Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Strategic prayer 3--Scripture Engagement Focus Projects

The Scripture Engagement Team--All but three of us
It is hard to believe it has been three months since my last "Strategic Prayer" post.  This series of posts is based on a list of things we felt we needed to pray that God would do so that our ministry would be successful.

In the original list we asked you to pray for "direction and unity in deciding 'anchor projects'--that is communities we will develop relationships with over the next two years"

Earlier this year that prayer was answered as we felt a great deal of unity as we chose to focus our energy as a team on languages near to the town where we live, Jos.  Some of these languages (Mwaghavul, Izere, Rigwe) not only have the New Testament already translated, but the Audio version is freely available! Others (Kuce, Iguta) are still in the early stages of translation--the best time for a community to start engaging with the Bible in their own language.

Since we chose these languages it feels like we have not been able to get "out to the field" and visit these languages much.  Thank God for the first two visits since we chose the languages.  Please pray we can get out and visit the people who speak these languages to help them get thinking about how they can use their languages for more effective sharing the good news and strengthening of the church.

Again, like "the twelve days of Christmas",  you can also continue to pray for the first two prayer items.

Celebrating my innards and outards

Starting with our review on how we interact and then a song about what we believe about ourselves, the 3 hour meeting started with joy. We moved right into celebrating our bodies by dancing to a Hausa song, and, with a LOT of energetic encouragement, we got everyone dancing, hands in the air, freezing and declaring to their frozen neighbor, "WOW, You are beautiful!"

 We started by celebrating our innards, with a skit split into four parts.  Each part represented a kind of personality and all the ladies decided which one they were and went to that side of the room, shouting across to each other.  "God made you well!" With each pair of personalities, it was clear that one personality was preferred over the other culturally, but we rejoiced as they realized that both were well made!

After celebrating our innards, we went to our outards, our bodies...our cycle and reproductive system! This is something that few talk about and few understand so, armored with a reproductive cake (pictured below), prayer, practice, and internet resources, I explained why us ladies have a cycle and how their bodies are changing now. The highlight?...a clip from a documentery my mom gave me called, "Nine months that made you."  Eyes were glued, there were "Oh's" and "Wow's" and lively conversation on the little one in the womb that came out right in front of their eyes.  The miracle of life in the womb, of how God knit them, was seen and explained in hopes to grasp a fraction of the wonder in this miraculous weaving together that God does in the womb. 

Going clockwise in the front starting from Daso: Daso, Lyop, Happy (1) , Precious, Miracle, Mama, Charity, Nandir, Happy (2), Jane, Asebe, Josephine, Ritanan
These are the 13 girls in the Beautiful Me program!  Yes, they ALL came with their mamas! 

  Lyop and Mumsy are a unique pair as Mumsy is an older widow and Lyop has been brought from the village to help her in her business. Out of all the mother-daughter couples, they have the most one-on-one time!  May God use them to bless each other as they grow in His love.

This dynamic duo is learning a lot.  Shopping, preparing meals, and Daso returning home from school has become an connecting event  and a time for asking a lot of questions and listening.  "Why do you think that boy acted that way?" or "What do you think we could put in this soup to make it really yummy?" or "Why do you think that about her?" It is a chance for me to learn to be creative in new ways, love my daughter in tangible ways, and also learn about me!

Each pair went on a "date" to their own private salon where they soaked, painted nails, and told stories. Please pray that these mothers and daughters (the term mother here is more inclusive than in the West.  It is any woman who feeds into your life, has more experience, cares for you, or is older than you) continue to take opportunities to connect.  

Jane is quiet and gorgeous. She also has come from a village to live with this mother and her 5 children.  Jane and Mama did not come to the last Beautiful Me, but to see the joy overflowing on Jane's face this week was more than worth the effort to get them here this week!  Please pray that Maman Jane will enjoy this little gem and build her up in Christ's love.

The girls headed home with the necessities: Homemade deodorant, new panties, sanitary napkins, knowledge, a healthier self-awareness, and a greater appreciation for their own beauty that will help them face the changes that are surely coming!

 A preview to next month...

On December 10, we will:
Visit a museum to understand better how God has "signed" us, his masterpieces
Shop for a new outfit
Go get ice cream (Some of them maybe for the first time)
And watch a short movie that is being created by a local male artist with a message to young women about their worth.  (Please pray for him as he prepares and us as we record.)

Thank you all for praying for us...we need it.  We are in a war.  These girls are fighting an enemy they have not yet identified in order to remain pure, confident, and close to the women in their lives.  Our team of four, battles to remain encouraged and have strength to carry on when we know that some of those we are pouring ourselves into will ignore, reject, and despise what is happening.  We are fully aware that we are four voices in a sea of people telling them opposite messages, and we need you to pray for us, and pray for the mother's that we will all be on the same team.  Also pray that the mamas believe these things about themselves so they can speak out of what they have, a love for God and for the way he created them, uniquely and beautifully.

From the couch of a woman who is also learning the power, beauty, and strength God has given to change the world

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Beautiful Beginning to Beautiful Me

I get to be one of the mommy's too! I was surprised at how much Daso shone as we sat there in our special place...she's so shiny anyway, but she felt the tenderness of this moment.

Auntie Mary Jane is a "mommy" for her neighbor. 

Taking in the beautiful sight of the mothers and daughters in the Beautiful Me program spread over our compound on blankets and picnic tables on their first “date” gave me hope of new beginnings, of nourishing relationships that foster life, like a well in a dry place. Yes, that’s it, Jos is in dry season, and I feel the onset of dry season like a weight, as those of you in cold climates feel in the middle of a long winter, but this…this beginning makes me want to drink deeply with blessed anticipation.  That squeezing of the heart, as if it wants to jump about with excitement yet cautious, considering the ache of our broken world.
We had a three legged race, representing, them and God, “the strand of three that is not easily broken.”  Their arms around each other, counting, working to run the race, brought tears! The mother’s eyes were shining as they came in from being on their 20 minute “date” with their daughters.  The daughters excitedly retold the stories their mother’s had shared of their tweenhood with them. Something new had happened, and only God knows where he’s taking these special women and their girls.
What a blessing to have so many praying with us.  As we leaders stood together in the kitchen, eating the dinner we had just served to our special guests, we gave a sigh of relief. “That was the best one yet!  To the point and meaningful!” Mary Jane exclaimed. Praise God!

Our next meeting is November 26th. Please do continue to pray with us as we plan for our next meeting.  We will also be visiting the homes of the Beautiful Me ladies this month.  May God give us all precious relationships, binding us together on our mission to become the women God wants us to be.

Collaboration, vulnerabity and trust

From Tuesday through Thursday, leaders of 24 Bible Translation organizations have gathered to discuss how we can work together more intenti...