After nine moths of waiting it seems strange to finally arrive at Berea’s due date. Of course, we always knew that it was a possibility, but for some reason it seems surreal to us that it’s May 19th and Berea still isn’t ready to join us! We’re so thankful to know and trust that God’s timing is perfect. We’re excited to see what day He has picked out, but still feel the anticipation and are anxious for the day God’s chosen to finally arrive!
We decided to just enjoy the day, no matter where Berea is! We got donuts, played outside, geocached, watched a new movie with the boys and had pizza for dinner. Nothing crazy, just a fun day with family.
This morning Debra asked on Facebook for guesses on when she’ll arrive and her weight. Some were good guesses, some were funny and some people are just lucky that Debra has a sense of humour!
We’ll keep you up to date as the week progresses, hopefully you won’t be waiting long before the blog is plastered with pictures of our little girl!
Later today Berea will be receiving her eviction notice. A week and a half ago we reached the point in the pregnancy where it is safe to have a home birth like planned. This afternoon Debra’s mom will be arriving from California. With these two pieces in place, there’s nothing we’re waiting on except the little one! Pray with us that Berea will arrive sooner than later, and pray for us that we will continually look to the Lord and trust in his timing, whether she comes now or later.
On Monday we had another midwife appointment and were blessed with another opportunity to listen to Berea’s strong heart beat. Take a listen!
On Tuesday our NTM public relations team headed down to Brampton for a special occasion: to welcome someone to our team and to say goodbye to another!
T’Miika’s been an associate missionary with NTM since last summer. T’Miika is a graphic designer and helped us in so many ways! She especially lightened the load for my friend and coworker Jason Bechtel and helped me with NTM’s Twitter account. T’Miika is going back to school. We’ll miss having her around the office but we are excited with her for what’s to come!
It was fun to spend time together outside of the office and get to know each other a little better. Pray for unity for our team, as well as focus and vision as we work together to do all the behind the scenes work that keeps NTM running and, ultimately, missionaries in the tribes as they plant God glorifying tribal churches.
Guess what? Debra and I have now been married NINE years! Can you believe it? Nine years ago on April 3rd, 2004 in Fillmore California, Debra and I were married. It’s been an incredible nine years of love, adventure, family and much more – all of it a gift from God. Every moment, fun, easy, difficult and life changing have been used by God in so many ways; to bring Deb and I closer to each other and both of us closer to Him. God has done so much over the last nine years, I can’t wait to see what He has in store for us over the next nine years! Here’s a little recap of our last nine years:
- Married in April
- Lived and worked in Southern Ontario
- Moved to Durham, Ontario to train with New Tribes Mission of Canada
- Canaan was born on March19th.
- We continued our training with NTM.
- Graduated from NTM’s training program.
- Went to Guinea, West Africa for a month long exposure trip.
- Moved to Québec to begin French study.
- Completed French program in Quebec.
- Moved back to Ontario.
- Emmaus was born on November 25th.
- Moved to California to raise support and visit friends/family before moving to Guinea.
- Moved to Guinea West Africa (August).
- Was evacuated from Guinea West Africa due to unrest (October)
- Returned to California
- Moved to Senegal, West Africa.
- Restarted language and culture study.
- Served in NTM’s support centre in Dakar.
- Returned to Canada
- Moved to Durham to serve in NTM Canada’s home office
- Bought home in Durham, Ontario (close to NTM’s office).
- Found out that God is giving us another child!
- Let’s see what God does in our lives this year!
Debra Lynn, nine years ago I started out with the best wife ever yet nine years later you’ve only become an even more incredible wife, encourager, best friend, helper and more! Thank you for loving me unconditionally, and always reminding of how God is working in the situations He lovingly puts into our lives. I love you so much and can’t wait to see what He has in store for us!
Luke 11:1-13 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”
Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
I have had a lot of trouble sleeping. That is no surprise though. It comes with the territory of being pregnant. I have actually had trouble sleeping a lot in my adult life. Pregnant three times and two years of sickness in Senegal. One thing that I have been doing a lot is when I have trouble sleeping I pray. I pray and ask God to give me good restful sleep. I ask Him to help me get to sleep so that the next day I can be a more patient, loving mother and wife. I have found that when I don’t sleep well it’s a real struggle to be patient, loving and emotionally stable! I know that it’s a choice to be those things, I can choose to be loving and patient even when the circumstances don’t make it easy. But I know myself, I know how much easier it is to be those things when I have a clearer head and a better rested body.
Many many times I have earnestly asked God for things. Often times these things didn’t necessarily have good motivations, sometimes they did. Sometimes God says yes, sometimes He says no. I have found though that when asking for the fruits of the Spirit He yes, He would never hold those back from us. And if it seems He has said no… Then it’s me not accepting them from Him.
I remember when I was pregnant with Canaan I would get maybe a few minutes of sleep a night. I was in so much pain that sleep was impossible. I remember praying my guts out that He would relieve my pain for a few minutes so that I could get some sleep. I would almost fight with Him in my head at night. You are the all powerful God! Why won’t you just give me this one thing. It’s not like you can’t! But every night the answer was no! I really believe that He had me in pain and agony to mature me and draw me closer to Him. And I can really see a difference in the way I pray now, than when I was pregnant with Canaan. When I was asking for relief I was asking for selfish reasons. This time around, I usually but unfortunately not always ask so that I can be living in a more Christ like way, not just so I feel well for myself.
Last night was one of those nights. I lay there tossing and turning until nearly 4 am… Knowing that in three hours Norm’s alarm was going to go off and the kids would be up. Knowing that Emmaus had no school today and that I would be a real miserable person all day today… Likely resulting in a grumpy, teary not super pleasant mommy… Which is not what I want! So I prayed and prayed. Please Lord give me some good restful sleep so I can wake up a loving and patient mommy who is a good example to my children. Help me to be a good mom. Help me to show my boys a Christ like way of living and loving.
I firmly believe that that is a great thing to ask God for! I also firmly believe that sometimes God will then give me great sleep and sometimes He won’t. And then in the morning it’s my responsibility to take whatever the day hands me and have the fruit of the Spirit no matter how yucky I feel.
We have had many difficult days where I have been not so loving. We have even had difficult days that I was loving.
Some days I ask God that prayer and the day just seems to go from bad to worse. And some days they go amazingly.
Today I am so thankful! God gave me a great three hours of sleep. Then He gave me a wonderful 4 year old who wanted to snuggle in bed all morning so that I could rest. And then He gave me a wonderful husband who let me sleep solidly for an hour while he was home on lunch break, looking after the kids, doing the dishes and feeding everyone lunch. And then to top it all off he gave me my wonderfully loving boys who have been playing together like little angels all day. They even like to check on me to see if I need anything.
All that rambling to say a couple things:
Ask God to give you the fruit of the spirit.
Ask God for things knowing He may or may not give you what you want (like sleep or relief from pain).
And thank God for whatever He gives you, whether its a wonderful easy day, or a difficult one where we reallllllly have to work hard to be Christ like!
I’ve been struck lately by how important God’s Word really is. I know, that’s an obvious statement but when you think about it, how incredible is it that the creator of the world had His love, thoughts, desires and plan written out for us to have! A recent blog post on ntm.org highlighted to me just how important God’s Word is. Jon and Jen Quast visited a Guarani village in Paraguay and learned that the name for their Bible translation is Nandejara Ne’e which means “our owner’s words.”
“This is a term that they use for God. And I kind of like that term,” Jon writes. He says that every time someone calls God Nandejara, he is “reminded that God is in fact our Owner … and the Bible is our Owner’s words.”
We continue to pray for more students for our missionary training program, it’s been fun to see God at work!
We’ve been asking the Lord for 25 new students. So far, we have sent out 20 application packets and have received a handful back. I’m in correspondance with another 20 beyond that are interested but have questions before wanting an application sent to them. What I’ve really enjoyed is getting to know these people and seeing God work in their lives. One of the best parts of being a missionary is watching God supply our needs (this is something everyone should see but perhaps it’s easier to spot when you don’t have a regular pay cheque), I also get the blessing of seeing God provide in the lives of our applicants!
One of my big projects lately has been developing a system for NTM Canada representatives spread out across Canada to have a shared database of contacts so that they, along with those of us at the home office, can be better coordinated as we interact with people that are interested in missions.
Along side that, I continue to work on NTM websites for various countries such as the Netherlands, UK and New Zealand.
Thanks for your prayers! Keep praying for more students with us. We can use all sorts of tools like blogs, Facebook and Twitter but what God asks in His Word is for us to pray! Matthew 9:38 “So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”
Canaan decided that he wanted a Star Wars birthday party so did our best to make it a memorable day for him. On Saturday he had about 10 friends over and we played Star Wars bingo, pin the light saber on the jedi and made our own R2D2 units.
Yesterday he opened presents from family, we went to a restaurant of his choice (McDonalds of course, gotta love the play place!) and then we watched a movie together.
We’re very proud of Canaan, he is a very loving boy who loves the Lord! Sometimes he surprises me with great (and deep) theological questions, I love to see the wheels turning as he considers who God is and what He did for us on the cross. Pray with us for Canaan as he grows up and becomes a man of God!
Every field NTM works in has it’s own joys and difficulties. We experienced those of Guinea and Senegal. Now we’re experience those of Canada. When we left for Guinea, we saw our financial support level go up, when we returned to Canada it dipped. This is common, something that many of our fellow missionaries can attest to. We do know that God is in control of all of that, He asked us to come home and He will take care of us. It’s as simple as that. Yet, I’m still amazed by some of our Senegalese friends who have stepped out in faith to work in full time ministry.
We met Prospere and Suzanne in Dakar, they were members of our home church. They both have a passion to work with Children and before we left West Africa we saw them doing something that took a lot of courage. They became the first Senegalese missionaries to be sent out by our Senegalese church. Do you think it can be difficult these days for missionaries in North America to raise financial support? Try doing it in Senegal where many in the church are looking for work and can’t afford the essentials. Our church in Dakar committed to support them with a small amount each month and Prospere and Suzanne moved to the south of Senegal to work with children through CEF. Before leaving Senegal I had a chat with them about this and I was surprised by what they had to say. They said that having enough money wasn’t the most difficult thing about this step of faith they were taking. What they were worried about was leaving friends in family behind in Dakar. And then Suzanne said to me, “You and Asunga (Debra’s name in Senegal) have been an example to us. You left your family behind in Canada and America. So God will take care of us too when we leave Dakar.” I was very humbled by this. I thought that we couldn’t be an example to them because compared them we didn’t have a financial care in the world. But God still used us to encourage them.
This past week we received an email from our friends Prospere and Suzanne Gandoul. They’ve been putting together Kids Clubs in Southern Senegal and are able to teach hundreds of kids per month. Below are a few pictures they sent, please pray for them and thank the Lord for the courage He has given them to leave home and step out in faith to serve Him.
This year we have been praying hard for more students to join our training program. We’ve connected with people online through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; trainers from our center have visited Bible schools and we spent a lot of time on our “Join the Impossible” campaign. As we mapped this campaign out last year, a verse in Mark came to mind: “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” (Mark 10:27). This task of taking God’s message of salvation and hope through Jesus Christ to every tribe, tongue an nation is an impossible task – unless it’s God’s task. So we’ve been asking people, “Are you ready to join the impossible?”. Last year we had 12 students in our training class. This year we are praying for 25. So far, we’ve had 30 inquiries into the class starting this fall. We’re encouraged, but not sure how many of those will translate to people that we will see in September. Would you pray for those 30 individuals? Ask God to give them clear direction, we are excited to see who God brings our way and look forward to seeing God receive more glory through their lives and the impact they have in the lives of tribal people all over the world.
Thanks for praying!