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Archive for March, 2016

Oksana and I are thankful for a blessed time of fellowship and ministry at Bible Baptist Church in Wakarusa, IN, last weekend. We were impressed by the large number of young people who show a sincere interest in the preaching of the Word. We also enjoyed seeing the high interest level of the rest of the church, as well as a wide range of ages. The church had around 300 in the morning and probably a majority of them came back for our presentation the evening. Pastor David Harper has been there for many years, so he provides stability to the church. He said he’s overwhelmed at God’s goodness upon his ministry. We were also overwhelmed and thankful! We also enjoyed some great fellowship as we stayed with friends who have a small horse farm in the Niles area. What a great weekend!

On Saturday we begin a three-weekend trip to PA, VA, and NC. We look forward to reporting to 5 of our our supporting churches. We will cover over 2,000 miles, so pray for our safety. Pray also for effective ministry and that hearts would be encouraged to see what He has been doing in Bible translation around the world.

During the first weekend of March, I was the coordinator for my first ever missions conference, which was held at our church, Grand Valley Baptist Church. The emphasis was upon home missions, though we also had missionaries make us more aware of the needs in world missions. We were thankful to have a missionary going to China, a pastor/translator from Haiti, a missionary to Nepal, a missionary couple in Cambodia, and then Oksana and me. Our pastor gave the main message in the Sun AM service. I was particularly thankful for how excited the kids got about world missions, as they worked hard to complete their “passports.” It was a blessed time!

As I said, I wanted to emphasize the needs of home missions, so on Saturday we had discussions at the men’s breakfast and ladies’ tea about how we can create opportunities to give the gospel to unbelievers. Below are the ideas we came up with. We are now praying about how each of us can engage in these activities so that we could have an opportunity to “sow Scripture seed.” The idea to have this discussion came from an article in Answers in Genesis article, which can be found here.

 

  1. Ask Pastor what programs/outreach you could lead (if you want to start any new ministry at the church, you should speak to pastor first).
  2. Do random acts of kindness
  3. Share your testimony with others
  4. Fill a need anonymously
  5. Join a hospital support group, specifically at children’s hospitals
  6. Volunteer at Love INC (In the Name of Christ)
  7. Get engaged in Internet social media—find unsaved people to connect with
  8. Send e-mails to unsaved people you know
  9. Speak the gospel to your children and grandchildren, spending time with them to teach God’s ways
  10. Talk to people we work with or play a sport or while waiting for a bus.
  11. Get involved in a jail ministry—Forgotten Man Ministry is always looking for people to train and use
  12. Look for opportunities to give a tract or start a gospel conversation as you walk down the street, as you transact business in town, etc.
  13. Get involved in the elementary school Bible Club—Sue Meerman could use some other workers, esp men to help keep control, Mondays at 3:30.
  14. Volunteer at Positive Options (formerly, Lake Shore Pregnancy Center) – women counselors are needed for the girls who come in; men counselors are also needed for the girls’ boyfriends who may come in
  15. Get involved in ministries in our church to reach our own children and others— AWANA, VBS, Sunday School, youth group, etc.
  16. Complete the counseling certification so you can get involved in a Biblical Counseling Ministry in our church
  17. Host a free-meal/ movie night at our church (we can get the church licensed).
  18. Offer to start a free food/pantry ministry at our church. This too requires changes to the church kitchen.
  19. Start conversations or bring conversation around to biblical things with co-workers
  20. Speak to those who come to your home or work in your apt complex—vendors, repair men, suppliers, landlords, telemarkers, etc.
  21. Get involved at GVSU campus—Christian ministries who are trying to reach the students
  22. Tutor at a local school—GVSU, GRCC, etc
  23. Send tracts with your bills
  24. Do free work for your neighbors or others—shovel neighbor’s driveways, mow their lawn, walk someone’s dog, etc., in order to create conversations.
  25. Start a special interest group in your neighborhood, gardening, parenting, Monday Night Football Club, etc.
  26. Give a gift of free food to a neighbor
  27. Host a block party.
  28. Start a neighborhood Bible study
  29. Start a Bible study at work
  30. Help someone who is sick, injured, handicap, abused, needs a ride, etc.
  31. Speak to classmates at school, give out tracts
  32. Organize a charitable event/ yard sale
  33. Research on Craigslist for opportunities to volunteer at a function, help someone in need of goods and/or services, etc.
  34. Meet community needs—cleaning parks, volunteer at special events, help in public school, council meetings, school board, library board, etc.
  35. Join a group of some kind – but don’t overlook those who are most like us
  36. Pray before you eat at a restaurant, and even better, ask the waitress/waiter what request they have and let them know you will pray for them as you pray for your meal
  37. Look for people who are hurting, burdened, struggling, and let them know you are praying for them
  38. Visit the sick or those in nursing homes, or widows
  39. Reach out to veterans on social media or in person
  40. Take cookies or baked goods to those who visit the church
  41. Send out Get Well cards for families in the hospitals
  42. Display Bible verse(s) in the back window of your car
  43. Host international students in your home
  44. Have college students in your home for a meal or host them for a weekend, especially international students who are far from home.
  45. Start a puppet ministry—can post online as well.
  46. Include singles in your home and events
  47. Babysit children who need the Lord and give the gospel to them.
  48. Attend Farm Meetings.
  49. Start an ESL outreach ministry.
  50. Talk a walk with or without a dog to meet others who are walking.
  51. Do the same routine over and over again so that people will learn to expect to see you and may want to talk to you.
  52. Become a regular customer at a nearby establishment or restaurant, haircutting salon, grocery store, etc…
  53. Be a neighbor by doing a kind deed, cut the grass, shovel the driveway, give a gift of food, have a block party, etc.
  54. Show kindness to people/ kids at a bus stop (but be careful with kids since their parents may not approve of it).
  55. Join a baseball game (or other sport) with a group in order to be able to interact with the players.
  56. Check on getting involved in a crisis hotline ministry—where you help someone who expresses a desire to commit suicide, etc.
  57. Get involved in a rehab ministries are very effective since there are very many addicted people in the world.
  58. Develop friendships with unsaved people at your work, school, etc. Pray for God to lay one soul upon your heart and to love that soul through you.
  59. If you are ever at a loss for how to connect to unbelievers, ask the Lord to send them into your life.

 

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Some of our consultants recently returned from a linguistics workshop with various of our language groups in NE India. Among many linguistics issues, they were trying to teach syntax to the translators and also discover how these syntactical features work in their language. One consultant wanted to teach about transitive verbs (action verbs with a direct object), so she used the sentence, “He hit the ball.” One language group said that they couldn’t express this simple sentence without also specifying the instrument used to hit the ball–a bat, a hand, etc. You have to state the means by which the action is accomplished as well as the instrument itself that was used.

The consultant went on to point out how identifying the instrument correctly can have significant theological implications, particularly when it comes to describing the process of salvation. In Ephesians 2:8-9, it is very important to identify grace as the means by which we are saved, not what is given to us after we have earned our salvation. What a world of difference!

So, syntax and grammar are extremely important for our work! That’s why we are developing a Linguistics Training Manual for Translators. We will use this manual to guide the translators in understanding better how the grammar of their language works, and with that knowledge, they will be able to produce a more grammatically correct translation, which will also mean a more theological correct one as well!

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Dear Family and Friends,

At a recent conference that I attended, I was reminded of the powerful grace of God that has delivered us from the power of sin such that we no longer have to sin anymore. We often need to set up “fences” (e.g., accountability partners) to help keep us from sinning, but ultimately we want God’s grace to so transform our desires that we no longer want to sin. Instead, we want to please Him. PRAY that God would give Oksana and me warm hearts of love and thankfulness for all He’s done in our lives so that we might live in a God-glorifying manner.

FAMILY NEWS

Oksana and I are thankful for your prayers for us after the miscarriage in December. After two surgical procedures that month, we finally saw her body return to normal—just in time to leave for Ukraine on January 5. We enjoyed seeing family and friends while there, but we also stayed quite busy with medical appointments. PRAY that the treatments Oksana is taking will help her health condition to improve. She has no serious medical issues but isn’t at 100% either.

We are very thankful that Grand Valley Baptist Church, our home church, has voted to begin supporting us. We are also very pleased that Calvary Baptist Church in Clymer, PA, has become a new ministry partner. Four churches and one family increased their current support, so we praise God for that as well. We have lost some support and a supporter, however, so our current level is 78%. That means we are still doing “deficit spending,” but we have been overwhelmed by some large gifts that have come in to carry us through. PRAISE God! We have nine meetings at churches this quarter, and three are at non-supporting churches, so please PRAY for God’s blessings as we travel and minister.

We rejoice that Oksana was approved for a “green card” on March 2! After almost exactly a year, the immigration process reached this major milestone.

PAST AND FUTURE WORKSHOPS

We PRAISE God for helping us through a very busy first quarter: workshop in Eurasia, helping my mom move, workshop on the Haitian Creole at the BI office, and a missions conference at our home church. The workshop in Eurasia had some unique challenges, but the Lord gave us the strength and wisdom to teach the people there more about Bible translation, how their language’s syntax works, and how to improve the material they have already translated. We didn’t cover much biblical text during this workshop, so PRAY the team produces a much higher quality translation between now and August so that we can move much more quickly.

In the Haitian Creole workshop, we covered Judges and almost finished 1 Samuel. We hope to do at least two more books in early June.

OTHER NEWS

As of January 12, BI has had to adjust to ministry without our director, Dr. Hantz Bernard. We pray God will guide him and his wife to a new place of ministry, and we look forward to how God will continue to bless BI, whose mission ever remains the same. PRAY for God to provide a new director, as well as a new part-time administrative assistant for my department and Projects Management. We also still need projects coordinators and consultants.

Continue to PRAY for Terri Fiebig, my former administrative assistant. In October, she was told that she has only another three months to live because of her pancreatic cancer, but God is working through the treatments so that she is now expected to have another year.

For the cause of Christ,

Troy (for both of us)

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