PNG TIME

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12/29/2005

Christmas New Years and Upcoming Training

Merry Christmas!
and Happy New Year!

this season has been very enjoyable for us as a family. We have not rushed around, and everyone has been so well behaved. We are really enjoying our kids! They are at an age and a character right now where they are a joy for us to be around and celebrate with (well they always have been). They seem so very excited about Christmas and yet we never really heard any "I want" or "I need". They were not interested in writing a list or making gift requests. Well Sydney wanted a turtle but changed her mind. We're not sure why she wanted a turtle (-;

We got through the main sickness, everyone was pretty sick the week leading up to Christmas but we were cured in the nick of time.

at the end of January we are flying across the country to Florida where we will be for 2.5 weeks of training and hopefully a few moments of family time as we'll all 4 be together.

Our prayers for that time are :
1 - we understand specifics and fill in the blanks we have regarding the process of getting to PNG.
2 - as many details as possible can be handled during this time.
3 - that the Holy Spirit would fill and encourage us as we're there.

hope everyone has a good new year! What an exciting year this is going to be!

12/13/2005

End of Perspectives

Tonight's speaker was good. In fact the last two were great! There is so much I would like to express but he did tell us that we don't want to "uncork" at people because we're so excited after the class.

Both my wife and I have such respect and love for senders/mobilizers/intercessors. We have been so honored by you and so in awe of how God is glorified.

Often we hear "I respect your faith to go" or "I wish I could go" as if somehow the going is the more highly esteemed part of the ministry. We both feel we are in no way more valuable than any other member of the church participating in missions simply because we "go". Going takes so long (an average of 5-7 years to get into the field) AND 50% of overseas goer's come back before 5 years and never go again. So really if anyone has a "bad" name it would be goer's (-;

But tonight the speaker really touched on our heart and our excitement for this ministry. To paraphrase him does injustice, perhaps I can post a sound clip in the near future

"If you do the math in the most liberal sense, less than 1% of the church can be goer's. If more people went we'd be so disorganized we'd be falling all over ourselves. So what about that other 99%? Missions is a call to ALL believers, and while it isn't the only part of being a christian, it is A part. I challenge everyone here to think about how they can answer the great commission in their own context."

he shared several stories that were so cool. One that touched me.
They were moving from Denver to Washington, and a member of their church said,
"I don't have a lot of money to send you, but God gave you the ability to go and do this thing, and He gave me a strong back. I manage a professional moving company, and I would like to handle your move to Washington."

What an amazing God we serve. He's positioned us, brought us up and uses us to serve Him. When He calls us to obey, He rarely lets us see the details of the future (lets be honest, if He did, we might be terrified until we take baby steps to build the trust), but when we step out in obedience, He often uses exactly what He's already given us to serve Him.

My wife and I are able and willing and custom tailored to go, and to go to PNG.

Some of you are custom tailored to do something else, perhaps its to join us, to encourage us, to prayer for us, to support us, to become a part of this team to go out there and get the Gospel translated.

In my head, I imagine the day I would get to work on that first computer as full time missionary and I get pumped up.

I want to dedicate myself to making technology a help to the work of God instead of a hindrance. I don't want anyone with the talents of doing translation work, or teaching or taking care of youth/children to ever despair because of a failed computer. I want them to know they can call on me to fix it.

My wife wants them to be confident that their education is in good hands, and they will learn about God and learn to read His Word.

This is the passion on our hearts, and we need to combine that passion with your passion. What is your passion?

Please feel free to write us

owens@gimpel.tv

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and we will be updating it again soon.

12/07/2005

Dec. 7th

It has been a month since updating this blog, and we've made significant progress. First and foremost, we've received our unofficial assignment which is PNG working at the computer center! Wycliffe didn't pitch other places to us, in fact felt confident this was the right place to send us. What an exciting confirmation that God is calling us there!

what next?: Training is in January.
We have a letter we're wanting to send out to folks to tell them about what we're doing and giving a general update, it's coming hopefully in the next few days. We need to construct our mailing list and it is taking us some time to accomplish in the midst of all the holiday busy-ness and work schedules, and all the other things that eat up time.

We need to begin medical preparations which means doctor visits and physicals and shots etc. Our kids seem to be pretty good with shots so that's not a major issue.

-------
Perspectives... only 1 more week to go.
Did you know that a lot of missionaries have taken this course throughout the years?
Last night the speaker was very supportive of the perspectives course, he called it a major tool of God.

Rich Lederer (not sure of the spelling of his last name).
Texan, spent 13 years in Mongolia, is now in iraq. 57.
He was very much a straight shooter who really was passionate about our goal being the kingdom of God. The topic was contextualization, which basically means that when we teach people about Jesus, we're careful not to destroy their culture and bring in "our" culture. Let a born again muslim still pray in mosques, knowing they are praying to God now. Otherwise you remove them from the very culture they can be effective for Christ in.

He said a lot of good things, and shared a lot of good stories.
One thing he did was confirm that he was listening to the call of the Holy Spirit and following it.

He didn't address how that process worked for him but he told a few stories.

One of which stands out to me. For me, once you respond to God's calling, you start to see Him working in certain terms.

4 weeks ago, Rich began reading the "Camel Training Method". He became convinced that we would see no movement in Iraq for Christ until the strongman was bound, until we fought against the principalities in place in that area.

He was in the family room and his daughters were there and his wife, and he was working on his laptop when his daughter let out a gasp. There was a 4" long scorpion on the floor near his daughter. While he was searching for something to kill it with, his daughter reached out and said "daddy do you want me to ...." and then killed it.

After it calmed down he sat back down and said.. "family, look what I jsut typed into my system."

Luke 10:19 - I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.


God works, God talks to us. This to them was a confirmation their move to Iraq was the right one, and that their decision to bind Satan out there was the right one and an encouragement that God has given then the authority to be bold and be victorious!

A lot of my life I have wanted God to talk to me, tell me what to do, and make it not confusing but to be clear. It doesn't jsut happen, you don't wait around to hear God, you seek Him out. You seek God in the scriptures, in prayer. You respond.

Another thing he said was he often hears the concept "we have to earn the right to be heard." This is a cultural sensitivity that has been taught to preparing missionaries for decades. Don't simply preach, earn the right to be heard.

He confronted that concept. He said, "Jesus earned the right to be heard, we need to go forward boldly." He re-iterated that we shouldn't be insensitive, but we should also not be timid and pass up opportunities.

I tell you last night as this man spoke, I felt like I was in the presence of the shadow of Paul. This man was enthusiastic, bold, encouraging, accurate, and every thing he said rang with wonderful truth and conviction. He was very focussed on shaping the church movement up.

You know I'm not so sure God has called us to go and do anything spectacular like what this man has done, but I'm sure God has called us. We don't know what we're going to end up doing, but we know our passion and we know what God has told us to do and that's what we're doing.

God has called us to this work in PNG. He has confirmed it multiple times. It is where He wants us for whatever reason, and we do not do this thing to further our career, or appear to have achieved some holiness that others lack. We do this thing because our Father has called us to it, and we can't ignore it. It isn't a glamorous thing we go to do, it is a very very simple thing.

Our focus is not on spreading "christianity as a culture" but on furthering the kingdom of God that all would worship Him in spirit and in truth.

I write this because I want to make sure that no one ever looks at us and says, "I wish I had __________ that Kendal and Chad have." or "I could never do what they're doing." You can. Never say of us "you're doing a great thing." We possess no special thing of ourselves that enable us to do this thing, it's completely from God.


How to Pray:
- one of the things we were reminded of this week was that a typical quality of the larger church movements was ... primarily.... extraordinary prayer. One director said to his board "if you're not going to pray every day... EVERY day over this, resign now." That's the type of mentality, the dedication of prayer that is going to be required to fight against the strongman. So...

-pray that as we build our address list, we find the people who are excited about what we're doing. That God would show us the people and the churches that would support us in prayer and financially and be excited to join our ministry with theirs to reach and support the translation work in PNG.

We know that God has prepared their hearts, we want to find them... and then join our small part of this ministry with theirs to become a team.

11/08/2005

Perspectives Week 7

Carol Davis - this is the one we've been waiting for. We would be unable to reproduce what she taught but I can give my impressions.

Luke 10:1-7 was the bible study, and we asked the questions:
-what do you like?
-what do you dislike?
-what didn't you understand?
-what did it teach you about God?
-what do you need to do because of it?
-what verse would you like to keep with you?

Sometimes simply having a Bible and those 6 questions are enough to win entire people groups.

We see ourselves as the "go" part of a team whose goal it is to support missionaries in Papua New Guinea, to further bible translation and literacy, to further disciple the reached tribal groups in PNG and to reach the unreached people groups in PNG with the Gospel of Christ.

It's a team. Missions is for every member of the church. Somehow folks got it into their head (and I used to be one) that missions is for the sending agency and the missions committee. But we're each called to play a role.

the roles can be:
goer
sender
mobilizer
intercessor (prayer)
welcomer

God has prepared a ministry and a team to accomplish it. He has been working in all of our hearts to get the job done, He has built us into who we are now (regardless of how much you may struggle with your past, it was built there to make you a specialized member of the team) so that we can join this team.

The task before us is to find each other, join forces, and get the work done. God has already prepared the harvest. In the coming weeks, my wife and I will begin the process of trying to find each of the members of this team.

Wycliffe provides training on the subject, documents on the subject and "how to's" but we already know that God has put all the hearts into play and like the Apostles, what we really need to do now is walk around proclaiming God's glory and unite the team, and then go and get it done.

For those of you that are already on the team, we love you guys, we thank God for you, and we praise God for preparing the special parts of your lives and your hearts that He has.
It is an honor to be teaming with you, you represent a skillset and a willingness specialized by God to hone this team into a glorifying unit for God.

We can not wait to go.... we're waiting on God's timing, but boy are we praying for Him to teach us what we need to learn so that we can go sooner than later!

We're excited.

So... prayer requests for this week:
-pray that God would help us discover those folks He has planned
-pray for the completion of forms and physicals and training that need to be completed before we can go.
-pray for blessings on every member of the team and for spiritual protection, growth, and purity.

thank you.

11/06/2005

The Kids

As a friend of ours once put it "I signed up to be a missionary, but my kids were drafted." We've noticed that many of you have asked the questions "how are your kids taking it?" or "Have you talked to them about it?" It, being the move to Papua New Guinea.

From the very beginning our children have been our primary concern in this entire affair. Before even considering this seriously we researched how children adapt, what challenges they face, both in leaving and in returning to America. How multi-culturalism affects them and in what ways. Would we be signing up to never see our kids again once they come of age because they too have a global perspective and go into the mission field?

Today in church we spoke of Giving willingly and cheefully to God. Many people were considering the gift as money or time. I spent the day thinking of it as a sacrificial gift of my children's future. Reliquinshing their future in faith to God.

Parents already know they have a very limited control over their kids safety, and future. You try to influence it, you pray.. and pray.. and hope and worry and fear and pray. In perspectives class the mothers were asked to pray their daughters to Muslim countries. WOAH! Were we really willing to do that?

In a more general sense, as parents are we truly willing to let go of our most precious treasure to God like Abraham did with Isaac? Having full faith that God knows what He is doing, is more easily said and done when it doesn't involved your kids.

It still tears me up that possibly God could be calling us to embark on a journey that will most likely end up with us not sitting at home in our old age with our grandkids around our ankles or on our knees.

Are we willing to have cross racial marriages with our kids?
Are we willing to have a non-primary English speaking son in law?
Are we willing to not see our kids on a weekly basis once we retire?

The answer has to be yes, but it's a struggle to get to it.

Right now as I type this I'm breaking up because in the other room my daughter is singing beautifully "take my hand, precious Jesus, I am yours.. take my heart I am yours... drive my life." She's six. She doesn't know I'm typing this... but that's what I'm hearing... as if God told her to speak to my heart this very moment.

With the perfect amount of humor too because as she asked Jesus to drive she then sings "beep beep". How can we part from that?

Well this is probably what the grandparents are struggling with right now, and all the while I pray for their ability to cope emotionally I am praying this:
"God everything we have is given to us by You, and we dedicated it all to Your name that You may be glorified.....and if there's a way in the future to get that done and still be close geographically as a family, we sure would appreciate it."

So we don't pray "please don't send us to Africa" instead we pray "if you send us to Africa, could you find us a house big enough for everyone ?"

I could go on for a very long time about the role of families in the Old Testament and answering God's call but I still haven't answered the main question.

At first our kids didn't like the idea, because all they heard was leaving.
My wife and I decided we needed to instill in them a global perspective, which meant teaching them about other countries and about other peoples. So we did.

They still don't want to leave their best friends, but they are getting excited about moving to Papua New Guinea.

Tonight, we taught them where Pakistan was.

We told them what the climate was like, what the people are called, that they don't believe Jesus is God's son, and we created a weekly list of prayers for the missionaries we know there. They are able to find Pakistan on a globe and are praying for the missionaries and for the Muslims.

The point is, I'm told Americans are the least globally minded people of the major political power countries. We have dedicated a few minutes each Sunday (after football) to talk about 1 country and how we can pray for that country.

As we do this, we hope to see the kids start to understand God's desire to teach others about who Jesus is and how we can play a part in that. Children adapt quickly and while they are a huge concern we're convinced that the benefits of this move far outweigh the drawbacks. We wrote a list of pros and cons and the cons far outweighed the pros until at the bottom of the pro list we wrote "God has asked us to do this." The rest of the pros and the cons don't really matter after that. He is faithful, He already has proven so very faithful to us, that we're confident the future of our children will be bright.

11/01/2005

Perspectives Week 6

the purpose of this blog is ultimately to glorify God. We praise God tonight as we type this and do so to inform you of what He's doing.

Tonight God did an incredible thing! He answered prayers so specifically that it was as if we were having a conversation.

I'll skip the content of the course tonight and go straight to what happened between me and God. (I may put more about the content in later postings)

Last week, the speaker opened a lot of questions in my heart and as I did my Bible study and read my homework those questions begat more questions, and so I started to write them down. Then I shared them with my wife, and then we began to pray over them, and tonight, God spoke through the speaker and gave us direct answers.

You can not imagine the energy coursing through my body right now. I understand now how man can not stare into God's face... I believe I would explode. Simply hearing from God, that He would answer my prayers so magnificently... He is so awesome and worthy! This isn't the first time, but boy it was a needed time. I'm not so worthy as to continually beg God to talk to me, give me direction and then have Him do so again. You'd think He'd be fed up "enough already Chad.. GO DO IT!" but I'm so stubborn I keep asking Him to narrow it down more and more for us.

I will share the prayer requests here for you, our close circle of supporters and friends and family. You are our core, those who pray for us.

I will also share the answers. I'm rather sure it won't be as exciting for you to hear them as it was for me, but I wanted you to know that your prayers are being heard by God and He is in fact working daily in our lives.

-What is our vision? What is our exact vision for our ministry as a family?
-If it is to support missionaries, then doesn't the example of fixfree.org prove we can support them remotely?
-Do we need to go to Papua New Guinea or are we called somewhere else? (say a muslim nation)
-Do we want to support PNG missionaries or simply missionaries anywhere?
-Where can we do the greatest good?
-We're not very educated or pure, or special in anyway, I'm jsut a big dumb guy... does God really want me to do anything?

These are all questions of focus. We know God has given us a calling to obey and I ask these questions in the light of what I'm learning to try and focus what it is God wants us to do. My wife enjoys watching me struggle but feels peace that our goals is what we're intended to do. She is a wise and good helper because she's already arrived at what God told me tonight.

Here is the answers paraphrased and in no direct order:

-Jonah wasn't pure, he was rebellious and yet he obeyed, he wasn't the most passionate speaker to the Ninevites and yet they believed God.... evidence that a perfect heart is not required to serve God, and that skill has little to do with it.

-Simon, was a good fisherman, but Christ asked him to cast his net in the deep water, a place Simon knew there'd be no fish "we've been trying all night"... and yet he obeyed, and the harvest nearly sunk ships. Evidence that you can be skilled and still, obedience is important. The two examples, (and there are many more) have one thread, obedience.

Obedience to what you know God is saying, faith for what you don't understand yet.

-We don't need to reach huge groups, a couple was mentioned that went to PNG.. amazing for us since no other couples were mentioned... why mention PNG? it was no coincidence. This couple had a heart for a people group with only 200 people in it. Was it a waste? No it was wonderful that God would call people to what seems like such a small mission. God spoke to my heart here... I need to stop looking at where I can be BEST used for the GREATEST affect, and go where I know we're being called, and that is PNG. The calling of God outweighs the strategy of reaching out. (that was our reading this week)

-Our vision.... this is the best part.
Our vision is to support the missionaries in Papua New Guinea who do reach the nationals. Not EVERY Wycliffe missionary, but the ones in PNG. When I heard this couple's name I loved them instantly, I wanted to hug them, and give them a warm place to rest their heads, I wanted to gaurantee they'd have no computer problems, and I wanted to create a safe haven for them to return to, knowing that my wife was teaching their children, and that they would be safe with us. Missionaries need support at home, prayer, funds, and encouragement, but they also need support in the field. They need people to offload distraction from what God has called them to. They need us. The fact that we can partake in the larger picture by serving such a small role enthralls us, excites us, and encourages us. God is doing work in PNG, Wycliffe is doing His work there, translators are doing the work, and supporting staff are helping them do it. Can you imagine being the man who built the desk that Paul would use to write the letters to the churches?

It all makes sense, it was like a huge "CLICK" tonight in my heart. Why I've felt a call to minister to couples, to disciple men, to encourage believers. Why I've felt a strong desire to go to Papua New Guinea, why I married a woman who loves people and is outgoing. Why I love the Russells over there like family and enjoy doing little things to encourage them. It all makes total sense.

I'm a big dumb guy who is in no way perfect. ( by the way the speaker tonight said those actual words... talk about a God who answers prayer) But I know that God has called us to Papua New Guinea, and tonight I learned it was so that we can support and encourage people who God has called to reach the unreached, translate the Gospel, and spread the Word. I praise God that we won't be the ones getting glory for doing the work, that we have the awesome and humbling opportunity to be behind the scenes, ensuring God's work gets done.

I'll tell you a lesson I learned by watching people whom I admire.
I would rather live a life serving God in confidence of obedience and to never receive a single moment of glory, thanks, appreciation or stature, than to live any other way. I have too long cared about what man thinks of me, and not long enough thought about what man thinks of God.

That is our heart, that is our mission, our vision. And now.... the task is before us to put feet to it.

Prayer requests:
in January we have training and there are costs.
Before us is a lot of training.
We need patience and stamina to retain this vision and the passion.
WE need wisdom in how to best build a circle of supporters and partners to get us there and keep us there.

My attitude on partnership is very simple.
God has already put it on the hearts of people to be excited about what He wants to get done. We need to put the footwork into discovering those people and communicating to them clearly what it is God will have us do.

Pray that we can communicate this well. I was unclear how to communicate our vision before tonight, how to put it into words. Now my only challenge is to harness this energy into a more easily digestible format.

Thanks for your support and your patience in reading this rather wordy entry.

We love you.

10/26/2005

Accepted

Wycliffe called today, kendal and I have been accepted and are officially members of Wycliffe!

we're excited but peaceful. it's odd, like opening a present on christmas you have peaked at ahead of time.

We're excited but not surprised, God put us on this path. Thanks to all those praying for us and thanks to God who is having us be a part of His plan.

The question: What comes next?


Well stay tuned. We had a phone meeting today and really quite a few things happen now. This is the point at which the work to prepare to go into the field can begin.

We will update you as we progress but for now we're taking a moment to celebrate, to praise God and to thank you, for supporting us.

Perspectives Week 5

speaker: Larry Walker from ACMC
I took about 3 pages of notes. That's a lot for me since I don't typically bother with notes.

As a speaker he was acceptable to good. But the material covered was great.

We talked about pioneers in missions. William Carey, Cameron Townsend, Dondal Mcgavren, Ralph Winter, Luis Bush.

Then the second half was "strategy" where we found that:
95% of American churches income is spent on themselves
4.5% is spent on existing missions efforts
.5% is spent on new missions enterprises

that more than 1/2 the world's population is still "unreached".
The difference between America and other countries is they are unchurched, not unreached.
(America has access to the Gospel, many people groups do not)
Many missiologists feel that the time of America being the largest country of missions origin is gone.

Christendom is moving south.

Interestingly though America has a unique position in the global economy where other countries want us to come with skills that help them be competitive in the new world of "globalism", and thus it is easier for Americans to get access as professionals than as missionaries.

All of that strategy is interesting.... it points to today.. now.. being an exciting era for missions growth, for reaching the unreached.

BUt the most important revelations came to me during the break when I was talking with Mr. Walker.

-I need to stop thinking of the country's borders as it's boundaries. Think people groups, not borders. If you reach a people group with the Gospel, they aren't going to spread that to another people group in the same country. They have language and culture borders. In India, if you win one caste the Gospel won't spread to the caste above or below... so suddenly your boundaries become more constricted and these days you really don't go out after a country, but focus on a people group.

-The Bible shows us that God has a movement, and He doesn't need to use America to get it done. Instead of thinking "how can God use me" perhaps I should think "God is doing something and I want to be involved instead of sitting on the sidelines."

Suddenly that thought, changed me. In my head I think things like
-maybe this isn't the right place to go
-maybe this isn't the right job to do
-God can't possibly use someone like me
-I am not worthy to be considered part of the family that these great pioneers began.
-what is the best possible use of my skills for God?

and these days I'm thinking more:
-it doesn't matter what I do, or where I go, God is doing something and I want to be involved.

that calms the spirit of all anxieties. I know God has put on my heart to go to PNG and to work in computers. I know it's not exactly a front-line job, it's not exactly a pioneering position, and I won't be called upon daily to share the Gospel or risk my life... but that doesn't matter.

I'll be a very very small part of what God is doing, and if that's where He wants me, that's where I should be.

The significance to be found is not in how well I perform, what stature the job is, what country I go to. The significance rests solely on who God is and what He is doing.

10/19/2005

Status update

Stage: Status: Notes:
Preliminary Questionnaire arrives in Personnel; complete
Phone/email contact made complete

Send application packet complete
· Applicant directed to interview with Pastor complete helpful, establishes first contact with pastor


Application Papers returned complete

(PA) evaluates application materials complete
· PA makes phone contact with applicant complete first contact with PA over the phone is helpful as well.
· Technical evaluation by Domain Coordinator complete this actually happens right before the committee decides a good sign.
· General References returned complete remember to remind your referers to get these in.

Send:
· Policy Statements complete paperwork to read
· Personality Inventory (MMPI-2) complete a 562 question #2 pencil type test
· Bible Knowledge Assessment (BKA) complete harder than it looks need to know your Bible very well.

· MMPI-2 & BKA returned complete we scored lower than they'd have liked but higher than we expected
· Technical Evaluation finished complete phone interview with IT guy went great
· Policy Statements returned complete paperwork

Biographical Interview complete 2 hour phone conversation with PA.

PA calls Pastor complete

Membership Decision waiting
Personnel Actions Committee or Administrative Action

New Member
Packet sent

Wycliffe incomplete scheduled for Jan/Feb
Training Camp

Partnership Development focus
Possible further Training:
· SIL courses (could happen at any point)
· ICC
· Medical Clearance (Physical Exam)
· Assignment Match-up
· Technical Orientation
· Language Study
· Field Training Courses

Initial
Assignment

Service Review
after +/- 2 years

Perspectives week 4

speaker: Michael Boyland

WOW, what a fabulous speaker. We're into the beginning of the history of the spread of christianity across the world. The reading this week was tedious, I often find historical reading tedious, but I'm interested in history, I simply need to hear someone who understands it and can communicate it well.

Michael Boyland was the west coast national ACMC conference M.C. this year (he had a broken foot)

It was interesting because he spoke energetically and at a fast pace, he was brilliant with the material. He liked to go between two themes.

National contribution to the spread of christianity
Individual contribution.

I don't think other people felt the themes, to them it looked like he was jumping around from topic to topic, but I definitely sensed where he was going the whole night.

I felt very in sync with the speaker... so in sync in fact that before long I turned over to kendal and said "did you ever see the movie "the MISSION" " she said no..
not 10 minutes later he says "have any of you seen the movie the MISSION".

When he was talking about the vikings and their gods, I'm thinking about Thor from Douglass Adams "Dirk Gently" series and suddenly he says, "who here has read douglass adams" I raise my hand... I'm the only one who raises their hands.
"Have you read his Dirk Gently books?"
Yes I have... I acknowledged.

It was pretty fun for me. I liked how he would go on tangents about the personality of the individuals like saint patrick, Boniface, Constantine, Francis of Assisi... etc.

By far the best class of the series thus far.

10/12/2005

Perspectives Week 3

well everything is in, and we're told we should expect to know on Oct. 26 whether or not we're accepted.

One of the interesting obstacles of this process has been communication. For each applicant (or couple) Wycliffe assigns a PA, someone who knows the processes well and can guide you through the application. In our instance, our PA is new, having come out of the field and taken this position after doing other work stateside. A good guy, but not the seasoned pro that knows all the ins and outs. As such, we've had a few bumps, but not horrible ones.

Perspectives last night was interesting, a gentleman named Nzash from the Congo spoke. He mostly went through an overview of the previous weeks and was a tad hard to follow, but his heart and his passion was well understood.

And that's where I finally understood Paul.

Paul valued spreading the Gospel, and glorifying God more than his own life.
I'm not afraid of losing my lifestyle, I'm not afraid of whatever suffering may come... family members dying, getting sick, growing up resentful.. I fear none of that.

The only thing I fear, is fear itself at this point. I pray that God would remove that from me, and allow me to serve Him unfettered by human weakness as best I can.

God couldn't have given me a better partner and children to go through this with, and I want to make sure I'm the man who can live up to this privilege of calling.

It is by Grace that I have received this call to serve, and not anything I know or can do that makes me special. God is working and He's invited me to show up and watch, and maybe pitch in a bit where I can.

I jsut pray I do not try to make it about me in any way.... make it solely about God's mission.

10/05/2005

Perspectives week 2

under the advisement of friends we are taking the Perspectives course.
The main gist of the course is to teach people that God has had a design from the beginning of time to reach out to people and win them back to himself.

we study this plan in several ways.

last night was excellent as Steve Hoke spoke, someone I've heard speak before at the ACMC.

he asks us to write down "YBI's" your big ideas.... the points we want to remember.. here are my 11.

1. God is less concerned about getting things DONE and more with developing our character. God is not in a rush like we are, to accomplish anything.

2. God is the star of the mission story

3. Theme of the course - God is at work around the world, completing His big picture.

4. Every decision we make will be faulty until we see the world as God sees it. (align our perspective with His) It is at this point, that we begin to Worship God and become very effective for Him

5. We are blessed so that we can bless others (abraham)

6. Evangelism is as basic as blessing someone else.

7. Melchizedek and Abraham - Abraham is blessed by God, and in turn 4 kings bless God.

.....
11. Would I waste my blessings for fear of losing them?


Sure I skipped a bit, but 11 was the one that hit me. See I'm going to the field, I'm not worried about losing what most Americans see as blessings. I feel that I will only understand my dependance on material wealth once I lose it, at the moment i'm looking forward to that. Although DSL will be a sad loss (-;.

But the blessings I hold most dear are the hardest to give to God. My children, my wife, my future security. These are the things that God has blessed me with, but I can't hold myself back from being a blessing to others simply because I'm afraid of what might happen to what I have. Abraham was going to kill his son.. his 16 year old son. They were infertile for something like 80 years... and then had a son, and then out of obedience for God, Abraham was going to lose him.

And then .... he worshipped God.

One quote was interesting "Missions exists because worship doesn't."
That quote doesn't mean that if we all were believers we wouldn't have missions.
It means if we were all filled in our hearts with the desire to uplift and bless God and did so exuberantly and effervescently, then God's Word would spread like wildfire... and there would be no need for missions.

The challenge I'm putting before myself after last night is this.
-to seek out God solely, so that my heart would be filled with Worship, and I would overflow with all things from God. From that one point, everything would work properly. I would not need ten step how-to manuals... I would not need to worry abotu how to share the Gospel, or how to serve my wife... because the spirit would fill me with a heart of Worship for God.



God is great.. He is amazing, and I'm only now realizing that it isn't out of duty, that you say these words, but out of something other than yourself that is poured into your heart through the conduit that is your relationship with God. My only duty is to keep that conduit wide and in repair so that His love may flow in ample quantities.

9/28/2005

Technical interview

one of the finalizing steps of the application process (for I.T. anyway) is to meet and talk to a technical recruiter who can find your skill set and make suggestions as to where to place you.

I met Ken, great guy. He mostly said after reading up on me, and hearing other interviews that he felt it would be a waste to talk about whether or not I was skilled, I was, he instead took the time to see what and where I would like to be, and then explain a bit about how I.T. in Wycliffe worked. At certain levels of technical ability, it's easy to see if people are skilled and the interview process is more of a chance to get to know personality.

It was a good conversation and he told me he'd make the recommendation of sending us to PNG. He also mentioned that a teacher/I.T. pair is like the Wycliffe power team. (-; That's always good to hear. Sort of reinforces the feeling that God intended for us to be together and do this since before we were born.

He also told me a lot about I.T. and how important it is, and how a lot of I.T. people are located in the U.S. offices but it's hard for them to discover support because to many people "missions" means "leaving the country". He used the analogy of soldiers. People see soldiers as carrying rifles and driving humvees, but what about the hundreds of soldiers back in Washington supporting them? An aircraft carrier is all about the aircraft, but there are more on the ship than in the plane.

So things are progressing along and it does look good.

Perspectives

My wife and I have attended our first perspectives course. It is a biblical 12 week teaching series on missions. Our first night started a bit rocky, with the babysitter being a tad late and traffic and such, but we arrived on time, took a deep breath and sat down for 3 hours of teaching.

3 hours of teaching during a time when you're used to relaxing your brain is harder than it used to be when were in college. But it was sound teaching.

So I've done the pre-reading... it was GREAT! learned a lot.
then the speaker spoke, he was good, but mostly regurgitated the reading and I didn't necessarily get any new application or angle on the reading.. if anything he clarified it.. which I see a total need for because:
1 - not everyone does the reading
2 - not everyone can get the clear points in a theological essay.
3 - some people learn differently.

thus far it was a decent class... and I'm suspecting it's going to be VERY good. I enjoyed meeting the new people around me, etc.

9/23/2005

this week completes our first round (and perhaps only) of phone interviews. They interviewed me separately from my wife for 2 hours or so. Our answers were so similiar (after talking about them) that I wonder if they think that I coached my wife (as there was a day in between answers). The truth is, my wife and I talk about stuff, and typically if it's something important that concerns us both, you'll get a similiar answer regardless of who you ask.

is that odd? I don't think it is.

apparently my personality test says I'm normal, so that's good news.

Now we wait again. We wait on Wycliffe to gather our final paperwork, and to talk to parties necessary. And then finally perhaps I have to take a phone interview for technical skills to prove I know something about computers.

so.... it is looking like end of October to hear if we've been accepted.

9/15/2005

September Status

well all of our tests are in, they have the results and we have some final application paperwork to send in.
Next week is our first 2 hour phone interview....

We're looking at a November time frame to know if we're accepted or not.

8/28/2005

August status

well, we've finished the personality profile. a 565 question test with questions like "have you ever wanted to hurt someone?" and "I feel like I'm being watched." You have to answer with "this is very like me.... or not very like me."

so we did that for 565 questions and it was funny in some places....

The only part of the "application" that we have to solve still is the bible knowledge test. This is something that we've been waiting on until a time when we feel like we're awake enough to take it. Because honestly, with two kids and a really busy work schedule lately, weeknights are brain-free zones... you're lucky if you have enough mental capacity to have a good conversation with your wife after the kids are asleep.

So that leaves weekends.... which of course are busy. But tonight.... tonight we're resolved to at least begin. As with any part of the application, membership doesn't hinge on any 1 aspect of it, rather they're trying to get a well rounded idea of who we are.


The ACMC conference was fabulous. I don't think I've blogged it yet. I've been to conferences as we prepared for a weekend of boring seminars and empty rhetoric, instead what we both experienced was God leading us specifically to each elective we took, and really hearing the Spirit through these talkers. It was 3 days of concentrated time of hearing God speak to us through other people, and it was the first time we really felt like we were getting the full confirmation from God that not only was Wycliffe right, but PNG was right, and this life choice was right. All along we knew PNG was right, but we were not competely sold on Wycliffe until this conference.

7/27/2005

Process #2

We have nearly all our referalls in, our transcripts were faxed in 2 days ago. That will complete the application itself. Last night we took the MMPI2 (personality test). The bummer thing about this test is that I've taken such profilings multiple times and they always start by saying "you will not get feedback regarding this test." GREAT! People are always asking me if I have taken such tests and what I register as, and I say "I have, but I dunno what type of personality I am."

People in the past, (mostly psychologically educated people) have been interested in my personality. I do not know why, but several people have said to me "I would love to give you a _________ test." Personally I don't put a lot of value into these such tests. I really have a hard time being put into a box with a label on my personality. It could very well be that there is a personality type out there that shifts personality types, and depending on which month you test them, they register differently. I've taken a test one time that broke personalities into 4 types, and I wound up RIGHT SMACK DAB in the middle of the four squares. What does that mean?

I don't know, they don't tell me.

anyway, we are scheduling to take our 165 question bible knowledge test, and then we move onto the interview and acceptance stages.

oh yes I should mention that my wife finished the mmpi2 about 40 minutes ahead of me. She's smarter than me, and more focussed. It took 2 hours to finish on my part.

7/17/2005

Calling

This weekend my wife and I attended a national conference ACMC geared toward equipping churches with the information they need for missions.

I heard several ideas, some of the ideas involving motivation for going were:
Find a need and fill it (fill the gap).
Filling the gap is an old idea, find your specific passion.
Find your passion, then find a fit for your passion.
Find your skills and then find where you can fit.
We are all told to serve, are you willing to answer.
You need two character traits to do well - Self Discipline and Self Esteem.
We need to reach the unreached with the Gospel of Christ.

Now, I knew that I was being called to Papua New Guinea specifically before all of these ideas, so I'm testing them currently against what I know. The true help of this ACMC was in equipping me and my wife to go, showing us what we need to work on, and prepare for.

Deliberate path for discipline our kids.
Home base of encouragement and accountability for family, finances, prayer.
Deep spiritual formation and character.
Preparation for suffering.
A Heart of love for the lost.

Those are the key areas we need to develop. There are skills we need to develop as well.

Another benefit of the ACMC was that we were exposed to many different organizations. We got excited about several, but Wycliffe really reached us. Before this conference, I didn't know as much as I do now about the various passions people have and methods for reaching and discipling the lost.

SO...
My family is in the process of applying to Wycliffe for full time service in Papua New Guinea, lifetime.

and the question I get asked is "tell me about your call".
But people ask that question so cavalierly, as if I can get it all out in a soundbyte. It takes me 2 hours to discuss on any level of thoroughness. God is so thorough. (http://gng2png.blogspot.com)

so last night I was working on my soundbyte to tell people about my calling, but I think it does God a disservice... here it is (my wife is working on hers):

I've always wanted my life to be a way to glorify God and not be about myself. I married with the intention of becoming a dynamic team for ministry. When we had kids, we devoted them to ministry. We got involved in all kinds of ministries, but I never felt that I had found the specific place God intended for me. And then we heard a man talk about PNG and I went. When I got there, I was so absolutely convinced through a myriad of seemingly unrelated events in my life, parts of my character, and personal interests, suddenly connecting, that this was the exact place engineered for my family to be. So I prayed and studied and sought out God and listened, and He put a burning on my heart for PNG, that I belonged there. I am homesick now for a place I've been to for only 16 days. I no longer live in this world, I belong in that one.

7/10/2005

Why Wycliffe

We have sent our application in, require an interview and our transcripts to be completed. Next step, the testing. We will be required to take an mmpi2 (personality profile) and a bible knowledge test.

We're not very nervous about the testing, but it has challenged us, how much Bible knowledge do we really have? It'll be exciting to see if the test is truly about issues or about references or about tiny trivia.

Since we couldn't wait to see, we picked up a bible trivia game and have been asking each other these insane questions of the most minute detail. Some of them are so horrendously trivial it's funny. I suppose you buy trivia, expect trivial.

In my scripture reading I find that the names of people, are really hard to remember. I can remember the geography if I see a map, like I know where Susa was (king xerxes palace of esther (aka hadasseh) fame). But I can't remember the bit player's names.

In one sitting, I read about Amnon and Absalom, Sheba, Achish, Tamar, Hagar, Adonijah, Abimalech, and Abiathar. Ask me which one had their head thrown over a city wall, I won't remember. Ask me what Sheba did, and I might remember. All I know for sure is what David did, what Joshua did.

That is what fascinates me about the Bible. No matter how many times you read it, there is always something you forgot that stuns you. Something like "WOAH! .. oh yeah why did i forget that?" God's Word is so rich and full on so many levels that you can spend your life digging into it like an onion.



We were asked a question on the application, and here is a tidbit of my answer:


Write a statement explaining why you feel motivated to be involved in missions, and why you particularly desire to serve with Wycliffe Bible Translators.
Out of all the questions in this application this one is the best, because it’s the one I have had to struggle with the most. I was expecting the question “how do you know you are called to serve God?” I have my answer for that one. But missions, I believe everyone is called to missions, in the respect that we are to spread God’s Word to all people. When you ask most people what missions is to them, they think it means leaving their home and going to another country, but to me missions is everywhere I am. It is talking to my neighbors, it is volunteering to pass out turkeys in downtown San Jose, it is spreading the Gospel on the street corner, it is walking through October fest sharing the Gospel to people with time on their hands. When I say I’ve never felt called to missions what I truly mean is that I’ve never particularly felt the desire to go to another geographical place, solely for the sake of going. I believe we are all called to missions as believers, but we’re not all called to go to a new culture and geographical area. For that reason I don’t differentiate the call on my heart to go to Papua New Guinea from the call to go downtown and feed the homeless. I’m specifically being guided to do I.T. work in PNG. The second part of the question is where God has been working in my heart the most. Why Wycliffe? I watched the video of a Bible dedication ceremony on the island of TubeTube. This was a ceremony we were supposed to attend but a scheduling conflict made us miss it by one month. As I watched it, my heart was grabbed, and squeezed, and I felt a rush of eternal significance in what was happening. I had never taken the time to really value what it meant to have the Bible in your own language. I had taken for granted my own Bible. Tears streamed down my cheeks, which is a very rare occasion, and I saw a people praising God with all their might for this wonderful Bible they’d been working to finish. I saw the tears on the missionaries we support as they realized the fruition of their efforts. Wycliffe is the logical choice of organization because we respect your goals, your theology and your structure, and you are key to getting into Papua New Guinea. I wanted to answer this question honestly and say that there wasn’t so much a call to Wycliffe as there was simply making a logical choice. But I thought about this question for the past week, and I remembered that moment nearly a year ago when I saw the TubeTube people singing, and giving speeches, and I can’t forget that, ever. I can not fathom not serving God in this way now. I go into work today, and I feel like my efforts, all the stress and the politics and the difficulty I struggle to overcome, but for what? No eternal purpose. If I could work towards a goal, as precious as putting God’s Word into the hands of someone who has never read John 3:16 in their heart language, who had never read Psalm 84 in their heart language, who has never fully grasped the wonder of God speaking right to your heart through pages in your own words, the reality of combining our ministry with Wycliffe is starting to be overwhelming for me, as I am not sure I am deserving of such an honor. I see Wycliffe as being something huge, of eternal importance, that affect large people groups if not nations, and I see myself as a little helper in that process to fill a need somewhere. A need that God could put anyone in, but for some reason He chose me, and I’m willing to go, and I’m excited about the chance to spend my life doing something worthy.

7/04/2005

Kendal's words

So a lot of this blog is my talking, but I've asked my wife to chime in on the question "how do you know God is calling you to missions, and particularly to Wycliffe?"

---------------
Ever since my first experience with missions in high school, I’ve felt God leading me in the direction of missions. I feel passionate about doing my part to bring others to Christ and to help them learn more about him. He has given me a great interest and passion for experiencing other cultures. Learning about other cultures has given me such an appreciation for God’s creativity, His complexity, and His vastness. During college, I wondered if God was calling me to be a teacher in the mission field, however, that was not his calling, at least not at that point in my life. I fell in love and married a wonderful man. Went on to finish earning my teaching credential and began teaching in San Jose, CA. At that time, I believe God was calling me to minister to children in the public schools. Many of the children I taught came from very difficult situation at home and I believe that God placed me in that school to make a difference with those children. I hope and pray that I was able to accomplish that. After three years of teaching I became a mother and my life started down a new path.

Almost as soon as I started down this new path, I was looking for a way to minister to others. I soon became involved with a MOPS group and God allowed me to minister through that ministry. It’s interesting that my youngest child will enter Kindergarten in another year and I now feel God calling me to start down this new path in missions. Looking back over my life, I see a constant desire to serve God and make a difference in the lives of people. I had sort-of given up hope of ever being in missions full-time since that was not a calling my husband shared with me. About 2 years ago, a family from our church who serves with Wycliff in PNG came home on furlough. While they were home, we had the chance to hear them share on a Sunday morning. It was exciting to hear them tell how God was using them. Not only did I leave that day excited about the ministry, my husband did too! Several months later, we heard that our church was sending a go-team to PNG. My husband expressed his interest in going to the informational meeting to find out more. I said, “great, let’s go.” So, we went. I was so excited about the opportunity to be part of another go team (I had done a couple of go-teams during my college years). As the trip approached, my husband felt really strongly that God was calling just him to go on this trip. I struggled a lot with this decision.

I so badly wanted to be a part of this team, but in the end I knew I had to submit to God and to my husband. He ended up going alone on this trip. From that first email he sent while on the trip I knew it was right that he went without me. You see, I had been a part of short term missions teams before. This was his first experience and practically his first time out of the country. He was so excited about his experiences and God was teaching him so much. I was convinced that he needed to experience this on his own. I remember as he shared things with me while on his trip, my first thought was, “well, of course, that’s what happens on trips like that.” I realized this was all new and exciting for him and my being there could have interfered with that. My husband came home from that trip with a new outlook on missions. We both began to pray about what the next step should be. Was this just a great experience for my husband and now we were supposed to go on with life as before or did God have something else in mind for our family? My husband and I have always felt like, there’s got to be something more for our lives. What does God have planned for us? But we didn’t know what it was. I resolved to sit back, pray, and wait to see where God was leading my husband and me. About six months after that PNG trip, one of my husband teammates told him he was returning to PNG for another go-team. Little by little PNG was creeping into our everyday lives. Little things kept reminding my husband about PNG and he bean to talk more and more about it. I still waited and prayed for what would happen next. My husband and I began to talk about what direction God was taking our family. We decided to look into going on another trip to PNG. Again was struggled with who should go. Should our whole family go, should it be just my husband and I, or should I go alone?

Our reason for this second trip was to get confirmation from God, get to know the Wycliffe process a little better, and give me a chance to experience PNG and see how I adapted to that environment, since we feel like PNG is where God is calling us at this point As we began filling out paperwork and talking about this second go team, however, all the reasons for a second go-team seemed to go away. Three weeks in PNG wouldn’t really give me a good idea of how I would adapt, the Wycliff process for a go-team is completely different from applying for full-time ministry, and most importantly we already feel like we have confirmation from God. We also considered the cost of the second go-team and realized that did not seem like the best use of finances, if full-time was our ultimate goal. So many small seemingly insignificant things have been happening over the past few months that keep pointing us to missions. For me, it feels like God has always had missions in mind for me and now all the pieces are falling into place.

As I look back over this explanation it seems like the bulk of this process has happened in the heart of my husband, yet I believe God knew from the beginning my heart for missions. I believe he put my husband I together knowing that we would eventually have like minds and would desire to serve together.

Why do we particularly desire to serve with Wycliffe? It’s interesting that my very first experience with missions was with Wycliffe. As a child, I attended a small baptist chuch in Southern California. Our church had one couple we had sent to the mission field. They were translators with Wycliffe. I’ve always had a great deal of respect of the Wycliff organization. I also, believe that the organization is vital to our success on the field. I have confidence that Wycliffe will give us the support we need.

6/29/2005

The Process #1

after initially talking to Wycliffe, getting to know the organization a little, meeting different people, we decided to apply for membership.

Our Current and Personal Goals are:
-Apply to Wycliffe
-Attend ACMC (conference at Calvary)
-Attend Perspectives (a class I'm told is very beneficial)


Applying to Wycliffe and Jaars
-First you fill out about 5 documents. Luckily they're all in online formats. You fill out a basic information document, then a skills questionnaire, and you write a personal testimony and a health questionnaire. Send all that in, and it goes through the process. About a week later you get a call.

-This call is an interview going over your documents, looking for red-alarms, answering questions about the next steps, etc. We had that call on Monday of this week an it went very well. We were worried about our only debt, our student loans, which we refinanced 2 years ago to drop the monthly payments way down as well as get the interest rate dropped. Both being Biola graduates we had 17k left in loans. Now, we figured Wycliffe had to have some sort of support for this because Biola is twice as expensive now, and I'm sure that Biola U. is a good stamp to have on your application... so we asked God to make that part work out. As it turns out, it worked out very well. Wycliffe allows up to 36k in student loans and 1200 in credit card debt (we shouldn't have any credit card debt to worry about).

-Now we are waiting 10 days to receive the APPLICATION.
The application requires more paper filling, a personality profile (MMPI2), a bible knowledge test, and request for referrals from several people. Depending on how long the referrals take to get in, the application process takes approx. 2 months.

That's where we are now.

How do we Know?

so the first question on most people’s minds is “how did you come to this decision?”
Which to me is a derivation of “how do you know God is calling you?”
I don’t see how I can possibly answer this question in a complete way because as I look around I see more and more confirmations that this is the right decision, and the story keeps growing. So I’ll have to keep in some generalities, the specifics of this process seems to be something that really only make sense to us, but I’ll try to share some of the more fun stories.

You know in Samuel how David inquired of God, “should I go to Hebron, will you deliver the Philistines to me?” and God said, “Go, I will surely deliver them to you.” ?
It was nothing like that for us. (-; I have definitely wished it was, I would love to hear God’s voice so clearly!

I believe the process of seeking out God’s will is a bit more complicated for us these days because we have so many distractions and prioritize our time so poorly. Being convicted of this some years ago, I’ve sort of put off removing distractions for a little bit, and then finally we began to shed all the unimportant things and I really spent quality time in the Word and not only in prayer, but in silent listening, in being still, and learning to wait on God. This is a process I’m still very much learning, but I find that it is a consuming interest as my specific prayer has been to hunger and thirst for righteousness, to cry out for God’s Word.

So there I am. Wow how far back should I go? Okay quick version, I was inspired to go to Papua New Guinea because I heard Geoff Russell speak months before about it and he was so energetic and my wife and I both felt a twinge that said “you should go.” Before that another guy came and spoke who used to work for HP and was going to Kierkeztan (sp?). I thought, “woah, there’s missions work for computer guys?”. Years later I’m in Papua New Guinea having the time of my life. To get there I had to condition my spirit to be a servant, and that is still my concentration. Spending time in the Word daily, and praying more than daily, almost minute by minute, setting my sights on God’s kingdom and not this world. I come back from Papua New Guinea refreshed, excited, feeling at home with the place, and I said ‘this is so good, it can’t be true, there has to be some huge problem with this, I’m going to put it out of my head for at least one year.”

So I began to ignore Papua New Guinea. I figured it was just adrenaline and I was responding to it. I figured most people who went on go teams got jazzed up, and I wasn’t about to make any life decisions in this state of mind. So for nearly 1 year after the initial meet and greets to talk about the go trip, I didn’t even think about PNG. I did remember Bob Hooker’s retirement party and how people said of him, he never said “no” to ministry, and that became my motto. But I was scared to tell people, because I didn’t want to be worked to death (-;. That year I was working in Awana, and getting odd requests to do little one off things. I started to see that as you open your heart and willingness to God, He starts to use you in ways you don’t expect. Ways that later, it turns out, would create relationships that would help guide me to PNG. God is so perfect in His planning it’s amazing.

I didn’t make it a whole year. Around May, 7-8 months later, someone nudged me and said “I’m going to PNG again” I let it go, and didn’t think about it. 1 Month later, he nudged me again, “I’m going to PNG again.” It is from that time, that I could not escape my desire to go to Papua New Guinea.

When I say can’t escape, I mean, this thought completely obsessed my mind, and when I tried to clear my mind, something would fill it again. Now here is where the line between supernatural and coincidence becomes blurred. We all know as science teaches us that if we are obsessed with something, everything will remind you of it. So I’m trying to keep that in mind, because everywhere I’m looking PNG is popping up. This is the trend God has always used to guide my family. He starts to work slowly in my head, putting a thought. Then I think on it for a while, try to put it out of my head, it won’t leave, I put it to God in prayer, and it still won’t leave, then it grows and grows, and finally when I think I’m totally nuts, I consult my wife who balances me, and usually confirms God’s direction in some way.

So I began to journal the list of “circumstances” or “providence” depending on your slant. The list began to grow. I was starting to have intense dreams about visiting Papua New Guinea. I was waking up in the morning wishing I was in Papua New Guinea and tired from tossing and turning. I was writing mental pros and cons in my head, I was searching the Word, finally I said “AAAH I can’t get this out of my head, I need a distraction.” I prayed that night for a distraction. The next morning for lunch a co-worker/friend said “I need to drop by the bookstore.” !!! GREAT I figured I’d pick up a distraction. I did. I’m a Michael Crichton fan and so I picked up his latest, simply asked the clerk if they had it, after ten minutes of going to the back room they delivered it. Having caused so much of a stir I bought the book without even reading the jacket cover. It was his latest, I hadn’t read it, that was good enough. That night I settled down in bed to read, a process which typically clears my mind so I can sleep. The first few chapters placed the story in…. drum roll please… Papua New Guinea. Is that a coincidence? I prayed to God, if not cried out, “Okay I get the point, you want me to go to Papua New Guinea! But how can I do it?” I decided then that I should start considering this, and that to confirm I was in the right, God would have to tell my wife the same message without my influence.

That was a bad idea. I had heard stories where both people knew they needed to go instantly. The only story I have like that was when Geoff Russell spoke at Shekinah years before and my wife and I in the car both said something to the effect of “something special happened in there, didn’t it.” We both felt God’s touch back then, but weren’t sure what it meant, other than we were going to go on a go-team in the future.

Okay so here I am waiting on God to tell my wife she needs to go to PNG with me. Keeping my thoughts to myself, which is VERY VERY hard for me (you know me, you know I’m a loudmouth). My heart starts to change, I start to dig even deeper into the Word and I’m hoping any day now my wife will say “you know I’ve been thinking…” But she doesn’t. This was a completely silly thing for me to expect because my wife is not like that, never has been. If I’ve ever met a I Corinthians woman it’s her, and she has never forced her will on me, has never pushed me to do what is right. Always gentle encouragements so as to make me think it’s my idea. Always kindly helping me to be a better man, but never being pushy. What I was hoping for now was a push, I wanted God to confirm it and tell me forcefully, but in doing so I started to realize I was really avoiding being responsible for a leadership decision. I consulted with friends who told me that not every calling works the way I was expecting. My eyes were open to how really na├»ve about missions (aka Global Outreach) I really was.

That night I told my wife, I had been thinking about Papua New Guinea. Not fully stressing how intensely or that I was thinking permanently. So she thought a go-team would be good. We began to look into that process and become familiar with Wycliffe.
This is where all the confirmation began to flood in. Once we had become unified with “yes we’re going in January for 3 weeks” Everything that came across our path started to confirm it was the right choice, except for the actual going. Wycliffe was a delight to work with, our spirits felt right, the Russells in PNG were excited, everything was going right except something still was happening in our hearts. We started to think about things in terms of as if we were already living there. The Wycliffe representative asked me about our go team and said to me “you experienced no culture-shock? You’re the first person I’ve ever heard that from.” He kept saying little things that were confirming to me God wanted me over there. As we talked more and more about it, we decided this go team was going to be an interview for whether or not we’d go there full time.

Interviewing Wycliffe, getting Kendal familiar with the place, was our two main goals. God was confirming for me by watching my wife process this. She was so, I can’t explain it. My wife has always wanted to become a missionary, but marrying me she gave up any global influence and decided to keep it local. To see her start to get pumped up about this was exciting. We talked and talked, created a list of things we wanted to accomplish by going to Papua New Guinea on this January go-team.

In my heart, looking around, I started to see my life without me in it. I looked around at people and felt sadness as I was already missing them. And yet we hadn’t committed in our hearts to go full time yet. I was missing seeing my little nieces and nephews grow up, I was missing my pals, I was missing seeing movies in large screen theatres… I was going through the emotional process of separation, and yet none of it deterred me from wanting to go. Then one night, Kendal and I discussed the list again. She started to say things like “well we really have already accomplished this one, and this one doesn’t make as much sense as it used to.”

We sat there, together, and I said, “we just eliminated the list of reasons to go in January. Did we just decide to go full time?” and my wife responded, “I think we did.”

We sat there silent, like the first time she told me we were expecting a baby. It was that much joy and trembling, and anxiety and surprise, all at the same time.

Of course up to this point there were several consulting sessions with Wycliffe and knowledgeable friends, a lot of conversations and prayers and still are. This is the quick version (this is quick?). We made two calls. One to schedule time with a couple to confirm whether or not we were crazy, and one to schedule a family get together to tell them the news should it turn out we weren’t crazy.

Well we met with the couple and they said “what do you need from us?”
“We need to know that going to PNG full time without a second go-team isn’t a crazy idea?” they responded “after talking to you, any benefit you would have gotten from a go-team, you’ve already received. It isn’t necessary, you aren’t crazy.”

That’s the best confirmation I think I’ve ever heard, “you aren’t crazy.” So we told our family the next day. THAT WAS THE TOUGHEST THING I’VE EVER DONE IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.

You know how God says He will not give you more than you can bear? I thought on those words as I wept alone, in my room, begging for strength from God. I felt as if I had single handedly watched the death of all of my family members. They reacted wonderfully by my heart was heavy. God started to bring me encouragement and prove faithful to me. He started to show me how He had been preparing this for a very long time.

I need to end this at this point. So here are my final thoughts.
It is indeed a privilege to be able to look back on your life and see God’s hand guiding you. Your steps, and every person who came into your life and how they helped God’s plan, were set already by Him. To catch just a glimpse of that, to see a small portion of the jigsaw puzzle that is my life, and while looking at it, with one decision, one moment of pure obedience to God see all the pieces snap into place, and form a picture.

Wow, just thinking about it again fills me with great emotion.

It is, as if, every moment of my life, has led me to this place I am at now. And I am committed to taking every step God shows me to take. Now that I am not wrestling against His will, the process is much more smooth.


(I would like for my wife to lend her perspective on how she knows as well....but we both know God's been calling her to this for her whole life, it's jsut been me and my thick skull that He's had to work the most on recently).

6/28/2005

Post #1

This is a private blog for now. Created with the intent of combining ministries between the sent, and the senders. Wycliffe calls the process of getting prayer support and financial support "partner discovery". I'm not sure why they call it that specifically, but I know why I like that term! Partners.... we're partners. If you're reading this then you're probably praying for our family already, and we need that. The partner part makes sense. We are teaming up to do something great for God! I'm jealous of your end of the deal. Lately God has really put it on my heart to pray and support others who go because it's like I get to attach myself to what God is doing and I'm blessed by it. It's purely a selfish endeavor on my part, because honestly I don't think God needs me. I think need is the wrong term, it is more like God chooses to use me. He created diamonds and rubies and the precious minerals of this earth that money is derived from, He really doesn't need me to cough up money or prayers, He is almighty, He is able to make this happen alone if He so chooses. But He gives me this chance for joy that I can attach my heart to what He is doing and sacrifice part of myself to it. That is why I'm putting so much emphasis on communication. I myself am always dying to know what's going on with the people we support, personally I think everyone should blog! (-;

The Discovery is the exciting part, because we don't know how God is going to make this happen. How is God going to supply what it takes to get us to Papua New Guinea? We don't know. What hearts is God already working in to join us in this endeavor? We don't know. We wait in anticipation to see how God is going to make this come together, because we know we've been called to do it. We know God said "here's what you need to do."

Now we get to watch the fun happen. We get to see God pull this off, and discovering how He'll do it is going to be incredible! Typically those being sent are the one who reap the blessings but this blog is intended to help you, those who care the most, get blessed as well by hearing of God's work.

This Blog is private because at this time, there are people who can't know these plans, and there are people who wouldn't understand or be ready for the things this blog will contain. In fact I'm not even sure if by keeping this blog I'm alienating myself from some secret pact of the "missionary." Until I'm convicted otherwise, this blog exists because we've asked you to pray for us, and we want you to know how to pray, and you are our inner circle of support.

As holders of this blog I ask that you not publicize what is inside this blog. What you read is for your eyes only, until such a time as we can make it completely public.

With all of that said, thanks for being here, thanks for reading, please keep us in prayer.
This blog will be wordy, but that is because we're excited.