Friday, December 5, 2014

December Update



With the help of his teacher, a young boy points to letters on an alphabet-symbol chart of the Kom language during a literacy class in Cameroon. Mother-tongue literacy is vital to the foundation of further education and other life skills, and is key to strengthening cultural identity and heritage, as well as opening up the pages of Scripture.  Your partnership in Bible translation through your prayers and gifts impacts lives just like his, all around the world.  Thank you!


There may be sometimes when we pray that we aren't sure exactly how God uses those prayers.  Yesterday, because of your prayers, the Lord helped me make it through the day with a mild case of vertigo.  I had enough strength and grace to do the things I needed to do, and the Orlando team with which I serve came alongside to help ease the load.  Today, I am thankful to say that the vertigo seems to have gone.

I am also thankful for another tangible lesson on how much I need to depend on God for every moment of every day. When my head is spinning just a little, my heart more consciously seeks His help.  I also need to depend on His people.  I was more quick to post a small Facebook note to ask for prayer, and many of you came alongside to help "steady me" - it reminded me of Aaron and Hur holding up Moses' arms. (Exodus 17:12)  I could not be here without you.

God has also answered your prayers - these past two weeks have been refilling and renewing.  There has been good time to continue planning and preparing for future programs.

Prayer Requests:
 - for literacy programs so the Bible can be read and understood when it has been translated
 - for another productive week of planning for the future, focusing on January programs
 - for preparations for my visit to Indianapolis, December 16 - January 4
 - for safety as I drive, December 14-15


I am praying for you, too.  Please let me know if there are specifics I may remember on your behalf.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Giving Thanks for Your Prayers

This past week, God has answered your prayers in some very obvious ways as we "Connected" with 19 colleagues and their 5 MKs who have served overseas.  What a privilege to hear stories of God's faithfulness in their lives through the joys and the challenges.  Some would say they came to us "wounded" or at the very least "discouraged" by the wear and tear of ministry and cross-cultural living.  While God alone is the Healer, it has been a blessing to have a front row seat to the beginnings of His healing in their lives as we sought to serve and honor them.  Your partnership with my Wycliffe ministry through your prayers and gifts now extends to them as they continue all around the world.  Thank you!

There were also some unique logistical challenges that could have interfered with the impact of week.  We watched in awe as the Lord gave wisdom and willing hearts and hands to keep things running.  The "Crew" hosting the week felt exactly like the servants at the wedding feast, knowing Jesus had made the wine and truly was the One who kept things together for them.  Your prayers helped us as facilitators... helping grow our faith and rekindling our own passion to continue serving.


To step back, we do all of this because there are 180 million people in our world without a single verse of Scripture in the language that speaks to their heart.  Our colleagues go to the uttermost parts of the earth... we serve them in Orlando... you pray and give where God has placed you... so that Bible translation may be accelerated and lives may be transformed as people understand how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through the translated Word.  You share in the reward He will give because of lives that have been changed through the sacrifice of your time and resources.  Each of us impacting His Kingdom in the way He has called us to do... all for His Glory.

Prayer Requests:
 - for the Bibleless to have access to His Word soon
 - for me to have rest and opportunity to express much gratitude, especially in this Thanksgiving season

I am praying for you, too.  Please let me know if there are specifics I may remember on your behalf.

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Glimpse into Equip

Equip #24 - Participants and Crew
One of the recent Equip (new member orientation) participants had this to say about her experience in Orlando:
 
I had three minutes.

Three minutes to articulate what God has been doing in my life over the last 37 years. Three minutes to share how God took a little girl who was hurt and broken and molded her into a woman with a passion for the Word. Three minutes to share all God has done in our family over the last few years to bring us to this exact moment. Three minutes to share God’s goodness and graciousness.

We’re currently in Orlando, attending the first of our training courses with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Our course is called Equip and it is designed to do just what it says: EQUIP us as we start on our journey of sharing with others about the needs of the Bibleless people around the world.

On Sunday, we spent most of our day listening to the stories of how God has led each individual, couple, and family to this point. It was amazing to listen to the myriad of experiences that paved the way for people to give their lives to advocating for, supporting, and working for those who are still waiting for the chance to read the word of God in a language that speaks to their heart.

Over and over again we listened to stories of God weaving together experiences, dreams, disappointments, conversations, encounters, opportunities, and passions to bring each of the people to a point where they could say “Yes!” to Bible translation.

What a joy for us to work equipping Janet and others as they become a part of Wycliffe.


A Look Ahead

This month will include planning for 2015 programs and for my December 16 - January 4 time in Indiana.  I look forward to worshiping with Faith Church, Village Life Church, and Solid Word Bible Church during my visit.  I hope to see many of you then.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Equip #24 begins tomorrow!

Passing on this post from Wycliffe Canada.

Imagine not having access to John 10 in a language you understand?  How would you learn the truths quoted above?  That is still the plight of more than 180 million people in our world today who are without Scripture in their heart language.

Tomorrow, 47 new colleagues and their 16 missionary kids (MKs) will begin their two-week orientation to Wycliffe USA (Equip) so that they might help meet the needs of the Bibleless.  Please pray for the "crew" and participants, October 18-31, as we learn and work and grow together.  God has used your prayers in the past to sustain us, and I am confident He will do the same again.  Thank you for your critical role in helping send out these new workers who will be accelerating Bible translation.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Our God Does Not Eat Alone

Passing on this post by David & Wendi Richards, colleagues with Wycliffe Bible Translators.  I love this story of how our gracious God is taking His Word to those who have not yet heard it.

My annual financial update is posted at the Google Group.  While you are there, feel free to sign up if you'd like to receive regular updates (usually two each month) by email.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Connection Programs

Just a quick note to say thanks so much for your prayers for the Connection program in Orlando this week.  We have laughed and cried and had such a marvelous time getting to know the 14 Stateside colleagues who have been with us.  Each has served God through Bible translation, using the variety of gifts and abilities He has provided.  The Lord has multiplied all those efforts to bring His Word to those who did not have access to it in the language and form they best understand.  It was such a privilege to hear stories of God's faithfulness to these fellow laborers through the years.  While I think those who came felt cared for and celebrated, the staff has also been encouraged, just being with them!

Next week's group will be large -- 31 adults and 29 MKs who have served overseas.  Please pray for those same types of conversations and interactions to take place in the midst of a more "energetic" pace!

Your partnership through your gifts and prayers now extends to those whom God is reaching through the ministry of all these folks... Thank you for being a part of His plan to transform lives.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Strong Foundation


Faith Church, Indianapolis


I have memories of gathering at Faith Church in May 2004 as we prayed prayers of dedication on the future site of the new worship center.  Some had written Bible references on the ground where the building would stand.  I was reminded of that evening when I read about Abu Daniels, an elementary school teacher who speaks the Yom Kawac dialect of the Bukawa language in Papua New Guinea.
Scriptures placed in the foundation
Photo by Sarah Halferty

Carrying a passage of Scripture written in her own heart language, Mrs. Daniels approached the rectangular foundation of the building being constructed at the Ukarumpa Training Center. She joined others in dedicating the new structure to God.
As the sun rose over the mountains, men and women stepped forward one by one to lay their heart-language Scripture in the foundation. Later, the construction team would pour cement over the verses, making them a permanent part of the building. In doing this, they demonstrated that they were building on the firm foundation of the Word of God, for the purpose of training people to translate that Word into the mother tongue languages of Papua New Guinea.
A Quiet Month
This story is just one that I read recently.  August was a quiet month of resting, walking, listening to podcasts, reading blogs, spending time with family and friends, worshipping with the Faith Family, attending the Global Leadership Summit, and generally gathering “input” into my life after the busy summer months.  It is very good to feel refreshed as we get ready to begin fall programs.
A Look Ahead
This month, our team will host colleagues (and their MKs) in Orlando who have served in the US and around the world.  We get to help care for them and to celebrate how God is using them in Bible translation, whether they serve directly as translators or if they are in behind-the-scenes roles.  Many of you know Jeff & Peg Shrum.  I am looking forward to seeing them as they come through one of the programs.
Thank you once again for your faithful gifts and prayers that allow me to continue to minister on your behalf.  I praise God for you!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Seven Weeks of Summer - Looking Back

Last Friday, I packed up my things to head home from a seven-week stint of staying at the Wycliffe USA Mobilization Center campus to help with onsite programs.  I was amazed at how quickly the time had gone this summer.  I was also grateful for how obvious it was that God’s grace had sustained me.  Thank you for your prayers for me and for the “crew” and participants in each of the programs!

Here’s what your partnership with your prayers and gifts helped facilitate this summer:

· Two weeks of Equip orientation for 39 new members and 21 new missionary kids (MKs)
· One week of orientation for 19 teachers headed overseas and their 12 MKs (I got to help with logistics.)
· One week of training meetings for 25 Partnership Development (PD) coaches from all around the US (I got to help with logistics, but was mostly a “learner” here.)
· One week of Wycliffe Stateside Connection for 12 stateside colleagues and their 5 MKs
· One week of The Wycliffe Connection for 26 furloughing colleagues and their 20 MKs
· One week of The Wycliffe Connection for 30 furloughing colleagues and their 24 MKs

It was a privilege to be on the teams who ministered on your behalf this summer:

· helping with logistics
· training new and returning colleagues
· having meaningful conversations prompting me and others to strive to continue to grow
 · rejoicing over lives changed through the translated Scriptures
 · hearing stories of God’s faithfulness
 · celebrating and caring for those who have served for years (or decades!)
 · encouraging those who are just now beginning their missions journeys

It was a special joy to be reconnected with one friend from my original orientation cohort in 2010, as she is now furloughing from overseas service.  I also was thrilled to spend time with the gal who was my first PD “coachee” to complete her initial partnership team.  She was a participant in the last program this summer.  It was a blessing to see and hear all God had done in and through these women.  Your partnership with my Wycliffe ministry also extends to impact their areas of influence in some very hard parts of the world.

Once in a while, it still feels  unusual to have my rhythm of life not impacted by the comings and goings of the school year, but I am very settled into and thankful for this new rhythm.  We have just entered a time of rest, renewal, and retooling.  My prayer for you all as you gear up for school is that the presence of God will be just as real and close to you as it was for me this summer, as we each continue to trust and obey where He has placed us.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Seven Weeks This Summer

I love being reminded of the "big picture" - that God is about transforming lives.  In the photo below from East Asia, a crowd gathers as a man reads a book in his mother tongue for the first time. Access to mother tongue material is often limited in minority language groups.  Translation provides not only the means to impact lives for eternity, it also facilitates practical change now, as minority language groups are able to access education, healthcare information, and opportunities for economic development in a language they understand.  These early materials then pave the way for literacy so the Scriptures may be fully embraced when the Bible translation is ready.


In Orlando, we are in the midst of a seven-week stretch of onsite programs:  four weeks complete; three to come.  God has been gracious to provide amazing health and strength for these weeks and has added the blessing and privilege of allowing me to hear stories of His faithfulness in the lives of colleagues.  It has been a pleasure to walk alongside them on their various journeys as we serve together in Bible translation.  Your partnership with your prayers and your gifts has enabled me to help train new members and encourage other trainers and coaches as we have met together.  Thank you!

We will have three different groups of "veteran" missionaries with us in the coming weeks.  Please pray:
  • that we are able to celebrate and care for our colleagues well
  • for good renewal for the staff on the weekends between programs
  • for health and strength for all
  • for good weather for Wednesday evening "field trips" each week
I am so grateful for your many encouragements and countless prayers.  I could not be here without them.  I am praying for you, too.  Let me know if there are specific items I can be remembering with you.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Bibles in Siberia

I regularly read blogs about lives being transformed by the translated Word.  I really can't picture what it is like in -40C weather, but I loved this story of how God used a truck accident in Siberia to get Bibles to one community.


Thank you for praying for the two Connection programs in May.  The Lord used your prayers to keep us all healthy and give us great conversations with those colleagues from around the US and the world who came to Orlando.  Please pray that He will continue to encourage them and renew them as they prepare to return to their tasks accelerating Bible translation.

Today, I leave to drive for Indianapolis.  My nephew will graduate from high school on May 23.  I'll be attending at Faith Church on May 18 and 25 and at Village Life Church one of those evenings.  Then, I'll be with my family for a good ol' Memorial Day cookout before heading back to Florida on May 27-28.  I would appreciate your prayers for safety and for good reconnecting while I am there.  I hope to see many of you as we worship together.

Friday, May 2, 2014

More Than Many Apples

Recently a very old man came to Mark Woodward's compound in Tanzania, selling apples. They were not very good apples, and they were very small.

First Mark said, “No, Father [a term of respect for an older man],” but he wanted to encourage the man, so Mark told him he would buy one apple.

“Take two,” the man said. “They are very good apples. I raised them myself.”

So Mark took two apples, but paid him for three. Then Mark asked him, “Father! Do you go to church?”

“Yes, I go to church,” he said.

“Father, do you know Jesus as your Savior?” Mark asked.

“Yes, I know Him,” he said.

“Then I have a gift for you,” Mark told him. Mark went back into his office and got the Gospel of Mark in the man's language, Kinga. The man thanked Mark and left.

About ten minutes later, there was a very loud knocking at Mark's office door. It was the man, holding out to me a big pile of apples in both hands.

“You must take these,” the man said.

“Me? Take your apples? No! Why?” Mark said.

“You must take them. The book! The book you gave me. It blesses my heart! I will keep it always. I have no way to know what such a book is worth. Truly it is worth more than many apples.”  (Story source: http://everytongue.co.uk/blog/2014/04/worth-many-apples/)


I am so grateful for your continued partnership in prayer and with your gifts for my Wycliffe ministry.  God provided much encouragement and refreshment in the past two weeks with visits from three different gals.  I am thankful for times to step away in the midst of what continues to be a very busy season of ministry.  I also praise God for your ongoing prayer for the disciplines of life in the midst of the busyness.  I think somehow I expected God to reduce "the busy" - but instead, He is giving much grace and opportunities for new growth (and others to come alongside in new ways!) in the middle of it.  That must be the way I learn best!

These next two weeks, we will host 48 other missionaries and 21 missionary kids (MKs) in programs designed to celebrate and care for them and to connect them with resources as they serve in Bible translation.  Thank you for your partnership now with them, as together we ask God to impact those just like the Kinga man with the translated Word.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Email and Encouragements



March has gone so quickly!  Mom and I have had good times together.  We will be traveling to Ft. Myers this weekend to meet with some friends who moved here from Indiana; then she heads home on Wednesday.  (Thanks in advance for your prayers on our behalf.)  I am blessed to have had this time with her and thank the Lord for her.

There have been some significant changes in office email procedures this month and consequently, many things to learn.  It has been challenging (and at times frustrating) to get up to speed with new ways of doing things, but the changes should allow us as an organization to better steward the resources God has given us.  We also should be able to work more effectively with a number of our partner organizations now, as we are all on the same system.  It was a gift to have time within my schedule to become familiar with the new practices before our onsite programs begin again in April.  Thank God with me for growth opportunities!

This month in particular, I have been encouraged and spurred on as I have watched God at work in the lives of those whom I coach as they are asking Him to build their initial prayer and financial partnership teams.  My faith is being renewed and energized as I see the Lord confirm the call He has placed on each of their lives and as He meets their needs

Friday, March 7, 2014

Mom is visiting!

Mom is here for a visit this month, so we are enjoying some Florida diversions, like a Braves/Nationals spring training game last evening.
Inline image 1
It's great to have her here, and she seems to be enjoying stepping away from the last bits of Indiana winter. (I just saw "freezing fog" in the forecast there for today!)

There are no onsite programs for our department in March, so we are catching up and preparing for the April through July stretch ahead.  Please pray we are able to both rest and plan well during this time.

Friday, February 7, 2014