Step by step, the Robin Builds Her Nest

A European Robin building her nest

A European Robin building her nestOur life of travel and adventure in Christian ministry isn’t as glamorous as it seems.  For each breakthrough in ministry to take place, we have to spend at least a thousand days taking at least one step forward toward our dream.

Here is how to be successful accomplishing what God gave you to do with your life: spend an hour a day working on it.

To become the best soccer or basketball player on your team: Each day throughout the year, dribble the ball around the field as fast and as skillfully as you can, 10 laps each day.  Time yourself, and try to beat your best score.

To publish your book, write 1,000 words each day until it is complete.  Then spend an hour each day cleaning it up.

Accomplishing God’s plans for my life has taken a LOT of obedience, day by day!  As a result, I’ve had to be sure that what I was doing is truly a passion from God.  Some of the things I started doing fell by the wayside as my focus became clearer and clearer.

Then, once I had my sights on a God-given dream, I was able to persevere to pay the price to hold it in our hands.

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Is God Trying To Get Our Attention?

Learning what matters most, thanks to a Wind Storm...

Wind Storm Maine 2017 (photo by Newser.com)

As I drive around town, I see many people who aren’t paying attention to the world around them.  "I love you, Dad..." not paying attention (From Tumblr)Some can’t hear a friend calling out to them because they’re using earbuds and an iPhone. Others are at the dinner table, scrolling through the Facebook News Feed on their tablet.

And as I’m driving down the road here in rural Maine, I notice that least 1 in 20 of the other drivers have their eyes looking down… at their cellphones… as they drive.

This new life attached to phones doesn’t appeal to me very much.  My language work largely involves working with computers. So I turn everything off at the end of the day and try to talk to real people or read a book.

However, the challenge for me is to stop working!  My cause is noble, and there always seems to be work waiting on my computer’s desktop.  The computer allows us to work efficiently and I find it difficult to pull away from it and pay attention to my family as I should.

How often has God tried to get my attention, and I was too busy to listen?

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Waiting patiently, but waiting in vain

How to make our moments of waiting more profitable and exciting

Waiting outside the Sultan's palace, but waiting in vain

“Wait patiently” doesn’t mean the same thing in Africa as it does in the United States.  In America, we might decide to come back later if the line has seven people waiting in it.  We might call back if the waiting time is longer than ten minutes.  Even 5 minutes microwave cooking time can seem like too long to wait!

Waiting in line to go to a concert in Germany

And yet, when we wait in line in America, we hope that our patience is rewarded in the end.  One of the features of life in the Third World, or where a disaster strikes, is that our patience isn’t always rewarded as we would hope.

How can we learn to make the most of the times we spend waiting for something, even if it ends up being waiting in vain?

Back in September 2010, our family needed to find a place to live in eastern Chad.  We had just arrived back in Chad and were living in the capital city of N’Djaména, 14+ hours west of Abéché.  A friend in the capital promised that we could rent his home in Abéché.

To start moving in, all I needed to do was to pick up the key from the Sultan, his brother.

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How to Travel Off-Road in Africa – Without a Vehicle of Your Own

Getting There Is Half The Fun!

off road travel

Chad, January 2014: When we travel off-road in Africa, we mostly focus on reaching the end of the road. The journey to get there is the price we pay to enjoy what awaits at the end of the road.

It was not always like this. From the stagecoach to the train, to the bus and the car, from the hot air balloon to the airplane. With each improvement, we arrived at our destination, but we forgot to enjoy the journey.

Especially in Africa, a journey can be fairly unpredictable while I’m traveling in moibbk.com twilaTwila, our Speed The Light vehicle. Last week, as we returned to Abéché from N’Djaména, we had a major flat tire that destroyed one of our two spare tires.

We cannot easily replace it just yet.  So, when a journey to help a refugee friend became necessary, I decided to depend on the public transportation system of Chad to get me there.

Because they can never assure connections at each step, a trip off-road in Africa is often as interesting as the destination.

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A Tribute to Mary Jean Gardner

My classmate has moved away, to a much better place

Mary Jean Gardner

It was January 1989; I had saved up my dollars to come to England to take my advanced course in linguistics. We were at the Wycliffe Centre in Horsleys Green. I was the only American; there were several Germans, Swiss, and many Brits. Among them was Mary Jean Gardner, from Scotland, with that red sweatshirt we often wore to keep warm.

When I first heard the name of the latest victim of hatred and bitterness in Jerusalem, I’m sad to say, I only vaguely recognized it.

But that was Mary.

When we were in class together, she was not the one who stood out among the crowd; in fact, she blended in so well in the classroom, dining hall or the outing, you may not have remembered whether she was there.

More likely than not, she was taking her studies seriously, preparing to do what God had given her to do: help a people enjoy the same encouragement she experienced from reading the Bible in their heart language.

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