"Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ…"
~ Colossians 4:2-3 ~
As we continue to share different ways to pray for missionaries, this month we ask that you pray for contacts. Paul asks the Colossian people to pray that God would open “a door of utterance.” This is a way to pray that God would provide contacts for missionaries. We have not moved to Ecuador yet, but what if we started praying for this now? As we pray now, God works in individual hearts to soften and prepare them to hear the Gospel of the grace of God. Pray for contacts – people whose hearts are open and waiting to receive the Gospel!
July provided a welcome change in pace for our schedule. The month started with time well-spent at our church. We had many wonderful opportunities to fellowship with our church family and attend special gatherings with them. We also had the opportunity to spend time with two other missionary families (also with BMW). This was a special occurrence! It is rare to have a gathering of three missionary families from the same church and the same mission board. We may never be together again, but we are so thankful for the time of fellowship.
We also had two very full weeks of training in Georgia at the home office of Biblical Ministries Worldwide. We are so thankful for this profitable time. We are still processing through the information we received (there was a lot!), but we praise the Lord for the gifted teachers who spoke out of a love for the Lord and a heart for missions. We explored a variety of topics such as methods of church-planting, teamwork and conflict, worldview, culture shock, Third-Culture Kids, and so much more. It was a blessing to attend Field Prep Seminar with our coworkers because we were able to talk through these lessons together.
While God taught us more than we can share, we would love to share some of our key takeaways with you. In learning about church-planting methods and models, we have felt the weight of what we are going to do. God has called us to a task that we are incapable of completing without Him. Our motivation in going cannot be horizontal (need, love of people, etc.). Those things will not be so motivating when ministry gets difficult or when culture shock sets in. Our motivation must always be vertical – we go because of God’s glory, and we go because He commands us to go. As He sends us, we are thankful that He equips us with His Spirit and His enabling grace. Praise God that He uses weak people!
Another aspect of training that impacted us was the area of conflict. We often think of conflict in a negative sense, usually because it doesn’t end well. As believers, we have received the Gospel of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5). Because we are reconciled to God, we can be reconciled to other believers. Not all conflict is wrong and sinful. In fact, all conflict is an opportunity to live out the Gospel – it speaks to our conflict. We had an entire day dedicated to looking at practical steps to resolve conflict and make it work for us. As we deal with conflict (a natural part of life in a fallen world), we must look for ways to glorify God, serve others and become more like Christ.
Last month we experienced quite a bit of sickness. We saw God’s hand in it, for it came during the few times when we were able to rest and recuperate. We have also seen many terrible and fatal accidents as we’ve traveled. We ask for continued prayers for good health and safety. One tremendous praise is that our monthly support level has increased to 95%. We are so thankful to the churches who have come alongside us in recent weeks - we are so close! August is a lighter month for us. We only have two new meetings, and then we are looking forward to some family time towards the end of the month. For our full itinerary, please click HERE.
As always, thank you for your continued prayers on our behalf. We could not do what we are doing without you!
In His service and yours,
Jeff, Lisa and Simon
Praise and Prayer:
1. Praise: Monthly Support at 95%
2. Praise: Profitable time of learning at Field Prep Seminar
3. Pray: Good health and safety in traveling
4. Pray: Remaining 5% of monthly support