Friday, January 5, 2018

The Faithful Missionary Woman

When I think of a few generations back and what it took to be a missionary, I think today we have it easy in comparison. Reading missionary memoirs and biographies might tend to glorify the lives of missionaries, but if you’re careful to read autobiographies and real stories, you find that your heroes deserve to be heroes.
  • David Livingstone, after his wife died, rode thousands of miles on horseback, suffering from bleeding, malnourishment, and malaria while befriending chiefs and leading many to Christ.
  • Scottish Olympic champion Eric Liddle was separated from his family and later captured by the Japanese and kept in a prison camp. He used the opportunity to teach people about the Lord. He also started children’s sports teams in the camp, and all while suffering terrible headaches from a brain tumor. He died in captivity, not ever seeing his wife and daughters again.
  • William Carey nursed his wife, who was mentally ill, while working on translations of the Bible into several languages in India. He suffered from opponents, fire (which burned about three years’ work), and he kept doing what he knew the Lord called him to do.

Just getting to the mission field killed many willing servants. Long ocean voyages, overland portage, disease, parasites, fatigue, heat, and poor medical care doomed many aspiring missionaries before they even made it to their target field. 

Opposition came. Because of lack of experience and information, supporting churches and organizations back home didn’t have a point of reference. Even though missionaries tried to tell the truth—while softening it—they weren’t believed. People back home were shocked. How could the mission field be that bad? How could sin be so prevalent? How could our proper missionary even mention these subjects? The home base didn’t understand.

I think of Elisabeth Elliot’s biography of Amy Carmichael, A Chance to Die. Amy was a Victorian lady in every sense of the word. She was single and probably very naïve, yet God gave her a burden to rescue children who were used as sex slaves in Hindu temples. Amy sensed in her heart something awful was happening. She might not have understood the facts of life, but she knew those children needed help, and she risked her life to save them. Her orphanage gave hundreds of children the opportunity to hear the gospel in a safe, loving atmosphere.

Today, travel and field conditions are much better. We even have Skype and Facetime. Missionaries can email their home pastor in the time it takes to type out the message. We (usually) have electricity, water, and mail service. We enjoy a few prepared foods, even in the most primitive places. Missionaries have house help or machines. Life is different.

Yet, the battle is the same. Most missionaries live in societies that have gone more and more amoral. Most minister to people who either serve false gods or no god at all. They are either slaves to traditions or slaves to sin—or both. There’s a prevalence of vices. On some fields, it’s alcoholism. On others, it’s drugs. On most fields, it’s immorality, including pornography. And, then there are the diseases. Aids, STDs, dengue, cholera, malaria, parasites, and others are all around us and can threaten our families. Those in earthquake and volcanic zones often wonder if this is “the big one.”

And they serve.

Missionaries do things for people that few could even comprehend. They cut old ladies' toenails, bathe children, rock HIV positive orphans, and pull folks out from the rubble of their homes. They make meals, clean churches, teach Sunday school, take care of children, and organize neighborhood outreaches. They distribute tracts, give oral witness, and homeschool their own children. They faithfully keep in touch with churches that never contact them.

They serve every day.

Missionary women are as much a part of missions as their male counterparts. Singles, married, and widows all contribute to the strong witness that goes out from their ministries. Without them, missions would be different—and not nearly as effective. I believe God enables each ministry team to use its gifts together for evangelism and edification.

What does it mean to be faithful? I don’t think we can box it up, put a ribbon on it, and say voilà, here it is, wrapped up in a neat looking package. Let’s see what the Bible says about faithfulness.

First, God is faithful.
  • Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations (Deuteronomy 7:9)
  • God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:9).
  • Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
  • But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
  • If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
  • And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness …. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood (Revelation 1:5).
  • And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11a).

The Bible is faithful.

  • Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful (Psalm 119:138).
  • And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful (Revelation 21:5).

The Bible lists people who are faithful. I’m surprised how many there are!
  • Moses (Numbers 12:7)
  • Hanani (Nehemiah 7:2)
  • Shelemiah, Zadok, Pedaiah, and Hanan (Nehemiah 13:13)
  • Uriah and Zechariah (Isaiah 8:2)
  • Lydia (Acts 16:15)
  • Timothy (1 Corinthians 4:17)
  • Paul (1 Corinthians 7:25)
  • Abraham (Galatians 3:9)
  • the saints in the church at Ephesus (Ephesians 1:1)
  • Tychicus (Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7)
  • the brethren in Colosse (Colossians 1:2)
  • Epaphras (Colossians 1:7)
  • Onesimus (Colossians 4:9)
  • Moses (Hebrews 3:5)
  • Silvanus (1 Peter 5:12)

God requires faithfulness. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2).

God actually says the saints—that’s us, ladies!—are faithful. Of course, it’s only in Jesus that we are anything at all. He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful (Revelation 17:14b).

God rewards faithfulness.
  • O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer (Psalm 31:23).
  • His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord (Matthew 25:21; also Matthew 25:23 and Luke 19:17).

We serve.

May we be found faithful!


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Ministering Around The World XII- "The Middle East"

I admit I have been approaching this section of the globe with trepidation.  Not with dislike or disfavor but with mild fear in my abilities to dig out details about the hidden life of those ministering in the "Bermuda Triangle of Missions". So many within this area hostile against Christians has left many Christians terrified of the prospect of ministering there and those who do brave the battle clothed in secrecy to protect their families and all that they hope to accomplish for Christ and eternity. I admit I have but a few resources to work with for this article but I feel very blessed to have found them and further burdened for the ones that I know are working in anonymity without notoriety, attention or a local support system.

I so admire all of those who have followed God's call to this area of the world. An area rich with history, heritage and turmoil. An area starving for the gospel and yet many times ferociously attacking it; it is much like an aggressive child that screams and rails against the things that they direly need. This is an area that has long been the seat of biblical history and the spreading of the gospel throughout the centuries; from Paul's journeys to modern day.

Few have dared to cross these borders in recent decades, with mounting hostilities against Christian nations and the fear and prejudice that sadly often fills the hearts of patriots and Christians alike. But today I wish to talk about those who have not been bound by fear nor hatred but whose heart has remained tender to even the darkest area. They have seen the greatness of the challenge and have allowed the Lord to bolster their confidence in Christ as they follow his leading into very formidable area of the world, The Middle East.  I will not be using any full names in this article, to protect those who are serving in these areas.  Let us dive into how these faithful Christians have been ministering in this part of the world.

The first missionary I spoke with, who we will call "S.J." are serving in Jordan. The second missionary I spoke with, who we will call "Sandra" has been serving with her husband in a country that has been called the "Gateway to the Middle East", Armenia.  I did not know this until speaking with this lady. But apparently Armenia is one of the few places, butting up against the Middle East that is considered a Christian nation (Orthodox).  This gives Missionaries a little bit of freedom to work with their neighboring countries that are highly difficult to live in for a foreigner; such as Iran and Azerbaijan. This is what this couple has been able to do, through some visits across the border but also training nationals from Armenia to cross over and minister where they cannot. S.J. is serving in Jordan for the moment but has a hearts desire to reach the people in Iraq. They are waiting on the Lord's timing to open up the door for them to be able to enter the country.

These countries vary in size and population. Their census is as follows: Armenia 2.9 million, Iraq 37 million, Jordan 9 million, Iran 81 million and Azerbaijan 9 million. As for religion in these areas, it comes as no surprise that it is overwhelmingly Muslim.  The only country that claims probably more than 3% Christian is Armenia, which is 92% Orthodox Church which is not a church that believes in salvation by grace. In Iraq, the amount of Christians having always been small is continuously decreasing due to the fact that those who are Christians of any sort are fleeing to other countries because of ISIS. The blessing of the situation is, that many who have fled to other countries for any reason are coming to know Christ in their new country of refuge.

As I mentioned before the amount of missionaries in these areas are very limited. Jordan has less than 10 missionaries and there is none in Arab Iraq that I can find. However there are a few serving in the Northern area of Iraq, Kurdish Iraq. There are 2 foreign missionaries in Armenia and I have no data on the amount in Iran. These areas are definitely not easy to break into. S.J. has been serving faithfully in Jordan for 5 years now as they patiently wait and pursue an open door into Arab Iraq.  And Sandra can only minister to these people through satellite countries. The challenges are definitely plenteous. But it is also miraculous and amazing to listen to these ladies' journeys as they have obediently served where they can. The Lord has been able to use them in many ways in these less than ideal circumstances. Our God is far from bound by these challenges.

Not only do these families face a geographic challenge and language challenges, they also face spiritual challenges when it comes to reaching these people. Islam, like so many other devout religions, have a stronghold on these dear people. It will take years of friendship and "reasoning together" about faith and the Word of God for these precious souls to be freed from their captor, the Devil. But it does happen! S.J. talked to me about how the Syrian refugees in Jordan are the most tender to the gospel right now. She said that after 3 years of working with 2 of them they were able to see them trust Christ and they have seen 60-70 other refugees come to Christ through others efforts.

Most of these countries are either third world or third world with a glossier finish. Some of these countries have some modern amenities dispersed within it but it is not the overall feel of the country. That is only really from Jordan and Armenia.  I am sure Iran and Iraq have many war torn areas that are extremely rustic and torn down by the fighting.

SJ said that the biggest challenge of their ministry is the time it takes to see someone come to Christ. It is a huge personal investment with very slow return. She said that emails from the states from friends and supporters letting her know they are praying for her is her biggest encouragement. Sandra said their biggest challenge is dealing with reaching people that are in a different country than they are living in.  That is definitely an understandable challenge. 

Both of these families also face the difficulty of outreach being very scrutinized. There cannot be any form of public outreach. It is illegal in most all of the areas. Therefore they definitely have to be creative and sensitive to the Holy Spirit to lead and guide them. In countries like this it is a must to put yourself into the community. SJ's children attend a Jordanian school and she teaches English in a school there. It is a cultural norm in Jordan to invite strangers on the street over to your house for tea or coffee. SJ's husband said,

“Coffee is the fuel of the Gospel advance. A shared cup of coffee provides natural opportunities to speak of Jesus.” 

So through many visits and shared times of friendship and discussions about religion and the Word of God they share the gospel seeds.

A surprising blessing for SJ and her family has been the Jordanian's peoples curiosity about them as Americans and their lifestyle. You see Jordanians watch TV and that is their only view of America.  So they have been awe-struck by this family that does not drink, smoke, do drugs and sleep around as they believed all Americans did. As in every Christians' life, obedience to Christ in our lives can open up many doors to share the Gospel.

SJ shared with me that through their time in the Middle East that the Lord has stripped them of so many ideas and misconceptions and has shown them, " the simplicity and power of simply lifting up Jesus!"
What a powerful thought. We can so easily be distracted by so many trappings and current events that we forget our number one job of lifting up Christ. Let us all as we read and learn about these dear ladies' ministries in the birth place of our Saviour, the Middle East, pray for them diligently and continue as a whole to SIMPLY LIFT UP CHRIST.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Do You Have a Mission Statement?

Who, me?

Yes, you.

Why do you need one? 

What exactly is a personal mission statement?

Let me share a few from the Bible. (There are many more!)
  • But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD (Joshua 24:15b).
  • All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient (Exodus 24:7b).
  • I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee (Psalm 22:22).
  • But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself (Daniel 1:8).
  • Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another (Romans 14:19).
  • Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
  • For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).
  • Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain (Philippians 2:16).
Then, there’s the mission statement of all mission statements, the one Jesus gave to His disciples: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Matthew 28:19-20).

What’s yours? Have you ever given it any thought?

Back in 2013, I took up a friend’s challenge and wrote out my personal statement. (It was Psalm 146:1-2—about living my life in praise to God.) Since then, I’ve adopted the Great Commission as one of my life guidelines. It has helped me to frame daily plans. (We’re empty nesters and I have more time to do what I choose. You moms and teachers will surely understand the difference this makes.) Sometimes I ask myself: does this activity or opportunity line up with what I know God wants me to do?
  • It helped me say yes or no to ministry possibilities.
  • It helped me prioritize my efforts.
  • It helped me keep my life goals prominent in my own mind.
  • It’s helped me weed out what I post online.
  • It helps me sift my answers.

I am far from where I’d like to be, and I have more projects in mind than I’ll probably live to accomplish, but I have a life guideline, a mission statement based on Scripture.

For me, my personal mission statements translate this way:
  • Am I living my life in praise?
  • Do I edify others—saved and unsaved—when I speak, write, or teach?
  • Do I encourage and build up the church?
  • Do I have a cheerful spirit—even when I don’t feel good?
  • When I want to comment, I ask myself, will this actually be helpful towards guiding this person towards Christ? You’d be surprised how many times I don’t reply.
  • My husband and I have ruled out certain kinds of comments. On social media, I just scroll on by those. (This is a time saver.)
  • Am I actively discipling others?

Your personal mission statement might look like this: survive! I've had toddlers, too, and I totally get it! You may be struggling with time pressures, ministry pressures, and hubby pressures. You feel like you are super behind, all the time.

My advice is to ask God to give you a mission statement for this time in your life. It will help you filter your phone calls, commitments, and social media activity. (These three will give you hours of extra time!) Make sure your purpose statement is in line with God’s priorities.
  • For example, if you have children at home, you might choose Deuteronomy 6:5-7: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
  • If you are married without children, it could be: She that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband (1 Corinthians 7:34b). Have you asked your husband what his priorities are for you? Do it. You’ll be surprised!
  • The single missionary woman also has clear Scriptural guidelines: The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit (from 1 Corinthians 7:34a). Wow! Stay pure in body and spirit—holy. Care for the things of the Lord. What does God care about? Your relationship with Him and with others. He loves women. He loves children. Where should you invest your life? Ask the Lord to guide you.

If you take up my challenge and come up with your own personal mission statement, please share it in the comments. (If you choose not to, it’s quite okay, of course! The Bible doesn’t say thou shalt make up a personal mission statement.)

Whoever you are and wherever you are, may God bless you and your ministry today!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Choice to Praise

The day dawned hot and humid again. I groaned as I entered the bathroom that seemed steamy even before I turned on the water. I squashed a cockroach, mentally reminding myself to ask my husband about fumigating again, since the tropical rainy season was about to start.

I looked forward to my shower each morning as a way to wake up, take some time to pray, and to collect my thoughts for the day ahead.

I took a deep, relaxing breath, opened the shower door and stepped in, then just as quickly retreated in shock, heart racing. The water was frigid!

The coil in the instant hot water heater above the shower head was obviously broken, and would have to be replaced, a twenty minute job…

In that moment I had a choice. 

I could complain about the lack of modern conveniences here in tropical Mexico. Complain that my husband had not remembered to check the coil on time. Complain about cockroaches and humid mornings.

Complain about not being able to get my anticipated refreshing shower until later in the day. I could stomp out of the shower, get dressed and go on grumpily through my morning …

Or, I could praise the Lord.

I could choose to be thankful that we have running water at all. Many of my missionary friends in other countries go weeks at a time without it.

I could choose to be thankful that my husband had been so busy with English classes and Bible studies, building bridges with locals and talking to them about Christ, that he hadn’t had time to change the coil or fumigate the house yet.

I realized that my choice would affect not only my mood, but the mood of the entire family as we started our day.

What about you?

Have you had a morning like this? Something went wrong or ruined your expectation for the day? How did you respond? How did your response to that situation affect your family?

"I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together."  Psalm 34:1-3

"I will" implies a choice. When does this passage say I will praise the Lord? At all times.

When I chose to be thankful for running (though cold) water, and thankful for my husband and the opportunities God was giving us, I was able to share about those blessings with our children, reminding them that God cares for us in every detail of our lives.

Praise is contagious.

The inconvenience of the cold water became a blessing as the Lord helped me turn it into a teachable moment of praise and thanksgiving with my kids.

I challenge you today to view your inconveniences from the place of blessing. How can you turn the temptation to complain into an intention to praise and change the course of your day today?

*This post is an excerpt from In Spite of Myself: How Intentional Praise Can Transform Your Heart and Home by Katie Hornor, used by permission.

Katie Hornor writes at Purchase her new book In Spite of Myself and be encouraged by the lessons she's learned in choosing to praise, intentionally, as a wife, overseas missionary, homeschool parent and business owner. Click here or follow the #IChoosePraise hashtag on social media for information on the book, and to learn how to join Katie for a free 4-week Bible study on Praise.

Friday, November 3, 2017

When the Joy Button Isn't Working

Ministry has its challenges. Don’t we know it?

The work itself, the hardness of hearts, the awfulness of sin, evil influences and oppression, the frustrations of daily living (and water, electricity, and other shortages), driving on a road along with 60,000 crazy people (or driving on a “road” that shouldn’t even be called one), trying to wrap your tongue around a foreign language (we all have off days), counselling, mentoring, pouring ourselves into people who later turn on us, personality clashes, doing jobs outside of our comfort zones…. Sometimes, we lose our joy. It gets buried under the mountain of tasks.

It would be easy to cite the normal platitudes: find your joy in the Lord, focus on Him, abide. (They’re right, you know!) But, we so often need practical help for how to find our joy again and keep it. Are you interested?

First, you find a trashcan. Ball up and throw in:
  • That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts (Who, me? Yes, you. Quit acting like you did before you were saved. Quit lusting after things you don’t have.) Wherefore putting away lying. (That’s clear enough!) Let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more. (Have you ever been angry at night? Have you ever succumbed to temptation? Have you ever taken anything that wasn’t yours—even something very small? Throw these actions into that trashcan!) 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. (Oh my, our speech! Lots to throw away. Are we speaking grace and edifying? Throw away all bitterness, anger, and gossip.) Ephesians 4:22, 25a, 26-28a, 29-31. 

What else to pitch?
  • But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds (Colossians 3:8-9).
  • The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness (Romans 13:12a).

Then, having gotten rid of all this junk—it’s a constant process—we put on some wonderful things. I am so glad God doesn’t ever leave us at zero. When He asks us to get rid of something, he always gives us something else much better in replacement. We’re to:
  • Put on the armour of light. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof (Romans 13:13b-14).
  • Be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not … but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:23b-26, 32).
  • Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:11).
  • Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him (Colossians 3:12-17).

I especially love this Colossians passage (above)! It has so much practical advice for the missionary woman. Let’s take it apart.

Put on:
  • Christ-like, heartfelt love
  • kindness
  • humility
  • meekness (strength under control)
  • putting up with others
  • forgiving others, just like the Lord does
  • love—above all else
  • Then, it says something curious: let the peace of God rule in your hearts. How many times do we not let peace reign? How many times do we hang on to the junk and forget to let God’s peace take over—and actually rule? Look at the next phrase: we’re actually called to let God’s peace dwell in our hearts.
  • Be thankful.
  • Let God’s Word dwell in us—and give us wisdom. Teach it.
  • When’s the last time you enriched another Christian by speaking or singing grace to them? Admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. I know I have a long way to go in this regard. The heart determines what comes out of our mouths, so when our hearts are full of God’s goodness and full of praise, we’ll actually speak to each other songs of grace.
  • Do everything in God’s name.
  • Have Thanksgiving in our hearts every day of the year.

God bless you!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Ministering Around The World- X; Australia & New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand, how many things have you taught me?! For one, I never realized how large Australia is! It’s ginormous! And I think every missionary I talked to was in a different province. It would take over 40 hours to drive across this vast land. It is also vast in its landscape, from beautiful ocean to dry tundra. Also extremely differing in its racial make up, from aborigines, to Australians, to many immigrants from varying countries. Australia is packed with 24 million citizens while New Zealand is much smaller at 4 million.

Religion in both countries, is for the most part a thing of the past. They have some Catholic roots but very few even claim those anymore. They have developed instead not only a worship of self and self-indulgence but a firmly stiff neck to any form of authority. Parents teach this mentality but also have a tempestuous battle with their children’s behavior. Governmental issues are often swayed not only by true beliefs but also by the desire to not be directed or commanded. And sadly but obviously you can see how this would affect the church and how people as a whole see God. They resent the very premise of needing a supernatural being and definitely balk at the idea of giving Him control on their life.

Being such a vast region it is difficult for the ladies to surmise the total of Independent baptist missionaries serving there but the general consensus was around 20 in Australia and 10-20 in New Zealand. It is definitely a daunting field to go to as a missionary. Where the challenges are greatest, God’s miraculous working is the most clear. What a miracle it is for these ladies when someone overcomes the spiritual deadness and indifference to follow Christ.

Each lady spoke about how it is very difficult to pin point an average time to see someone come to Christ there but it’s definitely a number of years. Years of friendship and meet ups through different community activities, where they can share the gospel. Each lady when they spoke of one of their greatest struggles it was either the challenge of getting people to see their need for salvation or loneliness. Which I believe go hand in hand. Not only are some of the ladies lonely because there ministries are so spread apart or they are far from family but because in places of slow conversions, there is very few believers. We can find friendship and comaradarie in believers of all nationalities. But when those who choose to believe are so very few over the years, missionaries can feel at times like an orphan of both culture and religion.

But thankfully God is the Friend who is always there and will uphold those who serve with his friendship and can give them the grace to serve wherever they are with both grace and joy. The ladies shared with me some of the things that they have or use to encourage their hearts. Some spoke of good godly music, others of fellow missionary friendships, others of packages from home and multiple ladies spoke of their biggest encouragement being the spiritual growth of their converts. What joy it is for the heart of a laborer to see people grow in Christ and express their gratitude and also learn to serve others. I know it also a huge joy as a mother to see your children mature and choose to serve Christ also. Mrs. Piper has two of her children who have married Kiwis (the nick name of a New Zealander) and are serving faithfully in churches in NZ also and one son in the states.

It’s always interesting for me to hear in each area the ways they have found to reach out to their community and how God uses it. One of the missionary wives in Bunbury talked about doing a mothers outreach where she holds a ladies parenting discipline course and beach picnics and youth activities and soon will be starting a sport outreach and they also run a mentoring program in local public schools. Jen Bauer talked about doing special church events for outreach, BBQ’s, VBS and revivals. NZ said they go weekly to the town square to pass out literature and witness to those who allow them. Mrs. Piper in NZ, said she and her husband have been able to outreach through their local bowling team. And almost all the ladies spoke of doing literature distribution by canvassing neighborhoods.

I'm thankful for each of these ladies and their families who are laboring for Christ in a daunting area. I'm thankful they took the time to share their hearts and ministries with me. I'm thankful for their faithfulness and desire to see salvation spread to these needy areas! Great big thank you to all these ladies!

                                     Melissa Brown, Queensland Australia

                                      Amy Frosts Christchurch NZ

                                                         Tammi Nelson Bunberry Western Australia

                                                            Traci Westbrook, Tasmania Australia


                                                    Jen Bauer, Barunga Northern Territory Australia

                                                            Lynette Piper, New Plymouth, Australia

Friday, October 6, 2017

Why YOU Need to Be a Bible Student, and What You Need to Know

Many of you went to Bible schools and Christian universities. (I did, too, majoring in art.) I’m sure you love the Lord and you tried to learn all you could about the Bible, doctrine, and maybe even missions and practical Christianity. Then, you got to the field and found yourself confronted with issues they never told you about. You might go to your husband or the senior missionary on your field for advice. You open your Bible. Where to begin?

Overwhelming, isn’t it?

Years ago, I could tell I had very few biblical answers. I knew what the Christian world always said about some matters, but when you live in a culture that has no moral compass, you start to wonder if they were Christian traditions or Bible. I became motivated to start studying. (Better late than never!) My first study was about women. What does the Bible have to say to women—just women, not men—being practical, for my own knowledge and understanding.

So, I pulled out my husband’s trusty dusty (literally!) Strong’s Concordance and started searching: woman, women, maid, damsel, wife. I wrote down all the references and went to work weeding out verses I didn’t need (that only referred to women, not instructing), and I compiled the verses I wanted—any that spoke to women directly. I asked myself, what does God actually say? What can I learn?

This study was life changing! I probably didn’t use the methods I would have if I had been a Bible or theology major. I didn’t even use concordances until very late in my compilation. I simply asked God to teach me what He wants women to know. It was eye opening. It was radical. It was convicting. After all, I was constantly aware of the need to compare my own behavior and beliefs to the Holy Word of God. It prepared me for ministry.

Probably eighty percent of the women I’ve personally counseled have been abused. Several have had lesbian relationships. Many have deep hurts that only God can heal, and every single woman on this planet needs to know what God wants her to do. After all, Jesus said, If ye love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15). How can we keep them if we don’t know what they are? How can we lead girls and women to the truth if we don’t have His commands firmly resolved in our own hearts, minds, and actions?

So, we study the Word. To make it easy for you, if you’re just starting out, I’m going to make a list here. Read these passages. Ask God to open your understanding. Let the Word speak directly to your heart. Meditate on what you’re reading and analyze the verses. Find out what God wants from you. Then, you can pass these truths on to others.

To my surprise, there weren’t tons of key verses for women. (Yes, I know the whole Bible is for women, but I’m talking about verses specifically directed to women.) So, it’s not difficult to get a very good grasp on the basics. God made it easy! (The asterisks are for the key verses for each subject.) Are you ready?

For Single Women and Girls
   *1 Corinthians 7:7-8
   *Ephesians 6:1-3
   *Colossians 3:20
   See also: Deuteronomy 7:3; Numbers 30:3-16

For Married Women
   *I Corinthians 7:2-5, 10-16, 34, 39
   *Ephesians 5:22-24, 33
   *Colossians 3:18
   *Titus 2:3-5
   *1 Peter 3:1-6
   Read also: Genesis 2:24; 1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:12; and Hebrews 13:4

A Woman’s Role in the Church
   *Mark 16:15
   *1 Corinthians 14:34-35 with *1 Timothy 2:11-14
   *Titus 2:3-5

Women’s Dress
   *Proverbs 31:22, 25
   *Isaiah 47:2-3
   *1 Corinthians 11:5-15
   *1 Timothy 2:9-10
   *1 Peter 3:3-5

How cool is this? There are basically three passages for single women, five for married, four for women’s behavior in church, and five about dress. So “simple,” yet, as you’ll see, so profound.

Of course, we could add to this list the verses about purity, homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, plural marriages, widows, and many other issues you’ll face on your field. Do you know what the Bible says about these things? At some time in your ministry you’ll need to know.

Start now! Master the basics (above). Maybe copy these simple outlines and keep them in your Bible so you know where to look, if you find yourself suddenly counseling someone.

After—not before—you really understand what the Bible says, read books about domestic abuse, testimonies of former lesbians who’ve come to Christ, and other counseling books that are written from a biblical perspective. (Beware of “Christian” counseling books that aren’t biblical counseling. There’s a lot of that out there!)

Become a life-long Bible student.



Enjoy the Word!

God bless you!