Archive for May, 2014

My teaching of basic linguistics at Maranatha Baptist University finished up yesterday, though the students will be turning in homework until Monday morning (and two graduates students will turn in papers by mid-June). I had such a wonderful time with the 14 students. They showed great energy and enthusiasm for the course, so that fueled my teaching. I praise the Lord for helping us through another successful module!

I’m visiting friends north of Rockford this weekend and then stopping by my supporting church in Geneva, Calvary Baptist Church, on the way home tomorrow. I look forward to the worship and fellowship with them and on reporting what God has been doing in and through me the past two years. Then, I’ll head back home for less than a week.

The first two weeks of June will be spent at my mom’s and at my sending church, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church. They’ll be hosting the Haitian Creole OT workshop that I’ll be leading. There will be anywhere from 4-9 prospective consultants joining me as well as friends and supporters dropping in during the afternoons. Please pray that the translator will be able to finish more material, as his health has not been good recently. He has submitted the rest of Leviticus this week, so I have plenty to work on in preparation. Please pray for my preps!

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The morning of my birthday (last Friday), my daily Bible reading schedule took me to Psalm 91, and verse 4 has the words quoted in my post title. These words just leaped off the page and sent my mind down a beautiful path of reflection upon God’s faithfulness in my life. The verse teaches us that God’s faithfulness does not wait for our faithfulness, nor does it even wait for our prayers. Rather, even more faithful than the sun rising each morning, God’s faithfulness enlightens my life each day, and it’s been doing so for all 42 years of my life. The list would be too long to enumerate how He has protected me, but that would be a list I created based on dangers that I know about. But the verse in the Psalm asserts that God has shielded me from unknown dangers as well. His faithful presence has fully absorbed the fiery darts of the wicked one, launched from afar as I stood (or tried to stand) for Him in battle array, and His loving presence has surrounded me in the hand-to-hand combat when the enemy gets closer and tries to wound me with his sharp dagger or sword. His faithfulness is truly both a large shield and a small buckler to me. As I drove to my sister’s on Friday afternoon, my eyes almost welled up in tears as reflected upon God’s ever faithful presence in my life, doing ever and always exactly what He promised me He would do. May His faithfulness to me compel me to be more faithful to Him in this next year of my life!

I’m thankful for His presence during my first week of teaching basic linguistics at Maranatha Baptist University this past week. Going through the material for the second time now sure helped me with the confidence factor. Having only 14 students this time instead of 22 in 2012 has also been a great help. The students still seem eager to learn and have shown great enthusiasm in the material. During class today I asked if they were following my thoughts, especially as we continue to get deeper into the technical details, and they affirmed that they are. I exclaimed that this means that education is truly happening! Education is both a teacher responsibility and a student responsibility. Pray for us as we work through the rest of the material this week.

As I alluded to, I was able to visit my sister and her family this past weekend. It was such a joy to be with family on my birthday. Saturday was spent catching up on grading and doing some prep work for the upcoming Haitian Creole OT workshop in early June. Pray for the translator as many burdens are keeping him from getting the material translated as quickly as he (and I) would like. We hope to cover 60 chapters in the next workshop, but he has turned in only 15 so far.

On the way back to Maranatha on Sunday, I stopped by my supporting church in Waukegan, Lake County Baptist Church. It was a joy to worship and fellowship with the believers there. I enjoyed connecting with Pastor Warren once again, and it was a privilege to sit under the ministry of Dr. Kevin Bauder in the morning, since he was the special speaker. He’s speaking at the Conference on the Church for God’s Glory in Rockford today and tomorrow, so he linked his annual visit to Waukegan with that conference.

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I love the window into Jesus’ heart in this question. Jesus posed this tender question to blind Bartimeaus in Mark 10:51, and Bartimeaus responded by pouring out his heart’s desire: “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” Obviously, Jesus wanted to hear that and was delighted to grant his wish by giving him his sight back. Sometimes we mislead ourselves by thinking that we should only pray for “God’s will to be done.” God already knows our heart’s desires, so why not express them in our prayers? Then, He can find delight in answering, and we can be fulfilled by watching Him grant our requests.

After going through such a hard winter this year in Michigan and considering the high mileage on my Camry, I decided it was time to get something better and newer. I also wanted a vehicle that would enable me to pick up materials for home projects at the hardware store, since I like to work on my home as I have time. But it also needed to be something that would be economical for the long road trips. I did my research and came to the conclusion that a Ford Escape would work best. I really wanted a 2012 Escape since the 2011 was known to have transmission problems, but I knew I couldn’t afford a 2012.

As I was discussing my research with a co-worker, he let me know of an assistant pastor, Mike Reece, in Midland, MI, who has his wholesale license for the purpose of helping full-time missionaries and ministers get better vehicles at lower prices. This was a perfect solution, not only for how much further he would help my money go, but also because I hate taking the time to shop for a vehicle. He thought he could help me get a 2012. I expressed what my needs were, but I also added some features that I greatly desired, in keeping with what I mentioned earlier. I also expressed these desires to God.

After Pastor Reece went to a few auctions, it became less likely that he would be able to find a good 2012 for me. He thought they were just too far beyond reach, since they were in such high demand. But last Thursday he went to another auction. At first the day started out being not too promising. But then I got the phone call… “I got your truck!” It was a 2012 with all the bells and whistles. He even got it in the color that I wanted! I was absolutely amazed out how specifically and exactly God fulfilled all of my desires! He didn’t have to do it, but I knew He could. It was just a matter of whether or not He wanted to. And apparently, He took great delight in fulfilling my specific requests. I pray that my heart is focused on the Giver and not the gift, for I  truly want to stay thankful for God’s provision.

My new vehicle

And the bonus is that I didn’t have to do any work in selling my Camry. A friend at church heard I was selling it and said he wanted to buy it. We very easily agreed on a fair price, and so the day that I bought my Escape I sold my Camry. In fact, it all happened in the same office at basically the same time, because my friend drove to eastern Michigan to help me get my new Escape.

God truly is good in how He delights to answer the specific desires of His children! I truly am unworthy of such kindness, but also very thankful!

Tomorrow I’ll be taking my new Escape in its first road trip as I’ll be heading to Cedar Rapids, IA, to visit friends. Then I’ll be in Mt. Pleasant, IA, for a day to visit a former co-worker and revisit the church that I attended during my elementary school days and where I was baptized. I’ll be teaching basic linguistics at Maranatha Baptist University next week and the week following. Pray for a profitable ministry with the students!

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