“One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
Have you ever felt the Lord stretch you beyond what you could manage? That is where we are at right now.
This past year we felt stretched as we trained four different ministries in Malawi over three weeks in April; sending four Ugandan missionaries to train in Malawi over the month of November; and training one hundred Missiology students at the Tabor Evangelical College in Hawassa, Ethiopia.
During the last weeks of 2022, the International Orality Institute received invitations to train leaders in Zambia, South Sudan, India, and Japan. These invitations have come to us without any pursuit of our own, but align with our goal to train leaders, so that they can train their own people, who can multiply the training in their own country. We have seen this discipleship take place in Uganda and now the Ugandans are going as missionaries to other countries.
We feel stretched between the opportunities before us and the resources that we have available. To consider bringing God’s Word to these new invitations, we need to expand our monthly support by 38%. A Chinese friend recently told me that financial supply is easy for the Lord, because He owns everything in the world. It is much more difficult to get people to seek Him and desire to know Him. Since we have an abundance of interest in learning God’s Word, now we need to provide the means to do so. Thank you for participating with us in your prayer and generous support.
“My brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.” Philippians 4:1
Who are those that you love and long for? Who would you describe as your joy and crown?
Those who have been involved in the international training can relate to Paul’s description of his brothers and sisters whom he loves and longs for. We feel close to these partners in ministry and picture them as are our joy and crown. They often refer to their trainers as their parents with the affection and respect that goes along with the title. They are like precious jewels that are being chiseled and polished by God’s Word.
Victory is when those who have been trained in God’s Word are able to stand firm on that Word and then begin to train others. It brings joy when they give testimonies of how the Lord has changed them and how He is molding and shaping them through His Word. Ernest, one of the students in Malawi, recently wrote: “Since the training, we have had time to rebuild our relationships both with our friends and in our marriages. We have seen God at work in our marriages because now we have Christ in our homes.”
Earlier in December, Ernest was asked by some friends in nearby Zambia how they could learn God’s Word the same way, using an oral strategy, so that they could train the people in their churches. Ernest has been a part of four trainings, so he was told, “You go and teach those in Zambia the very things that you have been told, teach them what you have been taught.” In other words, they are standing firm on God’s Word and “there is no greater joy than to hear your children are walking in the truth.” Thank you, Jesus, for producing fruit in their lives!