Thursday, October 1, 2015

September Update

A month and a half on and we are adjusting to life here in East Texas.  Other than the ubiquitous “fire ants” and getting used to things being so spread apart, we are really enjoying our new community.  It is even easier here to get sucked into a YWAM-only bubble with people living so far apart (I really miss Muizenberg in this, along with the pick-up soccer games), but we have been blessed to be attending a church not too far away called Lifepoint Fellowship Church [, can check a video of Pastor Steve with his Texan drawl:].  In our small group on Wednesday nights (while the kids are in a pretty amazing program that over half of the church body is involved in) we are going through David Platt’s book on what Jesus really means when he says, “Follow me.”  It is causing us to honestly ask to whom are we pouring our lives into (ie. Discipling), and whom are we allowing to pour themselves in to us (being disciple by)?  Another challenging question posed to us has been: “Do I think of my relationship with Jesus in terms of what’s in it for me, or what’s in it for Him?”

Thandi has really been enjoying Teachers for the Nations, in spite of the busy schedule and large amount of homework.  Other than what she brings as a Zulu South African, they have Brasilians, Koreans, Americans, a Chinese, Papuan (PNG), and a Ghanaian.  She has now started interning with teachers in the afternoon at the neighboring Christian Heritage School that Busi attends from 8:30-2:30.  I get to join her school for an hour every Tuesday to go through “Growing Kids God’s Way” video teaching and discussion, which has been amazing for us as a family.

Here is one area God has been challenging her on in her own words:

“One thing that has really been tough on me has been the fact that I still have to do work duties, even after an already full day.  I know it is required by every student in a YWAM school, but I felt this was unfairly taking away time with my kids and Bryan, for when I finish it is already dinner time and sometimes Bryan has soccer to coach.  I kept at it with a pretty bad attitude for the first couple weeks, but then knew I needed to take it to God and hear what He had to say.  He helped me see how this service was not to my staff or even the school, but to Him directly.   And He also reminded me that some of the bathrooms I am cleaning are being used by Busi, the precious energetic daughter He has given me, and what a blessing it is for her to attend such a Christ-centered school that daily teaches the Word of God.  I have repented of my bad attitude, and God has given me so much more joy in doing these duties, even when feeling so physically drained at the end of the day.”

 We have the 100th annual East Texas Fair running right now in this “City of Roses” (apparently Texas doesn’t acknowledge Portland’s claim to this title).  We were able to go with a long-time Bangladeshi friend of mine who I first met while staffing in South Sudan and he was on one of his first outreaches.  It has been amazing to get some time with him before he heads back into the field (Tyler is his home base), and hear all the Lord has done through his incredible faith and loving obedience (including helping those he has discipled to start over 30 churches underground in Afghanistan!).  He was such a blessing to us in this month together, welcoming us and truly loving and spoiling our children.  There is another Bangladeshi staff out at the Ranch base, and he told us recently how much of a VIP James is back home, which amazed us even more at his humility and heart for the lost.  His father was killed by Muslims when he was young, but  instead of allowing bitterness and hatred for Muslims to seep into his heart, he has chosen to love them deeply and consequently been given great spiritual authority to see many come to Christ…how amazing to think though that all believers have that potential to walk in that authority that is ours in Christ Jesus (John 17; Eph 1), if we truly believe and step out in obedience!

Both Busisiwe and Elisha are doing great.  The long days in class are hard for Busi, but they have multiple recess times and starting from next week she will be seeing me in the library.  Elisha is being watched over by an amazing Brasilian volunteer, along with a Ghanian brother and sister and Korean girl (see pic—the nations in Preschool!).  He also just started going on the toilet sometimes.  Praise God!  Also see pic:)

A typical week for me includes primary duties of maintenance work around the school, soccer field and housing units (see pic of Workmates from Papua New Guinea and Brasil), one day a week in the school library (been cleaning and logging in new books now, but soon receiving classes of elementary students to read them stories and creative activities to encourage reading) and at least three days a week coaching and discipling the junior high soccer team along with a Brasilian brother.  Just tonight we had a long away game and arrived back late.  It took long for all the parents to pick up their kids, and two of them couldn’t get their parents on the phone.  So I offered to take them home.  One of the students is from a Mexican background and struggles with the strict way CHS is run, having been expelled last year and already suspended this year.  I have been asking God for an opportunity to speak more into his life, and that came tonight, in the form of what at first seemed like an inconvenience, having to drop off kids after 8pm that I felt their parents should have picked up. After all, I’m not getting paid for any of this!  But God arrested that attitude in me, and gave me such compassion for this hardened young man.  I pray the relationship will continue to the point where this young brother will encounter Jesus’ love for Himself and not just say he’s heard it all before.

Blessings and thanks for reading/praying with us!

p.s. Let's not grow weary in interceding for the globes ongoing conflict zones, epecially with recent escalations in Syria/Iraqi region

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