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Archive for the ‘deputation’ Category

I’m sure you anticipated it: Eliyas’ first trip. Troy the traveling translator doesn’t let grass grow under his feet long, and his wife and his son are happy to travel with him. Well, we hope so (regarding Eliyas)! We are still trying to get him into a good pattern of eating and sleeping, so please pray for that to happen before we leave for Quebec next week. We look forward to seeing our 4 supporting churches up there, and then we’ll head to NJ for a meeting with Pastor Troutman and his church.

Eliyas’ first trip was technically to Grand Haven, MI, when my sister and her son were in town last week. It was a good opportunity to take a few days vacation for some R & R and to help my wife more at home (especially at night). I’m not sure how much of Grand Haven Eliyas got to see, since he slept most of the time, but the rest of us enjoyed it (and yes, I know, newborns can’t see far anyway!). Oksana’s first visit to Grand Haven was for our first Valentine’s Day together, so it was nice to actually see the water this time, not a big mass of snow and ice!

Grand Haven

Eliyas and Oksana will get their first exposure to French when we visit Quebec. Oksana has already been exposed to languages she doesn’t know, since we hear them in Eurasia during our workshop trips. But this will be the first trip where I’ll be able to be an interpreter for her, if my French isn’t too rusty. Not only will we really enjoy visiting friends up there, we’ll also spend a few days touring the old part of Quebec City. It’s the closest thing for Americans to see a European city, so it’s going to be fun.

What are some things I’m working on at the office? Glad you asked! I have to write two papers for our India partner’s (BIIS) 25-year celebration later this year. They are publishing a booklet to commemorate this event, and they’ve asked me to write about the philosophy and methodology of Bible translation, as well as whatever other message the Lord lays on my heart. I’m also refining a presentation on “Literacy in Biblical Times,” which I will present at the Bible Faculty Summit at Appalachian Bible College in early August. I’m also putting together a promotional PPT for an Indian consultant to show to a group of Bible college professors in July. Oh, and I’m preparing to report and preach in French in Quebec. And of course, many other things…

 

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Dear Family and Friends,

During our recent vacation in Ukraine, I completed my reading of Paul David Tripp’s Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands. One of his core truths continues to challenge me: “Each of us has been called by God to be his instruments of change in the lives of others, beginning with our families and the church (Eph. 4:11-16; Col. 3:15-17).” How our churches would change if we adopted this ambassadorial lifestyle and stopped looking at the church only as a place to “get something!”

SUPPORT RISING

Thank you for praying about both the increase in our support and the manner in which it increases. We’ve seen our support rise by 9% to 90% in the first quarter with an increase of only two more churches to our support base! We are thankful that Calvary Baptist in Findlay, OH, and Union Baptist in Kittanning, PA, joined our support team. We also added two individual supporters and saw a family increase their monthly giving. We are also thankful that BI has agreed to begin funding Oksana’s travels to Eurasia, so we no longer have to raise those funds. PRAISE God for His provisions! However, we still plan on raising funds for travels so that Oksana can go with me to other countries once a year and so that we can cover our baby’s costs once he gets old enough to be charged for his plane ticket.

In case you missed it, I did use a “he” to refer to our baby. We found out in January that God is blessing us with a son in early May. Oksana’s pregnancy is going well in general, but the aches and pains in the third trimester are not fun. We are thankful for the free things we’ve been able to collect for our baby, and Oksana looks forward to good fellowship with friends at baby showers in late March.  Keep PRAYING for Oksana and baby!

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We currently have 33 churches supporting us and 27 individuals/families. We have meetings in five non-supporting churches this year. We are also reporting in six of our supporting churches, including the four in Quebec this summer. PRAY for God’s timing of the baby’s birth and departure for Quebec. We would like for there to be sufficient time between the two for mommy and baby to get into a good routine.

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WORKSHOPS

Oksana and I are thankful for the progress we are seeing in the translators’ abilities in Eurasia. Though we didn’t cover more material than in the last workshop, we had a profitable workshop and grew in our understanding of their language and of the work in general. We PRAISE God that both translators are in good health for now and are trusting God amidst heavy persecution. PRAY they can get the fine removed for not being registered to meet and that they would secure registration.

PRAY too for good progress with the Haitian Creole translator in late May as he comes to Grand Rapids for a workshop. PRAY also for God’s timing as our baby is due on May 11 and the workshop is supposed to start on May 15.

PRAY earnestly for God’s provision of laborers for BI: director, Myanmar director, project coordinators, composition editor, and Scripture Use Manager. PRAY also for wisdom for a committee of four of us who have the daunting task of writing a constitution for BI. We hope to have it completed by July.

Lastly, PRAY for my trip to Asia without Oksana in late March and early April. I will be going to Myanmar (consultant seminar), Singapore (two churches), and India (school partnerships). As of March 22, I’m still recovering from sickness, so pray that will clear up very soon.

For the sake of Christ,

Troy (for both of us)

 

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One activity that gives me great delight is organizing stuff–putting things in the proper place and attaching labels to find them easily later. I took the time before I left my BI office to do that before Christmas. I filed away all papers and made sure every folder had clear labels. I also got basically caught up on all urgent emails. Considering that I was around 90 behind in the fall, that was quite a challenging task! It was such a good feeling to leave the office on December 23, knowing that I could go back on Wednesday with basically a fresh start–nothing lingering from the previous year.

I also found delight in organizing our storage room at home during the past week of compensation days (which I earned from traveling so much in the fall). I put up drywall so that I could mount shelving and then get everything into its proper place. But before I installed the shelving, I put bright white paint on the drywall and also covered the grey foundation walls with two fresh coats of bright white. It feels good now to know that things that had remained somewhat unorganized for as much as a few years are now in their proper place. My larger motivation was to prepare the house for the baby coming. Since my office will become the baby room, I need to find another place in the house to set up shop. We have a nice area for that right outside the storage room, and that room can function as a place where I can keep office supplies.

Another activity that brings me great delight is reviewing God’s workings in our lives over the past year. I was able to do that yesterday, and here are some highlights of our year on a personal level:

  • Early January started with our final appointments concerning the miscarriage of Salem.
  • We were cleared to travel to Eurasia and Ukraine for 4 weeks in January.
  • While in Ukraine, we heard that the BI director, Dr. Hantz Bernard, was released by the new BMM President, Dr. Vernon Rosenau.
  • On Feb. 2, my mom moved up to Grand Rapids and stayed with us for 2 months until her newly renovated condo was ready to move into.
  • In late Feb and early March I conducted a Haitian Creole OT workshop at the office.
  • During the workshop (3/2), we drove to Detroit where Oksana had her Green Card interview and passed with flying colors!
  • At the end of the workshop (3/4-6), I led a missions conference at our church.
  • Our first deputation meeting was actually on Jan. 3 at our home church here, but then the meetings really began in March. We ended up having 16 deputation meetings throughout the year. 4 of those churches have taken us on for support, and we gained 2 individual supporters. We also visited 8 supporting churches. I spoke a total of 70 times throughout the year in 28 churches and 3 schools. Oksana probably spoke about half that number. We put 6,282 miles onto our car, and we added around 5,000 to two rental cars.
  • We started the year at 74% and saw it go up to 83%. But then because of insurance and baby-needs increases, it went down to 73%. Now, it’s back up to 83%.
  • On April 15 we found out that Oksana’s nephew, Roma, died early on April 16 morning. Oksana flew out on April 16 for a week.
  • On May 19 Oksana passed her BMM doctrinal questioning with flying colors!
  • On May 30-June 10 I led another Haitian Creole OT workshop at the office.
  • In early July Oksana attended the BMM Candidate Seminar.
  • Later in July I began taking courses to become a certified biblical counselor.
  • On July 19 we found out that Oksana’s unsaved father died at the age of 69.
  • Right after the BI Consultant Seminar and Annual Retreat, Oksana and I flew to Eurasia and then took vacation in Ukraine.
  • After the overseas trip we had 2 days before we had to leave for 5 weeks of deputation.
  • We had a week after that before we headed out for another 3 weeks of deputation.
  • Throughout the busy fall, I was also administering a graduate-level Discourse Analysis course to 4 consultants in training.
  • On September 8 we found out that Oksana was pregnant. A few weeks later that was confirmed with doctors, and we were told the due date is on May 11. We are quite excited and thankful!
  • In addition to taking vacation in Ukraine, we also took short breaks in Grand Haven, Chicago, Washington DC, and the outer banks of NC.
  • I read the following 12 books throughout the year: Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus (John Gray), The People’s Bible (Derek Thomas), Christian Counselor’s Medical Desk Reference (Robert Smith), The Bible Translator (Aug 2015 & April 2016), The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (Rosaria Butterfield), Sticking Points (Haydn Shaw), Pioneer Missions (Forrest McPhail), Holistic Discourse Analysis (Longacre and Hwang), A Theology of Christian Counseling (Jay Adams), What Is a Healthy Church Member? (Thabiti Anyabwile), and A Bible for Every Hand and Heart (Michael Grant, ed.)

It was a good year–filled with God’s blessings and trials. I am thankful that He carried us safely through and look forward to the new year. This year will include:

  • Jan/Feb: Eurasia/Ukraine
  • March: 2 missions conferences
  • Mar/Apr: Myanmar/Singapore
  • May: BABY!!
  • June: Quebec
  • July: missions trip to British Columbia
  • Aug: annual events at BI
  • Sept: Haiti
  • Oct/Nov: India, Chad, Eurasia, Ukraine

May God bless and guide in all our endeavors!

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We’ve already announced this to most people we know and we published it in the Facebook world, but I haven’t yet written about it on my blog. Oksana suspected she was pregnant back in early September and we had it confirmed by Oksana’s doctor’s office when we got back to the US in mid-September. We were so thankful when we heard our baby’s heartbeat on November 7. When we met with the doctor at the same point in the pregnancy last year, we heard no heartbeat at the office, and then the ultrasound confirmed that evening that our baby had died. So, when we heard the heartbeat with the sonogram that morning, our hearts leaped for joy. It was a moment when I wanted to laugh, cry, and shout for joy at the same time. We certainly praised God for His protection over our yet-to-be-born baby. He or she is due on May 11. We’ll get an ultrasound done in early January so we can find out the gender (though we may not tell anyone!).

With the baby on its way and the increase in health care costs, our support estimate had to be recalculated. We were at 82.4% of reaching full support with the former estimate, but with the new one, we are now at 75%. It’s tempting to get discouraged, because we’ve worked very hard to get the support from 66% (when we first got married) to 82.4%. But on the other hand, much of that increase came simply because of God’s blessing. And we know He can bless again and bring the support back up. We have already heard from 2 new churches, one currently supporting church, and a new individual about increases. Pray that they would be able to do it and that others would take us on! We hope to hear of many increases when the new year starts and budgets get settled.

We are thankful for a great meeting at Southwest Community Baptist Church in Parma, OH, a few weeks ago and then another at Thompson Road Baptist Church in Indianapolis, IN, last week. Southwest is searching for a new pastor, so they aren’t in a position to take on new missionaries. But Pastor Slutz at Thompson Road said we are on his “short list.”

After our meeting last week we stopped by Widow’s Jar Ministries to pick up supplies that they collect to give away for free to missionaries. We focused mostly on provisions for our baby. We ended up filling our Ford Escape from front to back and from top to bottom. We are thankful for the labor of love of the many volunteers who help there and for God’s provision for all these supplies. We probably had $1,000 worth of supplies in our vehicle.

We stopped off at the Ukrainian embassy in Chicago on our way home to settle some paperwork concerning Oksana’s mom’s apartment in Ukraine. We hope the paperwork will arrive on time. Though we had to spend a lot for this trip, parking in Chicago, and FedEx to get the paper to Ukraine, we hope it will save having to change our Ukraine trip plans, which are currently for after the Eurasia workshop. If the paperwork doesn’t arrive, we would have to go to Ukraine before Eurasia, which would mess up other things in the works.

 

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Maybe not too many will be interested in all this, but I found it quite interesting and helpful to analyze all the work I’ve done on my own and with my wife in order to raise funds for our ministry. I actually began deputation meetings in July 2007, and I continued with meetings until May 2012, though I had actually gotten full support by March 2012. So, that means that for my first 5 years of ministry with BI, I was doing deputation meetings. And now that the support estimate went up when I got married, deputation meetings began again soon thereafter. So, I had 3 years where I was not doing many meetings, though I was still doing some in late 2012, 2013, 2014, and early 2015.

Here are the statistics concerning number of deputation meetings per year:

  • 2007–10 meetings (started in July)
  • 2008–39 meetings
  • 2009–44 meetings
  • 2010–37 meetings
  • 2011–37 meetings
  • 2012–5 meetings
  • 2013–3 meetings
  • 2014–4 meetings
  • 2015–3 meetings
  • 2016–14 meetings (2 more to go)
  • TOTAL–196 meetings

Here are the statistics concerning the number of new churches I/we have visited per year:

  • 2007–10 churches
  • 2008–39 churches
  • 2009–44 churches
  • 2010–37 churches
  • 2011–35 churches
  • 2012–4 churches
  • 2013–2 churches
  • 2014–1 church
  • 2015–2 churches
  • 2016–4 churches (2 upcoming meetings are return visits)
  • TOTAL–178 churches

The numbers are the same on both lists for 2007-2010, but by 2011 I was returning to churches I had already visited. I continued to return to churches in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015, but I would visit a few new ones too. In 2016, I made a big push to visit churches for deputation meetings, but only 4 of them were churches I had never visited.

I’m not yet sure what we will do next year, but so far we have 8 meetings but only 1 is a deputation meeting. We know of 2 new churches that plan on taking us on for support, but that will still leave us around $800/mo short of 100%, depending on how much they commit to. And then, there’s the issue of having a baby in May and needing more support for that. Ugh! I’ve been on deputation 6 of the 9.5 years of ministry at BI, and it seems the end is not in sight. Only God can sustain us to the very end!

It was great to be with Pastor Ostrander and the people at Harmony Baptist (Beaver Dam, WI) and then with Pastor Coley and the people at Bethany Baptist (Grand Rapids, OH) these past two weekends. In both places we enjoyed special events on the Friday before the meeting. In Beaver Dam we heard the singing group Forever Be Sure, a ladies sacred music group. They were a huge blessing! Then in Grand Rapids, OH, we got to be involved in a youth activity, which included “capture the flag” and a hayride. I got to share a devotional at that. Coley’s church also reserved two nights at The Mill House, a nice old Bed/Breakfast in the quaint little downtown of GR. We loved walking along the river down there. I highly recommend that little town for a nice weekend get-away.

Tomorrow we head to Parma, OH, for a deputation meeting at Southwest Community Baptist Church. This will be a return visit for both of us, and I had already been there a few times before marrying Oksana. But this time we’ll be there when they are without a pastor. We hope to be an encouragement as they go through this transition time.

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It’s been since before our Eurasia workshop that I updated our blog. Life has been a blur since that point and is just now calming down. I was extremely busy during the workshop, as usual, but instead of preparing more text for the workshop, I was compiling the dictionary, studying the grammar, or preparing devotionals that would cover hard passages that were coming up. I’m thankful the Lord gave me the latter idea, because it prepared me and the team well for working through the passage during the workshop. I’m thankful that we covered more material than in the last workshop, but we are still very far from doing 130 verses per day. Maybe we’ll never get to that pace, since I have to work through an interpreter (Oksana), but hopefully we can get close so that we can finish this NT in 10 years.

After the workshop we flew to Ukraine to spend 11 days of vacation. Oksana had a few less doctor’s appointments, so she had a more restful time in Ukraine, and so did I. We were able to minister at a church in a nearby village one Sunday and then in her home church the following Sunday. We also enjoyed fellowship with family and friends.

When we got back to the US, we had two days to unpack and get ready for a deputation/furlough trip that would last 5 Sundays. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Faith Baptist in Lebanon, PA. Pastor Burggraff and his church received us very well, and we received a very generous love offering. On Wednesday, we went to our supporting church, First Baptist, across town so we could be with the Fernetts and the dear people there.

The following week we took a few compensation days to visit Washington DC and spend time with friends at a vacation house on the outer banks of NC. I carried my work to each of these places, but at least we got to spend a few hours here and there learning about the US and enjoying God’s creation.

We really enjoyed our time at Keystone Baptist in Berryville, VA, with Pastor Wright and his church. We spent all day with them, and at the end of the day Pastor Wright assured us that his church would eventually begin supporting us. Praise the Lord! A week or so earlier, we had heard that Peoples Baptist in Frederick, MD, would also soon take us on for support. Plus, a friend in SC began supporting us a week later, so with all three of these additions, we might be up to 84%. Praise God!

After being in Berryville, we drove down to Greenville, SC, to be part of BJU’s Global Opportunities Week. The Lord greatly blessed our visit there. I was quite busy with speaking in 7 different classes (3 of which required that I make new presentations) and in 3 other opportunities, but God also worked in hearts. We were able to make 14 new connections and renewed contact with 4 others. Pray that the interest the students showed was not just a passing thing.

At the end of the week we drove back up to PA for meetings at Calvary Baptist in York and then Calvary Baptist in Elkins Park. The people at York were extremely generous toward us; we received the largest love offering that we’ve been given in a while. They seem to be quite likely to take us on for support. We also popped over to NJ for a few days to be with Pastor Troutman and his people at Heritage Baptist, where we had a great meeting in July. They also really like our ministry.

We finally got to go home that following Monday, Oct 17. That week was restful but not the normal routine all week, since BI’s Harvest Dinner took place on Thursday. We are thankful for the 500+ guests who joined us and for the $40,000+ they gave toward our 7 projects in Chad and CAR. All of those projects are within 2-5 years of completion, so when I was leading the offering portion of the service, I challenged people to consider standing alongside the translation teams until they get to the finish line. Pray that many will!

We are now in WI for a meeting at Harmony Baptist in Beaver Dam next Sunday. We originally had a meeting planned in Huntley, IL, but that church disbanded. But since we already planned some chiropractic appointments for Oksana and a day of recruiting at Maranatha, we came anyway. The appointments have been very helpful, and the recruiting was mediocre. We’ll be hanging out on campus throughout the week, so we’ll see if we can make more connections.

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Dear Family and Friends,

In Jay Adam’s A Theology of Christian Counseling, my current counseling book to read, he points out the seriousness of the accusation “That isn’t fair!” that counselees often make. It’s tempting to say such words when we don’t understand how good things can happen to bad people and vice versa. But with this accusation the counselee is “challenging the justice of God and the faithfulness of His Word.” It also demonstrates “a clear lack of faith.” As believers, we must trust God and accept by faith what He says about how He will reward good and punish wickedness.

PROGRESS AND LOSS

The month of July began with Oksana attending (with me at her side) BMM’s Candidate Seminar. We enjoyed the fellowship and learning at the week and a half of orientation, and we are rejoicing that Oksana now has “appointee” status. Eventually, we’ll both be commissioned by our new church in Grand Rapids, and she’ll then have full missionary status. PRAY as we continue to seek monthly support, which is currently at 81%. PRAISE Him for the 1% increase!

During the seminar, Oksana’s dad had some sort of mild heart attack. He refused to get medical help, and passed away a few weeks later. He most likely died in the same spiritual state he was in throughout his life—a hardened atheist. Oksana wasn’t able to make it to Ukraine for the funeral, but she got to visit his grave when we stopped in Ukraine after the Metanoia NT workshop. PRAY for her and her family as they now deal with the loss of two loved ones—her nephew and her dad. PRAY especially that Oksana’s brother-in-law will turn from alcohol and false religion and run to Christ.

ANNUAL EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS

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In August, I led another Consultant Seminar, which was probably the most well-attended since I began leading in 2007. Current consultants, prospective consultants, and others enjoyed our focus on dictionary-making and literacy. It does no good for us to publish the Scriptures if the recipients can’t read, and one thing that encourages literacy is having a dictionary in the target language. PRAY for wisdom to put into practice all we learned. PRAISE God for my mom’s leadership over all the food service. Next year our new administrative assistant, Becky Holub, will be in charge. PRAISE God for His provision of a new assistant!

After the seminar, we enjoyed three days at the annual BI Retreat. We are thankful for the emphasis on living by faith. On October 20, we’ll have our annual BI Harvest Dinner, which will focus on our Chad and Central African Republic projects. PRAY for a good offering.

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The day after the retreat, Oksana and I flew to Eurasia for another Metanoia NT workshop. We checked James, 1-3 John, and Mark 1:35-3:22. I’m so thankful for Oksana’s significant aid as my Russian interpreter. PRAY that God will provide more funds for her to go again in January (designate gifts to “Troy Manning—Passage”), which we need until we get full support. PRAY for better progress on this project too and for the health of the two translators.

PRAY for the Haitian Creole OT translator to finish enough material for us to have a workshop in November. He’s been struggling with electricity outages in Haiti.

For the cause of Christ,

Troy (for both of us)

 

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