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It’s a process, so hang in there!

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The Original Six

The Original Six

     The above picture was taken only a few hours before our son and his sweet wife left to head toward a new land and a new life far, far away from us and all that was familiar to them.  You can’t tell by the smiles on our faces that our (especially mine) hearts were breaking. 
     Just a few months later, we welcomed a baby girl into our family as our youngest daughter was pregnant when her brother left. Oh the blessed distraction this little girl was during those struggling days. That was three years ago and since then a new grandchild has been born. But this time we didn’t get to jump into our car and travel to a nearby hospital. Instead, my husband and I jumped aboard a big ole’ jet and flew hours and hours to where our baby grandson, who was a little over a month, lived to hold him and rejoice with his mom and dad. That was a little over a year ago! 
     I compare my life of emails, phone calls, sparse video chats, and a singular visit with my son and his family now, to my life when my son and his wife left to live so very far away. You know, those first days (weeks, no months) there were times when I thought I just can’t do this–it’s just way too hard and it just hurts too bad. But here I am today, 3 years later and my heart has slowly grown stronger. Oh, it’s still painful. I see my little grandson growing up and knowing he has no idea of who I am or that I exist, yes that’s hard but God has equipped me to deal with that so that it doesn’t overwhelm me. 
     The peace that is constant and has been ever since my son first told me he was leaving is with me today, was with me then.  I think of dear young people I know who are heading off to distant lands to serve God and of the families that are having to release them.  Let me remind you, dear people, you can’t do this alone. You MUST hold on to God every minute because without His grace & mercy, the pain will overwhelm you.  Remember, the safest place on earth is in the center of God’s will, and that’s where you and your children must be firmly set. As you and they abide with God in the center of His will, you will be supplied with ALL that you need to see you through the initial goodbye’s and life to be lived apart.
     It’s a process but I speak from experience, it is worth every moment! If you are fresh to this process, I recommend that you go back and read my first blogs after my son left. I hope it will encourage you and give you hope, that your pain won’t always be so constant and will become more manageable. Camp down on the following verse:

Philippians 4:6-7New International Version (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Back to the Bush: Learning to Teach!

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The roof of our circular classroom is being raised.

2-14-13

   My trial by fire was wrapping up!

(My first two weeks at base camp, remember?)

     Finally, my body had begun to make  adjustments to the harsh and unfamiliar environment. Spiritually and emotionally, I was beginning to find my way. (Thanks to God’s Word, the counsel of my son, all those share times I had with my teaching partner, and various members of the trainee group.) It’s a good thing, too, for now it was time to begin the job I had been brought here to do.

Our humble classroom!

My precious preschoolers!

      After some rather successful planning meetings, my vision of the task I had been called upon to do, became clearer.  I (a former middle school and high school teacher) would be teaching preschoolers.  (Talk about making a transition!)

     Once again, I had to throw myself on God’s mercy and plead with Him to help me overcome my fears of inadequacy and ignorance (fiery dart thoughts, you see).  And I am happy to say that is just what He did. He reminded me that children of that age need lots of play intermingled with their learning. (I learned that the hard way after a first day of a too rigid schedule)

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      My teaching partner, who was a middle school teacher as well, took charge of the K-2nd graders. (One child for each grade level) She also had the blessing of homeschool curriculum, plus one of the trainees prepared a two week study for her students about the people group with which we were working. God always comes through, just when we need Him to.

 

     Therefore,

after my teaching partner and I learned how to readjust our approach to teaching, (guided by God’s grace and mercy) our bush school was off to a promising start.  

 

 

 

 

 

Reaching the world for Christ! (It’s Doable!)

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Recently, my son and I had a conversation about the struggle the IMB is having from a financial standpoint of reaching the lost for Christ.  After that conversation I did a little research and I’d like to share here what I discovered about the state of giving to missions of our Southern Baptist Churches!  The first bit of research was gleaned from the following website: http://www.baptist2baptist.net/b2barticle.asp?id=293

FINDINGS

The International Mission Board has made news repeatedly this year because of its decision to delay the deployment of new missionaries who are ready to be sent to strategic mission assignments.  Approximately 100 candidates have been deferred to next year or put on hold.  The number of new short-term personnel also will be reduced by 30% this year.  To divert more funds to the field, 61 full-time and part-time positions were eliminated.  Of those positions that were eliminated, 37 home office staff members lost their jobs. Perhaps the most significant action to reduce products and services will be suspending publication of the IMB’s flagship magazine, theCOMMISSION. 

STARTLING FACTS RE GIVING TO MISSIONS

Perhaps the most telling statistic for the near future of mission funding for Southern Baptists is the rapid decline in percentage giving through the Cooperative Program.

From an average of 10.5% in the 80s, the percentage has plummeted to 7.39% in 2002. As a percentage of undesignated offerings, local churches have decreased their Cooperative Program giving by 30%

ANALYSIS

Increased local church expenditures due to rising health insurance costs, expansion of facilities, and increasing sizes of church staffs have squeezed out gifts to missions.

* * * *

Now, keep in mind that less money translates into less people who will be able to hear about Christ.  Personally, I believe that God has blessed America and especially America’s churches as He has financially, so that we can fund the effort of missions.  (You know, reaching a lost world for Christ!)  But somewhere along the way, as churches and Christian individuals, we have forgotten this and have consumed a greater proportion of these blessings upon ourselves than we should.  So when you pray and ask God to help you be a responsible steward of the blessings He has given you, consider these facts:

Facts about lostness

  • 6,744 people groups are considered unreached (less than 2 percent profess a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; as reported April 2011)
  • 3,789 people groups are not engaged at all with the Gospel (as reported April 2011)
  • More than half the world’s people live in cities. Most unreached people groups likely are represented in the world’s urban centers.
  • 1.5 billion Muslims make up 22 percent of the world’s population

“Facts about lostness” statistics taken from:

http://www.imb.org/main/give/page.asp?StoryID=5412&LanguageID=1709

 * * * * *

HERE’S AN IDEA!

An online article that I read suggested that if every church would increase their gifts to the Cooperative Program by 1%, over 100 million dollars would be generated.  Go to this website to read more about this idea:

(http://www.sbclife.org/Articles/2011/10/SLA9.asp)

* * * *

 That’s just one idea, folks.  Can you imagine (whew! my head is spinning) if all 45,000 churches began seriously praying for God to show them ways they could give more to missions so that more people would hear about Christ, then I think we might experience something akin to the miracle of giving found in Ex. 36:4-7, “

 4-5 All the artisans who were at work making everything involved in constructing the Sanctuary came, one after another, to Moses, saying, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing this work that God has commanded us to do!”  6-7 So Moses sent out orders through the camp: “Men! Women! No more offerings for the building of the Sanctuary!”

   The people were ordered to stop bringing offerings! There was plenty of material for all the work to be done. Enough and more than enough. (MSG)

! let me wrap up this post by sharing a quote from the website from Facts about Lostness. And as you read it, focus on this:  “the task is doable”

There is much work to be done. With more than 45,000 churches in the Southern Baptist Convention, the task is doable, but it will take all of us – starting with our own church!  and I might add–starting with ourselves!

The Connection Between Blessings and Missions!

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I’ve been pondering the blessings that God has heaped upon America’s churches.  And I have made a profound connection between Christian churches and missions.  This connection was highlighted upon my return from visiting my son while he was serving in South America.

Christians in the country where I was blessed to visit by comparison have very little in comparison to Christians in the United States.  But you know what was glaringly apparent in these dear people?  They were rich in the things of God!  I came away from that glorious encounter with an ache in my heart to not be so materially minded.  Slowly a transformation began taking place in the way I viewed the blessings of God.

I am ashamed to admit this for myself and my fellow Christians but we are in a fog when it comes to our attitude towards blessings.  And if you are familiar with my book and/or blog about fiery darts, then you understand the fiery darts that contributes to this fog.   (http://fierydarts.wordpress.com     Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice)  We all know that God blesses obedience.

Luke 11:28,

But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.

You know, that’s a good thing to understand but there’s a greater thing that must be understood so that we won’t make the mistake of consuming all these blessings upon ourselves.  With blessings comes responsibilities!

   Matt. 25: 19-25 ..

  The parable of the talents.

In these verses The Master entrusted his wealth to his servants and after returning from a long absence he asked them to account for how they had managed his wealth.  So how are we doing in taking the Gospel to the world?  I wonder if we have made the connection that how we go about  fulfilling that mandate from God is to be done by how responsibly we  manage our blessings!

Think about it.  If we as individual church members see our blessings from God as a means to spread the Gospel, then obviously how we give to missions (our time, our money) will be given an overhaul.  In turn this will dramatically affect how our churches give their time and their money to missions.

I’ve heard my son say many times the following:

Some are called to go, and some are called to pray, and some are called to give. But ALL are called to obedience.

Therefore, if we all obey then we will be blessed and we will be prompted to use those blessings in a responsible manner.  It may be to go and serve in missions, either short term, long term, or short mission trips.  It may be to intensify your prayers for missions.  It may be to give either by means of your time and/or your money.  If every Christian committed to this call then only God knows what could be accomplished for missions.  It gives me chills to think of the impact this type of attitude could have on the world.  One thing I do know that the following excerpts from a mission website would read TOTALLY different:

 http://www.imb.org/main/news/details.asp?StoryID=9700

The 2010 offering is $3 million less than the $148.9 million Southern Baptists gave in 2009, a 2.2 percent decrease, and $8.3 million less than IMB needs to meet its 2011 operating budget. Offering receipts also fell well below the national goal of $175 million. Elliff said the “deficit is a matter of concern, but the issue is ultimately spiritual, not fiscal.

“Never has the cry of the lost been more desperate and the opportunity for sharing the Gospel been greater,” he said. “The fact that there remain 3,800 people groups that are not engaged with the Gospel coupled with the fact that, barring an awakening of our faith, 1.7 billion people will die without hearing the name of Jesus, should be totally unacceptable to those of us who call ourselves by Christ’s name.

As my son and daughter-in-law prepared to serve as career missionaries, it broke my heart when they told me of all the missionaries who desired to serve but were unable to do so because there was not enough funds to send them!  Realize people that means that 1.7 billion people will die without hearing the name of Jesus, because these missionaries were not there to tell them about Jesus.

We here in America enjoy blessings in abundance.  If we would give more to missions and less upon ourselves, then couldn’t we fund those missionary appointments?  If our churches would spend less on themselves and more on missions wouldn’t those 1.7 billion people have the opportunity to hear about Christ before they die?

PRAY ABOUT THIS, DEAR CHRISTIANS, PRAY ABOUT THIS!

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