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Archive for the ‘Oksana’ 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,

In preparation for the arrival of our son, I read Tedd Tripp’s Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Tripp focuses on parenting that addresses the heart of the child, not just his behavior. He makes his point strongly with this statement: “A change in behavior that does not stem from a change in heart is not commendable; it is condemnable.” May God enable Oksana and me to raise our son with a gospel-saturated focus on his heart.

OUR SON IS BORN!

We PRAISE God for bringing Eliyas (pronounced EL-i-yas) Joseph into this world on May 19! He weighed 8 lbs and 15 oz, and was 22 inches long. Oksana was in labor for 27.5 hours, but we praise God for strengthening her to delivery normally. The timing was not what we had planned, but it turns out that God’s plan was better than ours. Oksana called me to come home at 4 p.m. on Thursday and, after everything was completed at the hospital, we went home Sunday afternoon. So, I missed only one day of the Haitian Creole workshop. I was able to do the second week of the workshop, because my mom helped Oksana at home during the day. Also, we got our first two meetings in Quebec moved into July, so we have a little longer for Oksana and Eliyas to get into a good routine.

Eliyas’ name means “my God is Jehovah,” and that’s our prayer for him—that he would follow only Jehovah all his days. Please PRAY with us in that regard and PRAY for us that God would enable us to lead him in that way. You can read more about the birth story and our choice of his name in previous posts on this blog.

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Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. (Psa 127:3)

God makes a home for the lonely. (Psa 68:6a)

SUPPORT NEARING 100%

Our support increased again this past quarter, thanks to our sending church, Grand Valley Baptist; Lake County Baptist in Waukegan, IL; Calvary Baptist in York, PA; and a family, who are dear friends. Due to some anticipated expenses, our support estimate went up some, so the bottom line is that our support level is at 94%. Please pray for the remaining support to come in this year. During the summer, we will be visiting four supporting churches in Quebec and two non-supporting churches in the US.

MINISTRY

We PRAISE the Lord for giving me a safe trip to Myanmar (consultant seminar), Singapore (two churches), and India (school partnerships). The seminar was a tremendous team-building experience, the visits to Singapore churches were refreshing, and the exploration in India was very profitable. PRAY for wisdom as we strategize on how to move forward in India, which will include another trip to India in October.

We also PRAISE God for His help in writing the BI constitution. The committee worked very hard, and we should have the rough draft complete by the end of this week. PRAY as it will be sent to BMM for input at that point.

The Lord really helped me to stay focused for the Haitian Creole OT workshop in May, and we finished checking 1 Kings and 2 Kings 1-6. PRAISE God!

PRAY as I try to finalize plans for the Consultant Seminar at BI in August. PRAY for wisdom as I lead my department and prepare various presentations.

PRAY also for God’s provision of more laborers. PRAISE Him fo His provision of financial support for BI, though we continue to wait for His choice of a new Director and the filling of other strategic roles.

For the sake of Christ,

Troy (for the three of us)

 

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How did we get to Eliyas, which is pronounced EL-i-yas? The story is below for those who are interested. The story will be told in the third person, since I have to tell you what Troy said/thought as well as what Oksana said/thought.

What mattered most to them was that they choose a name with a good meaning. In fact, that was more important than a nice-sounding name. They’d rather have one with a good meaning, even if it didn’t sound nice. When they looked through names, Oksana considered a few names that sounded nice, but then she discarded them when she realized they had no good meaning. (Troy was less particular about which name their son should have as long as it had a good meaning, was easy to say in both the USA and in Ukraine, and wouldn’t get shortened to a nickname that we didn’t like.)

(In fact, when they were at the labor/delivery class offered by our hospital, they were asked by the professor to share which characteristic of their spouse they wanted to see in their child. The instructor was focusing on physical characteristics, it seems, but Oksana boldly declared that they wanted their child to have the shared characteristic of loving God all his life.)

Then, Oksana heard the name “Ilya” and really liked how it sounded; she also liked the “soft form” of the name in Russian, “Ilyusha.” But she didn’t like the English version, Elijah. She hadn’t considered the meaning of that name until that point. Troy told her the name means “my God is Jehovah.” It wasn’t exactly what she wanted (though quite close), but she knew she wanted our baby to be faithful to the Lord until the end. Both of them wanted that. She thought the meaning was OK, but she wondered if there might be a name that would fit her desires even better. She just entrusted it to the Lord and knew He would answer somehow.

Then, Troy said he likes it but that the Russian form in English would look like a feminine name with the ‘a’ ending. “Ilya” wouldn’t look like a name for a boy.

They considered other names, like Lemuel, because it had a good meaning. But Troy didn’t like the name, though it occurs in Proverbs and though it means “faithful” or “dedicated.” It’s not a very common name. Oksana didn’t want to push Troy to like this name.

Then, one time Oksana mentioned they could change Ilya to Ilyas, as they do in Turkmenistan and other countries in that part of the world. Troy thought the form “Ilyas” looks funny. The language we are helping in Eurasia has the form “Eliya.” Troy’s mom also suggested that form based on someone at our former church in South Carolina,” but Troy and Oksana didn’t like that form. In January, they talked to their friends in Eurasia and asked for their ideas, but they still couldn’t come to a conclusion.

Well, one day they were on the plane from Eurasia to Ukraine in early February, and out of the blue, Troy told Oksana that they needed to come to a conclusion very soon. He mentioned that they were on their way to Ukraine, and they would see family and friends, who would ask them what their boy’s name would be. So, they were trying to come to a conclusion on the plane. Oksana said, “Well, I told you the name I like, but I don’t want to pressure you to like it.”

It just so happened that a lady from Israel was sitting next to Troy, and she heard them discussing the matter. She was around 51, but she had twins at the age of 48—her first kids. She was a pharmacist at the time, but formerly she was an ob-gyn doctor, who had delivered many babies. She mentioned that the parents would sometimes ask her to be part of choosing a name.

She said she overheard them talking about choosing a name, so they told her what they were considering. She said that in Israel the form is “Eliyas.” It was similar to what is in Eurasian countries, but with an ‘E’ at the beginning, not an ‘I.’ And the pronunciation put the stress on the first syllable. Oksana wouldn’t like it on the second syllable, because then that would sound too much like “Eli,” the priest in 1 Samuel who didn’t raises his sons well. Oksana didn’t want anything close to his name.

Oksana said she liked Eliyas, and Troy agreed that it was a nice-sounding form of the name. Plus, he thought the form in English would look nice.

Then, Oksana said she really wanted the middle name to be “Joseph,” because she really likes that character in the Bible. Troy also really likes him. Both admire him for how faithful he was to the Lord. That’s exactly what they want for their son.

But, as they were considering the form “Eliyas,” they wondered if it would sound better with the stress on the first syllable or the second. So, when they were in Ukraine, they asked a few people how they would say “Eliyas.” They got two people to say they like the accent on the first syllable. As they would say the name themselves, they tended to put the accent on the first syllable too.

So, it was finally decided—Eliyas Joseph—with the stress on EL!

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Each new experience in life gives us another opportunity to learn more about our Lord’s precious ways toward believers. Oksana and I are gaining insight into some of the aspects of the Lord’s imminent coming. Of course, we are clearly experiencing the “any moment” nature of His coming, as we see Oksana’s belly getting bigger and bigger (sorry, no pictures!), and as she gets more and more uncomfortable (though in general, she’s doing quite well by the Lord’s strength).

We are also trying to predict when our son will come, as we see the “signs” of his coming, just as we do in relation to the Lord’s coming. Jesus’ return is predicted by sure promises. For our son’s coming, we have no promises. We do have anecdotes from others, though. They are all just theories, but it’s interesting that people tell us things as if they are gospel fact.

Boys are always late; girls are always early.

When your belly drops such that you can put four fingers above the belly and below the bra line, you are ready to deliver.

If you start experiencing nesting instincts and do nesting things at odd hours of the night, you are close.

If you experience certain pains (which they like describing to Oksana), you are on the verge.

Of course, some of these things may actually be quite common among expectant mothers (especially #3), but one key thing I am learning about a coming delivery–every women has her unique story to tell. Three women experiencing the same thing doesn’t make it fact; it’s still just anecdotes that can lead to a theory, but not a fact. Here’s my theory that I almost believe as fact:

First-born sons look more like their mom; first-born daughters look more like their dad.

No, I haven’t done a scientific study of this theory, but I choose to accept it as almost fact, because I’ve seen it come true in at least three families (ha!). Actually, I’ve seen it in many more families, but I’m still trying to keep it just as a theory. However, I’m expecting our son to look like Oksana (God would be merciful to us if He granted that!).

We’ve had fun preparing our son’s room for him. Here’s a picture of his room before we began much work or bought anything (sorry, I said the next pictures on my blog would be of our son, but he’s delaying and I gotta post something):

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This room actually used to be my office, but I and some friends helped me move everything to the basement. Though it may sound bad to be at the end of the basement, I’m actually liking my new location. My wife and I think it really improved the look of the basement to have my office down there.

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And here’s what our son’s room now looks like (still a few things left to do):

So, we are ready for him to arrive…any moment now! As I have been thinking about our joy in preparing a place for our son, I reflect upon the Lord’s joy in preparing a place for us. Think of Him busily working away to prepare our heavenly dwelling place.

John 14:1 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.
2 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
3 “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
4 “And you know the way where I am going.” (NAU)

The Lord’s words in John 14 are intended to assure our hearts that He will come back and take us to His glory–because He’s prepared a place for us. He will certainly come for us who believe! Oh, Lord, come quickly!

The truth is that we have no promise that our son will actually arrive. To be honest, our hearts have been a little anxious when we couldn’t feel our son moving in Oksana’s belly for an extended period of time (and then we breathe a thankful prayer to God when he starts moving again!). We don’t know if God will actually allow us to hold our son (our first child died in the womb), but we have confidence that He has only good purposes for all He does in our lives. This is what He has promised, and it’s what we are clinging to.

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11 NAU)

We cling to that, and we also grasp hold of God’s good character and His power to bring life into this world. He certainly has the power to give us a healthy child, and so we are praying earnestly that God would do that…and that He would do it soon!

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On Saturday some of my friends and I moved all of my office items from the upstairs bedroom near the master bedroom to the far end of the basement. We figured that upstairs bedroom would work best for our son’s room. We also decided the far end of the basement is a good spot for my home office, since it meant we didn’t lose a guest bedroom. I’m not as excited about having to walk further to get to my office–not to mention having to use the stairs too!–but I think I like the new set-up. The new office is set up such that everything is within close reach, and my drawing table is not far away anymore. It’s in the same room as my desk now, along with my two guitars.

I’m thankful that my former office’s room’s walls were blue, because that meant I didn’t have to paint them a different color for our baby. I was definitely rejoicing in that small blessing when we found out we are having a boy! But other than having the room cleared (with a crib and a rocking chair currently in there) and the walls being blue, I feel like Oksana and I are walking into completely unknown territory. We have so many questions about the future. Here are some of Oksana’s questions:

  1. How can my stomach get any bigger? (she’s due on May 11)
  2. Will I truly love this child as I should? (she used to long to have children, but those desires cooled down some in later years)
  3. Will this child keep me from traveling and ministering for BI? (she doesn’t want to stop at all)
  4. Is it more economical to use cloth diapers?
  5. Will I survive the delivery?
  6. Can I teach him Ukrainian and Russian?

She has more, but these are the only ones I can think of right now. Here are some of my questions:

  1. Will I be able to tear myself away from playing with my son in the evenings so that I can get other work done?
  2. Will I get any reading done in the evenings? Still be able to workout at the fitness center?
  3. Will my child understand my English? Will I learn Russian with him?
  4. What will we do about his schooling?
  5. Will people have a hard time spelling his name?
  6. Will he keep my wife from getting anything else done at home? (she has many tasks to do for BMM and BI)
  7. Will we have strength as we age to play with him? (we aren’t exactly 20-year-olds having kids!)
  8. How much extra stuff will we have to carry around with us when we visit churches? When we go overseas?

Of course, the biggest questions are: will we be able to raise him to love the Lord with all his heart, mind, and soul? Will he embrace Christ as strongly as we would desire him to do?

Right now, we have more questions than answers, but our trust is not in ourselves, but in the Lord. And we have many examples around us of new parents who survived the transition into parenthood and successfully raised their children for the Lord. They encourage us to keep pressing forward to that inevitable due date of May 11.

On another note, we look forward to visiting churches in the coming weeks. We’ll be at a missions conference at Waterman Baptist Church in Kingman, IN, this week. And then next week we’ll join Bible Baptist Church in Wakarusa for their missions emphasis month. Then we head to Peoples Baptist Church in Frederick, MD, for their missions emphasis weekend. It’s going to be a blessed and busy two weeks!

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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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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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