Progress has been made but they still have a lot of work to do in the coming months.
  • The trip in January was to Indonesia where James attended the Papua field conference where he led two sessions on working in Honor-Shame cultures.
  •  In March it was back to Papua, Indonesia for annual LEAD meetings. This is when the leaders of Asia gather for mutual encouragement, process ministry plans and grow in our leadership capacity. This was an enjoyable time with 10 leaders.
  • Late April took James to PA. USA for World Team Global Leader meetings then onto NC for two weeks before returning the Cambodia.
  • On June 22nd James & Lynette will fly to East Asia for 11 days. They will visit two teams. They will lead a session on Discovery Bible Study in order to give additional tools to the workers as they seek to start small groups of believers.

Working with leaders

Over the past year, James has been working with three other leaders to create a leadership training process for emerging leaders within World Team. The idea is to identify emerging leaders early and begin developing them over time. Although World Team has done this is various ways in the past, we are trying to be a bit more focused and structured in how this is carried out. The first leadership cohort will be in November of this year. We’re currently in the process of preparing the material for the cohort.

Along with this, James and his Field Directors have been working through various leadership topics over the past 8 months. Topics such as leadership bravery, assessment, vision, planning, why leaders wear so many hats, and a few other relevant topics. All of this is geared to help each of leader grow in leadership capacity.

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Finally, this past December James started an online group (Leader Excel) where he invited five emerging leaders to join him in growing in key leadership skills. So far they have discussed the foundation of leadership, vision, how to write a plan, and last month they started a three session topic on Situational Leadership. The time together is proving beneficial for all involved and James loves coaching and learning from these leaders.

Such a joy

We praise God for what He is doing in Asia and for allowing us to participate in establishing the Church. The workers and leaders of Asia that we work alongside are doing an awesome job of ministering in humility, staying connected to the vine (Jesus), promoting the Glory of God above all else and all have a desire to grow in knowledge, attitude, and skill. For James, serving as the Area Director with these missionaries is a joy.

Things you can pray for

  1. For God’s grace as the Cottle family continues to grieve the loss of a husband, dad, a brother, and granddad
  2.   Lynette and James as they continue with their schooling
  3. Moriah and Houston as they step closer towards uniting as one
  4. That the leaders in Asia will continue to grow in character and competency so they can lead well
  5. That the management team for the holistic org we are starting would work well together and that we’ll soon be able to complete all the structural elements of this new org
  6. Asia has three priority ministries, all among Muslims. Pray for more workers.
  7. The Cottle’s monthly support is averaging $600 a month shortage. We need more financial supporters and God’s grace to sustain us

Thanks to each of you who support us financially and prayer. Kingdom work is done through the power of God and in the context of community.

The Cottles

 

 

The Goals in 2017

In this update we want to share with you three ministry objectives that we are giving attention to and we’d like for you to join us in praying for them.

Every year World Team leadership asked us to identify what our leadership objectives will be for the year. As you all know, having objectives/goals gives people purpose in their work. It gives direction in how to be and/or achieve God’s glory. Having a clear sense of what your’re trying to accomplish gives focus, which also determines how to use time and how to accept or reject opportunities that come along. Focus is a powerful friend in a busy, high-demand world where many “good things” call for our attention. The objective/goal that people identify for themselves (or company, team, Church, etc…) should represent the most needed step/s to move them forward. If the goal that a person identifies is one that burns deeply within, without question, must be done and will move towards fulfilling the overall vision rather than just a good idea–that is the making of a good goal.

For us, we have three objectives that motivate us and determine how we spend our day, how we spend money, what we pray about and so on. These objectives are to develop leaders around us, grow Muslim ministry in Asia and launch a holistic organization in Asia. These stated three are key areas for us as leaders within the Asia Area. We believe these three objectives help World Team be where they need to be and to fulfill their purpose as a mission.

Develop leaders: We meet monthly with the leaders in the Asia Area to pray for each other, talk about ministry, to learn and encourage each other and to grow in our leadership competencies.We are focused on growing in areas such as vision, planning, team building,  conflict resolution, delegation, and developing other leaders.

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Muslim ministry: We launched PRAY GREEN several years ago for the purpose of drawing attention to the great need for more workers in Muslim ministry. Currently we are working in three countries but among 4 different Muslim people groups. Each of these teams need more workers. Hundreds of millions of Muslims live in Asia but the workforce is really small. We would like to see that change.

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Holistic Organization: Building relationships and meeting felt needs are two of the simplest ways to introduce people to Christ. However, addressing physical needs is not the only focus. We want to grow the holistic organization to meet the needs of people and point them to their Creator. The holistic organization that we want to develop has one distinctive reason for its creation, and that is to gain access to restricted regions. Some of the world’s unreached people live in isolated situations and religious-sensitive areas therefore one of the only ways to access them is through a development organization. The holistic organization we hope to launch will be able to enter restricted areas–places that many organizations cannot go.

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We are looking to make progress in these three areas in 2017 but we realize that we can’t do them alone, in our strength, or without God opening doors. We are asking you to make these three ministry objectives a part of your prayer time.