Category Archives: Scripture

2014: A Year of Changes, Challenges, and Answered Prayer!

With the new year here, we’ve been reflecting on all that has happened in our family and our Wycliffe ministry over 2014. It’s amazing seeing how the Lord has worked!

January 2014:

We got rid of most of our “stuff,” loaded the rest up to put in a storage unit, and moved out of our home of three years. Then we packed up our van and headed to JAARS in Waxhaw, NC, for our Intercultural Communications Course.

February 2014:

Our time was consumed with the Intercultural Communications Course, where we were stretched, challenged, and prepared for life in a cross-cultural environment. We also got to know many people headed to PNG too, and this has continued to be a source of blessing to us!

During this time, the Lord led me to Isaiah 55, and reassured me with these words,

“For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the LORD;
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
Isaiah 55:12-13

March 2014:

We returned to Tupelo, MS, to finish preparations for Papua New Guinea and continue building our partnership team. We were at about 60% of our Wycliffe monthly ministry budget, and we were learning (slowly) to walk by faith, not by sight as we waited for 100%. God gave us immediate opportunities to walk out some of what we learned at our Intercultural Communications Course.

April 2014:

Tupelo, MS, was hit by a tornado, and our neighborhood was one of the hardest hit. We praised the Lord for sparing our lives. home and vehicle, and grieved with our neighbors for all that they had lost. We were incredibly grateful for every person on our prayer team!

May 2014:

We celebrated Talia’s first birthday and went to the mountains with my family. We spent the month in prayer, alongside many of you. We prayed over our children, our marriage, our Wycliffe ministry, those that would eventually join our partnership team, and Papua New Guinea. The Lord brought us to 75% of our Wycliffe monthly ministry budget during this month. We also accepted the PNG branch’s invitation to come straight to Ukarumpa once we reached 100%.

June 2014:

We continued to prepare for Papua New Guinea and ask God to complete our partnership team. We continued to share with people about the work of Bible translation and the needs of Bibleless people groups.

July 2014:

God brought us to 80% of our Wycliffe monthly ministry budget! We also traveled back to Waxhaw, NC, to drop off our household goods shipment. This shipment would later be transported by sea to PNG, and then on to Ukarumpa.

August 2014:

We were so close to 100% that we started praying earnestly for the Lord to provide it by August 15th. God moved in amazing ways, and by August 12th we were at 100% of our Wycliffe monthly ministry budget! The full weight of leaving our home, friends, and family started to hit us, even as we rejoiced at the Lord’s provision. We packed up a few more boxes to send to PNG, a few boxes to store with family in the States, and got rid of everything else! We said good-bye to our church family during our official commissioning service, and shed lots of tears.

September 2014:

We spent a few days with each of our families, and then on September 9th, we boarded the first of 6 flights on our journey to PNG! We arrived in Ukarumpa on September 12th, jetlagged, worn out, but overjoyed to be here.

October 2014:

Makaylah, Sophia, and Isaiah began attending Ukarumpa International School and we all began to settle into our roles here.

November 2014:

David began Tok Pisin lessons and we celebrated our first Ukarumpa Thanksgiving!

December 2014:

We attended the Melanesian Institute mentioned in our newsletter. We had a wonderful first Christmas in Ukarumpa and enjoyed some much needed family time.

Final thoughts:

It’s really hard to put into words just how difficult 2014 was. We wrestled with our faith in God’s provision. We waited and waited. And waited some more. Reading back through my journal this week I cried. I cried remembering how hard it was, and seeing how incredibly good God is, and how He did do everything He promised.

My journal is full of verses and quotes like these –

“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.

Oh Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the LORD there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.”
Psalm 130:5-7

“I will thank You forever,
because You have done it.
I will wait for Your name, for it is good,
in the presence of the godly.”
Psalm 52:9

“I have thrown myself blindly into His almighty hands.” – George Whitfield

If you are reading this today, I hope you are encouraged to remember that even when it feels the most hopeless, we can hope in the Lord. We can throw ourselves blindly into His hands, because He is trustworthy.

As we enter 2015, we pray the Lord will continue to teach us to cling to Him and that we will remember all that He did to bring us here.

“In all the setbacks of our lives as believers, God is plotting for our joy.” – John Piper

“You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.”
Psalm 40:5

The Spirit himself intercedes for the saints

As mentioned before I am doing an in depth study of Romans. This includes reading multiple commentaries, using Greek tools, and studying the Old Testament references that Paul makes. So I have just now after nearly three months made it to near the end of chapter 8. This morning I was reading Romans 8:26-30 and verses 26 through 28 really stuck out to me.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:26-28

The first thing to note is that we are weak! In fact the very next sentence says, “we do not know what to pray for as we ought.” Now I want to examine this morning. You see some translations actually translate this as “we do not know how to pray as we ought.” The NASB is the chief among these. The NASB happens to be one of my other favorite translations. This led to me doing some research. Why?

What I learned was that this word in Greek τίς and it is a “an interrogative pronoun, who, which or what (in direct or indirect questions)”. Further research showed that it could be translated as either how or what! Meaning either one is is valid. We do not know how or what we ought to pray for us.

This leads to the good news! “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness”! Dwell on that today. Not only does the “Spirit himself intercedes for us”, but he does so with “groanings too deep for words”! This chapter by and far does not end here. It goes on to show how God foreknew us -> predestined us -> called us -> justified us -> gloried us!

Paul does not stop there! Read the rest of Romans 8 today!

 

 

 

 

Quietness, in a Social Media age

When people first meet me, they might think I’m quiet. But anyone who knows me well knows that silence is not my strong point! I am an auditory processor…. meaning, I like to talk through things out loud, with someone else, in order to process them. This often translates to social media as well. I ran a blog with my sister-in-law for two years, and I loved processing things through blog posts. I often share from my Bible reading or just general thoughts on twitter and facebook.

Sunday, God prompted me to spend several days off of social media. He brought me to Isaiah 30:15 (emphasis mine),

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling.

Returning. Rest. Quietness. Trust. This week, God has shown me how quickly I fill my mind with the distraction of social media, rather than returning to His Word. He’s shown me how I struggle to quietly pour out my soul to Him, rather than to others. Honestly, social media can give such an illusion of community and closeness, but I will run there instead of my Lord and Savior, who knows me more intimately than anyone else. I don’t ever want the Lord to say to me, “I had all of Myself for you – but you were unwilling.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe and affirm that the Lord built us for relationships and community. I have exchanged some text messages and e-mails with a few dear ladies close to me during this week. But true, intentional relationships are different than “sharing” with 400 of our closest friends, aren’t they? If anything, social media can rob me of true community, because I can believe I’m experiencing community there, and am less likely to reach out personally.

I am not done with social media. I believe it has a place, and like many things, can either edify or tear down, depending on how it is used. God used these last few days to re-adjust my priorities though, and that was sorely needed.

Would we be strengthened to do what is required of us and to bear what is laid upon us? It must be in quietness and confidence; we must keep our spirits calm and sedate by a continual dependence upon God, and his power and goodness; we must retire into ourselves with a holy quietness, suppressing all turbulent and tumultuous passions, and keeping the peace in our minds. And we must rely upon God with a holy confidence that he can do what he will and will do what is best for his people. And this will be our strength; it will inspire us with such a holy fortitude as will carry us with ease and courage through all the difficulties we may meet with. – Matthew Henry

Vision 2025: Now. Is. The. Time.

“By 2025, together with partners worldwide, we aim to see a Bible translation program begun in all the remaining languages that need one.”

This is the core of Vision 2025.

We have over 400 English versions of the Bible, while hundreds of millions of people wait for a single verse.

Can we be ok with that?

Wycliffe USA and our partner organizations believe the answer is a resounding, “No!” Now, now is the time for God’s people to mobilize.

If you have 5 minutes, please watch the video below from one of Wycliffe’s partner organizations to learn more about Vision 2025 and why we believe it is so crucial.

Longing for the Word

Two ladies read from their Wuvulu-Aua NT during the Wuvulu Scripture Application and Leadership Training (SALT) course. Used with permission, Wycliffe Bible Translators, David J. Ringer.

Two ladies read from their Wuvulu-Aua NT during the Wuvulu Scripture Application and Leadership Training (SALT) course. Used with permission, Wycliffe Bible Translators, David J. Ringer.

Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.
I am sojourner on the earth;
hide not your commandments from me!
My soul is consumed with longing
    for your rules at all times…

Your testimonies are my delight
they are my counselors…

Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works…

I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set your rules before me.
I cling to your testimonies, O LORD;
let me not be put to shame!
I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart!

Psalm 119:19-20, 24, 27, 30-32

Do we understand what it means to consumed with longing  for the Word of the Lord? May our delight in God’s testimonies prompt us to pray, give, and go on behalf of those who are saying, “Hide not your commandments from me!”

Here in our place, we want the Bible too, but we don’t have anyone to help us. Can you tell your bosses to send someone to help us? – Papua New Guinean man to Wycliffe translator

 

Join the Team – Pray for the Bibleless!

I will pray

It is possible for the most obscure person in a church, with a heart right toward God, to exercise as much power for the evangelization of the world, as it is for those who stand in the most prominent positions. – John R. Mott

The above video is from The Seed Company, one of Wycliffe’s partner organizations. Will you pray?

Reaching the last language groups with the power of God’s Word is only possible through Christ’s body working in unity, with many people fulfilling a variety of roles. One essential role is that of prayer warriors, who will pray diligently for specific missionaries, specific countries, and specific people groups.

David and I have been blessed to be a part of the Bibleless people prayer project since early 2006. We received a simple card with the pseudonym of a people group, without any access to God’s Word. We began praying that God would reach this people group. That He would raise up workers. We prayed. And we prayed. In 2011, we received more information about this people group, along with the wonderful news that two different couples were headed to work among them! It is our great privilege to continue to pray for these missionaries, for God to equip and raise up more workers, and make Himself known in a powerful way.

This is what Wycliffe’s Bibleless people prayer project is about. You receive the name of a real people group, and commit to pray diligently for them. Wycliffe has seen God answer these prayers in mighty ways!

Often, especially in America we pray the little prayers… The little things that we think might happen, without the power of God… When we pray for missions, pray for big things to happen! Pray for entire language groups… when it seems impossible.

You can sign up to join the Bibleless people prayer project here!

May He Grant: May 29th

May 29: Pray that Makaylah will continue to grow in her relationship with Christ. Ask that she would long for the pure milk of the Word, that she may grow up into her salvation. (1 Peter 2:2).

We prayed earlier this month for the salvation of our youngest four children. We are so thankful that God has already drawn Makaylah to Himself! We appreciate your prayers for her as she continues to grow in her faith.

Makaylah, photo credit: Star Noir Studios

Makaylah, photo credit: Star Noir Studios

Lord, we thank You for saving Makaylah. We know that without Your power at work in her, she would still be lost in her sins and separated from You. We ask that she would never be content to just know about You, but would pursue You passionately and grow in You day by day. May Makaylah put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Help her to long for pure spiritual milk, like a newborn infant, that she may grow up into salvation. May she remember and know that she has tasted that the Lord is good! As she comes to Christ, a living stone rejected by men, but in Your sight chosen and precious, we know she will be built up as a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices accepted to You through Christ. Your Word declares that whoever believes in Christ, the cornerstone, will not be put to shame! (I Peter 2:1-6)

May He Grant: May 27th

May 27: Pray for the thousands of Papua New Guineans who are hearing God’s Word in their language through audio recordings. Pray that the truth would be clear to them and that they  would turn to the Lord.

In many cultures, truth is still understood best when it is heard, rather than read. Wycliffe works to get Scripture to people in many different forms, and in Papua New Guinea, audio recordings are a powerful tool that is often used in conjunction with printed Scripture.

Please join us in praying that as the Word of Life are listened too, they would soak into people’s hearts and minds, and that God would use them to draw many to Himself.

We listen to it daily. At noon we listen to it. We listen to it before going to sleep. Then we pray. Then we sleep.— Papua New Guinean man speaking about audio Scripture

Read more about the power of audio recordings in Papua New Guinea on the Wycliffe USA blog.

May He Grant: May 14th

May 14: Pray for wisdom on what to purchase, both for our Pacific Orientation Course (POC) and Ukarumpa.

It’s Day 14 of our month of prayer focus, May He Grant. You can read more about our heart for this month, and print out a complete prayer guide for the month here.

We are downsizing a lot, as we shared here. However, there are things we need for our Pacific Orientation Course and life in Ukarumpa – good hats, hiking sandals, a water filter, a different kind of wardrobe, and much more. We want to be wise as we determine what exactly we need, the best brands, etc. We also want to be wise stewards of the resources entrusted to us.

Talia is already using her sun hat, thanks to a dear friend who sent it to us!

Talia is already using her sun hat, thanks to a dear friend who sent it to us!

We are thankful to serve a God who gives wisdom to those who ask Him!

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

 

 

 

May He Grant: May 12th

May 12: Ask the Lord to provide 5 new monthly partners this week. May they long to fulfill the partnership in Romans 10, of preaching, sending, and hearing! 

It’s Day 12 of our month of prayer focus, May He Grant. You can read more about our heart for this month, and print out a complete prayer guide for the month here.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:14-17

Please pray with us for the Lord to provide in a mighty way this week. He is our hope and confidence!

 Map_of_Papua_New_Guinea_Demis