Thursday, July 31, 2014

Newsflash: Approval Rating on Shaky Ground

I have no clue what I am doing. I will admit... I have never done this before, nor have I ever done anything like it! And though people have joked that our working in the village area automatically gives us the "veteran" stamp in our book, I am very much aware that I am no veteran. No, I am as green as my daughter's face the first time she saw a beautifully dressed national woman blow her nose without using a hanky.

How am I feeling? Well, at times... nervous. I am excited, too, but I cannot help but feel this task is way too big for me. It IS too big for me!


Something else that I have been feeling? That nasty tug of wanting the approval of others.

I would love the stamp of "veteran" in my book. But in my list of credentials, there are a few other stamps in my book that sure would look good... nice and shiny like gold. The stamp of:

Monday, July 28, 2014

What I Learned from My Homeschool Room: We're in a War!

"What's your name?" Seth asked our new electrician. We needed someone to run some electrical lines for our homeschool room that we were building out of our old garage.

He was named after a beer company. (We'll call him "Bud.") "Let me guess..." Seth surmised, "You like to drink?"

"Too much," he laughed.

He did a pretty good job on our electrical needs, and we attempted to do a pretty good job of evangelizing him; but he wasn't interested.

Then a few weeks later, Seth preached at a nearby funeral. At the meal afterwards he and a church member were discussing how to reach our neighbors in spite of their seeming disinterest when Seth heard his name called. It was Bud!

"Pastor, Pastor," he greeted Seth.
"Hi, Bud. Did you hear my message?"
Bud affirmed that he had.
"So are you coming to church tomorrow?"
Bud said he would come "someday."
"But," Seth argued, "you just said you heard my message today. How can you strive to enter in at the narrow gate [one of Seth's texts at the funeral] if you won't come to church to hear God's Word?"
"Yes, Pastor," Bud repeated, "I'll come someday."

That happened Saturday morning.

Sunday morning, just as we were heading out the door for church, Seth got a phone call from our builder for the homeschool room.

Bud had died the night before, Saturday evening. He was struck by a car while walking home. Our adversary devoured Bud before he had come to Christ.

Today is the day of salvation. Pray for the lost. Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Prepared

I must admit…

I am a little nervous. I am definitely excited. I am somewhat overwhelmed.

We are finally starting a new church plant. The projected “grand opening” date is getting closer. We have so much to do! Preparing the building, training the Sunday school assistant, designing signs and tracts and invitations…

My head starts spinning when I think of it all.

The new building for Berea Baptist Church
(Want to take a pre-remodel tour of the building? Click HERE.)

Monday, July 21, 2014

What I Learned from My Homeschool Room: People Are More Important

IMG_1996

As I've been excitedly sharing on my blog, we have been converting our garage into two rooms--a larger homeschool room and a smaller storeroom. Recently we took a midyear break from school, and we hoped to finish the room so that we could move in when school began. We worked feverishly nights and some days to paint, lay tile, and install desks and bookshelves. Even the kids helped. We were so excited.
IMG_1999
We turned their clothes inside-out and let them paint with us one day.
IMG_2012

Although christened the "Schoolroom," our secondary purpose for that room would be to house visitors. We get lots of visitors, sometimes of the overnight kind, and we were having to get pretty creative about where to put them.

Little did I know that what I thought would be the room's secondary purpose would actually be its first! Woman may plan...

But God knew.

When Seth worked on his day off to lay tile...
and stayed up the next night until 3:00 AM grouting
and still frantically painted and drilled desks into the wall on the 4th of July before our teammates came over for a "holiday"
and when I stayed up late organizing books on shelves,
God knew that we needed to get that room done.

For the first day after we could potentially call it "done" (though we still have lots of things to do for it), we had a guest!--of a sort of long-term nature.

A girl we knew remotely is in a crisis pregnancy situation, and we took her in until she has her baby. After that, we are not 100% sure what's going to happen, but this situation should last until about mid-August.
She is turning out to be a very easy guest!
Our new family member joins us for family devotions. She is turning out to be a very easy guest!
Over and over I have begun a post for Missionary Monday on how missionaries must be flexible, how flexibility is a requirement for this job; but I've never finished the post. My plans for the post got interrupted. :) (I wanted to write something along this line: Ready for Anything.) Maybe this post about my changed plans is the best example of that thought.

It is anti-climactic. We were so excited, and I was going to try to make a pretty, efficient space for our instruction. I was anticipating the move away from the kitchen table, where the children distracted one another sitting elbow to elbow listening to me teaching one phonics while the other worked on math, and where the littles generally created loud chaos. I know that a schoolroom wouldn't have fixed all of those That's-Life Problems, but I was excited nonetheless.

And then, crash. In the space of an hour, my hopes, in part for a haven from outside interruptions, were exchanged for one of the biggest invasions of privacy you can get--a long-term house guest--from a different culture.

One of the difficulties of living in the village is that it saps your energy over time--the constant borrowing and asking for things or help, the incessant knocking and visiting and interrupting--basically, feeling like you lack privacy--an American essential that is almost assumed in an independent American's lifestyle. So it's a sacrifice to open up your home--your only hope for an escape from the fishbowl-live-in-a-glass-house type of a life.

BUT--it must be done. People are more important. Their souls are more important. If in this way, we can help a young couple to strive to be pure from sin, to have a child instead of an abortion, to mature spiritually and emotionally into adulthood, and to prepare for a God-honoring marriage, what is the loss of a little privacy to all of those eternal values?

Give. No rights. Take up your cross--daily--and follow Me.



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Nailed It!

Have you ever had one of those days where you just really needed to hear from God? Nothing crisis level, but more than just the usual day to day needing to hear from God?

Today was one of those days...


Monday, July 14, 2014

Lifting Christ Up--Down Under

I thought it would be so interesting for us to have some in-real-life missionaries answer those "Good Questions to Ask Missionaries" that I posted here a while ago. That way, you can compare fields a little bit and understand what missions ministry looks like all over the world. What difficulties are specific to a certain continent or culture? Perhaps you can apply this information to pray for other missionaries in a similar field to the lady being interviewed.


Today, meet Jennifer Bauer, the mastermind here at the BMW blog. She blogs about life in Australia at her personal blog Be Thou Exalted. If you haven't gotten enough of our awesome critter stories around here, you would be really interested in the kinds of critters a missionary to Australia has to deal with: The Critters and Creatures in My House.


  1. How many children do you have? What ages?
Autumn (11) and Cody (6) 
  1. Do you homeschool? Name your favorite curriculum that you use (whether just one subject, or an all-in-one):
We do homeschool.  Currently we use ACE. (Here is why I chose ACE for this school year.) But we have used Abeka, Apologia, Rod and Staff, and a mixture of others. 

  1. Country of service:  Australia
  1. How long have you been there?  2 years, 8 months
  1. What do you do there?
Currently my husband is interim pastor for a small church, but we were called here to work with the Indigenous People.  So when the new pastor arrives in two weeks, we will be going full-on with our new ministry with the Indigenous (Aboriginals). 

  1. Are you learning a language? How is it going? Are you discouraged?
We are planning to learn Kriol, which is the Indigenous language spoken in our area.  Most of the Indigenous speak English, but we feel it’s important and respectful to learn their language.

  1. Success: Have you had any encouragement in ministry recently? Can you tell me two or three things that have encouraged you?
We have had many open doors to go and have church services in the communities.  One cannot just walk onto a community, you must be invited.  My husband has had many invitations the past few weeks, and we can see the Lord making the way for us.  We’re so excited!  I also have my youngest brother visiting for 3 months.  This has been a huge encouragement for me.

  1. Challenges: What is your greatest challenge in ministry? What other difficulties wear you down?
Although we are quite remote, we still have a stocked grocery store, wifi, and even a small Target, so in regards to location we are blessed not to have too many challenges.  I think our greatest challenge in ministry will be reaching the Indigenous men.  Alcohol (grog as they call it here) is a major detriment and a common past time for the men. 

  1. How is your life similar to life in America?
There are many similarities to America.  Although we don’t have some of our favourites (Lucky Charms, Captain Crunch, Cracker Barrel, etc.) we do have the modern conveniences (indoor plumbing, wifi, McDonalds, Subway, grocery store 2 minutes away, etc.)

  1. What are some special benefits you or your family experience from where you’re ministering? (or from being missionaries)
To be able to share the Gospel with someone who has never heard of Christ is just an amazing privilege.

  1. What are some positives and negatives of your culture (that you’re ministering to)?
I’m speaking more of the Australian culture rather than Aboriginal culture here.  The positives is the freedom of religion, a very relaxed, laid back attitude among the people (no one is ever on time!), and the welcoming of Americans (for the most part, there are a few Aussies who prefer the Yanks stay home J ).  Negative – hmmm…it’s hard to think of any, but if I had to say one thing, I guess it would be the amount of alcohol that is consumed here by the Indigenous and the white fellow.

  1. What sins might a missionary be especially tempted with that another Christian in the U.S. might not?
Not sure how to answer this one.  The only thing I can think of is that nudity can be shown on tv here after a certain time.  As well as any kind of language.

  1. What books have you been reading? Do you have any book recommendations?
I am currently reading Growing Up Duggar.  I definitely recommend!  My favourite missionary books are Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Diebler Rose and Jungle Pilot by Russell Hitt.

  1. How can we pray for your people or culture in a general way?
Please pray for us as we begin this new phase in our ministry in working with the Indigenous People.  Please pray that we are sensitive to the Lord’s leading and to the people we are called to witness to. 

  1. How can we pray for your family specifically?
That we will continue to grow closer to the Lord, for His safety and protection while travelling to communities, and as a selfish request, that we will be able to take a short furlough home for 6 weeks to be with our family during Thanksgiving and Christmas.



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Skip to the Loo, My Darling

Some of you love a "fly on the wall" glimpse into the lives of missionaries. This glimpse gets pretty personal. It's real. It's... well... Weird! But nevertheless, it is our lives. So sit back and get ready to chuckle. Get ready to be shocked. Don't worry... just go with the flow. And get ready to pray more fervently for us. Some of these lessons we have had to learn on our own the hard way!

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It wasn’t taught in Missions class in Bible College.

It wasn’t taught in candidate school at the mission board.

One of the most elementary needs of any human being has been totally neglected in the training of new missionaries for the foreign field. (How can this be overlooked year after year?!)

But don’t worry. With the help of a few missionary friends, I am about to help teach this vital class. We will flush this problem away in one post. So grab a cup of coffee and a bottle of hand sanitizer...