Sunday, November 7, 2010

Email Update! - Back from S. Asia!

Dear Friends and Family!!

Happy Fall!   :)

Short Version:
1. “Your daughter is a tough teacher!” ~ Mercy Team member, “Abraham,” to my mom on skype!
---see also prayer answered regarding conference held by Mercy Team!!
2. “I felt like I was coming to meet God” ~ Precious (story crafter from first Kahani project) - talking about how she felt as she boarded the train to meet me in Major City.
3. “Did that just happen?” ~ Roberta talking about our trip to S. Asia, as we entered back into the USA.

Longer Version:
1. “Your daughter is a tough teacher!” ~ Mercy Team member: “Abraham” to my mom on skype!
For most of October, I was in South Asia working with two clusters of story projects.  We spent the first two weeks giving the 2nd story training to the Mercy Teams.  One day, I surprised my mom by letting the Mercy Team members talk with her via skype (phone call via internet)!  “Abraham” said, ‘Your daughter is a tough teacher!’  My mom replied, “Hurry up and get your work done, so Elizabeth can come home!!”  I never know exactly what to do when my worlds collide, but I loved this moment, and was so thankful that the Mercy team felt privileged to speak with ‘aunty’ and hear her encouragement to them in the great work they are doing.  (PICTURE – Talking on SKYPE!)

Just after the training, the Mercy team had a big meeting with local leaders regarding story projects in the future.  The Mercy team (As well as the 3 other language projects in this cluster) will complete their story sets and then use their sets to train additional minority languages in their areas!   Here is Andrew’s report he just sent me in an email today:

Thank you for raising prayers for the conference…We were targeting 150 odd leaders for this meeting…Almost 350 people responded to our requests. Because of certain limitations we had to request many to stay back and we had 185 people present on the day.  We have 25+ dialects on card so far. We talked about 16 dialects in the  meeting and representatives from 12 were present out of 25+ This is so very exciting! Praise Him!

I may have mentioned this before, but this Mercy Teams story movement is really exciting to be a part of!!  These minority groups should receive their first story training in March 2011.  (PICTURE: Mercy team)

After 2 weeks giving training to the Mercy teams, my cousin, Roberta, and I travelled to the second group of projects (Tea Town teams).  These teams are nearly half-way done, and I hope will be ready for final recordings of their stories in March (please pray for this!).

It was good to see these teams again, and be reminded of the harsh conditions in which they live (it takes them 2-3 days to get to their homes in the same country, while it takes me 24 hours to get to my home on the other side of the world).  I was also reminded of the persecution they face for their beliefs and their faithfulness to the One who has called them.

2. “I felt like I was coming to meet God” ~ Precious
One weekend between two intense trainings, Roberta, and I were able to spent about 20 hours with Precious (story crafter from my first story project 05-07) in Major City.  Precious utilized every minute to share with me the struggles she has been facing, primarily connected to her new marriage.  Precious asked if we were going to ‘pray’ on Sunday and if I would tell a story like we used to do weekly for year and a half in our old home ‘Kahan.’  She said, “I felt like when I got on the train to come see you, it was like I was coming to meet God – I need to know more of the Stories, and know that you have the answers and can help me know what to do.”  (PICTURE, Roberta, Precious and me)

Roberta and I shared the story of the Sermon on the Mount – focusing on the part that God cares for his children more than the flowers, or birds- Precious really liked that part.  As Precious cried on my shoulder for a long time before I left, we talked about having ‘prayer/story sharing’ more frequently, on the phone or via the internet.  I also shared with her how one of the Mercy Story team members, ‘Andrew’ lives in her city and could possible connect her with like-minded people- pray for these connections!

3. “Did that just happen?” ~ Roberta on our rip to S. Asia as we entered back into the USA.

While the visit with Precious was a blessing, it was also overwhelming as I heard her struggles.  My response was: “I should just live in the town where Precious lives.”  Then later, as we spent time with the Tea Town story teams, and listened to them share how situations are extremely challenging.  I again responded with, “I should just live with that story team in their village.”  Finally, Roberta said to me, “Well, then you should just live everywhere……but you can’t – you can’t even live in 2 places at once.”

I paused as her truthful words hit me right where I needed it.  Even though God may use situations like the ones I was facing to move His people to different places, I was somehow incorrectly thinking that the solution to some of these problems, was ME.  Wow.  Humbling.  I can’t provide the Eternal Solution, any more than I can live in two places at once.  Hmm.  (read this and another thought sparked by my cousin on this blog post: )

Just a note: I can’t begin to  tell how much of a blessing it was to have my cousin Roberta’s company during this trip, and experience every aspect of my life there (bathing with a bucket of cold water, thin mattresses, overwhelming heat, eating rice every day, cockroaches, foreign languages, city pollution that hides the sun, honking horns, etc, etc).  Her willingness and desire to come speaks love to me in so many ways- and I will always cherish our special time together!  Thanks Bertie! :)

·         Praise for safety and overall a successful trip to S. Asia and enjoyable time with my cousin, Roberta!
·         Praise for good connections with my friend Kristin, and Precious, and re-connecting with the story teams!
·         Praise for the conference that the Mercy team was involved preparing for the minority languages story projects!
·         Praise for my ankle – the visit to the specialist in September went well – the conclusion was a recommendation for a minor surgery that could relieve the scar-tissue ‘pinching’ that causes me pain.  The prayer is knowing when/if to go through with that surgery.
·         Praise for a new roommate!  And also praise for great conversations already with local friends since I’ve been back!
·         Prayer for Precious – for her to connect with some like-minded friends in her town.
·         Prayer for the Mercy Team – they have a lot of work in front of them – prayer for encouragement and endurance!
·         Prayer for continued adjustment back to the USA – and that I would continually embrace God as my ‘Home.’  A praise that I worshipped today in my own mother-tongue- English!  It was refreshing!

Until All Have Heard,

~ Elizabeth

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