She Interrupted Me

Dear Mission Team,

Greetings from Ghana. I trust you are well. We are getting ready for the new school year and looking forward to the clearance of our container of Build-A-Buckets that I had hoped would have already cleared. Plans change. Jesus holds all things together. Let us trust Him as we listen to His voice and join His work. The account below was written from the heart of one who listens. Read it and rejoice.

Joey

She Interrupted Me

So as many of you know, I got on an airplane a couple of weeks ago and travelled to another hemisphere to be a part of a team that was supposed to be distributing HCM Build-A-Buckets that were shipped on a container 2 months before. I don’t know about you, but I get the feeling that the Lord laughs at me pretty often. That’s actually a little yiddish saying, but the Bible speaks of that concept well. Proverbs 16 tells us that: “The heart of man plans his way but the LORD establishes his steps”. James 4 is even more indicting: “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” (vv13-16)

Instead you should say ‘If The Lord wills...anything more than that is arrogant and evil.

So I get on an airplane and fly halfway around the world and lo and behold, we have no container.  We think there’s a chance we could get the container so we start shifting plans around - moving this thing here and that thing there and even still, some of that planning doesn’t go exactly the way we intended it. If it is true that God laughs at the plans of men, then it appears that I’m a pretty consistent source of comedy for God.

So, If God really does determine our steps... If He really does move us, shift us and guide us... If He really does work all things toward our good...Then what did He have me do?

Instead of handing out student buckets, I got to participate in 3 Bible schools that I wouldn’t have if I had been busy handing out buckets. The team I travelled with had made plans to put on the Bible schools, but I had no original role in them. I was standing around without a lot to do, so our VBS director asked if I’d be willing to emcee.

God has given me certain giftings that go well in those kinds of circumstances.

  1. I seem to have a connection with kids that not everyone has (maybe it’s because I look funny or something, I don’t know...)
  2. God’s given me what some of the closest people in my life affectionately call “a voice that carries” Each day at the beginning and end of VBS (twice a day in Kotokata), I got to stand in front of a crowd of 75-150 kids and shout: “DID YOU HAVE FUN AT BIBLE SCHOOL TODAY? DID YOU ENJOY THE SONGS? DID YOU LIKE PLAYING FUTBOL? WHAT DID GOD DO IN THE BIBLE STORY?”

“A voice that carries”  probably didn’t make it onto anyone’s “What spiritual gift do I have?” survey, but I think it should. I got to be a unique tool for the kingdom of God to get kids excited about studying the Bible the last couple of weeks. Buckets most likely would have kept me busy somewhere else. I had plans... God had better ones.

Instead of handing out medical buckets, I got to meet Rejoice and her parents. In case you haven’t been following the story, God used His people to raise over $10,000 so that she could receive life-saving surgery for hydrocephalus. Rejoice has received that surgery, she’s in the process of recovery, and it’s gonna take a long time before things are really good again - but I got be there when a missionary walked her parents through understanding what was going on. You see, the hospital never bothered to tell them. Could you imagine spending the last 5 months as a parent with a very sick child not really having any of your questions answered? Why it happened? How it’s fixed? Why her head didn’t just go back to its normal size? But I got to be there and watch a missionary love a young family well. I got to see him patiently walk them through what’s happened and how it wasn’t their fault. I got to see him direct their attention on a God who saved their child’s life in an incredible way. I got to take pictures so that God’s people - who joyfully emptied their pockets so that this little girl might live - will get to see an update of what God has done. Buckets probably would not have allowed me to be a witness to that.

Instead of handing out pastor buckets, I got to preach in two different church plants. The first was in a village called Nto Krom. This is the newest HCM plant. It's a place where I got to preach last year after doing a Jesus film there. Their church is doing well but they could use some things. They're working on building a roof and they could use some more leader training for the men that are there. There was a lady there that was just as gung-ho as a lady can be. She interrupted me twice while I was preaching to ask if she could sing a song that came to her mind with the last point I made. So...I figured, why not? I had been wrong about every other timing thing on the trip so it was in my best interest to just let it happen. Not only that, but sermons tend to have these transitional moments where you move from one proposition to the next - this lady hit the nail on the head both times. 

After the service we were gathered towards the front discussing needs that could be met and we learned that this woman couldn’t read. That’s interesting because she quoted scripture while I was there. It turns out that this women so values God’s word that she listens as closely as she can when it’s being read in her presence. She listens closely so that she can memorize it as soon as she hears it. I have seventeen bibles in my office right now! Add the Logos bible program that’s synced across my laptop, phone, and iPad that has twenty or so versions of the English text. Add to that the stack of Bibles I have to give away to people and it begins to get pretty ridiculous how much access I have to the Scriptures. I literally bought a new Bible the week before I left for Ghana because I wanted a thinner one. I am surrounded by the word of God and I have never in my life memorized a block of text upon first hearing it. And the obvious and unfortunate answer to when we ask why that is, is because I have become inoculated to it. I love the scriptures! I spend my life trying to help people understand them better. I read, I study and I memorize, but my abundance has made me lazy.

And if I were handing out buckets, you know what I would have been busy doing? I would have been sitting in a corner with whoever their leader is walking them through the notes of a study Bible.  I would have been teaching them how to use a Bible dictionary and the extra-biblical book that would be in there.  I would have rightfully (and joyfully) spent my time flipping through the pages of good resources placed into the hands of a good man, teaching them how to use those materials to serve God’s people in God’s Kingdom for God’s glory. It would have been great, it would have been God exalting and I would have missed the forest for the trees. Because I probably would not have been able to see this woman with my own eyes and hear this woman with my own ears as she used the simplest language to reveal the deep treasure that is God’s Word.

And thankfully - God ripped those distractions from me! He was too good to me to allow me to miss that! “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” 

I traveled to Ghana with my own plans. They were good plans. They were God exalting plans. But God lavished His goodness on me by kicking my plans to the curb.

Soli Deo Gloria

Naynay's Account

Brettnay loving one of the babies of Kotokata.

This is Brettnay Bouse's account of her trip this summer with Holistic Christian Ministry. I hope that you will take time to read all about what God did, and what God showed her.

Mission Trip to Ghana, West-Africa 2013

July 29, 2013: the traveling begins. It was a long, exhausting flight. I never rested well. The flight from London to Accra was an interesting one though. I have never seen so many wealthy Ghanaians before. They were cluttered on our plane with many babies crying/sleeping in their laps. Their clothes were in one piece with not a stain in sight. Is that what life is like in the city? Only hours away from a village with no electricity and poverty in every home. They were still just as nice, it's just hard to swallow when you have experienced and loved the complete opposite.

We finally got to Accra and that airport is as always chaotic. We waited in long lines and searched and searched for our luggage. We lost one tote. That's not bad at all compared to last year's three, but that one tote was pretty critical. I am leading the crafts again this year, and all of the supplies was locked away in that one tote. My heart aches. All of the supplies and ideas for the crafts were gone.

When we left the airport I felt the humid cool air on my skin and it sinks in... I'm back. Vincent is there to greet us and we load all of our luggage onto the Landrover and Nissan and prepare to leave when the Nissan will not start. As the Ghanaians say: no problem. After 30 minutes we are on the road. The ride to Kotokata is a very long ride. We did not get home until 3:30 the next morning. As exhausted as I was, I could not sleep. I woke up early and watched out of the windows. The first person I recognized was Etche. He was walking around the Land Rover pointing at the different parts and talking to his self. Typical Etche. Oh how I have missed his sweet hugs and funky smell. After more of the village woke up I walked outside with Lacey and Katherine. The first one to approach us was sweet sweet Josephine. It was still hard to get her to smile, but her ...Read More!

Source: http://brettnaybouse.blogspot.com/2013/08/...

July 1, 2013 Update

Dear Mission Team,

One Request!

. I have one request that I hope you will do for us. We are transferring all of our contacts to a secure mail service called Mail Chimp to ensure that we will not lose you and need you to update your contact info by clicking on this link http://hcmweb.org/mailing-list/. (note: I lost all of you last year when my Outlook crashed in August and recovery was time consuming, incomplete and costly). Thank you so much for your continued faithfulness to being informed and engaged in the work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You are the best.

We have some great family and mission news!

. After nine months of delay after delay, Agnes has received an invitation from United States Immigration office in Houston, TX to take her Oath of Allegiance for citizenship next Friday morning June 7th. After she gets her Certificate of Citizenship, she can apply for a US passport and after her leg heals, we are good to go!

. Rejoice Vivor was released from FOCOS hospital and is home with her family.

. A half mile of 3" pipe has been delivered to the village of Havenu and they are digging in earnest to bring clean water.

. After three weeks of delays, our forty foot container of Build.a.Buckets, rice, beans and supplies will load next Thursday and ETA Ghana is July 16th.

. The Ligbi language primers for grades four and five have been published and delivered. A new written language is given life.

. Tony Romero has been hard at work and Holistic Christian Ministry has a new web site that is simple, engaging and located at www.hcmweb.org. Check it out.

. A new worship structure for the Agortakpo Church has been erected in time for rainy season.

Prayer

. Emily Koch will be loving the Vietnamese people for two weeks as she teaches English. Please join us as we pray for the Gospel to be lived out in her and the team Jesus is sending to Southeast Asia.

. Agnes has had a stubborn sore on her leg that needs to heal. Please join us as we pray that our Lord will provide.

. Pray for Bible translator Joshua Asegebo as he labors to bring the Bible to the 19,000 unreached Ligbi people.

. Pray for our Disciple Makers team that will be learning how to make disciples that make disciples in Port Arthur and Ghana this July and August.