Saturday, July 21, 2018

A Fighter

"Daso, you have to make your mind tell your body what you want it to do!" I shout at Daso as we are out running at 5:45am around our compound.  I am running ahead of her to motivate her while she is getting slower and slower.
The irony in the whole scenario strikes at my heart.  I just finished listening to a sermon by John Piper entitled "Teach us to Fight: The Double Battle at Gethsemene."  I pridefully tell Zach, "I was never where Daso is...I have always pushed my body...I'm not a whiner!" This week, however, the Lord has been convicting me that I have allowed my focus on Christ to slip, my zeal to wane, the enemy to encroach on the territory God has given me to fight for.  "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."  John Piper said this is not just in the area of sexuality, this is when we are weary and tired.  Peter, James, and John were with Jesus in the garden, but they were tired.  They were sleeping. I stayed home from church today because I'm tired. Jesus had warned Peter that he was going to fall into temptation, loving his life more than he loved Christ. I feel this week has been my warning, and I don't want to fall into temptation.

Back to me and Daso running. I feel I'm in a Gethsemene moment in my life.  Jesus has taken me along on a journey, and asked me to prepare for the fight.  I must let the Spirit of God in me tell my heart and body what to do.  When Jesus knew the time was coming, he didn't say, "You stay here, while I go and do this thing."  He said, "The time has come, let's go!" He took them with him.  Thankfully, he's a better trainer than I am.  I run ahead of Daso, which discourages her, while Jesus runs alongside me, letting me fight with him. I tell my husband I have never been where Daso is, but I am exactly where Daso is spiritually.  Daso told me she wanted to run to become a better athlete.  Yet when the time comes to make that happen, she lacks resolve and discipline. I have told the Lord that I want to become closer to him, living more powerfully in my life and ministry.  Yet when my Gethsemene comes, I become distracted and lack the discipline to make that happen.

Please pray for me!  I have always been competitive, at the cost of my own body and well-being.  May God use that competitiveness to make me a great warrior in the heavenly realms, thinking not of myself, but of His glory, fixing my eyes on him.  Might I have the discipline to release my battle to the Lord daily, as he gives me the strength I need to fight alongside my victorious Savior.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

These He May Not Devour

"Let the children come to me, for the kingdom of God belongs to them." 

I have spent two years with a group of teachers, some coming and going, but all called to speak this message over the ones God has given us to love.  The message of Christ's calling them to himself, of their place of honor in the kingdom. 
Over the last month, two of the girls that I know have been able to speak of the abuse that they have been experiencing in their homes. In my meeting with the teachers yesterday morning (we meet every Saturday at 7am), I reminded them of the lion that is crouching, waiting to devour the vulnerable among us (1 Peter 5:7).  I exhorted them to not grow weary as we prepare these little ones to stand strong and know Jesus likes and loves them and invites them to himself. In doing so, we declare, "These he may not devour." 

We have a two new additions to our teaching team.  God'spower is a young man who is studying music in Jos, and has written the song you see him singing above.  He has recently learned to play the guitar (in the last two weeks).  Dorcas works with children on Sunday mornings as well, but has decided to also be part of our team. 
We also are working on a new strategy.  We have fully activated our small groups.  We will teach the full lesson in our small groups twice a month, and on the other two weeks, continue our three class rotation with a shorter small group session at the end.  This gives our teachers times to connect with the children and know their names and disciple them.  This strategy is the result of a participatory discussion facilitated by a group that Zach had helped to train in the office.

Please pray for the children of Hwolshe, and for the teachers of the Thursday night Bible study. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Three Friends Turning Three!

Three friends are turning three, plus one surprise turning our three to four was the party experience we had on Saturday. Mariama, Reto, and Avy were all born within two weeks of each other three years ago.  Vanya brought her cake along because her mommy decided this would be an opportunity to celebrate her birthday too!
The theme was "Create" as Mariama has become very creative in many ways. This is a story she has created (I wrote it up).  She also illustrated it (with my help) in Eric Carle style because one day while reading "Swimmy" by Leo Lionni, she said, "Mommy, I wish I could write a book like this."

We made playdough, did pendulum painting (pictured above), blew bubbles, read "Olivia", danced, made shakers, and ate yummy food outside!

There are about 60 people at the party!  (Most people were still in line for food at this point)

The daddy's crowned the girls to represent that their minds might continue to create, and put bracelets on their hands, that they hands might carry out that creativity.

Lydia is acutely aware of food in her vicinity.

Mariama and Reto
Mariama (left), Avy (in front of me), Reto (right), Vanya (to the right of Reto with her Micky Mouse cake)

We praise God for Mariama's life and the amazing creative little person God has made her to be! Please pray for her and her friends, that they would choose to follow him and love him all of their days.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

A Great Woman

Greatness. A word defined by culture, subject to the whims of individual perception, in danger of becoming extinct as the standard drops.  Despite these limitations to this word, I still use it in reference to a woman who said as I left with Lydia on my back from her bedroom where she now spends most of her days, "I have children from many cultures."  Yes, Igye Ruth is a great woman.

She has lived in the United States, taught at a local technical school, invested in the lives of children, and been an advocate for the preservation of her language and culture.  She has weak knees but a strong heart.  She is raising many children that are not her own, and has helped me feel Nigeria is home.

She is the first person to offer me food in a real kwariya (gourd bowl) though everyone invites you to their "kwariya" no one has ever fed me from a real one.  That's her!  The real deal, sincere in all she says and does, offering you what she is, a great Nigerian woman full of love for God and others.

Please pray for Igye Ruth and her generation who long to see the Bible translated into their language.  She speaks Kuce, and they have yet to have a single book of the Bible published, though it has been over 20 years that they have longed for it. May God fight on their behalf and help the leaders of the language community move together in unity.  

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...