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Sunday, April 7, 2013

How far would you go?

Probably the Best Divorce Practice I Ever Followed!

If you can, before reading this, could I ask you to go get one of your Bibles if you have one, and just have it in your lap or close at hand?  Today I want to share something with you that really struck me.  I have a friend who works in a very remote hilly area in the Philippines, translating the scriptures into the native language of that small group of people.  Every once in a while he sends out newsletters, telling his friends what is going on and listing prayer requests and the like.  He probably also uses it to keep his sanity, as he is so far away from his original way of living when he grew up on the East Coast of the United States.  Anyway, I wanted to share with you some of the things out of his latest musings, after which I will be able to explain what it made me think about.  So, the following excerpts are from my friend, Glenn:

The mayor told me that power lines would reach Mangali by the end of the year. How nice (and different!) that will be!

Praise God that we finished the accuracy checks of Revelation and the last half of Luke (the first half was done a few years ago). 

Praise God for good opportunities to share with people in the community during comprehensibility checks as well as in public events such as school closing programs. I printed out the current drafts of the entire New Testament for the team members so they can more readily use the Mangali scriptures in church services and elsewhere and they are being used!

Still recovering from pneumonia in January, I decided that I would not hike in all the way to Mangali. There was, however, a truck going in that day, which was a great option for the first 4 1/2 hours. Then we hit incredible amounts of mud, and the workers got out (every few minutes it seemed) to shovel mud and put down rocks and rice chaff for traction. They did this from 3 p.m. until 2:20 a.m., at which point they decided to get some sleep. Unable to sleep before then without being pitched out into the mud when the truck jerked forward, I was glad to get some rest, even if it meant sleeping on the spare tire with a backpack under my head. The next morning we decided to hike the rest of the way, and we arrived at the edge of Mangali at 2 p.m. The truck, still carrying some of our cargo, didn’t arrive until 10 that night!

Pretty impressive stuff, huh?  When was the last time you took 7 or 8 hours hiking to help somebody who needs to know something about the scriptures?  When were you last so tired you slept on something akin to a truck tire?  Or do you remember when you finally got electricity run to your home?  Or how long have YOU been waiting to have the New Testament available in your native language?  And how much are you willing to do to help someone who doesn't have the New Testament in their language to have that opportunity? Or to help someone get to church who can't due to a disability, poverty or lack of "appropriate social skills?" 

A missionary friend of mine (well, wish they were friends, I actually only got to meet them for a short while) once told about going back home to Australia from their mission field, and how much it bothered them when their friends would complain about losing electricity for 5 minutes in a storm and consider it a major crisis.  My friends compared it to their experience of driving their van in the mission country on hot summer days.  The windows would be down and women on the street attempted to shove their babies into the van, hoping they would take the babies home and the child would have a chance at a decent life.  Compared to the desperation they witnessed from these women, five minutes without electricity just didn't seem like a big deal to my friends.  Obviously, all those years without a regular power source must not be a big deal to my translation friend, either, because he has been going to that village for a couple of decades. 
 Beside you (hopefully) is a Bible.  Odds are, you have had one accessible the vast majority of your life, if nothing else a Gideon Bible at the local hotel or hospital or down at the public library (maybe a few readers haven’t).  These people are thrilled that the scriptures are going to be available in their language at last.  Now thrilled are you that it already IS in yours? 

Probably one of the best habits I had during my divorce process was spending time every day reading God’s Word.  I learned a lot about myself, about God, and received a lot of encouragement, challenges and hope.  Especially if you have children in the home as a single parent, it is very hard to carve out time to spend reading the scriptures…so many other demands just seem so terribly urgent.  But I would encourage you to not let those moments get crowded out…don’t find the time, MAKE the time, one way or another.  Even if it is only 5 minutes at bedtime. 

Pause for moment.  Right now, hold that Bible and try to imagine how you would feel if that Bible wasn't even available in your language.  That was reality at one time.  Even if you are a Greek or Hebrew speaker, there was a time it wasn't written or collected yet.  Imagine that the Bible in your hand is the first Bible you can read.  Imagine that you have just received the first one translated into your language for the first time since it was written 2000 years ago.  It’s a sad thing that we so take for granted this incredible volume that sits on our tables or shelves.  It is truly a treasure beyond any other here on earth.  How about taking a few minutes with the copy you have beside you to spend time with it realizing just how incredible it really is?

TL: dr  The greatest treasure we neglect to see is God’s Word at our fingertips.

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