Monday, June 29, 2015

Bits June

Fireworks were going off late into the night yesterday as the June Harvest parties finished. June has been a party month around here; for both the city and for us. We continue to meet new people here that we pray will be involved in the ministry here some day. We hosted my sister Kim and her husband Kevin for a couple weeks. Now we have my parents in town for two weeks as well. Both have helped us in ministry and in playing with the girls.

The groups have been slower this month, but we did have a good seminar on Conflict. Most of the people from the first seminar returned and then asked when the next one would be. The unbelievers did not seem too interested in Bible studies, but the seminars really capture their interest (and are filled with Bible as well). Pray these continue to go well. This month we will try to do one on depression that a Christian friend who works in mental health will give.

Our second service will be Saturday and I get to preach! I am pretty excited as it will be the first time for me to preach to our people here; I have taught many times, but this feels pretty different. Pray that God will speak through me and that the right people will be at the service. Yesterday I appealed for support from the football team. As of yet they have not come to many studies and I really hope that they can be more involved.

Construction! The last couple months the Pastors have been working on the land documents, but we now in the stage of receiving plans from the architect to begin construction. We will be working in phases as none of you have donated a million dollars as of yet to complete the whole thing. :) But we are not planning on a huge donation coming in as we know that God will use many people to come together for this project! As of right now we have had a couple gifts come in through our prayer letters, some anonymous, then our colleagues Roger and Marcy Smith have raised some money, and then their church Koinonia (the mother church to this church plant) has raised some as well! It is neat to see us all work together. You can give through ABWE as usual and designate it to our account 0133233; mark it for church planting.

This month is a big month as we have an intern arriving next week and then a team coming down from July 17-24. Pray that Zach will learn about the mission field and be a help while he is here and that West Huntsville Baptist church will be a blessing here. We also have a new colleague arriving this month as well. Ashley Hancock is transferring from South Brazil and will work with youth here! That is a big answer to prayer that happened very quickly. Pray for her move, her funds through the move, for her to find a place to live and be able to start integrating into ministry soon!

Your prayers are such a blessing. Keep them coming! Also, please check out the other pages to the blog, especially the girls' pages as I just updated them.

All for HIS glory,

David, Sarah, Evelyn and Anna Claire

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The downward Spiral

Scrolling through the news reminds me of the downward spiral our society is in. Last week I taught a seminar on conflict and the material addressed how destructive conflict is a downward spiral. We constantly attack each other, fail to find common ground and destroy relationships through conflict. Most people don't want there to be poor people, injustice, war or violence, yet our lack of proper communication causes those very things. We constantly use violent communication as we try to defend what we value. Though conflict is necessary for growth, the negative affects of bad dialogue do not have to be necessary. 

When I started blogging, a transgender friend named Seda reached out to me for open dialogue through non-violent communication. Seda thinks we should talk to one another and share what we feel, but be careful in how we go about the process. We do not need to attack, but to understand, seek to be understood, and to love. I think society could start to mend if we took one another seriously and asked ourselves the question, "why would a rational human being act/believe that way?" Admittedly, not all people are rational, but my optimistic self would like to think that a good 99% of people are not against everyone else in the world. In conflict try backing out of the subject to find common ground and purposes before you reenter the subject to solve the conflict.

Constructive conflict must start in the every day. It would be hypocritical to try peacekeeping conversations with the world without first practicing them in your everyday relationships. Those closest to you know whether or not you live on the downward spiral or give priority to relationships over always being right.

Here are some tips for conflict to turn constructive:
1. Give priority to relationship. The friendship should be more important than the problem.
2. Follow OICA: Observe, Interpret, Clarify and Accuse. Make sure you understand all that is going on with the conflict before you start your demands.
3. Show that the others values are heard and important.
4. Create a secure environment for the others involved.
5. Show respect
6. Make sure it is obvious that you are both listening and understanding.
7. Show mercy and grace, both with others and with yourself.
8. Celebrate being different and not just conforming.
9. We have a great opportunity in conflict to show the gospel at work in our lives.

The material from this blog is from the seminar "Constructive Conflict" written by the missionaries behind the website