Category: Life Lessons

Pressing Onward

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:14

 

We were very hopeful at the beginning of the month as things in Namibia seemed to be moving in a positive, forward direction to obtain our work visas. Things have slowed again. We are praying for a breakthrough this week. We are holding on day by day. Hoping for meetings to happen.

 

We are pushing for an answer. Our leadership here in the US is also pushing. We are not free to share details but there is a push for an answer SOON. The window of waiting is closing and a door to GO is opening.

 

So we are pressing on toward the goal of returning to Africa very soon. We are ready to put our hands back on the plow in the field  of Africa. The fields are ripe for harvest. Thank you everyone for praying. Your prayers have not gone unheard.

Weary

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

What does weary mean?
It is feeling or showing tiredness, especially as a result of excessive exertion or lack of sleep.

To be truthful, we are weary. We have been for awhile. It was just a feeling to begin but now it feels like we are showing weariness. It feels like a thick winter coat on a hot summer day. It feels like the last 100m of a 400m race for those who have run track. We have definitely lost hours and nights of sleep. It is hard to smile. It is hard to role out of bed some days. Thankfully, we have a toddler who loves to be outside.

So what are we to do when we become weary?

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

We definitely aren’t giving up. We are praying for a breakthrough. Letters have been hand delivered to immigration. We are praying for a response very soon and a final answer shortly after that.

We definitely are in need to “find rest for our souls.” The only place to turn is to the Lord. He says to “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” But it definitely helps when we receive those emails, texts, Bible verses, and so many prayers. Thank you!!!

On my Bible App, today’s verse was “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:14. This was one of the verses that God gave me when we sat in South Africa in 2015 waiting to enter Namibia for the first time. It was God’s little reminder that He is fighting for us. So today I can rest in Him and be still and silent knowing He is God, sovereign over all things.

https://i0.wp.com/img00.deviantart.net/c869/i/2016/194/7/8/rest_in_the_lord_by_iridescencysky-da9vu77.png?w=620&ssl=1

Grace

Good day everyone. We have been at ECHO in North Ft Myers, FL for 6 weeks now. It has been wonderful to be here. We have learned so much through seminars and hands on learning on the global farm. We have taught an intern seminar and will led a devotional next week. We also have had many conversations to encourage future missionaries and conversations that have encourage us during our time of waiting.

During our intern seminar, we shared about expectations, failures, successes, and conflict resolution. We shared many of our experiences on the mission field. Jeremy focused on healthy ways to solve conflict because the #1 reason missionaries come home early from the field is interpersonal conflicts with other missionaries. Unresolved conflict eventually causing relationships to  break down. Resolved conflict actually creates trust, strengthens relationships and commitment. The interns had fun roleplaying through some conflict situations.

We are taking turns being on the farm and caring for Anastasia. Each afternoon Anastasia takes a nap, so there is some quiet time to read.

I, Claudia, have been reading a book on parenting. It focuses on giving grace to our children and use opportunities to point our children to Christ who has given us so much grace. Throughout the book, it points out that we adults/parents struggle with the same things our children do like submitting to authority and seeking our own way. We need to confess to God and let our children see how we need God’s grace too. Over time they will turn to God but before that happens they will act in their sinful nature. So over and over and over we need to extend grace to our children.

This brought to my mind how on our first team how team members asked and asked and asked for grace to be extended to one team member who was eventually dismissed from the team by leadership above our team leader. There were many hurt feelings before and after the team member was removed. There was so much conflict on the team that never got resolved. And unfortunately it probably will never be resolved.

I, Claudia, personally have struggled with how to overcome things without resolution. I have forgiven my former teammates but there won’t be reconciliation of the relationships.

How do you move on?

GRACE

Each team member needed grace and also needed to extend grace. By God’s grace, I can extend grace to former teammates even now. There still won’t be reconciliation but through grace I experience peace, God’s peace that is beyond comprehension.

I am thankful for the quiet afternoons while Anastasia naps. The Holy Spirit is using the time to teach and heal my heart. I hope it also makes me a better parent and a better teammate.

We all encounter conflict in life. Conflict is  good if dealt with in a healthy way. Remember, grace needs to cover it, so that both forgiveness and reconciliation can happen.

Conflict Resolution

Wednesday I, Jeremy, had a chance to share with the staff and interns here at ECHO about my experience with Conflict Resolution on the mission field. Sadly, interpersonal conflict is still the number one reason why missionaries leave the field early. Number two is children. I have found here in United States most people are untrained in conflict resolution and thus we avoid it all cost. I wanted to share a simple formula for you to use when talking to someone where conflict exists. This is a complex issue and this formula isn’t magical but just a suggestion.

  1.  Use “I feel” statements, then state why by saying “because”. Stay focused on the task that surrounds the conflict, not the person as much as possible.
  2. Actively Listen to their response.
  3. Repeat what you heard them say by saying “I heard you say”.
  4. Jump back to #1 and try to gain a clear understanding.

The main purpose of conflict resolution is not to determine who is right or wrong but to gain clear understanding to move forward together.

I hope this will help next time you encounter some conflict.

Jeremy

In case your inbox missed it, we just sent a new email update newsletter out yesterday.  Click here if you missed seeing it.

books I am reading

Good morning everyone. This is Claudia. Just thought I would share a little of what I am doing these days. READING. Reading has been always a struggle for me because of my dyslexia and lack of phonic skills. It takes me hours and hours and hours to read. At times reading has given voice to lies spoken to me as a child that “You are stupid” and “You won’t amount to anything.” So reading is not my favorite thing to do. Sometimes it is the last thing I want to do. I feel God has given me plenty of time to read right now for a reason.

I have been reading two books from Lysa Terkeurst: Uninvited and It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way.

Uninvited deals with rejection. I have shared several prayers from the book on this blog and in our newsletters. It definitely helped me as we waited for news about visas and then when we received word of our application rejection.

Currently, I am reading It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way. It deals with disappointment. It has been helping me with the waiting again as we appeal before the immigration board for our visas. I wanted to share from chapter 7 titled “When God Gives You More Than You Can Handle.”

““God won’t give you more than you can handle.” But that’s not actually in the Bible. God does say He won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear and that He always provides a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13). But that’s not the same as God not giving us more than we can handle. He sometimes will allow more and more and more.”

“The world is filled with people who are dealt more than they can handle. And, surprisingly, the Bible is also filled with people who were given more than they could handle. The apostle Paul wrote: For we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:8–9) God doesn’t expect us to handle this. He wants us to hand this over to Him. He doesn’t want us to rally more of our own strength. He wants us to rely solely on His strength.”

Image result for potter making pottery“Wise potters not only know how to form beautiful things from clay, but they also know how important it is to add some of the dust from previously broken pieces of pottery to the new clay. This type of dust is called “grog.” To get this grog, the broken pieces must be shattered to dust just right. If the dust is shattered too finely, then it won’t add any structure to the new clay. And if it’s not shattered enough, the grog will be too coarse and make the potter’s hands bleed. But when shattered just right, the grog dust added to the new clay will enable the potter to form the clay into a larger and stronger vessel than ever before. And it can go through fires much hotter as well. Plus, when glazed, these pieces end up having a much more beautiful, artistic look to them than they would have otherwise.”

Isaiah 45:9: “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?”

“A broken potsherd can lie on the ground and be nothing more than a constant reminder of brokenness. It can also be used to continue to scrape us and hurt us even more when kept in our hands. Or, when placed in our Master’s hands, the Master Potter can be entrusted to take that potsherd, shatter it just right, and then use it in the remolding of me to make me stronger and even more beautiful. When I understood this, I saw that in all my circumstances God was keeping me moldable while adding even more strength and beauty in the process.”

I am thankful for the time right now to read something I probably wouldn’t read otherwise. It is teaching how to turn to God when rejected and what to do when there is disappointments in life. It has also caused me to cry deeply and fall apart at times. Lysa writes, “Weak moments don’t make weak faith.” I believe God is strengthening me and making me more beautiful in His sight.

So what am I doing right now. I am putting my broken pieces in God’s hands, He is turning them into dust, and He is making me moldable for whatever is coming next.