This is a republished posting. However, its being republished today as family and friends of WS Keel are celebrating his going to be with the Lord earlier this week. Stephen is a pioneer of mobile ministry and a veteran of radio and interpersonal evangelism. This reposting is one part of my appreciation and adoration of his hands directly onto my life.
I’ve not been asleep yet tonite. Its just after 4am when I’m writing this. I’m sort of not tired. Been spending the past days with Renew Outreach learning about how they enable missionaries to go to some of the most remote parts of the earth with media such as The Jesus Film. I found out about these folks from W Stephen Keel. Stephen, the founder and literal engine behind Kiosk Evangelism, made it a point not long after moving into his home to have me connect with Renew Outreach. I’m here, on their grounds, getting no sleep after an exhausing day connecting moblile minsitry to their goals and operations, because of Stephen.
About 3 hours ago, I received an email from Stephen that the lung that he received via transplant just about a week ago is being rejected by his body. In the email, he spoke of accepting Christ and the connections to each of his friends (copied on that email) that accepting Christ has afforded him.
I don’t know if he’s still awake.
I hope he is enough to read or hear this being read to him. There’s been a boatload of lessons that Stephen, through Kiosk Evangelism, his marriage, and his faith, I’ve learned over the past year.
Stephen connected with MMM and myself through the Visual Story Network and the mobile media minsitry working group. During a call, we realized that we were only a few hours from one another, and made plans to connect. He visited me in the summer – and using what little funds I had left at the time, I visited him in the fall. That visit turned into an invitation to stay at his home, work on the Kiosk Evangelism Project, and learn from him, his wife and family, and their connections as to how this life is lived best by accepting the connections that Christ leads us towards by faith and faith in Him alone.
Stephen isn’t the easiest person to work with, he is one of the most beneficial people to work with. His vision and passion towards reaching those goals God puts in him is incredible. With the Kiosk Evangelism Project, we went back and forth on everything from content acquisition strategies, to which mobile phones to select to target, to the design of his website, to tracking progress on the project. We were two bulls yolked together, and for the most part we had no head-butting moments. We had a few, and they were powerful. And I was always compelled to come back and just finish the work. We were connected in Christ for this endeavor, and we both knew that if we couldn’t work together for the time God gave us, then we’d miss a considerable opportunity to empower a spreading of the Gospel that’s not been seen before.
Faith and connections are powerful lessons. I learned from Stephen and his wife about the benefit of having support, having a team. There are times to be bold (speaking) and bolder (praying). There are moments when he was so honest about his physical state that I wondered where his faith went, only to see the level of oxygen increase such that it was like he really was breathing and therefore living on faith alone. The man had a very large vision. Kiosk evangelism, mobile evangelists, SD card evangelism… these were pieces of that connection he kept seeing.
His passion and faith were such that he provoked several ministries to work with him and one another for the cause of the Gospel. And he pissed off a few folks because that passion and faith compelled him to push and want to move faster than items could get done. When we finally got to an accessible project, that passion and faith turned into a diligence to the task that made me smile. I didn’t get to see my father in those moments so often, and so to see Stephen putting his hands to the digital ground taught me a ton. I am up working on that All Books Project of mine in part for that reason (and I can’t sleep).
I’m rambling… this is longer than it needs to be. I’ll end this with something he said in that last email, which I think will be another one of those quotables that finds itself embedded within MMM’s DNA:
A life of anonymous giving is the highest form of living
There were many moments in his life where provision came out of no where, and he and his family could only attribute it to God. He took the tasks of the Kiosk Evangelism Project in the same light. It wasn’t about getting his name out there, nor making him famous in the minds of ministries who could have definitely used his wisdom and experience. It was only about getting Jesus into the hearts and minds of people who themselves would only have God to thank for the faithfulness of someone they never met.
I receive some of the reports from the field from the Kiosk Evangelism Project’s launch in India. The men of peace who heard messages from Stephen, and later received teachings and trainings over Skype from him on how to share the Gospel on mobile phones write some impressive reports on what’s happeing there. I’ll have time to edit these soon to get them up here. Because of Stephen, the legacy of the faithfulness of God will be heard by people to whom the ubuquity of mobile phones has reached.
I’m not sure that he’s awake to read this. I’ll miss him. Our chats, and I’d hoped for another coffee shop run or moment shooting hoops. But, of that which of his I can take, its that a lot of what we do in this space of mobile minsitry might never get accolades from man, but it will add to the faith and connection we have with God. That’s a kind of legacy that’s worth leaving no matter how much breath one has left. He praised the Lord with his… I’m honored to have served beside such a man.