Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Paul's Missionary Journeys

I have been reading a book detailing the journeys of Paul from his conversion experience through the end of his ministry.  As a missionary with a young, developing ministry it is encouraging to see the way that his ministry developed and grew in complexity over the course of several years.  It is so easy to get caught up in the story when reading Acts and think that he did all of his work in a short amount of time.  When we read the accounts of Pauls missionary journeys in the various books of the New Testament you recognize the enormity of the task Paul was given, but you do not recognize the time that was required to complete this task.  He spent several years preparing, and then several more years during his missionary journeys.  Between his journeys, he spent several years planning/praying/growing. 
Paul was a rabbi that was very well trained in Old Testament theology and he also had a profound understanding of the people groups in the different regions in Asia Minor and Europe, be it Jews, Gentiles, Romans, or others.  He recognized that there were culturally relevant ways that each group would have to be taught to acurately understand the message he was bringing to them.  Studying the different strategies he used and why he used them has helped me tremendously to prepare the work in Honduras.  You see we live among three distinctly different people groups, the Miskito Indians, the Ladino's, and the Garifuna, a African tribal culture.  Paul recognized cultural issues with each group he came into contact with and used those issues to teach the message of Christ.  We too have to learn the cultural issues that are a hinderance/door to sharing the gospel with the individual groups we work amongst.  Please pray for us to recognize these barriers and doorways so that we may better teach the gospel in our region of the world. 
The task at hand here is truly enormous, but the reward is even greater.  We recognize that the time required to effectively reach the Rio Platano Biosphere Region is a long commitment, but with your prayers and Paul's church planting manual-The Bible, we know that no matter the size of the task, it is possible.

"I can do all things through Christ who strenghtens me" Phillipians 4:13

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blessings and Answered Prayers

Wow.   This past week we had a great and much enjoyed visit with Ryan parents.   The kids were so excited and so were we!   While they were here they also challenged Ryan and I in some amazing conversations we had with them.   One of those conversations led to Ryan and I later talking about what God has been doing.   So often we get caught up in everything we are doing that we do not take the time to just look around.   Ryan and I talked for about an hour and at the end of that time I was honestly shocked at what all God had been doing.   I know right, it is God we are talking about.  I should not be shocked, but I was.   I just wanted to share a few of these with you.   You are all a part of our lives even though we live so far away.   Through your prayers and support you are partnering with us in furthering the Kingdom of God. 

An odd sort of Bible study was started in the truck of a truck driver.  I know it is odd.  

We have been invited to work in a village near our home that has 500 people in it with about 8-10 Christians.   There is already a church in place, but they need training in how to evangelize their community. 
Daily we are able to pour ourselves into 6 little children and share the gospel with them.   God has answered so many prayers within these children’s lives.
Ryan has been able to do hut to hut ministry and A LOT of truck ministry.

God has opened so many doors for us to be welcomed into so many places that it is overwhelmingly amazing.
Ryan has been investing in a local youth and God has done amazing things through him.
Relationships, this is such a key part of what we are doing.   Without relationships with the people around us we will miss so many opportunities to share the Word of God.
Since our first month here Ryan has been working with a local teacher.  The teacher in the past has run off all other missionaries who have talked to him.   Ryan met with him daily for weeks and then they began meeting as the teachers schedule allowed.   After 8 months he asked Ryan for a book to read in English.   Ryan informed him we had Bibles and Christian literature only.   He agreed to take a book.   On their next meeting the teacher opened the book to a chapter talking about inviting Jesus into your life.   The teacher had never heard this before; he assumed Jesus forced Himself on you.  With this new knowledge came lots of questions.  
Our own personal growth and growth in our children, it seems like we have all grown in so many ways.   We are all hungry to grow more and daily we are challenged in this.
We have had the opportunity to work with a medical team in a neighboring village providing eye care and medical care.  God orchestrated so many amazing things during those two days.
We have been able to work with the widows in our community.  
Natalie was able to lead a Bible study with a teacher and another missionary once a week.
Natalie has been given the material to start training on basic hygiene and nutrition; this will help us develop relationships in the villages we are working in.

These are just a few of the things that have been going on.   We spend a lot of time learning the language and just building healthy relationships among the people we live with.  Isn’t it amazing?   God is good!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A rough week

So, I generally try and keep a positive and uplifting attitude when posting, but this one is a little different. You see if I am going to be real then I have to be honest. This past week has been a major struggle for me (Natalie.) I never expected anything to be easy, but come on we are all human and can dream right? This past week it seems like so many things have come to be at one time.

The first was a major hurt. You see it was our first BIG miss since we have lived here. Ryan’s sister got married. We missed it. Our kids were hurt we were hurt, but that is all part of it. Sacrifice. As of right now it does not even feel like they are married. It seems like Ryan and I have watched both of them grow up over the years and now there is a huge void. I love what we are doing and know that this is what God had planned for us, because of that I can make it through.

The second is kind of funny from the outside looking in, but ask Ryan and it was a miserable day. This weekend I was just all out of sorts. I was miserable and felt awful. Ryan and I were talking it all out and came to realize that I had had no protein in almost a week. You see Ryan and the kids have had fish and crab all week and since I don’t eat it I was just eating rice and tortillas. One chicken later I was a happy person again. It is amazing how something like your diet can completely change everything.

The third is something we are still processing. Bidiac, a teenager from a village farther south, is leaving. Over the time we have been here he has become like a son and brother in our family. We have not even told the kids that he is going back home yet. There are many things that he is struggling with and he just needs to trust in God. He needs eye surgery, he needs passing grades in school, he has to work in order to live at the mission, but he recently allowed his work and school to fall by the wayside. He is now going back home to his village. The doors are always open here and we will pray for him through this time. It is so difficult to have a part of your heart broken off.

Through all of this I have been reading the book of Job. Coincidence, I think not. God preparing me for what was coming, yes. Unwavering faith in God is necessary and required. I am so thankful for a God that prepares us for what lies ahead. However; that cannot happen if we are not in the Word and seeking out God’s will for our lives. This week has been very difficult and I pray that I do not have a repeat anytime soon, but my faith in God is what carried me through this horrible week