Wednesday, December 19, 2012
He had some cool tricks, some gospel messages, and some routines that were more comedic than anything. In one routine, he pulled out a ping pong ball and asked if we thought he could make it disappear. We all cheered, of course. He rubbed it between his hands, then drew his hands up to his mouth to blow on it, and repeated that two more times. After the third time, he opened his hands to show the ball wasn't there, and said, speech not nearly as clearly as before:
"Oh, yeah, shee? No ball!"
We laughed and clapped.
"Now how bany ob you thig I can make two ping pong balls dishappear?"
He did the exact same thing as before, and said, with cheeks suddenly much rounder, "I know wat you're thigging - wow!"
"Now how bady ob you thig I ca make tree ping-pong balls dichappeaw?"
And he did the exact same thing again.
"Oh, yeah, baeby! Tree ping-pong ballsh! Naw haw ma-ay ob you thig I ca make four pig-pog ballsh didappeaw?
And once again, he rubbed a ping-pong ball between his hands, raised it up to his mouth three times to blow on it, the third time opening empty hands.
Now, cheeks bulged out so far his lips could not completely close, he said, "Na I know wha yo tigig - dish ith da gwatetht ma-iciah evah! Na ha ma-y ob you thin I ca ma fibe pe po baws di-a-pewa?
"YOU'RE CWAZY!" he spat out.
I've started making lotion, since I have issues with the ingredients in most lotions on the market. So I started thinking, "I wonder if I can sell this?" And a couple I know has been looking to pay someone to help clean their house while the wife recovers from surgery, and I think "I could do that--help pay for my gas and other expenses." Then it dawns on me that I'm considering taking on a fifth job. And that's how the magician popped into my head.
In case you haven't been up to speed with the erraticness that is my life, I'll summarize my work:
1) TEN3 Curriculum department head. This includes revising and maintaining the Computer Training Outreach material, developing BHLM (see the FAQ page if you have no idea what I'm talking about), administration, training and working with writers, and figuring out the process for licensing it to schools.
2) SIM missionary. Includes communicating with people my need for support so I can maybe someday get a salary for job #1, as well as reporting to them for accountability and making sure all my logistics for travels are in order.
3) Substitute teaching in three school districts. It's quick payment that can go long-term but does not require specific time commitments that I couldn't make while needing to keep up TEN3 work and travel.
4) Helping a college bookstore during their rush periods. Basically, 4-6 weeks of 35-50 hours a week, then only an occasional day of work until the next rush.
I like to work, and I really like all my jobs. But my mind seems to be having trouble with all this gear-switching lately. So, I just have to wonder, will my forgetting meetings and leaving e-mails unanswered four days at a time pass as a phase, or am I just trying to fit in too many ping-pong balls? How crazy is too crazy?
There are a few things I might do to try to simplify my situation. Maybe I'm just not working hard enough at job # 2; after all, if I get all my support in, then I won't need job # 3 or 4 (or 5, for that matter ;) So I'm considering a special training/accountability program for missionaries raising support.
Also, we talked in our TEN3 meeting today about our hope that when we have enough students using our material, we can be product supported, as in actually getting paid for what we offer instead of from charitable donations. But it's hard to imagine that actually becoming strong enough to support us for a few years yet.
So most of all, I just need to pray, and ask your prayers as well, for the Lord to direct how I spend my time among all my jobs, to keep seeing to my needs, helping me to serve my best in all things, and bringing all TEN3 exactly where He wants us to be.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Just a few things I thank Him for:
- My family, that taught me to seek God, who still walk faithfully with Him, and who support me (especially my parents for still letting me live with them for free so I can have the next item).
- My work with TEN3. If you read this blog much, I don't need to tell you how thankful I am that I get to be part of what God is doing in Africa!
- The encouragement, support and guidance I get from many in SIM
- My two other jobs (subbing and the bookstore) that help me stay afloat
- Those who are supporting and will support me so that I can travel, have the resources I need to work with TEN3, and one day be fully supported!
- My many friends whose love has forever impacted my life.
- The many blessings that various churches have been to me.
- Irish set dancing. Seriously, this is what God uses to keep up my physical and mental health!
"Once again I look upon the cross where You died,
I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside.
Once again I thank You,
Once again I pour out my life." --Matt Redman
Monday, November 19, 2012
- The Lord gave Anthony a breakthrough in training school administrators while he was in Cameroon last summer. We had been frustrating ourselves and our trainees by aiming a fire hose of information at them, trying to get them to absorb a new educational paradigm in two weeks of lecture and reading. One attendee pointed out, "You're not using your own model! If you were, you would be having us learn it by doing it and applying it to our current work." In Cameroon, Anthony realized a way he could teach them our educational model, get them excited about it, and at the same time teach them how to apply it in their schools by teaching them how to schedule and budget for the program using our model. He built a massive, complex spreadsheet for them to use for this. But that spreadsheet is problematic, so we really need to build a computer program designed specifically for this.
- We are going to want to develop courses on how to program. This will be useful for those who want jobs in IT or even certain administrative assistants. It can give us an attractive educational package by which we can share the gospel and disciple people while giving them the knowledge to use it powerfully in the business world, the church, the government, or wherever the Lord puts them. Now, it would be easier just to find someone else who can do this, but good programmers who would be available for this, and have the pedagogical giftset to write TEN3 materials, are scarce. So it would be good for me to know enough programming to contribute.
- It's beneficial to me personally. It's really fun, albeit sometimes frustrating. Granted, right now all my projects are designing games (see http://www.codeskulptor.org/#user5-qdFBY4LmKL-13.py for the latest one I did--just click the "play" triangle icon in the upper left-hand corner). But really, it is sharpening my logic/mathematics skills, which have been waning since I haven't taken anything requiring advanced math in four years. And I'm going to need to hang onto that if I'm going to help develop physics courses in a few years!
Friday, October 5, 2012
Well, when I browsed through them, several of them pointed so tellingly to important moments in our conferences, that I thought, "Hey, I know! Instead of a pdf, I'll make a slide show! That will be cool!"
So I did, and then realized it was way too big for a lot of my recipients to possibly receive or open. Quite frustrating, but I figure I can give you a modified version of it here. Hope you enjoy:
We thank God that he recovered quickly.
And through that process, God helped us see what we can do better. Here Ray, George, and I are working on a timeline by which we hope to finish BHLM, and two other major projects, by 2015.
|I love this picture, because you can see how much joy we have working together in the Lord!|
This brings to high priority some of the courses we've had waiting "on the back burner."
My favorite part is always the fellowship:
|Even at the airport, we're still happily at work!|
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Thursday I met with my department, and we realized the way we've been going about building the next block of curriculum is failing. We ruminated on wasn't working in us in individuals and the organization. In that process I "lost" one member of my curriculum team, as it was decided Ray is more needed in consulting. But that will actually help curriculum advance, because he'll be helping get our Computer Training Outreach in in (we hope) 100 schools, and a number of churches, by this time next year. That, in combination with grantwriting, I think is opening a way by which God can provide for a few writers to do intensive focus to get the BHLM curriculum block written. Also, the church-education model we're exploring is opening demand for more computer courses we've had on the "back burner," so I'm hopeful we can get those developed and used sooner than expected. (Christie actually asked me, jokingly, if she could have that material tomorrow!) We are so ready to see this education, centered on the transformation that knowing Christ brings to every area of life, reaching generations of students.
That's just a sampling of the ways in which God brought strength through weakness in us this weekend. Thank you to all who prayed for us during the retreat. The Lord's presence was evident, sweet and wonderful to us even amid the frustrating points in which we were collapsing under our own weakness - because in our weakness we fall on Christ who is sufficient.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Please be in prayer for us as we make plans for 2013, that the Lord guide us and we all be attentive to Him. Pray that we enjoy good fellowship and leave in one accord with an idea how to serve the Church here and in Africa.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Don't worry, I haven't been totally idle with TEN3, though! I got an upgrade to my Puppy Linux distro, which hopefully will solve some of the problems I've run into in the Spreadsheet Essentials conversion. If I have time, it would be good to test some of the word processing features I could never get to work (like bibliography entries) and see if we can bring those elements back with this upgrade. I also had an interesting Skype meeting with some partners in Nigeria, which I'll share about later.
I'd also had my Relationship Development Ministry (newsletters, this blog, meetings and other letters inviting people to pray and give to my ministry) more or less on hold, but as you can see I'm jumping on that again! Missed you all! I'll have some more news to share soon, but for now I thank you all for your faithfulness to remember and pray for me.
Friday, July 27, 2012
|Christie leading a devotion at the 2011 ECWA principals' conference|
Monday, July 2, 2012
Please pray with us that the Lord make it clear whether He would have me pursue this idea or not.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Blow the fanfare, I have finished the Puppy Linux revision of Computer Essentials!!!!
I thank God the links actually seem to have cooperated (with a little urging), so I've got it nice and pretty and functional before Monday, which is when Anthony will start packaging them.
But of course, wouldn't you know it, tonight I can't seem to mount our server to upload them. Always something ... You know, I hope those storms didn't take out our work server! Wow, and I've been having trouble with FB and my work e-mail too ... But I ought to take this reminder to pray for all those affected by the storm and the heat.Okay, time to go to bed before my tiredness manifests itself in loopy blogging!
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Friday, June 1, 2012
What I do is nothing in comparison. I'm more nervous at airport security than I've ever been in Africa, where people go to great lengths to welcome us. The really brave Christians today are the ones who live in North Korea, Somalia, Iran ... their lives and families are on the line every day for their faith.
Yes, when I go to Africa, there's malaria and waterborne diseases to guard against. Yes, there is violence. It has ethnic, territorial, and religious aspects to it. Expatriates usually aren't involved, but terrorists have bombed a lot of churches there. So I do ask for prayer for the safety of my friends in Nigeria, and for my team when we go out. But I don't see why that should be a reason not to go, if hundreds of thousands of my brothers and sisters can live and worship there.
"I can't believe your parents let you go over there" is another expression I get. But it's my mom who told me that safety anywhere is an illusion. After all, any car ride could be our last. The only security anyone can really have is in the Rock of Ages, in whom there is no such thing as danger.
My soul rests in God alone.
My salvation is from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress--
I will never be greatly shaken.
How long will you assault a man,
would all of you throw him down,
like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence?
They fully intend to throw him down from his lofty place.
They delight in lies.
They bless with their mouth,
but they curse inwardly. Selah
My soul, wait in silence for God alone,
for my expectation is from Him.
He alone is my rock, my fortress.
I will not be shaken.
With God is my salvation and my honor.
The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, you people.
Pour out your heart before Him.
God is a refuge for us. Selah.
Surely men of low degree are just a breath,
and men of high degree are a lie.
In the balances they will go up.
They are together lighter than a breath.
Don't trust in oppression. Don't become vain in robbery.
If riches increase, don't set your heart on them.
God has spoken once; twice I have heard this,
that power belongs to God.
Also to You, Lord, belongs loving kindness,
for You reward every man according to his work.--Psalm 62
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Claude and Anthony also shared an exciting way we (TEN3) may be able to minister to local churches here in the US with seminars on the same things we teach our African partners - how transformation comes as we learn to obey all of Christ's commands (not just the ones our culture values). I'd love to be able to do this, as a way of being involved in the culture where we reside and hopefully strengthen our ability to reach out to Africa as well.
Anthony is tentatively planning a trip to Cameroon in July, followed by time in Nigeria in August. It would be really good if I could be starting my six-month stay in Nigeria about that time, so we could work together with EICSI on getting an accredited two-year degree started. That's something that the school and TEN3's programs both need. Please pray that if it's the Lord's will, Anthony's trip will work out and mine will coincide with this seemingly great timing. But He knows better than I when I need to go, and so most of all pray for Him to provide in the time and way that He desires to use. We commit all these hopes and "maybes" to Him, as He works out His glory within our broken plans and chaotic circumstances.
Monday, April 30, 2012
Somehow the fundamentals of faith can take our whole lives to get down. My Dad and I have asked each other through a number of confusing life decisions, "Does faith mean 'wait on the Lord' and don't try to help Him, or does it mean do what you can, be diligent to knock on doors and trust the Lord will open the right one?"
This confusion occurs all the more in ministry. For instance, George, a member of TEN3's curriculum department, is to go to Nigeria to work with writers for three weeks starting May 20. He has the funds to go, the time seems appropriate, and we really need this face-to-face time with them. However, George wisely does not want to go alone, as the circumstances would likely put him one-on-one with females, which is a bad idea in ministry.
Solution? Send Ray, the other available member of the curriculum department, with him. The problem was that Ray didn't have the funds. He sent out a letter to supporters to make the need known, but there wouldn't be enough time to process any gifts that came in before his ticket would have to be purchased. So we had to make a decision--we could front the money from an organizational account if he could get the donations in later to reimburse the account. But we had to make the decision before we would know if that money would come in.
So why not have me go with George, or with both of them? Well, these married folks can only stay away a few weeks at a time, whereas if young, happily single I could stay for months at a time, writers could come see me once a week or so and we get much more done together. Though I have enough funds in my ministry account to make such a trip work, SIM has enough experience to know a long-term missionary shouldn't exhaust all her funds for a short-term venture, so I'm waiting for my monthly support to build up.
Which brings me back to the faith question--is it a double standard to front Ray's money in faith that it will come in, but for me to have to wait until money is actually coming? I don't think so, because there's no distinct answer to this in the Bible--it's different for every situation. Sometimes God works in a big "Stand still and see the power of the Lord" way; sometimes He works through our day-and-night toil that seems to bring little fruit. God is growing in us a mature faith that can both act and wait, and a heart that is close enough to Him to know which He wants today.
Friday, April 6, 2012
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Ok, ministry news. I am very excited to say that we have started training about twenty school representatives to begin using our Computer Training Outreach in their schools. I still need to finish the conversion to Puppy Linux; I have three chapters left in Computer Essentials. Hopefully Spreadsheet Essentials will be a simpler transition. At least OpenOffice Light works in Puppy, so I don't have to change to completely different office program instructions!
Also, we're tentatively looking at sending George and possibly Ray to Nigeria for three weeks this May to work with the writers. I'm hoping about then to be looking to buy my own plane tickets go to go for a longer term. As we say in TEN3, Deo Volente (God willing).
Friday, February 10, 2012
|A collapsed bridge|
My cautious little American mind would have stopped unnecessarily at a lot of rough spots where I thought no way can this vehicle make it. But Joshua knew the terrain; he had the experience to push the vehicle and get us there and back safely.
That's how I feel about what we're trying to do in curriculum now. George, Ray and I are praying about when to return to Africa. It's a surprisingly difficult thing to pray through, since it's so open-ended. As far as when, we can pick pretty much any dates we want; it would just be up to us and the writers. Anthony and Joe are going to train teachers in Nigeria April 26-May 8, and some of what they do our writers need as well, so it seems a good idea to have at least one of us go then.
The last two times I went to Africa, it was the whole TEN3 team (all the missionaries at least) together. It's wonderful to get to fellowship face-to-face with my colleagues who live so far away, and there are a lot of benefits for the team when we do this. But for our writers, it may be more effective to split up our travel, and have George there for a while, me there later, and then Ray there later or something like that. The men wouldn't want to go more than 3-4 weeks without their wives, but I'm still hoping to stay about six months whenever I go. (This has gotten me to really love being single!)
But we're not really sure what's needed to get the Biblical Health and Life Management curriculum written. We're seeking input from our writers, who are dealing with realities we're not used to, concerning what would be most helpful to them.
I would also love to train writers in other countries besides Nigeria, but we'd need enough interested writers recruited in one place to make a trip worthwhile. So I'm praying for that as well.
Please pray for wisdom and guidance as we push forward. We believe we are called to help the African church develop her own educational system (curriculum, teachers, standards, etc.), but the path is still very rocky and uncharted.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
That said, it's a big relief to be done with this rush, too. I haven't touched the CTO-puppy conversion these four weeks, except to package what I've done so far for our teachers to get started on. I've had to put off a lot of my fundraising too for lack of time. Just trying to keep up minimal duties as curriculum department head while working long hours at the bookstore has meant significant sleep deprivation. Now that I'll be free in the daytime hours, I hope to reestablish connections with volunteers and get things in Biblical Health & Life Management curriculum, and updates of older material, going again.
The timing has worked out interestingly, as this month the other members of TEN3 curriculum have been focused on other things as well (Ray on a relationship development ministry trip to Maine, and George on getting computers ready for the Training department). So I think now is really a time for us collectively to hit the Reset button. I hope the Lord uses this change of pace to work in the background arrangements we may not realize we need, and to refresh our hearts and minds for service. I pray that we start anew in the Lord's guidance, that we may have His wisdom and priorities in our work.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
So, we'll see how this goes, finding time to work on French and Spanish, and of course sharpening my mind in many other areas. Good thing God gave me a love of learning--so much so that I want to be fluent in every language in the world! So, here's to this item of my fantastic bucket list (http://baptistdancer.xanga.com/635065864/my-dreams-and-in-my-dreams/)!
I have made a little partial list of things I learned in 2011, which I shared with those of you on my newsletter list. See the Newsletter Archives page.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Initially as an editor for TEN3, English was the only language I could work in. Then those crazy colleagues of mine invited me to be curriculum department head :) Fifteen months ago I accepted this responsibility to lead TEN3 in our goal to provide the best curriculum there is all over sub-Saharan Africa -- both Anglophone and Francophone countries. This will mean training French-speaking writers, and facilitating the production and distribution of French curriculum, seeing that it meets the legislative and social requirements of each respective country, and much more.
Now, you'd be surprised how much of this I could do with English. Many educated people in Africa are fluent in both English and French. So I envision a lot of my work in Francophone countries such as Burkina Faso, Niger, Senagal, and Central African Republic will be through multilingual volunteers. Still, looking ahead of me, I realize that the more French I learn. That leaves a lot of ground, since the present extent of my French is "Merci, mon ami"!
Like I said, I don't normally put much hype into a new year, but I do thank God for this occasion to look with thankfulness and sobriety over the past, in evaluating how it needs to affect me today. I'd like to post a year-in-review of the things I've learned; but now I'm more inclined to list the things I hope for this coming year:
*Train more writers
*Provide our writers the networked support they need, in person if that is what's best, to see the Biblical Health and Life Management curriculum formed
*See the CTO running in many more schools
*Be 100% funded so I can do my part in all of the above
*Love my family
*Learn a lot
*By far most of all, (would that I do nothing else!) bring glory to my Lord!