Josh, (+ Ruthie & Elijah)
Missionaries with LBT to Sierra Leone
Josh, (+ Ruthie & Elijah)
Missionaries with LBT to Sierra Leone
We celebrated Mother’s Day last month. Lovely images came to mind – a precious little girl bringing flowers to her mom, a little boy proudly presenting burnt toast to mom for breakfast, the acrid but delightful love offering! But I am long past a precious little girl and it is five years since my mother received her reward; I’ve never had children of my own so I guess Mother’s Day doesn’t have much to do with me. Right? Wrong!
I received a gift that not everyone gets. As an adult I got to live with my mother. For five years mom and I lived in a two bedroom apartment and did just about everything together, from cooking to cleaning to putting together massive jigsaw puzzles (credit where it’s due, mom probably did 70% of them) and telling really silly stories (we were both pretty good at that!). I got to know my mom as my friend and five years after her passing I still am blessed every day because of what I learned from my mom.
I learned about priorities. Mom didn’t answer the phone or the door for the first hour or so after she woke up (that was o.k., the people who knew her knew not to call then anyways). That was because she had her quiet time, right in her bed, before her feet touched the floor. She had her Daily Bread, her study Bible and a Bible encyclopedia all on the table by her bed. She would begin her devotional but it would quickly become a study as she looked up a city she didn’t know, or a practice she wasn’t familiar with in the encyclopedia. She would separate the verses that touched her heart and look up all of the cross references and then she would share them with me at dinner that night. And then she would pray. She prayed for her children and grandchildren, she prayed for her church family, she prayed for what she saw on the news last night. She had seen God move, she had seen His faithfulness, and she held on the promises of the Father!
But that first hour or so wasn’t “God’s time” in her day. Mom found moments all through her day to meet with the Father. She was the leader of our church prayer chain, most of the prayer request went out by e-mail, but there was a good size group of ladies who weren’t online. Mom would call them to share the prayer requests, and they would talk. All of the phone chain were a little older (like mom), many were widows, several had hard times getting out of the house. The calls mom made remind each woman that she was still part of the family, she still had a ministry and that she was loved. It only took mom five minutes to send the e-mail prayer requests, it took, sometimes, hours to do the phone chain, but for mom it was time well spent.
When I get so busy with the “important” things that I have to do that I am irritated by drop in visits, I can just about hear my mom reminding me about what really is important. There really isn’t an age limit to learn from your mother!
Jesus said, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields. That they are white unto Harvest.” John 4:35
Without planting, there is no harvest. Things have been very busy, hectic and sometimes tense here on the Hylden Farm this Spring. Rain has delayed planting, day after day, week after week. In a normal year, planting is usually completed by May 25th. Today it is June 17th, and planting is still in progress. Our family income depends on a good harvest… without planting there is no harvest.
That is how it is with Disciple Making isn’t it, no planting means no harvest? Without faithful parents, Sunday School teachers, VBS workers, godly friends, godparents and Pastors who pass along the Good News of the Gospel…planting… to children, co-workers, friends and neighbors… there is no Harvest. No joyful meeting again in Heaven, no help for the weary here on this earth.
Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all Nations.” Matthew 28:19. Today, let us go…to our children, to our neighbor, to our co-worker. Let’s do some planting… and then… let’s Harvest!
We recently watched the movie “Heaven is for Real”. I really enjoyed it. I have to say, I’m no expert on whether or not this little boy “went to heaven and back”. We know that God took Enoch and Elijah directly to heaven, and we know from Revelation that John was given a vision. I’m willing to leave it at that.
What struck me, though, was the title: “Heaven is for Real”. My first thought was “Duh”. I mean, after all, isn’t that what we hope for, what we look forward to? One of my husband’s favorite Bible passages comes from John 14:1-2, “Let not your hearts be troubled, believe in God. Believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so would I have told you I go to prepare a place for you? (ESV). I think of all the songs we sing, “Beyond the Sunset”, “Mansion on a Hilltop”. The first verse of one of my favorite songs, and I have many, says, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through. My treasure is laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door and I can’t feel a home in this world anymore.” There are so many songs which tell us of the hope that we have that God has provided a place for us to be with him for all eternity. What a glorious promise and hope to cling to.
I hope that this spate of summer movies featuring religious themes has given you hope and inspiration. I hope that if someone asks you about it you can say, “Yes, of course Heaven is for real, God promised so it must be”. I hope most of all that as we live our lives we remember that hope and cling to our Lord, Jesus Christ, who made it possible for us to hope.
I come from a long line of worriers. That isn`t one of the qualities I am most proud of, but I see it popping up now and then (with more “now” than I care for. Those of you not genetically inclined to fretting are probably already saying to yourselves “what’s the point of worrying?” You are right of course, and we know it, with 90% of our brains, it is the 10% that trips us up. Praise the Lord, He loves his daughters, even when we fret, and His has lovely, precious means to remind us that we really don’t need to fret at all. Cris is a good example.
Cris has been living in a house on the Miriam Home/Bible school campus for six months now. She is a precious young mom, born in the Philippines, married to a mighty North Dakotan, John, who happens to be an engineer working on international oil rigs. Through his job he got to know the AFLC churches in Brazil, and he decided to bring Cris (7 months pregnant when they arrived) and their two year old daughter to get to know this lovely country. The only problem was that John is six weeks on the ship and six weeks off. He was here just a short time before he left for his on ship time, because he wanted to come back in time for the birth of his daughter. Cris is a pretty brave young lady, being in a new country, with a language she was just starting to learn and a very active little girl. She fit in wonderfully to our family, and her little Leota won everyone’s hearts.
During the six months John had to do two shifts on the ship, but they were planned so he would be back to take his little family home. The timing was important because not only did Cris and Leota’s visas run out the beginning of June, but Cris had to be back in the U.S. by June 6th or she would lose her green card. But plans don’t always work the way we want them to. Problems came up on the ship and John’s return kept getting postponed. By the middle of last week it was clear that John wouldn’t be here to accompany Cris and the girls home, but Cris is spunky and wasn’t intimidate.
Then Tuesday came – just two days before Cris and the kiddos were to take off, I received a call from Pr. Silvio, on vacation in the north of Brazil. He remembered that Cris would need authorization to travel outside of Brazil without John. This document required a notarized statement from John, hard to get in the middle of the ocean, and would normally take at least a week to be approved. But, since Cris is living on the campus of the Miriam Home our administrator, Surai, was able to ask for the help of the juvenile court judge. Based on his respect for Surai, and the fact that Cris had copies of every birth certificate back to her great grandma, the document was ready by today, Thursday morning. Four hours later she was in the van, on the way to the airport, with everything she needed in her carry-on bag.
His eye is on the sparrow, on Cris and on me. Why worry?
My wonderful, trustworthy, twelve year old maroon car that faithfully carried me for over 100,000 miles was totaled by a pickup truck. It was a sad day! I could turn on the radio, hit the windshield wipers, and turn on the lights without looking. My coffee mug fit perfectly in the rack and I hadn’t changed the six CD’s in the console in over a year.
At the car dealership, we explained the make, model, year range, and price range of our desired “new” vehicle . The salesman gently explained that it would be very rare to find one not only in Williston, but anywhere. He was encouraging us to buy a new Pilot and we had to inform him we would not be comfortable driving anything that was the cost of our home twenty six years ago. At that moment of impasse, he suddenly jumped up and said “Let me look into something”. When he came back, he was all smiles! A pilot matching our criteria had come in that morning. We went out to test drive it and decided to make an offer.
On the second day of ownership of this blue beauty, we noticed part of the key fob was missing. We retraced our steps, to no avail. It didn’t keep anything from working, just kind of annoying and the battery could easily fall out.
Arriving at church the next day, one of our faithful ushers showed us he had found a piece of plastic and didn’t know what to do with it. The lost was found.
Our family has been praying for six months for a job for our newest college graduate. What a great reminder that God hasn’t abandoned us ( I will never leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5 b NIV) ; forgot about us (For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ESV); or brushed us off ( The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise. II Peter 3:9 a ESV) . He has a plan and in His timing, He will open the right doors.
In the middle of our being concerned about our son finding a job, our experience of finding this vehicle reminds us God is in control of every aspect of our lives. He is faithful!
Greetings from Ecuador,
As I’m writing this, I’m outside watching the biggest and prettiest hummingbird I’ve ever seen fly in front of me. The school year is coming to an end here at the Bible school. The students are taking finals this week and they graduate on June 14th. Next week I will be going with them to Cuenca as they will have a week of practicals before they graduate. After they graduate, I will be moving to Cuenca for the summer and house sitting the Pillman’s house as they are in the states until August. I was in charge for most of May as the administrator was in the states, and praise God nothing too major happened and I think it went well. I taught her literature class and a class on the book of Ruth during that time, which really helped my Spanish. I got a 6 month tourist visa, so I have until November to get my missionary visa. I have all the papers that I need except one-the church’s registration papers. The place that has the registration papers is currently without a manager, and so I am waiting for them to get a manager so that they can sign the paper. It sounds like such a simple thing, but I have been waiting for this paper for 2 months already, so please pray for this. Yesterday we had a fun adventure chasing our chickens-I have decided I never want chickens (unless I can watch the entertainment from a distance). I have been working on a play based on the book of Hosea and the book Redeeming Love. I just finished it and it will be performed by the students in August, I am told. This summer I will be working in Cuenca, and Rachel (the administrator) and I are organizing a Kids’ Camp for the month of July. I will be working on making the Bible lessons for the teachers this coming week. Thank you for all of your support and prayers.
1. For the students as they graduate, that they would continue to grow in their faith after leaving Bible school (Pocho, Kevin, Taty, Johanna, & Raquel)
2. For future students in the fall
3. For my missionary visa
4. For the summer Kids’ Camp
TRANSLATING THE BIBLE INTO THEMNE
These are books of the Old Testament that have been drafted into Themne.* These particular ones have also made it through the next step of commenting by external reviewers, who focus especially on clarity and naturalness. To address accuracy, we will soon be hosting an experienced consultant from Ghana (later this month). He comes periodically to check the translation work and advise on progress. May our time be productive and give a boost of energy to the team!
*Themne is the mother-tongue of over 2 million people in Sierra Leone (30+%). Our family has been assigned as translation and Scripture engagement advisors among the the Themne. The translation project began nearly thirty years ago, and the current team is in the process of revising and checking a draft of the Old Testament.
Josh, Ruthie, Elijah, & Baby due in July
Missionaries with LBT to Sierra Leone