Archives for April 2017

Facing a Task Unfinished

This week I would like to highlight two more missions related songs which I have found recently. They are called Facing a Tack Unfinished and For the Cause. Both are written by Keith and Kristyn Getty.

Facing a Tack Unfinished

Missions sometimes seems like a task which is too large to complete, too impossible to tackle, and there seems no way for it to ever end. We will sometimes get discouraged and wish that we could give up. This song encourages us to continue the task until every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

“Facing a task unfinished
That drives us to our knees
A need that, undiminished
Rebukes our slothful ease
We, who rejoice to know Thee
Renew before Thy throne
The solemn pledge we owe Thee
To go and make Thee known

Where other lords beside Thee
Hold their unhindered sway
Where forces that defied Thee
Defy Thee still today
With none to heed their crying
For life, and love, and light
Unnumbered souls are dying
And pass into the night

We go to all the world
With kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save
But Jesus Christ The Lord 

We bear the torch that flaming
Fell from the hands of those
Who gave their lives proclaiming
That Jesus died and rose
Ours is the same commission
The same glad message ours
Fired by the same ambition
To Thee we yield our powers

We go to all the world
With kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save
But Jesus Christ The Lord 

O Father who sustained them
O Spirit who inspired
Saviour, whose love constrained them
To toil with zeal untired
From cowardice defend us
From lethargy awake!
Forth on Thine errands send us
To labour for Thy sake

We go to all the world
With kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save
But Jesus Christ The Lord 

We go to all the world
His kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save
But Jesus Christ The Lord”

 

For the Cause

This is the anthem of Christ followers which I love so dearly. We proclaim Christ so that all creation and every nation may find salvation through the Son, Jesus Christ. His name is the name that is above every name!

“For the cause of Christ the King
We give our lives, an offering
’Til all the earth resounds 
With ceaseless praise
To the Son

For the cause of Christ we go
With joy to reap, with faith to sow
As many see
And many put their trust in the Son

CHORUS
Christ we proclaim, 
The Name above every name:
For all creation, 
Ev’ry nation,
God’s salvation 
Through the Son!

For the King once lifted high
To cries of rage, of ‘crucify!’
Endured the cross
As every sin was laid
On the Son

To the King who conquered death
To free the poor and the oppressed
For lasting peace
For life and liberty
In the Son

CHORUS

Let it be my life’s refrain:
To live is Christ, to die is gain;
Deny myself, take up my cross
And follow the Son

Just a Piece: God Has a Great Plan Even Though We Don’t See It.

 

Financial difficulties, moving away from home, the death of a relative – these are all things that cause us to feel worried, lonely, and/or discouraged. Why does this happen? 

Looking at all of these things, I see that we have no control over them (unless you are the person who is deciding to move the family). Also, in the cases of moving and losing a loved one, you miss someone and wish for that fellowship which you enjoyed so sweetly earlier to be renewed.

The following poem was written while I was wrestling with why I didn’t understand God’s perfect plan. I was wondering why difficult and painful things had to happen. The poem reflects the way I felt during that time of sadness and how I found peace in God’s flawless plan for my life.

Just a Piece

Why is this happening? 
I don’t understand! 
Things have gone wrong. 
This shouldn’t have happened. 
I can’t comprehend 
All that has taken place. 
What will this mean? 

God, I need you 
To get through
I can’t do this on my own. 
Please show me, What to do. 
To struggle through this 
By myself 
Would be painful. 
Please show me Your plan 
That I may do Your will. 

“I have a plan for you,” 
God says,
“But you have to trust me. 
Because to you, 
It might not make sense. 

“You see, your life is a piece. 
You have just a piece of my plan. 
A piece in a plan for this world, 
That is greater 
Then you can imagine. 

“Though this time in your life 
May be painful and tough, 
Remember that you have 
Just a puzzle piece In my big picture.

Missionary Interviews #2 – Daniel and Stephanie Dias

      Thank you, Daniel and Stephanie, for taking your time to answer these questions! I am so glad that  I was able to interview you all.

How long have you been serving?

              We have been in West Africa since April 2008.
 
Where have you served?
              We originally went to West Africa to work in Guinea – Conakry.  Our goal was always to work in church planting but our mission asked us to help with a service ministry, a ministry that assists church planting.  The ministry was to help new missionaries arriving on the field.  We were new missionaries ourselves, but we decided to give a few years to this ministry.  We were there for only 17 months before leaving to have our third son.  We were still planning on returning, but two weeks after our depart there were political problems in the capital, where we were located.  Our mission asked all the missionaries in the capital to move to Dakar, Senegal.  Senegal is just North of Guinea.  A few months later, our mission board asked us to relocate to Dakar to keep doing the same ministry we were doing in Conakry. After much prayer we accepted, saying that we were going to give this ministry two more years.  Afterward, we wanted to pursue church planting.  After one year in Dakar, we reminded our mission board of our desire and they informed us that it would most likely be delayed since they needed to do People Group Assessment (PGA).  Our mission board has a focus in church planting and they use PGA to find out where the priorities are in a given area.  So PGA involves a lot of traveling, investigating, and visiting with local believers.  Our mission board was waiting to find a single person who could do this ministry.  We offered to work with it for the second year in Dakar since at that time there were no single missionaries available. We ended up traveling 7,000 miles in about 4 months, visiting 7 West African countries.  By the end, we had a list of the people groups that our mission board considered a priority and among them was the Bolon in Burkina Faso.  Since 2013 we have been in Burkina Faso, learning the local language of wider communication (Jula), getting to know the local church community, and preparing to live among the Bolon.  We just finished building our house in a Bolon village this last January. 
 
When did you first feel that you were called to be a missionary and how did that lead into what you are doing now?
              I (Daniel) was born into a missionary family.  My parents worked for 12 years with a small people group in Northeast Brazil.  By the time I was 12 years-old we had already moved to another region and my parents were helping a small church in the countryside.  My parents were always involved in raising the awareness of the local church concerning Missions.  We went with a group from our small church to a mission conference at the New Tribes Bible School where we watched a video about missionaries in Papua New Guinea.  They learned the language of a people group and gave them the Gospel.  One of the new believers asked the missionaries how long they had known the message.  Upon learning that the missionaries had known it for a long time, the new believers asked why it had taken so long to come and give them this Good News.  I then felt convicted of our responsibility, as the Church of Christ, to go and give them the Gospel.  Ever since that moment, my life has been geared towards church planting.  Every decision I have made has had the goal of reaching the unreached. 
              I (Stephanie) knew that God was leading me into missions around the age of 14.  I had a heart for missions, specifically the unreached people groups of the world.  I also knew that God has given me an ability to learn languages easily.  I prayed to be used wherever He would lead me.  I pursued a degree in elementary education since I figured I’d be homeschooling my children one day and it was during my time in college that God began to open doors for missions.  Through an MK friend, I learned about New Tribes Mission and their philosophy of missions.  This same MM also introduced me to my “future” husband.  After learning that my husband had a heart for Africa, we headed in that direction.  We studied French in Quebec, Canada and then raised support before leaving for West Africa.
 
What does your job entail?
              Our mission has the goal of establishing strong, bible literate, indigenous churches.  As church planters, we have to learn the language and the culture of our target people group in order to effectively communicate the story given in the Bible.  Once we reach a high level of communication ability we start working with literacy, teaching the people group how to read and write in their own language.  We then translate the Bible verses that will be used in Bible teaching, prepare the lessons, and start the teaching phase of our ministry.  Our mission board works with a chronological teaching program that teaches the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  Once the teaching is done, we then start the translation of the rest of the Bible, hopefully now with the help of our brothers and sisters who recognized Jesus as their savior during the teaching time. We then go through the other phases of teaching that will expose the new believers to the entirety of the Bible story.
 
How do you think that your specific role in missions is especially important?
              We have the opportunity to present the Word of God to people in their heart language.  It is through the truth of His Word that the Holy Spirit uses to convince people “concerning sin, godliness, and judgment” (John 16:7-11). 
 
Do you have a story about how you have seen God work through your role?
              Although we are at the very beginning of our church planting ministry, we have had the opportunity to serve the local church everywhere we have been and it has been a blessing to be able to share more of the truths of the Bible everywhere we go.  The lack of knowledge of what the Bible says is widespread.  Although many people see Jesus as their Savior, some do not understand what that truly means.  We have had the opportunity to see people learn more of who they are in Jesus and see them be set free from fears that used to control their lives.  While learning Jula, I was talking to my language teacher about God.  He was a new believer and did not know much of what the Bible teaches.  I was explaining that although God is spirit, not having a physical body, He is not like the spirits his people worship and fear. I told my teacher that God is Eternal and the spirits only immortal.  He only understood the difference when I said that God does not have a birthday, that He was never born.  He was amazed by that because until then he thought that God was stronger than the other spirits but didn’t know why. We pray that we will see much of this among the Bolon in the future.
 
What training did you have to take for your job? (college degrees/ classes/ working with people on certain things)
              I (Daniel) went to Bible School, Missionary Training School, and Linguistic School as preparation to work as a church planter with New Tribes Mission.  The training took four and a half years.
              I (Stef) attended a Christian University so I didn’t have to do New Tribes Bible School. Even though Daniel had already completed NTM training, we had to do the missions training together as a couple.  Then we were placed into the advanced linguistics program where we spent a semester in Oklahoma studying Cherokee. 
 
What tips would you give a young person or anyone who is interested in this role? 
              You should ask God to search your heart and confirm your calling.  If you’re sure of God’s leading, then go forward, trusting God to open doors at the right time. He always does. There are some missions who do “vision” trips where you can visit the field before deciding where to serve.  Those trips can be helpful.
 
Is there any way that we can pray for you and the area you work in?
              Yes! There is a continual growing presence of Jihadist activity in our country and it’s creeping closer and closer to our village.  Pray for safety for the missionaries in the area and for wisdom for our team as we serve God in this new reality.
 
 
 
 
Other posts in this series…
 
 
 
 

Training Grounds For the Future

Remember what I said about school in my last post?  In the post, Mexico Vision Trip – Come I said that,

“School felt meaningless and I felt lazy when I was reading a book or just relaxing.”

However, school is not meaningless and it is ok to read a book or to relax when you’re tired. School has a purpose. It is important. But, why? 

School teaches you how to learn.

Now, one of my Dad’s favorite quotes about school come to mind. He says it every time we ask, “Why must I do school? Do I have I do this?”  It is,

School is where you learn how to learn.

It is as simple as that. 

We go to school and get taught how to learn. That way, when you are older, and you don’t have people in your life who are able to teach you things, you will still be able to learn something new. You will know how to teach yourself new and important things that you didn’t need to know when you were younger.

For example, you are driving to work and your tire pops. What do you do? You have never changed a tire in your life – never even seen one changed, for that matter. 

First, you would know that you need to find instructions on changing a tire. (Unless you are really ambitious and think that you can change a tire without instructions.) Once you find your instructions, you would read them and interpret what they mean. Then, you would change the tire, following the directions. Also, if you knew that you weren’t strong enough to change the tire, you would go and find someone to help. 

In this example, you 1. recognized your problem, 2. figured out how to solve the problem, and then 3. solved it. Does this sort of sound like those math word problems we have to solve each day?

So, we go to school to learn how to learn.

For those worried teachers out there, yes, it is extremely important to know how to read, write, solve problems, and interpret information. 

Life prepares us for the future.

Life, as it is now, is a training ground for what life will be like tomorrow, next week, next year, or the next season in my life. What you are experiencing today, will prepare you for a challenge you have to face in your future. 

I did gymnastics for four years and I loved it. I practiced at home almost every day. To perfect my cartwheel, sometimes I would do more than a hundred in one setting. 

Now, I don’t believe that gymnastics is what I will do for my career in the future, but it did teach me an important lesson – Perseverance.

Perseverance is steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

When I was practicing my cartwheels, I did cartwheel after cartwheel after cartwheel. Those cartwheels were not perfect overnight. I had to be patient with myself and continue to practice, even when it seemed like I was going nowhere.

So, the experiences you are facing now are training grounds for you to live out what you believe and to learn new skills that you will use for the rest of your life.  Go.  Train hard!

 

 

 

Mexico Vision Trip – Come

 Culture Shock  -the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, a way of life, or set of attitudes.

I believe that I have had more trouble adjusting back to life here in the states than I did in Mexico. When I returned home, I had difficulties focusing on school. I kept getting distracted and my mind wouldn’t stop wandering. I seemed to be only half here.

So, I started to think about why this was happening. Is something going on in by brain that is keeping me from thinking straight?  What happened in Mexico?  What did I see there that could effect me in this way? 

As I was thinking those thoughts, I felt the urge to write a poem. For me, writing poems are one way of expressing one’s thoughts in a creative manner. You have to plan your thoughts and ideas in an organized way. This can be a little harder than just writing everything out normally. It makes you really think about what point you want to make.

Through writing the poem, I realized what was part of my problem. The problem became clearer as the words flowed out.

I now knew the plight of the orphans. I had begun to learn how to help them – and I wasn’t doing anything about it. Yes, I had been to Mexico for a week and played with the kids. I had fixed up part of their homes and encouraged them. But, now that I’m back in the states, what am I doing to help them – solving algebra problems?

I felt that I was doing nothing to help them. And, that perspective transferred over to everything else I did. School felt meaningless and I felt lazy when I was reading a book or just relaxing. I had identified my problem.

So, after reading my poem again, I realized that there are things that I can do to help the orphans around the world right now. I can raise awareness of the plight of the orphans and I can encourage others to go and serve them, as well.

 

Come

Come. Come and see.
I beg you. I plee.
Come and see
The poverty.
The tattered bed,
The weary head,
That wonders…
“What is my purpose?
Why am I here?
Does anyone care?”
Come and see.

Come. Come and care.
Show a child that they matter.
Show them they are special-
That they are better
Than what other people say they are.
Come and care.

Come. Come and serve.
Fix a fan. Build a house.
They deserve
Much more than this.
More than dirt and grime.
More than dust and ash.
Come and serve.

Come. Come and play.
Bind up wounded hearts
By kicking a ball
Or throwing darts.
And, oh, when you call
Out their name,
You are saying,
“You’re important to me.”
Come and play.

Come.
Come and see.
Come and care.
Come and serve.
Come and play.
But, come in love.
Not in selfish ambition
Or to make yourself great.
Come to make God great.
Come to change lives
With the power of the cross.
Come.

For His Great Name
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