Thursday, May 31, 2012

Movement (June Newsletter)

**This is an abridged version of our newsletter. If you would like to receive the full newsletter by email, please let us know through the contact page.**

Moving toward Mozambique:
- 48% of our monthly budget has been pledged. 
- Our house is under contract! 
- Registered for training at JAARS, July 25-August 25.
 - Our target departure date is September 2012.

There is something undeniably powerful about seeing God move and being allowed to be a small part of that movement.

This month, we have clearly seen God move in the sale of our house. We received an offer just three weeks after it had been on the market (which we are told is unheard of in this housing market!) Then after we found out our first contract was not going to go through, we had a second offer on our house within a week. Not just any second offer, but an offer from a godly family whom we know from church. God has moved through specific answers to our specific prayers!

God has moved by providing a home for our dog. Sky has been with our family for nearly nine years now and is like our first child. Knowing that we could not take her with us has left us all in tears more than once. We are so utterly thankful for David’s parents who have agreed to care for Sky during our absence. Several months ago, when we broke the news to the boys, Caleb asked if we could send her Christmas presents and Skype with Sky sometimes. Now that we know where she will be, we have told him that we can definitely try to Skype with her. (This should lead to some laughable moments!)

God has moved in our hearts and in our home as we have transitioned to David working on our ministry full-time. We are developing a new “normal” and learning to co-exist well in our daily tasks. David is learning what a productive day looks like outside of a 8-6 workplace environment, while Wendi is learning what it looks like to share her space during the day. The boys simply enjoy have their “Da” around more, at times thinking his new job description is "full-time playmate".

We have seen God move by opening up connections with friends new and old. This month we have shared at three different churches, 3 small groups and with countless individuals. We are currently planning a trip to northern Virginia, June 17-24. We would love to see as many of you as possible while

God has moved through the translation efforts in Mozambique! This March, the Sena people celebrated the completion of their New Testament, while work continues on their Old Testament translation. Very soon another 1.9 million people will have access to God’s words in a way their heart can understand. Still, the Mozambique branch is working on translations for over 6,000,000 more people who are waiting to experience God move through His word in their heart language.

We have seen Him move as He raises up a team of prayer and financial partners. Since our last newsletter God has increased our funding by over 10%. We have approximately half of our monthly needs pledged and half of our outgoing costs covered. He continues to move in hearts, drawing people to join His work of bringing the Bible to the people of Mozambique.

Although we have seen God move over and over again this month, it has not always been easy. This has been an emotional month of good-byes to dear friends, as well as letting go of valued possessions. We are learning how to keep our spiritual growth a priority in the midst of not only a very busy season, but a season with less structure than we are accustomed. Change looms large on the horizon and this unfortunately produces stress and anxiety in our hearts way too often.

As God moves, I (Wendi) am learning that my thankfulness and love of God can be fickle if His movement does not reflect my desires or timing My prayers often go something like this, “God, you have moved mightily in the house sale, but I need you to move HERE” or “Thank you God so much for moving to find Sky a home, but I really want to see you move HERE.” As He revealed this to my heart and led me to repentance through His infinite kindness, my growing desire is to see Him move and to join in, regardless of where and when He chooses to move.

Perhaps this month, you will consider praying a similar prayer, asking God to allow you to fall in love with His movement as well as the pleasure of joining in. Could you ask Him to continue to move in our ministry to the Bibleless of Mozambique as you also ask Him if you are called to join in as a part of it?

Thank you so much for being a partner in this journey. We are honored, encouraged, challenged, humbled and in awe of how God continues to use each of you in our lives. We pray for you often and would love for you to let us know how to pray specifically. Thank you for being willing to be moved by God and to join in His great movement of redeeming the nations to Himself!

Praise for...
--specific answers to specific prayers including godly buyers for our house and great caretakers for our dog.
 --several opportunities to share about the needs of Bible translation and for new partners joining our team. 
--God's nearness during these emotional and difficult days of transition.
Pray for...
--our funding needs to be fulfilled before we head to training in July. --our family as we leave our home for the final time. 
--new contacts and opportunities to share about the Bibleless of Mozambique. 
--for God to be our all-sufficient treasure.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fun Times Had By All with Nana...

...strawberry picking with friends from church...

 ...visiting Kings Mountain Revolutionary War Memorial...

A great start to what should be a great summer!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Grace. Pure. Simple. Grace.

Grace. Pure. Simple. Grace. 

A home for our beloved dog.  Not just any home, but a home with people she knows, people who love her as much as we do and people we trust completely.

Grace. Pure. Simple. Grace. 

Friends who know my heart and emotions during this strange time of change, because they too are going through the exact same emotions as they move and leave.

Grace. Pure. Simple. Grace.  

Specific answers to specific prayers on our house sale. 

Grace. Pure. Simple. Grace. 

Reconnection with an old friend through the seemingly randomness of twitter.

Grace. Pure. Simple. Grace.  

To be allowed to join in and be a part of a HUGE work of God as He spreads His word to the nations, redeeming His children to Him. 

Grace. Pure. Simple. Grace. 

People who love God and us and are eager to be a part of this exciting adventure He is sending us on.

Grace. Pure. Simple. Grace.  

The undeserved, unmerited, unachievable love of a Holy God.

Grace. Pure. Simple. Grace.  

This week I have been blown away by the simple ways that God has loved us.  These were not things that He had to do or needed to do, but CHOSE to do.  So often I fail to see these things or even appreciate them.  I am too busy trying to convince God to work in the areas where I think He needs to move the most. This week, He has turned the eyes of my heart to Him, to see the sweet gifts He has lavished upon me.  And that in itself is,

Grace. Pure. Simple. Grace. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

worth everything

There is a story in the Bible of a man who finds a treasure buried in a field.  This treasure is more than he can ever have imagined.  This treasure is more than he ever wanted.  This treasure is worth EVERYTHING. 

The Bible doesn't tell us if the man had spent his entire life searching for this treasure or just happened to stumble upon it one day.  The Bible doesn't even tell us if it is gold, silver or chocolate cake for life.  Whatever it was, the man recognized it immediately and knew his only reaction was to do everything he could to possess this treasure. 

The man sold all he had, EVERYTHING, to possess this treasure.  This treasure is worth EVERYTHING. 

So what do you treasure?  What is your EVERYTHING?  I know for me, I have come back to this story Jesus told time and time again this past month.   Maybe it is because our house is becoming evermore empty as we are in the process of going...maybe it is because I want the assurance that my treasure is worth EVERYTHING. 

Do you think the man ever wondered?  After he had covered the treasure and left the field, while he was selling the last of the things he held dear, did he think back over what he had found, pondering its worth?  Did he ever question is it worth EVERYTHING?

I asked David last week if he thought it was getting harder to part with things and he said, "Yeah, we have already sold the fluff."  The fluff...those things in life that I could do with or without.  The fluff is gone and that which is left is EVERYTHING. 

or is it?

For you see, far back when this process began, I asked God to become my treasure...that He would be my EVERYTHING.  He is not a treasure that I can hold, see or taste...but knowing Him deeply and fully is far more than I can ever imagine.  Being known and loved by Him is far more than I could ever ask.  For this treasure, this God, is worth EVERYTHING.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Computers in Africa?

IT in action in Moz, photo by Søren Kjeldgaard
"Technology missionaries.  In Africa.  Really?  So, um, are there computers in Africa?"

Be honest for a minute. Technology is not the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Africa.  Nor is it probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Bible translation.  Still technology is playing an integral role in Bible translation in Mozambique and around the world.

Technology makes the end reachable.  Vision 2025 is Wycliffe's goal to begin a translation in every language that still needs one by the year 2025.  That means between now and 2025, roughly 3 translations must be started every day.  It is through the use of computers, satellite internet and specialized translation software that this goal will be achieved.  As technology increasingly aids the translation process, we grow closer and closer to the day when it is possible for every nation, tribe, people and language to worship God in a way that speaks to their heart.

Not only does technology increase the rate of translation, but it also improves the quality, while cutting down the costs considerably.  The quality of translation is improved by the vast number of resources to which translators have access.  Specialized software that brings together commentaries, dictionaries, appendixes, etc. can now answer a translators questions over a difficult text at the click of a button. Furthermore, consultations and checking that once required expensive travel now can be done quickly through internet connectivity and face to face video conferencing. 

Technology has had a significant impact on Bible translation and will continue to do so far into the future.  

For this reason, we are excited to use the skills and talents God has given to David to support the technology behind Bible translation efforts in Mozambique.  While we do not know exactly what this will look like, we trust that God will use our efforts to boldly bring His word to those who need it.

Yes, technology missionaries in Africa.  And yes, there are most definitely computers in Africa. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Step of Faith

Friday marks a big day in the Richly Supplied household as it is the final day of David's full-time employment at his current position.  As of Friday, we will be both be focusing full-time on our ministry with Wycliffe, pressing forward in faith on our journey to Mozambique.

So what does that mean for our family?

Practically, the biggest change is that we will no longer be receiving a guaranteed paycheck.  Instead, we will begin to live off of the support of our partners and our savings.  No, we are not fully-funded yet and that does make this quite a scary leap. (Interested in making the leap a little less scary by partnering with us?  Click here.)

We believe that God has called us "to drop our nets" as a dear friend put it and go all in for His glory.

Another big change will be the amount of time we will spend together as a family.  The boys are thrilled about the idea of having Da home during the day, but as the saying goes, close quarters can breed we will see how this works out for us.  We will be reworking what life looks like in a lot of ways.  Do we still need two cars?  How do we homeschool with two parents home?  Simple things like what time do we need to get up in the morning may even be up for change.

One of the awesome benefits of having more time is that we will get to spend it with you, our friends and family!  It is our desire to fill some of this extra time meeting with you, sharing about the great needs and benefits of Bible translation. We are even hoping to be traveling to see some of you!  If you are interested in meeting together or having us visit your Bible study/small group, please let us know!

This transition will also have a impact emotionally on all of us, but especially on David as the provider for our family.  He is leaving a job he has enjoyed and which has taught him a lot of the past seven years- but more importantly he is leaving people whom he truly counts as friends.

In all this, He is leading our family to take a step that looks a little crazy- leaving a well paying job to pursue a path that is financially unstable at this point. Still, we have counted the cost and think it is worth it.  We are jumping in full-throttle, eager to see how God uses this step of faith to glorify Himself.

As we bring this era to a close, I couldn't  help but to remember just how it started seven short years ago.  David and I had decided to move to a new state for me to attend graduate school.  After looking for about 4 months, time was coming for us to move and he still had no job in the area.  We decided to push forward, trusting that God would provide, one way or the other.  The week before we moved, he received a call asking him to come in for an interview.  (Kind of funny now, but one of the interview questions was would David be leaving in a couple years to go "on mission" or would he be around for a while.  He answered, "You never know."  Guess you really never do know.)

He was offered the job the day of his interview.  We moved to the area a week later and he began his job of the last seven years.

God is faithful and does provide.  He has done so before and will continue to do so now. We cannot wait to see just how He does this time as we take this step of faith on our journey to Mozambique.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Life's Symphony

Potentially, one of the best parts of any movie is its soundtrack.  Music carries the emotion of a movie, furthering the impact of many a scene.  Whether it is ominous tones preceding a scary moment or joyous notes flowing through a love scene, music speaks to our hearts in a way that is different than words ever can.

While I do not have my own personal symphony following me around (although that would be pretty cool, albeit a little creepy at times,) there are definitely certain songs that I associate as the soundtrack to particular events in life. 

As we were considering and praying through our calling into full-time missions, last year at this time, lyrics such as,

So what can I say
What can I do
But offer this heart O God
Completely to You


So I'll stand
My soul Lord to You surrendered
All I am is Yours
completely undid my heart.  I yearned to give it all, as never before, seeing God's name glorified in all the nations.  I yearned to stand before Him, arms open, completely surrendered to His will for me.  

But I was terrified at what this meant for me and my family.  I doubted our abilities, our worthiness and wondered why in the world God would want to use us.  So lyrics such as,

You are good, You are good
And there's nothing good in me
You are love, You are love
On display for all to see


You are peace, You are peace
When my fear is crippling


I'm running to Your arms
I'm running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
And nothing compares
To Your embrace
brought me comfort as they reminded me just who God is and how much I mean to Him.  

These days, the soundtrack varies.  

On days when my anxiety and questioning is in high gear,  pandora's traditional country hymn station has worked as a soothing elixir of God's grace.  

On days when I need to contemplate quietly God's work in and around me, the station moves over to a little Shane & Shane.

On days when I am excited and eager, ready to take on the world and all that God will give us, the entire Passion "Here For You" album can be heard blasting from my stereo.  With lyrics such as these,

You are everything You've promised
Your faithfulness is true
And we're desperate for Your presence
All we need is You

Waiting here for You
With our hands
Lifted high in praise
And it's You
We adore 

speaking to my heart, reminding me that this is His plan in His timing and we are just blessed to be a small part of it.  

The melodies of our days may vary, but may our soundtracks always point us back to Him who sings over us as He writes the music of our days.
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