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?



BIO: 
*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 ParadisePraises.com. 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 http://www.browns2australia.com

                                      Amy Frosts Christchurch NZ http://www.kiwiharvesters.com




                                                         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.

Learn.

Grow.

Enjoy the Word!

God bless you!


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Ministering Around The World- Part IX; The Caribbean

The Caribbean

God created a beautiful place when He formed and planted the Caribbean where it is amongst the beautiful waters and scenery. But he also created precious souls that live there. While they have commercialized these qualities for income they themselves generally live very modestly. From my research, depending on the island, 20-80% live below the poverty line. And while some are able to live prosperous lives this does not make them any less lost or in need of the gospel. I believe that missionaries in expensive economies, while often questioned about their motives know the sacrifice and struggles of not discriminating the gospel to the poor. Expensive places are often written off as impossible and beyond God's scope of capability. Therefore, it doesn't require a weak-willed servant looking for relaxation, but a dedicated servant determined to see God's Word sown in every heart and every area. In these areas, the missionaries will face a mixture of both backgrounds. But with God's grace they strive to reach these precious souls that God has emboldened their hearts to fight for.

I was blessed to speak to ladies in 4 different countries about their life and ministry. Please remember that this is not a thorough depiction of life in all of the Caribbean but a birds eye into how these missionaries live and serve. We will be taking a look at St. Lucia (Mrs. Bartley), Becquia-St. Vincent & Grenadines (Mrs. McKenzie Balinger), Jamaica (Mrs. Titus) and the Dominican Republic (Mrs.Pape),

The islands vary in size, from 5,000 (Becquia) to 11 million (Dominican Republic). They all have a strong Catholic and Seventh Day Adventist following. St. Lucia has 11-20 missionaries serving there while Becquia only has two on their island. Jamaica has less than 10 missionaries. The Dominican comes in with a strong 50+ missionaries in their very populated country.

The people are all pretty laid back and hospitable. All of the countries besides their resort areas are completely third world. The Dominican tends to have a strongly matriarchal society due to most families not having a father figure. Multiple families and adultry is sadly just everyday life. Throughout the years of ministering where these ladies are they have found that conversions come at varying rates. Through their many outreaches; children's ministries, tract distribution, Bible studies, camps and the bus ministry they have found many are able to trust Christ after just a couple of weeks while others take time of sewing the seed.

Mrs. Bartley and her husband are able to teach Bible classes in the public school and also able to witness by teaching adult ladies how to read. Illiteracy is still a looming problem in third world countries. There is nothing that can describe interacting with someone who is unable to read and especially unable to read the Scriptures. What a great opportunity to enlighten their world humanly and spiritually.

Mrs. Titus has a ladies ministry called, Sew Very Loved. It teaches impoverished woman how to sew, crochet and make jewelry to give them an opportunity to rise out of their situation and also find the One with all the answers as they teach.

These areas don't come without their struggles. Each lady shared with me one of their biggest challenges. Mrs. Bartley said that they really struggle with the mentality of the Nationals of being good enough to go to heaven. It is a struggle to get to them to realize that being a good person and going to church is not enough to take you to heaven. And also it is a struggle living in the heat with heat indexes of 100+. Mrs. Ballinger, spoke of the struggle to find a consistent meeting place. Either it is overly expensive or owned by families that don't want to rent to others. In a small island it represents struggles to find a good spot without many options. The Lord has opened the door for a building right now. They are praying they will get to stay there.

Mrs. Titus said that it is a big challenge to get Christians to obey the Bible above culture and live as a Chirstian should. While God expects every Christian in every culture to obey his Word and all who attempt to will receive enabling grace and immeasurable blessings, many struggle with the strong peer pressure. It is hard to imagine when you live in western society that is very private and segmented the power of an entire community and family commentating on every decision you make. It takes a regular walk with the Lord and a jump of faith to overcome this pressure in their life. Mrs. Pape, talked about the struggle of third world living as you first come from the states. It is a HUGE adjustment! Going from the life of ease to slow pace, crazy driving and irregular electricity and water. The first few years are very challenging as you are purged from modern living and find a new normal, that entails a lot of work and patience.

Along with the struggles come Gods gift of encouragement that comes in many forms. For Mrs. Balinger it comes from listening to online messages and having God speak to her heart. Mrs. Titus said what a blessing it was when pastors would call and pray with them. It means a lot to them for one of the men that support them to take the time to personally call and pray with them for the struggles and joys they live through. Mrs. Pape also said it was a great blessing to have phone calls and emails reminding her she was loved and not forgotten.

Sometimes the simplest things mean the world to others.


The Lord has made each of these ladies and their ministries unique and wonderful. For instance the Bartley family was told when they were planning to go to the area they minister in to never go there. It was too wicked to be reached. They are now serving there faithfully and successfully. I love how God is in the business of the impossible.


The Balingers have a burden and desire to get a boat and minister to the many surrounding islands through outreach. With the Lords vision, a missionaries calling and the encouragement of supporters many wonderful things for missions can be accomplished around the world.


Thank you to all you wonderful ladies who took the time to share your heart with me!

Bartleys -St. Lucia

Balingers- Becquia, St Vincent & Grenadines

 

Titus' - Jamaica

Papes- Dominican Republic



 

 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tasty Tuesday

Calzone Day-

Pizza is generally yummy in any form! This week we decided to go for calzones. We have made these multiple times before but this is the first time to have mini calzones. It hit me that I could make my children a calzone any size I want and it would be the perfect portion for them.

And not to mention pretty stinking cute! Because everything is cute when it's small! It was stuffed with pesto and various other toppings. I will say I didn't find pesto to be the best calzone sauce. Due to the oil in the pesto, it made it difficult for the bottom to cook evenly. But pretty good over all.

 

 

Recipe-

2.5-3 c flour

1 C warm water

2.5 t yeast

2T oil

1 t sugar

1/2 t salt

Seasoning if you prefer

1. Take water. The temperature of your body. Not hot or cold to the touch. Let it sit till it activates.

2. Add sugar, salt, 1 C of flour, oil and any preferred seasoning.

3. Put on a floured surface and knead for five minutes while adding needed flour until it is no longer sticky. Add it fairly slowly. Let it rise 5 minutes. Shape and cook.

 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Ministering Around The World VIII- Pacific Islands

Hello Pacific Islands! Island breezes, fishing lifestyles, beautiful blue waters here we come! This month I was able to talk to the ladies in the Pacific Islands; Solomon island, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Chuuk (Micronesia), Guam,Vanuatu and American Samoa.

These are mostly all very small islands. I believe Papua New Guinea is the biggest, which is a little over half the size of Texas spread out over a few different islands with about 7 million people.

The cultures of these islands all include the similarities of being an island nation but they all have developed into unique personalities. In Vanuatu, the missionary wife said the people were like an onion. Always surprising you with more to learn about themselves and how they think.

In Kiribati, the islanders were said to be rarely shy people who have been largely protected from the outside world's influence. They love family and suffer some persecution any time they go against the family way. However, they are a very friendly people.

In Guam, they are a very family oriented culture. Every part of culture is entertwined by the family unit and even the salvation decision is looked at through the eyes of the family as a whole. Sarah Leclerq said,

"If you can get where a family will accept you and take you in you can minister to a large number of people. Getting them to see the need is also a struggle"


In Chuuk the missionary wife speaks of the clannish culture and how it makes it difficult to reach out into neighboring islands. Papua New Guinea is known for being extremely open and friendly to others and the gospel. However, the Gray family is serving in an area,Kerema, where the culture has been described as greedy, violent, and skeptical. 20 years ago Papua New Guinea was a wildly violent area that was quite challenging for missionaries. It has since very much improved including a large scale bible project that is being run by BIMI, to put 50,000 thousands of Bibles into the hands of school children by the request of the government. In the Solomon Islands they are described as very friendly and laid back and not too concerned about tourism. The island of American Samoa is an American protectorate, so it has a large American influence while many Polynesian cultural roots.

Catholic or "Christian" seems to be the prevailing religion in all these areas, except the Solomon Islands which is predominantly Anglican and Vanuatu which has a huge conglomeration of different religons and cults. All of these have been intertwined with the native religion in some form or fashion, leaving the difference between one cult from another indistinguishable. These islands range in population from 51,000, Chuck, to 7 million in Papua New Guinea. But most all of them are only a few hundred thousand for the whole country.

The amount of professing Bible believing Christians in these countries range from 1%- 30% in Papa New Guinea. In Kiribati, the percentage is 1% due to the Protestant churches that no longer teach salvation by grace. This is a quote by the missionary, Brooke Daku, serving there,

"Our church is the only church in the entire nation that teaches Salvation by grace without works."

Another quote given by the missionary wife in Vanuatu,

".. devoutly religious people, including pastors of churches of the various denominations have no knowledge of Christ's saving power."

This should give us a glimpse for sure into the situations these ladies are serving amongst. Many of these ladies are the first or only church on their small islands.


All of these places have less than 10 missionaries except Papua New Guinea. And the Solomon Islands missionary I talked to was on deputation to be the first missionary to that island. These islands vary in receptiveness to the gospel. While Kiribati and American Samoa seem to be places where they are a little more quick to receive the gospel message most of these islanders take a year or more. In Vanuatu Mrs. Hirtzel, spoke about how it takes years for them to accept and believe the gospel message. They have a school ministry to reach out into the community that has given them an effective long term outreach. She said that even those children if they will come every year from K -5, it won't be till 4th grade that they accept Christ, and the parents take even longer.

Something that I find exciting is that a lot of these missionaries are farely new to the field. With some only having served there a few months up to the longest two being at 7 & 12 years. It is exciting that God is calling and guiding new missionaries to reach these Pacific islands that have a great need for the gospel. Especially when you think that islands such as Vanuatu were cannibalistic as recently as the late 60s.


Most all of these countries are described as third-world with struggling economies. This is a description I found online about a Pacific island,

"Kiribati is one of the most remote and geographically-dispersed countries in the world, consisting of 33 coral atolls spread over 3.5 million square kilometers of ocean; an area larger than India. The half a million residents of the Solomon Islands live across 90 inhabited islands, 78 percent of whom reside in rural areas."

The island countries are many and largely spread out. For the many small islands their natural resources are limited and outside resources are sparing.

 


I always ask the ladies to share with me something that is a struggle for them. Something to help you understand them and their ministry and to help you all pray for them more effectively. These ladies talked about their struggles adapting to culture, dealing with sorcery, being lumped in with lots of other religions or cults or aid groups, and also getting the people they serve with to truly see their need for salvation and fighting the devil as he seeks any foothold to discourage! These are some pretty big challenges. It is definitely the grace of God that works in us to enable us to adapt to a drastically foreign culture and live and serve there fruitfully. And definitely his daily grace and power that gives a missionary the discernment, wisdom and power to overcome wicked influences and harden and decieved hearts. All these things are aided by your prayers and support. Please remember these categories as you pray for the missionaries in the Pacific islands.


They also said that these were their favorite things that uplift and encourage them; care packages, snail mail and faithful prayers, godly music and the relationship with their spouse and church groups visiting. This is a quote from Brooke Daku in Kiribati, "The faithful prayers of God’s people around the world(are my biggest encouragement). We have faced some very trying and scary times but the prayers of brothers and sisters in Christ have seen us through those dark days." What an encouragement to us as prayer warriors, that we are making such a difference in the lives of these faithful messengers as they brave the battle on the front lines.

These ladies, just like all the missionaries around the world are seeking to give the gospel to those around them. What does the gospel outreach look like in the Pacific islands? For all it involves tract distribution, just like most of us at our home churches. They also strive to make themselves known and seen in the community, so that the gospel message is accessible, through children's programs and community events and schools.


But Brooke Daku, Kiribati, shared one of their outreach tools that I found very powerful. This was her quote,

" Training church members to reach their own friends and families is our most successful way of reaching the lost."

I find this completely simplistic and yet super powerful! Just as we teach our church people in the states to be fluent in the sharing of the gospel, it is also essential that we take the time to empower and educate these fledgling Christians we have led to Christ to also be powerful and effective wittness'. I believe that most missionaries would say that a national empowered with the gospel and boldness is 100x more effective than a foreigner with the same message. So what an encouragement as we all serve either as missionaries, laymen or Christian workers to train those around us so that they may reach their sphere of influence as only they can do.

Great big thank you to all the missionary wives who lended their brains to me for this article.


Melissa Gray

http://www.reachingthegulf.org/


Wagar family

http://wagars2chuuk.com/


The LeClercq family

http://www.guampreacher.wix.com/mysite

Daku family

The Hirtzel Family - Vanuatu

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=862510583828547&ref=br_rs

The Thuran Family -American Samoa

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=862510583828547&ref=br_rs