Sunday, November 30, 2014

Peace

"I will instruct you and teach you which way you should go
I will counsel you and watch over you." -Ps. 32
These words came back again and again over the time I was studying for comps. 
During the 6 hour test I had full peace, peace that I've never experienced before during test taking.  I have always been fearful of tests.  I still don't know if I passed...I will find out in a few days. 
However, I am so very thankful for the many that prayed with me during this time. I felt God's presence, and look forward to hearing how I did! 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

One Week from NOW!

Studying in Thailand

It's Friday evening and I'm in the library studying.
In one week from this evening (on the 21st) I will have a case study in my hand trying to memorize all the details I can.
One week from tomorrow I will be sitting in front of a computer in the computer lab and given three questions about the case study that, over the course of 6 hours I will try to answer sufficiently to prove that I have learned all I need to learn in order to graduate from GIAL in December.

PLEASE PRAY with us that I will remember what I've studied over the last few years and in this intense time of studying over the last few months.  Pray for confidence and a good last week of studying.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

COMPS! 18 Days and Counting!


In 2009 I returned to the United States after spending a couple of years in Cameroon as an itinerate teacher for missionary children.  Why did I come back?  I wanted to work with nationals in Cameroon, and be part of communities receiving God's message of love and grace in their heart language.  I had seen the impact of literacy in a small village where I was teaching a student named Anna.  Her parents were running a writing and literacy teaching workshop in the language where they had done Bible translation into the language.  Watching the five adults grapple with sounds in their language and hearing their testimonies of how they decided to do this work inspired me.  A couple of them had only had primary school educations, and were learning to read in their language for the first time, but they wanted to impact their people with the gospel, and they knew one way to do that was through literacy.  A couple of other participants were brothers who had been fisherman and had invested huge amounts of money in planting an island in the middle of a lake.  When the crops were growing and they were about to get a return on their labour, they made decisions to follow Jesus, and God called them to leave everything!  (Sound familiar?) They did, and there they were, part of a movement to see their people know Jesus.  In the small glimpses I got of this course in-between class times with Anna, I decided that literacy was something I could do to have an impact in Cameroon.
In 2010 I returned to Cameroon equipped by the dedicated teachers at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL) to do just that!  Just about one year after that, Zach came to propose to me in Cameroon, I moved to Nigeria, and we got married in 2012. Now, here I am again, at GIAL, but this time, I hope to go with my MASTERS!   This was not our plan when we came here, but God opened the door for me to finish, so I study all day in hopes I will pass on November 22nd!

All this to say...WE'RE ON THE LAST STRETCH!  PLEASE PRAY FOR ME AND MY STUDY PARTNER, EVE, THAT WE WOULD KNOW WHAT TO STUDY FOR THIS 6 HOUR LONG ESSAY-CASE-STUDY STYLE EXAM AND BE ABLE TO RETAIN IT! Thanks.

"No, I did not know..."




His intensity and eagerness to understand pierced me as he looked at me in the rearview mirror.  Boi had picked me up that morning to take me to the airport.  He is kind, gentle, and seemingly so happy.  But at that moment, when I told him Jesus loves him and want to know him, he grew solomn and said, “Thank you.”  Again I said, “Jesus loves you, did you know that he loves you?”  “No, I did not know that Jesus loves me.”
Boi may not know what it means that Jesus loves him because his worldview does not contain one God who has interest in the affairs of men.  It does not tell him that he needs help to become good or that he is highly treasured.  The look in his eyes as he hungered to understand this love I was telling him about for the first time renews my eagerness to experience this love, since I know I have access to it through Christ, and then to share liberally that all may know.  

"No, this is not good..."


At a Buddhist Temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand
The conversation with Jo, our taxi driver, after I had explained the gospel went like this.
“So you do something bad, and the Spirit of Jesus tells you it was bad.  You say you are sorry, and then Jesus makes you clean.”
“Yes,” I said confidently. 
“The next day, you do something bad, You say you are sorry, and then Jesus makes you clean.”
“Yes.”
“The next day, you do something bad, You say you are sorry, and then Jesus makes you clean.”
“Yes,” I said triumphantly, so thrilled he got it!
“No, this is not good.”

Wondering what I had said wrong, and how the good news of Jesus forgiveness could not be received with great joy asked, “Why do you say it is not good?”
Jo continued to explain to me that Buddism was good because if you do something bad, you get bad things.  If you do something good, you get good things.  You should not get good if you do bad.  Our conversation continued where I explained that you don’t do the SAME bad things every time.  This seemed to make him happier, but the next day is when I gained real insight.



My new friend and sister in Christ

I was sitting with my new friend and sister in Christ on our way to a village to observe a program.  I asked her what the most difficult thing was for her when she became a Christian (the first in her family and in her entire village), she said it was the idea of forgiveness that was most difficult for her.  Then she explained that it was not until she understood that the Spirit makes you better than you could ever be without him that she felt more at peace with the idea.  Being good is such a high value in Thai culture, and my friend realized that when she was forgiven of a sin, she was able to become victorious in new ways over bad things in her life.  Yes, this is good.
I will probably  never get a chance to talk with John again, but I can pray that he would understand the love God has for him, and how God desires to make him a “good person” better than he could ever hope to be without him.  Not only that, he can forgive him from all the bad that he can never pay for!

"All I have Needed..."

At the elephant park outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand


I sat cross-legged on the floor in the back of the meeting hall full of international workers from many organizations working to bring transformation in both rural and urban communities through language development.  We were singing of God’s great faithfulness, and the phrase, “All I have needed thy hand hath provided” rang in my heart, causing a holy sorrow. Do I feel like God has provided everything I’ve needed, and regardless of how I feel, do I know that it is true? 
I reflected on the fact that I was at global meetings, discussing visions that are far bigger than any one of the individuals seated there.  The needs of the world pressing in on us, and yet they seemed meetable when we considered the strength of God and of his people.
I reflected on my husband who on the other side of the world was sleeping soundly, probably dreaming of phonological equations and free variation.  This man who God has given to me that together we might overcome evil with good and saturate our space with the love of Christ that grows in us as we learn to love each other.
I reflected on our baby that never saw this world and returned to Jesus in April.  This little one needed the arms of the Father to thrive, as do we all, but some of us remain on this side of heaven, where learning to rest in His healing and power to make beauty from ashes contrasts sharply with our daily realities.
I remembered the mounds of books waiting for me, filled with concepts that must be understood in order to succeed in graduating from GIAL in November.  I remembered the verse God gave me, “I will instruct you and teach you in which way you should go” when I was debating weather or not to finish this term, and how God also provided Eve, my study partner to walk with me.
I considered our return to Nigeria, the marathon after the sprint, where daily living is deluge of unbelievable victories over darkness, perseverance in the insurmountable task,  lengthy dry seasons, and joyful moments of Nigerian rhythmic life.

Maybe I struggle with comprehending that God has provided all I have needed because I consider my life my own and cannot comprehend the extent that God’s love and grace goes every day to fill me up in every way.  In thinking that this journey is for my pleasure, I make a list of the things that will fulfill me, whereas if I better understood this journey of following Christ, I would remember that a flood of contentment comes in the presence of the Teacher, who fills everything in every way.  He gives me exactly what I need right now to be the most joyful me possible!  That is true, no matter what I feel like.

“Why do you worry about these things?  The Father knows what you need.” -Jesus  

Bye Yoderoo, Until We Meet on Glory Side!

There are many roads we never expect to travel. Some we can share with everyone, some we keep until the Healer has released us from the deeper struggle.  In April of this year, after 11 weeks of growing inside of me, Yoderoo went to be with Jesus.  I realize as I've shared with those around that so many women have walked down this road, feeling alone.  Praise God he gave me a network of loving, caring people, including several women who compassionately shared their journey with me.  Grief comes in floods when I don't expect it, along with great joy in new realizations of how God has given me everything I need for life and godliness!
 Here is a poem I wrote for baby. I share it that it might bless you!

I held you little baby, in my trembling hand, You never learned to dance, run, or stand, But you had feet, by God formed in me, A little body that is now healthy and free. Last night we laid two shoes in the ground, With grass and life growing all around, With dear friends hand in hand, we let you go, Why you didn't stay with us, only God can know. You were a blessing, a miracle, I never knew, That the searing loss, so short a time, so true. A minute taste of my Father with his beloved Son, Before life burst forth, and over the grave he won. Therefore, asking for blessings on my terms and time, Is like desiring the finale before the ending rhyme, It is licking the batter from the bowl, forgetting the cake, Telling the Master Potter what vessel he should make. Oh precious little one, the time was just right, Enjoy the Father, we will see you in the light. Loving you for those weeks was sweet indeed, From my hand to the Father where you have all you need. I held you little baby, in my heart and hand, Now you dance, run, before Jesus you stand.


If you have experienced this kind of loss, and have not shared it, or have shared it, but now feel you want to walk forward in greater healing, I'd love to pray with you and hear about your struggle.  (christy_yoder@sil.org) 

Learning to rejoice in how God is shaping his redemptive work in me! 

You Is Not You Without Me

 "He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.  Through him you believe in God, ...