Archive for January, 2012

Birua

24 January 2012

“Birua” is Pidgin for anything from your absolute worst enemy to your husband’s other wife down to a simple opponent.

We are currently pretty overwhelmed by opposition. It seems to be on every side, and just when we thought it was horrible enough it crops up again somewhere else. It seems that we are crossed everywhere we turn, in things both small and big. It is terribly wearying. The small things we can just bear, but we have to take a stand on the big things. PLEASE PRAY FOR US.

There are serious issues going on at church. In our prayer letter we asked you to pray for one particular church leader whose bitterness was such a threat to our church body. Thankfully this man, of his own accord, has withdrawn from preaching for the time being in order to get his heart right with God. We are so thankful for the Lord’s evident work in his life. However, a couple of other church leaders are now showing a good deal of bitterness/pride/desire for power. Thankfully this doesn’t seem to have spread to the general church body, but PLEASE PRAY for these leaders to get their hearts right with God and lead the church in a way that is glorifying to Him.

Understandably, with the leadership in such a state, the church is rather cold right now. PLEASE PRAY for a breakthrough; for revival. PRAY for people to believe and trust God; to walk by faith and not by sight, and not to fall for the world’s philosophy.

One area where folks’ lack of faith has been particularly discouraging has to do with our Christian school. As you know, we are in desperate need of teachers. Currently Mrs. Ellison is helping me while she and her husband are here for a year, but they will be leaving in July and we have no word of anyone at all who is interested in coming to help with the school. I simply cannot do it alone; as it is, even with Mrs. E’s help, school is taking all my time and strength (time and strength increasingly obviously needed for so many other aspects of the ministry too!), and the hike up to the station and back five days a week is about to do me in. I strongly feel that the lack of news of any teachers is really a test of faith, not only for me as I consider the future of the school and how much I would like to see it continue (even to the point of being tempted to try to force it in my own strength!), but also for my students and their parents, who place a tremendous value on education and are tempted to pursue it even at the cost of their children’s hearts. We have only nine students in two grades, and four of those students are from one family. That family has in the past been a particular blessing as they stood for the importance of Christian education and parents keeping their children at home in order to watch over their hearts. Well, last Thursday one of their girls came to me and asked for a transfer card for herself and her sister. We spoke to their dad on Sunday and he affirmed that he is planning to send not only the two girls (our entire 6th grade) but also one of the boys off to town to attend government school. This has been crushing to me personally. My teaching load will significantly lighten due to a third of my students leaving, but right now my heavy heart makes up for it. I am so afraid for those three. PLEASE PRAY for them to be strong in the Lord even in a very pagan environment away from their Christian family.

In the midst of all of this, and other issues I don’t have space to share, PLEASE PRAY for US to trust God. I don’t want to admit to you how terribly discouraged and upset I have been because of all of this. I am so thankful for the Lord’s faithfulness through it all, and for my dear husband and his loving encouragement. Today marks six months of marriage for us, and I am so very grateful to the Lord for this sweetest of earthly blessings. I am sure that our trials are very minimal compared to others’ (perhaps even your own!), but we beg you to PRAY to God on our behalf and the behalf of the ministries here, because we are in tremendous need of His wisdom and direction and help. The most important things that need to happen– things of the heart– can only be done by Him, and He has told us in His Word that He likes to be asked. I wonder if some of you will commit to pray for us EVERY DAY until some of these things are resolved???

A great encouragement to me this week has been my favorite hymn, written by John Newton. I’ll close with it, and with many thanks for your prayers.

Elizabeth Owens

Begone, unbelief; my Savior is near, And for my relief will surely appear; By prayer let me wrestle, and He will perform; With Christ in the vessel, I smile at the storm.

Though dark be my way, since He is my guide, ‘Tis mine to obey, ’tis His to provide;
Though cisterns be broken, and creatures all fail, The word He has spoken shall surely prevail.

His love in time past forbids me to think He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink;
Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review Confirms His good pleasure to help me quite through.

Determined to save, He watched o’er my path, When, Satan’s blind slave, I sported with death;
And can He have taught me to trust in His name, And thus far have brought me to put me to shame?

Why should I complain of want or distress, Temptation or pain? He told me no less;
The heirs of salvation, I know from His Word, Through much tribulation must follow their Lord.

Since all that I meet shall work for my good, The bitter is sweet, the medicine, food;
Though painful at present, ’twill cease before long; And then, O how pleasant the conqueror’s song!

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