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Posts Tagged ‘deputation’

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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In case you missed our recent Facebook post, a future US citizen is now in Oksana’s womb! The baby is due on June 22. We are still adjusting to life as a married couple, and Oksana is still adjusting to the USA, but now we have another huge adjustment to prepare for. Pray for Oksana as her body is already going through all sorts of adjustments.

Now that we are home for a few weeks, I can get into a good daily routine at work. One of the things I’ve put in my routine is studying Russian for an hour a day. I want to learn it to speak to my wife’s family and friends, but the main reason is so that I can work better with the project in Eurasia that we just started working on. They communicate with us in Russian, and they put their translation into a word-for-word Russian so that we can understand what they have written. But the problem is that I can’t understand their Russian material either! Of course, I will depend greatly upon my wife to help me, but it would be so much easier if I could understand the Russian myself. I don’t need to be able to speak it, but I need to be able to read it with understanding. I did that with the Haitian Creole and the Tok Pisin (PNG), but Russian will be much harder than those two Creoles.

The first hurdle in learning Russian is mastering the Cyrillic alphabet. For an English speaker, it can be confusing, because their letters look similar to ours but can have a completely different sound. For example, the letter that looks like “Y” is pronounced like our “u.” The letter that looks like “H” is pronounced as an “n,” while the letter that looks like a reversed “N” is pronounced as an “i.” The letter that looks like “C” is pronounced as an “s.” And then there’s the issue of the cursive forms looking even different than their print version. For example, a lowercase version of their “D” looks like our lowercase “g.” The letter that looks like a “T” in print form looks like an “m” in cursive form. How will I ever master these confusing symbols?! Thankfully, my knowledge of Greek is helping, because some letter look just like Greek letters, and the alphabet is organized in basically the same order as the Greek alphabet.

If I can ever get beyond the pronunciation complications, then I have to slowly work through the 6 noun case endings. The verbs will also be a real challenge, especially since they make use of “aspect” much more than English does. But by God’s grace, I will persevere and learn as much as the Lord will enable me to do.

Pray for our continued support needs. We’ve seen one church increase their support, and another individual supporter considering doing so. A church is presumably voting on us quite soon, since we completed a questionnaire recently. But so far, we are still at 73%. I did some work on Friday to get meetings at new churches, and I’ve already set up one meeting in VA and hope to set up a second one in PA soon. God is blessing! Keep praying!

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I arrived home on Monday night after a 10-hour drive from central PA. Yesterday was a day to catch up after being away for 6 weeks. I had jetlag-like symptoms, sleeping almost 9 hours and then running out of energy by 9 PM. I’m so thankful to be home. I was reading yesterday morning about Ezra’s account of his return to Jerusalem with his company of people. He spoke of God’s good hand upon him that brought him safely home. I could rejoice in God’s good hand in bringing me safely home. I went in and out of a couple of rain showers, but otherwise, the trip was rather uneventful.

As I look back over the trip, I can rejoice in all of God’s blessings. I was able to speak 22 times in 11 different churches. In addition to speaking at a new consultant’s commissioning service in NY, I reported to 5 supporting churches, and I got to re-present my ministry to 5 other churches that I had visited during deputation 5 years ago. Two of those churches spoke very positively about future support. In fact, in one of the churches, the pastor recommended me to the church even before I got up to speak for the first time. How encouraging! I’m thankful for the great time I had with the believers at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Mechanicsburg. They have two worship services on Sunday mornings because of the size of the congregation and the limited seating. I’m thankful that the Lord gave me the strength to preach the same sermon twice in one morning (with a break in between for SS). It was interesting to see how the Holy Spirit led me to emphasize different things in each sermon. It’s exciting to sense the Lord working in that way!

On an earthly note, I was able to buy a few things at their school auction to benefit the ministry (no other motivation, of course!). One was a framed poster of Michael Jordan’s “Last Shot” in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. It was the last shot of the game (to win the game) and his last shot before retiring (for the first time). it was their sixth and final championship of the Jordan era. My family lived in the Chicago area from 1984 to 1998, and we loved watching all the playoff games. As one friend noted, we were so biased toward the Bulls that we turned down the volume on the TV so we could listen to the commentators on the local radio station!

Please pray for new support to actually come. In spite of being low in support since around February, I overviewed the first 8 months of this year and noticed that giving into my account has exceeded my needs each month. God is good!

Now I get a little over 3 weeks to catch up from being away and also to get ready for my trip to PNG at the end of the month. Pray for grace to do both and not to get anxious when things aren’t falling into place!

Pray also for our annual Harvest Banquet that will take place next week on Thursday. We are really pleading for God’s blessing upon the night as we are trying to raise funds for a translation center in Myanmar. Costs are skyrocketing over there, so we need to secure a place where we can meet without facing increasing housing expenses. We also need something that is more adequate for our work than what we currently have. Our goal is to find a place that can handle multiple workshops at the same time as well as house visiting consultants.

On a language note, you may be interested in learning here why English has become the dominant language in science.

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I’ve finally converted.  I’m now an official resident of MI.  Which of the two above terms I should use is a matter of debate.  Regardless, I now have my blue-and-white license plate, and the other stuff is in the mail.  I was putting it off because I knew I would lose money in the deal.  Sure enough, combining what I save in registration and what I lose in auto insurance, I will be paying $70 more per year here in MI than in SC.  But at least I can cast my conservative vote in November. 

I head to Maranatha Baptist Church in Flint, MI, this weekend.  Pastor Donald Albright and his church are already faithfully supporting Bibles International, but they want me to come for their missions conference to tell them more about this ministry.  I will be showing my DVD, giving a testimony, and preaching two messages–“It’s All Hebrew to Me” and “The Obligation of Blessing.”  Both messages touch on the ministry of Bible translation.  Please pray for a blessed trip. 

Please keep praying for upcoming financial needs–tuition at UND and travel costs.  The Lord has been answering.  A church gave a very generous Christmas offering last month.  Praise the Lord!

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Preaching at Home

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to preach to the people of Westside Baptist Church, the church in Grand Rapids where I am a watchcare member.  Though I’ve been struggling to get over an infection in my lungs, I’m thankful that the Lord sustained my voice and stiffled my cough during both AM and PM services.  I could really sense the Lord’s enabling presence as I preached.  I was able to show my DVD during the evening service and to talk about the biblical basis for a translation ministry.  It was a joy to present my ministry to these dear believers with whom I have entered into a covenant.

Please pray for this small, struggling church plant.  We have only around 12-15 regular attenders.  We know that there are unbelievers in Grand Rapids who need the gospel.  We’ve found some; now we need the Lord to open their hearts to the Truth and then lead them to our church. 

We also know that there are believers in the area who are in compromising churches and who know they need to leave but don’t know of any good alternatives.  Pray that they will find us or another good church in the area.  There are many churches in Grand Rapids, but few preach the Truth without compromise.  Men like Rob Bell are attracting the crowds, even though they preach falsehood (read his Velvet Elvis to find out his heretical view of the Trinity).  Sadly, believers are leaving fundamental churches for these churches.  Pray that God will show believers the Truth.  Pray also for Pastor Sam and Jill Hendrickson as they pour their lives into Westside Baptist Church (www.westsidebaptist.info). 

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A Winter’s Welcome

This is my first winter back in the cold North after being away for basically 17 years, and I would say that I have been given a cold welcome back.  Grand Rapids has been particularly “welcoming” because of the lake-effect snow.  I hardly ever get into my car without having to clean the snow off at least once a day and sometimes multiple times in one day.  I’ve been a little frustrated at the fact that I see rust spots already developing on my Camry.  I’ve since found a place where I can spray the salt off once or twice a week. Traveling has also been quite interesting.  Thankfully, I haven’t been late to my linguistics classes yet, at least, not because of weather.  Two weekends ago I traveled to Bible Baptist Church in Wakarusa, IN.  Thankfully, I had no problem getting there on Saturday night, but it was quite interesting on Sunday.  The temperature was near zero (below zero with the wind chill), and the wind was gusting up to 40 mph.  As I drove to church, there were times when I couldn’t see anything in front of me.  I slid through one or two intersections when I should have been stopping at the stop sign.  I was very thankful when I finally arrived at church.  This past weekend was also very interesting.  I presented my ministry at Maranatha Baptist Church in Clarkston, MI.  The cold temperatures through Saturday night left very icy conditions the next morning.  The church is at the end of a gravel road, and gravel roads don’t do too well with icy conditions.  It took me two tries before I was able to get up the small hill, and the whole time my car was swerving back and forth. 

But in spite of the difficult weather conditions, I had two very good meetings.  In Wakarusa, I taught a combined SS, gave a short word in the AM service, and then presented my ministry in the PM service.  I greatly enjoyed the time with Pastor Harper and his people.  I loved getting to know Ed Myer’s parents, since I stayed Sat night with them. (I drove to Lansing Sun night and stayed there to be ready for school the next day.)  I’m thankful for how the Lord answered prayers in helping me to preach the Word and present my ministry clearly. 

I also had a great time in Clarkston with Pastor Glenn Currie and his people.  Because of the weather, they combined the SS classes, so I taught a packed room of adults.  We had a great time in the Word.  The Lord greatly blessed my preaching in the AM service.  Then I gave a short devotional at the missions committee’s potluck.  I had a great time of fellowship with these dedicated believers.  I could definitely sense the Lord’s enabling presence as I preached.  It was one of those days that is hard to replicate.  Praise God for His grace! 

Next Sunday I’ll be preaching at my own church in Grand Rapids, since the pastor and his wife will be in Israel.  I’m looking forward to ministering the Word twice to “my own people.”  Please pray for God’s direction as I prepare and for His enabling as I preach.  Thank you for your prayers!

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Where am I?

Though I didn’t beat my previous record, I did stay in 4 different houses in 7 days during the Thanksgiving weekend.  I blazed through snow, hail, and rain on my way back to the Chicago area on Thanksgiving morning.  I arrived safely at my cousin’s house and enjoyed a wonderful turkey dinner with him, his family, and his dad (also my uncle). Some of you may have been crazy enough to shop til you dropped on Black Friday, but I limited my craziness to one key purchase–a GPS.  Now I know exactly where I am at all times… hopefully.  It’s only let me down a few times so far, but a few of those may have been user errors (imagine that?!).  I’m thankful that it helped me find a Panera Bread in Decatur, IL, without any problem.  Very important finds when on the road! 

I returned to Grand Rapids the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, and I’ve been here ever since (except for short trips within the state).  I’ve spent most of my time with deputation activities, but I have been able to devote some time to the ministry of Bibles International.  I’m glad that I can already have a part in helping further this ministry.

The Lord continues to bless my deputation efforts.  I have made substantial contacts with various pastors, and I have been able to secure meetings with a few of them.  A number have promised meetings, but we still need to secure dates.  Please pray about that.  The Lord has also burdened hearts to support me.  Individuals/ churches have promised future support. 

I’m thankful that I am now a “watchcare member” of Westside Baptist Church.  The charter service was yesterday.  It’s such a blessing to be involved in such a key date in the life of that church.  I look forward to seeing how God will use us to proclaim Christ in Grand Rapids.   

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