Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Dayumae: the wood bee family wanted to tell you "Waengongi" doesn't want anyone to kill. (Waengongi is the name for their revered figure)
Mincayani and other men: Waengongi!??
Her statement is met with great surprise, and suspicion.
Mincayani: How do they know what Waengongi says?
Dayumae: Waengongi marked his trail with carvings. They say we shouldn't kill.
(another man): Where are these carvings? Show them. (agreement rises from the other men)
Kimo: Why didn't the wood bee men shoot us?
Dayumae: They came to tell you Waengongi has a son. He was speared...But he didn't spear back. So the people spearing him would one day live well.
What is so stinking moving to me? Why to I get emotional every time I see this?
It's the use of culture and language. Those missionaries got it! They didn't just go to these people, who'd rarely ever even seen white men before, and say, "Jesus died for you. Believe in Him, and be saved." They didn't start with something totally foreign to those Waodani, and try to push it on them. Instead, they used things that were already familiar to them. They incorporated culture AND language, all the while building relationships with the people in that tribe and surrounding tribes. And the results were astonishing!
Do you support any type of mission work that spreads the Gospel among different language groups? I would encourage you to look in to those groups' practices. How do they go about things? Is their goal to quickly produce a new translation of the Bible? Or do they actually take the time needed to learn about a peoples' culture? Do they incorporate culture and heritage into the language translation? Or do they try to literally interpret the Bible? These are very legitimate and important questions.
So, the question: Why do I go?
I've asked that a lot recently, myself. This next trip... I've struggled with God's will versus my own concerning going back. I'll be totally honest: I'm running big time. So many heartaches in 2006- the last time I felt completely safe and at peace, I was on the Far Side Of The World. I've wanted to be back there since the day I returned to the States.
But then I see a movie that is all about tribal missions, and I am reminded of the real reason I am going: IT'S FOR THEM. Ultimately, it's not at all about me. It has nothing to do with running, or whether or not it was my will or God's. I am going for the sole purpose of serving, in whatever capacity I am needed, in order to help expedite the carrying of the Gospel to people who've never heard before in their own language, in a manner that is most understandable.
INTERFACE is a wonderful place, and an awesome experience that shares with the students a glimpse into the world of tribal missions. Many students from Interface go on to become tribal missionaries themselves- and that is the goal of having such a program.
And my goal in going is to assist the staff and students in whatever way possible- to help make it such a fantastic learning experience for the students, so that maybe even just one person who attends will return some day with the intention of doing their part to help expedite the Gospel to those who've never heard of our Great God before.
I welcome your questions or comments concerning this venture, New Tribes, or anything else that might come to mind.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Breathe this in-
The water's wait.
Breathe this in
The water's wait.
Asking if you are...
Everything within you will feel
Houses full of no escape.
It starts to pull
He's in this place,
To question who you are.
Who am I?
Who am I?
I will fade
I've been thinking a lot recently about my own baptism. January 11, 2004, in freezing cold water, at Southwind, at the first Revolution retreat...
I remember a moment... And a feeling... Right before going under, time stopped, and it was a feeling of panic, and of letting go. Something within me registered that things would be different now.
That feeling was of being erased. Everything within me felt erased. I wasn't the same. I realized there were some things in life I could not return to.
"Who am I?" I'm not the same now as I was before... Life has changed. And I am forever grateful to God for that. I hate that I lived away from God for so long... "Who am I?" I'm His. This is neither easy nor completely pleasant on any given day. But oh- the rest and peace...
Christian Friends: LIVE YOUR LIVES AS THOUGH YOU'VE BEEN ERASED!!
Monday, December 18, 2006
I am only 20 days from departure, and I'm falling into this pattern that I seem to have when it's close to Exit time.
First, I tend to get really clingy- I miss my friends A LOT when I'm gone, and all I want to do is spend more time with them before I leave. But it's Holiday time, so that is sort of difficult...
I also tend towards worry- mainly about finances- for both support to come in, and for home finances while I'm gone.
I worry too about my family and friends while I'm gone- that something will happen, and I won't be here, or be able to come home. (it doesn't help that something DID happen last year while I was gone, and I about lost it when I found out!)
And now, since I don't have a roommate this year, I worry about my stupid material stuff, that's God's stuff anyway, like my house and my car.
Finally, there was this situation that played out right before I left last year, and a similar version of that is happening again right now. I recognize this as an idol, but it's a very tempting one... Aren't they all though, huh.
So basically, please pray that I wouldn't give into my fears! I know it's not from The Lord. "For God doesn't give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind." (2 Tim. 1:7) Please do pray for trip logistics, and for my heart to belong to God ALONE. Anything is possible. But not everything is right. Pray that God would bless me with wisdom and discernment.
I love you all, and am so thankful for you!
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
First, some background info. 2006 has been tumultuous, to say the least. Pretty much anything short of physical harm to myself and losing my home has all been bundled up in 2006. I started the year with a tectonic Shift in a pivotal relationship, closely followed by the death of my Grandmother, and that immediately followed by my departure for New Guinea in mid-January. My time overseas was just amazing- just completely filled with God, and lessons about Him, myself, what it is to serve, be humble- it was so wonderful! What a mountain top!
But stepping off the mountain and returning to Orlando was completely different. I felt as though I plunged right into the most immense valley- dark and vast. I didn’t exactly have the kind of “culture shock” that I expected- in fact, I jumped right back into daily life rather quickly. (maybe to my detriment) The most influential thing was that the "Shift" continued too, until 2 continents collided, and “aftershocks” started tearing thru. Many certain, solid things/beliefs in my life became huge question marks. Trust? What’s that??
The worst was the sovereign silence of God. I’d call out to God for comfort, guidance- anything- but it felt like nothing came… My friendships suffered (because my trust was at zero), my job satisfaction and security faltered (I eventually abruptly quit), and my hope was not what it should have been. I found myself asking God, “Where were You? Were You there at all? How on earth could this have happened?” I felt like God had turned His back to me. That He’d dropped me. It was the only way I could rationalize how everything that occurred took place! God must have let me go. How else would a child of His backslide so grandly? I really hope none of you ever EVER feels this way. It SUCKS.
If you do though, I offer you hope.
Overlapping with my timeline of doubt, God was already showing His presence. The best example of this is with the job situation. In August, I quit my job following rising stress and conflict of interests- gave two weeks notice- and had nothing lined up at all! But literally 2 days after quitting- a friend called to tell me about a position at his school. Less than a week after quitting- I had a new job lined up, doing something I totally never would have imagined: I now work with autistic children. God’s will and provision was so obvious- it’s been just phenomenal to receive this, knowing full well where the blessing comes from. Not only do I LOVE my new job, and the kids, but I work with some fantastic people- 3 of which are friends from church! It’s the best knowing that I’m in God’s will with my job- I am exactly where He wants me.
Another great example: In the midst of fears and doubt, God brought people to me to lift me up and keep me connected. Anyone of my local friends can testify- I’m a runner. No, not like in marathons- more like I’ll run away and isolate when I’m under attack. And while most people usually just let me run, there have been some people in my life who’ve been pillars to me. They have been constant lights, endless encouragers and sources of truth and wisdom. I thank God soooooo much for His blessing of friendships and connection within the Body of Christ. That is exactly how it should be.
Sadness and guilt were very present. Prevalent. I did go to counseling for 2 1/2 months, but besides having someone I could confide the details to, it just didn’t seem to be helping me actually overcome, heal, change for the better, etc. (and that’s what I’d expected from it). God’s silence continued.
BUT- I DID stay constantly in The Word. Mainly out a sense of desperation- thinking like “there’s got to be SOMETHING in here that God will make jump out at me!” The only things that stuck out though were fairly condemning. Any words of supposed comfort didn’t seem to apply to me… God’s work in keeping me reading was strong though. He prompted me to find out about pride, and how God feels about the proud and arrogant. Then He taught me about true humility, and what it means to love unconditionally, and to forgive. (I’m still learning those…) He changed my perspectives in many ways, and the result was confession. There was WAY more to my problem than just the blatant sin and resulting guilt. Who really had the pride problem? Who had the heart problem? Oh… ME. It is a staggering prospect to meet with your deeply ingrained heart issues for the first time. I had never before realized and named the idols in my life.
So see, in ways I could only discern in hindsight, God was moving. Healing. Restoring. SLOOOOOOOOOWLY.
Ok already, on to this past Sunday. That’s why I’m writing all this!
I was driving home, thinking about a friend who just got engaged. I was thinking about what she and I were up to this time last year. She was planning on moving across the country, and I was getting in gear to go to PNG. Nothing even related to the events of 2006 had started falling into place yet. All of that was still way ahead of me, and I was obliviously in love with the Lord, heart set on the prospect of learning about tribal missions, thinking that maybe it’s something I’d do as more than just a pastime. Back to Sunday though, I was deep into pondering how God is so richly blessing my newly engaged friend with this prospect of marriage, and how happy she is. And I am so happy for her! It’s so wonderful to witness God’s work in my friends’ lives! And then the thoughts came- those that couldn’t be from me:
“Who knows what can happen… what God can do in your life- even in the course of
a year? Not you- only God! You can be just as blessed. God is not mad at you, but
welcomes you, and offers you another chance. See, I am going to do a new thing.”
I was astonished- driving home… Those thoughts/ words flooded over me, and I started to cry. I was filled with praise and awe! I thanked God for being a God of second chances, for loving me, for sending His Son to die for me, and for His forgiveness. It was just really amazing!
TRUTH started pouring in as well. Those verses I’d read suddenly applied to me. They were written for me. (they include but are not limited to Jer. 29:11, Phil. 4:6-7, __________) And now I want you to know: I love that I’m in God’s care. He’s GOT me- He never once dropped me, or turned His back to me. I can’t humanly understand all parts of my story… I still don't know why these things had to happen, why backsliding was part of God's plan for me since the beginning... But I rest knowing He IS going to use these trials to His glory- now I can’t wait to see how they fit into His plan! I remember from The Passion of The Christ- that as Jesus embraced His cross again, He said, “See, I make all things new.” It touched me so back then, when I first saw that… And the promise that He can and will do that within me now is moving as well.
That last line, “See, I am going to do a new thing”, is straight from Isaiah 43:18-19. I really like how “The Message” says it: “Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.” I feel very expectant all of a sudden! How hopeful! I find myself almost “giddy” (can you imagine??), thinking, “well, I wonder what it’ll be?? And when? When do I get to find out this awesome thing that God’s going to do in and with me??” (I feel like a little girl waiting to open Christmas presents) This has only been a few day behind me… But I tell you- the shift in attitude, prospect, vision- it’s monumental. I can’t do it justice with words. I could never tell adequately of how God met me right then.
Friends, I want you to have this hope too. You are constantly in my prayers. I pray that whatever it is you’re facing, you can know with certainty that God is with you. He hasn’t left you, or turned His back. No detail of your life falls outside of His gaze. He loves you. He’s your Dad- and He wants to count your footsteps and forget your sins.
There is such assurance in this knowledge! What can shake us?!
If I dwell by the farthest oceans,
Even there Your hand will guide me,
And Your strength will support me.
These verses first came to me just 2 weeks before I left for Papua New Guinea in January of this year. What an encouragement! I can tell you from experience- it is TRUE. No matter where you are, He is with you, He wants to guide you, and His strength is more than sufficient. Nothing is beyond God!
Friends, I continue to beg you to reflect: what stirs your heart for God’s sake? For me, it’s the thought of one day witnessing people from every tribe, tongue and nation standing together worshipping God. It is holding the hand of one the world may call “unwanted”, but who God looks at and says “MINE”.
This past January and February, I traveled to Papua New Guinea to participate in New Tribes Missions’ Interface program- a course designed to provide a realistic look at the process of making the Gospel available cross-culturally and establishing a functioning tribal church. I learned a ton about language, support roles in missions (yay!), literacy, mission methods, presenting the message of the Gospel chronologically, and the importance of using one’s heart language and cultural mores to present the Gospel in the clearest, most meaningful way.
I saw the seriousness of language barriers when I visited the Pawaia tribe. Although I’d picked up a bit of Tok Pisin (the trade language in PNG, and the language used by many missionaries to reach people), I found communication to be a challenge. Only the younger to middle-aged adults in the tribe spoke Tok Pisin (in addition to their tribal language). Regardless- what an amazing awe-inspiring experience to be gathered with Believers on the Far Side of the World! To listen to them sing, share testimonies of faith, and pray was like a foretaste of Heaven.
God has placed the unreached and unloved of this world on my heart. I want to continue to reach beyond this comfortable realm, until all who doubt know that He is God. At this time, I am continuing to be involved in short term missions. There is, though, a foreseeable day when full time placement becomes my reality. My desire (both now and future) is to serve by assisting in support roles.
God has indeed blessed me with the opportunity to take a “next step” in my personal involvement in missions! I will return to PNG- this place I’ve grown to love- from January 8 thru February 13, 2007. I’ll go back to INTERFACE- this time as part of the hospitality team. You got it- I will be serving!! My joy at this prospect is more than I can put into words! I am so very thankful to Our Father!
My faith in God’s provision is firm- and I have you to thank for that. Thank you for your support and encouragement of me in the past, present and future. Please pray with me concerning the following:
1. Preparation- I am only 6 weeks away from departure!
2. Finances- I am trusting the Lord to provide the $3200 to cover the expense of my trip, as well as for separate transportation to and from L.A., AND home expenses while I am gone.
3. Roommate- That God would send the best person my way prior to me leaving.
4. Spiritually- I really implore you to pray that my words and deeds would be pleasing to the Lord- both here, among my friends and acquaintances, and abroad, among people of a very different culture. Please pray that God would change my heart in some ways, and that His will and mine would be more in alignment.
Would you prayerfully consider becoming involved in sending me to New Guinea? You will play an important part in this experience as you do. If God is leading you to support me thru prayer or financial means, please fill out and return the enclosed “commitment card” and / or contact me for additional information.
I encourage you to visit http://losttakenback.blogspot.com. This site will include lots of trip-related information, and will give updates on support raised, prayer requests, even accounts of what I’m up to when I’m actually over there! You can also make secure online donations by clicking on “GIVE at NTM.org”.
This is all done
For the sake of His Beautiful Name.
Monday, September 25, 2006
(From Michael Quoist’s book Prayers)
I have fallen Lord, once more, I can’t go on. I’ll never succeed. I am ashamed. I don’t dare look at You. And yet I struggled, Lord, for I knew you were right near me, bending over me, watching.
But temptation blew like a hurricane, and instead of looking at You, I turned my head away. I stepped aside while you stood, silent and sorrowful, like the spurned fiancée who sees his loved one carried away by the enemy.
When the wind died down as suddenly as it had arisen, when the lightening ceased after proudly streaking the darkness, all of a sudden I found myself alone, ashamed, disgusted, with my sin in my hands… this sin that I selected the way a customer makes his purchase, this sin that I have paid for and cannot return, for the storekeeper is no longer there. This tasteless sin, this odorless sin, this sin that sickens me, that I have wanted but want no more, that I have imagined, sought, played with, fondled for a long time; that I have finally embraced while turning coldly away from you, my arms outstretched, my eyes and heart irresistibly drown; this sin that I have grasped and consumed with gluttony.
It’s mine now, but it possesses me as the spider web holds captive the gnat. It is mine. It sticks to me, it flows in my veins, it fills my heart. It has slipped in everywhere, as darkness slips into the forest at dusk and fills all the patches of light. I can’t get rid of it. I run from it the way one tries to lose a stray dog, but it catches up with me and bounds joyfully against my legs.
Everyone must notice it. I’m so ashamed that I feel like crawling to avoid being seen. I’m ashamed of being seen by my friends. I’m ashamed of being seen by You, Lord, for You loved me, and I forgot You. I forgot You because I was thinking of myself and one can’t think of several persons at once. One must choose, and I chose…
… And Your voice and Your look, and Your love hurt me, they weigh me down more than my sin.
Lord, don’t look at me like that. I am naked. I am dirty. I am down, shattered, with no strength left. I dare make no more promises. I can only lie bowed before You…
And the Father's Response...
Come, child, look up. Isn’t it mainly your vanity that is wounded? Do you think there is a limit to My love? Do you think that for a moment I stopped loving You? But you still rely on yourself. You must rely only on Me. Ask my pardon and get up quickly. It isn’t falling in the mud that is the worst…
… but staying there.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Well, actually, everything I did was fun... BUT! I want to share with you something so simple- yet it felt profound to me in the moment of realization.
Two things actually: First- the world is a lot smaller than I originally thought. Distance is made relative with today's technology, and it's just not that intimidating to me anymore. And also, God really is everywhere! Guess what- The One True God can be found in the secluded bush, with no roads to get there, just an airstrip (and before that just a river). There are Believers in places you and I can't even imagine! I saw Jesus on the Far Side of the World. Why did I have to go to get this? Who knows... But I'm glad these simple truths made it into my heart and mind...
This was a sign I saw every day in the classroom. The desire of our hearts.
And I did...
In the ones who taught me...
ITF staff and the Bena team.
In the family I stayed with...
This is a believing family in Haia. 8 kids! (One not pictured) I spent time with them, learning the language, reading our Bibles together (theirs in Pawaian, mine in Pidgin), and of course, working on my bilum (string bag). I stayed one night in their home, and it was a very humbling experience. The Dad is one of the church leaders in Haia- very soft spoken, yet very well spoken. I was told that he and his wife were wonderful examples of a Christ-centered marriage and household.
In old friends...
Karen Bowen- she and her husband Tom came with us in 2004 to Madang. They are now serving as Associates at Lapilo, along with their youngest son, running the Guest House. I got to see them a few times, and it was so nice! They came to ITF for lunch one day, and I spent some time with them at Lapilo another day.
A believing woman who I liked hanging out with in Haia. She (like most of the women I met) saw me working on my bilum, and came over and started to help me. She had the "Wordless Book" pinned onto her shirt, and she'd share the message of salvation thru Christ with anyone who crossed her path.
And someone who felt like family...
Sally Crosse- Guyanese, just like me! (well, half of me...) She is such an amazing woman!
Jesus was seen in the ones who gave their lives to His service...
Jack and Isa Douglas- they've spent 33 years in the village of Haia with the Pawaia people. God used them to establish His Church in the middle of the jungle. Jack told us many stories about bush life, translation, and the day the Gospel was presented for the first time.
And those serving now...
The current Bena tribe team: Rich and Dawn Foster, Dave and Wendi Lee, and Van and Alexa Averhart.
In the ones who motivated me...
This is part of the team from 2004. This night pictured, we were meeting at Don and Lynda Pederson's home to bid farewell to Tom and Karen, as they were leaving for PNG soon after. It was this night that I decided to just forget about whatever concerns I had, "let go of the rope", and just go.
And the people who sent me...
"I can't believe this!!"
My friends Jess and Janice had arranged for a surprise "going away" party for me, 2 weeks before I left. About 30 people came to show their support. On top of that, they raised an additional $300+ for me, and Revolution more than matched that. I had been over $1000 from my goal 2 WEEKS before I was scheduled to leave... But God totally provided for His Girl. Read more about this here.
My Revolution Family. My dearest friends. My strongest support.
(taken from a journal entry- Saturday, March 27, 2004)
"Praise Father God- Giver of life,
Power and might, goodness and light-
Ruler of all.
Praise to the Son- The Living Christ.
Body and Blood, Mercy and Love- sweet Sacrifice.
You are HOLY- HOLY.
Praise Holy Ghost- Voice in the dark,
Healer and Friend, Fire and Wind,
Lord of our hearts.
Praise Father God.
Praise to the Son.
Praise Holy Ghost-
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
You are HOLY- HOLY."
These are the words to my favorite praise song. I have decided that my favorite attribue of God is His Holiness. "Holy"... So much comes to mind in that simple word. In the phrase "You are Holy", I hear...
- You are Pure- free from sin.
- You are Truth- all Your words are true.
- You are sincere.
- You are sovereign.
- You are Ruler over everything and everyone, and every situation!
- You are powerful- You can do all things.
- You know all things.
- You are in control of all things.
- You hear all prayers.
- You direct all lives.
- You know all fears.
- You heal all hurts.
- You forgive all wrongs.
- You judge.
- You are JUST.
- You are mighty.
- You are reliant.
- You are Almighty!
- You can overcome anything!
And this is just the beginning!!
In "You are Holy", I see so much. I see me wanting things not in Your plan for me. I see You withholding my wants and desires from me because YOU know that there is something better for me. I see you saying "NO" to my requests. I see me crying and mourning for things I hold/held dear because they're being taken away. I see me begging for mudpies, when all You want to give me is a holiday on the shore...
I see me on my knees, saying and pleading, that God- Your will be done in my life, knowing that Yours and mine differ. I see me finally submitting to You, and feeling that unbelievable peace that You so often bless me with.
I love this song- and the phrase "You are Holy". Why is it that in spite of the fighting, begging and pleading, do I end up in the same place? It's a good place to end. My conclusion is always "You are Holy". You are in control of my life. You are in control of the difficult stuff, even if I can't make any sense of it. You know exactly why I'm going thru this. You know what the outcome will be- and why is that? Because You are Holy!
God, In "You are Holy", I see submission of myself to You, and of all humanity to You in the end! I love you Lord- because you are HOLY! Take control of my life, my thoughts, my actions, my heart...
Thursday, September 07, 2006
It is to be reclaimed. Rescued. Made whole again. To be called "Beloved" instead of "traitor".
The human words "You're mine"- so priceless, beyond imagination- in a moment when I never thought I'd hear such things again! Yet Human they remained, and thus fallible... retractable...
After all of the back-sliding, abandonment, grief, anxiety, anger, resentment- to hear the whispered words "You're Mine" is just more than I can comprehend.
"Comfort, Comfort! Speak softly and tenderly to her... Make it very clear that she has served her sentence, that her sin is taken care of—forgiven!She's been punished enough and more than enough, and now it's over and done with." -Isaiah 40:1-2 (The Message)
And just like that- it's gone! There is nothing more I could possibly do to earn forgiveness, or to somehow pay my debts. I can't take myself back. Nor can I look to another human to rescue me- make me whole. Only One can reclaim me. And it was done before the beginning of time. Amazing!
With Your hands You fashioned mine.
Let me be used by you to carry out truth...
To the ends of the earth,
'Til everyone's heard-
My mended heart will share Your words.
I will tell the world that You are God!
Should all life cease to grow,
Should chaos take control...
The only hope we know is You will save us.
It's worth the cost to take up my cross
As You take back what's been lost.
Until all who doubt know You are God.
I'm not captive anymore-
I'm gonna soar to a new place,
Take on a new pace-
I know what my life is for.
Me and Sally- such a sweet lady! A very true example of selflessness, and a real servant's heart.
Looking out into the "Great Wide World"...
Relaxing with the ladies, watching a volleyball game...
My first peek at the village of Haia, in the Gulf Province- from the window of the tiny Cesna we had to fly in to get there...
Me with "Little Joyce"- my favorite little girl in Haia...
Yes- I even got to bathe in a river a few times! It was really very refreshing! The water was crystal clear and cool.
Walking back to the village from the river. The boy in the green shirt was my "boyfriend"- he just came up, grabbed my hand, and was my personal guide for the week!
Waving goodbye to the Cesna, leaving the Pawaia tribe...