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Archive for March, 2010

Out of the Mouth of Babes

It’s always interesting to hear what comes out of the mouths of young elementary kids. I spoke at the lower elementary chapel (kindergarten to 2nd grade) at Grace Baptist Church in Wilmington, NC, a week ago Monday. My lesson was on “Animals, People, and Communication.” I figured they didn’t know what “communication” meant so I decided to define it. But I wanted to find out if any of them knew first. I asked one boy who had his hand raised and he defined it as “to go on a vacation.” Maybe he thought of that because he was cutting the words into two halves–“commune” and “ication.” Isn’t that close to commuting on a vacation?? Maybe not. šŸ™‚

I figured they didn’t know much about the languages of the world. In fact, I wondered if they even knew that there were other languages in the world. I asked for names of languages… Spanish… English… Chinese… English… German. One boy piped up and stated dogmatically, “North Carolina!”Ā Makes me wonder what kind of conversations he heard his parents having about the NC accent! Or maybe he has heard that accent often around him and thinks that the locals must speak another language!

In addition to those amusing moments in elementary chapel, I had many other wonderful experiences at Grace. It was a blessing to be back with friends–Alan Benson, Steve and Michelle Ridge, and others. It was also a real blessing to make new friends. The worship on Sunday was truly uplifting as we focused our attention on the Lamb of God. I hope I’ll be able to link up with this church, because I really want to get back there. The church seems very positive about my ministry, so we’ll see how the Lord works.

I also enjoyed my time at Parks Crossroads Christian Church in Asheboro, NC. It was good to renew my friendship with Pastor Randy Kelley, after months of not seeing each other in our grad school days. It was interesting to hear one layman say that he was expecting a presentation about Bible translation to be very boring only to find out that it was quite the opposite. Praise the Lord!

As I traveled, I was able to meet up with friends (Germaine Smith and Florio Pierre in Fayetteville, NC) and got to eat lunch with some new contacts (a pastor and two layman from a solid church in Fort Mill, SC). I’m now in Greenville, packing up all my books and other things. The truck leaves for Grand Rapids on Wednesday. While in Greenville, it’s been a blessing to attend Bible Conference and the Alumni Association meeting. I’m looking forward to the service tonight and the AA picnic tomorrow.

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You are probably thinking that a missionary’s schedule while on deputation is quite flexible. You’re right! That opens up a world of possibilities for things to do. Since I was in the Virginia Beach area last week, I decided I would do all of my work shoreside. It’s a great way to soak up the rays while also getting a little bit of work done. Plus, I’ve come to believe in the benefits of beach evangelism, so I thought I’d give it a try…

If you are regular reader of my blog, your mind might be going back toĀ “What’s Happening on ESPN?” post (June 16, 2009), in which case you know where I’m going with this email. Of course, if you know me, your suspicions were raised anyway. No, I didn’t hang out at the beach last week. In fact, I didn’t even take the time to see the beach! I did do some touring of Williamsburg on Saturday (much more enjoyable than the beach, in my opinion!), but most of the rest of the week was spent with deputation activities–researching churches for future meetings, calling pastors, meeting pastors, etc.

The Lord gave me a very fruitful time in these activities. My friends, Deanna and Matt Vanderwarker, let me stay with them the entire week, and I had the opportunity to use their comfortable and lovely place all day on Tuesday. That allowed me to have internet access while also being able to research churches and call pastors. (I usually hang out at Panera Breads, but they don’t work too well for telephone calls–too loud and too much jazz music. Libraries are also not good–too quiet.)

I was planning on visiting around 5 churches in the Virginia Beach area, but then I found another in my research. I stopped by “cold turkey” the next morning. At first the pastor was reticent to meet with me, since he was working on his Wed evening sermon and since I arrived unnannounced. But by the end of our time, he had gotten so excited about having me at his missions conference in October that he was suggesting ideas to me on how I could present my ministry! He also prayed fervently for me and my ministry before we left. What an answer to prayer!

I also had a great time getting to know the people at Bethel Baptist Church in Hampton, and Tabernacle Baptist Church and Seminary in Virginia Beach. I also enjoyed lunch on Saturday with Pastor Privett of Faith Baptist Church in Williamsburg. I look forward to setting up meetings at each place. My time at Tabernacle was especially fruitful as I established a good relationship with the pastor, a biblical language professor, and two students interested in Bible translation. I also got to speak with two interested students at Central Baptist Theological Seminary as I spent a couple days there.

In the bad news category, I didn’t get a positive response fromĀ 7 other churches. I wouldn’t say they were all negative either, though. In most cases, I just didn’t make contact. In only one case did I actually receive a negative response, but that’s only because of his NT text position. But he still wanted to talk with me further. Maybe I can connect with the other 6 at a future date.

I’m in Wilson, NC, for this week, having a great time with Jennelle and Luke Poore and their kids. I’m kinda out in the ‘boon docks’ at their place, so my internet access is limited, but that’s not always a bad thing!

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A Worthy Update

I noticed this morning that I hadn’t posted something in almost a week, so I figured it was time to put something up today. I was having a hard time figuring out what to report on until I checked out my support account with BMM (as I do almost every day to check for new activity). I’m happy to report that First Baptist Church of Lebanon, PA, has become a new monthly supporter. Praise the Lord for their partnership! It’s a blessing to be linked up with such a good church. Thanks to the believers at First Baptist! That raises my support level to 57.5%!

I’m currently in Berryville, VA, and will be heading down to the Virginia Beach area for the week. I hope to meet up with various pastors in VA this week to set up meetings for the future. I spent most of last week strategizing about my future deputation plans and trying to set up meetings. I’m so thankful that I was able to set up 4 meetings at churches for 2011. I hope to finish my deputation by the end of this year, but I need to keep scheduling in case it takes longer than I anticipate.

The Lord gave me a great time at Keystone Baptist Church yesterday. My relationship with Keystone goes all the way back to 1996 when I began working for BJ LINC. Keystone was one of the founding schools with LINC (which began in 1995), and I enjoyed my relationship with them. So it was a blessing to finally be able to fellowship with Pastor Wright and his church. I had a great time with the teen SS and then with the entire church in the evening as I presented my ministry and preached the Word. Praise the Lord for His enabling grace!

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Protection and Provision

My 9-hour trip from Chicago to Burton, WV, turned into a three-day ordeal. I intented to make the trip on Thursday, but partly because of the weather in the east, I decided to wait until Friday. I made it all the way to Springfield, OH, but then the snow began to fall and the winds picked up. The interstate got really backed up, so I decided to take a parallel highway.

So… I was on the phone talking to a friend (which I shouldn’t have been doing in such conditions), and suddenly I noticed that the car in front of me was stopped. They had stopped because of a fender bender in front of them. It quickly became apparent that I was about to be involved in the second one. I mashed on my brakes to keep from hitting the stopped car, but the ice turned my wheels into skis. Somehow, the Lord gave me the presence of mind to see that my only way out was to turn off the road. I cranked the steering wheel and went over the curb into a grassy area in front of a Taco Bell. Amazingly, I missed the car’s backend completely. Praise God!

I had difficulty getting back out onto the road because of the curb, but the Lord provided two men who helped meĀ out. I decided it was time to find a hotel. Can’t understand why I started to have that thought! I ended up driving for another hour, though, because I wanted to find a chain hotel, and I wanted to keep going east. I stopped at around 8pm. If I would have kept going, I would have had to drive on unplowed, country roads in WV in the dark. Not a good situation! Thankfully, I made it safely on Saturday, though just after the snow plows and just before another snow fall came.

The Lord also might be providing some support for me. I had a good meeting at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Clarksburg, WV. They are seriously considering supporting me. I also set up 3 meetings today in western PA. The meetings are not until April of 2011, but it’s very encouraging to get 3 meetings set up in one day. I am usually very encouraged if I can get just one.

Another provision… The Lord has been gracious to me in providing temporary housing while I’ve been in Grand Rapids. Since I went up there in August 2007, I’ve been staying mostly with one family, but occasionally I have had toĀ transfer to a different place for various reasons. But finally, I will haveĀ a stable place that I can always return to.Ā It will also be a central location where I can store the rest of my books and files that have been down in Greenville. I will be rentingĀ a basement apartment in an elderly lady’s condo. The Lord worked it out that my monthly payments will be significantly lower than anything else I couldĀ haveĀ foundĀ in Grand Rapids. Plus, I will have the security of knowing that my stuff will be safe when I leave for months at a time, because my landlady will be upstairs during that time. The condo is within walking distance of a local library, so I can use that for internet access. And I can enjoy the lake behind me if I want to go for a swim or skate around in the winter. Iā€™m really looking forward to moving in at the end of this month!

Praise the Lord for answering prayers for protection and provision! Please keep praying!

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