Posts Tagged ‘furlough’

Halfway through furlough

We are at the halfway point in terms of weeks of furlough, but we are not quite halfway through our meetings. We have been to 5 churches so far, but we’ll be going to 8 more before we head home in less than a month. We are so thankful to be able to use Cornerstone Independent Baptist Church’s missionary apartment in Enola, PA, between meetings. It’s become our home away from home! As I focus on preparing lectures for the two Bible translation courses this summer, it’s nice to have a desk I can use and a very peaceful environment. My goal has been to write a day’s worth (4-5 hours) of lectures each week. We’ve been on the road for 4 weeks, and I have 4 days’ worth of material ready. Praise God!

We are so thankful for the many blessings as we visit churches and spend time with the people. Faith Baptist Church in Lebanon, PA, was such an encouragement to us on our first weekend. We are thankful that they gave us a very generous offering to help with expenses, especially the purchase of a second vehicle, and they gave a very sizeable gift to help with the printing of the Falam Chin Bible. Less than $30,000 remains to be raised.

A highlight has to be returning to the church where we got married in July 2015–Victory Baptist Church in Reading, PA. We got to spend Resurrection Sunday with them. Here’s a picture after the morning’s events.


I hadn’t been to Lowman Baptist Church in Pine Grove, WV, since before Oksana and Eliyas came into my life–almost 5 years. It was good to be with them again, and we were thankful for the welcome sign they prepared for us.


Last weekend we got to spend time with our dear friends at Calvary Baptist Church in Lancaster, PA. Oksana already knew one couple since they came to our wedding, but that was her first time to visit the church with me. That church had become very special to me since they asked me to do a presentation on “Life as a Christian Single” a number of years ago. I poured out my heart to them, so they drew near in support.

I got to minister to the church group where we are staying here in Enola, PA, this past Sunday. That was an encouraging time as well. Sometimes I have rough nights because of Eliyas’ poor sleep patterns (every night is bad for Oksana), and that Tuesday night was particularly hard for me. But I’m thankful that the Lord gave me the strength to minister the Word that Wed evening.

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The peaceful time at home came to an end, and now we are back in the rat-race pace of life. I’m thankful I was able to get my backburner emails down to 10, after seeing them rise to 62 by the beginning of this year. But now that we are busy with furlough travels (and very limited wifi), I’m seeing the more time-sensitive emails rise to around 40. Yikes!

My family really enjoys traveling together on furlough, because we get to be together all day long. Plus, we can set our own schedule, which means we can adjust it to how well Eliyas does through the night (which typically includes multiple interruptions).

I had hoped to have a somewhat slower paced schedule on this furlough trip, but then I found out I’ll be teaching graduate-level courses on Bible translation at Bob Jones University in late July. I have to prepare three weeks of lectures. I’m praying that BJU will allow some team-teaching so that my load is a little more bearable. Pray that they allow that! Meanwhile, I’m working through 10-15 books to prepare my 13-15 days of lectures. The positive side of this is that we get to spend time with friends in Greenville, SC! We are looking forward to taking our son down there to introduce him to friends.

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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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Dear Family and Friends,

Did you notice anything different about the appearance of this letter? Some things have changed in both the header and the footer! That’s because God has wrought a marvelous work in my life by joining Oksana Novikova and me in marriage on July 25. We can testify to the truths of Lamentations 3:25-26: The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. God was good to us throughout our years of singleness, and He’s been good to us as He has drawn us together and is now causing us to be more and more “one flesh.” We thank God for my mom and the dear believers at Victory Baptist Church in Reading, PA, who helped us put together a beautiful wedding and even facilitated bringing friends and family from around the world (especially Ukraine) to celebrate with us. Keep PRAYING for us as we adjust to married life and as Oksana gets acclimated to the USA. PRAY also that churches and individuals would partner with us as we seek 28% of additional monthly support. And PRAY that God would provide funds so Oksana can travel to Eurasia with me in January to be my Russian interpreter. We’ve seen some funds come in, so keep praying! If you want to give, you can send your gift to BMM and designate it “Troy Manning-Passage.” The Lord led me to move the workshop from November to January to give us plenty of time for her to gain the necessary travel authorization. So far, the “adjustment of status” process is proceeding smoothly.


Two weeks after the wedding, I headed back into the office to lead our annual consultant seminar, where we had 25 in attendance. We enjoyed learning about how to relate better to the millennials (or “generation Y”). We also discussed ways to improve our translator training. We are close to completing a Linguistics Translator Training Manual that will help our translator know better how his/her language works, so that he/she can write a more consistent form of the language, and so that we can save months of work at the end of the translation work, when we have to standardize all the completed material.



After the seminar, Oksana and I headed to a local B&B for BI’s annual retreat. One of my favorite activities at this event each year has been waking up early to watch the sunrise over the lake and sipping coffee as I have my personal time with the Lord. For the first time, after eight years of passing the morning by myself, I finally had company! B&B’s are so much better when you can enjoy them with someone!


This fall Oksana and I are visiting supporting churches and connecting with non-supporting churches in PA, IL, and MI. We’ll also be doing some recruiting at Maranatha Baptist University. It’s been a joy to have a traveling companion and helper in the ministry. It’s quite evident that support-raising goes so much better when I have a sweet wife to connect with the people. PRAY for God’s protection, power, and provision as we travel together. By late October, though, we’ll be mostly at home, getting settled and preparing for workshops and more church reporting early next year.

Thank you for praying! God is answering!

For the cause of Christ,

Troy (for both of us)

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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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