Tuesday, May 31, 2011

We Won’t Forget

We were proud to be able to accompany my grandparents to the Memorial Day parade.  My grandfather served on a Destroyer in the South Pacific during WWII.  My grandmother also trained as a nurse to serve with the WAVES.  It was very touching to see several people come up to them during the parade to thank them for their service.073072






They’ve shared some good stories with us about life during WWII and what it was like to serve on a navy ship with Kamikaze planes falling from the sky.  Hearing those tales makes us even more grateful for their loyalty to our country and God’s protection of their lives!  A big thank you to all our service men and women who face similar dangers everyday.  We won’t forget those who gave everything for our freedom.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spring Again…and Again

Spring came to North Carolina in early March and we enjoyed the blooming Dogwood, and spending as much time outside as possible.  The temperatures were just starting to reach into the summer-like 90s when we packed up the van to head north and prolong our Spring.

035Right now we’re spending four weeks on my grandparents’ farm in Wisconsin where temperatures are still brisk, and trees and flowers are just starting to bloom.  We’re grateful for the opportunity to visit with some of my extended family and make ourselves useful in the process.

The farm doesn’t keep animals anymore (other than a few timid barn cats), but there is always work to be done to keep the buildings and grounds shipshape—brush to cut, rocks to clear out, grass to mow….  The wide open spaces, and physical labor seem to agree with some of us in particular.  <smile>

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Proclaim His Greatness

Thank you for participating in this 15-day Prayer Challenge, and for joining us as we pray for the expansion of God’s Kingdom through Bible translation.  We trust that God has heard our prayers and is already acting in ways (seen or unseen) to the glory of his holy name.

We also hope the stories we’ve shared have refreshed your spiritual walk, and maybe opened your eyes to “mustard seeds” in your own life.  Too often we forget what God has done for us in the past and we get impatient when he doesn’t act the way we want him to now.  We can doubt God’s love for us even though He has shown himself faithful time and time again.  Remembering God’s past provision, however, can help us trust him for theMH900331626 future.  So let’s…

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.

     Let the whole world know what he has done.

Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.

     Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.

Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord.

     Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him.

Remember the wonders he has performed,

     his miracles, and the rulings he has given,

you children of his servant Israel,

     you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.   --1 Chronicles 16:8-13 (NLT)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bedtime Stories

(Day 15 of 15-day Prayer Challenge)

Usi, a mother of two, came to help me (Missy) with household chores on Friday mornings, but did not speak or understand much English. I needed to practice my Pidgin, and she needed cash to buy soap and kerosene, so the arrangement worked out well. I knew God had brought Usi into my life, but I was a bit nervous about this. I make friends here in the States very slowly. So how was I going to build a relationship with another woman that didn’t even speak the same language?

At first, I kind of dreaded Friday morning. It was always such a struggle to communicate more than the basic, “How are you? How is your family? Can you please help me hang up the laundry?” I wanted to show Usi that she was important to me, and not just for the work she did.

In PNG it is customary for house help to receive tea or coffee at 10:00 AM from their employer. So after praying about it, I decided to use that time to sit down with Usi and try talking about her home, garden etc. After the first couple of weeks, my limited vocabulary was exhausted and I could tell Usi was bored and uncomfortable. In desperation, I prayed to God for help, that I didn’t know how I was going to reach out to Usi with Christ’s love.

Later that week I talked with Ruth, our neighbor’s house help. Ruth spoke a little English and told me how she had recently learned to read the pidgin Bible. That gave me an idea and I asked Ruth if she would come for tea the following Friday and help me read a story from the Gospels.

So the next week after Ruth, Usi and I finished our tea and snack, I brought out my Pidgin New Testament and read the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. Ruth followed along with me, correcting my pronunciation often, and Usi listened attentively.

The following week I did as I had done before and read the parable of the four soils. Only this time after I was finished reading, Usi started talking to Ruth in pidgin. I caught pieces of what she was saying and realized they were discussing the parable.

The next week I read about the sinful woman anointing Jesus’ feet, and again I realized that Usi was repeating the whole story back to Ruth and I in her own words, and Ruth was correcting her from time to time.

2 June 03 023By the fourth week, I was curious as to what Usi was doing, so I asked her, “Usi, would you like to read the parable this time?” Usi shook her head no and said, “I can’t read and my husband won’t allow me and my children to go to church. The only time I get to hear God’s Word is when you read from it on Friday mornings. Since my children can’t be here to listen, I’m repeating the stories so I can go back and tell them. They like for me to tell them stories about Jesus when they go to bed.”

Please pray:

  • That through Bible translation, the Kingdom of God would continue to permeate the areas of the world without God’s Word.
  • That God would prepare hearts to receive the seed of his Word.
  • That God would meet our financial need to his glory and the strengthening of our faith.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thank You, Debbie

(Day 14 of 15-day Prayer Challenge)

Carolyn London, author of “The Littlest Airplane”, “Mr. Jeopardy”, “Mr. Bicycle”, and other children’s stories, sent this letter to a child who gave her allowance for missionary work.

Dear Debbie,

When your very good gift of 25 cents arrived the other day, Uncle Paul and I knew that a little girl who sends her whole allowance to the mission field wants something special done with her money. Of course, Uncle Paul and I always thank the Lord Jesus for the gifts He sends us, and we always ask Him to help us use them wisely.

Let me tell you what happened to your money. First of all, when you sent it to SIM and asked them to send it to "Uncle Paul and Aunt Carolyn" in Nigeria, the staff got busy. One person went to the bank and said, "Please see that this 25 cents is sent to Nigeria."

Someone else wrote a letter. This is what the letter said, even though it might not be the exact words:

Dear Treasurer of the Mission in Nigeria,

Debbie has given a very wonderful gift so that boys and girls can hear about Jesus. When her 25 cents has been transferred to Nigeria, please give it to Mr. & Mrs. London.

One day the Treasurer in Nigeria went to the bank and got your money. It doesn’t look like the money you sent. It has been changed to Nigerian money.

Uncle Paul went to the SIM bookshop. He bought some tracts that were written in Hausa, some in English, and some in Yoruba. Uncle Paul paid for the tracts with your money. Anyone who reads them will know how to believe in Jesus and be saved.

After we bought the tracts we went into town. Lots of boys and girls in Jos can read, so we knew we’d find some who wanted your tracts. Pretty soon we saw a little girl bringing water to her house. I asked her if she could read. “I read Yoruba,” she said. So she took one of your Yoruba papers.

A man stood in a shop nearby. When he saw we were giving out tracts, he ran out quickly and asked, “May I have one?” He accepted his tract in the polite African way of receiving a gift--with both hands. We tell the boys and girls that is the way they should receive God’s Gift--with both hands. They shouldn’t try to get God’s gift of eternal life with one hand and hold on to the world with the other.

In a few moments a little girl came. She was carrying a teapot on her head. Heads are very useful things. They are not only good to think with; they are also good to carry with. The little girl had been gone only a few seconds when some other children came by. One little girl carried her baby sister on her back. These boys and girls were very glad to have papers that told them about Jesus. They all took their papers home to read to their mommies and daddies.

So you see, Debbie, your gift is telling many people about the Lord Jesus.

We hope you will remember to pray for all the boys and girls in Nigeria.

Uncle Paul and Aunt Carolyn London

Story and clipart from SIM International’s website under “Resources & Downloads”.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

First Ever Book

(Day 13 of 15-day Prayer Challenge)

The small group of Maiadom people—726 in all—from Papua New Guinea had prayed for fifteen years for some mission organization to translate the Scriptures into their mother tongue.

As a vernacular translator trainee, Eka Andrew attended a workshop to enable him to create storybooks and eventually translate Scripture in his own Maiadom language. When his storybook was done, Karla Sligh, the language survey specialist who guided him through his project, asked Eka, “Do you realize that you just made the first book ever in your language?” At first he looked at the floor and simply grinned. Then, a wide smile spread across his face, as the full impact of her question struck him. Perhaps he could be part of the answer to his own villagers’ prayers. He shook his head and laughed to himself for the next five minutes.

p13221Emotion welling up inside her, Karla herself began to realize the implications of that moment. She and the workshop staff had just had a part in helping the Maiadom people expand their world.

Please pray:
  • That through Bible translation, the Kingdom of God would continue to permeate the areas of the world without God’s Word.
  • That God would prepare hearts to receive the seed of his Word.
  • That God would meet our financial need to his glory and the strengthening of our faith.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Eureka! No One Is Indispensable

(Day 12 of 15-day Prayer Challenge)

Story by Nita Grainger from www.thewordislife.net.

As our vehicle negotiated dirt roads and dried-up riverbeds that led to our destination, red dust swirled around, penetrating our eyes and ears, and leaving our noses dry and bleeding. Somehow, I had forgotten how the harmattan winds blow sand from the ever-encroaching Sahara at this time of year.

Other memories, however, came unbidden. Painful things. Memories of leaving Nigeria 18 years before, struck down by a mysterious illness that left me weak and bed-ridden with fever for weeks.

My husband Peter and I had responded to the need for a Bible translation in the Izere [ee-ZAY-ray] language, spoken by 50,000 people in Nigeria's Plateau State. Local people built us a mud house where we could live, learn the language and lay the foundations for Scripture translation.

After only two years, though, my illness effectively terminated our career overseas. It left me with a profound sense of failure. We both felt we had achieved so little: an alphabet and literacy materials, some grammatical analysis and good relationships with the church and local people. But we had hoped to do so much more.

Last year we had the opportunity to return to Nigeria where Peter, now pastor of a large city centre church in Scotland, was to speak at a spiritual retreat for a group of Bible translators in Nigeria. Peter was keen to return to see how the Izere work had progressed. But me? Well, I had to face those painful memories...

One of the hardest parts of leaving Nigeria was the long wait - five years! - for someone to take over. But the prospect of meeting our successors, Rich and Janice Gardner, had persuaded me to return. We were delighted when they told us they had organized a visit to our old home, and a trip to a remote location to show the JESUS Film in the Izere language.

The dilapidated state of our house and the village, and the news that my faithful, young house helper had died, saddened me. Nevertheless, the warm welcome and affirmation from pastors and friends brought a sense of closure.

Next morning we set out for a village six hours' drive away to show the JESUS Film, stopping en route at many places where people had already seen it. We sensed its impact already when groups of new believers came to greet us. In some villages, half of those watching decided to follow Christ - 700 in one village alone!

Night closed in as we arrived. Our audience was smaller than expected, due to a wedding taking place that night. Still, it was with a sense of joy and praise that we saw 70 respond to the invitation to follow Jesus. They were told about follow-up arrangements (starting at 6.00 a.m. the next morning) where they would be grounded in the basics of the faith. About 20 young and committed Christian men have volunteered to disciple them, cycling from village to village.

With the New Testament translation now well underway, God's Word is becoming available. The people will not only see Jesus as a historical figure, but also walk with Him every day, as their seed of faith is watered and grows.

The church is growing and I can now look back with a deep sense of gratitude that we were able to play a small but foundational part in making it possible. With a sense of awe, I have realized afresh the incredible truth that God chose to communicate the gospel through people, yet none of us is indispensable. God knows where to put each of us.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

This I Can Do

(Day 11 of 15-day Prayer Challenge)

An old man in Kayao village in Burkina Faso wanted to contribute to Bible translation work in the Buamu Cui language.  He brought a goat to the head of the translation committee and said, “Behold, this she-goat is for you. Take it, and use it for food for the translators. This is my participation in the translation.  I can’t participate any other way, because I didn’t go to school, but this I can do.”  Praise God for the desire he planted in the heart of this man.

Please pray:
  • That through Bible translation, the Kingdom of God would continue to permeate the areas of the world without God’s Word.
  • That God would prepare hearts to receive the seed of his Word.
  • That God would meet our financial need to his glory and the strengthening of our faith.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Street Child to Visionary

(Day 10 of 15-day Prayer Challenge)

by Bud Larsen from:  Rev. 7, Every Nation People Language, Spring 2008, vol. 3, issue 2

In Bible translation work, when we commit what we have learned to faithful workers who have the vision to train others, there’s no telling where God will lead them. My wife, Marlys, and I are community development consultants. Among other things, we teach about the holistic needs of communities, how to respond to physical and social needs, as well as spiritual ones.

Akhy family

In many parts of the world, music and drama serve as effective tools for community change, celebration and learning. While teaching a course in guitar building and tanning for Dani people in the highlands of Papua, we met Akhy Logo, a young Dani man who had grown up in an orphanage in the city of Wamena. He showed up unexpectedly at the course and stood outside the window of the classroom, watching closely what was being taught.

About three years later we returned to Sentani on Papua’s coast where Akhy was living then. He made sure he was part of the course. Akhy wrote songs, recorded CDs, learned how to make guitars and ukuleles, and developed a keen aptitude for computers. He also had an uncanny ability to learn English and was making a small income as an English tutor. In the evenings Akhy, Marlys and I would spend hours developing a plan for his vision to minister to street kids in Wamena.

Our course finished and we returned to the U.S. About a year later, Akhy wrote to tell how he and his brother-in-law had organized and registered with the provincial government a yayasan—an organization built on the vision of local people to meet their community development needs. They named it Tiranus, which comes from a place mentioned in Acts 19:9 (Tyrannus in English) where the apostle Paul held daily discussions with disciples in a lecture hall.

Akhy envisioned a school whose curriculum included guitar building, writing and recording music, computer skills, math, English, and Bible—all subjects that had helped him go from street kid and orphan to confident visionary and teacher. Over 200 Danis applied, but his staff decided to start small with only 15 people, beginning classes in a little, donated Papuan-style house.

Akhy familyDuring our next round of training workshops, we included 14 eager Tiranus students and, in addition to instrument building, recording, and improving their English teaching skills, we helped them get a grant to buy five computers and install electrical wiring in their classroom. We set up a musical instrument-building workshop under a tarp behind the classroom and, together, made guitars, ukuleles, three-stringed fiddles, and a string bass. Students practiced writing and recording what we call “songs that teach and inspire” for worship, for changing attitudes, and for learning and remembering.

When we returned to Sentani in January 2007 for more workshops, Akhy told how a large church there had invited Tiranus to play their hand-made instruments and sing their songs. The congregation was amazed that Papuans could actually build guitars—something they thought could only be made in factories. They took many photos and asked many questions.

Now after their second year of classes, Tiranus is expanding. While Akhy’s brother-in-law and others remain at the Sentani site (doing development work, as well as completing the Wolok translation—a dialect of Dani), Akhy has packed up computers, books and tools and sent them to Wamena with the help of YAJASI* airplanes. There they have begun building their permanent school near the orphanage where Akhy grew up.

Teaching street kids computer skills, English, guitar building and song writing may not sound much like Bible translation and literacy work, but as a byproduct of the Word working in the heart of a young visionary, it has offered an unusual opportunity to Dani orphans and street kids.

* YAJASI is a JAARS partner in aviation.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Worry is NOT an Option

(Day 9 of 15-day Prayer Challenge)

My education had hit a brick wall, and it was obvious that Missy and I would need to move to North Carolina to pursue further aircraft maintenance training. Doubts crowded in clip_image002[8]anyway.… North Carolina was a long way from Minnesota. We knew no one in the neighborhood of my future school. Missy would need to find a job somehow, but could we find one to provide for our needs? Would she get health insurance benefits? Would we be able to get along with one vehicle? And really…why were we doing this again?

We were obeying the call the Lord had placed in each of our hearts years before—to help the Bibleless people of the world get God’s Word in their own language. So believing that “where God calls, he also provides” we decided to trust the Lord with the details.

We packed up and moved our few belongings to a one bedroom apartment in the small town near the school. After settling in, the first order of business was to open up a checking account at a local bank and then start looking a job for Missy. Unfortunately, we had no idea where to begin.

We picked a bank close to the laundry mat to make errand-running more efficient. While in the process of opening an account, the bank representative asked what brought us to her small town. We ended up sharing our story with her and mentioned that Missy was looking a job.

A few days later I returned to the bank to make a transaction, and one of the employees asked if Missy was still looking for work. I said, “Yes!” and she gave me a job application to take home. Missy quickly filled it out, and within a couple of hours of returning it to the bank, she was called in for an interview. Before the bank closed for the day, she had a position as a teller-trainee.

Not only was her pay sufficient to meet our needs, but her hours allowed us to successfully maneuver our schedules using only one vehicle. And to show us how perfectly God had control over all the little details…. Missy’s health insurance benefits began her first day of clip_image002[10]employment—which was the day after our coverage in Minnesota expired!

God means what he says in Luke 12:29-31:

“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.” (NLT)

Please pray:
  • That through Bible translation, the Kingdom of God would continue to permeate the areas of the world without God’s Word.
  • That God would prepare hearts to receive the seed of his Word.
  • That God would meet our financial need to his glory and the strengthening of our faith.