Messages from the Executive Director

Russell Thorp

Russell was born in Papua New Guinea (PNG) of missionary parents. He and Pearl married in 1982. After training at Laidlaw College, earning a Master of Theology degree, they went back to PNG and served on the faculty of Christian Leaders Training College (CLTC). Prior to taking up his former role, as Mission Director, Global Connections in Mission (GC3), he was Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Carey Baptist College, Auckland, and prior to that, a senior lecturer at Pathways Bible and Mission College. Russell and Pearl live in Auckland. They are parents of four adult children.


May 2021

We have all heard of the Covid Tsunami hitting India at present. Video messages like these inform us of the dire situation India faces.
SAIACS has been the longest-term partner school of LDL, operating at a high level as an in-country trainer equipping students for ministry throughout Asia. There are many stories of the wonderful multiplying effect graduates are having. Daily I am seeing stories of Indians in ministry who are being affected by Covid and the desperate situations that this leads to.

Update from Myanmar: We were able to send funds through to help with staff salaries and needs at MEGST and to cover similar expenses in Kalaymo with the partner school consortium there. Continue to pray for safety during the military coup.
Please keep considering donating to the AM Memorial fund.
Update from Christian Leaders’ Training College: Praise the Lord that those infected with Covid are all recovering. Operations in the college are still being affected by covid and measures to keep social distancing.
Ask for the Lord’s continued hand to be seen in these partner schools who are key ministry trainers in their country and regions.


April 2021

What a year it has been. Our programme partners have struggled, yet with your prayer and kind donations, have been enabled to pivot towards online teaching and learning. One of our key values is ‘in country training’. The fruit of investing in training preachers, teachers and writers at the higher level is paying off as these women and men are at the heart of sustainable ministry in local contexts where expat influence is increasingly less. Thanks so much.

Personal thanks from Russell…



February 2021

Multiplying Impact under extreme conditions

This month we bring a story of multiplying impact under extreme conditions.  Elie Haddad, President of Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Lebanon reflects on the question: HOW CAN OUR COLLEGE SURVIVE SUCH HARDSHIP?

The years 2020/21 are anything but normal. The pandemic is global, but this has been only one of many calamities that we have endured in Lebanon. On the heels of ten years of an acute humanitarian crisis and dealing with a pandemic in a crumbling health sector, we are currently in the middle of a major economic breakdown with political and social unrest, culminating in a massive explosion in Beirut in August. How can a college our size survive such hardship? The answer is plain and simple: God. It is God’s protection and provisions that are sustaining us throughout. His provisions are felt in concrete ways through our partners. LeaDev-Langham’s Shoulder to Shoulder Strategy is one powerful example. Let’s reflect on the outcomes:

• The pandemic disrupted our operation, as it did for many all over the globe. Thankfully, we were able to take emergency measures to complete the academic year. In addition, we have developed a new strategy for our programs and delivery methods that will shape the future of theological education and leadership formation in our region.

• Financially, by March this year we were tracking to have the largest deficit in the history of ABTS. However, we ended our fiscal year in September in surplus.

• Not only that, but we were able to open up our facilities to welcome quarantining first responders and many families that lost their homes in the Beirut explosion. These are examples of God’s small, and not so small, miracles that carried us through the year. One partner recently asked me if we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. My answer was no. We don’t know how long this tunnel is going to be; however, we can see small lights throughout the tunnel. We are experiencing God’s sustaining power in fresh new ways. LeaDev-Langham has provided many of these small lights in the tunnel as it journeyed with us this year. God’s miracles are not only felt at ABTS, but they are also felt all over Lebanon. In the middle of the calamities, we are experiencing God’s transformative, redemptive, and restorative power. At a time of hopelessness and despair, God is transforming our churches to become beacons of hope, faith, and love. The gospel is being proclaimed in amazing holistic ways. These are tragic times in Lebanon, yet they are times of experiencing new life. We are grateful to God for LeaDev-Langham and its supporters. Life after the pandemic will not go back to normal. This new season calls for innovation, for finding new solutions to new challenges. We are grateful that LeaDev-Langham loves to support new initiatives that chart new paths even when there is no map or blueprint. We look forward to continuing this journey together.

Would you support the Shoulder-to-Shoulder appeal that is providing funding to help seminaries and individuals pivot toward online teaching and learning?

Would you support our ‘Beirut’ appeal started in August 2020 as they continue to bring rehabilitation to families and communities under extreme conditions?

Article credit: Overseas Council Australia – Prayer Alert Shoulder to Shoulder Update


December 2020

The gift of presence

What a year it has been! We have all had to cope with the Covid 19 pandemic and everything associated with that. As Executive Director, I’ve finally been commissioned formally into the role.

I want to thank you for your prayers, your voluntary contributions and your donations that have enabled the ministry of our programme partners to continue. We keep looking to the Lord for provision that will enable leaders to be trained effectively for the ministry of the gospel. Leaders who multiply the impact of what you give by training in their own context, men and women of faith who courageously share Christ in difficult places and times.

We celebrate the coming of Jesus to be present with us. The gift of presence is a wonderful gift. The prophet Isaiah records the promise of Christ’s coming: “… the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’)” Isaiah 7:14.


November 2020

Will you shine a light in needy places this Christmas

“People who believe in the resurrection, in God making a whole new world in which everything will be set right at last, are unstoppably motivated to work for that new world in the present…” 

For “Hope in person surprised the whole world by coming forward from the future into the present.” 

– N.T. Wright Surprised by Hope
son, the gift of hope.  


October 2020

Hope Multiplied

In pondering the phrase ‘hope is real’ I realised that for many people hope is not real. I believe it is one of the most important gifts we can give to another person, the gift of hope.  


The apostle Paul (Romans 15:4) shares that

“everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

In training our programme partners through your support of LeaDev-Langham, these trained individuals are able to participate in the great task of bringing hope to many, many more through the training, discipling and mentoring they carry out in equipping other in sharing the good news of the gospel. These trained individuals collectively reach millions with the hope of the gospel.

In this months e-news we have a brief clip from Ms Ning Ngaih Lian [aka Liannu] from Myanmar who has just finished her PhD. Liannu is the last faculty recruit of our beloved late brother, Aung Mang, founding Principal, MEGST. Liannu is now back in Myanmar teaching at MEGST. Her specialist area is Christian Education [formally known as Transformative Learning]. Liannu’s PhD in this much needed area gives MEGST options to offer a major in Christian Education at MDiv, MTh, and DMin levels.

It is wonderful to note her dedication to Christ and to forming Christ centred graduates at MEGST. Pray that her study impacts her students through her teaching.



September 2020

I’m reflecting on the impact of my father who passed away aged 88 on the 18th of September 2020. We rejoice that he served as a farmer and then a teacher in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and India (SAIACS). In this e-news you can read about that impact as a volunteer for LeaDev-Langham. Jesus said “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.” John 12:24. His is an example of planting and reaping. You will hear (and see) too, the impact of your donations to the Beirut appeal. Your donations are having a real impact in restoring broken houses, classes, and lives.


Again, donations to the shoulder to shoulder appeal are making a significant impact.
Also note the continuing trip by Paul and Barby Windsor as they connect with supporters through home meetings. Attending one of these brings a sense of the impact training the trainers of preachers has been having through their ministry.


The impact of Volunteer work partnering through LeaDev-Langham – A testimony to the work of Dennis and Barbara Thorp at SAIACS.


Dennis has recently been promoted to glory (18/09/2020) leaving a legacy of discipling through teaching with his wife Barbara the SAIACS English Enhancement Class. (See photo)

For seven weeks each year (2011-2016), Dennis and Barbara travelled to SAIACS to teach. They dedicated themselves to this while in their late 70’s and early 80’s. Dennis and Barbara immersed themselves in the relationships necessary to make the teaching successful.

Havilah writes “That Dennis was dedicated to his task was apparent in that he braved the hottest months of an Indian summer. He cared for the students, and their appreciation was evident in the little booklet of thanks made to him and Barbara. We are grateful for his contribution to SAIACS and rejoice in a life lived out in faithful service of the Kingdom. Of them was quoted- ‘a good teacher is like a candle- it consumes itself to light the way for others’ (Mustafa Kemal Ataturk).

Dennis and Barbara continued to pray for every student while back in New Zealand. We thank them for their dedication and the ongoing impact of their teaching seen in the ability of the graduates from SAIACS. LeaDev-Langham are blessed with dedicated volunteers who continue to bring light and impact as they come alongside our programme partners.

If you are interested in having a real impact through being available for teaching English, providing IT support, facilitating business or farming projects please contact the office through admin@ldl.org.nz

Dennis and Barbara are the parents of LeaDev-Langham’s Executive Director, Russell Thorp.



August 2020

Thank you so much for your prayer and financial support of LeaDev-Langham. You are greatly appreciated.

I wanted to update you on what our team have been working on recently, and to show you how your support is making a big impact. One of the real challenges our network of Bible Seminaries and individuals in the Langham network throughout Asia and the Pacific face is adapting to working in a Covid-19 world. Many of our partners have been in touch to express their appreciation for the support provided by the recent Shoulder to Shoulder appeal. I want to thank you personally for your thoughtfulness and generosity. Your donations have enabled our partner schools to pivot from physical to online classes. But more importantly many of them have been enabled to keep their staff and faculty at a time where local finances have been low.

CK, Principal of MEGST shares here and Rochelle Hakel-Ranasinghe from Colombo Theological Seminary shares here.

Beirut is very much in our minds at this time and our partners there need all the help we can provide as they struggle to recover from the devastating blast. We are continuing to seek support for The Arab Baptist Seminary as it continues to bring hope to the needy. Here is the latest video from Beirut. If you would like to participate in the recovery follow the link here.


June 2020

It is great to be at level 1. While we have been in lockdown, we have spent time communicating via zoom with our partner school leaders and key Langham preaching trainers. You may have watched some of the interviews we provided in links through our Journey to Pentecost reflections over the 40 days from Easter. Here is the link to our webpage with the daily reflections. Our partner schools continue to operate in trying conditions through waves of Covid-19. They seek to fulfil distancing requirements as a testimony to their observance of the attempts of governments to control the pandemic. In the process they are still missing student fees and other opportunities to raise funds. These schools rely on supporters like those here in New Zealand to enable the training of humble servant leaders in Asia Pacific. I am hoping that if you have not yet, you would now be able to make a special donation to our ‘shoulder to shoulder’ campaign. I have been encouraged with the feedback from our Partner schools who are so thankful for funds sent to them to enable them to set up the equipment required to deliver online teaching and learning, to reconfigure curriculum and to help with operational funding. I want to thank you so much for your interest and prayer.

Russell Thorp
Executive Director


1st April 2020 – Message from Russell Thorp

April marks the beginning of my role as Executive Director of LeaDev-Langham in New Zealand. I want to give thanks to God with you, our supporters and prayer partners, for the 24 years of service Tony and Judy and his team have given LeaDev-Langham. Tony has led wonderfully well. He has built a team of staff and supporters that have carried out our mission to support the training, in their own countries, of Bible teachers, preachers, theologians, and lay leaders, who can shape their nations and generations for the years ahead. Tony will continue in a role as Associate Director – Special Projects.

While our way of operating is being shaped by the circumstances, we all find ourselves in, God’s mission to reach the world with the good news of Jesus through the training of key leaders remains as urgent and strategic as ever. In fact, what has been achieved so far through LeaDev-Langham means there are some well-trained local teachers, preachers and evangelists who are well equipped to continue training in their regions. We give praise to God for that, but with the exponential growth of the church in these regions the task is growing ever larger and more urgent.

With the corona virus our partner schools are struggling with unpaid student fees and with growing community needs they need to respond to. Alongside our Easter and Pentecost campaigns we would like to introduce a campaign that over the rest of the year will enable our partners to not only survive, but to thrive. This is essential. These training institutions for Christian leaders must survive. Not for their own sakes, but for the sake of the church which will minister in this crisis.

An Invitation– We invite New Zealand Christians to stand with us, as we stand with our partners. In the face of our own economic uncertainty in New Zealand we ask you to give to this greater need.

I want to thank you in advance for your continued prayer and financial support for the ministry of LeaDev-Langham that enables key local leaders to grow and flourish in their local contexts.

Russell Thorp

Executive Director


30th September 2019 – LeaDev-Langham appoints new Executive Director

The Board of LeaDev-Langham has announced the appointment of a new Executive Director to succeed founding Executive Director, Tony Plews, who is taking on a new role with the organisation from next year.

At Tony’s request in 2015 the LDL Board initiated a succession process, which has brought us to this point.

Russell Thorp will become Executive Director on 1 April next year. At that time, Tony Plews will assume the role of Associate Director, Special Projects.

The Board of LeaDev-Langham has announced the appointment of a new Executive Director to succeed founding Executive Director, Tony Plews, who is taking on a new role with the organisation from next year.

At Tony’s request in 2015 the LDL Board initiated a succession process, which has brought us to this point.

Russell Thorp will become Executive Director on 1 April next year. At that time, Tony Plews will assume the role of Associate Director, Special Projects.


 Dr Paul Windsor, former LeaDev board member, and Programme Director, Langham Preaching, now based in South Asia, has warmly supported Russell’s appointment, saying, “As a kindred spirit with an easy empathy with the Langham ethos, vision, and mission, I am sure that Russell will quickly make a vital contribution to this developing ministry.

Russell brings a wealth of mission experience to the role from his previous position as Mission Director Global Connections in Mission (GC3), a position he has held for 8 years. Prior to taking up his current role, he was Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Carey Baptist College in Auckland, and prior to that, a senior lecturer at Pathways Bible and Mission College.
 
Russell holds a Master of Theology degree from Laidlaw College.
 
In addition to his professional expertise, Russell has significant leadership and community experience. He currently chairs the NZ Christian Leaders Training College (CLTC) Advisory Board, and the CLTC academic Advisory Board. He also has first-hand practical experience working with LeaDev-Langham in an advising, consulting, and training capacity Myanmar.
 
Russell told the LeaDev-Langham Board: “I value connecting the narrative and values of donors with the narrative and values of recipients so that God’s work expands, and He is glorified in the process.”
 
LeaDev-Langham Chairman Denis Browne said that the Board is delighted to welcome Russell into this pivotal role. “Tony has done an excellent job for 24 years. After extensive searching and much prayer, we are delighted that Russell has agreed to assume the role of Executive Director. His impressive background and experience will help us enormously as we look to meet the growing demand for our support throughout the Asia-Pacific region.”
 
Russell is married with four adult children. He is very much looking forward to taking up this significant role. “I value God’s Word as life giving Truth. I highly value Majority World Leaders being encouraged and equipped. I value being strategic with financial support, in terms of what will grow the people of God. I believe in sustainable mission. This role fits perfectly with my core values and commitment to living God’s call on my life.”

Denis Browne
Chairman


If you would like more information on Russell and future plans for LeaDev-Langham under his leadership, please contact Denis Browne, Chairman chair@ldl.org.nz