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Escape from Paradise

December 2009 brought the fulfillment of a dream held by both Chuck and Nancy Missler. They had just purchased The River Lodge in Reporoa, New Zealand. It was the conclusion of a ten-year journey to find their new home in paradise. Nancy called it their “L’Abri of the South Pacific.” The term L’Abri, which means “take shelter” in French, was the name of a community founded in Switzerland in 1955 by Francis and Edith Schaeffer. The Misslers hoped to create a “shelter” for their ministry away from the gathering storm clouds rising over America during the late 1990s through 2000s.

River Lodge

Paradise Found

Once fully relocated, both Chuck and Nancy began holding conferences and meetings at their newly established base of operation. By early 2012, my wife Marcie, myself, and our K-House team from the UK had joined them to help them see the complete fulfillment of their dream. The next seven years would be filled with many unplanned changes, challenges, and disappointments to say the least. Undeterred, we all charged ahead into the new future of Koinonia House. Early on, Nancy would repeatedly say that “we are here to save Chuck’s voice,” so thus we moved as the Lord opened and closed doors ahead of us.

With the passing of Nancy in 2015 and the passing of Chuck in 2018, the ministry’s emphasis shifted from releasing live materials to legacy materials. Surprisingly we saw exponential growth as we reached out to a wider audience through various social media portals. For example, our YouTube channel hit over 180,000 subscribers, and our online school, Koinonia Institute, grew to more than 23,000 students. In 2019 we restarted our Israel tours with the help of Bob Cornuke, and all seemed to be full-steam-ahead for the future of K-House.

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The Othering

Each January, the unwritten stories of the upcoming year offer promise of a fresh start and an expectation that accompanies the new and uncertain. As a public high school mathematics teacher and tennis coach for over twenty years, each new class or team had this same vibe – every student started with a perfect grade book, and every team could enjoy an undefeated season.

January also brings three stark reminders of the horrors and atrocities brought about by the othering” of a group of persons. Othering – “the process of perceiving or portraying someone or something as essentially alien or different” – is the foundation of discrimination and apartheid. The distancing from, and the diminishing of, groups of people provides a rationale and even recommends their unjust treatment.

The Bible demands a completely different approach. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Jesus taught, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Rather than divide His one creation into countless groups of two, He “create(d) in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.” Apart from God, man has created Jew versus Gentile; Left versus Right; Rural versus Urban; Male versus Female. Caucasian versus BIPOC; Vaccinated versus Unvaccinated; White-collar versus Blue collar; Rich versus Poor; Neighbor versus Stranger; US VERSUS THEM. Jesus came to make the two into one, not the one into two!

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