Hello friends! Praying and hoping that this finds you well in the midst of worldwide craziness. Our hearts have been with all of our friends and family, especially those on the frontlines caregiving to the sick, and those in essential roles putting themselves at risk while they serve to meet the physical needs of others. We see you and have been lifting you up daily in prayer.
We have been tucked away at JAARS since March 1st. And although a stay at home order has been issued it doesn’t alter our lives that much in this setting. We were already a homeschooling family, so the world continues turning in our home. Each day the kids do their lessons and we spend time as a family trying to creatively pass the days until we can be with friends and loved ones again.
Because of social distancing, it has lent some extra time for some reflection. At first I was on Google learning everything I could about the far-reaching impact of Covid-19. I keep thinking that all of us will be touched by this in some facet of life, whether it is loss of health, loss of a loved one, or even economic loss. These are unprecedented and uncertain times for sure.
However, as I was out jogging the other day, the Lord kept bringing the verse Col. 3:2 “Set your mind on things above…” This struck me in a significant way because as we look out horizontally at the world and at the writings and news of other people we see fear, chaos and pandemonium. However when we look vertically at God on His throne we are reminded that none of this is a surprise to Him. He is not in heaven wringing His hands not knowing how to help His people. He sees each and every one of us and has a plan and a purpose for each of us even in a pandemic. The outcome may not be our desire, but it will be what’s best to further the kingdom of God. Looking at Matthew 6:34 we are reminded “therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
As believers, my prayer is that we can look up vertically and be filled with the peace that comes only from the Holy Spirit. Then we will be filled with the Spirit’s love to then look horizontal and be the hands and feet of Jesus to those around us, to love our neighbor as ourselves.
For our family, we don’t know what the future holds or whether this epidemic will cause delays in our departure for PNG. We know that the Papua New Guinean government has virtually shut down and that our visa’s are in limbo until the threat is neutralized. Jaars is doing everything they can to keep the Pre-field orientation on schedule, but there is only so much that can be done via zoom. We don’t know how the delays will impact our plans. But we do know that God has a plan. He has a plan for the people of PNG and for the Scripture translation that is continuing there, and he has a plan for the timing for our family to arrive there to serve the people of PNG. Until then, we hope to bloom where He has planted us.
Until then could you be praying for PNG?
-Pray for the missionaries who are unable to work in their local villages because of covid-19.
-Pray for parents who are homeschooling for the first time without many of the resources we have access to here in the US.
-Pray for the safety and health of the missionaries staying in country as they don’t have the same access to medical care as we do in the states. Now that Australia has closed their borders and travel has been suspended, a medivac flight would be nearly impossible.
-Pray that the delays in Scripture translation will be minimal. The Word of God is vital and we want the people of PNG to have access as soon as possible.
Some of you probably know this…but I’m a runner. I love running long distances, like my sweet spot is between an 8-10 mile run. I’m currently training for a 50K (a little over 31 miles) that I will be running on February 8th.
There are three important components to running (in my opinion): 1. Proper training is required (you don’t start out with a marathon). 2. You need good equipment (shoes, etc) 3. You must have adequate hydration and nutrition to persevere.
On one of my recent training runs I was feeling amazing! I was in Minnesota so it was cold, cold enough that my pony tail was frozen stiff and I had ice on my eye lashes, but the run felt wonderful. Until mile 15… when I hit the infamous runners wall. I was losing energy fast and I still had 7 miles to go. In my enjoyment of the run I had not hydrated properly and I had undernourished my body to have the energy to persevere on to mile 22. I completed that run, but let me tell you it was rough! Had my water bottle not frozen over and had I eaten enough during the run I probably would have come out of it on top.
Running in itself isn’t a spiritual experience, but there are some pretty great parallels to Christian life. As we prepare to serve overseas as missionaries we have had to have proper training (schooling etc.), We have needed to be equipped (spiritually), and we also have to tap into our source of hydration/nutrition (abiding) as sometimes the wall hits us as believers too.
This last week we hit the proverbial wall. I truly believe that we are pursuing something for the kingdom, and through it all we made the enemy pretty unhappy with us. It feels like spiritual warfare because the arrows keep on flying.
It started Monday when our 5 year old came down with the stomach bug. She had it bad, but bounced back after about 48 hours. We prayed specifically that we would be healthy enough to get through a ministry commitment on Tuesday and Wednesday, and God was faithful. But right after that our water pump went out, and then the stomach bug hit again with Zion (only no running water). At this point we are still taking it in stride, making homemade bleach wipes and hauling water from the pool to flush toilets. Maybe this is practice for Papua New Guinea?
Thursday afternoon when Zion was trying to recover from the stomach bug something happened with our family dog of 6 years and she ended up biting him in the face. I’m sure he accidentally did something to startle or hurt her, and 3-year old faces are right at eye level, because this was not a typical behavior for this animal. But the bite nearly took his eye, and brought us to the ER for sedation and stitches on his face. The poor kid looks like he was in a fist fight and it was traumatic, and awful but he will be ok. Had it been 1 mm different in location we could have had a very different outcome, so we are rejoicing in God’s protection.
So now our dog is under house arrest by the state of Delaware for 10 days, and we now need to find an adult only home for her. Previously a sweet friend with 3 kiddos was planning on adopting her when we went to PNG, but due to these circumstances everything is up in the air. Meanwhile, Wojtek manages to replace the water pump, so we have water! Praise the Lord!
Friday, the rest of the family went down with the stomach bug and Wojtek spiked a fever of 106.3. It was terrifying, but also logistically difficult to bring him to the ER when two others are sick in the home. So we prayed, and after some serious meds and cooling measures we got it down and were able to stay home. As a nurse I have never had a patient spike a fever that high, so it was pretty scary. But even in the midst of all this, having a kid get a bad dog bite, having no water, 5 sick people and a husband with a severe fever was so ironic that I had a massive laughing attack. Laugh or cry?? What choice do you have really…?
It felt like Satan knocked us on our butt and kept throwing things at us to see what our reaction would be. He wants us to be discouraged, he wants us to give up and stop striving for the Kingdom. He does NOT want us to reach 80% and pursue missions. All these things make him angry, and when he gets angry he will mess with your life.
But in all of this God’s hand was so evident…We got a reprieve in sickness for us to fulfil our ministry commitments. When Zion was in the ER they were planning on shipping him to a children’s hospital but it just so happened the plastic surgeon was at the ER and was able to see him. My very dear friend Elke who never works in pediatrics, AND who is a flex nurse just so happened to be there and was scheduled to be OUR nurse. Wojtek got the water turned on BEFORE he got sick. I even had a co-workers ask to change shifts with me before this all happened, which means I wasn’t working when all the craziness hit. My point is…in the midst of the fire, God’s work and His hand is so evident. We are never alone.
And neither are you! As believers we KNOW there will be trouble in this life. We know from 1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” but we also know that: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37
One of the songs that has just been incredible in this season is “He will hold me fast” by the Getty’s:
We also have tools in our toolbox! Just like the runner who hits the wall could combat it with nutrition and hydration to enable them to finish the race strong, as believers we have God’s Word and we have the spiritual armor. We do need to recognize an attack when it comes so that we fight with the proper tools.
Ephesians 6:11- Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
Please pray with us for God to continue to use our family, for us to proceed on and hit 80% so that we can go and serve Him in Papua New Guinea. Pray for safety and protection as well. We have no way of knowing WHAT God will accomplish through our work there, but it seems evident that the enemy is fighting hard to keep that from happening, which makes us even more eager to go and see all that God plans to do through us.
Psalm 91: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day
What a bizarre question…but it hasn’t been so many years since we have asked a similar question. Are Blacks human beings? As much as we would like to scoff and say “of course!!” with a note of indignance in our voice, there was a time when the Supreme court’s answer to this question was no. Not if they were slaves. In 1856 a man named Dred Scott, a black slave taken north of the Mason-Dixon line by his owner where slavery was prohibited by the Missouri Compromise. During his time north Scott sued for his freedom…and lost. The Supreme Court ruled that the compromise was unconstitutional and that Congress had no authority to limit slavery. Dred Scott was declared slavery or “chattel” human-property and as such was denied his inalienable human rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” A civil war and 100 years of oppression stood between the slave as property and the slave as a human being.
Based on this precedent set by our Christian forefathers here in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we should not be astonished to hear that other countries are struggling in a similar manner. Recently I heard an incredible story about the transforming power of the Word of God among the Binumarien tribe in Papua New Guinea.
In Papua New Guinea the state of women is a sad affair. Currently 70% of women are victim of rape and abuse, and the overall accepted view of women is very low.
In recent years a group of translators began working with a small group of believers among the Binumarien language group. They began to translate Genesis and when they got to the part where Eve was created from Adam’s rib, the leaders were absolutely astonished. They looked at the translators and exclaimed, “Why, that means that Eve was HUMAN, and that she was actually created out of man’s flesh and blood…” The translators were a bit shocked at that revelation as they had no idea that this group of Christians didn’t believe that their wives and daughters were actually human beings. Up until that moment they had viewed them as some kind of sub-species.
The Word of God, which is active and living and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrated the hearts of these men who had heard the Gospel but who had no access to God’s Word previously. Through the Word of God their entire view of women was completely changed. This impacted the lives of women and children and will continue to impact them for generations to come. God’s Word is amazing!
This is why Wojtek and I feel compelled to go and serve as part of a Bible-translation team in Papua New Guinea. Through our skills as a pilot and Registered Nurse we will be part of a team of workers that has cut over a decade off the process of translating a Bible. There is much work to be done, but examples like the Binumarien make it all worth it.
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Raising our team of ministry and financial partners has been such an eye-opening experience for us. We initially viewed it as a means to the end: “We must do this in order to get access to our goal, which is our calling to go Papua New Guinea.” However, throughout the highs, the lows, the amazing surprises and the dashed expectations God has begun weaving together a beautiful lesson for our hearts.
Support raising is not something to get through. It is a process that God has ordained to prepare our hearts and give us the necessary time to come to an end to ourselves, so that we are ready and able to serve Him in our best capacity. Support raising brings people around us who are faithfully praying for us, our children and our ministry, which is a beautiful defense against the arrows of the enemy
Throughout this process, challenging as it may be, the Lord has revealed that He is working out something in our lives and hearts to get us ready and prepared for the ministry ahead of us.
Throughout the Bible, you see countless examples of individuals whom God has called to wait.
Noah had to wait for years for the floodwaters to begin while being ridiculed by every person he had ever known.
Abraham and Sarah had to wait until their old age to meet their promised son.
Joseph went through significant hardship, rejection, false accusation and was lowered to the lowliest station before God, years later, placed him in his ordained place of service.
Moses was in the wilderness tending sheep for 40 years before God called him back to Egypt to lead his people out.
David had to live in caves and be in hiding for 15 years from the time of his anointing until he could assume the throne.
Simeon waited his entire life to see the prophecy he had been given fulfilled through Jesus.
Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, and favor before he reached the age of 30 and was able to begin his earthly ministry.
Paul matured as a Christian for 3 years after his Damascus road conversion, before he was used mightily by the Lord for spreading the gospel.
For us, and for me specifically (Jen), the Lord has slowly and gently been reminding me that no matter how hard we strive, no matter how good our presentations are, or how well we ask people to be our partners,no matter what we bring to the table as a pilot and nurse combo or how resilient our kids are, it is only the Lord who will determine the timing of when we get to go.
It is so easy to get caught up in pride and feel like somehow, I have something to offer God. As if God actually needed little old me to serve in the jungle of PNG. But God is so gracious in using us to further His kingdom in spite of us! He certainly doesn’t NEED us to bring about His kingdom.
In a recent devotion that we read by Allister Begg we were reminded that “God will not enable the man who marches in his own strength. He who reckons on victory by such means has reckoned wrongly, for ‘not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.’”.
God first has to empty us completely of ourselves – all our pride, all our self-importance, all our striving – before he can fill us with His spirit and empower us for the ministry he has set before us. In our own strength we will fail, but when God fills us and God goes before us, who can stand against us?
So my prayer today isn’t, “God please help us get to PNG quicker,” it is, “God please empty me of myself. Please fill me with yourself and equip me for this amazing life-giving ministry in Papua New Guinea. Keep me on my knees in humility with eyes lifted to heaven recognizing that only you are our sovereign and provider God.”
Now I must add, this doesn’t negate the part where we make an effort. We continue to work hard at building our team, but we recognize that the timing, the resources, and the outcome rests solely on our Heavenly Father.
“Why would you go, and
take your children away from their grandparents…uproot your entire family…compromise
the experiences your children will have…get rid of all your possessions…say
goodbye to family and friends…when there are ample ministry opportunities right
here in the United States? What’s wrong
with the mission field here in your backyard?
These are just a few
of the many questions we have received by loving, well-intentioned individuals
who are trying to understand the burden we feel towards the missionary
I hesitate to answer
the questions we are getting because I know there is value in every Christian
ministry, and I don’t want my passion for missions to discredit the need and
passion for Christian workers here in the United States.
However,I am a person
who is highly motivated by statistics. Although pictures of small
children in the African Savannah do pull on my heart strings, it’s the sheer
disparity of resources between the world of American Christendom and the
unreached and unevangelized people groups around the world that drives us to
uproot our family and go. If you’re like me and statistics grab you…prepare to
have your mind blown!
The Current Global population
is: 7.56 billion. Those who are
considered Unreached make up 42.2% of the world’s population, and the
unevangelized make up an additional 11%.
This means that 53.2% of the world’s population is completely untouched
with the saving knowledge of the gospel message. When
we have a true grasp of what that means for their eternity and their souls,
this is a staggering number of people without a saving knowledge of Jesus
Here’s a few more
Christian’s make up
2.2 billion people worldwide, but whittling it down further only 550 million
are Evangelical Christians.
4.19 million out of
the 2.2 billion are Christian workers.
95% of the 4.19
million Christian workers are ministering to established bodies of believers
within the Christian world.
How are the monetary resources
Christians make a
total of $42 trillion per year. Among Evangelicals
the earnings are around $7 trillion.
The total given to
Christian causes is $700 billion
This is almost the
same amount of money spent on the American Christmas.
Annually there is $45
billion given to missions. While this is
fabulous and it is the primary reason there is ongoing work throughout the world,
at only 6.5% of total giving, it is
extremely out of proportion to the amount given to support ministries within the
To further put this in
perspective, there is more money spent in America on Halloween costumes for
dogs than missions.
The average American
Christian gives less than 1 penny per day towards global missions.
We feel like we are exploding with the burden that more than half of the world has no opportunity to be exposed to the one thing we consider most important in our lives. There is nothing that will change your life in a more powerful way than the gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s Word. This is why we need to respond to the Great Commission and Go.
And yes, there is
Christian work that has value that can be done here in the United states, but
99% of Christian workers are already here ministering to the Christian
population. It’s the scarce few that are willing to uproot their lives,
give up their access to ice cream and Netflix on demand and move their families
into unchartered territory. And while it may seem uncertain and sometimes
scary, it is the greatest adventure we will ever be a part of and there is NO
safer place than being in the center of God’s will.
we were just reading a biography about Jim Elliott to our children. Jim Elliot
was a missionary to the Auca Indians in Ecuador, and through his life and death
his work transformed an entire village for the gospel. Jim Elliot’s
motivation was very much the same as our own. He was motivated by these very
same stats and by the compelling urge to be a part of the solution.
So Papua New
Guinea…here we come! …our hearts’ desire is to be just “one cog in the
machine” reaching out to some of the 600 plus language groups in PNG that
currently don’t have the word of God in their heart language. And while
Bible translation isn’t our specific skill set, Wojtek can use his skills as a
pilot to deliver Bibles to remote people groups, to transport supplies and
medicine to missionaries serving in the Bush and to bring Hope every time he
starts his plane engine and makes a flight for the Gospel. Jen will be
taking her skills to the medically underserved and impoverished individuals of
the highlands in PNG. She’s going to bandage wounds, administer life-saving
medications, and share a life-changing and heart- transforming message of
We’d like to invite you to join us! As you go into the stores this fall and see the pet Halloween costumes, and all the beautiful Christmas decorations, we pray you are reminded of the faces of the unreached. We’d love for you to join our team of financial partners to help us reach 100% of the monthly budget set by Wycliffe, for us to go. Our current need is regular givers that will help keep us on the field once we get there.
Being it’s October, it seems only fitting that we take a
moment to reflect a little on the life and death of a prominent man in
Christian History, William Tyndale.
In the 1500s England was in a dismal state spiritually. The church services were performed only in
Latin, and the uneducated laypeople who did not speak Latin had no access or
understanding of God’s Word. They would
go to church seeking, but not knowing or understanding the Word’s being spoken
to them of God’s gospel message. They
were told that their lay indulgences and monetary tithes to the church would
buy them entrance into the kingdom of heaven. Enter William Tyndale…
William Tyndale was a priest who spoke 7 different
languages. His skill and intellect would
have taken him a long way within the church of England. However, his one true passion was to teach the
people of England and help them understand justification by grace through
Unfortunately, the bishops and those presiding over him did
not catch his vision and his request to translate the Bible into English was
denied vehemently. Tyndale then felt he
had no choice but to travel to more friendly places such as Hamburg,
Wittenberg, and Cologne, where he began the tedious work of translating the
Word of God into English.
Tyndale’s mentor was Erasmus, and he was widely known for
quoting his mentor: “Christ
desires his mysteries to be published abroad as widely as possible. I would
that [the Gospels and the epistles of Paul] were translated into all languages,
of all Christian people, and that they might be read and known.”
In 1525 the very
first New Testament was translated from Greek into English. This life changing New Testament was quickly
smuggled into England, where it received a less than enthusiastic review from
the King of England and other authorities. The authorities were so enraged by
the appearance of this English Bible that they began buying up every copy
possible and put a price on Tyndale’s head.
In 1535 Tyndale was betrayed by a man named Henry Phillips who had been
a guest in his home many times. Phillips
turned him over to the authorities.
In August of 1536
Tyndale was condemned as a heretic and sentenced to be burned at the
stake. On Friday, October 6th
with many officials as spectators, Tyndale was led to a cross in the middle of
the town square and given a chance to recant his heretical views. Instead of
recanting he was given a moment to pray.
Instead of praying for himself, Tyndale was recorded crying out saying:
“Lord open the King of England’s eyes!”
Then he was bound
to the beam of the cross and an iron chain and rope were placed around his
neck. Gunpowder was added to the brush
and logs. At the signal of the
executioner a lighted torch set the wood ablaze and William Tyndale paid the
ultimate price so that English speakers could have the word of God in their
Last week on the
anniversary of Tyndale’s death it gave me a moment of pause as I reflected on
how very different our lives would be if we hadn’t had the Bible in English
these past 500 or so years. Imagine
pastors trying to minister to a church without the word of God. Picture how the story and the gospel would
have slowly been eroded and distorted without access to God’s words. Imagine how many English speakers would be
lost for eternity, having never heard the gospel message. Thankfully, God in his sovereign plan,
allowed English speakers to be reached with the Word of God in 1525 through
Today, we have
over 100 translations of the entire Bible in English. Can I tell you how blessed we are? And we can thank William Tyndale, who gave
his life that you may find yours eternally.
around the world are not so blessed.
Even with access to the internet and modern technology that is how many still
do not have access to God’s Word in a language they understand.
In Papua New
Guinea there are 800 languages. Each
language represents hundreds and thousands of people. Of those languages only 200 or so have any
portion of Scripture translated.
Would you be
willing to give the gift of God’s Word to the people in Papua New Guinea?
If William Tyndale had not obeyed the Lord so
many years ago, where would you be today? Would you be one of the 1.5 billion
who have never had access to God’s Word?
We have been
called to serve the Papua New Guineans and to be a tool in bringing them the
Word of God in their heart language.
Through Wojtek’s skills as a pilot, he makes Bible Translation possible
in such a remote country. Jen’s skills
as an RN will be used to forge relationships with locals, and to keep the
translators and their families healthy and unable to continue their work. It takes a village of missionaries to deliver
the Word of God to each tribe, tongue, and Nation in PNG.
Will you join us? We are at 51% of the budget Wycliffe has set for us. More than half way there! But we just found out that we can still attend the required pre-field orientation this Spring if we hit the 80% mark by January! We can’t leave for Papua New Guinea until we hit 100% of the monthly budget that Wycliffe has set for us, but at least if we can get to the 80% mark by January we can get the ball rolling and we will reach our goal of leaving in 2020!! If you’re feeling led we would absolutely love to have you as part of our team of financial partners. If you value the Word of God in your own lives, be a part of changing the life of a brother or sister in PNG.
I was blessed to have parents who put me in piano lessons, trumpet lessons and voice lessons from 8 years old on up. It was through early exposure to music that I discovered this amazing language that allowed me to take everything I was feeling and turn it into musical expression. This was especially the case every time my fingers hit the piano keys. If I was feeling angry, I would play a stormy rendition of Beethoven. Brahms and Chopin were my go to guys for a reflective or melancholy mood. I found that as I played I was able to process and reconcile my emotions.
As I got older and entered college I began to recognize that when I listened to music the words and tone of the music completely altered my mood and well-being. In college (this dates me a little) I loved Evanescence and a few other similar quality secular bands. However, when I would listen to them it created turbulence in my emotions. I had to change my listening style completely and fill myself up with music that fed my soul in an uplifting and beautiful way.
Perhaps my own encounters with music made this incredible story from the Wampar people in Papua New Guinea come alive. Like many of the hundreds of language groups in Papua New Guinea, the Wampar didn’t have the Word of God in their language until recently. The Wampar, however, are an incredibly musical people group. They sing as they go about their work and tend to their gardens. Traditionally, the Wampar would sing war songs to get themselves angry and amped up for conflict with neighboring village. Even when there wasn’t conflict they would sing these war songs and have the words fill their hearts with anger and frustration.
“Traditionally we sang war songs, but when God’s Word came it freed us,”
Recently, the Wampar received the New Testament for the first time! Pilots like Wojtek spent years flying Wycliffe missionaries into the village and working with local translators to get an accurate translation in the Wampar language. These pilots were integral in getting the Word of God into the hands of the Wampar because there are no roads connecting the Wampar people group to the missionary bases. After the pilots dropped a load of New Testaments transformation began in the lives of the Wampar people.
As the Wampar began to read and digest the Word of God, they did what every musician does. They converted God’s word into song. This was quite a process. First, they studied the Scriptures in their Heart language. Next, they wrote the Words into the tunes they already knew and sang regularly. Last, they practiced and recorded their music so they could share it with others from their language group.
Instead of using music to fuel their anger, the Wampar are now being guided by God’s Word and use their music to feed their souls. One individual from the Wampar village shared this experience: “Now when we have a singsing, it makes us happy and makes us feel like God is with us.” -Wampar story credited to Karen Weaver
At Wycliffe we talk a lot about the Heart Language. This is the language you think in, dream in, and express your deepest emotions in. For the Wampar, not only was their heart language the Wampar langauge, it was the Wampar language expressed through music!
Statistically translation is a number of people without the Word of God. But each Wampar who received the Scripture was an individual, a family, and ultimately a community that was transformed by God’s Word.
Wojtek and I are excited to be a part of reaching these remote people with God’s Word for the first time. As a pilot, wojtek will be going to the most remote places to touch lives and hearts and bring education and literacy to communities.
In order for us to go to people like the Wampar we need your help. If you’re interested in being a part of this great adventure with us we would love for you to become our partner both financially and through prayer! check out Wycliffe.org/partner/zfamily for more info.
What exactly is faith? According to dictionary.com, faith is: “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”
James 1:3 describes the outcome of faith in this way… “knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”
As I have mentioned in my most recent emails, the Z-kids have started homeschooling this past year. One of Ariana’s books involved with her unit study of China was on Hudson Taylor. As I was pre-reading her text, I was astonished at the way he challenged his own faith in the Lord. He KNEW he was called to China. But he also knew he couldn’t hack it as a missionary if he didn’t have the utmost faith in the Lord. As a result he decided to test his own faith.
One of the first accounts in the biography was when he was an impoverished protestant minister and he had one coin in his pocket and enough food at home to have a bowl of porridge for breakfast. He was asked to call upon a family one night who had absolutely nothing. No food…no hope… That very night Taylor knew God was asking him to trust Him with his daily bread. He felt in his spirit that he needed to give his last coin to this very poor and discouraged family. But he also knew that if God didn’t intervene on his behalf that he would have nothing to eat the next day himself.
Taylor could have easily prayed for the family and made no personal sacrifice with no personal risk to himself, but instead he was obedient and gave his last coin to the family. He went home secure in the Lord’s provision. The next day he ate his last bowl of porridge, and when the mail came there was a package containing a pair of gloves and another coin that was worth four times the value of the coin he had given away. Taylor gave God the glory, and his faith was strengthened.
Reading this account challenged me so much! As an American I have never known hunger, I have never lacked for anything, and my health and well-being has always been intact. So when I say I have faith in the Lord, what I mean is I THINK I have faith in the Lord. Faith, left untested is an idea, but when Faith is truly tested we find out pretty quickly what we are made of.
When your faith is tested…
I have heard many people say that they don’t have “peace” about something, so they feel they shouldn’t proceed. However, it has been my experience and also supported with Scripture that this life will not be without troubles. In fact, when we are following the hardest after the Lord, that is when Satan often attacks us the most. This actually creates a lack of peace. The peace that is the fruit of the Holy Spirit is an inner sense of calm and trust that occurs in the midst of the storm.
When Wojtek and I stepped out in faith to answer the calling on our lives to serve the people in PNG by bringing them the Word of God, and by bringing the gospel, health care and literacy to an underserved and discouraged people group we knew that God would ask things of us. This decision is not without sacrifice. We have been asked to:
Trust God with our financial resources. We are leaving good jobs and the security of a steady income to trust God with our daily bread.
Trust God with the timing. We want to be resourced by January, but God’s plans may be different from our own plans! Who can really tell? This can be discouraging at times, and has truly stretched our faith!
Trust God with our family. What if they are unwell or need us while we are away? What about the nieces and nephews we will be missing as they grow up…and the time our children miss with grandparents.
Trust God with our relationships…we are leaving behind our friends and the people who care about us. This is particularly hard on our kiddos.
Trust God with our children…
I want to elaborate on the last one. I really feel like I trust God with our children, because up until recently our children were uncomplicated and not a great source of worry. Sure transition may be difficult, and their lives will be different from their American friends, but different is not bad! But what about when God asks us to trust him with the medical needs of our child…from the jungle.
For years, our 7 year old, Katrielle, has been dealing with chronic ears/hearing issues. Up until recently we thought this was conductive loss due to chronic fluid, but after 4 different ENTs and 5 surgeries…we were all wrong. Katrielle has a very unique issue involving the structure of her ear. Because of the way her eustachian tubes are shaped it creates a vacuum, which pulls and stretches her ear drum until it literally wraps itself around the hearing bones in her ears. In and of itself its no big deal, but over time this leads to the destruction of her hearing bones, which causes hearing loss and even deafness if left untreated. Her recent surgery showed that the two bones, the stapes and the incus, which are supposed to articulate and then send vibrations to the cochlea have broken apart. She can still hear because the eardrum contacts the stapes directly but at great risk to the stapes.
This is medical mumbo-jumbo for the fact that she now requires regular monitoring of her ears to try to intervene at just the right moment as to not inflict more hearing loss but to try to prevent deteriation of the stapes and incus. As a parent I’m wondering how do I monitor this adequately in the jungle? This isn’t something a regular physican can manage. We have the ear specialist within the ENT group at AI Dupont managing her currently.
As I was worrying and struggling, I was again reminded of Hudson Taylor…who said:
In other words…God’s got this. And as the physican reminded me…even if she is here in the states we could fail to intervene at the right time and she could lose her hearing. He also said that with a condition as unpredictable as hers, we could stay in the states in favor of her doctors here and she could coast along without further deterioration.
But God asks us to trust Him. Obey the calling to GO, and trust him with our lives, our health and the well-being of our little ones.
And also, I should mention that we can look into Australia as an option to get her semi-regular care. It’s not perfect but God knows her needs and will provide. And if it is His plan for her to be deaf or to need hearing aids or to have other issues with her ears, then it will happen regardless of our location and interventions. Because God is the great physician and He cares for her in a far greater way than we ever could.
As missionaries in PNG I’m certain that this is just the tip of the iceburg as far as seeing our faith tested and watching How God chooses to be faithful. But I know that no matter HOW God answers these prayers that it is our prayer He is glorified. Glorified in her hearing, or glorified in her loss of hearing.
James 1:2 says “consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds… then it goes on to remind us that “the testing of your faith produces endurance.” During her surgery I was reminded that my child was otherwise healthy. I was surrounded by suffering and physically broken children, with wearied parents. I am thankful that she is healthy and well, and I know God will use this trial in her life and our own to produce endurance.
So please join with me in praying that we will not be given over to the fear that our choices could have a negative outcome on her health, but that we will choose to respond in faith and with joy as the Spirit provides. Today we need faith in God’s timing, faith in His provision, and faith in His hand of protection over our family.
Many of you have been following our summer travels and know we are actively raising a team of both financial and prayer partners so that we can reach our financial goal and depart for Papua New Guinea. But “Support Raising” or “Deputation” (as it used to be called), is something that doesn’t come easily to most Americans. Here’s a sneak peek into our own misconceptions regarding fundraising that we’ve had to correct and get in line with Scripture, and also an explanation as to why Wycliffe refers to support raising as Partnership Development…
Misconception #1: Friendraising vs. Fundraising
Wycliffe makes an important distinction between raising funds to go on the mission field and raising up partners to be a part of our ministry team. There is a HUGE difference. Anyone can write a check. And God who created the universe would have no difficulty creating an abundance of resources to further His work around the globe. BUT, God created the church and desires individuals in the church to work together to accomplish this. A partner is a partaker in the ministry. He or she is one who may not be called to go to the far ends of the earth, but someone who is committed to the ministry, to the missionary and devoted in both praying for and financially resourcing the ministry. Friendships cannot be one-sided, however. In a true partnership, the missionary is also devoted through prayer, friendship and in ministry to their partners here in the US. The relationship is a mutually enriching, spiritually encouraging friendship, that results in the furthering of the gospel and in our case, Scripture translation.
Misconception #2 Support Raising is Begging…
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”…”Pull yourself up by your bootstraps”…”You’re a self-made man”… These American sentiments make support raising extremely uncomfortable for most Americans.
If you’ve lived for any length of time in the United States then you’ve certainly heard these phrases. Unfortunately for me, the mentality of being self-sufficient had wormed its way into my subconscious and has made the act of fundraising extremely uncomfortable. Fact is, I’ve been brought up since childhood to work hard and earn a living. The idea of Fundraising made me feel like I’m “begging” and relying on others for my income, a little like food stamps and other subsidies. As I’ve studied the Scriptures, I learned pretty quickly that my mentality was false and founded on some faulty thinking.
God looks at raising a partnership team very differently than we do. Throughout Scripture, both Old and New Testament, there are countless examples of how God views his Christian workers and how He provides for them through His vast resources. The Levites, for example, were God’s chosen workers who were set apart for His service. In Numbers 18, He called all the men of Israel to take up arms and reclaim the land of their inheritance, but to the Levites he gave no material inheritance. Instead, God desired for the Levites to depend on Him alone for their sustenance. In turn they were to serve God and the people of Israel in the temple.
God set up the financial system in Israel so that each man, woman and child tithed 10% of their first fruits (the best they had) to the temple. Those tithes were given to the Levites for the work they had done for the Lord. (In other words, the Levites were not expected to wear shoes that were too small or collect used tea bags to flavor their cups of tea. They received the very best Israel had to offer.)
Two things stand out to me in this passage. 1. The Levites worked and received their due wages. 2. By giving tithes, the Israelites acted in obedience to the Lord, and by receiving tithes the Levites depended on God for their provisions.
Misconception #3 The Biblical approach to support raising is being a tentmaker…like Paul…
As Wycliffe missionaries in Papua New Guinea, both Wojtek and I will have jobs. We have set hours, a job description and the whole 9 yards, just like we would in a paying position in the United States. If we were to underperform in our job, we would be accountable to our employer, (Wycliffe). However, because we are serving a population that has very little, we can’t simply be tentmakers and earn an income that would sustain our family and provide for our ministry needs. Even in Paul’s case, tentmaking was a temporary solution. His tentmaking kept him from his ministry, only allowing him to preach the gospel on the Sabbath. When Silas and Timothy arrived with financial support, he immediately transitioned from tent-making to disciple-making. This is evidenced in 1 Corinthians 9. In fact in vs. 7-10 Paul gives several examples in support of financial partnership, including: 1. The soldier has a right to have his expenses paid. 2. The farmer should be able to eat the fruit he produces. 3. The shepherd should be allowed to drink some of the livestock’s milk. As 1 Corinthians 9:14 states: “In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.”
Misconception #4 Missionaries are simply living of the backs of other people’s labor because they can’t hack it in the real world…
Now hopefully most don’t see it this way, but it has been expressed to me, that some people feel that people only become missionaries when they can’t be successful here in the US. Being a missionary on support is their way of ensuring they have 3 square meals each day and a roof over their heads. This is biblically wrong for many reasons, but specifically within Wycliffe we are all required to pass a technical evaluation proving that we are adept at our skills prior to even being accepted into membership.
Personally, Wojtek and I were at the most financially successful point in our careers and were quickly climbing the ladder to “bigger and better” things. But, when God calls you, then you must be obedient and respond to that calling! For us, that meant actually setting aside the security of “3 squares and a roof over our head” to the unknown, and ultimately relying in faith on God for our provision. Additionally, our budget is set by Wycliffe and it is based on the known financial necessities for life and ministry in Papua New Guinea. The idea that missionaries are living large on someone else’s gifts is faulty when you partner with reputable mission organizations who are backed by the ECFA and have accountability to the funds coming in for their missionaries.
Misconception #5 financial partnership does not appear in the New Testament
Interestingly enough, one of the most profound scriptural examples of relying on financial partnership was Jesus himself! Clearly, Jesus had the authority to turn leaves into cash if he so desired, but he wisely chose to partner with others to further his ministry. He did that for THEIR benefit, not his own. This is evidenced in Luke 8:1-3. In these verses “Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means.” Jesus chose to model his ministry in this way because it is a blessing to be apart of his work. Not all are called to Go to the farthest ends of the earth to further the Gospel. But we are all called. And in God’s economy, we all have different roles to play. These women who came alongside Jesus’ ministry financially, were also partakers in the blessings of his ministry.
Similarly, when individuals and churches partner with missions today, this is their role to play in being a part of the Great Commission. Because ALL Christians are called to “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
So when we are asked, “When does your ministry start?” We can honestly say now! It is a blessing to be raising our partnership team, and to be encouraging churches and individuals in the Great Commission. As long as the Lord has us in this place, we will continue to work hard and strive to serve and build relationships with those we come in contact with.
However, ultimately, the goal is to be 100% resourced by monthly financial partners and able to leave for PNG sooner rather than later. We are still hoping to be resourced by January so that we can participate in an aviation training required for Wojtek at JAARS in North Carolina. If we make that deadline we can be PNG bound by late next summer. However, if we miss that deadline it could delay us a year. We would love it if you would consider being a partaker in this ministry and partnering with us financially so that we can play our role in going to serve the people of Papua New Guinea.
“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” -Alexander Pope
I’m a missionary…I should have learned by now not to have any expectations for things…However, it is truly impossible to rid yourself of all expectations. They are a part of our mindset whether we like it or not. But left unchecked they can lead to disillusionment or even failure. As we prepare for life in PNG we thought it would be fun to address our pre-field expectations (like it or not) and then re-evaluate after our first year in PNG…
Expectation #1 Learning the Language People often ask us, “what language will you be learning?” In Papua new Guinea there are 800 languages! So which language should we choose to learn? Our guess is that we will be learning Tok Pisin, the trade language spoken by many. Other missionaries have said this is an “easy” language to learn and understand because it is a blending of languages. However, I’m doubting it’s ease because the language is comprised of a series of many idioms, meaning we need to know the culture to understand what’s being said. My guess is that our children, particularly Ariana will be able to learn the fastest because of her age and intelligence (smarty pants!). Wojtek will be in 2nd place because he already possesses the ability to speak multiple languages. I think I will be the slowest to learn but also will have the greatest need to learn because I will need it to communicate to patients in the clinic.
Expectation #2 Ministry We are going into this with the skills already in place to succeed in our role as nurse and pilot. So honestly, we are anticipating some learning curve, but mostly that we will be able to jump in and begin serving fairly quickly in our roles. That being said we are also expecting that there will be a lot of extra demands on our time for various ministries. We are anticipating having to evaluate the various needs and pray about how the Lord wants us to best spend our time. One perk of being in PNG is that Wojtek’s job will take him away during the day, but most nights he will be at home with the family. This is awesome since with his current job he leaves for two months at a time!
Expectation #3 Lifestyle We are expecting life in PNG to be more difficult. No modern conveniences like a clothes dryer, or microwave. I don’t even know if we will have a water heater! The water that comes is via rain barrels. We doubt we will be able to go to the store to purchase a box brownie mix, or a pre-made meal. On a busy work day we can’t order a pizza or pick up Royal Farms chicken on the way home. Life will take a great deal more planning and energy. I will need to plan ahead for laundry too since it rains often and I will rely on a clothes line to dry my clothes. I will also need to meal plan and make sure there is food readily available for four growing kids who can’t just grab a bag of goldfish when they want them. I’m expecting muddy clothes every day, school lunches where I have to make homemade bread and I don’t think I’ll be able to purchase lunch meat. Date night might be a walk on the road since there aren’t any restaurants or entertainment. I do think we will have reliable internet based on what I’ve been told. However, who knows what standard they are comparing to. It will be so interesting to be able re-evaluate in a couple of years to determine if the expectations are legit or not!
Expectation #4 Other Missionaries Statistically, the number one reason missionaries leave the field is relationships with other missionaries. While I know this to be true, I also know that Wojtek and I rarely have had difficulty getting along with others. We are hopeful that our experience of having lived overseas previously and the fact that our marriage is cross-cultural will aid us in this adjustment. Many of the other missionaries come from other countries besides the US and bring with them their cultural nuances that may be different from our own. Our hope is that we will forge deep relationships with people who share a common vision and purpose for being there.
Expectation #5 PNG culture The people of PNG will be warm, welcoming and a wonderful culture to interact with. There will be animism and blending of faiths but overall a warm reception. This is based on what we have heard of the culture, but we hope our own experiences will be similar!
Expectation # 6 Food We are overall not picky people, but we are anticipating food to be very different somewhat less enjoyable. The emphasis on sweet potato and cream of coconut could mean that most of our food will be sweet and not savory. That will be difficult to adjust to for some of us, but especially Wojtek! I also am thinking there will be less meat available, very little fish since we are in the highlands, and a whole lot of bananas (to my chagrin) We are expecting to follow the principles taught to us at Moody Bible Institute many years before … “Where He leads me I will follow…What he feeds me I will swallow” …In Uganda this meant eating fried grasshoppers. I’m already praying their diet isn’t heavy in insects…