The encouragement of good teaching

David Sills teaching during a lunch session.

David Sills teaching during a lunch session.

Last week was Spiritual Emphasis Week here at school and a wonderful team from a friend’s church in Arkansas came to do a VBS for the kids so that the adults could attend two sessions a day.  Our speaker was David Sills, who has written several helpful books on missiology.  His ministry is called Reaching & Teaching.  Even before the week began, there was some buzz about him.  Several of our friends had really enjoyed hearing him a few years ago and some had read one of his books.  The fact that he attended our same language school, ministered in Ecuador, and then studied missions and discipling made him instantly interesting for most of us.

Because Sarah had a fever, Will and I had to take turns going to the talks and we didn’t get to attend every session, but here are some good soundbites from what I did hear:

From Matthew 11:28 & 29 “Come to me, you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Take on the burden of obedience.

Persevere when there is not any fruit and then, if there is some fruit, be sure to declare “This is the Lord,” like the disciples in John 21:1-14.

As you work through culture shock, don’t throw our your first culture.  That is a rejection of what God has given you in your life thus far.  Just keep waiting and trusting and the abnormal will become normal.  When you have moved to another country, many of your shock absorbers are gone, and what you have left is metal on metal.  (It doesn’t sound pretty sometimes!)

From Romans 12:2, you must be transformed so that you can pick up God’s frequency. He is talking at a frequency that the natural man cannot hear.

God’s will is like a football field.  There are some boundaries, but you have space to run around.

On feeling like you can’t hear God when things are tough: Teachers are always quiet during a test.

During prayer, he asks God, What is not being done that ought to be done that I could do and if it were done, it would bring glory to Your name?

The closer we get to the light, the more we can see our own dirtiness.

God says you can start over, but the devil will tell you that you cannot.

Sorrow, regret, and remorse look back.  Fear, worry, and anxiety look forward.  Peace, rest, and trust stand still and look up.

We thank the Lord for providing sound teaching and relevant, helpful, practical guidance just when we have been seeking it.

School Work Progressing at Diospi Suyana Hospital

From the Diospi Suyana website regarding the construction of the new school.  We are continuing to think about and pray for the construction and success of the new school.  Please pray with us that God will provide a staff of administrators, workers, and teachers to lead our kids through their education.

School building works: Fighting for every meter of progress

Off in the right direction

Hello Friends, The construction site of the sports hall looks like a battle field after World War I at the moment, however, it is easy to see what this is going to be. Two thirds of the building pits for the individual fundaments have been excavated, filled in with lean concrete down to the foundation base  and half of it has been concreted.  We are about to start work on the connecting ground beams. All of these jobs are carried out by hand and are rather time-consuming.  Interior plaster in the large building (no. 2) is nearly finished, and a group has started dressing its face. The top floor ceiling of the administrative building and the connecting wing is being reinforced and will be concreted tomorrow.  Two painters are working on the ground floor of house no. 5; a sliding ladder leading up to the attic has also been built into the top floor ceiling.

No more to report at present.

Kind regards, Udo

God uses the Average

Is it a bummer to be average?  When we compare ourselves to others, we are bound to find ourselves in the average club.  And the truth is that if you look around enough you will always find someone that is better than you at something.  But God uses all of us, even (or usually) the most average among us, to increase his kingdom.  I was reminded of this as I was reading from Kevin DeYoung’s blog.  He had a post called Simon Prevette from a guest writer in which it is described how one humble, small, quiet man through faithful service influenced the majority of his church toward faith in God.  Below is an excerpt, but the post is worth reading in its entirety to see how he influenced most of his church through humble faith.

Though Simon was not the type of man people would point to as an incredibly gifted leader, he had a lasting impact upon the church that surpassed even the most gifted pastors this church had enjoyed over its history. How did Simon do this? In a very “average” way.  On Sundays, the young boys of the church were invited to Simon’s house for afternoon walks. And as they walked through the woods, he would talk to them about trees, plants, birds, and…Christ. He did so in an unassuming manner. There was no weekly agenda, no plotting, and no preaching; just an older man spending time with young boys and allowing the Lord to work in His seemingly simple ways for profound ends. These now seventy-year old men all pointed to Simon Prevette as one, if not the key, instrument used by the Lord to draw them to saving faith.

I believe it is the plan of God is to use the average for His work.  If  you look at the men and women that God used in a positive way in the Bible, they were always humble.  Moses, David, Abraham, and Paul are examples that come immediately to mind.  God also uses the proud, but it is often despite their lack of faith, and often to their detriment.  So I encourage you to rejoice in your averageness, work out the strengthening of your faith, and serve humbly so that God will use you through your weakness and foolishness.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”[d]

The Renewing of our Plastic Minds

Over at a blog named My Blog, a friend of mine, Geoff Smith, has a post titled Keep the Faculty of Effort Alive in You.  Geoff writes things that challenge me and cause me to stop, think, and consider (sometimes I have trouble keeping up with his thoughts).  He has a recent blog post where he discusses his recent reading of William James, relates it to C.S. Lewis and brings in his own thoughts.  See the following quote from William James that Geoff uses in his blog post.

“The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way. Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to themselves while in the plastic state (James, 130).”

I am reminded that what I do shapes who I am.  Our flexible minds conform themselves to our actions as much as what we think controls what we do.

Romans 2:7  “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.”

Romans 12:1-2  “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

So we are made new in ChrIst Jesus, but as we endeavor to live out what he has made us in the eyes of God, we should continually work to have actions that fit the description of our new man.  So it works both ways in that our new way of thinking guides our actions, and what we do shapes our minds.  And through this we not only change our minds to think more like God, but we give glory to Him who has already made us new.

Common Questions Regarding Diospi Suyana Hospital

Common questions answered regarding Diospi Suyana Hospital from their website.

How do you propose to guarantee the long term financial support for this hospital?

Approximately half of the budget is to be covered by an international association of supporting members with a target membership of 1000. In addition, we founded the Diospi Suyana Foundation in March 2004. In the long-term, the interest from this will also flow into the running of the hospital. Patients belonging to the middle classes will of course be expected to pay for their treatment. A local social worker will determine to what extent the patients can contribute to the cost of treatment.

What is the Peruvian government contributing to this charity hospital?

In an agreement between Diospi Suyana and the state health authorities (DIRESA), dated April 3, 2003, cooperation has been regulated in a very unbureaucratic manner. On 4 July 2006, Drs. Klaus and Tina John presented Diospi Suyana to the wife of the Peruvian President. The First Lady of Peru, Pilar Nores de García, accepted to serve as godmother of the project. She wants to help especially with the importation of medical equipment. On 25 July 2006 the Secretary of Health, Dr. Pilar Mazzetti and Dr. John signed a treaty of cooperation. Based on that document the Peruvian government will contribute +/- 5 % to the monthy budget.

What role will the Christian Faith play in the daily routine of the hospital?

In the cooperation agreement with the state health authorities Diospi Suyana committed itself to treat all Peruvians, irrespective of faith or creed. Our motivation in building and running the hospital is to put Jesus´ Sermon on the Mount into practice. There are no conditions attached to Diospi Suyana´s charitable assistance

Is there room for an evangelical hospital in a predominantly catholic country?

Yes, of course! At present, 10% of the inhabitants of Curahuasi belong to protestant churches. The proportion of faiths one to another is improving all over Peru. The hospital will of course treat Catholics with the same respect as Protestants.

How many employees will the hospital need?

A total of 70 members of staff will be needed to run the hospital. Approximately 35 Peruvians can be employed by the hospital management at local rates of pay. The team will be completed by volunteer workers from overseas who will organize their own financial support from private sponsors. Thus the hospital budget can be significantly reduced and more money can be made available to provide medical care for the poorest.

Is it really worthwhile doing a project of this size in Peru?

The planned missionary hospital has the potential to treat 50,000 patients a year on an in-patient and out-patient basis. The real benefit, however, by far exceeds this number since every patient is of course a member of a family. If a mother of 6 dies of a septic gall bladder and the father loses his job in the fields due to a broken leg, there are consequences for a large number of people. Continue reading

Pancakes: the good, the bad (for you), and the delicious

Weeknight dinners lately have been, well, uninspired.  Weekend breakfast, however, is killer.  We’re soaring then.  There is a place that sells buttery cinnamon bread exactly one block from our house and Will can make some mean French toast.  But, I digress.  This post is about pancakes.  For more information than you may have believed was available regarding pancakes look here.  Read on for two or three pancake recipes plus a sauce.

Reg Cox, lucky husband of my friend Amy, has long been famous for his Power Cakes.  These are intense pancakes cooked by an intense guy and Reg serves them up with enthusiasm for their many overnight guests.  I’ve tweaked the recipe Amy shared with me and I don’t make them nearly as healthy as Reg does.  You’ll have to travel to Denver to get the real deal.  This yummy recipe is easy to memorize, can be fiddled with, and is healthy.

A couple of months ago, my thoughtful mother-in-law Ruth sent me a few magazines, including the May Food Network magazine with cinnamon rolls on the cover.  Inside they have a recipe for Perfect Pancakes.  They are neither healthy nor particularly easy, but we really like them.  At first bite, David dubbed them “Restaurant Pancakes.”

You may recall Tico pancakes, called Arepas Dulces, that I recommended here.

In order to take each of these recipes to the next level, serve with strawberry sauce, whipped cream, fresh fruit, syrup, even melted chocolate chips.  Strawberry sauce recipe also follows.  Enjoy. Continue reading