Dear Friends and Family,
Once again we are so sorry that it has taken so long to send out another update. We are so very thankful to you all for your faithful support and prayers for us. God has met some of our very specific needs through you and we are thankful for your faithfulness to allow God to use you to meet our needs. We have been brought to tears through your generous giving. We thank the Lord and praise him for how he works on our behalf.
Last month we had the opportunity to help a friend get his arm fixed after he was in an awful motorcycle accident and suffered two compound fractures in his arm. Frans did not get the bones set correctly and it was very painful and one day, while he was playing soccer, he fell on it again and it broke again but after seeing the x-ray it was no wonder why.
According to the x-ray his bone never healed properly at all because it was never set. We felt convicted by the Lord to help him out since he had no way of paying for the surgery himself and would likely continue to live the rest of his life as a partial cripple.
The operation was successful and he has quite a bit of metal in his arm now.
Since the operation, Frans has been excited to faithfully attend our Bible study that we teach here in town to a group of believers. These believers are mostly our language helpers and their desire is to help us learn how to teach better and sound more natural in the language. This is a great opportunity for Eric to practice teaching Bible lessons while at the same time being able to make mistakes and not corrupt the message.
In the mean time Cherie and I are continuing having language sessions with our faithful language helpers.
At the rate we are going now we hopefully only have 6-8 months of language study left.
Recently we got a ping pong table in order to have more active time and get more involved with the neighbors/community. So far it has been an excellent tool and it brings people over to our house giving us opportunities we would not have had otherwise. In the picture above there is an old guy in his 60’s who comes over every time we play. He’s really good, I haven’t been able to beat him yet but he also hasn’t told us his name or where he’s from. Even Philip Perkins lost to him to the other day.
About once a week Eric goes to the local market and buys our meat for the week. The smell is usually quite strong there.
Thank you so much for your willingness to be our “co-workers” in this task of bringing the gospel to some “dark” and “less-reached” parts of the world. We are so very thankful for you all. Please keep us in your prayers as we know the World wishes to hold us captive but we long to follow Christ and to know him more and in that way allow him to change us into something that would draw others around us to want to know our precious Savior also. We love you all!
Just a few thoughts on what the Lord has been teaching me lately.
I(Eric) have been doing a “fast” not of food, but that of screen-time. As missionaries the feelings we have of “not-enough-ness” can be overwhelming at times. The stress of parenting my kids well and being a godly and loving husband are heavier than that of being a missionary. I realized that in times of stress I needed an outlet to help me deal with the feelings I had for being angry at my kid. In a discreet sort of way I was using something neutral like the world of my phone to “escape” from the feelings and all the pressures. It’s as if someone was telling me: “If you’re feeling defeated and weary come to me and I will give temporary relief from your pain.” Sound familiar? Jesus says: “come to ME all who are burdened and weary and I will give you rest.” I am attempting to learn better habits of leaning on Christ by fasting from my usual outlets when I am stressed. These outlets are typically neutral things but I have been using them in place of what I should be finding in Christ. Taking them away feels a little extreme at times but it has been rewarding to see the areas where I feel like I actually need them and use the opportunity to find my needs met in Christ instead.
Throughout this time of fasting, I have been trying to study the concepts of perseverance and excellence. There are times when I know it would be just fine to scroll through Facebook for several minutes; I wouldn’t be doing it for the wrong reasons, but at the same time I know that it’s not the best way to be spending my time at that moment. This is how I am furthering my understanding of excellence; I could binge watch something on Netflix for hours, but is this the best way I could spend my time? How could I spend my time, the next hour, the next day, the next week, the next year. What am I focused on spending my time for? Who am I spending that time for?
1:1 From Simeon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, have been granted a faith just as precious as ours. 1:2 May grace and peace be lavished on you as you grow in the rich knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord! 1:3 I can pray this because his divine power has bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence. 1:4 Through these things he has bestowed on us his precious and most magnificent promises, so that by means of what was promised you may become partakers of the divine nature, after escaping the worldly corruption that is produced by evil desire. 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith excellence, to excellence, knowledge; 1:6 to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; 1:7 to godliness, brotherly affection; to brotherly affection, unselfish love. 1:8 For if these things are really yours and are continually increasing, they will keep you from becoming ineffective and unproductive in your pursuit of knowing our Lord Jesus Christ more intimately.
How do we understand excellence? We need knowledge. How do we get knowledge? Romans 12:1-2.
12:1 Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice—alive, holy, and pleasing to God—which is your reasonable service. 12:2 Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God—what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.
Excellence and knowledge lead us to self-control and perseverance. Perseverance is not necessarily the idea of working strong and fast, it’s more of the idea of being constant, steady, reliable, and patient. It requires us to find rest when we need it. It was not by accident that our God rested on the seventh day of creation. Our continuing ability to be steadily perseverant is dependent on where or really WHO we find our rest in.
Bottom line is that it is important for us to consider the best way to use our time, a God given resource that we are stewards of. We can use the excuse that: “well it’s not a sin” to play video games, to drink alcohol, to smoke cigars, to go to church, to study Greek; some of these are even good things, but why are we doing them? To glorify ourselves? To please God? Boredom? Instead of: “is it a sin?” the better question to ask is: “if it’s not a sin, is this the best way to spend my time?” I invite you to study with me and pray with me as we learn to be excellent spenders of time and learning to find rest in our Lord.
Below are some pictures of our kids