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Archive for August, 2010

My Back

Before I comment on my back, I’ll give a report on my time at Cumberland Bible Church. I taught in Sunday School and presented in the PM service. I thank the Lord for blessing both time and for giving the people a genuine interest in the Word and in my ministry. There were only around 30-40, but we had a great time of fellowship. I praise the Lord for Don and Marjorie Harrelson and their faithfulness to the Lord in a small church. We had great times of fellowship.

Today I’m heading back into Pennsylvania and will be there for most of the month, except for a few days in Ohio for the Launch Seminar.

Now to my back…I’m thankful for the many who ask about my back. I’m actually going through a season in which I have almost no back pains. The injured area (from the Jan ’09 accident) seems to have healed very well. The only lingering issue I have is that my back gets slightly knotted up if I stand for a long period of time, but it’s more an issue of discomfort than pain.

I praise the Lord for how He has delivered me from most of my back issues. Ever since college or even before, I have had problems with my lower back. I’d usually have to go to the chiropractor about once a month. Eventually, I also started to have a dull pain each morning when I woke up. And just after I completed my time as a professor at Bob Jones University (when I had good insurance), I began having fiery pains in my back. The pain would last several days and would then go away for a while. It came back twice after around 6 months. I also experienced great stiffness, especially if I sat in the same place for an hour or more. These latter issues came just as I was making the transition into this new ministry. I wondered how in the world I would make it in my new ministry, knowing that I would be sitting for long periods of time in my car for deputation and on the plane for my ministry. I would have to get out of the car every 2 hours to stretch and loosen up.

Well, I went to the chiropractor for these issues, but his work seemed to have no effect. He thought I should see a doctor to see if it were a chemical (i.e., diet) issue. I decided to wait a little, primarily because I no longer had good insurance. And I prayed much.

Well, the fiery pains finally went away and never came back, and the stiffness also got better. Plus, a doctor showed me a way to avoid dull pains in the morning, and it has worked! And I’ve not had to go to the chiropractor for a number of months for my normal monthly adjustment. Of course, I may have to go next week, but so far so good!

So I praise the Lord for His deliverance so that I can accomplish the ministry the Lord has for me without distraction! It’s hard to believe that I would be able to enjoy this season of relief at this point in my life and ministry, but I thank Him greatly for it! Thank God for answering the prayers of so many! Please keep praying!

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You can check out pictures of my Chad trip by going here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=202025&id=613716245&l=82fdbb734c. Some of the most interesting pics are of the believers coming forward after church to purchase their own NTs! We sold around 75 NTs that day! Praise the Lord!

Here’s a picture of Joshua Hedges selling NTs, as Philippe, the OT translator, looks on. All of us were very encouraged!

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Sango Project

On June 12, 2010, I wrote a post that referred to a meeting that I had with various BI people at the office concerning the Sango project in the Central African Republic. I want to ask for special prayer concerning this project. I explained that we have been running into obstacles concerning the revision of the orthography and therefore, the revision of our translation. We continue to run into other obstacles.

One of our consultants was scheduled to leave this morning to help with the Sango project. But since the CAR embassy didn’t return his visa in time and because of costs associated with changing his tickets, he cannot go this time. He’ll have to wait until January of 2011. He was supposed to help them prepare a Christmas Old Testament Storybook for distribution later this year. We were going to use this booklet to get much needed feedback concerning the changes to the orthography. Pray for us to have wisdom to know how to proceed with these changes.

A co-worker explained it well: “It seems the harder we work to get this project on track, the harder the enemy works to make it harder!!  God is able, and we trust Him for the enablement!”

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Back on Deputation

The summer was filled with many BI-ministry activities, but now I’ve had to change gears and get back into the deputation mode. I have a full slate of meetings from yesterday until the end of November. My October schedule will be particularly busy as I participate in 5 missions conferences in 5 different states, with two regular meetings thrown in as well. If I survive to Thanksgiving, it will be a miracle!

I had a good meeting at People’s Baptist Church in Frederick, MD, yesterday. It was good to reconnect with Kent Ramler, the current pastor. He and I intersected when he was the assistant pastor in Downers Grove, IL, back in the fall of 2007. The people seemed to show genuine interest in my ministry, so we’ll see how the Lord leads.

I haven’t reported on any increases in my support in a while, but that doesn’t mean my supporters haven’t increased. Another individual joined my support team just before I left for Chad, Africa, and it seems that maybe another church joined the ranks. I say “it seems” because I’ve seen two months of a consistent amount for a gift, but haven’t heard about any official commitment. Because of the recalculations (that I referred to earlier), my support is still around 66%. If I count that new church, my support is at 67%. Praise the Lord!

My goal is to finish deputation by Easter of 2011. I have many meetings until that time but none afterwards. I may try to get a few more for the Spring of 2011, but I want to focus on seeing how the Lord provides between now and Easter. If I still need more support, I’ll schedule more meetings in the Fall of 2011, since that season is usually the best time to get meetings (and missions conferences). Please pray that the Lord would enable me to finish deputation by Easter, if it’s His will. Pray that I will also be able to fill a few more holes in my schedule in early 2011.

I have to share a few cool things I learned while working with the Day team:

  • The negation (“not”) occurs at the end of the sentence in Day. Because of this, it seems that the reader/hearer is left in suspense until the very end of the sentence, not knowing if the speaker/author is going to throw in a “not” at the end. I’m not sure I like that way of constructing a negated sentence!
  • If you want to say you are at peace, you use an expression that means basically “my stomach is fallen.” The contrast is “my stomach is raised,” meaning that you are tense and not tranquil.
  • Speaking of stomachs, when the Day want to indicate that something is too numerous to count, they refer to the stomach of an elephant. Apparently in their minds, the elephant’s stomach is so large that it can contain so many items that it’s impossible to know the exact number.

Since we were working so minutely through the various building specifications of the Temple, it was such a thrill to get to the climax of the Temple construction–when the glory of the Lord filled the Temple. Having examined each detail in the Hebrew quite carefully, I could picture the scene fairly well. I could imagine the priests singing and playing their instruments in that beautiful Temple and then being overwhelmed as the cloud of the glory of the Lord filled the place. Truly, the Lord is majestic and full of splendor! What a privilege to be able to study the Word of God at such a depth and then to be rewarded with the Spirit’s ministry to my heart!

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Report on My Chad Trip

I safely arrived back in the USA last night and wanted to recount to you how the Lord answered your prayers. As you may remember, one of the main purposes of my trip was to check the Day translation of 1 and 2 Chronicles. Because of my limited time before the trip, I was able to prepare only through 2 Chronicles 9. But it just so happened that we covered only through 2 Chronicles 8, just one chapter less than what I was ready for! God’s hand in directing those details always amazes me!

The Lord gave us grace, wisdom, strength, and joy as we worked, just as I had asked you to pray. As we worked through the books, it was amazing to see the progression of events leading up to the worship in the new Solomonic Temple. What a thrill it was to think about the scene when God’s glory filled that Temple as the priests were leading in praise to the Lord!

The Lord also helped me to make good connections with numerous different people and to gather valuable information concerning various facets of BI’s ministry in Chad. I even ran into a former professor in Paris and learned more things about a potential consultant in Chad that we are considering. God’s ways are truly amazing!

I ended up preaching at three different churches on two different Sundays. On the first Sunday I preached at Day churches. I wanted to speak to the people that I was helping provide the OT for. My sermon began in Matthew 4 (living on every word of God) and proceeded to Deuteronomy 8 and then Exodus 16. I intended to use the trial edition that we were going to print, but because of delays, I wasn’t able to do that. So I printed off the portions in those two OT books and had them photocopied for all the people. What a thrill it was to be there when those passages were read to the people for the first time! We brought Day NTs with us to sell to the people. We sold all the NTs in the box (around 33) and had to take down names of around 20 more. The Day translator, who did the interpreting for me, said that the people were profoundly affected by having those OT passages in their hands. It was also a moving moment for me!

On the second Sunday I preached at the main, central church in Sarh. They conduct their services only in French, because they want to minister to the many speakers of languages not covered by the other churches. I came to realize how valuable an interpreter can be when I preach—his interpretation gives me time to think of what I’m going to say next! But somehow the French came out OK and communicated the burden on my heart.

I also asked prayers for our devotional times each morning. The Lord gave enablement for that as well. We had a rich time of fellowship as the other missionary, Joshua Hedges, and I both led with short meditations from Scripture.

The Lord gave me a few witnessing opportunities as I traveled. But my best opportunity came as I sat at a motorcycle repair shop in Sarh, Chad, and gave a guy named Emmanuel the full gospel presentation. Though he has a “Bible name”, he didn’t even know what it meant. I pray for him and others to accept the truth they were given.

I’m also thankful for the good health throughout the trip and for safety and the timely arrival to all destinations. I did feel somewhat sick one evening, but a good night’s sleep helped restore my health fairly quickly. I had a problem with an ear ache towards the end of the trip, but the Lord led me to a mom whose daughter had just experienced a similar problem. So she was able to give good advice. What providence!

Thanks so much for your prayers! It was so encouraging to see God answering them on a continual basis!

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