Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year From Liberia!

Happy New Year! We have now been in Liberia for a whole year. In many ways it seems like much longer, after all that happened in 2013. We moved here, built a house in rural Liberia, had a baby, and are nearing the Final draft of Genesis in Manya! In many ways this year has been very challenging: learning to raise children in a country with few modern conveniences, dealing with illness with only basic medical care available, adjusting to sharing a yard with a Liberian family, having to make do without the belongings we sent on the container, and the never- ending car trouble! But there has been much good as well. 

John-Mark has been making a lot of progress in learning to speak Manya. Unfortunately he is having to “unlearn” some of the related languages he began studying before moving to Voinjama! Thankfully God has recently brought a new language helper who has been a huge help in teaching him the intricacies of the Manya language and making sure the Bible translation is clear and accurate. 

John-Mark also had a lot of teaching opportunities this last year. He was asked to teach two courses at a local Bible college: Introduction to Islam and Missiology. He appreciated the opportunity to challenge students to reach beyond the walls of their church and fulfill the Great Commission. He also had the opportunity to do some teaching at our local SIM-related church. The churches in Liberia are filled with people who call themselves Christians, but have little to no understanding of the gospel. Pray that there would be true revival in our church. We are also making progress in meeting seekers and new believers with the goal of establishing a house church for Manya believers.

Although Sara’s days are mostly spent keeping up with household work and taking care of the “twins”, she has continued to teach Sunday School and invest daily in the lives of our neighbors. She has also been able to work with John-Mark to do premarital counseling with a young couple from our church. John-Mark also taught on marriage at the church. The biblical principles of marriage are very much counter-cultural. For example, if a man helps his wife with household chores, his neighbors might wonder if his wife put a spell on him!

We recently heard the great news that JM’s little sister Heidi is engaged! Audrey has been asked to be the flower girl! Finances permitting, we look forward to visiting the States for this occasion. 

Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support. While the challenges are daunting, we thank God for the privilege of ministering here. As we look ahead to 2014, we take courage knowing that God has promised to be with us, and that you too are standing behind us.

Praise & Pray:
For wisdom in knowing how best to prioritize ministry opportunities here. 

Praise for good progress on the Genesis translation. The next step is to have our work checked by a Bible translation consultant. 

Praise that we were able to buy a Toyota Prado! Pray that it would be a reliable vehicle for us and that we could sell our Land Cruiser soon.