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:
intercessor (prayer)

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.


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.


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 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.