Michigan is cold, and snowy. The Bible school ministry is busy. We are busy as parents. The kids are busy. Josh’s cancer seems to be a thing of history. Tamara may have MS, or lupus, but we don’t know yet. The Bible schools need to merge onto one campus. We read the Bible, it keeps us going. We’re still looking for ministry partners.
Ever feel like it’s just “too much” to put the full version of all your thoughts into complete sentences? Part of me is wrestling with that right now. “I can’t imagine that ANYONE would be interested in reading the mental meanderings that my mind has gone through as we have learned the things we have, recently.” But really, isn’t’ that just that same old selfish story? Quite possibly not even a little bit new, not since the first family began “ministry” outside the Garden of Eden? I rarely find it refreshing to know that my personal struggles are NOT unique to me… Life is always much easier when I can be at the center of the important decisions, right?
Okay, so let’s move onto the actual details, shall we? I’m beginning to think that I am getting older, every year. I keep forgetting that things NEVER actually slow down. Last year, we were busy updating student records and buying building supplies and redesigning dorms to fit as many students as possible. This year we’re still updating student records, and meeting with students, and prepping for chapel sessions and bible studies, coordinating student events. We’ve have 65 single men enrolled. 29 of them are graduating this spring! That’s a good thing, because it means that there are potentially that many more workers in the task that God has left before us!
God continues to show His mercy and gentleness and graciousness in the battle with death that is this life! Thus far, all of the post-surgical scans have been negative for cancer. I feel fine and my ability to minister and be a husband and father do not seem to be diminished. My “fun-derstanding” of the oncologic process is that I will continue to get scanned regularly, until the doctors get tired of telling me that there is nothing extra growing there, or five years passes. Whichever comes first?
One of my favorite bible school teachers, while teaching through the book of Job, said that suffering was like being offered an opportunity to take an advanced course in sanctification. Not all are qualified for the course, and the courses are often more involved than we’re aware of at the onset. Tamara, it seems, “has been offered an advanced course.” In October, Tamara was finally able to get to her eye doctor. This visit revealed a branch retinal vein occlusion (read “eye stroke.”) As a follow-up, her GP ordered a CT scan that in turn revealed a benign pineal gland cyst, of some substantial dimensions. After the CT, the neurologist wanted an MRI of her brain, which showed evidence of the beginning stages of MS. So immediately, the neurologist ordered a neck and spine MRI, of which we are currently awaiting results. We are still in the “hurry up and wait…” phase, and the doctors have to rule out a myriad of other possible issues. One of which, the doctor says may be systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Blah… This journey is definitely going to be one that we learn to continually let God handle the details.
In other BIG news, “probably, very likely” there will be a move on the horizon for the Mathew family. For many years, our leadership team has been trying to consolidate training to be as efficient as possible, and to be good stewards of the resources at our disposal. Currently we are closely examining the feasibility of combining the bible schools in Waukesha, WI. This process has created many questions. AT THIS POINT we are still very much in the “information gathering” stage. NO DECISIONS have been made, as of yet.
On a day to day basis, we work as trainers, in a B.I.B.L.E school. We are literally surrounded by students of the Word of God, on a daily basis. On all of these days, the Word of God serves as my operations manual, my owners guide, the coaching documents, and industry white papers all combined into one. Often, we have spent so much time talking about the hard parts of the Bible that it seems like the proverbial “hot potato.” Sometimes, I don’t even want to pick it up and read it… And yet, the single most encouraging thing to me over the course of the last year, has been my time spent just reading. Our church family here in Jackson started reading The Books of the Bible (Zondervan put it together, no chapter or verse references in the NIV text) together last spring. Clearly it’s not a new concept, this. It has however, been profoundly impactful, and what I blame for whatever sanity I have left. As of this morning, I was reading through the historical books and they’ve included the prophets that were speaking during the time of the king’s reign. What are you guys reading through? What is the Lord teaching you in His Word?
We are still looking for more ministry partners. With the very real likelihood that the consolidation of our schools will necessitate a move (and MANY other adjustments!) we are being strongly “encouraged” to finish building up our team of ministry partners. That means that we need to start meeting new people, and sharing with them what God is doing through Ethnos360 around the world. In order for us to get hooked into other like-minded, involved individuals, we need connections. Will you pray about people that we could get more involved? We’re always looking to share what we are doing, and how others can be involved!
Reaching the unreached is a WHOLE CHURCH command, right?!