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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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Laundry room renovation

I just posted pics of my laundry room (before and after) on Facebook, but some of you don’t have access to FB, so I’ll post two here.

Before:

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These projects always take longer than planned, so, yes, I do have a little more work to to, but it’s quite close to being finished! I just need to install a bifold door in the closet opening (not pictured). Now the house is completely finished!

 

 

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In my office

I’ve been wanting to give you (well, at least the interested ones) a taste of the linguistics courses that I’m taking.  I could have put this post in my “Translator’s Page,” but I decided to go ahead and put it here.  Linguistics is the science of language.  Consequently, it uses very scientific terms to describe linguistic phenomena.  The terms are quite complicated (I guess, to justify spending so much for the linguistics education!), but the concepts they represent are sometimes quite simple. 

Today in Morphology we talked about allomorphs.  Allomorphs are simply parts of a word (i.e., morphemes) that have the same underlying part (i.e., morpheme) but different pronunciation (I guess those complicated terms are needed, since it’s really hard for me to explain things without them!).  We looked at Luganda words (a Bantu language spoken in Uganda) to determine what the allomorphs are.  We were looking particularly at the affix that indicates causation (there I go, using complicated terminology).  We also looked at words in Turkish and Swahili to determine what each morpheme represents.  The professor noted that letters of affixes (e.g., prefixes, suffixes, infixes, circumfixes–English doesn’t have the last two, for the most part) often assimilate to the phonetic shape (i.e., sound) of the letters in the stem (i.e., main word). 

In Phonetics/Phonology, we have also been discussing how the phonetic environment of an affix affects how it is pronounced.  For example, the affix for “impossible” is actually “in-“, but because of the way we articulate “p” (with our lips), the “n” assimilates to a sound made by the lips.  Try saying “inpossible” and you see why we prefer “impossible.”  But lest we think our tongue always takes the easier route, we need to keep in mind what is called “transparency.”  In other words, ease of perception actually trumps ease of articulation.  If a word so changes that it becomes impossible to understand, it is no good.  So, some words, like “unfulfilled”, don’t change (to something like “umfulfilled”) because of this reason.

The textbook for this class marvelled at the way evolution changed our vocal tract in such a way that we can make such a larger range of sounds than animals make.  As believers, we marvel at our Creator’s ability to create our vocal tract with this ability and then to mix man’s languages so greatly that an incredible variety of sounds exists in each language.  We have studied all the various phonetic sounds, but thankfully, we have to memorize only the English ones.  The morphology was just trying to pronounce a sound that occurs in some languages but was having a hard time doing it.  Though we all have the same “equipment,” we basically only use it the way in which our language requires. 

In Syntax, we’ve been discussing the constituents of a sentence.  A constituent is a grammatical unit of a sentence.  We’ve been studying how the various constituents of a sentence function together and what the hierarchy of them is (e.g., which ones can be separated more easily, which modify which, etc.).  I’m not exactly sure how this will be applied to “real life” (i.e., translation work), but it has been interesting.  The professor is very good at leading us along, so I’m looking forward to where this leads out. I hope to figure out ways to apply what I’m learning to translation work, but I’m not quite there yet.  I think some of my future courses will help connect the dots better.  Of course, since I also oversee the linguistics aspects of our ministry, none of this material is without significance (well, almost none of it!). 

Check out recent pictures at: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=27028&id=613716245 and http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=26509&id=613716245.

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The Lord has greatly blessed my deputation travels.  I attended my first missions conference as a full-time missionary.  It was held at Calvary Baptist Church in Findlay, OH.  I spoke 5 different times and showed my DVD during another session.  The Lord really helped me to communicate the great need of Bible translation.  In Sunday school, I tried to give the men (it was a combined men’s SS class) a feel for what it’s like not to have the Bible.  I told them to keep their Bibles closed while I taught from my French Bible.  I would read the verses in French, give a translation on the spot, and then teach in English.  The men were quite struck by this experienced, and it helped them to see what many believers, to whom we are supplying Bibles, experience all the time. I wasn’t very successful in establishing new relationships with pastors in OH, IN, and MI, after that missions conference, but I think I might get a couple meetings from that group. On Nov. 11, I had the great privilege of going back to “my neck of the woods”–Chicago.  I’ve been “accused” of being a southerner and of having a slight southern accent.  Though I have fallen into the habit of saying “y’all” (I’m trying to revert back to “you guys” now), I am far from being a southern (no offence to my southern friends).  I’m a true-blue Midwesterner.  When people ask, “Where are you from?”, I say, I’m from the Midwest, and more precisely, Chicago.  So, it was a joy to be back in Bulls/Bears country.  I was overwhelmed at the opportunity to be back at Bethel Baptist Church in Schaumburg, IL.  And the people received me warmly.  They showed me more interest and took more literature than any other church I’ve been to.  Of course, that’s partly because Bibles International is not as familiar to them as other churches, and it’s also because I’ve been away for 10 years.  I thorougly enjoyed ministering to them and fellowshipping with them for the day.At the pastors’ conference on Nov. 12-13, I made at least 15 different contacts with pastors.  I hope to follow up on those contacts next week. 

I also enjoyed being with Paul Carlson at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Huntley, IL.  It’s a small church plant, but it was such a joy to see a former Bethel layman now pastoring a church. 

It was during this week in Chicago that I slept in 6 different houses in 8 days.  And I greatly enjoyed each family that I stayed with, and I slept very well in all the new beds.  Praise the Lord!

I connected with a few more pastors in IL and IN before heading back to Grand Rapids. 

After being back for 2 days, I headed to eastern MI.  Originally, I was going to go to a deputation meeting, but that got cancelled.  I decided to go anyway so that I could connect with more pastors in eastern MI.  The Lord has graciously granted another deputation meeting through those labors. 

Thanks so much for your prayers through this time of deputation labors.  God is answering!

Check out some of my pictures at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=21342&l=c82fe&id=613716245.

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