Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Few Points for Prayer

We've been really encouraged the last few weeks with progress in the translation of Ephesians. Sesi and I are trying to finish up through chapter 5 by the end of the month. So far it's looking like we might make it! Please pray that we'd be able to keep our focus and be able to drive this thing forward. Then just one more chapter to go. Chapter six will take a while since Sesi, who is my main translation helper, is going to be working with some local level elections the following month. He's needing to bring in some income for his family since they've been unable to sell their coffee yet this year. The time he's away might be a good time for me to work out some of the checking process that doesn't require Sesi.

While we're excited to see translation continuing along (as well as many other great things God is doing here), we've been kind of sad to watch some of the decisions, or lack of action, of a few key church leaders (in training) recently which leaves the church in a discouraging place. We are thankful for a few who seem to be able to continue in God's amazing strength to hold things together. We long for the day when there are those qualified and willing to shepherd the church as elders. Growth can sometimes seem to happen rapidly and other times very slowly, or not at all for a while. Times like this highlight the years of work that are left to be done here, and also the fact that the work is more than just one family can do alone.

One area in particular that we would appreciate your continued prayers for is regarding the longevity of the literacy program in Mibu. While it started off with a bang years ago, two things threaten its continuation here. One is whether or not the church is willing to take the initiative, investing their own resources to keep the program going for the next generation. There are actually those who think now that they themselves are literate why should they invest for others to become literate. This is indicative of a much bigger problem than just literacy. The other is that the standard of literacy has been quite low here. Those who are literate are only moderately so. Higher literacy skills will result in leaders better equipped to lead, and also result in more encouragement about the importance of literacy and thus the need for them to continue it. Good plans have been talked about and even agreed upon regarding training to increase literacy skills. But no initiative is being taken by the church as of yet. Again, pointing to a bigger issue and hurdle that must be overcome before this can be called a truly indigenous church plant. The problem seems to primarily revolve around a mindset of 'waiting until someone else does it for us'. Undealt with, it is a church killer. But back to literacy... without it, God's word will fall back into inaccessibility for the Mibus. How can leaders teach others without being able to comfortably read God's word? How can the next generation of people ever hear God speaking to them without the ability to read his word for themselves? It's not a difficult or trick question. The simple answer is that they cannot. We've been working with leaders on this for nearly 8 months now with little to no movement. We would appreciate your prayers regarding how to move forward in this.

One other noteworthy area we'd appreciate your prayers for is that a few of the church leaders, in the name of 'diplomacy', are quietly encouraging that those who openly reject God's truth intermingle with the church. They lurk around the outskirts of the church meetings which are supposed to be about honoring and worshipping God together and fellowship and growing together. But these folks only seem to ever sow discord, anger, and confusion. It's not that these people don't need to hear about God's love too. But they openly reject His offer of grace. They're only there to throw rocks as it were. They've been getting more and more openly antagonistic as well. Please pray that the church leaders would realize together the need to maintain the sanctity of fellowship while still being able to hold out God's grace to those who do not yet see it.

There are indeed lots of exciting things that God has been and continues doing here in Mibu! But these are a couple key areas of concern for which we'd appreciate the ongoing prayer of all of you who care for the Mibu Ministry.

No comments: