Build Your Kingdom Here

Your kingdom come, your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven. – Matthew 6:10

Jesus spoke these words to teach His disciples how to pray. God invites us to pray for His Kingdom to come, and His will to be done… here, as it is there. In heaven, God is surrounded by praise, angels calling out, “Holy, holy, holy”, constantly.

We long to see that happen, here. May our own hearts cry out to Him, passionately, constantly, ceaselessly, “Holy, holy, holy!”

May His Church be ignited to cry out together, “Holy, holy, holy!” as they are built up together in love into a dwelling place for the Most High God.

May the nations, people from every tribe, and people, and language, cry out to Him, “Holy, holy, holy!”

I love the way this song from Rend Collective captures this passion…

We seek Your kingdom first
We hunger and we thirst
Refuse to waste our lives
For You’re our joy and prize
To see the captive hearts released
The hurt; the sick; the poor at peace
We lay down our lives for Heaven’s cause
We are Your church
We pray revive
This Earth

Build Your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show Your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Set Your church on fire
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere
Build Your kingdom here
We pray

We hope you received our e-mail with the exciting update of how God is moving in bringing us to Papua New Guinea. He has provided several new partners over the last month, and brought us down to only $878/month needed to bring us to 100% of our monthly budget and release us for our assignment!

Join us in praying that His will would be done, here, now. That He would build His kingdom, and use us to do so. If He is leading you to join us, please notify us immediately so can let our our supervisors know that the gap is being closed. Your gift of whatever amount the Lord leads you to give – monthly, quarterly, or annually, will help us meet this goal! You can reach us by e-mail at melissas _ smith @ wycliffe. org (no spaces).

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!

 

 

 

 

This Season of Transition

Sometimes it’s hard to put into words what this season of preparation and transition is like for us. Getting rid of things, packing, paperwork, saying good-bye to our church, friends, places, and comfort foods. This video does a much better job of communicating than our words can.

“There’s a cost to everything. I guess sometimes you don’t think about some of the things that it will cost you…”

10 of Our Favorite Questions

With our family preparing to go to PNG we thought it would be fun to give you 10 of our favorite questions. Now of course we added in some of the lighthearted ways we wanted to answer along with the ways in which we actually answered the question. So without further ado our favorite questions.

#1 Where is Papua New Guinea? Is it in Africa? 

God created Australia just perfectly to point to the most amazing island nation in the world. Papua New Guinea. It is in the Pacific just north of Australia and to the east of Indonesia. No where near Africa. You could be thinking of Guinea.

World Map with PNG Highlighted

#2 Are you taking all of your kids with you?

Um… no. You wanna keep one? Hold on a second. Oh Melissa just told me that yes we are taking them all.

#3 There are 830+ languages in PNG!? How many languages do you speak?

Computer or human? Human: 1 Computer: 6. Yeah I know I’m ashamed that I don’t speak more computer languages.

PNG Language Map

#4 How do the grandparents feel about you taking the grandkids all that way to PNG?

They are very supportive! Happy about their grandkids being around the world, well that is a little harder.

#5 Computer programming… Can’t you do that here in the states?

The answer is both yes and no. Yes I can, however like other organizations the needs of having a programmer on the ground is important. For example Microsoft has its main office in Redmond, WA. However, they have offices in several locations including Charlotte, NC. They hire programmers mostly in Redmond, but they also have programmers in Charlotte.

#6 How long is your missionary trip?

We are what is known as career missionaries. Meaning that we hope to be in PNG for as long as God allows us to stay!

Computers are being used to speed Bible translation.

#7 Why are you still here?

Oh believe me we are ready to be there! Wycliffe is a faith based organization and each of its members raises their own budget. We have to be at 100% of our budget in order to go to PNG. As of this post we are at 81%! If God is leading you check out how you can be a part of our team.

Momentum 81%

#8 Will you be writing translation software? 

Perhaps in the future, but at this point the software I will be writing will handle more day to day operations. Ukarumpa has anywhere from 500 to 1500 missionaries and Papua New Guineans in it at any given time. Not all of these missionaries are from the United States, so that creates many different and challenging software needs. Also there are training facilities in PNG. An airport. A general store. Auto mechanics. The list goes on. Some of these of course can use off the shelf software, but not all of them.

#9 So you will not be doing a translation. You do realize that means your name will never be on it right?

This is very true. It is something that Melissa and I realized very early. Our names more then likely will not be remembered for any one translation. Instead we will be a part of many many translations by supporting translators in their work!

IMG_0768

#10 Will you come home during your term?

No. Unless there is some type of family emergency we will be there for our whole term of four years.

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

She Reads Truth: My Delight is In Her

For the past two weeks I have been walking through the book of Ruth with an on-line community, She Reads Truth. She Reads Truth is a call for women to read the truth of God’s Word, to hold each other accountable, and share what He is teaching along the way.

I honestly did not know how relevant the short little book of Ruth would be to my life right now.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3: 16-17, ESV

God uses all of Scripture to equip us and complete us. The book of Ruth has spoken to me deeply. In the first chapter, Naomi loses her husband, both her sons, and is left with two barren daughter-in-laws. Her life has not gone the way she expected, and she rejects her name, Naomi, and says her name is now, “Mara.” Bitter. For the Lord has dealt bitterly with her.

God has called us Chosen. Beloved. Daughter. Child. Heir. But sometimes we look to our circumstance to determine our name. If things are not going the way we hope, we can give ourselves different names. I know I can.

A question for us to consider during this study was,

Is there a discrepancy between the names by which Jesus calls you and the names you give yourself? Are there circumstances in your life to which you are giving undue power, power that rightfully—and in reality!—belongs to our sovereign God alone? Sister, who names you today—your God or your circumstances?

I can look to my circumstances, my sin, my struggles, this waiting period God has us in, and call myself Forgotten. Unworthy. Failure. Unloved. Worst Mom Ever. Inadequate.

But my daily circumstances do not change the truth of God’s Word, or the reality of His sure, steadfast love, and His unchangeable purposes.

In God’s perfect timing, God led me to Isaiah 62 today.

The nations shall see your righteousness,
and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is In Her,
and your land Married,
for the LORD delights in you,
and your land shall be married;
For as young man marries a young woman,
so shall your God rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:4-5, ESV

Just as God was working all things together for Naomi’s good, working to bring about His sure, steadfast purposes for her life, He is doing the same for me and for each one of us. The Lord names us – you – me, “My Delight is in Her!”

SheReadsTruth
This season of waiting on the Lord’s provision has been challenging. Yet He is teaching me in a new way what it means to rest in Him, to trust in His sovereignty and in His goodness.

You can join the conversation over at She Reads Truth today by going to this page.

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!

Join the Team – Start a Campaign!

We are so close to being able to leave for Papua New Guinea! During the month of May, God brought us to 75% of our Wycliffe monthly ministry budget. He is so good!

As we shared in our latest newsletter, as soon as we reach 100% of our monthly ministry budget and our Visas come in, we can leave for Papua New Guinea! We invite you to partner with us in all God is doing!

One new way you can partner with us is by starting a campaign through Wycliffe’s new website. Click the “start a campaign” button in the top right on our Wycliffe page. We’d love if you would consider starting a fundraising campaign to help with the remaining 25% of our monthly budget. You can also start a prayer or awareness campaign. Wycliffe’s site will walk you through the steps, and you will be prompted to upload a photo of yourself, share a bit about why you would like people to consider joining us, and then share your campaign.

We pray that these campaigns will be used for God’s glory, as He provides to send us to Papua New Guinea, and as new people have the opportunity to join in this exciting task!