Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A closed door and a new beginning

Do you remember when we updated you about the possibility of the teaching of God's word returning to the village where the first outreach happened? There are a fair number of believers there (about 70 based on what we can tell). Yet a number of years ago one person in particular ended up leveraging his influence to put a stop to any further teaching. Recently some concerned folks from Mibu went there to scope things out and see if there was any possibility of bringing God's word back to this village. It turns out that many folks, including that influential individual all wanted God's word to come back.

However, just weeks after we updated you on that development, and as things were gearing up for the teachers to go and begin their sacrificial work there, that most influential fella there who had put a stop to the teaching began insisting that he do the teaching. Because of how he was seen to mis-handle God's word in the past the church in Mibu wasn't comfortable putting him in that role of responsibility... not till we could see a more sustained willingness to submit to God's word in his life. We told him to hold on, that maybe we could talk about it again in a year or so. This gentleman's heart began to show through right there when he began insisting that this teaching wouldn't be successful unless he was the one doing it. He has declared that the teaching won't happen unless he is the one doing it. Even more so now, the Mibu church sees the need for this gentleman to sit under the teaching for a while, see his own self-worth crucified, and out of that begin showing himself faithful with the things God is revealing to him through his word. This would need to happen before any consideration is made which would allow him to take up a teaching role again. At this time, he remains stubborn. And as such, he again is effectively closing the door on any teaching that may happen there.

Lord willing, when we return to Mibu in July, we'll be discussing different possible strategies that would allow those in Tariknan who wish to continue being fed by God's word to do so. Accompanying those strategic discussions may need to be some preparation for the possibility of dealing with persecution by those opposing God's great message. Please be in prayer for the believers in that village who are being kept from being fed by God's word. Also pray for the church in Mibu that they'd have the wisdom and discernment to be able to effectively shine God's light over there through teaching of his word and living lives that shine God's mercy and grace.

Now, if you've been looking at the attached diagram, you may be seeing something you're not familiar with yet. That's right... a FOURTH outreach. This recent outreach effort has just recently begun in a nearby village. The little bit of information I have so far says that there are about 50 people attending the initial evangelism lessons right now. The people there have been waiting for the gospel message to come their way for some time now. The church in Mibu is pleased to be able to accommodate! Please keep the people of that village and the Mibu folks who are teaching there in your prayers!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Stateside Update

It's hard to believe that we've been back in Arizona for nearly a month and a half already! I was just realizing the other day we're LONG overdue for an update!

Our travels went really well. The kids behaved excellent on those flights, which makes all the difference in the world. We were so thankful for that on this trip. After arriving home, as usual, we were 'reacquainted' with American germs. Seems after the first month, everyone got what everyone was going to get and we're all feeling good for the moment.

Shannon has begun her regular doctor visits for the new baby and we've been blessed to find out that we're going to have our first boy in the family! We're really excited about that! Now we're just duking it out over what to name this young person. Shannon's health remains good. However, she is now feeling a fair bit of discomfort that limits her a bit and has made sleeping difficult sometimes. We have scheduled the c-section for April 20th. That date is coming up fast!

The kids have been enjoying being back too. They love being able to spend time with their grandparents. They've had lots of special time together. They've also been attending school. Madelyn is in preschool at the Bethany Learning Center, and Skyler is attending first grade at Bethany Christian School. Both are doing so well there and have teachers who really care. Highlights for the kids include things such as playing in the snow up north, Skyler going to see the spring wildflowers in the Superstition Mountains, Maddie getting music lessons from grandma and through a 'musikgarten' class, and Abigail getting a whole lot more daddy time than she's used to.

I'm still amazed that this can even happen, but I've received a number of phone calls from Sesi in Mibu since we've gotten back. No, that doesn't mean there are phones there now. But cell phone signals are just a few hours away from Mibu now and so when Sesi is out and about he makes it a point to give me a call. This way he's able to give us some periodic updates regarding how things are going there in Mibu. There are some exciting things as well as some tough things going on right now. Among the items which are more exciting are the rebirth of efforts to build an airstrip and also the startup of evangelism lessons in Mibu and in a nearby village called Dagave. Then among the tougher things that challenge the church in Mibu are resistance to the planned startup of bible teaching in the village of Tariknan and some difficult and possibly divisive issues that have come up in the outreach areas.

Regarding those things we'll provide more details in the coming weeks so that you can better know how to pray.

As to the rest of our time home (scheduled to return to Mibu on July 20th) we're planning on doing several things. First and foremost is taking care of all things 'baby'; delivery, healing, and all the paperwork required to bring the new Husa back with us. We also want to spend this time catching up with our friends and family. Finally there is a need to broaden the base from which prayer and monthly finances come which help us serve most effectively in Mibu. Interspersed with all that, I'll be hoping to fill things in with a little bit of work furthering our translation efforts in Mibu.

Thank you all for your much needed prayers and support. Thank you for being a part of the team!