Our 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.
Chadian Wisdom: petit à petit…
The Chadian Proverb goes: “Petit à petit, l’oiseau fait son nid.” This means, “Little by little, the bird builds her nest.”
With these words, a Chadian father encourages his son to keep moving forward patiently in his studies, step by step. Most Chadians lack large resources to accomplish big things in one fell swoop. There are no investment banks to help an average Chadian accomplish his or her biggest dreams overnight in one big step. However, Chadians have one skill which make investment capital unnecessary: an innate ability to move forward, step by step, until the foundation has been laid.
Throughout our ministry, we have had to take what we learned from our Chadian friends, and move forward step by step on projects that will last for eternity.
Language work, step by step
We have been working on developing our adopted heart language. When we started working in the language in 2003, this language was only spoken and not written. In the 1960s and 1970s, a Swiss nurse and a local teacher on the Sudanese border separately developed writing systems for the language. Sadly, they did not live long enough to see their language become written and taught in the schools… but she was part of it until the day she died!
When we received the baton of getting this language to be written someday, we had a LOT of things to do to accomplish our dream. We had to:
- learn the language,
- produce an alphabet,
- design a grammar for the language,
- as well as a writing system (all with the community’s help).
- We had to study why certain marking words would appear in sentences,
- and what markings are used when someone tells a story.
One step forward, each day, for a thousand days
These blessings did not appear overnight. Each day over the past 14 years, we took a small step forward:
- First, we would sit and interview friends, asking them questions about their language.
- We would organize the words we learned in groups, and compare each group to the others.
- We put the words in alphabetical order and created a dictionary.
- When we found new words, we would add them to the dictionary.
- We analyzed the words in the dictionary using computer programs to calculate how often each letter appears, and so much more.
- Different members of our community have opposing ideas on how to write the language. Our team had to work with each group until we could come to a common agreement.
Then, suddenly in March 2017, we can announce that we have an orthography statement in our language! Our people can now write their language!
We have many more steps before us. As people try to use the writing system, we will need to make adjustments to make it easier to use. And God will have to raise up authors who will produce books which will be useful to the community.
Has God given you a dream of something to accomplish with your life? If so, what steps can you take this month, day by day, to see it become a reality? Please share them with us in the comments below: