Thursday, November 24, 2011

Our November Update..."Depth and Breadth"

ISSORE (SOUTH SUDAN) TEAM ON A DAY OUT IN CAPE TOWN (we have Kelly from Florida and Dachung from Jos, Nigeria joining us for the 3-month outreach):

Praise die Yerid (Praise the Lord)and Happy Thanksgiving! I call this posting "Depth and Breadth" because of how rich our time with the SCPL (School of Church Planting & Leadership) has been in the past few weeks. That is one reason why this update has been so long in coming...

We start aptly with praise as ALL the needed lecture phase fees for the students came in just in time for last Friday’s 70% deadline. They are now trusting the Lord to bring inthe remaining 30% that some still owe, to be able to focus in on the outreaches to either Transkei (among the amaXhosa of Eastern Cape, South Africa) or with Thandi and I to Lobone, South Sudan. It is great to see the intiative they aretaking to raise funds and the strong desire they all have for putting intopractice what they are learning by the Spirit of God in school, both inclassroom times as well as otheractivities. [One picture shows an afternoon we were able to attend a Farming God's Way (definitely look up if you have time) seminar and actually plant a "well-watered garden" where you intentionally cover the seeds with as much organic material as possible]

This past week was so refreshing and encouraging to us as aschool as we were blessed to engage in the foundational subject of Spiritual Warfare, being reminded of the truth that we are born into war, and must know where our authority lies and how to use the weapons given to us to be the victors we are inChrist.The speaker was our second female speaker who brought with her a rich heritage (Mauritian father and Belgian mother, while raised in South Africa and Germany) and experience of missions around the globe. She got her Bachelors degree through YWAM's University of the Nations, and then went on to get her Master's degree in Muslim Shar'ia law, as she had much experience in Muslim nations. She has recently joined our base with the goal of pioneering a School of Government and International Studies by April next year. See the link from our base page:

The week before we hosted a team of five gracious "folks" from Montana speaking on the importance of seeing our personal church within its regional context, being aware of what God is doing in other churches in the region and actually esteeming the ministries they have been called to partake in, as a crucial member of Christ's greater Body. The two Scriptures emphasized were Eph. 1:15&on and Philemon 4-7, which emphasize having "faith in Christ and love for all the saints." Two pastors and their wivesalong with a solo pastor who had to leave his family behind, they brought withthem a richness of experience in the Lord but boasted in none of it, only inthe greatness of God bringing His people together. We could tangibly sense all our students and staff being encouraged as we sat in their presence and helped them to get to different churches to share what God laid on their hearts concerning “mending the nets” and "equipping the saints" (Eph.4:12) thatHis Body may truly accomplish all that the Church is destined for. The main speaker, Pastor Chuck, had mentionedearly his desire for us to gather togethera group of pastors from around Cape Town and it was amazing to see it come together, with even other departments on our base helping to coordinate the effort. I loved seeing pastors from very different communities and church styles within the Cape interacting and listening to one another about what it means "to do church" (see last pic in front of our base).

A Funny Story: On the last day before the team returned to Montana myself and a few of the more adventurous students took the American team on the train into Cape Town city, and had a day where it really became "outreach." It was nice to take them out on a boat ride out in the harbour with a glorious view of Table Mountain and Lion's Head (after negotiating a group discount), but then we had to rush to find a local minibus taxi (negotiate the rate again) and make a mad dash to the central station to catch the 4pm train so that we didn't need to wait over an hour for the next train after a long day! I felt so bad having the team running to catch the train, but knowing it would be better for them to get home and rest, we went for it and they were game (despite being a few decades or so older than the average YWAMer:). We literally all got in the train a second before the doors automatically closed with our dear Sally just squeezing through. After I gave all the guys 'high-5s', only then did their team leader tell me that Sally actually only has one lung! And there I was pushing her to run for the train! But the husband made light of it saying, "Yah, we just call her 'old one-lunger'". I felt so bad, but thank God she had enjoyed herself and we had all made it safely, having much to talk about with our fellow passengers on the way back to Muizenberg.

This week we are blessed to have an American brother join usfor a few afternoon sessions on Language Acquisition. He lives nearby and has had a lot ofexperience working among a little known tribe in Mozambique with Wycliffe BibleTranslators (his blog is really worth checking out at Very simple dude, heseems well aware of the need to not take yourself too seriously whenrepresenting the Lord, but drawing people to the seriousness of who God is inChrist Jesus. I have attached his recent PDF called MISH--Make Important Stuff Happen (Wycliffers apparently love acronyms). I started reading it and it is quite enjoyable, even though it says don't believe all that is in the newsletters people send you! Here is some food for thought from his memoir called Chasing the Hippo:

The job title“missionary” is unpopular these days. The idea that one organization would send envoys to another country to convert the populace smacks of colonialism. But the reality is very complex, an organization like the one I belong to sends missionaries from more than 100 national organizations working in with more than 1,500 language communities. It's no longer clear who is converting whom. Instead, this is one of the most thrilling times in mission history: to be a part of a truly global movement to make God's Word accessible to everyone in a language they understand and a format they can use.

My official week for teaching on Cross-cultural studies in an African context is fast approaching (How to reach out to deeply animistic cultures with the gospel), and I am busy sorting through a number of resources I have been able to get my hands on! Organization is always the greatest struggle for me, but things are coming together!

*Outreach preparation for our South Sudan team (including purchasing of flight tickets for a Dec.20th flight, communication with our hosts in Uganda, and preparation of the hearts of Issore people we are going to live with)

*Purchasing of the right travel insurance to go with our flights, in case of any emergency

*Smooth acquisition of Ugandan Visas for whole team, as well as clarity for permits needed to cross into the newly-independent South Sudan...Praise God Busi is booked for next week to get her required Yellow Fever vaccine!

*Unity, protection (health) and love amongst our outreach team of four (+ Busi)[team picture + updated Issore video to come in next update]

*Clear communication in my week of teaching from Dec. 5-9th, as well as collaboration with my co-staff Gerard (insights on African Traditional Religion) and a another Wycliffer coming to share on reaching Oral Cultures through storytelling, language learning, and, above all, respecting the specific culture

*Organization of our living arrangments in regards to our apartment being rented out during outreach (we do have a newlywed staff couple interested, but not for the whole three months--see pics from their wedding), and then finding a small home to stay in upon our return (with a yard that Busi can run around in!)

*Continued fruit in seeing people from Overcome community come for house church meetings, meeting the Lord in their brokenness (often they weep as they experience the freedom of living for a God whose grace triumphs over His judgment) as well as connecting more with the local Church of the Nazarene (we are doing Bible studies there now at 7:30 every Wednesday)

More team time (we live in a beautiful place)...

Busi getting ready to immerse into a new culture...

Below: Busi playing with Leila in her best dress at a recent friend's wedding (given by her great-Grandma Claire who just passed away--We love you and will miss you Grandma!)

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