19 September 2018

Challenging missionary quotes from the 18th / 19th centuries, plus one from the 21st century - part 1

"It is impossible for any rational creature to be happy without acting all for God. God Himself could not make him happy any other way... There is nothing in the world worth living for but doing good and finishing God's work, doing the work that Christ did. I see nothing else in the world that can yield any satisfaction besides living to God, pleasing Him, and doing his whole will."

David Brainerd (1718-1747), American missionary to Delaware Indians of New Jersey

Shortly before his death, Carey said to a friend:

"You have been saying much about Dr. Carey and his work. When I am gone, say nothing about Dr. Carey; speak about Dr. Carey's savior."

William Carey (1761-1834), British missionary to India

"The command - Go into all the world - seems to be strictly an injunction, and, as far as I can see, my going forth is a matter of obedience to a plain command. In place of seeking to assign a reason for going abroad, I would prefer to say that I have failed to discover any reason why I should stay at home."

James Gilmour (1843-1891), Scottish missionary to Mongolia

"I feel it is my duty to plod on, while daylight shall last. I am not tired of my work, neither am I tired of the world; yet, when Christ calls me home, I shall go with gladness."

Adoniram Judson (1788-1850), American missionary to Burma

"Remember us in your prayers that we grow not weary in well doing. It is hard to work for years with pure motives. Many look upon us as having some ulterior object in view; but He who died for us, and whom we ought to copy, did more for us than we can do for any one else. We should have grace to follow in His steps. I am a missionary, heart and soul. In this service I hope to live; in it I wish to die!"

David Livingstone (1813-1873), Scottish missionary in various parts of Africa

"Lord, enable us to search our hearts and humble ourselves before Thee. Oh, for a closer walk with God, more faith, more sincerity, more earnestness, and more love. I must study more the Word of God. 'If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you.' The Master said so, and His words are true."

Alexander M. Mackay (1849-1890), Scottish missionary to Uganda

[above photos and quotes were taken from wholesomewords.org]

"Becoming a missionary and living in a foreign land was never on my radar. However, during a period of intensely seeking the Lord, he literally stood me up on my feet and sent me in a new direction. The very next day I applied for a passport... all-the-while maintaining a responsive posture. I was ready, ready to follow wherever God led me. A mere five months later, in October 2001, I found myself in Kenya, East Africa. It's now been 17 years and I am still here walking in the footsteps my Lord lays out for me."

"Always be ready for God's surprise visits. It's possible he just might have a new assignment for you!"

Deb Smith (1955- ), American missionary to Kenya   

17 September 2018

The Lord's Prayer for Missionaries; Crossing Cultures in Scripture, by Marvin J. Newell

The Lord's Prayer was offered by Jesus as a pattern for all believers. It helps us identify and focus on aspects of our relationships with God, others, and self that are most important.

Have you ever pondered the Lord's Prayer in light of the missionary's cross-cultural task? There are eleven core issues: three relating to God's person, three to his program, and five to God's cross-cultural messenger.

When we step back from the throes of ministry immersion and reflect on our involvement in his missional program, we gain a reassurance of purposefulness in our cross-cultural engagements.

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Our Father
You are the transcendent, omnipotent God, the one and only true God. Yet, you have sent me out as your ambassador to proclaim you as a loving, caring Father. You are worthy of all praise.

In heaven
You are totally other than your creation. You exist outside and above all that you have made. I declare to the all around me the paradox that you reside in unapproachable light, yet make yourself approachable to the lowest of people through your son, Jesus Christ.

Hallowed by your name
The ultimate end of every person, and certainly my labor as your messenger, is to bring unadulterated worship to you. This is the core message I proclaim to people who ignore your majesty and violate the standards of your holiness.

Your Kingdom come
You have sent me to other kingdoms of this world, where wrongs won't be righted and justice won't be served until you come and establish your eternal kingdom. You are the king of all, and yours in the dominion forever and ever.

Your will be done
As your servant, I have enfolded my will into yours. In following your will for my life, you sent me to this far and distant land, to a people much different from me. This has been good, and the longer I'm here, the longer I see the goodness of your will being done through my life. My presence here is part of your purposeful design. I value your will for my life.

On earth as it is in heaven
I am learning more and more about your plan for those living across the span of this vast earth. You aren't willing that any should perish. Use me to help make your will become a reality in this corner of the earth, where you have sent me.

Give me this day my daily bread
Lord, my daily bread is supplied through the generosity of your people. You have blessed them so they can be a blessing to me, as well as to the people to whom you have connected me. I never seem to have a lot, but I always have enough. My supporters are generous and I thank you for supplying my daily needs.

Forgive our debts
A lot of people make my ministry possible. Help all of us to continue going forward together in harmony and oneness of spirit.

As we also have forgiven our debtors
I have learned to forgive people here who have opposed or offended me: government officials, local pastors who jockey for position, jealous or hostile locals, etc. Help me to continually forgive, for tension with others will always be my lot as long as I'm on a mission with you.

Lead me not into temptation
Even as a missionary, I am tempted to sin on a daily basis. The same temptations that vied for my heart and mind at home in the States, are also here... albeit more accentuated. There's no such thing as sanctification by aviation; my old nature flew over here with me! Help me be a champion over besetting sins and ongoing temptation.

Deliver me from evil
Peter wasn't exaggerating when he said, "Satan prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." The prince of this world hates me and my work, but I am engaged in spiritual warfare against him. Thanks be to you, Lord, for you have given me - your frail yet willing ambassador - the victory!


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"Christ's prayer stands as a model not only for our personal prayer, but for our ministries as well. It's only when my heart is captured by the awe of God that I will view my identity rightly. And it's only when I view my identity rightly that I will have a proper sense of need and a willingness to abandon my plan for the greater and more glorious plan of God."

  ~ Paul David Tripp, pastor and author

11 September 2018

2018 Home-stay - New York City: building a bench, GeoCaching, hanging out, and a leadership summit

New York City is so fascinating, and I always enjoy exploring it! What better way to do that than with GeoCaching.

Yum! I could smell the wonderful aroma from all this fruit as I walked past. Buying goods on the sidewalk reminds me of Kenya!

I headed out on my own to do some GeoCaching on two days. So much fun!

I enjoyed building this bench over the course of several days, with the kids helping me.

Heading to the kids' track meet with scooters, like true New Yorkers.

I was fortunate to attend the 2-day Global Leadership Summit.

There were so many fantastic speakers, but I especially enjoyed Erwin McManus. These are a few excerpts from his talk -

We need to ask ourselves - How can I become the person I was created to be? In 2 Kings, when King Jehoash is about to be destroyed by an army, he knows the only way to win is if God is on his side. Elisha tells him to take arrows and strike them on the ground and he will have victory. So the king strikes the ground three times and stops. Elisha asks him why he stopped, because now he will only have partial victory.

How many of us have confused those moments in our life when we thought we failed, but we really quit.
We settled for much less than the life we are supposed to live.

Most of us live our lives as if we are going to live forever. We are all dying; we don’t get any of our days back. We must treat each day like it's sacred. Some of you are living your life in fear. Freedom is on the other side of your fear! If you don’t deal with the paralyzing power of fear in your life, you will never live the life you were created to live. Your faith is the fuel you need to step into your pain and into your fear and into your failures. Take the arrow and strike and strike and strike and strike and strike.

When you take your last breath, let your quiver be empty... 
and let your last arrow be in your hand.

10 September 2018

2018 Home-stay - Omaha, Nebraska; good times being back in my hometown

These trees forming the letters of 'HI', don't look as good as they used to, but I was glad to see them still standing!

These ladies are 3/4 of my accountability team. We met in person, and the remaining gal joined us remotely via the internet.

I was happy to again see Justin - brother to my son-in-law - and to savor his amazing cooking at his award-winning restaurant.
Mom has almost become a regular; Naomi plus Mia were trying it out for their first time.

I was glad to see my buddy, Ryan, again and also meet his fiancée, Veronica.
We forgot to get a photo at our favorite spot, the International Café... so we improvised while having our dessert at a Dairy Queen.

A few hours with Ryan at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo made me think I was in Kenya!

I enjoyed a lovely evening with these gals, including dinner out on the back deck.

Marge and Larry joined my Mom and I for lunch and a competitive game of Scrabble.

Pat (Guatemala missionary) and I always have long lunches whenever we're in Omaha.

Naomi, Mia, Aaliyah, and I enjoyed an evening at Shakespeare on the Green... just like my kids and I did years ago.
We also took in another tradition - - thoroughly enjoying an evening at Jazz on the Green.

And lastly... I got to hang out with my cousin, Linda, when she was in town.
We went to one of my former churches and also Omaha's first African Cultural Festival.

By the way, I have many short videos on my own YouTube channel, like these two. You can enjoy all of them by simply clicking here.

08 September 2018

2018 Home-stay - Kansas and Nebraska: roadtrip

Gerald, Pam, and I met half-way in Manhattan, Kansas for lunch and some encouraging conversation 

During a brief roadtrip from Omaha to Manhattan to North Platte, I managed to visit several folks - friends, family, supporters, and fellow missionaries - and simultaneously did a bit of reminiscing. It was wonderful to see everyone, plus a few more who aren't pictured here.

Deb and Charlie (who I've known since the mid-70's) recently retired after over 30 years as missionaries in Thailand.
It was wonderful to see them again and 'compare notes', so to speak, about life in a different land and culture.

It was wonderful to catch up briefly with a few of the Epting family!

My long-time friend, Mary, always welcomes me with a bed and a smile during my stay.

Wow, a lot of memories flooded my mind when I happened to drive by our old house in North Platte!
My first three children joined our family while we lived here (approximately 1975-1981).

I've always loved sunflowers... 

... as well as wild grasses that grow by the side of the road in Nebraska!

[The post below records my sortie into GeoCaching while I did the roadtrip.]

04 September 2018

Mingo GC30: The oldest active (and unarchived) GeoCache in the world, located in Kansas USA

This cache, called Mingo GC30, is somewhat in the middle of nowhere, just off I-70 between Oakley and Colby, Kansas. It's near a small town called Mingo (which is where the cache gets its name). I went out of my way approximately 20 miles so I could find and log this famous cache. It was also a good chance to stretch my legs during a long day of driving. Unfortunately there was no fuel in any of the pumps at the unmanned gas station across the road.

The container and its contents
 Interesting facts -

  • The Mingo GC30 is exactly 8,700.4 miles (as a bird flies) from my home at Ngong town in Kenya. It is 297.4 miles (as a bird flies) from my mom's house in Omaha, Nebraska.
  • My log on July 28, 2018 was number 6,747 out of 6,762 (as of August 4, 2018). 
  • 2,550 people have indicated this cache is one of their favorites. 
  • People who have found it have uploaded 2,350 photos when they log it on the GeoCache app; I uploaded one of those. 

Later Kansas Stasher, the cache owner, added this, August 29, 2004:
"Over the last couple of years people have been saying that this is the oldest still active cache. I know for sure that it was the 7th ever created and the first in Kansas. I would like to thank everyone who has stopped and visited so far. And let's keep it going for a long, long time. I put it near I-70 since this was the best chance to get visitors in the middle of nowhere."

I dutifully recorded my GeoCache name on the physical log book.
And when I recorded it on the app, I got a yellow smile-y face! 

Here I am with the famous cache! My mom's car is in the background and you can see the path heading to the cache site.

This nearby cache, across from a corn field, is called 'Mingo the Merciless'

This very clever one, called 'There's a Bug on the Bump on the Log', was also nearby.

'There's a Bug' is located at the intersection of Thomas County roads 25 and K.

Explore each new day with desire to find Me. 
Before you get out of bed, I have already been working to prepare the path that will get you through this day.
There are hidden treasures strategically placed along the way.
Some of the treasures are trials, designed to shake you free from earth shackles.
Others are blessings that reveal My presence: sunshine, flowers, birds, friendships, answered prayer.
Search for deep treasure as you go through this day.
You will find Me along the way.
~ Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

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GeoCaching actually reminds me a lot of the spiritual sentiments conveyed in this quote!

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