Monday, February 27, 2017

Pray for Them?

Pray for them?
I have three volunteers praying for a mother/daughter group coming to the Beautiful Me retreat the 18th-19th of March.  Can you be one of the other 10 women that we need?  Consider doing this most important work of bringing these ladies before the throne of grace as they learn to connect with each other and with God. 
Email me or post a comment if you feel you have the capacity and are called to pray with us!  -Christy 

Only God!

“I can do it in my own strength,” I said to myself this morning, “but if I do it in God’s strength, it will be awesome.”  The facts are, we can do a lot...but there's a lot we can't do too. 
What can I do?  I can plan a dynamic (overpacked) schedule for the marriage seminar we’re doing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this week for our church (Between 20-40 couples).  I can think of creative games and lessons for the Beautiful Me retreat mid-March.  I can develop a great interactive family game and meaningful afternoon activities for our group retreat beginning of March.
What I can’t do? I can’t make couples love each other more than they ever have, desiring to listen and care for each other in new ways.  I can’t make mothers and daughters become friends of each other and God, sharing deeply about the things that bring them joy and pain as the Spirit ministers wholeness. I can’t bring a whole group of people from different cultures together in unity, as every member knows their worth and value to their team and to God. That has GOT TO BE GOD!
Please pray that God will do miracles, shining brightly in our weakness.  Both Zach and I feel overwhelmed by how much we have to do in March.  We desire God’s peace and a renewed faith that God can do the impossible.  I want all of these experiences for the participants to be AWESOME, making God’s name GREAT in their hearts.  We want to burst into April “declaring the praises of him who brought us out of darkness into his glorious light!”

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Beautiful Me Retreat!

These are the beautiful women God has placed in the Beautiful Me program this year.
This picture was taken after a program where we talked about "Seeing" and they
had some fun with eye makeup on their mommy/daughter date. 
This morning I unraveled the jumbled mess the children had made out of the rope connecting my hammock between two mango trees so I could sit peacefully and read God’s word for me today before I rushed into a busy day.  I rewrapped it carefully (for my hammock activity is much more calm than theirs), and sat down slowly, as you do when you’ve just tied your hammock.  Good thing, too, because all that swinging had taken a toll on my home made rope, and I found myself dropping onto the sandy ground.  After making sure I wasn’t in pain, I giggled, and sat on my hammock instead of in my hammock to read.  I read in Mark 6, “The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught.  Then Jesus said, 'Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.' ”   That WAS God's word for me today!  I feel a great need to rest a while, but heavy on my mind is the Beautiful Me retreat planned for mid-March. 

Jesus knew that his disciples needed to come away.  Never mind that before they got the chance, a huge crowd had gathered and he had compassion on them and taught them all day. Jesus didn’t get the retreat, but his disciples got to sit and listen to him teach, being reminded of how much they loved their teacher and Lord, before the climatic feeding of 5,000 men (and their families) and then him walking to them on the water in the middle of the night.  In this this story, I see our vision for the mother daughter retreat.  Come away with Jesus.  Along the way, see your own need for His shepherding, sit under his teaching, and experience his feeding and presence in your boat.  Oh, how we long for this to happen!  May we all sense Jesus calling us away to "rest awhile" with him. 

I have two requests for you:
Pray for the leadership as we prepare. For the participants, may God prepare them to come away with Jesus and may they do the exercises of praying together and reading God’s word together.

We are looking for 14 women who will each pray for one of the mother/daughter pairs leading up to the retreat.  Please email me if you are willing, or comment here, and I will contact you. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Primary and Pharmacy

"It feels just like we are on a survey." Luther and I had just walked into a primary school compound in a village just outside of Jos. Children were already studying in their classrooms as we crossed the empty field where they would play during break.
I remembered the days when Luther and I would enter a school like this to study the differences between dialects. I quoted the things I used to say to explain the work to the headmaster. "Hello, I am Zachariah and I am from America. We would like to play some stories to the children from nearby dialects to see how well they understand them. We are like John the Baptist preparing the way for Bible translation."

Now Luther is the survey team leader but we haven't come today to survey any languages. We are here to meet Mrs. Grace* and invite her to become a ministry partner.

After introducing himself and sharing a bit about what God is teaching him personally in his own life, Luther asks to hear more about Mrs. Grace. As Mrs Grace shares about her family and ministry, I feel a strange closeness to someone who had been a complete stranger a few minutes before. She shares about her church's missionaries and her desire for her children to be close to God. We have in common a passion for God's mission.

Another day, I sit in an appointment with another colleague, Rev. Peter. We have been visiting lecturers in the University College of Pharmacy. Schedules can sometimes be a bit flexible. This was set to be our first appointment, but now it is our third one.

We are meeting with Ngozi*, an Ibgo, just like Peter. She teases him that his Igbo language doesn't sound right. It has too much of an accent from his mother's Yoruba language.
As Peter presents the different aspects of our work she keeps interrupting with intelligent focused questions. "Are there really 500 languages in Nigeria or just dialects? If people can't read how will they be able to use the Bible translated in their language?"
Peter answers her questions with illustrations and stories that are perfect for this context. Finally he explains our need for ministry partners who will pray faithfully and support financially.

She seems interested, but needs me to pray about how much to commit to. She is also ready to share names of others Peter can call. Perhaps this week Peter will be meeting them. These are just two of fifteen appointments that each of my colleagues had last week. Please pray for us this week as we each go for fifteen more. Pray for God to connect us with people who will see the eternal value of Bible translation and Scripture Engagement. Pray that they will be faithful despite the financial challenges in Nigeria.

(This is my first post written from my phone.)
*Not their real names.

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...