Archive for December, 2014

Getting ready for a long vacation

I had one week in town between my trip to Haiti and my vacation in which to catch up on life and prepare for the next trip. I put off unpacking so I could decorate my house with some Christmas things, because I wanted to enjoy them for the only week in December that I’m at home. So, I finally got fully unpacked last night. I still have yet to read all my mail, but that’s partly because I had to focus on getting Christmas presents shipped out to my family. My schedule this week has also been filled with various doctor appointments for various issues–yearly teeth cleaning, new contacts and glasses, and help with my bony feet. I’m just about caught up on everything essential and ready to enjoy 3 weeks of vacation. On Monday I’ll be heading to an overseas location that you’ll eventually hear about. 🙂 After a rigorous but rewarding year, I’m ready for some down time!

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Report on last Sunday

I forgot to report on my preaching opportunity on Sunday. It was a privilege to preach from Proverbs 2 in French to Eglise Evangelique Baptiste de la Vigne, a large church in Port-au-Prince. Our translator is the assistant pastor there but is the acting head pastor while the senior pastor and his wife await a heart transplant for her in the US (please pray for Pastor Saint-Amour and his wife Marie!). I thank God for answering our prayers and helping my voice to hold out throughout the sermon. He also gave me immediate acceptance among the people and enabled me to preach without much problem in French. I thank God that 1 made a decision for salvation, 3 desired to be restored to the Faith, and 2 believers got counsel on matters that they were struggling with. It was also a blessing to have the translator read Proverbs 2 in Haitian Creole. We are planning to publish the revised NT with Psa/Prov in 2015. I strongly encouraged the church to obtain their own copies, since Creole is their language and since they can learn so much by comparing the Creole translation with the French translation.

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Last update from Haiti

Thank you for your prayers for this workshop! God brought healing to my body, we finished Numbers by Tuesday morning, I taught the translator how to use the new translation software Tues and Wed, and we finished everything by Wed lunch. That gave me time to buy some gifts for my hosts before wrapping up the day. Now I have two days to catch up on other work and relax a little before heading back home on Saturday afternoon.

One of the privileges of this work is being able to study God’s Word at such a deep level. My greatest regret, though, is that I don’t always allow it to transform me as much as I need it to, but I’m thankful for the sanctification that does take place. I was particularly moved by what R.K. Harrison wrote in his Numbers commentary on 24:1: “Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times, to seek to use sorcery, but he set his face toward the wilderness.” (NKJV) He writes,

Looking for signs of God’s approbation is an indication of shallow and immature faith. It is an evil and adulterous generation that keeps on looking for signs (Matt. 12:39; 16:4) instead of trusting God implicitly. Seeking signs is equivalent to tempting God, an activity prohibited to ancient Israel (Deut. 6:16) as well as to members of the New Covenant in Christ (Matt. 4:7; Luke 4:12). The just person shall live by his or her faith (Hab. 2:4; Heb. 10:38); whatever is not of faith is sin (Rom. 14:23). Once the believer has appropriated God’s revealed will by faith and has acted upon it, the message will often be confirmed by signs that will follow (cf. Mark 16:20), and these will assure the believer of the validity of both the act of faith and its outworking.

After I fail the Lord by sinning, I often seek signs to reassure me of His love. Instead, I should claim by faith the promises in Scripture that assure me of His steadfast love in Christ. I hope that I will do that more by God’s grace, and I pray that is your pattern of living too.

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Where was I in 2014?

Though 2014 is not yet over, my plans for the rest of the year are well-established, though God may choose to change them. So, I thought I’d see where I was during the year, since I often get asked how much of the year I am away from home. Well, I discovered that I will have been away from my wonderful and very comfortable home for 171 days of the year, traveling either domestically or internationally. That’s almost half of the year!

Here’s how those 171 days break down:

  • 63 days traveling overseas for ministry (9 weeks)
  • 10 days traveling overseas for personal (1.5 weeks)
  • 10 days traveling domestically for personal (1.5 weeks)
  • 48 days traveling domestically for deputation (7 weeks)
  • 40 days traveling domestically for work (6 weeks)

Believe it or not, I really do like my home, though my lifestyle doesn’t seem to indicate that! But I have to fulfill the work the Lord has given me to accomplish, and I really do enjoy traveling too.

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Update from Haiti

My time in Haiti got off to a rough start, partly because I still had some lingering stomach issue when I left last Saturday. Maybe it’s something I picked up in PNG a few weeks earlier, or maybe it was just related to the flu-like symptoms I had the week before Thanksgiving. Sunday night was so difficult that I thought I’d have to cancel the first day of the workshop, but somehow I woke up with enough strength to start the work. Satan has been working hard in other ways to derail this workshop, but God has been helping us to overcome His attacks. Thanks for your prayers!

Daniel Telfort is such a good translator that we don’t have many corrections to make as we go, and when we do have corrections to make, he has a gentle spirit and keen mind to pick up quickly on what I’m asking for. We had already completed Numbers 1 at the last workshop, and after 4.5 days of work this week, we finished through Numbers 27. My goal is to do 130 verses per day, but when we had full days to work, we completed twice that amount! We hope to finish the rest of the book by Monday or early Tuesday. And then I will teach him how to use a translation editing program, so he can begin doing his work in that. We will probably finish the workshop on Thursday. I fly back on Saturday.

The book of Numbers probably ranks quite low on the average Christian’s “favorite book list,” if he/she had such a list. But I’ve found the material to be so instructive as we observe the Israelites wandering through the wilderness. The book teaches us much about the ugliness of sin, God’s just wrath against it, but also His faithfulness to fulfill His good promises toward His people. It’s definitely not a book for a Christian to neglect.

Tomorrow I’ll be preaching in French at the translator’s church. Please pray for grace and strength as it’s been since March that I preached in French (in Benin). Pray my voice will be strong as I still have some congestion in the lungs that weakens my voice. Pray also for a good completion of the workshop next week.

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