Saturday, March 7, 2009

Email Update (Workshop and Friends Visit)

Email Update March 7, 2009
(For facebook friends, see this in bigger print on my blog-

Short Version (HEADLINES)

1. The third storying workshop (Feb16-27) focused on using the stories to begin Small Groups… See a few testimonies below of how the teams are already using the Stories.
2. A visit from a good friend working in this country and a supporter travelling through South Asia turns into an encouraging visit, as well as a chance to share His Story with Sam’s mother.
3. The past two months, have been some of the hardest months in my life…However, I think I may be beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel…

Longer Version (FULL STORY)
1. The teams responded well to the last workshop, and spent a lot of time thinking practically about the places and people that could be involved in the next few months somewhat as a ‘final trial’ of all the stories chronologically. The teams are enthusiastic about working hard to get their stories accepted by their culture, while continuing to maintain accuracy.
Here are a few testimonies of how the stories are already being used:

- One Blizzard team member shares: “I am the only believer in my family, and I thought I would be kicked out of my house when I started this work. But since I have begun doing these stories, my father has started listening to me tell him about my work, and more of His Story...”

- One Pomegranate team member says: ‘I used to be shy about telling other people about my faith. I wasn’t sure what to say, and whatever I said, people didn’t really want to hear it. Now, I have these stories, and people really want to listen to them.’

- One Agape team member shares: “The stories have opened the door for me to share with people who didn’t want to listen to someone younger than them before. The stories make it so that everyone is the same, and I am not bringing some outside thinking that they can’t understand…”
Picture: Left- Mighty team members. Middle: Mountain team member. Right: Pomegranate team member – acting out one of the Stories during the workshop.

2. Right after the workshop, a good friend (Kristin) working in the central part of this country, and a supporter (Aaron) came to visit. We spent a few days taking a break from our work, and then spent a few days in ‘Pan-Town.’ They were a great help actually catching up on typing a few retellings of stories and cultural stories that had been submitted by the teams. In addition, one afternoon we went to Sam’s village (which included a ½ hour walk, and a boat ride across a small river). After having some snacks, chai, and making small talk, Sam’s cousin and mother (who are not believers) asked Aaron to share about his life. Sam did the interpreting, and Manny from Agape team (who also came with us) proceeded to ask several questions as if he was asking on behalf of Sam’s mom. Questions like, “What do you mean by grace? How do you get that? Can other people have it…?” Aaron answered the questions beautifully and his story was nearly identical to Sam’s personal family story right now (just how hard the cost of following our Father can be). It was really amazing to see how our Father had orchestrated that moment in time for sharing His Story. That afternoon was an encouragement to me as was the rest of our time together – just being with some friends who have experienced similar things, and who speak English perfectly! :)
(Picture: Left to Right: Sam, Manny, Aaron, me, Kristin, Sam’s mother, Sam’s cousin).

3. I feel I should write about this, especially to those considering longer-term work. You may already know, but I will confirm it. This work/life really isn’t always easy! It really isn’t always wonderful. It really isn’t always fun! The past two months have been really hard, to say the least. I have questioned my work here, and have wanted to go home more than once. I know He has me here for a purpose and I do see the effects of my efforts. In spite of that, I have had moments of resenting being here. I have gotten lost in the details of the work, and been blinded to the awesome ways in which He is already spreading His Story among the peoples of this area.
Needless to say, I think our Father is holding me close, and sending me through this time for a reason I do not know. I am thankful for the conversations I had with some of the consultants while they were here about burn-out and also for the encouragement of my friends’ visit. By His Grace, I think I may be ‘over the hill’ in terms of feeling overwhelmed with life here.
May the work to which He has called each of us be an offering to Him. In spite of the trials, the loneliness, the frustrations, may we continue trusting Him, because “he has not let us down yet.” (part of an email from another friend).

- Praise for a busy, but blessed workshop.
- Praise for a chance to share His Story with Sam’s mother- and the encouragement of friends.
- Prayer for a Blizzard team member’s wife who was diagnosed with cancer at the start of the workshop.
- Prayer for relationships among the team – the Enemy loves to disband an Army through miscommunication and interpersonal issues…pray against this in these last few months.
- Prayer for strength, and hope – for me to find myself in Him.
In Him,
~ Elizabeth
“Lord, through all the generations, you have been our home! Before the mountains were created, before you made the earth and the world, you are God, without beginning or end.” ~ Psalm 90:1
"Don't be afraid. Just trust me". ~Mark 5:36b

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