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phil-tuttlePhil Tuttle: Welcome to my blog! For those of you new to the site, I am the President of Walk Thru the Bible, an organization based in Atlanta, GA, dedicated to igniting a passion for God's Word—here in the U.S. and throughout the world. In this blog you'll find a crazy blend of random thoughts, bizarre humor, and even an occasional deep insight.

Please jump into the discussion because, as we all know, a conversation is way more fun than a monologue.


 

Prayer Request #1 from Manila, Philippines

Greetings from Manila!

Ellen and I arrived here last night after 24 hours of travel. We're 13 hours ahead of Atlanta, so when you are heading to bed, we're starting the next day.

We've come here to launch Detour: Finding Purpose When Life Doesn't Make Sense (our new course on the life of Joseph) in Asia. We'll be training a number of Filipino master teachers who will teach the course themselves and also train dozens of other instructors.

The model live event will be held at Christ's Commission Fellowship here in Manila on Saturday. It's going to be huge, with 4,300 people already registered!

Fetan and his amazing team have done a phenomenal job planning and marketing this event. Many denominational, para church, government, military, and business leaders are coming.

There are several other events that I'll describe as they unfold. One of those is tomorrow, and that's what I need you to pray about right now.

When you're heading to bed Wednesday night, we'll be on our way to Grace Christian School. It's one of the largest Christian schools in the world with over 5,000 students. Grace is led by Dr. James Tan who is one of our Philippines board members. I'll be speaking to their faculty and students and having lunch with Dr. And Mrs. Tan.

They've already taken all their faculty through Detour and recently hosted a conference for 3,000+ Christian school teachers where 12 different Walk Thru the Bible courses were offered.

Dr. Tan loves Detour, and has just purchased 3,000 books so they can give one to each of their school families. This is especially strategic since hundreds of their school parents are Chinese and many have not yet placed their faith in Jesus. The potential impact here in the Philippines is huge, but so is the opportunity to touch many leaders in China.

Please pray for me as I share the Word tomorrow. And ask God to further develop my friendship with Dr. Tan.

Thank you so much for coming to Manila with me through the miracle of prayer!

Phil Tuttle
President
Walk Thru the Bible

The Man Who Wouldn't Take "Nyet" for an Answer

Sergei, one of our Walk Thru the Bible workers in Ukraine, kept asking and we kept answering. The answer was "No" or "Nyet" or "Nee". Whether in English, Russian, or Ukrainian they all meant the same thing: "Thanks for the gracious invite to a Russian banya, but we'd rather not."

I had experienced the full banya treatment before and was convinced that once was at least enough for me. It never was on my bucket list; but even if it had been, I had checked it off years ago. Chris Tiegreen our wonderful writer, and Wahid Wahba, our Director for the Middle East and North Africa, joined me in voting for other options on how to spend our one free day before we headed to Bila Tserkva. There, we would launch our new course Crucible at a large pastors' conference before returning to Kiev for more teach opportunities.

article3-1Yuri, our leader in Ukraine, just kept smiling and saying, "Everyone needs to go to the banya at least once." When I tried to offer up Chris and Wahid as sacrificial lambs, their firm refusals reminded me that they had heard my horror stories from my first visit to the banya in the mid-nineties.

So after a day of site seeing, our fears of the banya had mostly vanished and we were peacefully riding along on our way to dinner at the home of Sergei's pastor, Anatoly. What we didn't know was that Anatoly lived in a beautiful home on top of a snowy hill and had built his own private banya on his property.

Pastor Anatoly and his robe welcomed us with hugs, promises of a great dinner, and a whole series of instructions on how to prepare for our non-optional visit to his banya. Final attempts to dodge this cultural adventure were brushed away as meaningless chatter by this man who wouldn't take "Nyet" for an answer.

After exchanging our normal clothes for proper banya attire, we were each given hats made of one inch thick felt "to protect our brains from the heat." It was all coming back now. We were heading into a torture chamber and there was nothing we could do about it without causing a scene or making a major cross-cultural faux pas. When I asked Anatoly if he was going to beat us with birch branches, he smiled and said, "Of course, and you will thank me for it".

Read more: The Man Who Wouldn't Take Nyet

What Am I Really MIssing?

Most of you know that I love sports. My three favorite events are

  1. any game my son or daughter is playing in
  2. March Madness college basketball
  3. The Masters golf tournament.

Since Emily's high school and college softball career ended a few years ago and Philip only has 19 more college games before he hangs up his baseball cleats, March Madness and The Masters are about to slide into the top spots.

On Saturday I was thinking about how cool it is that Atlanta is hosting the Final Four this weekend and then next week the world's greatest golf tournament is a couple hours to the east at Augusta National. Add to that some perfect 70 degree temperatures and a few thousand azaleas in full bloom, and it's easy to love life in Atlanta.

But this year, my only experience with the Final Four was hoping to avoid the massive traffic jam it created on the Downtown Connector. And when I got to the exit for Interstate 20 East I opted to stay on 85 South instead.

You see, I was headed to the airport to fly to Amsterdam and then Kiev. What terrible calendar management to be leaving the country when two of my three favorite sporting events are going on down the road from my house!

Read more: What Am I Really MIssing?

It's Risky

translator-1It makes me nervous. I don't like it but I don't have a choice. If I'm going to communicate with a roomful of people overseas, I have to entrust my thoughts and words to an interpreter.

It's risky. So much could go wrong.

What if his language skills are limited and he can't grasp the subtle shades of meaning in my carefully chosen words?

What if she has no sense of humor or speaks in a monotone and everyone thinks I'm the one who is boring?

What if he's working so hard to translate my words literally that he's too busy to listen to my heart?

What if she has her own agenda and uses my platform to advance her personal ideas?

Who needs jet lag? These questions are enough to keep me up all night!

As I write this, I'm sitting in an aisle seat on KLM 9462. We're somewhere between Kiev and Amsterdam, and I'm thinking unusually deep thoughts.

Read more: It's Risky

Huge Crowd but a Small World

prayer-breakfastAs Ellen and I were winding our way through thousands of people at this morning's National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC, I heard someone call my name.

I was confused because the man's accent was clearly Russian, but his name tag said he was from Illinois. As I was searching in all the wrong mental files, he graciously introduced himself as Viktor Kuzmenko and said he recognized me from our DVD series Raise Up a Child that had been voiced over into Russian.

He went on to share that he had helped build our ministry in Ukraine years ago and now serves with Peter Deyneka's Russian Ministries headquartered in Wheaton, IL. He is good friends with our Regional Director, Yuri Shelestun, who lives in Kiev.

I was even more surprised when he told me he was praying for my visit to Ukraine two months from now for the Russian language launch of Crucible, our new live event and DVD series on the life of David.

After exchanging hugs and business cards, Ellen and I walked away shaking our heads at the divine appointment we had just experienced. What a reminder that even in the midst of a huge crowd, we really do live in a very small world.

An Update From Manila - Day 4

Today's post from Manila comes from Pauline Estell, Walk Thru the Bible's International Coordinator, via an email she sent to the Walk Thru the Bible team.

(NOTE: Here's a little background before the update begins. Phil and the team spent the past few days meeting with our Global Leaders. He taught all six sessions of our upcoming resource which is based on the life of Joseph. Each year Phil will teach the next planned project in order to get feedback from the global leaders.)

I did not have an opportunity to send an update yesterday, but Phil felt your prayers and was able to finish Joseph today! As with Crucible last year, the leaders love it and are anxious to teach it. The input they gave will be very helpful in completing the course. The teaching on the life of Joseph is very relevant and they are anxious to launch it.

  • As you know, Walk Thru the Bible Philippines launched Crucible last week. They have plans to teach it in four cities outside of Manila in the next few months. Their goal for attendance is 700-1,000 people per city. The wife of one of their board members teaches a Bible study at several of the banks and has asked her boss if he would purchase 150 Crucible workbooks. There are 65 people at this bank, but she requested more because knows that the people at the three other branches will be jealous. After she shared this last night, with much excitement, she prayed that her boss would agree. She learned today that they will purchase the 150 workbooks!

  • Since the launch on Saturday, Promise Keepers has scheduled four events in the Philippines this year.

  • The National Director of Campus Crusade for Christ was at the launch and has requested that Crucible be taught at two staff retreats this year.

  • Yuri Shelestun, Regional Director for CIS will launch Cruciblein April:
    • April 9-12 - Pastors' conference outside of Kiev. They are expecting 450 pastors.
    • April 13 - Live Event in Kiev. They are expecting approximately 300 people.

  • Beni Lup, Regional Director for Eastern Europe, will launch Crucible on April 14.

  • Robert Kusnadi, Director for Walk Thru the Bible Indonesia, is planning to televise Crucible on a cable network that reaches about 1 million subscribers. It will reach 10 major cities.

I'm sure we will never know the full impact of Crucible and how many lives it will impact and change for this and the next generation.

Learn More About Crucible: The Choices That Change Your Life Forever

An Update From Manila - Day 2

manilla1-smToday's post from Manila comes from Pauline Estell, Walk Thru the Bible's International Coordinator.

Walk Thru Philippines launched Crucible today and it was more than anyone could have hoped for. Fetan, the Regional Director, and his staff, did an amazing job planning and implementing this live event. Yes! Crucible is actually a "Live Event" now! It was just a year ago that Phil introduced Crucible at the Global Consultation in Johannesburg.

It's hard to know what to share and where to start, but I'll try to give you an idea of what the day was like.

Approximately 500 people were expected early on, but God did abundantly more than was expected. When Phil got up to teach, people were still coming in and they had to open the overflow section to accommodate everyone.

Final count? Over 1,000 people, including a large number of young people. There were some in attendance that came long distances to be there. I talked with one man who flew in from another part of the Philippines. There were people who arrived as early as 5:00 AM to register.

There was something that caught my attention that I had not seen before. It was on the large banner hanging across the front of the Sanctuary advertising the event and Phil as the speaker that said: Rev. Phil Tuttle, Author and President. I felt so proud, but I'm sure not as proud as Ellen since she'd been manilla2-smencouraging him for years to write. People were lined up at each break to have Phil autograph their book and take pictures. I wish I had a picture to send of Fetan and one of the board members massaging Phil's hands at the end of the day.

I've heard Phil teach Crucible three times and it always amazes me how God continues to give him different life stories to share and today was no exception. Everyone warmed up to him right away.There was lots of audience participation...verbal and physical. Phil did a great illustration of David before he went out to fight Goliath of how difficult it was when he tried to walk around in Saul's coat of armor. He had a man much smaller man than himself put his coat and shoes on and walk around. Just like David, he had a difficult time as well.

We leave for the Global Consultation site tomorrow. Phil will be teaching on the life of Joseph. I will report more if we have Internet access at the retreat site.

Learn More About Crucible: The Choices That Change Your Life Forever

An Update From Manila - Day 1

Phil Tuttle and our team are in Manila, Philippines for the 2013 Global Consultation. Read all about Phil's experience:

After a long flight delay and an unplanned overnight in Tokyo we finally made it to the Philippines. We just got settled into our very comfortable hotel room here in Manila. The team here has done a phenomenal job preparing even the smallest detail.

Dinner with their board tonight. Bounce back day tomorrow with Crucible training tomorrow night for 40 of their master teachers and trainers. Then huge Crucible event on Saturday. They were hoping for 500 but looks closer to 1,000!

manila-plane-smMany of their master teachers already have Crucible events scheduled all over the country. Fetan* estimates about 3,500 will go through this new course in the two weeks following the training. Fetan is personally booked solid for the next six months. Amazing! (NOTE: Fetan is the National Director for the Philippines)

I'll update you as this adventure unfolds. Please pray that there will be lasting fruit from this strategic week of ministry.

P.S. Here is a picture I took from the plane as we flew into Manila.

Powerful, But Personal

Today was a very special day for our team as we took a break from our normal work for a corporate outing. As guests of Bubba Cathy and our good friends at Chick-fil-A, we had the privilege of touring the Passages Exhibit. This wonderful collection chronicles the history of the Bible from the time of Moses until it first became available in English.

PassagesWe saw ancient manuscripts and fragments in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, German, and English. We each received an interactive iPod with headphones into which we could enter specific codes to hear the informative explanation of each display. In addition, life-size animated mannequins of Luther, Tyndale, Anne Boleyn, and others told their life stories in first person. One of the highlights was standing right next to a man as he printed a page of the Bible on a replica of Gutenberg's press from about 1440. So cool! The page he handed me will definitely end up on display in my office.

It was all so moving, and I encourage you to experience it for yourself between now and June 30 if you live near Atlanta. I'm pretty sure the exhibit will then travel to other major cities in the U.S. so watch for it in your area or check out www.explorepassages.com.

Read more: Powerful, But Personal

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED PART 2

Here's Part 2 from our guest blogger, my daughter Emily! (it's a continuation of Expect the Unexpected, posted last week. Be sure to read it before you read this one.)


 From India, my parents and I flew to Johannesburg, South Africa to attend an annual meeting of all the global directors for Walk Thru the Bible from around the world. The directors from Argentina, Kenya, Ukraine, South Africa, United Kingdom, Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Egypt, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other nations all came to a retreat center outside of Johannesburg to spend a week together learning a new course and strategizing about ministry goals for the upcoming year. Going into the week I was planning to follow Chris Tiegreen, Walk Thru's Communications Director, and learn as much about photography and videography from him as I could. I had gotten to do a little bit of that in India, but God had other plans for most of my time there. It turned out the same was true for South Africa. I came in thinking I knew how I would be spending my time, but before the first day of meetings was finished I realized I would have a new challenge to take on.

Read more: Expect the Unexpected - Part 2

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