Summer is passing and we are looking for the cool, fall weather. Ok, so we won’t have cooler weather coming but we try to still have a sense of the changing seasons in our home. We actually had a very random flash flood throughout the whole area here. The people said they have never seen anything like it. Many houses were full of water in several villages here. Thankfully floodwaters have now receded.
School has started for Dina & Abby and their mom teacher. 5th grade it is, and we’re off to a good start so far.
With this update we would like to bring you up to speed regarding where things are at here in the village as well as share a few urgent prayer needs with you. If you are interested in what we are involved in here in Asia Pacific this update should help to give you a current picture of how things are developing. Sorry that it is quite lengthy but we wanted to explain more than normal about what’s going on. We do truly appreciate your friendship and prayers. We welcome your emails as it reminds us of the larger team we are a part of in Christ.
Since the fall of 2014 when we started teaching the gospel here in the village, we have used what we call Phase Lessons. These Phase Lessons attempt to go through the entire Bible in several different cycles. Each cycle through the scripture focuses on some different themes.
During the Phase One we focused on clearly communicating the gospel of grace through an overview of the biblical story. We taught these lessons in peoples’ homes. We did not include things like prayer or singing, as those things can be empty rituals without a firm foundation. We have begun and ended at least 5 Phase One groups in two different villages. Two of these groups ended just a few months ago.
These meeting times are full of challenges. Jesus’ parable of the man who plants seed is played out before our very eyes. For some Satan is able to steal away the seed of God’s word that they have heard. This leaves them only hearing a story like any other story. Most of the people who have started to study with us began well, but eventually got busy with other things or because of pressure from others stopped attending.
We have had situations where the man of the house, when he sees us coming will leave the house. Other times the wife will visit loudly with people or refuse to turn off the TV during the lesson time. Despite these things, for those who come to hear God’s word, those seeds will bear fruit, no matter the circumstances.
Our hope is that after going through the 50 Phase One lessons people will have placed personal faith in Jesus Christ. We also expect that they have a sense of their need to grow and develop their new-found faith. In fact the common testimony of people who have studied with us through these Phase One lessons is that, “before (these lessons) we had heard Jesus’ name, but now we see who Jesus really is.”
Please Pray: There are many villages in this area that have yet to hear the good news of Jesus in their own language. Pray for God to open a door for us, as well as for the believers, to share the gospel.
After the Phase One lessons we invite those who have believed the Gospel to begin to participate in a believers’ meeting. Currently the believers’ meeting happens on Friday night. Actually all our meetings happen at night. Night is the best time to get people together.
Alongside the believers’ meeting we also teach a Phase Two series of 30 or so lessons. These lessons focus on helping the new believer to understand the bigger story of Scripture in the light of all that they have learned about Jesus, the Church, and the final renewal of all things. This is a time for their new-found faith to deepen and grow. We are currently meeting with a group going through the Phase Two lessons. It’s really a fun time to see the new believers’ faith grow and mature.
Please Pray: We currently have a Phase Two group meeting weekly. Pray that the new believers would be sensitive to Holy Spirit now alive within them.
Following Phase Two we then teach the story of Acts. This is our Phase Three and we are currently teaching these lessons during the believers’ meeting on Friday night. I personally never realized how critical the book of Acts is to our life as believers. Other than telling the story of how the gospel began to spread throughout the world, it also gives us a foundation for how we live our Christian life in community with other Christians.
Please Pray: Pray that as the believers hear the word of God, and begin to understand the story of Jesus’s early followers it would begin to establish them in their faith. People here have experienced outside religion. The form of religion is easy to mimic, but owning their faith and Jesus’s call upon their lives is our true desire for them.
We try to get out and visit on other nights of the week. Several of the people who have studied with us, their spouse did not join them. So visiting as a couple helps to connect with the believers and their family.
Please Pray: Pray for boldness for the believers to have with their unbelieving spouses. There are two men and a women whose spouses do not attend the meetings.
Through the week we also work on Scripture translation, lesson development, and a weekly kids club. The kids club has been a big hit. Kids are hearing modified Phase One lessons. Also we have them memorizing scripture in their heart language, playing games, and singing songs. It has been a lot of fun for them and us.
We’re looking forward to having a school helper come at the end of October. A new friend from Alaska Sandra West will be joining us for a few months to help lighten the load of teaching. We’re looking forward to welcoming her to our village home. We’re currently building on a guest room to help give us a little more space. Titus is loving all of the banging, piles of wood everywhere, and TOOLS during this building
Servants of the King,
Tim & Andrea, Dina, Abby, & Titus Ullum