Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Week Behind Us and Week Ahead

Henry Blackaby says in Experiencing God “if what you are thinking makes sense to you, it is probably not from God.” He says this in the context of following Him in obedience.

Before we left for Kyrgyzstan, I felt impressed to pack one Bible study book – Experiencing God. I had not studied that book for over six years, but sensed God’s leading in it. I also was able to obtain three copies of it in Russian for use here. We know these months here will be all about experiencing God.

We both know that we will sense His presence, direction, intervention and protection in ways that we have never felt before. As I write this, it is Saturday afternoon. It has been a slow, quiet and reflective day – some homesickness, but we know this is part of experiencing all God has for us here. David and I spent this afternoon talking about our plans here and where we sense God is leading. We will be doing many things together and a few things separately. I couldn’t get him to commit to a woman’s Bible study group.

We are surrounded by people who felt God’s call here to this very broken place. Just this morning we had the opportunity to meet a missionary couple around our age from Missouri. They live out in a village about 30 minutes from us. They are serving as part of an agricultural mission among the Chinese Muslims. We can’t wait to get together to hear their stories of what God has done through them.

The week ahead holds interesting opportunities. Last Friday, we met with Tokmok’s social work specialist, the only one in a town of 80,000. We discussed training opportunities for the future. As we were leaving, she asked us if we would attend a very important commission meeting this next Tuesday on children at risk. Of course we responded, yes. We don’t know exactly what we will be witnessing, but we do understand the media will be there. Another thing she asked before we left was a simple request – would you help me to learn English? Again, of course we responded yes. I plan to get with her this week to schedule a regular time. What an opportunity!

David will be preaching tomorrow at the Temple of God church – primarily a Russian congregation. On Monday, he will be meeting with the mission director of Mercy Foundation lending his support and services as the Foundation develops a summer outreach program to hundreds of children and teens in the area. Later in the week we will go to a cultural awareness class in Bishkek, which is about an hour or so away. We want to learn all we can about the people to whom God has called us.

We appreciate your prayers and emails as the journey continues....

Prayer needs:
Our missing luggage, still not resolved
Our adjustments
Sensitivity to God’s leading as we listen for His direction

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It Has Been A Week Already

It has been a week already since ince we arrived in Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan. The week has been full of seeing new things, experiencing brand new emotions, and meeting many new people. Before coming here, I read Kay Warren’s book, Dangerous Surrender . She makes the statement after visiting many devastated countries; she will never be the same again. Both of us are asking that question – will we ever be the same again? We already know we won’t be, but how we will be different, we, of course, don’t know yet.

We met Sunday afternoon with John and Krista Tsai. John is President of Mercy Foundation. They presented us with two pages of needs related to the number of different ministries of the Foundation. We will be prayerfully waiting and watching for God’s direction on how to proceed and what His plan is for us.

We had a fun encounter today at the local library, which is right next to our apartment. I asked Natalia, our translator to go into the library with us for me to look around as I plan to do some writing there. We were greeted so warmly by the library staff, who were just getting ready to celebrate Easter with a very large buffet of sweets. This is a traditional thing to do the week after Easter. They asked us to join them which we did. Later, during a tour of the library, we met a woman who was teaching English to two students. She also received us warmly and invited us to her school to talk so her children could hear English speakers. We definitely will follow up on that. One of the greatest ways to build relationships we have been told is to teach English. I am considering that.

In the afternoon we met with an incredible group of individuals for the weekly planning meeting of the new Professional Institute, which is scheduled to open in September. On Wednesday, we will meet with the school chaplains of five Christian schools. One of the roles we do see for David is mentoring these young school chaplains in their function as spiritual leaders. In the coming days, we will be meeting with local social workers and orphanage caregivers to plan possible training with them. Many of these adults have had no training on how to work with abused and neglected children. This is an opportunity for which we feel very excited.

From David
This trip is different this time. I have had the privilege of going to many countries, staying a week or two during which we were shown about and treated as guests. This time they are looking to us for answers to complex questions and placing us in positions of leadership and ministry. It truly is different this time and we feel honored to be here. We pray God can use us in a powerful ways touching the lives of incredible and hurting people.

From the both of us…On a very personal note, we are experiencing those early emotions and thoughts related to what is commonly known as cultural shock. We knew to expect them, so are not caught off guard. We also understand it is simply a part of the journey. Although we both have traveled a lot in other countries, I think the knowledge that this is now home, sharpens that sense of cultural shock.

A disappointment, which we are trying to keep in proper prospective, is that 70% of our luggage has been lost. We received suitcases full of books and supplies, but little clothing. Of course, all that is replaceable, but the sense that it seems no one is doing anything to help us from the airlines perspective is frustrating. It is not an experience I would have chosen, but I know God has many lessons in this loss experience for us.

We deeply appreciate your prayers and emails……the journey continues….