March 11, 2011
As some of you may already know, our time in Texas is drawing to an end. I, Mark, will be flying to Canada on May 10th to hopefully begin working for Chapman’s ice cream, an ice cream manufacturing plant near Durham, Ontario that my brother and brother-in-laws work for. Lauren will be moving to California on June 7th, and is leaving later because she has a job here at the church that doesn’t end until May 26th. She will be spending a month in California with our family and church down there, and will finally be joining me in Canada on July 12th where we will prepare to begin our final two years of missionary training.
Other than that, it has been business as usual here in Grandview, Texas. I decided that for this update I would address a question that I’ve heard asked several times over the past few years. People will sometimes ask me, “Why do you spend those years training? Why not just GO?!” This is a very good question and the answer to it goes far beyond what I could include in this email so I will give you the “nutshell” version.
Although Lauren and I will be spending another two years of training, and a year or so after that to build up support, it is a crucial stage in our journey into tribal church planting. Without this training, we may never be able to learn an indigenous language, teach the Gospel in a way that is culturally appropriate (because not all cultures think alike we must adapt our teaching method in order for understanding to take place), translate the Scriptures into a language that may not be written, or many other difficulties that we will face when we get to the tribe. The other problem with the question, “Why not just go?” is that Lauren and I do not yet have the required support to enter full time ministry. The Lord is completely able to supply for the job ahead of us but He also calls every member of the body to get involved in it, not just the tribal missionary. Lauren and I could not even make it to a tribe with the funds we have, let alone enter full time ministry, translation, and medical work.
This leads me into the final point in this update, I’ve had so many people say how proud they are of me and Lauren in this decision we are making, what I want to say to all of you is this: It’s not us. If and when we get to the tribe, it won’t be because of us, it will be because of YOU and Christ. When the teaching finally begins, it won’t be just Lauren and I teaching, it will be YOU, too, and if we ever manage to finish a translation of the Gospel into the language of those who have not yet heard, it will not have been Lauren and I who did the work, it will be YOU all as well. Understand that this is not a solo job. Christ has built His body out of many parts, and Lauren and I are just one of those parts. It takes the whole body to move and Christ, as the head, to decide the direction, everything else, is simply obedience.
We thank you all so much for your prayers and support!
Until every nation has heard:
Mark & Lauren