This tomb, seen along the roadside in Israel, reminds me of another tomb where God testified regarding eternal blessing and renewal.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Preparing for Brazilian Study Seminar

The emails keep coming: translation, "more" translation, translation "again," and "still more" translation. I open each one, read the sweet note from my Brazilian partner, then crack open the attachment and start copying and pasting.

I'm publishing--in Portuguese. Technology is amazing! Using the latest version of two English Come before Winter notebooks, I managed to pull together the text for a new 23-page study guide on the exegesis of Mark.

My precious Brazilian friend and study buddy (turned Portuguese translator) Germana Downing translated every word and continues to send it back as she finishes specific pages. I only need copy paragraphs of Portuguese over the corresponding English in the publishing file's various text boxes--and voila! I (who can read not one word of Portuguese) am publishing in an unknown tongue! Move over, Pentecost! (Okay, so that's tongue in cheek.)

Having taught journalism for ten years while sponsoring literally hundreds of student newspapers and too many yearbooks, I am keenly aware that it shouldn't be so easy. There are issues in dealing with type! A story rewrite will rarely fit into the same template box as the first draft--even when they are both in English! I don't know why that is true, but it's a rule--similar in nature to trying to put a man's dress shirt back into the wrapper once it has been unpinned and unfolded. Good luck!

Yet these 23 pages have almost fallen into place, and I am so thankful. Thank you, God! I'm a believer in current day miracles!

I think it's a good sign: God is already blessing the four-day seminar we will host in Brazil week after next. Linda Forrister (CbW board member, friend, and traveling/ministry buddy) and I will join Germana to host a teaching seminar on the book of Mark in Portuguese.

Germana, who attended the first-ever Come before Winter renewal (Brazil, 2001), was one of the first to fall in love with the ministry's approach to study. Since that time, she and a group of women in and around Recife have studied with me the books of Mark, Matthew, 2 Corinthians, Philippians, and 1 John. Our goal in Recife later this month will be to further enhance this group's exegetical skills to the point that they soon will be able to teach the approach to others. We have hosted similar seminars in Russia and Albania. The Russians (after three consecutive years of study seminars) hosted their own renewal in Russian in October, 2007. May the Brazilians be so blessed!

Linda and I will depart (Lord willing) Sunday, October 11. Please join us as we pray for God to allow for the presence of each woman who has planned to attend. Pray that the translation/teaching will be rich, despite the language differences. Pray for hearts to open to one another in prayer and encouragement and pray for each woman to be blessed and renewed.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fall: Preparing to Claim the Growth of Another Year

I continue to marvel at the order of this world. September rolled around, and automatically the days became cooler, the air a bit clearer, and my energy levels began to rebound. Amazing!

I once read that everyone has a cycle of energy and efficiency, a time when the stars align (not literally), resulting in greater productivity, more emotional stability, even happiness. Somewhere back in the day, I discovered that my clock reads “fall.” I am unsure whether I developed this rhythm from so many years returning to school--as a child, in college, then as a mother and a teacher--or whether I liked school because it rolled around every year at the time when I felt the best, but I love it. I love the colors, the air, the temperatures, Longhorn football,--and seeing my boys (all four) love Longhorn football--sweaters, boots, and fires in the fireplaces. Okay, so now I am into a Texas winter, but I like it all.

Come before Winter has blessed my fall several times. We were in Italy and Germany and Russia in the falls of 02, 05, and 07; last fall we hosted our first stateside renewal in Texas. Three October trips to Siberia rank high on my list, not to mention my favorite fall experiences—three fall vacations with my hubby.

A part of me thinks that's odd—rather out-of-sync, likely fall, that is. I mean, really, things begin to die in fall, don’t they? Or is it just shedding the past year’s growth in preparation for the promise of what’s to come? Isn't it all part of renewal?

I get excited when I think about what God might have in mind for 2010. My calendar is already marked with things I am praying occur: My youngest will leave (Lord willing) for a six-month mission to Swaziland in January. Shane and Kara will be revving up their ministries in Mexia, and Brent just might put the entirety of the CPA exam behind him in 2010—hope, hope! Come before Winter will be traveling to Paraguay in March and to Thailand in June. Our younger protégé teachers, Brooke Hollingsworth and Arlene Kasselman will take over all the lead teaching in Thailand, and Jeanene and I will turn our sights toward developing what we hope becomes an advanced seminar—a pilgrimage, of sorts.

As last year’s growth prepares to drop off, I am hopeful that something about it looks half as beautiful to others as the fall leaves look to me. I am feeling a sense of fulfillment, a testimony from within that declares that God has not only carried me through another year but that somehow, He has allowed me to participate with Him in His Work. And I am looking forward to 2010 and what will surely emerge, clearly autographed as the sanctified art of YHWH.