Thursday, December 13, 2007

Strategies and Answered Prayer

Last week we had a visit from Dan Sheffield, the global ministry director for the Free Methodist Church in Canada. It is always great to see him because he is not only our boss, but our mentor and a friend from home. Not to mention that he was able to deliver many gifts from friends and family, a much appreciated plus! (Come to think of it, he does bear a resemblance to Santa.) In between various meetings, and things that needed to be done we had the opportunity to work on the details of our job description. One of the things that came out of that discussion falls under the anacronym “BELLS” , which stands for Blessing, Eating, Listening, Learning and Sending. This is part of our weekly tasks, so for the “blessing” we are to find a way bless one person with in the church and one that is outside of the church each week, “eating” is similar we are to eat a meal with a believer and a non-believer. With “listening” we are to spend an hour block of time a week in listening/meditative prayer where the goal is to hear from God. “Learning” refers to an hour a week where you study God’s word with a small group or in a discipling relationship. “Sending” isn’t quite what it sounds, but refers to the fact that when God sends us to do His work, He not only prepares us, but He goes before us. So by “sending”, we are to spend time journal writing each day in order to record where we have been seeing God working. All of these become interrelated, so that our blessing, eating and learning are all directed by what we see God doing and what we are hearing him say to us. So you can be praying for us as we start to try to put some of these new disciples in place in our lives and maybe you could try to put these disciples in place in your lives and ministries too!

I had a great opportunity to see God’s hand at work this week in an answer to prayer. I have been praying about an accountability partner and a cultural helper and when I talked to Dave about my options, he suggested a Nigerien friend of mine. I really wasn’t sure what she would say because it is really counter cultural for a Nigerien to ask the difficult questions that you need an accountability partner to ask. So, I asked her to think about it and pray about it and get back to me. But, instead she replied that she didn’t have to because she had been asking God for just that and had thought that her Nigerien friends would think that she didn’t need that or that she was thinking like a white person because she wanted that. God is so good! You can pray that I am able to disciple Hajara through the accountability process and that she would be able to adapt it to a Nigerien context and that she would disciple me through adapting to Nigerien culture and hold me accountable.

Even as I was writing this last paragraph I had another answer to prayer. Dave and I had decided earlier this week to set aside Thursday night as a time to have people into our home to eat with us so that it could become part of our routine. However, this was the last week of school and we had a lot “extras” going on so we didn’t have an opportunity to invite someone. But that was ok because God provided. Another Nigerien friend arrived just as I was ready to pull supper out of the oven and so we invited her to eat with us (that is a very common experience here, or at least Nigerien hospitality means that if someone is visiting and it is time to eat, you share what you have). When I had suggested that if we set aside a day for having people in it would be easier to be consistent with this discipline I hadn’t expected God to provide such a clear starting point. Please pray that we would be able to make this apart of our regular routine so that the boys are able to get used to it. I think they can get a little frustrated by the language barriers when there is company, but hopefully this will help to overcome that too.

1 comment:

Sonya and David said...

So we do pray often for you guys but now I'll especially be thinking of you during the holiday season. Every time we sing "Jingle Bells" or "Silver Bells".....LOL.
Keep being open to the gentle nudges of God.

S & D