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Archive for November, 2010

It was a blessing to be with Mt. Tabor Baptist Church (Beckley, WV) and Emmanuel Baptist Church (Fayetteville, WV) last weekend. The Lord blessed the SS hour and I ended up taking 25 minutes in the AM service. Pastor King said I could have 20 minutes, but he added that I could even go over if I felt led. I guess I felt led! The believers at Mt. Tabor showed an unusual excitement for my ministry, partly because Kim Hibbard (another BI consultant) had already been there and partly because some were personally friends of the Hodsdons and Champeons (also BI personnel). It was an encouragement to be at both churches and to see the Lord work.

The Lord has worked out all the arrangements for my mom and me to attend my niece’s funeral this Friday. Abigail Grace Scherf lived only 2.5 days, but her life can be used greatly to glorify the Lord. Pray for us as we minister to family this weekend (and to others as we travel).

I already had plans to go north this weekend, because I am speaking at Thompson Road Baptist Church in Indianapolis, IN. Now I’ll just be going up a few days early, and my mom will be able to join me. I’ll have the SS hour to teach, 5 minutes in the AM service, and the entire PM service to present. Please pray for this opportunity to minister.

On Monday I’ll be leaving Indy very early to get to Grand Rapids by midday to begin the Haitian Creole OT workshop. It will be 2 weeks long. The translator has submitted Gen. 21-50 to be checked. We also hope to check some psalms. Please pray for wisdom, grace, and strength as we improve this translation for the Haitian people.

Pray for safety on the roads. I noticed some pretty nasty stuff moving across the states on the weather reports today.

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A number of posts ago I announced that both of my sisters were pregnant and were due around the turn of the new year. Well, my middle sister Lori realized on Thursday morning that it was already time to take the trip to the hospital, though it was over 5 weeks early. Since a recent ultrasound had only positive information to show, we were excited about the new child coming into our lives. But when Abigail Grace was born Thursday afternoon, it quickly became apparent that all was not well. Only seconds after being put into her father’s arms, she stopped breathing. An MRI revealed internal bleeding, blood clots in the brain, and eyes that were not dilating.

She was hooked up to machines as the doctors tried to determine what to do. Thankfully, Lori got to hold her baby for the first time on Friday, though she still had tubes running into her little body. She looked quite beautiful and healthy on the outside, but internally there was very little activity. My sister and brother-in-law are currently in the process of determining when to take Abigail off the machines.

Isaiah 40:11 has been a great source of encouragement to me, while also bringing tears to my eyes:

Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.

What a blessing to know that God is bearing Abigail away in His gentle, loving arms. Pray that He would also uphold my sister and brother-in-law, as this was their first child.

Another loss is in relation to my support. Because of insurance increases and another BMM adjustment, my supported dipped down to 65% from 69%. But when I checked my email this evening, I noticed that Faith Baptist Church in Laval, Quebec had taken me on for monthly support! So now I’m back up to 66%. What a timely increase! I’m also excited that I’m now partnered with Pastor Steve Faucette and the people at his (English-speaking) church. Now I have 4 supporting churches in Quebec.

Tomorrow I’ll be speaking at two different churches in West Virginia. I’ll have the entire SS hour and 15 minutes in the AM service at the first, and then I’ll have 15 minutes at the second. Please pray for the Lord to knit our hearts together around the ministry of Bible translation.

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What I deal with…

How can I get projects accomplished when the other manager is in India, the head of the translation consultants is in Luxembourg, and the head of literacy and linguistics is in southeast Asia? Not only are they in different time zones and sometimes in areas where internet access is limited, but they are also extremely busy when they are overseas. BI’s overseas trips are not padded with much downtime or touring opportunities; they are packed with wall-to-wall work. This is the current situation for three individuals that I correspond with regularly to get projects done (and it’s not an atypical situation–I often have to deal with having co-workers spread all across the globe). It’s a good thing I have a Haitian Creole OT workshop to work on, or I’d be frustrated that the projects are not moving forward.

Speaking of that workshop in early December, I need to prepare around 35 chapters to be checked. At present the translator has sent Genesis 21-47. So far, I’ve prepared questions for Gen. 21-35. Here’s a sample of what I have noted (from the last verse I checked yesterday–Gen. 35:29):

Haitian Creole: Souf Izaak te koupe, epi li mouri. L al jwenn moun li yo. Li te aje. Li te wè kont jou li. Ezaou ak Jakòb, pitit gason l yo, te antere l.

French translation: Le soufle d’Isaac était coupé, et il est mort. Il est allé trouver ses gens. Il était agé. Il a vu assez de jours. Esau et Jacob, ses fils, l’ont enterré.

For this verse, I noted that the translator rendered the first Hebrew verb (“breathed his last” in English) differently here than he did in Gen. 25:8. I also noted that in the second sentence, the verb (“gathered to his people”) is once again translated slightly differently than it was in Gen. 25:8.

I’m trying to check 12 pages of text each day in order to be ready for the workshop. So far I think I’m slightly ahead of schedule, but there are many “interruptions” on the horizon. Please pray for wisdom and success as I prepare.

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Jeremiah McClain

A church in Rocky Mount, NC, canceled the meeting for yesterday morning. Since the evening meeting was still on schedule, I decided to swing by Virginia Beach. I spent the morning at Sweethaven Baptist Church, the church that most recently took me on for support. It was good to be with them again, now as one of their supported missionaries.

While I was there I was able to speak to Mrs. McClain. She shared that her oldest son, Jeremiah, has my prayer card in his Bible and that he prays for me on a consistent basis. She said that now is a good time for her 6-year-old son to get interested in missionaries and missions, so she’s going to encourage him to keep praying for me. I mentioned that at some point he can drop me a letter, and I’d be glad to respond.

As I reflected on this boy, I realized anew how much of an influence I can have on the little lives that I meet in churches. I had taken an interest in Jeremiah and his brother when I was at their church’s missions conference. I saw them every day and would joke around with them a little bit. Now they think about that big, tall guy whose getting Bibles to people all over the world. How I pray that the Lord would grant me success in this ministry and keep me faithful, so that I don’t let Jeremiah or any other child down!

Last night’s meeting was at Falls Road Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, NC. The church has a history of standing for the Truth. Pastor Steve Harduk has been there for almost 2 years, having formerly been a pastor at a church in Grand Rapids, MI. We had a good time renewing our friendship. It was also a blessing to be able to present BI to his church for the first time. Pastor Harduk knows us well, but no one from BI had ever been to his NC church yet. The people showed good interest and asked insightful questions.

No more support increases to report yet. Please keep praying.

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Support Increase!

The Lord is already answering our prayers for increased support! I just got off the phone with Pastor Cary Borkert from Sweethaven Baptist Church in Portsmouth, VA. They have decided to take me on for monthly support! That brings my support level to 69%. I’ll soon be in the 70s!

I just returned from a deputation trip to Ramseur, NC, where I was with Pastor Bruce McLanahan and the people at Shiloh Baptist Church. I had the privilege of speaking in SS and then preaching in the AM service. I’m thankful for the good fellowship I had with the believers there and for the kind hospitality of the people. I enjoyed staying with the McLanahans over the weekend and playing with their 4 kids. I was surprised to realize that I already knew Mrs. McLanahan from my BJU days. Though we didn’t know each other personally, we had many mutual friends, so we already knew each other “from afar.” It was great to see her again and to get to know Pastor McLanahan. Maybe they will become a supporting church some day too!

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Fervent Prayer Needed

I spent a couple of hours this morning calling pastors to set up more meetings in 2011, and the Lord greatly encouraged my heart. I try to always pray before I begin making the calls, and sometimes I pray specifically that the Lord would help me set up at least one meeting (don’t ask why I don’t pray this every time, because I don’t know either). Well, this morning I prayed for at least one meeting.

I called one pastor that initially showed great interest in my Bible translation ministry and even took me out for lunch back in 2008. But later I found out his church wasn’t in a position to have me in. Well, I thought I’d try again after 2 years of waiting. I was so thankful to hear that he thinks his church is now ready to have me come! The meeting is set for May 1, 2011.

Then, I called two other pastors of churches where I’ve already presented. Both pastors have been very excited about my ministry but couldn’t get their church on board. Back in September one of them said he would like to have me back again, and that I can coordinate that meeting with a meeting at the other pastor’s church. I called both, and we are now working towards two meetings! One of the pastors actually said that he’s going to speak to his young adults’ SS class this Sunday about the possibility of taking me on as a SS class. The pastor had just thought of that two days ago, and then I called! Please pray for the Lord’s will this Sunday.

The morning continued to be encouraging… I called another pastor that I’ve been in contact with for about a year. I haven’t been able to present at his church, but I have filled out his questionnaire and basically received the “green light” to come some time. Well, this morning we set it up for May 4, 2011. Two meetings set up today when I asked for only one!

Later I got a call from a pastor in Illinois. I had called him about another subject, but when he called back, he mentioned that the church is still considering me for support. I presented there in Sept 2008. Though I had a great meeting there, I assumed that so much time had passed that I shouldn’t expect to hear from them. Well, the pastor said that I am on the top of his list for support. It’s simply a matter of whether or not the Faith Promises leave enough to take me on. Please pray!

Many churches are in the process of completing their Faith Promises and then deciding on missionaries, so please pray for me to see some significant increases over these next couple of months. Pastor Minnick asked our people last night to pray for the missionaries on deputation, and I can’t help but believe that the Lord gave me such an encouraging morning in direct answer to those prayers! God is good!

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Back “home”

When I woke up in the middle of the night for a “night trip” last night, I was extremely disoriented, though I was in a room where I had lived for almost 7 years. It took me a little time to get my bearings and figure out where to I was. I usually stay in four different homes per week on a normal deputation week, so it can be quite complicated knowing where things are in any given house. Apparently, it’s going to take a day or two to get re-oriented to my mom’s home.

I’ve been reminded that my place of permanent residence has truly transferred up to Grand Rapids. Since I moved most of my stuff up there in April, I’m finding myself often looking for things and then realizing that they are in Michigan. Thankfully, I don’t feel like a visitor in my mom’s home, but it definitely doesn’t feel as it did when I called this place ‘home’! In spite of the ‘adjustment pains,’ I’m so glad to be back in Greenville with my family. It’s nice to get some stability back after weeks of constant change, and there’s nothing like home cooking! I’ll be based in Greenville for most of the month of November.

I had a great time at Yates-Thagard Baptist Church in Carthage, NC, on Sunday. Pastor Johnson and his people were so gracious to me. It’s a blessing to see what the Lord is doing in that 400-member congregation. I really enjoyed being in their beautiful, 5-year-old building. But the greatest joy was getting to know some truly kind and generous people!

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