When we originally went to Africa July 2015, we took 6 trunks weighing 50lbs each. We had no idea of what would be available to purchase. We packed everything we thought we would need to survive. Now with 3 years of experience in Africa, we know we can purchase most things. We could take 9 trunks because there are 3 of us. So we are literally weighing what to take on the airplane and what to purchase in Namibia.
We are also repacking our American household things. These things stay here in the States for home assignments and eventually for when we are done serving in Africa. There are things we saved for some reason but now somethings don’t seem important. We have taken several loads to donate. Soon all of these things will return to storage.
What did Jesus tell his disciples to take on their journey?
He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
Luke 9:3-5 NIV
Wow, I don’t think I have the faith to get on a plane with nothing. Our world has changed a lot since Jesus spoke these words to his disciples. The first missionaries of the modern mission movement packed things in a coffin. They were going not expecting to return. Going literally cost them their lives. Wow, I don’t know if I would go thinking it would definitely kill me. We pray for safety. We have redone our wills to include Anastasia.
Please continue to pray.
Pray for our work visas to return to the San people. Pray for fellow future teammates who will join us on the field. Pray for our unit leader to find housing for us this coming week. Pray for a future vehicle so we can travel to remote villages in the Kalahari. Pray for our future language helpers.
This is taken from our recent newsletter. You can access the full content here.
We want to be open and honest with you our supporters. The mission field is a struggle. Recently our Regional Executive Officer (REO) shared with us that 90% of our time on the mission field is spent just trying to survive and 10% is the ministry stuff we put in our newsletters. This is true from trying to get water, to trying to get home on washed out dirt roads, to trying to dry clothes on a rainy day, to trying not to get sick, to trying to figure out what this weird fungus or rash is on your skin, to trying to just go grocery shopping. It all can be a huge struggle to survive. Our REO encouragement us through Philippines 1:27-30. Verse 27 talks about “let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” He encouraged us to allow everyday things to be done in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Verse 29 says “for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.” Our REO wanted to let us know he understands how hard it is to “suffer for his sake.” He shared a personal story of not being able to go home for his mother’s funeral.
We have left everything to come live among the unreached of this world. And it is suffering but that one conversation with a neighbor about Jesus makes it worth it. A seed is planted or watered. It is the Holy Spirit who brings a person to know, understand and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We have the privilege to walk beside people as they make this decision.
We write you all this to say we have been struggling to survive here in Digoland. This past year and a half has brought us more life changes than most people would experience in a decade. It has been overwhelming. It has especially been hard on Claudia. At the beginning of March, we travelled to Nairobi for medical help for her. AIM has a counselling center called Tumaini. In Swahili, tumaini means hope. Claudia was diagnosed being moderately depressed and has been put on medication. It was difficult to face the fact that Claudia needed help. She spent two weeks seeing a counselor to talk about what had pushed her to this point of needing help. We have returned to the village of Vuga but we are trying to find a healthy way forward. We are trusting God to show us the correct path to take. We share this to ask for your prayers. The reality of the mission field is it is super hard and we desperately need prayers to support us here.
The post is an update from my previous post. Currently, we are testing the first two stories which are the creation of the spirit world and the creation of heaven and earth. This past week I have been sharing these stories in Swahili in our village. I am asking for feedback which has opened many doors for discussions. For two hours, my language helper and I discussed the major differences between Islam and Christianity according to our holy books. I was able to share why Jesus came and why He died on the cross. Later, I sat on my steps with my neighbors and we discussed the different creation stories they had been taught. It was amazing the diversity of stories shared between three people from the same village. As we continue to test these stories, please pray for wisdom and boldness and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide our chats with others. Hopefully in the next week, we will finish the first two stories. The next two stories are going to be a real challenge as we tackle the fall of man and Abraham and Issac. The difference between Islam and Christianity is vast in these two topics. When talking about Abraham, I have had to share that Abraham had two sons. Our neighbors know about Abraham’s first son Ishmael through Hagar. Islam leaves out Issac who is the son promised by God to Abraham through Sarah. It is Issac’s grandchildren who form the twelve tribes of Israel. Issac is a major piece of God’s redemption story foreshadowing the coming of the promised Son of God, the Messiah, Jesus. Pray for teammate Samantha and I as we tackle these new stories in the coming months and the discussions that will revolve around these stories.
I’m so excitied that I had to blog about this facebook post I shared the other day. The day after this post I sat down with H and we now have the first audio draft of the creation story. We are creating 16 stories to start off with and they will take us from creation to stories of Jesus in the New Testament. This is why we are here to bring the gospel to the Digo. So excited.
I know this isn’t a perfect framed photo. But today my Digo friend H and I started on the first Bible story. This is so huge to finally get started on putting the story of the Bible into an oral form so it can be spread. So excited I had to take a photo of this occasion. He was watching the story of creation on my tablet. As we were reading Genesis 1 he said to me. Oh so God created us and wants us to be friends with him. I said yes. You see for a Muslim to say that is totally opposite of their view of God who is very distance and you must do rules to try and gain favour. Pray for H as we journey through the bible and for my teammate Sam and her storyteller as we are working on this together.
I (Jeremy) thought I could you give a flavor of what a day is like here on the mission field. The events of the day happened because I have adopted a philosophy that people are the currency in God’s economy. In other words, people are the most important thing. Thus, you must focus on being intentional in building relationships with those who you live around and meet.
Saturday, I awoke knowing I had a “come any time after 10 a.m.” appointment at a new friend’s house. So, I purposefully started my 30 min walk to his house at 9 a.m. I knew I would have a few stops along the way and those “spontaneous” stops did happen. It allowed me to go a different way to the road, stop at neighbour’s house to greet, sit with them for a few minutes and chat. My journey continued as I practiced my Digo greetings every chance I could. I got to the road and started to walk down the hill. I thought ohh look I have some extra time I will talk slower as I didn’t want to arrive earlier. Then another friend on a piki stopped and offered me a ride down the hill but I said it’s close and I need to walk. Shortly after that I heard my name from behind. I was perplexed as this was an area I hadn’t been to but once before. I turned around and behold a high school boy I recognized was coming my way. He spoke good English and so I stopped and we chatted. You see this boy and I had played a brief soccer game back in May when we came to the area. My American mind was conscious of the time and I knew I couldn’t talk to long or risk being late. However, my friend did say “come any time after 10.” So, as I continued to slow walk he joined me and we caught up on many things. We hit a bit of shade provided by a big tree and he said can we sit and chat. I had to fight my American culture and also remember my new philosophy. So, I said sure. For the next 45 minutes we sat, talked and traded phone numbers at the end of our time together. It was now 10:45 and my friend and I had made it to the driveway of my new friend’s house. I said goodbye and made my way up the driveway. I had no timetable on how long this visit would be and so over the next 4+ hours my new Kenya friend and I talked about everything you can think of. We had chai, (tea with a snack). As noon rolled around He asked if I would stay for lunch. So, he had mama cook something for us. I stayed until 3:30 and the visit was very good. As I left his house and started back up the road a piki piki (motorbike taxi) pulled over and I wondered why they stopped. As I got closer I recognized that is was the pastor of the AIC church in Kwale. He was on his way back to Kwale and stopped. We chatted for a while and He offered to give me a ride back up the hill. I agreed and we chatted and laughed all the way up the hill. It was now 4 pm and I was back home. I took the quiet time to check in on Claudia and catch up on the day. I then needed to go for a run, pray and clear my mind so I did. At the end of my run I stopped at the field near our house and some boys had a soccer ball so I went over and spent the next 45 minutes just playing and laughing. By this time, it was almost sunset so I needed to go home. My day had been long and filled with so many conversations. Some short, some long. Most of it random and not planned. I believe the way God likes it most of the time.
You see when people are the main focus you do what you can to make sure you connect. We are here to share and bring the gospel of Jesus Christ but in order to do that we need to gain their friendship and respect. Do you think your neighbours’ will listen to you if you don’t take time to get to know them? They won’t. Regardless the culture you find yourself in, you must make time to put people first if you want to share Christ in an effective way. This new mindset has transformed my view on life and I do believe I am a better person for it. May this encourage you to have days that are filled with people and not tasks.