DEALings January/February 2019…
Hello to all our friends and family! We want to take this opportunity to thank you all again for your love, support, and encouragement to our family!! We praise God for this new year, and for another year to serve him with Ethnos360, helping to disciple and equip the next generation of church planters!
The New Year began for us on all four cylinders as we jumped back in to ministry after taking a week and a half to celebrate Christmas with family. We opened the semester in staff meetings with various departments, including the Construction Maintenance Team (CMT), the Culture Language Acquisition Team (CLA), Childcare Department, Mentoring Department, and Ladies Retreat Planning Committee.
Students returned from their Christmas break on January 14th, the day after my 39th birthday! Shad and the boys took me out to lunch and shopping, and even found someone to make me a homemade birthday cake! I am very blessed, and thankful to be celebrating the last year of my thirties!
With the students came the start of various responsibilities for us, including childcare, construction projects, and Mentoring meetings. In addition to meeting with nine students every week as Team Mentors, we have the privilege this semester to mentor a couple during their last semester here at the Training Center. We meet with them weekly, and it has been a very encouraging time to share our hearts, pray together, and watch them grow and become more equipped for their future ministry.
I had a very special opportunity this past weekend to help facilitate a Ladies Retreat for our campus. I helped decorate the venue and also had the privilege of being one of four staff women to share. I always enjoy the opportunity to share what God is doing in my life, and it was so encouraging to hear how God used my sharing to bless the women who attended! The topic that I spoke on was this idea of “Enough.” Is God enough, even in midst of struggle and pain? Am I enough to meet the challenges and demands that God sovereignly allows in my life? God has been teaching me and challenging me so much lately on these points, and I am learning to rest in the fact that He is, in fact, enough!! His word tells us that His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9), He has given me everything I need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him (2 Peter 1:3), and He is able to work in me more than I could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)!
One of the passages of scripture that God has used to settle my mind in this matter of “Enough” is the creation story in Genesis 1. As God created the universe, He chose to take things one day at a time. To focus on one aspect of creation each day. I found this intriguing when I stepped back and thought about it. Here’s God, the All-Powerful, All-Mighty, unbound by time and space, not lacking in anything, never in need of rest or pause. Yet in creation, I believe He set forth an example to us as His children. In Him, we have the freedom to focus on the things He has given us to do. To take one thing at a time and focus on pouring our heart, soul, and mind into it. Sure, there’s always MORE I could be doing. I could be MORE efficient, MORE productive, MORE busy. But what I find in creation is that God’s goal was not MORE. If it were, could He not have finished our universe in one millisecond and then created even MORE? His goal was to work out His own will, in His own perfect time. Can I not approach my days in the same way, asking Him: “God, what is your will for my today?”
In light of these things, we’d ask you to pray for us as we balance our daily ministry and family responsibilities. Specifically, I’d ask that you pray for me as I begin teaching a new class next week! I’ll be teaching Phonetics, where students learn to recognize, mimic, read, and consistently write the most common sounds among languages around the world. This is my first time teaching this class back in the States, and I am a bit nervous! I will also be a sub for a Grammar class in two weeks. In March, I’ll be teaching another class that introduces students to the tools necessary to begin learning a foreign language. As I approach these teaching opportunities, I am grateful for the chance to use our experiences on the field to help prepare and encourage students in their future ministry. Please pray that I would be disciplined as I prepare, and that I would trust God to give me enough to teach well!
Shad continues to work with students whenever he can, and he has been encouraged by his prayer time with three different single guys weekly. God has opened many doors for Shad in this past year to be an encouragement and a challenge to the students as he lives out his faith and his trust in the Lord even in difficult times. We are thankful that he has been able to help out with our short-staffed Construction and Maintenance Team three days a week as well. We praise the Lord that Shad’s sleep has improved much during these past couple weeks! Please continue to pray that Shad would have realistic expectations of how much he can take on each day, and that He would trust the Lord to show him what enough looks like! I am so encouraged by Shad’s faithfulness and continued dependence on the Lord even on the challenging days!
The boys continue to do well in school, although we have had a couple bouts with sickness so far this semester. Please continue to pray for them as they encounter different worldviews at school. Pray that we as parents would know how to ask good questions, be good examples, and lead them into truth. We are so thankful that as they get older, they are still willing to talk about their struggles and share their lives with us. Shad usually spends about an hour with them every night after we tuck them in, just talking about all the things they encounter during the school day!
We want to say thanks to each of you again for your continued love, support, and encouragement to our family!! We pray that you all are encouraged and recognizing God to be enough in your daily lives!
Praising Him and Trusting Him for Enough (and beyond!),
Shad, Sarah, Braden, and Brice Deal
Serving at the Ethnos360 Missionary Training Center in Roach, MO