Prefield Ministry is Missions {part 1}

By Monday, September 14, 2015 0 0
PDub book signing

Photo taken by my friend Isabelle.

A few years ago, I met a woman at a book signing by the Pioneer Woman. She had her camera, and I asked if we could share emails so she could take my photo with Ree and send it to me. We really hit it off chatting about food and Europe and we were excited to discover we didn’t live far from each other. That summer we hung out a few times and Isabelle was curious about the Bible. She read the book of John and then we did a study together of 20 Old and 20 New Testament stories and how they point to Jesus.

These are some of my prayers for her that I journaled.

“Lord Jesus, thank you for clearing my super busy schedule to meet with Isabelle every other Sunday. Thank you for her availability and the hard work she puts into her lessons each week. Please help her see and be blessed by the encouragement she is to me. I pray that you would continue to protect our schedules so we can keep meeting. Do not allow Satan to gain any stronghold in either of our lives so that we can meet again and again until we finish the story of hope and isabelle meets you.”

“…please continue to soften her heart, Lord. Only you can do it. I can’t do it, and she can’t do it on her own, Lord, but you can. Please just make her malleable and open to the amazing change the Holy Spirit will work in her when she receives you. I saw last night that she truly desires to receive you but she doesn’t yet know how. In less than 6 weeks, we’ll get to the New Testament (Lord, direct our schedules and make every meeting possible!) and she’ll meet Jesus. Help her be ready, Lord.”

“Oh, how I pray that Jesus birth, life, death and resurrection would be GOOD NEWS to her.”

“…that she would meet a friend like me in her new home, who will invite her to a good, Bible-believing church…”

“She is such a dear friend to me. I want her to meet Jesus, and grow in him. For salvation, of course. But also for her comfort, peace and purpose…”

In 2011, just before Susanna was born, Isabelle moved to Florida and then South Carolina because of her husband’s job with the Coast Guard, so once we finished the Story of Hope, I had to send her off and pray from afar.

On the day after Christmas last year, Isabelle called me to tell me that put her trust in Christ for salvation on Christmas Eve. That she had a friend like me who had shared the Gospel with her and connected her to a Bible believing church and she was so excited to begin reading the Bible over the next year.

Today, Isabelle and I can share Bible verse images on YouVersion, and I am thrilled when I see that she is making daily progress reading through the Bible in a year with her church. It is a joy to be able to pray now for growth, sanctification, and that God would knit their family together in His name, for His glory.

The Spiritual Battle for Spain

By Thursday, July 23, 2015 0 0

In our May Prayer letter, we shared these sobering statistics and details. I see Spain as a land of contrasts – beautiful, yet broken. My dream is to see its Spiritual influence as beautiful and whole as its culture is rich. Spain is a place many people want to visit, and for good reason. But it is struggling in many ways – on the world’s stage, it suffers economically. And in God’s realm, Spain is still a very dark place. Our prayer is that God would use us to shine the Light, Jesus Christ, in Spain. These statistics are part of the spiritual battle, but we serve a Mighty God! We believe that although these facts are sobering, God has a plan to use them to draw people to Himself.

Bible Illiteracy

Spain edges out France and Italy for first place in Bible Illiteracy. Officially a Catholic nation, Spain today has more people who say they have little or no interest in religion than it has actively committed Catholics. What this means for us is that we can start from the beginning and tell the Story of Hope in a new way. The stories might be familiar and we might have to answer questions and correct old superstitions, but God’s plan for redemption as outlined in the Bible will take center stage.

Atheistic

Spain is the 5th country in the world in terms of percentage of atheists in the population. Most of these people are young influencers with whom we’ll be neighbors! Although they don’t believe in God, this does not mean that Spaniards don’t have an interest in spiritual things. Superstition, horoscopes, and new age beliefs are common as well.

English

According to social statistics, Spaniards speak the worst English in Europe! English is the felt need in Spain. God has opened doors because many people who are not interested in the Bible want to learn English. The lack of English  means that young adults have fewer global opportunities than their peers from around Western Europe. So we offer English camp, English lessons, and English practice. We meet this need out of love for Spaniards, and we praise God that it’s so “easy.” Then we pray that through the friendships we form, we can share His love for them by sharing the Good News.

While I’m Waiting {Missional Music Monday}

By Monday, April 13, 2015 0 0

Today was a support deadline to attend Field Prep Seminar. It will pass without any fanfare because a couple weeks ago we confirmed an invitation to speak at a church the weekend we would have traveled. We are really looking forward to serving this church by helping at a youth event and sharing our heart for Spain on two occasions, and now we have set our sights on the November FPS and a January departure. We share a bit about that in our latest prayer letter.

Today I am writing to share how God has been encouraging me. Perhaps you too have been struggling with discouragement, even depression. Perhaps you too have questioned what God is doing, why He is allowing certain difficulties or remaining silent as you pray. I am disappointed, discouraged, and also confused. The call to Spain is as strong as ever, but in spite of our efforts, it seems we are called to wait right now, while God does other important work. This is not a new phenomenon for God’s followers, I know. But when I compared (WARNING!) myself to other missionaries, I can’t help but feel that something is wrong; that we’ve done something wrong. Perhaps we have. It’s inevitable because we’re sinful people. But God is still sovereign and He is at work. I can’t count all the ways the timing has been right up until this moment and I know that in hindsight I’ll feel the same way about this moment too. So how do I get my heart synced up with what my mind knows is true?

I have camped out in the Psalms the last few weeks, because God shows Himself praiseworthy there and I need to praise God when I am questioning Him. My mind knows the stories of His provision – in scripture and in my own life, He has been faithful. But when it is difficult to trust Him even when I remember how trustworthy He is, the Psalms have an answer. God. Is. Bigger. Than. My. Problem.

Psalm 42 is a favorite of mine at times like this. The first part of the Psalm reminds me of my daughter and singing As the Deer to her as a baby while I battled for joy during a bout with post-partum depression, which God brought me from triumphantly. The second part gives me a much needed perspective shift.

Finally, two songs I heard yesterday were like messages from God. I hope you’ll find them encouraging too. Matt Waller’s “While I Wait” and Sidewalk Prophets’ “Help Me Find It.” Both videos below include the lyrics.

Knowing the Gospel {Day 16}

By Thursday, October 16, 2014 0 0

This may be redundant for some of our readers who also follow our missionary friends in Ukraine, Caleb and Christina, but it’s that good.

In particular, I love the section beginning at 4:13, about how the power of God has been sucked out of our “proclamations” of the Gospel. He asks, What’s happened to our church today? America is not even on the map of church growth. What’s happened to us?

Some clips that really spoke to me:

“The Good News is not a suggestion to the world. The Good News is not good advice. The Good News is not asking you to give Jesus a try.”

 

“We don’t need people to fill a spot on a stage, we need people who are ready to give their lives in missionary sacrifice and to die for the sake of the Gospel!”

 

“If you come to serve Jesus in ministry don’t come for the sake of the stuff and the building, come for the sake of the lives of the lost.”

Take 45 minutes to watch this sermon, if you care are knowing the Gospel so that you can share it with others.

The ending is particularly poignant and I feel much more prepared to share the Gospel with Spaniards (and my neighbors!) having heard this sermon.

31 Stories of Preparing for the Mission Field at Seasoned with Salt // theduryees.com

“Do It Now” {Day 14}

By Tuesday, October 14, 2014 0 0

You know that cheesy quote, “it’s not the destination, but the journey?” Sometimes I really hate that quote. But the journey is pretty important too, in our case, and I have been thinking about how the mission field, like marriage, can amplify problems. If you worry a lot at home, you’ll worry a LOT on the field, for example. Here are some more I’ve thought of and we’ve heard from veteran missionaries. And of course, it’s a process. We don’t have any of these down perfectly or Jesus would already have come back.

If you don’t have a devotion time now, you won’t when you get to the field.

If you don’t share the Gospel with people in the States, you won’t share it with people in Spain.

If you don’t know how to answer hard theological questions in English, you won’t be able to answer them in Spanish. Even once you have a handle on the language.

If you don’t know how to budget with a steady paycheck, you won’t succeed on a missionary income.

If you don’t take time to rest and take care of yourself at home, you won’t do it abroad.

If you fight with your spouse or lose your temper with your children at home, you’ll probably fight more and have less patience under stress.

If you don’t have time to talk to your neighbors now, you won’t have time to meet them when you get to the field.

Can you think of any more “if you” statements that might apply to ministry?

31 Stories of Preparing for the Mission Field at Seasoned with Salt // theduryees.com