Thursday, May 18, 2017

Rules for Parenting and Youth Ministry


I am going to share with you a little known secret: Missionary kids are not perfect.


I think I just heard a collective gasp from around the world. Some missionary moms just gasped because I spilled the beans. Other moms gasped because I just destroyed your fairy tale idea of missionary kids.

All joking aside, missionary kids are just like other kids. They make mistakes. They sin. They make bad choices sometimes. Honestly, there are times when I have thought of my own children, "Who is this kid? He/she should know better!" Sometimes I find myself demanding or expecting perfection out of my own children.

Now don't get me wrong. My kids are amazing. I love watching God work in their lives. I love seeing them make great choices. I love seeing them grow and change. But there are times when they trip and stumble.

When I am reminded that they are sinners (just like me) sometimes I get frustrated. Sometimes I feel fear. Sometimes panic wants to invade my heart. During those moments, I try to do some reflection. I reflect on lessons on parenting that God has already taught me through His Word, through counsel, and through past experiences.
3 John 1:4 "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."

Parenting and youth ministry is difficult and often heartbreaking. Just as seeing our children walk in truth can bring great joy, seeing our children stumble can bring deep grief. During those times we must stay focused. We must not forget what God has already taught us, and we must learn each day as the Lord teaches us new things.

Join me as I share with you such a time of reflection.

  1. Rules - Relationship = Rebellion
  2. Relationship - Rules = Dysfunction
  3. No matter what shocking news they tell you, never let the surprise show on your face. If they confide in you, they are looking for security. If they think they have shocked you, it may close off the doors of communication and trust. Just remember, no matter the shocking news, they have come to you. That's a good thing, and it is a foundation you can work with to help them get on the right path.

    Proverbs 1:8-9  "My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck."

  4. No matter how great of a parent or youth leader a person is, it does not guarantee children who will choose right. God is a perfect parent and look at us! So if you discover one day that your children are sinners, just as we are, be patient with them just as God is with us. If sin must be confronted and corrected, make sure you are spiritual (walking in the spirit and not in anger and disappointment) AND that you do it in meekness. After all, we are all in the same boat... we are all sinners.

    Galatians 6:1 "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."
  5.  Don't fall for the quality/quantity lie. "It's not how much time you spend with them; it's the quality of time." Ugh... No, quantity matters greatly too. Set time aside. Sacrificial time. When we do that it sends the message that our children are extremely valuable and worth sacrificing for.

    Psalm 127:3 "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward."
  6. When young people (especially around the age of 12 and above) begin questioning our standards and convictions... and when "Don't do this because I said no" is no longer good enough, don't panic. It's actually a wonderful opportunity and exactly where you want them to be. We don't want them to have convictions and standards simply because mom and dad do or because a Sunday school teacher does. We want them to know what they believe and why they believe it. We want them to own it for themselves.

    So when they begin questioning, encourage their questions! And be ready to answer from Scripture why you believe and practice what you do. If they say they aren't sure they believe the same that you do, don't worry. Keep pointing them to God's Word and tell them they don't have to agree with you... they should, however, seek to line up with Scripture. While they must submit to your authority while in your home or under your authority, you are preparing them to follow God's Word even when you are not around.

    Proverbs 4:5 "Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth."
  7. Be real. Young people can spot a fake miles away.

    James 1:22 "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."
  8. Be consistent. Follow through or you become hypocritical in the eyes of young people.

    Ecclesiastes 5:5 "Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay."

  9. Don't send mixed messages. "Church is vital!" But then you allow them to skip church for ball games. "The Bible is our standard!" But then you can't explain from the Bible why you do what you do or don't do. "Obey authority!" But then they see you trying to skirt around rules. Mixed messages send the message that truth is relative and they can decide what is right for them... and that's not true.

    Matthew 15:8 "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me."
  10. We want our children to know God's Word. Having standards is a good thing. But without an intimate relationship with the Lord, these things puff them (and us) up in pride. We must teach our children that motive matters. Love for the Lord should be our driving force. It will keep us meek. It will keep us humble. In turn we can teach our children through our actions and attitudes.

    1 Corinthians 8:1 "Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth."
  11. We cannot be the Holy Spirit in the lives of youth. Manipulation, nagging, appealing to emotions, and cultivating guilt are destructive behaviors born out of a lack of faith. They tear down. God's Word must be carefully used in love with a heart for rescue and edifying, trusting that we may impact the ears, but the Spirit takes the Word and penetrates the heart. We must never use the Word as a battering ram to break into the heart. Doing so will merely harden a heart toward the conviction of the Spirit. Wield the Word gently in faith and let the Holy Spirit do His work in His time and in His way.

    Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
  12. Stop rescuing children from the consequences of their actions. Sowing and reaping is God's design, and it is often the method by which we grow and learn. Yes, be compassionate. Yes, weep with them if necessary. Sin brings pain. Hurting with them helps them to understand that we know what it is like to face the music of our sinful choices. Allowing them to face the consequences also shows them the faith that you have that God is working, that God is holy, that sin is ugly, and that they can grow if they choose repentance. If the consequences they face break your heart... imagine how God feels when He must chastise us.

    Galatians 6:7 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
  13. If they come to you in confidence, don't ruin their trust by sharing things with others. The trust of young people is a valuable and fragile thing. There are certain things we are legally obligated to tell to authorities, but even in that we should be up front about it with them and let them know we have to tell. Other things... if it is best shared, ask permission or better yet, encourage them to do the right thing and tell. Let them know you are with them and supporting them. Go with them literally if needed.
    Proverbs 11:13  "A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter."
  14. Our greatest ministry to children isn't cleaning or cooking. It isn't games and date times. It isn't gifts or lesson plans or even hugs and kisses. It's prayer. Pray pray pray. God can do what we cannot. God can protect and God can reach a heart. God can heal. God can convict. So pray faithfully. Pray fervently. Pray consistently. Pray.
    1 Thessalonians 5:17  "Pray without ceasing."

Parenting and Family Book Recommendations



   



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by Charity, Southern Asia
Author of Heart-At Home Mom

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Fresh Family Devotion Ideas



To be honest, it's our lifeline. We treasure it. The children have fond memories from it.
Family devotion time

Our entire family treasures this special time each evening. We like to keep this time fresh and exciting. Sometimes we change up the routine.

Do you need some ideas of how to keep family devotion time precious, fruitful, and memorable? Check out what we do.

We always start with prayer. We take prayer requests and then we also pray for one of our supporting churches. We have a container with index cards that have the name of supporting churches on them. We draw one card each devotion night.

Then we do one of the following devotion styles:

  1. Regular Devotion Time
    Most devotion times, Dad leads. He often picks a book of the Bible and we work our way through it.
  2. English Singing Night
    Sometimes we really miss singing in our native tongue! There is nothing like singing the songs and understanding every word. There are five members in our family. Each person gets to choose a song on this night.
  3. Q & A Night
    Daddy introduced this night a couple of months ago. He told the children and me that if we had any questions, to write them down and be ready to ask them on this night. I didn't realize how much the children would love this! They have asked questions about verses they came across during private devotions. They have asked questions about standards and convictions. The topics are wide ranging and great! Daddy is up front with them about topics that will take a little study before answering. He makes sure he gets back to them as soon as he can.
  4. Prayer and Share Night
    On this night, everyone takes turns sharing things God has been teaching them. It can be something that they learned during personal devotions or something that impacted them at church or through an online sermon. It's like a personal testimony time.
  5. Online Sermon Night
    Sometimes we miss listening to preaching in English. We miss listening to different preachers during revivals, camp meetings, and missions conferences. We also miss the depth of preaching that can be done in the States. Most preaching here has to be kept very basic (milk) for the sake of the people. These concepts are all new to them. Sometimes it is great to get strong meat!
  6. Child-Led Devotion Night
    Sometimes we encourage the children to be ready to lead a devotion. This will help them in the future when they teach their own family and when they teach others. They have to study and prepare.
  7. Check-Up Night
    Occasionally we do a spiritual check-up. Daddy and I ask the children how they are doing in their spiritual lives, if they are having struggles, how faithful they are being in private devotions, and if there are areas in which we can help counsel them or pray for them.

Resources Our Family Has Enjoyed for Devotions

Most of the time in our devotions we only used the Bible, but when our children were younger we occasionally used the Miller Family books. The devotions were simple stories centered around a practical Bible verse or passage. My youngest child has used these for his personal devotions on occasion as well. The Scriptures are KJV. The Miller family in the stories are Amish Mennonite, but the devotions through the following three books did not present any doctrinal conflict.


    

We use Sermon Audio frequently for our online sermon resource. Some of our family's favorites?

Pastor Kenny Baldwin

Pastor Lou Baldwin
Pastor Todd Abbey

We have a couple of hymnals at our home for singing nights.

Majesty Hymns
Bible Truth Hymns



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by Charity, Southern Asia


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Thin Yeast-less Pizza Crust

I don't know about you but I am a homemade pizza fan. But the crust can sure be a tough one. And I have gone through a lot of different phases of how I like my crust; From thick and mile high to thin and crispy. After years of living in Nepal where almost all the pizza is true Italian wood fired pizza, I am a devoted thin crust fan. You get to taste the true yumminess of the ingredients without all the glugginess of huge crusts.

But each and every crust represents big challenges. I don't know if I an ever make Great pizza and home without the restaurant grade ovens but I will strive to get the best I can. I am drooling over a cool little tiny pizza oven for your stovetop in Amazon!

What I have found is the best way to cook your crust is to put it on a hot pre-heated stone. But you cannot completely premake your pizza to place it on the hot stone without a pizza peel. Believe me I have tried! But you can at last gently place a pre-rolled crust and quickly place ingredients.

I have also recently seen a tip about making your pizza on parchment paper and then placing it on the stone but I haven't tried yet! Though I'm excited too. I found this recipe a little while back. It makes a very nice thin non-fluffy crust that requires no resting, yeast or much time. I'm enjoying it for now. See what you think.

Ingredients-

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp light corn syrup (or maple in a pinch; as I normally am:)
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:

  • Place pizza stone in oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

Make the crust:

  • In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, olive oil, corn syrup, and water until thoroughly combined. Then roll out dough.

To make pizza:

  • Top crust with pizza sauce. Sprinkle cheese on pizza. Top with favorite toppings. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and basil.
  • Transfer pizza crust to pizza stone or cookie sheet. Add sauce and ingredients. Bake 12-15 minutes, until cheese is golden and crust is brown. Allow to cool 3-5 minutes and slice into squares and serve.

 

Friday, May 5, 2017

For the Tired Missionary Woman



It happens on deputation. It comes when you’ve made that final push and finally gotten onto the plane to go to your field. It overwhelms when you are trying to adjust to all the new sights, smells, language, and customs. It creeps up when you’ve chased toddlers all day. It hits you hard on Sunday mornings—during church, of all times. You sit down, and you’re so exhausted, it’s all you can do to keep from nodding off. It comes upon you at home when you’ve entertained all week and you finally have time to sit down and have decent devotions. 

You’re tired. 

It can be physical, emotional, over-committed, spiritual, and all of the above—or a few of these in combination.

Every missionary woman gets tired. 

It’s at those tired times that we need to be the most watchful. Since we’re all so different—praise the Lord!—we have various reactions to tired:
  1. Press on. This isn’t a bad reaction, but it might nudge you over the top. Be careful not to press on when you should take a few moments to recharge. Take a nap. Cancel something that’s unnecessary. Reevaluate your calendar. Sit down with your Bible and your favorite refreshing drink. Close your door and prohibit entry—unless it’s a life-or-death issue. (I used to tell our kids that they could interrupt if it was for a life-or-death reason, and they’d crack up!)
  2. Get angry. When we’re tired, it’s so easy for us to take it out on our family members, the native people, and our field in general. It’s easy to focus on all the things we hate and to forget that we came here in the first place to show God’s love to people who desperately need Him. When anger and negativity creep in, it’s time to totally chill, open our Bibles, and refocus. Why did you come? (Or, why are you on deputation?) Ask God to help you love again. Re-examine your mission statement. Ours is: To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me (Acts 26:18).
  3. Become discontent. When we’re exhausted, our minds tend to get squawky. Rantrant, rant—at least in our heads. I don’t like this; I don’t like that. So-and-so didn’t treat me right. I need/want one of those. I can’t afford this or that. I wish I could dress like my fellow missionary lady. Why do those missionaries have it all together? I hate it that I’m single and have to do everything alone. I hate my husband, because he doesn’t meet my needs. My kids drive me crazy! The Bible says contentment can be learned. Paul learned it—in jail, by the way (Philippians 4:11). Ask God to give you a heart of thanks. Put away your squawking and start practicing praise. I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations (Psalm 57:9).
  4. Plan to leave. You are tired of it all. You might have only been on the field a few months or years, or you may have been there for twenty years or more. But, you’re tired. Your heart starts to turn off. You no longer care if the people get saved or not; they’re beyond help anyway. You want to go back home. Your head starts living in another place—and it’s not where you are. You start telling your husband you don’t want to be here. You’re done! This is a “dead-heart” discontentment. It’s dangerous to missions. Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18b). You need a God-designed heart reset. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10). When it’s the Lord’s time for you to leave your field, He’ll clearly direct you and your husband, and being content, you’ll know it’s the right time. God will smooth the way, direct the details, and send a replacement, as He sees fit. 
I confess I’ve been all of these places during our more than thirty-year missions career. I’ve been overcommitted, sometimes angry, from time-to-time discontent, and I’ve even been tired of it all and ready to quit. 

But, God in His mercy has taught me through each of these tired times. He’s helped me readjust my focus. He has taught me to rely on Him. God has led me in His will and renewed my joy. He’s given strength in weakness—a specialty of His—and has granted me new mercies every morning. Great is His faithfulness. (based on Lamentations 3:22-23)

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).



Wherever you are in your missionary journey, when you’re tired, look to Jesus. Pray to Him. He will strengthen you, carry you, and direct you perfectly.




Thursday, May 4, 2017

Just a Little Blunt

We call her Buddhi Ama (boody om muh). It is a respectful way to say old mother. She had been in the hospital for three weeks. My husband and I had visited her when we found out she was in the hospital, but now she had finally come home. Our sweet elderly neighbor wanted us to visit as soon as possible, so we did.

Her grandson led us to the room where she was in bed. When she saw us, her face lit up. She looked so much healthier than when we saw her in the hospital. We love this sweet lady. She is like a grandmother to us. (I wish I had a picture of her, but we try to be very respectful when taking pictures of our people. We don't want them to feel paraded like spectacles.)






We sat and chatted for a while. When speaking to the people here, you have to be ready for two things:

  1. The people here are... well... curious. Some may say nosy, but curious is a better term. You never know what they will ask. They ask about the cost of things you buy, how much money you make, what your weight is. Nothing is off limits.
  2. The people are blunt. If they think it, they will probably say it.

Sure enough, it happened. She chose option number two.

"I don't like the color of your house. It's too dark."

Then her grandson chimed in with, "Yes, quite frankly, I don't like it either."

Sigh...



I just let it roll off. I have learned to have a thick skin here. It used to be very difficult, though. I used to weigh 50 pounds more than I weigh now. Frequently I would have people say, "You are so fat." Some would follow that statement with advice of how I could lose weight. It made it quite clear that being called fat was not considered a compliment like in some cultures. Even Buddhi Ama has told me before how fat I was. What was I to say? It was true! But now that I have lost so much weight, I haven't heard anything about being fat. Instead I hear about how thin I have become, and they ask how I did it.

So, in dealing with a blunt culture, when do you let it slide as part of the culture... and when do you confront the people for not being kind? If what they are saying isn't edifying, should I overlook it? Should I just have a thick skin or should I speak up?


Ephesians 4:29-32 "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

I am sure there are varying opinions on this subject, but here are a few deciding factors that determine how I respond.

Are they Christian?

This is always my first thought. If the person I am dealing with is not a Christian, the Bible is not the basis of their behavioral standard. Buddhi Ama is Hindu. There are bigger fish to fry than her stating she doesn't like the color of my house or that she thought I was fat. She needs a Saviour!

As Christians, corrupt communication should never come from our mouths, but sometimes the corruptness of communication is determined by culture. I would never tell someone in America that they are fat. Americans are pretty sensitive about that. But in some cultures, calling someone fat is a compliment. Even here in certain areas and certain people groups it is considered a compliment. Culture can impact what is appropriate and what is not.

If the person is a Christian and what they said was Biblically or culturally inappropriate, yes, I would correct or instruct them how God wants us to use edifying words. Gossip is one of those things that is inappropriate communication in any culture because it is Biblically wrong. The book of Proverbs makes that clear. Calling someone fat? That would depend on the culture. The people here do not realize how offensive it is in American culture.

Was their comment intended to be vicious?

Christian or not, I like to also to think about why they may have said what they did. In a blunt culture, sometimes they say things simply because it is true. The sky is blue, the day is hot, you are fat, I don't like your food, and your house is ugly. To them, these statements are all similar. To them, there is nothing to cause offense. It is conversation. If you want to be friends or good neighbors, their opinion should matter.

But... there are some here who say blunt things because of pride. They want to tear a person down because they feel inferior. They cannot afford something. They cannot do something. They cannot be something. In order to compensate, they say something hurtful to injure the "offending" party. This happened with my other neighbor. She is familiar with American culture. She knows being called fat is offensive. She lived in America for a while. 

One day, after I had lost some weight, she said, "Wow. You look like you have put on some weight." (She is also a little overweight.) That wasn't the only time she said something intentionally to "humble" me. What did she think of the house?

"That is a Christian color. We don't paint our houses that color. You only chose that color because you are Christian." We were all totally confused by her statement, but it was clear she didn't approve. She is not a Christian.

What was Buddhi Ama's intent? Just after telling us she didn't like the color, she said, "When you were back in America I couldn't even look at your house because I knew you were not there. It made me sad. I missed you." She held my hand and squeezed. It was a sign of affection. The people rarely have physical contact here, so it made her intent clear.

Buddhi Ama's intent was just conversation among friends. She wanted us to value her input. She had no desire to hurt us.

Is my cultural perspective the reason I am offended?

As an American, I have to understand my own culture, too. The things that may offend me may be culturally based. Americans (by culture) are easily offended. We have pushed political correctness over the past few decades until we can hardly speak without someone getting offended... even if the intent is pure. In American culture, what can be inferred is more important that what is intended. That's why so many public figures have to backtrack and apologize for so many innocent statements that had no ill intent behind them.




In this country, the bigger concern in most situations is intent.

Why would Buddhi Ama call me fat? Well, because she wants me to be healthy! Now, that isn't the intent of everyone who called me fat, but knowing her made it easy to determine her motive.


Is there a way to turn it into a teachable moment that brings the relationship to a new level?

One of the aspects of this culture that is dangerous is the concern of "what will my neighbors think?" With a culture that so freely shares their opinions has also come a great snare... the fear of man.


Proverbs 29:25 "The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe."


I have had many people reject the Gospel because they were afraid of what their neighbors would think. We struggled finding a building to rent for church because people were afraid of what the neighbors would think.

Is my house color a teachable moment even for unbelievers? Absolutely! I can demonstrate the freedom that comes from pleasing God rather than worrying what people will think.

What did I tell Buddhi Ama about our house color?

"I'm sorry you do not like the color. We chose it because it is a common color in America. It hides dirtiness well so the house will look nicer longer. It also matches the stone colors in the railing. Also, we do not want to be like all the other houses. They are all that peach color. We wanted to choose something different. We almost chose the same color of your house, but then we wanted green because I like green."

I showed her that I respected her opinion, but that it was more important to us to choose colors that were practical. It was also important for us not to do things just like everyone else to please everyone else.

Her grandson agreed, and said their house was also kind of dark... unlike all the other houses around our house. Then they offered us tea and said how happy they were that of all the neighbors, we chose to visit with them even though we were so busy.








Thursday, April 27, 2017

Ministering Around The World- Part IV- North America

Mexico, Canada & USA

The home continent to a large majority of the missionaries in the world is North America. But sadly it has slowly become a mission field in their own rights. But even without that there remains the noble cause of strengthening and continuing the outreach from the proven foundations. For this article I have focused on couples reaching international areas of the States and missionaries/church planters in Canada and Mexico. While I highly respect the works being done by pastors and church planters in the States and the extremely important role they play in the Great Commision, I will be exposing the areas that I have been able to interview.

New Brunswick

Like many of the other continents many things will vary greatly from each country. I have so enjoyed delving into each of these ladies stories and seeing the beauty of how the Lord places each of us uniquely and equally equips us for our mission in life and those we are called to reach. It seems the more I research the more I find that the so called "easy" mission fields (those where people trust Christ quickly) are become very very few! The world is becoming much more predominantly filled with countries where the gospel is foreign or extremely skewed and the need for a faithful witness outweighs the need for a flashy speaker. While this should be true in every situation, when converts are arduously slow it will for sure test the resolve and calling of any man! But I am continually blessed to meet and interview many families who have done just that. Let's dig into their stories, shall we?

Labrador

I was able to interview 6 ladies for this article; 2 in Mexico, 1 in the USA and 3 in Canada. We have ladies represented from Ontario, Labrador, New Brunswick, NYC, and two areas near Mexico City. We have areas ranging from heavily laden with snow to dry humid climates, farm countries to urban America.

New Brunswick

Some ladies minister in areas overridden with religion,others with the neglected deaf culture and others with those very materialisticly blessed who struggle to see their need for a Saviour. From one extreme to another but all such a great need.

The ladies in Mexico serve amongst a great Catholic presence. In Canada it ranges from Catholic to United churches( a mixture of Methodist, Congregational and Episcopal), while the bigger cities will experience more of a multi-national religious pouring. On any given corner in Toronto you can find a church, mosque or temple to any religion you can imagine. The lady who I spoke to in NYC spoke of the unbelievable racial diversity with over 800 languages being spoken in her community, however their church area is mainly Jewish.

Some of these ladies serve in communities as small as 17,000 while other serve in places boasting 8 million people! What a drastic difference. For anyone who has lived in a tiny town you can attest to the transperancy with which most people live. Secrets don't last long and in some towns friendships are slowly won. While many times in big cities, people are equally distant and guarded with allowing people into their lives.

The need is baffling. Mrs. Gibson in NYC, told me that Today Magazine report that out of the 8.3 million people in the city only 5% were evangelical Christians.

5%!!!

That is mind blowing! A city on our own shores that claims so few Christians. What a mission field. One that takes much perseverance and faithfulness as those that stake their claim there are not easily persuaded to repent and accept Christ. They live in the upper crust of today's world. They have great jobs, good houses and live lives others covet. As the Bible says,

"And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

I was told that Mexico is reported to be the second largest Catholic population in the world. What a battle they face, fighting against false indoctrination and the intense guilt and pressure often associated with the Catholic Church. As Miss. Castillo told me, one of her biggest struggles is to identify herself as different then the multitudes of Catholics around her. In these countries where Catholic is the only Christian name they have ever heard, they quickly lump everyone together.

In Canada, many people have a religious background, but like America Humanism has crept in and the chiefest sin has become offending someone. This unbiblical influence on offense, dilutes the message of Christ and changes his church from a place of holy worship to a place where sin is made at home and comfortable.

While we all know Mexico boasts a great number of missionaries, we can't begin to think it is enough considering the overwhelming statistics facing us of how many remain Catholic. In NYC there are actually quite a few church planters trying to carve out a work for Christ. But the road is slow and littered with discouragement. But praise the Lord he has given 40 couples the grace to be faithful and serve there with grace and obedience. For only through those things comes effectiveness and true success.

Canada reports a suprisingly small number of 300 Baptist churches in their country of 35 million and many of those are located near large cities. In places like Labrador there is known to be only 1 in the entire region. The need truly is great. But in these areas of Canada, you won't pop in and develop a booming church overnight. Many areas are clannish and either take offense to inferring they need missionaries or take years to accept you into the fold. In some areas that includes aboriginal tribes. Few have stayed the course long enough to reap the rewards. But praise the Lord God is working in those that have. Especially with young teens which in some areas have proven to be very receptive. Praise the Lord for reaching them young!

 

The time it takes to see people trust Christ in these North American areas varies greatly because most do have a foundation of Christianity of some form and have much of the information they need for salvation and are able to quickly accept Christ. HOWEVER, that doesn't seem to be what is happening. Especially in the more developed countries like America and Canada the daunting task is not to mostly teach them the concepts of Christianity but to convince them of their need. However amidst all this, there are those who are new to the gospel. The greatest of those two are the deaf in Mexico and the Japanese in NYC.

The deaf in many cultures are neglected and ignored. In some countries they have very very few resources to any form of education or the gospel. Like a child that has never known true love is distrusting and protective of their hearts, so are the forgotten deaf people. They need to see the proof of someone's love, in order to allow the seed of the gospel dropped into their hearts.

Not only do these ladies and the families face the struggle of reaching these people for Christ but also the task of helping them grow in Christ. When asked what their greatest ministry struggles were, they said, "overcoming culture pressure that affects biblical obedience, raising up male leadership, language struggles and earning people's trust who have become disillusioned and hurt by the Catholic Church, communicating the iminiate need of the gospel to affluent people." These are all great prayer requests for all of us to remember as we bring our North American missionaries friends names in prayer.

 

But more excitingly, I love to hear how each missionary has followed the Lord to find their unique niche in reaching people. All through obedience but each uniquely matched to the area and people God has called them to reach. In NYC, they have found that of course one-on-one witnessing is effective as well as English classes, children's choir events, Feast celebrations for the Jewish people and Bible distribution. In Mexico it is mostly made up of children's ministries and one-on-one outreach.

 

In Canada outreach ranges from door to door evangelism, youth ministries, ads in local papers and most uniquely in Labrador a ski lodge ministry. This church was given an old ski lodge that they are now able to use for public outreach and to give people the gospel. What a great way to use all we have been given to reach our mission field! I love it!

 

Many of these ladies are reaching mainly people native to the country that they serve but for a few such as those in New Brunswick and NYC have ministries enveloping many different nationalities and languages. They have willingly accepted the immigrants who have come to their areas and devoted themselves to reaching them equally with the gospel. It can easy to ignore immigrants and then complain about their heathenism. But I think God would have us to embrace the burden to reach all people of every race with the precious gospel most of them were deprived of in their Home Countries. What an amazing opportunity to complete the Great Commision from our own shores!

I have been blessed and burdened to learn about the mission field of North America. Thank you to all the ladies that assisted in this article including Joy Gibson, Donna Cook, Crystal Houghton, Cynthia Castillo and Amanda Dinsmore. I loved every minute of our interviews and seeing your burden and heart for your areas and how the Lord has worked in you so far!

 

Houghton's

https://www.facebook.com/cynthia.castillo.900

http://www.happyvalleybaptistchurch.net/

Cook's http://www.quintebaptist.ca/

 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Today

Today...

Today I want to be his helper... his help meet... his wife.


Genesis 2:18 "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone;
I will make him an help meet for him." 


When I think about when God created woman, I am reminded that woman was created out of His great love and compassion for man.

God saw a need that man had.

He was alone.


Proverbs 31:11 "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her,
so that he shall have no need of spoil." 


Today I want to do him good.

He has so much weight on his shoulders. So much responsibility. When he comes home I want to greet him... to help bear his burdens... to listen.

A good meal.

A tender voice.

A smile.


Proverbs 31:12  "She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life." 

Today...

Today I want to love him. I want to love him the way he needs... the way he craves. I want to give him the affection that is so desired, yet in this hard, harsh, calloused, sin-filled world it is so hard to find.

I am his helper.
I am his friend.


Titus 2:4  "That they may teach the young women...
to love their husbands..."

Today...

Today I want to be his biggest cheerleader, his tender companion, his partner in ministry.

I want the love of Christ to flow through me to him.

Because tomorrow he will have to go back out into the world and face it all again... seeking to glorify God while reaching out to a lost and dying world. And I want him to know someone is praying... someone is preparing a refuge for him... an oasis in the home for him to return to... someone is on his side at all times.

Today...


To all the missionary wives who support their husbands through every trial and hardship on the field, thank you.