Monday, September 21, 2009

New Baby!

At around 3:30 on Sunday morning Sarah and I had both woken up, which had been the norm the last couple of months. Sarah had some back pains and then decided to go to the bathroom. She thought that her water broke, but was not for sure until she laid back down and started to have contractions. We both took a shower and prepared everything to leave. Sarah said that it was like getting ready for going to Six flags because of getting up early and being so excited. Sarah even did her hair, which she claimed was not as far fetched to do while in labor as her aunt who also did her make-up. Southerners, unbelievable. We grabbed everything (except Sarah’s purse that had all her ID’s in it) and our friend Monica met us at our apartment to go with us. Being that it was 4:30 in the morning, traffic was fortunately light. Upon arriving, we sent Monica back the 40 minute drive to get Sarah’s ID (thanks Monica) and I dealt with the payment stuff while Sarah got checked out upstairs. Unfortunately, insurance proved to be a pain again, but the staff here was very kind. In our tour of the hospital, we were shown the five rooms Sarah would be switched to through labor and her stay in the hospital. But after the first check up room, they moved her straight to the labor room because she was having a quick labor. After the contractions got worse and worse, we had the anesthesiologist come and give her some shots (not an epidural) and that relieved the pain enough for her to really be able to push more. For a while Evelyn would pop back up every time Sarah pushed her down, but after the doctor told Sarah she would have to have a C-section if Evelyn did not come out soon, she came out on the next contraction. I have never seen Sarah so relieved, excited and happy all at the same time in my life. I have also never been more proud of her. She did a great job and we were so excited. It took Evelyn a while to warm up after her bath, but it did not seem to worry any of the nurses. Soon after weighing, measuring, footprinting, bathing and warming her she arrived in her mother’s arms again.
We praise God for this little miracle He has entrusted us with for this passing moment. We had wanted Sarah’s mom and sister to be here to witness the birth, but once we arrived at the hospital, we found out that they would only have been able to come in once, one on one day, and the other on the next from 3-5 in the afternoon. The swine flu has scared people down here into making some crazy little rules. So the actual date of their arrival, Tuesday, will actually work out perfect because it will be our first day at home. So it has been neat to see God’s sovereignty in even the little things in life!

Truths about child birth

Here are some facts about child birth:
1. The birth is a painful process. Everyone knows that one.
2. The baby is born ugly. When the doctor pulled Evelyn out it looked like she was holding a cat by its back. She just kind of threw this blue and red bulge onto Sarah’s lap while my thoughts drifted to the books that said they weren’t pretty when they came out. I thought I was prepared for that, but I didn’t know she would look that bad. Even after a bath she still had spots over her and was a little discolored.
3. The baby poops tar for a couple of days. It looks disgusting and the baby actually loses weight the first day. I think Evelyn lost like half a pound.
4. Realization that you have a huge responsibility in caring for a child occurs shortly after the birth, or at least it should. I tried to pray about it, but my eyes kept tearing up thinking about that responsibility.
5. Nurses and doctors are great. I know that generally they are helping people and make good money, but they do so many “dirty” jobs with so much grace.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Missionary Interviews #1- Niles in Togo

I recently emailed several missionaries about sharing some of their experience on the field. I wrote down several questions for them to answer. The first missionaries to respond were Alain and Katherine Niles. We got to know them during Field Prep Seminar last April and they were a big blessing. They have a great heart for the people and here is what they had to say:

1. In a short paragraph, can you sum up what your ministry is all about:
We are living in Mango, Togo. Our ministry is to empower the Tchokossi people to follow God in all aspects of life. One of our main objectives is to see this Hospital project completed here in our town.

2. What inspired you to be involved in missionary work?
We both grew up on the mission field and have a desire to work with Muslims

3. How has your adaptation to the culture gone?
Still adapting I suppose...The most difficult is knowing we will never really fit in because of our skin color. One other difficulty is the's a killer

4. And the language, how has that been?
Language is tricky, it is a tonal language which means the change of tone in my voice can change the meaning of the word. Since Katherine is pregnant we have learned to tell people she is expecting, in their language they say "she is holding her stomach" or "she tripped on a rock" or "she is carrying luggage" the list just keeps going...

5. Any good stories from you messing up the language?
Katherine was teaching some students and mispronounced the name of one young man which was suppose to be Koku, instead she said Kodu which means banana. It was fun to see his expression as she continued to call him Banana throughout the whole morning. We just hope he wasn't too insulted.

6. What are the main ministry opportunities you have?
we are simply building relationships and living out our walk with God for others to see.

7. Are there any out of the box ideas you are thinking about doing for ministry?
Going back to taking time to invest in the lives of people. Walking through their difficulties and joys with them.

8. Put a plug in here for recruitment: what opportunities are available on your field?
many opportunities for medical staff to get this hospital going. You don't want us to be involved in the medical work...

Let me know if you would like to hear more from Alain and Katherine's work. I love receiving their update emails. I always think of them as real missionaries with the tough language they have to learn, heat to fight and real pioneer work that they are doing.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Successful missionaries

What is a successful missionary? I think that the answer that pops out is one who has a bunch of salvation decisions and baptisms. Could be one who goes to where there is no church and starts one and it eventually results in having all kinds of programs and maybe a Bible institute, orphanage or any number of ministries.
I think that the command to be faithful would probably be the clearest sign of a successful missionary. But I also think that it is more than that, because I think that you can be faithful in that you are on the mission field, but not necessarily faithful in getting work done. A successful missionary will actively be working towards making disciples. But I think that there are also many stages to this including plowing (working on people who have never even heard of Jesus or are totally against Him), sowing the seed of the Word of God through evangelism, reaping by seeing people saved, and growing or discipling them which is a long process of seeing believers mature in the faith, be leaders in churches and even be Pastors or be sending out missionaries. There are so many aspects to the process of making disciples that limiting the definition of a successful missionary to one who sees lots of decisions is hard to do.
What do you think?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sharing thoughts

I love talking. Sometimes I am talking and think, "you know, I am probably annoying the heck out of this person listening to me ramble on." But then I keep talking.
But sometimes talking things out is necessary. Too many people try to keep things bottled up. Talking and writing things out gets thoughts out of your mind for other people to think about and advise you on. I have lots of ideas and too many times they just stay ideas in the mind that I long to get out. Writing has always been a good way to get them out, but talking has been as well. Sometimes we think that no one cares about our ideas or our thoughts or worries. Of course, God cares about them, and so many other people care as well. I think we underestimate how much our friends care about us sometimes. We think that we cannot share because no one will care. I do not think that is true. I love to hear from other people. I love to listen or read people's ideas or people's struggles, whether it be just to listen, or to offer advice. One of my favorite things to hear about are people's dreams for what they want to do in their life. I have one friend who is working on getting Christian radio stations up and going in places where they don't have them, another who wants to teach kids about baseball and God through camps, another who wants to teach non-violent communication through blogging, a few who want to plant churches and others who want to do all kinds of things. Don't keep your ideas, thoughts or worries bottled in, but be sure to share them with God through prayer and with those close to you or with me. I would love to hear about them and help you in your walk with God through life as much as possible.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


So a couple weeks ago, Sarah had a doctor's appointment and after hearing Evelyn's heart beating really fast, I said that it was beating for her father. Of course, common joke or should I say, dream of each father to be. But thinking about it, I thought that was kind of a selfish and prideful thought. Really, I hope that beautiful little girl's heart is beating for God. I hope that her life exists to bring glory to Him. And I hope that my life does as well. We have a choice in what our heart beats for and that choice has to do with what we love. Do we love that music group or TV show or certain guy or girl? Love is not a bad thing at all, but we need to make sure first of all that we love God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ with all everything that we are.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Most Common Missions Outreach

I could be wrong on this one, cause there are many other common outreaches like sports, puppets or drama, but probably the easiest outreach to start around the world right now is an English as a Second Language Outreach. It is amazing to see how many opportunities for classes are available in so many places (besides Australia, South Africa and other countries that already speak English).
People here in Porto Alegre value English lessons greatly. When I walk to our church, about a mile away, I pass three English schools. They are all over and it is a great privilege to have an American as a Professor. I have never really wanted to teach English, but I think that I am going to start more classes now because of the great opportunity to make contacts. I currently teach one student, Juarez, because another missionary here is on furlough in the states and asked me to teach him. It started off rough, cause I didn't know too much about what I was doing, but now it is not too bad. It is neat to build the relationship and see progress in his English.
What about where you are at? Be it in the states or abroad. Are there those opportunities? Someone recently told me that they thought that Christians were missing the boat on the opportunity of helping out all the Hispanic immigrants that go to the US. ESL would be a great outreach for them!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Blogging about mission work

So I have been thinking about things to do for this blog that would make it more interesting. This week my friend Joe from college has been visiting and we got to talking about writing on our way back from Gramado, which is a couple hours away. He mentioned blogging more on missions and the changing face of it and what people are doing different in missions today. So I am thinking about putting a survey together and asking missionaries from different parts of the world to give some input on it. And I may be focusing more on missions from now on. Would anyone hate me for doing that? I will still add some personal stuff here and there of course.