Tuesday, September 01, 2009

...let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith... Hebrews 12:1, 2

The month of July began with camp for the junior high and high school kids from the IBBTepic (Iglesia Bíblica Bautista de Tepic) and their invited friends. The camp theme, “Press On” served well to remind the students and leaders that the most important race of all, the race of life, includes all of the elements of an athletic race: the starting line and the finish line, grueling practice, discipline and regulations, obstacles and hindrances, competition, drop-outs, winners, losers, defeats and victories. We were reminded that in order to “win” and experience victory at the finish line in the race of life, we must be on the right “team,” we must adhere to certain fundamental procedures, and we must follow the example of Jesus, the perfect trainer, the author and finisher, who overcame all obstacles in His life and achieved the glorious victory of Heaven.

North Village Baptist (NVBC), my sending church, is earnestly involved in training and equipping all of its members to be effective in “Crossing Streets, Crossing Cultures and Crossing the World” to share God’s love and light. One of NVBC’s objectives is to establish a greater grassroots personal relationship with believers around the world by adopting and networking with specific sister churches that can mutually and effectively join efforts in fulfilling the Great Commission, and I was invited to go along as a representative of NVBC and IBBTepic on a two-week mission trip to Llanfairfechan, Wales, in July. When Kirt was promoted to heaven, I told the Lord that I would walk through any door He opened. He opened the door; I walked through it. Click here to read some personal highlights of this unforgettable trip, and click here to watch the corresponding slideshow.

Along with 6 people from his church, Ramiro Martínez, a missionary from El Salvador to Mexico City, came to Tepic to continue the excellent series he began last year from Daniel, reminding us that mediocrity is never acceptable in the service of the King and to follow Daniel’s lifelong example of “knowing God well, being strong, and doing exploits.” His wife, Claudia, a dentist, offered dental hygiene instruction in side trips to the Huichol villages of Zapote de Picachos and La Bendición.

Erén, pastor Martín’s wife, prepared an upbeat object lesson about the ruinous effects of sin using “Little Sarah Molar” who ignored the infection that had invaded her body and soon found herself overrun by a giant cavity too big to rescue.

Several of the Tepic church young people took advantage of the trip to plant fruit trees and to finish up “Project Bathrooms” on the church property at La Bendición.

Huichol translators Hilario from Los Aires and Román from La Quemada are using solar-powered basic computers in their respective remote mountain villages, and they both have come to town in the past 2 weeks to check in with data from their Huichol Old Testament (OT) translation jobs. When I make backup copies of their work to a thumb drive to forward it to Dr. Joe Grimes for safekeeping in the main repository we always chuckle at Joe’s comment that we are putting on our “belt AND suspenders, just in case.” Unfortunately, Román checked in with a major devastating virus that a “well-intentioned dragon” with a music file inserted in his laptop. Thankfully, we were able to retrieve all of his translated files, but his laptop is tweaked. What are the odds that a guy could snag such a malicious virus in a solar-powered computer in a remote village that doesn’t even have electricity? Apparently they’re pretty great, and Román had to return to his village without his “baby Nunusi.” He’ll be back in a couple of weeks after we get the problem resolved. Both terms, “virus repair job” and “return to Tepic” sound deceptively easy.

Right after Hilario got to town for his back up, he took off from Tepic for the nearest village, La Bendición, to share this unrevised 1st draft of 1 Kings (no printout - straight from his solar-powered laptop) with the brothers there. Then he accompanied an entourage of brothers to San Fernando with the “hot-off-the-press ‘good news.’” (It was their idea, not mine.) Just before he left for La Bendición we were talking about “his” text a little. Among his comments, he revealed, “We have noticed that one king after another ‘disobeyed God and committed the same sins their fathers had committed.’ Why didn’t God punish them immediately?” I LOVE these “Aha!” moments! It’s grace, my friend, Hilario, grace! ...even in the OLD Testament! :) ...and at great risk of being misunderstood completely, I responded to him, his eyes welling up with tears, with (Ugh! Spare me the shame!) a rhetorical question... “And aren’t WE grateful for that grace?!”

Since the last official 2-week workshop, the translation team has finished translating and drafting 1 Kings, 2 Samuel, Joshua, Judges, Nehemiah, Daniel, Hosea and Joel, and Zechariah. They have revised part of Judges and Zechariah. Community testing of Zechariah is now underway. Numbers, 1 Samuel, and Jeremiah are currently being drafted. The team is making great progress, but the enemy has seen to it that progress will not be made without hindrances. Dr. Grimes has another expression that sums up the multitude of technical obstacles we’ve had to hurdle lately: “Sometimes there’s a spiritual side to viruses and other impediments.” Please pray with us about both.

We will run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith...

You may see a collection of sets of pictures of activities from the months of July-August 2009 here.

Quick Reference – September-October prayer requests:
• 1st day of OANSA/AWANA in Tepic and Zapote de Picachos – Saturday, September 5
• 19th Anniversary Sunday celebration – IBBTepic
• Huichol OT translation project – physical and spiritual protection of translators and linguist consultants, village work, computer problems
• Next big 2-week Huichol OT workshop - November