Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
I think sometimes we try to do the same thing though with Spiritual growth. It becomes the "3 things every married couple should practice," "10 Biblical principles for sound money management," "5 Leadership traits from Biblical figures," etc. In the field of education, we look for better methods for integration - how can we take the Bible in make it the backbone of the various disciplines. And...there are methods for doing it. We are looking for the vitamin - "extract the principles and just give me those."
But, when you stop and think about it, it becomes clear that Biblical truth cannot be handled in this way. The Bible is not simply knowledge about something. It is not simply cognitive understanding. We do not teach the truths in the Bible in order to introduce people to a message. We teach the Bible in order to introduce people to a person. The very God of the universe can be met in the pages of Scripture. And when we walk in relationship with Him, He changes us to become more like Him. The husband who knows three things he should do and the husband who is becoming more like Christ are two very different husbands.
What am I saying? There is no substitute for knowing God. As an example, in the field of education, we will have an impact on our students when we are genuinely changed. We will be genuinely changed as we know Him, not as we implement new methods. The difference would be that in the former, the students are taking on the life that they see in us because we are genuinely different. In the latter, we employ methods which the students will at best also implement in their own lives. The one is changed life the other is changed methods for living. The one is qualitative change, the other is the same type of change offered by any other religion in the world. We are not offering a different way to live, we are offering a new life!
To those of you who made it through that, I have not found a good way to explain this concept. I think it might be because we are so used to learning in lists that it is difficult to envision how exactly this change takes place - we have been trained to look for the vitamin. If you have a good idea for how to explain it, I'd love to hear it.
Monday, July 4, 2011
I Kings 21:24-28 “Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country.” (There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the LORD drove out before Israel.) When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly. Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”
You've got a guy who is extremely evil in his pursuit of evil and yet, he humbles himself and receives grace. Its similar to the city of Nineveh turning after the preaching of Jonah.
Strange that in the face of this kind of grace, so many still believe that a relationship with God, either initiated or ongoing, must be earned.
I think a passage like this shows God's style. There must be a response to truth - in other words, God does not stop bringing destruction simply because. It is in direct response to faith - in this case, Ahab's actions demonstrated that he believed what God said would happen would actually happen. In the same way, for those who want a relationship with God today, they cannot have it however they want it. We have to respond to the truth that Christ's death, burial and resurrection pays for our sin and enables a relationship with God to begin. This is the nature of any relationship - I don't have a relationship with my kids or my wife or even friends only on my terms. I have to know who they are and respond to that.
On the other hand, God responds to this faith without counting a man's former sins against him. Though nothing seems to indicate that Ahab ever entered into relationship with God, God is very quick to extend grace, calling him to repentance. God's desire to see the relationship established is not neutral; it is very one-sided - He is biased towards having a relationship with us. So much so that He sent His Son.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
1.) How long have you been serving as a missionary and have you been in the Dominican the whole time?
We arrived in the Dominican June 7, 2010 so a little more than 9 months. We will be having our first furlough in October 2011 for about a month or so. We plan to be in the States once a year for a month. So 11 months out of the year we are in the Dominican.
2.) When did you realize that you were called to go to the DR for full time missions?
I know what you mean by "being called" into missions, but I think for me and my husband we think of it more like God's natural leading in our lives.
Being a missionary is a tool that allows us to be what we are made to be. For others it may be using their gifts and abilities as teachers, lawyers, accountants, etc to glorify God with their lives. Missions allows us to use our abilities to glorify Him the way we are meant to live.
The events that led us to move in this direction took many years of God equipping us and preparing us for the task that we hold in our hands now.
For 4 years my husband led high school seniors to the Dominican for their senior missions trip. During those years our eyes were opening to the need for equipping and discipling the people in the sugar cane villages. The people hear the gospel all of the time but we saw very little discipleship, growth or real change in their lives. We enjoy discipling, especially my husband (natural gift and ability) and he loves using the tool of education to disciple kids and equip them to be what they are designed to be by God. He is a visionary also.
I love to organize, take care of details, and do administrative duties on the day to day level. So on that last senior trip to the Dominican we decided to head in the direction of missions. So, we moved to VA and Jason finished his doctorate degree at Liberty and I finished my degree. That took 2 years, and during that time we started Freedom International Ministries, Inc. Then we raised support for one year and now we are here learning Spanish. So for us it is God's natural leading in our lives.
3.) How did your relationship with your husband change and how did you have to adjust to it once you moved overseas?
Jason and I have always worked better along side each other than apart because we are on the same page. In the past when he was a teacher or we had separate jobs we didn't connect as well. It was hard to get a clear picture of what each other dealt with from day to day on the job. Now, I can't ask for a better situation. We plan together, we eat lunch together, we talk more, and we understand each other's needs more clearly. Our relationship changed for the better because the circumstances made it possible to be more intentional to work at it.
As far as adjusting to our relationship once we moved over seas it seemed to grow stronger. We only had each other (partly because we are the first ones down here from our team) so our priorities changed and we valued our relationship more. When my husband is the only one that speaks English and everyone else around me speaks Spanish then the only one I can speak deeply to is my husband.
4.) How does living in a different culture affect the way you have to raise your children?
The principles remain the same whether I am in the States or the Dominican but the methods change. For example, here the women dress very immodestly according to our culture. I have 3 boys that really don't notice that yet, but they seem to snicker a little bit or feel uncomfortable at times, as do I. I started having talks with them to turn the other direction when you see something immodest so you don't have to think about it. Some women breast feed their babies out in the open with out putting a blanket over them to keep from exposing their breast. This too is a culture difference that we need to overlook or turn our heads. This even makes me feel uncomfortable at times because I feel I need to cover them up. What we think as immodest they see as normal.
5.) What are your typical roles as being a wife of a missionary?
We think of it as two missionaries working full time on the field. I think some people see it as the man is the missionary and he brings his wife and kids along. I think we need to shift our way of thinking about missions because the wife has a full time role of working as a missionary too. Right now both my husband and I are learning Spanish full time. We have 3 hours of class every morning in addition to 4 to 5 hours of homework everyday. On the weekends we practice talking in Spanish with the people and teach an English class to people in a country church who want to learn.
This summer we have 10 weeks of chronological teaching from creation to Christ and we will host teams from the states during this time. Afterwards I will be responsible for organizing and administrating home school for 6 missionary kids in addition to all of the administrative responsibilities that require running an organization. In October, we will have fund raising events like our banquet, furlough, and preparing plans to build the school. In the future, I will be teaching in the school we start or filling in different aspects of our ministry as things come up.
6.) How does being so far away from home affect your relationships with your family members and friends from your home in the States?
We really miss our family; I think our kids really miss their grandparents and cousins. But I must say that when we see them or talk to them on the phone we are very intentional about the quality of time we spend with them.
I would say that technology is a fabulous tool for missionaries to stay in contact. Facebook, e-mail, Skype, phone, videos, etc help to make the time with family that more precious. At times I wish I could go out to breakfast with my mom or my sister or just have some girl time with them, I just can't do that here...so that can be emotional at times. We are anxious to have our partners here soon; I think that will help with those types of relational needs.
There are adjustments to anything we choose to do. Being in a foreign country with different cultural habits, food, language, etc can add to the stress of living, but once you get through those changes, life feels more like reality and normal. I think the most important thing a missionary needs to know is that they are not forgotten and that the relationships in the states remain strong and that people really come along side of you to support, encourage, and pray for you. We need people to run this race with us!