At this time last year, I was celebrating the dawning of a new year in the mountains of Kuman with my coworkers, having a blast while watching a few people in the village shoot off some sketchy, black-market, illegal fireworks. I remember thinking about all the New Years Resolutions people feel obligated to make during this time, and how, as a newly adopted member of the Kuman family, I just wanted to learn to speak their language well in 2015, and not look like a total idiot with an axe.
God has done alot in and through our team this year, and many unexpected changes within the Kuman community and our families has forced us to reevaluate who/what we are trusting in to reach every last one of the Kuman unreached people with the Good News of Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.
God has been faithful to accomplish things in our lives for our eternal joy — showing us our depravity and need for further conformity to Christ. He’s also just flat out blessed us out of the abundance of His grace by providing new monthly, financial supporters, giving Will and Kelly the endurance to finish the Kuman Bible translation while graduating another child from High School, providing Coleton and Shawna another baby boy, and giving Deb and I opportunities to suffer well and learn the language quickly.
Here are 5 things I’m specifically praying about for this year:
1. That team unity would be out of this world. Friendly competition can be good, unless we’re competing to be cooler and more liked than everyone else. My prayer is that the Kuman would see such closeness amongst us missionaries that they would be shaken and crave the Good News that frees them from bondage to one-upping eachother in literally everything they do.
2. That our families would grow in grace. It all starts at home for elders and church planters. If we can’t rule our home and love sacrificially toward our spouse and children, we’re not only unlikely to do it with the Kuman, we’re disqualified for the position of church leadership!
3. That the Gospel would begin to take root in the Kuman. What will you choose to believe, the lies Satan has sold to your ancestors and culture, or the Word of God? Once the Holy Spirit starts to bring them to the place where they begin to choose the latter through life-on-life discipleship and wise Bible-teaching, the Gospel will begin to leave the village that the church was born in as the Kuman reach their own.
4. Daily routines would be set early. This is more important than you can imagine in the jungle, to both accomplish important tasks and live anxiety-free lives. Scripture-study, intense prayer, language/culture study, family time, and co-worker time, all have to be balanced and expected to take place or life becomes over-whelming.
5. That the universal church would get its priorities straight. Letter after letter has been written to New Tribes from tribes asking for missionaries to bring them “God’s Talk,” but the manpower is simply not there. Maybe we could think twice about buying those church sound systems and make sure priority numero uno has been taken care of first?
In Kuman, anything can happen…so here’s to another year of dying even more to ourselves than last year.