Whew!! It has been a whirlwind of a summer, so either this is going to be a really long post, or you are going to get a very short summary. I guess we’ll see how I feel by the end of it!!
After leaving Wisconsin on June 19, we began a very long moving process. We dumped our stuff in the garage of the house we are buying in Missouri, headed south to visit family and supporters, and then went further south to Florida to officially begin our new ministry. We spent 2 weeks in FL, where Jason taught a Greek course to some of the translation consultants. This course went extremely well, and by the end of it, all the participants were excited about the things Jason taught them, as well as how much he could be of assistance to the rest of the translators in the mission. We were so encouraged by our time there and could see the Lord continuing to direct us in this ministry change. After FL, Jason flew to California where he spent another 2 weeks team teaching a different Greek course. And then eventually, on August 4, we made our way to our new home in Camdenton.
We’ve been here almost 2 weeks now, and are starting to feel at home. Well, other than the fact that I may never get used to the dirt roads, or the fact that our mailbox is 3/4 of a mile from our house, or the ridiculous amount of trucks on the road, or the fact that when you ‘go into town’, you mean Wal-Mart, because there really isn’t much else.
But one thing I’ve found is no matter where I go, there are people there that the Lord loves just as much, and while they may not be as good of friends as the ones I left, they will become that, and I will be able to be used by the Lord and taught by the Lord as long as I am willing to be yielded to Him.
Right now I am sitting in the car, driving to Georgia (Jason is actually driving, for any of you concerned about our safety), to begin our 6 week adventure on the road. I am feeling a bit homeless at the moment, having just left our home for the last ten years. It is bittersweet, knowing that this move is the direction God is taking us, but extremely sad leaving our good friends behind in Wisconsin.
Our old home is empty now, waiting for a new staff couple to occupy it in a few weeks. We dropped our earthly belongings off at our soon-to-be new home, and now we are on the road! Our first stop is Georgia, where we’ll spend two weeks visiting family and friends. If you live in GA, we want to see you!! While we’re there, Dorian will have his 11th birthday and run his first 10k race.
Aftr that, we will drive down to Florida for two weeks, where Jason will officially begin his new ministry. He is teaching a workshop for the Translation Consultant Committee. This course will be the first of its kind for Jason, so he has a lot of work to do to get ready for it! From there, Jason will fly to California to team teach another Greek course. The kids and I will return to GA while he’s gone.
When Jason gets back from CA, it will finally be time to head home! Well, what will become our home. Whew! After all that traveling, I’m not sure I will want to work on unpacking and setting up a house, but that is exactly what we’ll be doing!
I will do my best to post some of the highlights of our trip as they happen. Stay tuned!!
Jason and I went down to Missouri last week during Spring Break, and through a crazy set of circumstances that I can only attribute to God, we were able to find a house that we love!! It is perfect for our family and very close to the Missionary Training Center. We feel that God laid this house in our laps, and we are extremely grateful. We will be renting the house for the few months that we are in transition, and then we hope to buy it once we are down there permanently in August. We will not buy it until we have saved enough for a good down payment, and the owner has graciously allowed us to rent until August.
We are thrilled with this house, and would love for you to come for a visit!! The Lord has shown us His faithfulness duirng this transition time, and we would love to share our new blessing with you!
Please pray for us as we make this transition. We will be moving from Waukesha the end of June, will be traveling and in meetings during July, and then we will move to our new home and ministry in August. These next few months will be busy and probably crazy, but we are confident that the Lord will uphold us through it all. Thank you for praying for us!!
I want to share something with you that I received a few months ago; it has to be one of the best things I’ve ever read! This came in an update from missionary Tim Shontere, working with the Yembi people in PNG.
—This past month was “worship the stone and carvings” month in Yembi. A gathering of about 100 people went from house to house carrying idols and things singing songs to the spirit world trying to push away the evil ones and appease them. One of our teachers spoke with one of his brothers who is one of the leaders in the group.
“God says to worship him alone. You claim that this statue of Mary is a holy piece of God…… Turn it over….. look where it’s made…… it’s made in china! You’re just ‘made in china’ worshippers. You hold this thing and bow down to it like it is a holy piece of God, it is really a worthless piece of wood. Look, you dress it up nice, you care for it like a little baby, you bow down and pray to it. God was angry at the Israelites for doing the same thing in Isaiah 44! You guys are doing what they did! God doesn’t want you to worship or pray to the stuff made in china, he wants you to worship the one who made China! …..’made in China’ – that’s what man naturally worships….” (-teacher in training)—
Is that awesome or what! This is what we work for: people knowing the true God through Jesus Christ and worshipping Him!
As part of my preparation for becoming an Exegetical/Greek Consultant for Bible translators in New Tribes Mission, I’m completing a master’s degree with a concentration in New Testament. I started this journey in the summer of 2006 and will finally graduate this May, 2012! I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to take 6 years to finish, but that’s how it has played out for me amid fulltime ministry, poor health, and family.
As the climax of my degree, I have to write a thesis. That’s a fancy term for a big research paper that is scrutinized backwards and forwards by people smarter than me. I have to write and rewrite the paper until it meets their approval. That’s different for me; I’m used to doing stuff until I’m satisfied and then moving on to the next thing.
The point of this blog entry is that I’m nearing the end! This week I will work ’round the clock to finalize my rough draft. There will be a few other steps after this, but this is the most demanding by far. In the last 2 weeks I’ve been working at my computer more than ever before. Many of those days started at 5:30 in the morning and went late into the evening.
Needless to say, I’m looking forward to wrapping this project up! I have, however, learned a ton in the process that will be very helpful in the coming years.
If you would like to read an overview of my thesis, here is a rough draft of chapter 1: Thesis Chapter 1
If you would like to learn more about the degree I’m working on, click here: Degree Info
I thought I’d give a quick update on our housing search. I gained a lot of helpful information on my quick trip down to Missouri a little over a week ago.
There is one house that is a good enough deal to pursue purchasing before we move in June. If that doesn’t work out, then we will probably rent for a some months while we finish ‘shopping.’
One thing I realized is that the houses in our price range were older houses that needed significant work or newer houses that already had similar issues (even scarrier!). Any money we would put into these houses would not increase their value in the current market. However, if we push the budget up $30,000-40,000 then there are new, well built houses that suit our needs well.
Given the burden of beginning a new ministry from the ground up, having chronic health issues, and being completely non-handy when it comes to houses, it would seem wisest to get a home that requires little more than basic maintanence. Now, the Lord may well have another plan, but this is the most reasonable conclusion based on the research I’ve done so far.
Special thanks to Mark and family, and all his Camdenton-area friends for helping us get this far!
As most of you know, our family will be moving to Missouri this summer as part of a ministry transition. This weekend I (Jason) will be taking a quick trip there to look at houses. A friend and former builder from that area has offered to go with me to help evaluate the houses we are considering. We need to decide soon whether we will buy right away or rent for a few months first. Please pray for us in this decision making process and for my trip this weekend to be profitable.
Something happened the other day that was an incredible reminder to me to have faith like a child. There is a scratch-off contest going on right now at our local grocery store, and after shopping one day, I brought home some tickets to scratch off. Anastasia (our 6 year old) asked me if she could scratch off the cards. In order to win, you must have the same picture on the 3 bubbles that you scratch off. After a few minutes, I had completely forgotten about them. She ran up to me, very excited, and said, “God is answering my prayers!” She had scratch off 2 of the 3 needed, and they were the same picture. I smiled and said, ‘Yes’, but I really didn’t believe that she would win. The probability was very low. But after a minute later, I heard her say, “Yes!! God helped me! I won!” How humbling it was for me to realize that she had complete, unabandoned faith in the Lord to answer her prayer. As adults, we use reason and logic and forget that God is above that! He doesn’t operate on our finite logic.
A few days later, she was telling her friends that she won, and they said, “Wow! How did you do that?”
And her simple response was, “I prayed!”
How often do we pray and actually believe that God can do what we ask? Or that He will?
The Lord has been teaching me so much in this area lately. He wants us to ask Him for things, believing that He can and will provide for us if it’s in accordance with his will. We know that He can choose to say no to any of our requests, but how many times might he answer with a yes, if we would just ask?
The next day I took Anastasia to the store to turn in her winning ticket. She won $5. As soon as she had that bill in her hands, she immediately took me to the flower section, because she wanted to give someone flowers. As soon as she got home, she put them in a vase and gave them to me. She had spent her winnings to give me something special, completely unselfishly. What a beautiful picture of how God treats us. He has given us so much–something so much more precious than flowers from a sweet girl. I want to remember that every minute of every day!!!
Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with salvation through your son, Jesus Christ!
This week, we are thankful. Thankful for so many blessings that God has given us–family, friends, a wonderful church, an exciting ministry, and most importantly, the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. We are so blessed to have been born in a country where the gospel is taught freely, the Bible has been translated into English (multiple times), and we have access to so many churches and Biblical resources. There are so many people in the world that do not have access to any of that, and as we remember the things we have, we want to keep those people in mind. Let us not forget them! There are over 2100 language groups with absolutely NO part of the Bible translated into their language! Let us persevere in our goal of reaching those groups with the gospel!!!
We do not deserve to have been privileged with the opportunity to hear the gospel! Thank you, Lord, that you have allowed us to hear the good news of Jesus Christ!
Our change in ministry is getting closer by the minute. It seems like yesterday that Jason and I came on staff at New Tribes Bible Institute almost 10 years ago, and our hearts are torn with the thought of leaving. We have come to love the community of believers here, ministering to them as well as allowing them to minister to us. They have become family, and it will be very difficult to leave the place that we call home.
But we are excited about the direction that God has given us. Many of the students that we have taught in the past are the same ones that we will be working with in the future–Bible translators. These people have come through our training and are now working diligently on giving the Word of God to people who have never heard of Him. We are thrilled to be helping them in any way that we can!
By way of update: We will be heading down to Missouri in a couple weeks for a short trip to visit with the leadership of the Missionary Training Center and look at houses. We have to be out of our house here at NTBI by June, so we need to begin deciding where we are going to live in Missouri. We are planning on needing to buy a house near the Training Center, so we are going to start that process.
How we’re going to do that is something I have yet to figure out. We don’t have enough monthly support to pay for all the expenses that come with owning a home. But we know that God is moving us in this direction, so we know that He will provide; maybe even through some of you. Would you pray with us that God will raise up people who are excited about Bible translation that would like to join our team? We cannot be involved in this ministry alone–we need a whole team to get the job done! Thank you to those of you who are already involved in spreading the good news of Christ to those who have never heard!