Monthly Archives: April 2012

Only be strong and very courageous! Part 1

Through this process an old adversary of mine has risen again. Fear. You see I am a man who likes to know the plan before I begin the plan. To practice the different pieces. Just so that I know that part of the plan is well in hand. A personal pride of mine.

Faith is something that is difficult for my analytical mind to grasp. In fact many times I have had to pray that prayer the father in Mark 9:24,25:

Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

So in the praying, seeking, and of course planning my old friend, fear, has raised his head again. Not really a fear of dying or anything like that, but fear of not being accepted. Fear of something health wise keeping us from serving Christ in PNG. God however is far more gracious. Because He has brought a Scripture to mind. Joshua 1:9:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Now I’ve read this before. I’m even guessing (from my analytical point of view) that you have read this verse too! However, I have never really paid attention to the punch of this verse. You see it actually begins at the end of Deuteronomy! What happens there? Well Moses essentially dies (bummer). But it’s far more then just a down time for Israel. First in this chapter you find that the people stay in the plains of Moab for thirty days for weeping and mourning. Then it says that the people obeyed Joshua, BECAUSE he was full of the spirit of wisdom, FOR Moses had laid his hands on him. [Emphasis mine] Joshua is basically obeyed (in the eyes of the people) because Moses had, for the lack of a better word, christened him. Notice that it also says, “And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and wonders that the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt…”

That’s where we open up in Joshua 1. Now Joshua 1 simply starts out restating the obvious (from reading Deuteronomy 34). However, pay close attention of how it says this: “After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant…” Do you see the difference of caliber of leadership? Moses was the greatest leader of all the leaders! Now that Moses died, Joshua must fill his shoes. How inadequate Joshua must of felt? How unworthy of such a task? How unequal he must of felt!

Part 2

All Scripture is from the English Standard Version. In context: Deut 34 and Joshua 1.

Finished!

Hi everyone! Sorry if we have been a bit quiet this week. We received our application link Friday, and have been working hard to get the general section completed as soon as possible. We’ve had some challenges, as expected! We’ve been busy, so finding time to work on it was difficult. The questions required a lot of thought, which was hard with lots of, “Mommy! Daddy!” interruptions. And finally as we planned to finish up last night, I (Melissa) came down with a rough cold, and after a few minutes sitting in front of the computer sneezing non-stop, David sent me to bed! I took two benadryl, and although I still feel rough this morning, I was able to finish up the two sections that were lacking.

From here, we will have an interview with our Career Member Process Administrator, and he will be working through the various portions of our application.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support during this time, for us and for the Wycliffe staff we are working with, as we seek to see God’s will done in this process!

The Next Step!

Our recruiter submitted the request for our online membership application yesterday! He said it may take several days for us to receive the link to our application. Once we receive the link, we have six weeks to complete it, although we hope it won’t take us that long.

Please pray for peace and wisdom for us during this exciting process. Also for calm times to work on our application, with David’s work schedule and four munchkins around!

 

Why do Bible Translation at all?

This is actually a very good question for several reasons. Let’s first take a look at ourselves (meaning English speakers). What do we have in way of Bible translations? Well according to American Bible we have some roughly 900 translations. Now there are some issue with this number as they explain.

I am afraid no one can give you an exact number for the English translations and paraphrases of the Bible printed since Tyndale’s New Testament of 1526. In part this is due to the difficulty of determining what should be defined as a new translation as opposed to a correction or a revision of an existing translation. There is the additional question of how we should count translations that include not a complete Bible or Testament, but just a group of books or even a single book. And then, of course, there is the difficulty of sheer numbers. With all these caveats in mind, the number of printed English translations and paraphrases of the Bible, whether complete or not, is about 900.

 If you were to go to the above link and read on you would find that they do site a reference called Catalogue of English Bible Translation. In the section of canonical books are 806 pages. Now they didn’t say how many translations there are, but I assume by the wording that each translation is represented by a single page. So another count of 806 English Bibles.

Arguably you do not have access to all 800+ translations. So let’s take a look at that. Assuming you had over $1,600 worth of change laying around, and if you were to buy for instance Logos’ Scholar’s Library: Platinum then you would have 47 English translations available. But for the sake of argument let’s just say that you are a little bit thrifty. Let’s say that you use Bible Gateway. I counted that at the time of this writing you would have access to 30 different English translations for the cost of getting on the Internet. Or you could even go to Bible.is and listen to 3 English translations (very well done I might add). Ok so the take away is that essentially free of charge you have access to at least 30 English Bibles and the ability to listen to 3 of those in very professional grade audio form.

“Ok, so what,” you might say. Let’s take a look at the stats for other languages of the world. Currently we believe that 6,837 languages are in use. Of these 6,837 languages Bible translation is progressing in this manner (remember English is just one language):
Complete Bible:  471
New Testament: 1,223
Just Portions:      1,002 (defined as one or more books)
That’s a total of 2,696 of 6,837 languages with some to complete Scripture.

As of the 2011 Survey there are 2,040 languages that likely need a translation that have no one at this present time working on translation. Here is a map of the world representing the distribution of these numbers.

For more information visit Wycliffe.net.

Here is an excellent vision of the point I’m trying to make.

So the next time you go to do your Bible study, and you have multiple versions to help you comprehend the meaning and context of Scripture do a couple of things. First, thank God for his mercy on you to have an abundance of resources to understand His word. Resources meaning not only translations, but also Bible dictionaries, commentaries, handbooks, audio Bibles, maps, books, etc. Second, pray for the people groups of the world who have little or no Scripture available in their heart language. Pray specifically that God would raise people up to go and do this hard work, including the people who play support roles, like we hope to do. Pray that they will also have people rise amongst them to write these other Bible study resources to help their people understand God’s word.

 

Waiting

I’m not always a patient person. Once I set my mind on something, I want it to happen now. As we’ve mentioned on the Prayer Needs and Praises page, our family is in a (hopefully short) season of waiting right now. We have a few things that have to be taken care of before we can start our Wycliffe application, and at this point all we can do is wait. I’m finding this really difficult!

I know enough about the process ahead of us to know that this is just the first of many times on this journey I will have to wait. We will have to wait while our application is processed. Wait until it’s time for our Equip training. Wait for our support to be raised.

I’m so excited to see what God is going to do, and I know it is going to stretch and grow me in so many ways! But the waiting doesn’t come easily.

I’ve had John Waller’s song “Waiting” stuck in my head for two weeks, and it has been a huge encouragement to me. I want to serve God while I’m waiting. Worship Him while I’m waiting. I want to take every step in obedience to Him, and then turn the results over to Him. This waiting isn’t just a passive twiddling of my thumbs, but an active choice to obey God daily, and wait for Him to move in His timing.

 

Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. Psalm 25:4-10 (ESV, emphasis mine)

 

Have you ever had to wait on God’s timing? What encouraged you, and helped you keep your eyes on Christ?

Teaching the littles and myself.

Today we weren’t able to go to church for our service. Seems that we had some virus spreading from child to child.

What did we do? We read 1 Corinthians 15. In which it explains the whole purpose of Christ coming to die on the cross (and why it is important to believe in the resurrection of the dead). Paul begins the chapter by reminding the people in Corinth that he had a hand in leading them to Christ. Verse 3 & 4: For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He goes on to describe the rest of the events surrounding Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and some of the appearances he makes to the disciples.

He then begins to reason with the people in Corinth who are raising questions about the possibility of people raising from the dead: Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection? I have to be honest, my kids did not grasp this portion of scripture. I’m not sure I did until we read it today. Paul is pleading with the Corinthians to realize that without resurrection that faith in Christ would be in vain! That his work on earth would have been in vain! That the men who were witnessing about Christ were misrepresenting God if indeed there was no resurrection of the dead. 16: For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. (!!) A dramatic statement.

As always with Paul’s logic he comes back to answer that very charge. 20-25: But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfuits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (!!)  But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.

So we had to explain to the kids about Adam and how Adam brought sin into the world. That then God had to send Christ to take our place and forgive us.

Of course the chapter does not end here for it goes on. I’ll pick up in another part of the chapter that impressed upon me. 35-37 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. Here Paul is echoing something that Jesus had said in John 12:24: Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Our image of self, of our rights, of what belongs to us, and even ourselves must die. It took me a minute to realize that the Holy Spirit was talking to me. That I must die to what I claimed rights to, to myself.

We are to be wholely sufficient not on ourselves, but on Christ alone. Then when the resurrection of the dead takes place and we are with Christ in our new immortal and imperishable bodies then we can say:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

ESV used throughout.

How can technology play a role in missions?

A question that people often ask is, “How can technology play a role in missions?” This question seems to pose itself most often when referring to remote areas of the world. No power, no Internet, so no computers; right? Wrong!

Take a look:

Notice that in this remote village he is using a computer that is connected to the Internet through a satellite. Technology is helping to speed Bible translation up to the point that we may soon see every language group have their own translation started! Here are just a taste of the job titles needed in just IT:

Network Admin
Internet Systems Admin
Database Admin
Business Software Developer
IT Project Managers
Developer for Language Applications
Multi-Skilled Computer Technicians
Network Techs
Developer for Language Applications
Information Technology Director
Help Desk Manager
…and more!

If you are interested in more information about technology in missions check out some of these pages:
JAARS
MissionTec

Please pray for us as we follow God’s direction for our lives, and seek to use information technology to aid in Bible translation. We’d love it if you would pray about partnering with us when the time comes.

 

Answering the Call

What is the call?
All Christians are called to share the love of Christ. Christ’s last words to his disciples while on earth are to go and make disciples of all people. This includes world missions and missions locally. Melissa and I have served in local mission efforts with our church family for several years. During those years, however, we have always felt like God was calling us to work with Wycliffe Bible Translators.

What do we do from here?
We have officially begun our application process with Wycliffe. We’ve been working with a recruiter, who has helped us evaluate my skill set and look at what kind of position and location we could best serve. Over the next few weeks we hope to complete our application. At that point we will pray with the people at Wycliffe and get our official assignment. The next step after our application is accepted is a 8 week course called Equip. This course will help us learn how to share our calling and develop ministry partners, who will support us with prayers and/or financial support. Once this training is completed we will begin raising our support for the assignment. There are a few more training courses we may need to complete, and once those are complete and we have reached 100% of our support goal, we will be able to leave for our assignment!

Where will we go?
This is yet undetermined, but for the past ten years we have been praying about service with Wycliffe. During that time Papua New Guinea is the one place that keeps coming to our minds and hearts. We are willing to serve anywhere that God is directing us to go, but at this point it does appear that is Papua, New Guinea (commonly known as PNG). There are several needs In PNG that seem to perfectly fit my skill set.

What will our service look like?
More then likely a technical nature. Information Technology has always been a joy of mine. Solving people’s computer problems and creating applications both have brought me a great deal of joy. Bible Translators can benefit greatly from I.T. specialists in numerous ways, and I look forward to sharing my gifts to aid in the mission of bringing the gospel to every tribe and tongue.