Forbid Them Not
Independent Baptist Ministries
August 13, 2010
(Warning – this is a long one, but worth reading to the end!)
With as frequent as my updates generally are, some of you may have begun to wonder what has happened to me. The Lord has been blessing in unusual ways. I’m not sure (which you will understand as you read on), but I think the last update that I sent was just before I went to Stevensville, MT for a wonderful weekend of working on the Job 31 Project with the ladies from Galilee Baptist Church. The Lord blessed, not only with a great deal of work being accomplished on Saturday, but with wonderful fellowship throughout the weekend. It was a great blessing to attend the morning services at Galilee. The services truly had an impact on my life. Please be praying that we will be able to finish this project up by the end of the month.
The following week, I was able to meet with Miss Yvonne Brown of Rock of Ages Prison ministry and spend several hours learning from her about how she approached deputation as a single lady missionary. It was a blessing and the Lord used our time together to confirm some things in my heart that I had already been praying about.
During this time, the Lord also gave the opportunity to spend about an hour and a half on the phone with one of the missionaries in Central Asia. It was such a blessing to be able to give them my full attention and not have to worry about having to get off so that I could head to work! What a blessing it was to be able to give my attention fully to what the Lord has put on my heart! Please continue to pray for the ministry in Central Asia as they seek to see these children saved and nurtured in the admonition of the Lord. Pray for their safety as they work on the new dorm and for continued protection in light of recent political turmoil.
Last week, I had the special opportunity to go to Harlowton, MT to give piano lessons to some of the children in the new church there and to join them for one of their services. What a blessing it was to see Corky, the man who was saved at the tent meeting in July, still there and participating in the Bible Study! Please be praying for this new church plant. They are looking for a building to meet in and are praying for a pastor. Please be praying for Pastor Snyder. His mini-van was recently totaled by a drunk driver (the mini-van was parked on the side of the road). Brother Snyder is pastoring in three towns, none of which are closer than 30 miles from each other. He needs a good vehicle that his family can travel in together.
This week has proven to be very challenging. Saturday my hard drive crashed. I took it in to the local computer store and there was nothing that could be done. I had been in the process of looking for an external hard drive to back everything up, but had not yet purchased one. All of my ministry materials, training materials, DVD presentations, pictures to make DVD presentations, personal projects and projects for other people were on that drive. Some of it I have in hard copies or on CD’s or thumb drive. Most of it from the last year I do not. (I do have a hard copy of most of the materials that I wrote while in Lewistown this past winter.) Yesterday, I sent the drive to a data recovery company. Please pray with me that the data will be retrievable and that it will be easy to get to (and therefore less expensive).
I also found out this week that the $300 dollars that I had originally paid when I went to the doctor for my wrist injury will not be refunded until my balance is closed, though the insurance has covered that visit. I still have a minimum of two more visits to make, probably more, so the refund is a long ways off. Please pray that the Lord will give wisdom to the doctors regarding how to treat my wrist injury. It has now been 5 1/2 months since the injury and there has been minimal improvement at best. The longer I have to be in town to treat it, the longer before I can really head out on deputation in earnest. (UPDATE: Just got back from the Dr.’s office. He gave me a cortisone injection (ouch) and said to give it 10 days, if there is no improvement after 10 days we will begin looking at more aggressive treatments, i.e. surgery).
It has been a roller coaster week, but through it all, the Lord has given me a peace that He is going to use all of this for something good.
Moments of Crisis –
Interestingly, two nights before this all happened the Lord put me in a situation that set the ground work for it all. I was on my way home for supper and stopped to pick up corn at a farmer’s stand. It was hot, and even hotter out on the asphalt of the Kmart parking lot. I was tired and, after a day of sewing skirts for little girls in Kenya, had very few coherent thoughts running through my head. The lady who got in line behind me obviously wanted to talk, but I couldn’t think of a single thing to say. Even the heat didn’t provoke a valid sentence in my tired brain. The line behind me got longer. Everyone looked at each other knowing we should say something, but no one spoke. Suddenly, a dry Montana wind whipped under the canopy that was set out over the corn and nearly tossed it to the ground. Several of us managed to catch the tent and get it re-stabilized. That little stir caused the conversation to begin to flow. The lady behind me said something to the man behind her and the next thing I knew they were having a full blown conversation about how people turn to back to church in moments of crisis. Just as I was telling the farmer how much corn I needed, the lady summed up the conversation by saying, “Unfortunately, the crisis never lasts long enough and people always go back to their old ways.”
At that moment she turned to me and gave me a half-smile.
I looked back at her seriously and said, “What they don’t realize is that as long as they are without Christ, they are in crisis.” God had put together a sentence for me at the just the right moment.
As I was driving home, a particular “moment of crisis” came to my mind. Many years ago, during my first year in Russia, several friends and I headed out early one Sunday morning to visit a church in a village just outside of Moscow. We got on the right train, which was a feat in itself, but when we went to get out at our station the train doors would not open. We panicked slightly, then migrated to a car with working doors and rode another 20 minutes down the track to the next station. As we went, the young man who was leading our group devised a plan. The rest of us would make our way to the departure platform as quickly as possible while he was checking the schedule to see which train we should take. Then he would join us. It sounded like a good idea.
At this particular station, as at many Russian stations, getting to the other platform was a matter of going to the end of the platform where you arrived, climbing a steep set of steps to an enclosed bridge that crossed high above the tracks and then descending a similarly steep set of steps to the desired platform. This sounds easy enough, but in a crowd it has its challenges! Our train arrived safely, our door opened properly and we headed down the platform. Things were going smoothly up to this point. But then, just as we got to the foot of the steps and were about to start up them, we heard James yell, “Hurry up, ya’ll! It’s coming!”
One quick glance down the track confirmed his words. Our “elektrichka” could be seen rounding the bend. We gave up on the whole crossing-the-bridge idea, that was a waste of time. Instead, we jumped down from the platform and ran across the tracks to the far side of the other platform. This is when things got complicated.
Jumping off of a train platform is not difficult. Getting back onto one, especially when wearing heavy boots, a winter coat and an ankle length skirt, can be a challenge. The platform was several feet wide and about chin high. Its smooth sides prevented climbing. The only way to get on top was to take hold of the corner of the platform, hoist yourself up by the arms until you could get a knee or a foot on the edge and then push yourself up the rest of the way. As the train came closer, we began our single-file assent of the massive cement rock that stood before us. I was in the middle of the line. Two or three had gone before me and three waited in line after me. I had just taken hold of the corner of the platform and was pulling myself up when I heard someone behind me yell, “Look out! It’s coming to our side of the platform!”
I looked over my shoulder to see that the train had not gone to the inside track as we had anticipated. Instead, it was about to pull in along side of us. Even as I realized these things the train grew closer and closer. I turned back toward the platform and balanced myself precariously on its edge. Suddenly, like the wind and thunder at the front of a storm, the train was there, speeding by me. I could see the green walls of the train cars as they blurred by, just inches from my fingers. I could feel the wind rush by my face. My heart raced. I clung to the cement beneath me and held my breath until I had my balance enough to get to my feet and run down the platform toward the rest of my group. Once the train had stopped the last three in our group followed. We all hurried onto the train, dropped into our seats and stared at one another, panting. The train moved on.
All of us face moments of crisis. We all face moments when it seems a train is barreling down the tracks and our heads are hanging precariously out over the edge of the platform. Moments when life is threatened, when disappointments or trials overwhelm, when someone we love is suddenly sick or even gone, moments when we feel we have lost everything and have to start all over again. There is a rock to cling to in those moments. “That rock is Jesus, yes, He’s the One!”
People all around us are in crisis, though they may not realize it. Their soul is in peril – without Christ they have no hope. We must be the ones to stand behind them and shout out the warning. We must give the message that there is a rock to cling to. That is the goal of this ministry. Few in this world are in a more precarious position than the fatherless, both physically and spiritually. The goal of this ministry is not to meet their physical needs, though that plays a part, it is in fact to see them saved, raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and sent out as His servants. Please pray that the Lord will open doors of opportunity and hearts to receive His Word.
For His Glory,