Once again, it’s time for a ministry update and there is SO much to tell you all about! Seriously. Time has flown by for us here at EBI and we’ve had a lot of changes in our ministry. It has been mostly good, and definitely all challenging mentally and physically, and of course required massive dependence on God (because it’s OBVIOUSLY Him that is doing the work and we’re just the privileged tools that get to be used in the process!
We just had some dear friends share at our intern meeting last night and they were talking about being so exhausted from all the challenges and change as they worked through learning new ministry contexts that they could hardly even sit and just think, with clarity. Sometimes I find myself right there, but I’m melting brain cells right here in America! It’s a good reminder that God makes each of us to serve the body in different ways, so there is always something for us to do, wherever we are. It doesn’t matter if we’re in Mali or Milwaukee, teaching or turning wrenches, supporting missionaries with the necessary cash or stapling steel roofs down in a new tribal work. God has a job for EACH PART of the BODY of CHRIST!
I don’t know if you’ll accept it, but I’m going to try a TURBO (Totally UnRefined Bullet points Outline) Update:
- Never sent out an official July Update, but we did get to update in a couple churches!
- Welcomed 20 new interns to the “EBI IP” we’d be coordinating…
- We DID get back to MI, and we’re learning that we have to do better at making the time count, instead of counting the times!
- Met the new pastor at our sending church.
- Saw some (but never enough!) of the ‘old’ friends.
- Got the boys enrolled in a new, much safer, school. They’re riding a bus!
- Researched and consulted and begged God for wisdom as we wrote plans for EBI Intern program we’d be coordinating.
- Got Josie dual-enrolled (CNA certification at WCTC) and both girls registered for HS classes.
- Explored more of the state of Wisconsin, so we can fit in to our community less awkwardly.
- Kicked off the EBI Intern Program -f22 cycle.
- Helped prepare the EBI campus for 120 fresh faces on the last weekend of August.
- FINALLY painted our office and got a work table for Tamara and I to share!
- Got Emma back home from camp, and out the door to school 3 days later ☹
- Classes for our boys, the girls, and students at EBI got off to a solid start.
- We met our “new dorm-kins.” and “chapel-kins.”
- “Regular” semester stuff started rolling along at breakneck speed. Meetings with students, meetings with IOS, meetings with alumni, meetings with ministry teams, etc.
- NO broken bones! No stolen snacks!
- 4 birthdays!
- Lots of visits!
I’m sure the bullet points only highlight the things that stood out to us, and not all the things that you might be really interested in knowing, so I’ll just share 2 things that have REALLY stood out to us over the last few months.
#1 God is working through the ministry that we have been a part of! You know what it’s like to wonder if you’ve been doing the right thing? As I get more “life experience,” it’s easy to look back on all the years and relationships (often mixed with whatever emotion is running hot) and question if the investment and sacrifices and pain has been worth it. This isn’t me doubting our ministry choice, but rather double checking that we’re still a part of the process that we’ve tried to be a part of. We find ourselves more confident than ever that we are most definitely in a place that God can use when we get ourselves out of the way and let Him use our inglorious lives for His GREAT glory. I repeatedly find that the more I’m willing to share the humbling details of God’s working in our day to day lives (and ministry) the more we can encourage and exhort and speak God’s truth in unexpected (to us) ways to unexpected (only to us, again!) people!
#2 God is working through all of you that partner with us in prayer, financially, or in person! We (maybe just… “I, Joshua.” since we all know that Tamara is way nicer than me!) used to think that our decision to join Ethnos360 (formerly NTM for some of you OG’s) was a decision that was all about us, and I had to convince you to come along with us and keep you interested in the “things I was doing for God.” I have been graciously shown that that was wildly incorrect. Not only was that a miserable working arrangement, it highlights YOUR own true nature. You want to obey and serve God, too! Of course, I (and my family!) appreciate that you didn’t let me get in the way of your willingness to sacrifice time and energy in prayer or generously donate finances to see the work that God’s Word can do in the life of those willing to diligently study it. I can honestly say that one of my favorite “benefits of the job” has been personal study His Word so that I can attempt to clearly explain how it applies to a life of ministry. His Word is ALWAYS working, and many were the recipients of it. I also know from conversating with many of you that you’ve felt blessed to be able to be connected to the realities of the discipleship ministries (both here in the USA and in the dark corners of the world) that vitally connect to the translation and teaching and study of the Word of God.
I find it ridiculously profound that the simple reading of God’s Word produces so dramatic an effect in the lives of those who will obediently apply their eyeballs to the life-giving pages so intentionally preserved. And I also know that many of you, like Gaius (3rd John 1) are our very real “coworkers in cooperation with the truth,” faithfully living out the Truth in a manner worthy of God.