Tuesday, June 6, 2017

First Thessalonians in Mibu!

God continues to work great things here in Mibu! His church continues to grow and mature! We are continuously grateful for being made a part of His work like this! And we're also thanking God for your gracious prayers and financial provisions each month! We're all part of the same Body of Christ, working together, whether it's praying, sending, or going, to see His great name known! And we're seeing the fruit of that here in Mibu! Thank you!

Sesi and I recently finished (well nearly all done… just a bit of cleanup on the last few lessons) developing the lessons for 1 Thessalonians. We got the first five lessons (out of eight total) printed and have begun teaching this great epistle for the first time ever in Mibu! We're already a couple lessons in, and it's going very well; already providing new challenges for the church here! People are excited to continue to work right on through.

Once the lessons were done, I got started right away on translating 2 Thessalonians. It shouldn't be too difficult to translate, though there are two places that pose some challenges for anyone doing a thorough exegesis. But I've just about got those ironed out here and hope things can move at an acceptible pace here soon. It doesn't help that I've got so many other things requiring my attention through the day. Both planned and impromptu meetings/discussions, house maintenance/repairs (gotta change the gas bottle whenever it runs out, etc), administrative and logistical stuff, and much much more! Whew! Sometimes I feel like I'm trying to fit 3 full-time jobs into each week!

One of the things the Mibu church has been doing the last several years, that I love, is that a contingent of leaders (both men and women) plans and goes around to the different churches to see how each is doing, provide support and teaching where needed, help deal with issues that have come up, and generally just be an encouragement and a force for unity. I hear them refer to this with a pigin term, 'patrol'. So they're doing a church 'patrol'. One of the key leaders who usually is a part of these patrols, is so busy right now he's unable to go. But I had the pleasure of overhearing his discussion with another leader as he prepared him for the task he was handing off to him! I heard such wisdom and discernment in this guy! And when I hear them talking about doing a patrol, and when I hear the reports when they get back, of their times with other leaders in these areas, I can't help but think that the concern for the church that we read of in the apostles isn't being modeled quite well by these leaders!

All in all, there are 7 different village church groups they'll be visiting starting next Sunday. I'll give a sampling of some of the issues they're wanting to look into and address. Some of them are positive, and some of them signs of a messy church. One of the places has a small group of folks who are holding on to some of their former idols… just in case. Another place, sadly, the believers aren't even meeting regularly and the leadership there just seems to be 'asleep' kind of doing their own thing. In contrast to that, another village is doing very well with a number of godly leaders, people genuinely interested in knowing God, and people taking initiative to keep the church growing and moving forward! There are two places that are fairly new Christians, the result of recent outreaches, who they just want to encourage to keep pressing on. And much more! So lots to pray about if you would take the time!

We continue to work especially hard to develop leaders in the church, specifically with the appointment of elders in mind. Each Saturday morning I spend time with the leaders teaching and challenging them in a particular aspect of biblical leadership. This last Saturday we had a big discussion about centrality of the quality of humility in the church in general, but particularly in it's leaders. The discussion was such a challenge, that those in attendance asked if we could go through it again with a larger group on Sunday after the worship and teaching service! Among many other things, this church needs skilled shepherd/elders who give sacrificially out of a deep care for the well being of God's people, and who can teach, guide, and protect. Please continue to pray for these leaders.
We celebrated Abigail's 7th birthday on May 11th! Can't believe how quick she's growing up!

A group of kids just hamming it up in Mibu!
Skyler and Maddie showing me the 'super cool' place they discovered in the jungle near our house!

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