Seth and Rochelle Callahan

connecting you to tribal missions

First Things First

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on Jul 1st, 2014 | Discuss This Post

I just finished reading Acts 13 this morning (which I would highly recommend to anyone), and I came away with a few thoughts:

Mainly, I was struck anew with the beautiful simplicity of the Gospel. For as big a book as the Bible is, and for all its many subplots, when you boil it right down (as Paul does in Acts 13), there is a refreshingly easy-to-understand story: God reached into a world that had turned from Him and hated Him, raised up a nation to represent Himself among the other nations, promised to make a way for men to enjoy fellowship with Him once again, and sent Jesus to be the means through which that might be accomplished.

“We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in him is declared right with God” (Acts 13:38-39)

It’s not complicated. It’s not confusing. It’s just simple and beautiful. Ironically, it’s our desire to connect all the dots that often MAKES the message complicated and confusing, but the onus for that is on us, not God.

We’re the ones who muddy the waters by taking portions of the story out of context, cross-referencing them with other portions we’ve taken out of context, and then touting these beloved beliefs (or theologies) as being part-and-parcel with the main message.

[I should probably take a minute to clarify here that I’m not really talking about core, pillar-of-the-faith beliefs when I put the word “theologies” in italics. The world was created in six days. Jesus is the Son of God. He really did die, and He really did come back to life and ascend to heaven. Those are all pretty cut-and-dry issues. I was more of referencing things like the role of sign gifts, at what point in the timeline will the rapture happen, what is exactly meant by the term “God’s elect,” etc.]

I think we Christians have a tendency to put so much emphasis on secondary truths and speculations that we often obscure the main message, and the story of a sinful race being reconciled to a loving God ends up getting lost in the chatter. The MAIN event becomes AN event. And that’s not cool.

What I loved in Acts 13 was that Paul stayed on target. When they asked him to share in the synagogue, he laid it out perfectly: “Our nation being created? That was preparation. Our prophets speaking out? Yeah, that was preparation too. What was all that preparation for? Jesus, baby! It’s all about Jesus!

Trying to figure out how the impeccability of Christ still allowed for legitimate temptation in the wilderness? Or trying to put together the nitty-gritty details of how the hypostatic union was even possible in Christ’s incarnation? Or trying to draw up that oh-so-perfect Revelation timeline? Those issues are well worth your time and study. But don’t put the cart before the horse.

Read Acts 13. Remember what it’s all about. And be encouraged!

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The Attitude of a Psalmist

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on Jun 24th, 2014 | Discuss This Post

So, I’ve been reading in Psalms in my morning Bible time this last week, and I’ve been kind of intrigued by the opening lines of a few of them. Not necessarily the Scripture, but more the little contextual prefaces that many of them have before the opening verse. You know, when they say something like, “A Psalm of David, when he found out that Saul was hunting him down like a dog…again.”

As I read the Psalm that followed each explanation, I was kind of impressed, mostly, I think, because that is so NOT how I probably would have handled a situation like that.

“Seth, the king is coming! He’s got a few hundred hardened warriors with him, and he says that when he finds you he’s going to put your head on a spike and leave the rest for wild animals to eat!”

“What?! Well, I’d better make sure to pack my guitar when we bug out, because after I find a new cave to live in, I want to be able to write a little ditty about how this is making me feel, so I can sing it to God.”

Yeah, that’s not how that would go down if I were in ol’ King Dave’s position. MAYBE I’d put some effort into a journal entry or something. Maybe. But even then, it’d be a short entry, and I’d be penning a lot more prose than poetry, that’s for sure! (I don’t tend to have much patience for rhyme schemes in times of high pressure.)

And then I got to thinking, maybe this is one of the things that set David apart as being a “man after God’s own heart.” Maybe God liked the fact that when an overwhelming situation presented itself, David’s reaction wasn’t to just deal with it, but instead take the time to go to God with it. Maybe that’s something that God puts a lot of stock in.

And, really, he took it a step further than that. He didn’t just go to God; he went to him thoughtfully. If you’ve ever read a Psalm, then you know that those babies weren’t the product of a 15 minute jam session here or there. David, and the other psalmists, took some serious time out of their days to put together poetry that was both meaningful and worshipful. Sure, there is some supplication thrown in, but it’s by no means the main thrust of the work. And even when they were asking for things, it was done in a tone of deep respect and admiration.

What would it be like if my days had a few more psalmist moments in them? How might my relationship with the Lord be different if, once in a while, I took more time in my prayers, and really made a point of formulating my thoughts into an in-depth expression of who God is, and how that reality influences the varying situations I find myself in?

Anyway, that’s what I was thinking the other day.

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These Days

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on Jun 12th, 2014 | Discuss This Post

If you are one of the twelve people who faithfully follow our blog (thanks, Mom), then you may have noticed that there has been a definite lack of postings in the last few weeks. Now, before you go jumping the gun and assuming that this is probably due to procrastination and laziness on our part, please give us a chance to defend ourselves:

A little lunchtime movie for the boys.

Let’s see…

…Hmmm…

…Nope, I’ve got nothing.

I guess you’re right, it was mostly just procrastination. ;)

But don’t worry, those days are over now! I won’t be neglecting this communication venue ever again, except for the most severe of circumstances! (Like, for instance, if I forget, or if it becomes inconvenient, or if for some reason I just don’t feel like writing anything.)

We understand that you may be feeling depressed and hopelessly out of touch as you think about what may have transpired in our lives over the course of the last three weeks that you know nothing about. And, indeed, three weeks DOES hold an abundance of possibilities! But perhaps we can assuage those overwhelming emotions with these comforting words: You haven’t missed much.

You see, we’re kind of in a little bit of a limbo state right now, with most of our efforts going into tying up loose ends here and there as we get ready to head over to PNG.

Storage for our “furlough things.”

We’ve been sorting through our stuff to see what we’ll bring with us, building storage shelves for the stuff we’re leaving here, getting checked out by our doctors to make sure we’re good to go, sharing our ministry plans with a few churches, crunching our numbers to see if we can finally purchase our tickets, etc. It’s all been good, worthwhile stuff, just not the type of thing you write about, you know?

But then, as we thought about the eleven (it turns out that one of the twelve subscribers to our blog is actually us) of you who have signed up to get notifications when we post something new, we decided that hearing something from us is probably better than hearing nothing.

And so we wrote this. It’s not much, but it’s something. We hope you enjoyed it. :D

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Canopy of Darkness

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on May 19th, 2014 | Discuss This Post

Have you ever read a book that was so good that as soon as you finished it you were, like, “I need to pass this on to someone else!”? Well, we just finished reading a book like that.

“Canopy of Darkness” was written by Jonathan Kopf, and is the story of his family’s work among the Hewa people of Papua New Guinea, a very remote people group. We found it to be a very engaging read, and we think you will too, for the following reasons:

  • His writing style flows beautifully and is easy to follow.
  • He does a great job of giving an insider’s perspective into the complexity of learning another language and culture.
  • There is action/adventure to boot
  • It will give you a much clearer idea of the hurdles that must be overcome to communicate Christ among people who have never heard.
  • It is a recent account (The guy is still out in the bush working with them!)

Seriously, if you want to have your mind opened to the work that’s being done around the world to see the Gospel taken to every tribe, tongue, and nation, then this is a great way to do it!

So, what are you waiting for? Pick up your copy today! (Or, pick up a couple copies. Graduation season is just around the corner, and this would make a great gift!)

If you’re interested in an e-book version click here: E-BOOK

If you’re looking for a paperback click here: PAPERBACK

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An Unexpected Perk

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on May 15th, 2014 | Discuss This Post

We were talking with a friend the other day who is in a similar phase of life as us (preparing to head overseas with her family to share Christ with others), and she made this comment: “You know, it seems like the unique nature of our work allows us more opportunities to see God’s provision than other people might experience.”

And, just to clarify, she wasn’t saying that we ARE more blessed, or more intimately provided for by God, just that we might be in a position where we are more easily AWARE of His blessings and provision. And I’m thinking she was right.

As an example, I remember when I was working at a “normal” job and received my paycheck at the end of the week. I knew, theoretically, that in the big scheme of things, it was God that was responsible for giving me my money. He gave me my health, my abilities, the opportunity to work for my employer. My money was from God. But a lot of it was from me too. In fact, often, it seemed like most of it was from me.

I could sit there and tally up exactly what I had done to receive my pay: hours worked x hourly wage = paycheck. Sure, God was in there somewhere, but His role wasn’t exactly front-and-center.

Fast-forward to the present day, where I’m a missionary getting ready to head to Papua New Guinea. That handy little formula that I used to use has received a fairly major overhaul. It now looks something more like this: God stirs hearts of believers x believers write checks = paycheck. I don’t even get honorable mention anymore!

When I get my monthly statement and see who has given, and how much, it just doesn’t seem possible to pat myself on the back and try to commend my hard work. My efforts were the smallest of contributing factors. To try to hijack God’s blessing by inserting my small contributions just isn’t an option now. It would seem shallow.

In fact, instead of inflating my sense of self-accomplishment, payday is now probably one of the most humbling days I have each month: “God, you provided this money. You moved these people to give. You put us on their hearts and remind them to pray for us. You have met our current needs and blessed our family. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for our teammates. And thank you for our finances.”

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A Mother’s Day Weekend

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on May 14th, 2014 | Discuss This Post

Here’s a quick glimpse of some of our Mother’s Day weekend highlights. Hope you enjoy!

To celebrate, we went on a family walk/wagon ride

 

On Mother's Day, Mommies get preferential treatment

 

We finished off with a family picnic in a meadow!

 

The next day, we went up to celebrate with "Gramma" (Seth's Mom). Manny enjoyed getting food from the garden

And Tucker enjoyed eating it!

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Mentally Prepared/Confused

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on May 6th, 2014 | Discuss This Post

We’ve been trying to prepare Manny for our upcoming move to Papua New Guinea. So far, we’re having mixed results.

On the one hand, he seems genuinely excited to be able to be riding in a big airplane someday (airplanes are surpassed only by tractors, in terms of absolute awesomeness). On the other hand, he has no concept of time, so he often confuses “someday” with “right now.”

Just the other day, I was going to the store to pick up some milk, and Manny was devastated that he couldn’t go along, because he was convinced I was leaving for the airport: “Me go Pop Ginn! We go bofe!” (“I want to go to Papua New Guinea too! We can both go!”)

Worse though, than the times that he’s distraught at his supposed abandonment, are the times when he’s NOT bothered by the thought of us leaving for PNG without him. This happened the other night when we left him and Tucker with my mom, so we could go out on a date. As we got ready to head out the door, he looked at my mom and asked nonchalantly, “Mom and Ga go Pop Ginn?” (“Are Mom and Dad going to Papua New Guinea?”) We tried not to take it personally, “He didn’t even CARE that we were going to leave him behind!” And, I suppose, in his defense, Gramma DOES have some pretty cool toys.

So, even though Manny is still more-or-less clueless as to where PNG is, or what it means to be moving over there, we’re comforted to know that he’s at least a LITTLE BIT less clueless than he was a few months ago!

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Unto The Nations

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on Apr 17th, 2014 | Discuss This Post

Prepare yourself; this isn’t going to be a regular blog post. It’s going to be short and to-the-point, and, more significantly, it’s going to ask you to do something.  And that something is going to involve a portion of your time. (Aaaa! Nooo!)

Now, I realize that your time is valuable. In fact, in the great scheme of things, it’s probably the most valuable thing you have. So, I wouldn’t ask you to give up a chunk of your most precious commodity all willy-nilly (and, I can assure you, we Callahans don’t use the term “willy-nilly” willy-nillyly).

Here is what I’m asking: Please set aside ½ hour of your day and watch this video. I know, a ½ hour in internet time is like asking for an eternity + 2 years, but seriously, this video is worth it. You will be better off having heard its story, and it will really help you understand what we are going over to Papua New Guinea to be a part of. And it’s really cool.

So, if you’re up for doing me (and yourself) a favor, go ahead and DVR “Duck Dynasty” (or whatever other show you might have been planning on watching tonight), and watch this video instead. You’ll be glad you did.

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Home is where the Heart is…er, House is…er, Family Is…

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on Apr 7th, 2014 | Discuss This Post

When people ask me, “Where is home for you?” my answer is easy. My home is in Upstate New York. More specifically, it’s a log home on a ten-acre field, overlooking Lake Champlain, in the Adirondack Foothills. Throughout my whole growing up, it’s been the place where my family lived, the place that I always went back to after I travelled away, and the place that I used as a reference from which to view the rest of the world (as in, “When I’m in Papua New Guinea, I’ll be 9,000 miles from home.”).

As it turns out though, “home” is kind of a difficult concept when your family is semi-nomadic like ours is. I’ve noticed this more and more since Manny has started talking. In his 2 ½ years of life he has lived in four different houses, and we were just on the road for all of March sharing our ministry plans down South. Between our moves, and all the friends’ houses we’ve stayed in, the poor kid is having trouble finding a consistent reference point. Is home where we sleep? Is the hotel home? What about Mr. Rick’s house? We stayed there for a whole week. Is that home?

I tried to explain to him that our apartment is our home: the house where we keep most of our stuff. And then I realized that even that definition was pretty inaccurate, since we’re planning on moving out of that apartment and heading overseas in just a few months, leaving most of our stuff behind. And when we get overseas, we’ll be spending our first year in temporary housing. Then we’ll be living in a house in the tribe that we’ll be leaving every four years to come live back in the States.

Since I was having trouble defining Manny’s home for him, I looked the word up. Here’s the definition I got: “The place in which one’s domesticaffections are centered (or) one’s usual residence.” I guess that explains why I was finding it difficult to tell Manny where his home is: He doesn’t have one (and, most likely, won’t get one).

Does that sound like an overly harsh conclusion? It kind of does to a typical American like me, but to Rochelle, whose parents were missionaries, it sounds spot on. When asked where her “home” is, she struggles to find an answer. Her family moved over 20 times before she was 18 years old. (I’m talking “real” moves, like, “pack up all your belongings, we’re going to live in a different place” moves.)

It’s hard to “center one’s domestic affections” when one is constantly moving to new locations. And the idea of a “usual residence?” Yeah, right. “I usually lived in a house at the mission center, except when we lived in the city, until we spent a year in New Hampshire, following which, we moved to the village, but then I moved to the dorm at the mission center, until we went back to the States and traveled cross-country for three months visiting supporting churches….etc.”

So, yeah, my wife doesn’t have a place she can call home, and it looks like my boys won’t either. At first, it was kind of a sad realization. The more I thought about it though, the more I saw that their perspective on things was probably healthier than mine. My wife and kids are still waiting for a home, whereas I’ve settled into finding contentment and security in a temporal piece of earth.

In Hebrews 11, where the author is talking about men and women who followed God, he says,

“They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”

My home isn’t in Upstate New York. Even though I sometimes think it is. My home is where God is. And someday I’m going to go see it, and then I’ll experience REAL “domestic affections.” Until then though, there’s not a whole lot of point in trying to get too comfortable with anything down here.

Sometimes, there’s a lot that can be learned from a confused 2 ½ year old.

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The Reason Why

Posted by Seth and Rochelle Callahan in Uncategorized on Feb 17th, 2014 | 1 Comment »

Here’s something you may not have known about me: I didn’t grow up wanting to be a missionary. It wasn’t something I was interested in, or, frankly, something that I cared about.

I remember my parents telling me once that if I ever chose to become a missionary they would support the decision 100%. At the time, it seemed like the equivalent of them giving me their blessing to become a dentist. “Gee… thanks… I’ll keep that in mind in case I ever run out of any good things to do with my life.”

It’s not that I didn’t love God, or anything. I just had zero interest in missions. The thought of missions didn’t excite anything within me, and it certainly didn’t fit into my plans. My dreams were built on things like erecting a home on some of my family’s land, spending my life putting down roots and creating a beautiful and wonderful homestead for my family, and providing an environment of stability and constancy for my children. Being a missionary wouldn’t allow for any of that. Missionary work was for other people.

But then I learned something.* And the something I learned challenged me. And it nagged me. And it convicted me. And, eventually, it changed me. Here’s a sample of what I learned:

Those are real letters. They were written by the heads of real tribal groups in Papua New Guinea. They were brought to a real missionary that I know… And they’re not the only ones. New Tribes Mission currently has 106 people groups requesting missionaries (begging for missionaries, really). But NTM doesn’t have enough people to meet the need. Neither does Wycliffe, or Pioneers.

What I realized was that missionary work might be for other people, but other people weren’t going. And I just didn’t figure I’d be able to continue on with my homesteader dreams here in the States knowing that there was an entire people group that would  not receive their missionary because of it.

*[To be honest, I learned several things, but this is the one I’m going to talk about right now. A few more motivating factors can be found here.]

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