22 February 2006

Little by Little

After reading Deuteronomy 5-7 this week, we were reminded of the fairy tale about the goose that laid the golden egg. The story goes this way: A farmer, upon discovering a most remarkable golden-egg-laying goose got impatient about having to wait for the daily quota of eggs. He chopped off the goose's head to find the source of the eggs...and in a fit of impatience destroyed the very source of his prosperity.

"I want it all-and I want it now!" is the cry of the day, even among many Christians. But God is not limited by our impatient timetables. He gave the Israelites a principle for conquest which still applies today: "little by little" (Dt. 7:22). God's methods often take time. He could have given the land to Israel in a day, but instead He instructed them to move step by step, trusting Him each step of the way. God's way is not rush, rush, rush but little by little. Let us look for a small but significant step of growth to take today whether it is a verse to memorize, a command to obey, a promise to treasure.

Even as missionaries, we occasionally put the cart before the horse in our exuberance to expand a ministry, grow a church or train a new believer. Pray for us as we balance our personal lives, ministry and community outreach through the year. Impatience is a characteristic many of us lay claim to. May God deliver us from the "rush" and into his loving embrace.

Over the past month we have been sharing news about one of our wards from the Lighthouse Children's Home. Andrew continues to spend his afternoons in the Resource Centre learning new things on the computer, creating documents for school and utilizing his new found knowledge. Last week Sherry walked by him and heard strange words coming out of his mouth and was taken aback when she noted that he was trying to listen to and imitate greetings from other languages using Encarta. He would listen to a statement four times and then repeat it as if it was his own tongue. It is amazing what children pickup! Just the other day he went through some Bible stories and prepared a brief devotional for his friends back at school. We must admit that it brought tears to our eyes that he would think of the eternal destiny of his classmates and take time out of his own schedule to present a message of
hope and redemption to them. Praise the Lord with us for Andrew's current activities and interests. He is only 10 years old.

The Children's Church program has just begun a series on "The Word of God". This past Sunday Sherry taught a lesson on inspiration, the time frame involved in the writing and compilation of the scriptures, the uniformity of scripture and languages of the original scriptures. The children played that old game of "telephone" where one child starts off with a statement and it passes from one child to the next. By the time you get to the final person, the story resembles nothing of the actual initial statement. This exercise was to show the boys and girls why God wished to have His Word in written form as opposed to an oral format. Pray for the children as they learn more about how we came to possess the scriptures as we know them today and how God's Word has remained unchanged through thousands of years.

Thank you for your prayers on our behalf and those whom we serve. May you know God's richest blessing in the week ahead.

In His service,
Patrick & Sherry

08 February 2006

Discovery of Joy

Greetings from Luanshya!

This mornings reading was from Psalm 145. We were reminded there is no such thing as the pursuit of happiness, there is only the discovery of joy. Let Psalm 145 serve as your prayer of celebration, honoring the God who gives you life and joy as you serve Him from day to the next.

We have had a busy week in the Resource Centre. A number of people have enrolled in the Source of Light correspondence series while others have come to either retrieve their lessons or utilize the resources in the library. One young man has been dealing with marital problems. He is working through one of Dr. James Dobson's books in an effort to understand his wife and how he can support her through some trying circumstances. Please pray for M as he searches for answers to strengthen his relationship with his spouse.

The Sunday School has completed their series on "Beginnings". This Sunday will be the quarterly memory verse competition where the children recite all 13 verses for games and prizes. It astounds us to see the participation rate in this exercise. Not a child misses the opportunity to share what they have learned and show they have hidden God's Word in their heart or at least their minds. Let us pray that as the children go about their daily lives, God's Word will return prompt them during tempting occasions and they refrain from ungodly activities.

One of the children from the Lighthouse Children's Home has been visiting with Sherry over the last week. He has been learning about computers and has been going through the Bible programs for children that have been placed on a computer donated to us last year for use in the Resource Centre. Yesterday he was using the Baker's Bible Dictionary for Children. "Aunty, I want to know more about Noah. Is there anything here that can help me?" So they embarked on a world of discovery. Please continue to remember our children as we bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

A young couple visited the church last Sunday for the second time. After the service they asked some questions about the church background and doctrinal statement. We were pleased to be able to discuss these things with them and provide a pamphlet full of scripture concerning faith and practice at Fellowship Chapel. Later this week the couple will be coming to the Resource Centre to enroll in the correspondence series. Please pray for those passing through the local fellowship, that their hearts may be touched by the Word of God and convicted to make decision that will change their lives forever.

Thank you for your prayers on our behalf. We rejoice in your fellowship and labor of love.

In His service,
Patrick & Sherry

01 February 2006

Willing Sacrifice

Greetings from Luanshya!

Today we read about three Old Testament sacrifices prescribed for each Israelite (Lev. 1-3). But did you know that the New Testament describes at least three "sacrifices" prescribed for each believer-three ways for us to offer a sacrifice to God today?

Instead of a whole burnt offering, we can offer our body as "a living sacrifice... unto God" (Rom. 12:1). In place of a meal offering, we might offer from our material possessions "an acceptable sacrifice" by helping someone in financial need (like the Philippians did for Paul; Phil. 4:18). Instead of the peace offering, we could offer the "sacrifice of praise" to God (Heb. 13:15), a verbal expression of thanksgiving for His care and provision in our lives.

We were touched this past week by some of the children at the Lighthouse Children's Home when they arrived at the church, Sunday morning, holding plastic bags of shoes and clothing that no longer fit. Each felt compelled to offer to God something that could be used by another in need instead of hoarding the items "just in case". Often children from similar backgrounds tend to keep all and sundry for fear of having nothing. We are pleased with the children's spiritual maturity and desire to serve the Lord in practical ways. Thank you for remembering our wards in your prayers.

A young Bible teacher has been frequenting the Resource Centre lately in search of answers to many of life's questions. Last week he was asking questions and researching the topic of "commitment". This week he is concerned about believers and the need for setting goals in the realm of ones daily physical life and spiritual life. He has noted that many of the local Christians fail to take into consideration the need to set goals for their life and ministry simply living from day to day without a plan for success. We provided some resources for review as well as took the
opportunity to sit and look at what God's Word has to say about such a subject. Please pray for this brother as he seeks to meet the spiritual needs of his brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Sunday early morning "Caddy Chapel" has been suspended until the rains have cleared a bit. We have experienced such torrential rains the last few weeks that driving out to the golf course during the early morning hours and finding few of the young men present becomes a bit frustrating but when we sit back and realize "we drive...they walk...in the rain," well you come to understand their situation. A couple of the men came to see us the other day and expressed their appreciation for the time and effort put into preparing specialized lessons for the group and look forward to the resumption of the program once the rains have calmed down a bit in a couple months time. Please continue to pray for the caddies as they seek God's truth.

The children's bell choir at the chapel is going well. Sherry just introduced the children to two-part harmony. They were having such a chuckle out of trying to time two different bells at once that you could hardly tell what was supposed to be played. We are glad to see the children learning a new skill and giving praise to the Lord through song, even when it's off key. Thank you for praying for the bell choir. They hope to have a small "concert" within the next month or so, depending on whether they get the harmony down or not. (smile).

Thank you for remembering us in your prayers.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry