Although we have not lived in Lancaster County for more than seven years now (is it really that many?), our family is forever tied to Grace Church at Willow Valley through serving and worshiping together with cherished friends in the Faith.
I noticed from the church website that Pastor John recently spent a month teaching on “Let the Nations be Glad!” Love it! I’d love to listen to mission emphasis every Sunday all year long. Years ago, I fell in love with John Piper’s book by the same title. This classic book talks about reaching ‘all nations’ near and far as a biblical basis for sharing our faith, but really it’s about so much more than that. Mr. Piper states that our true goal in missions is “the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God.”
When the Lord brought Tim and I together, first to marriage and then to full-time missions, we did not feel ‘ready’ to share our new found faith with people in the States, let alone abroad, even though we felt as though that was where He was calling us. We carried a sort of ‘private faith,’ and did not talk much about Jesus in our own town or state. Still, we trusted Him to guide us, and through a series of confirmations, we went to Bible school, joined Wycliffe Bible Translators, trained in Dallas, TX, traveled to France for French study, spent 3 months in an Africa Orientation Course in Cameroon, Africa, and eventually did 2 terms in Senegal, West Africa. Now we work with JAARS in North Carolina, the practical support side of translation work. If you add four children along the way and a host of service projects and ministry, you are up-to-date on God’s direction and plans for us.
It’s been a wonderful and wild ride. This summer we will receive a certificate for 25 years of serving in Wycliffe. We are firmly convinced that God’s love letter, The Bible, should be available to everyone to read in their own mother-tongue language (the language you speak at home when you first begin to talk). It is said that no one should have to learn another language to read the Bible for themselves. Wycliffe is coming into the final stretch of beginning a translation work for every people group that needs one; their goal is 2025. We are partnering with other missions and nationals to get the work completed.
Tim and I feel that although we did not deem ourselves ‘ready’ way back when to share our faith and tell of His greatness, God has used us in this great task and continues to do so with the help of those He puts in our paths each day. This is a mandate for all of us. It is not a DUTY to serve God, but a PRIVILEGE, even through many highs and often, great lows. Grace Church has supported the work of Bible translation through their friendships, training, prayer and financial gifts to a host of missionaries, our family included. The task and rewards go to all of you as well. Let’s continue to pray Rev. 7:9:
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. (NIV)
by Dee Manning, JAARS