a patient work

Let’s be honest. All too often we expect God to work within our time frames and within our step by step expectations. Then we feel frustrated when things don’t go the way we expect in our own lives or in the lives of people around us. We get so easily distracted by doing things for God that we forget to be with Him.

We can be thankful that God is such a good Father. He so patiently works in us, and He gives so much grace as we fumble our way through things in our own strength … only to come back to Him when we finally remember that we actually have nothing to offer. All He wants is to be close to us and live His life through us.

God has been reminding us again in our own lives … He has never asked us to go out and do a bunch of things for Him. He has only ever wanted us to come to Him, rest, and let Him live through us.

Done with language learning … continuing with real life

The easy days of learning an unwritten language are behind us now! That’s exciting and relieving, but the battle is far from over. The core things that we must rest in haven’t changed at all. We’ve shifted our focus from language to the real-life work of patiently leading our friends towards the things that are true…towards their good Father who deeply wants to bring them into perfect intimacy with Himself.

Learning a language was “mostly” dependent on our own effort and willingness to grind through the days. I put quotes around “mostly” because God is certainly the one who deserves the credit in unloading dump trucks full of grace during that time. But in the practical day to day, there weren’t too many outside factors that were going to make or break our ability to learn another language. Thousands of hours are what brings that to fruition.

But now … our effort and knowledge play a very small part in what comes next. People’s hearts can only change as they say “yes” to the truth in God’s word and become acquainted with Him in a real and deep relationship. That requires a personal and daily decision on each individual’s part. We get the privilege to keep being peoples’ friends as we all look to Jesus. We get to have a part in the weighty opportunity in bringing the truth into tension as we engage in this new life together.

God patiently works in us all, and He teaches us so much as we learn to be with Him and patiently help others do the same. Spending 40+ hours with our friends discussing whether or not Genesis 3:1-6 is just a big metaphor … that’s only scratching the surface of what our friends are beginning to battle with.

What’s next?

The season of learning language is behind us now … which is awesome! Now we’re going to keep meeting with a small group of people to really work through things in preparation for teaching more of our friends here in the community. We really want to make the most important things stand out so clearly in our friends’ minds. We want to clarify what God has always been after. And we want our friends to buy in on an intimate relationship with Him. We don’t want them to buy in on anything less than that.

Just like it’s easy for all of us to become distracted by doing things for God, it’s no different for everyone here. It would be easy to win people to some new program that we could offer or to some new understanding of the Bible. But that cannot be all that we’re aiming at.

Even though every detail of what comes next isn’t perfectly clear yet, we are confident that God knows what is best for the people He loves here in Konomala. So we are leaning into Him and trusting that He will make things clear as we keep moving forward. He wants us to stop striving in our own strength … He wants us to rest and look to Him.

Let’s actually model what we are leading our friends to!

Keep Praying!

Pray that we grow more in our own knowledge of our good Father. Pray that we personally choose to rest in Him and take our eyes off of ourselves. It’s so easy to just do stuff. But we want to BE something … not DO something. Our own hearts are so prone to follow our own selfish desires as we look to this world and the things that Satan is offering.

Pray that we would live this out well in our families and as friends. We want to lead our kids to the same thing. All too often they actually see the worst of our selfishness. Pray that God would use us to bring our kids into a daily life giving friendship with Him.

Pray that we would lean into God for wisdom in how to lead our friends into the same deep relationship with their good Father. There are so many unknowns and factors to consider. He is the only one who can change hearts, and we need Him to light the way.

Pray that God would soften peoples’ hearts towards the truth and towards the life that Jesus is offering them. Satan is not resting in his battle for those same hearts.

9 thoughts on “a patient work

  1. This is so exciting and such a huge accomplishment! Praising God for His work, your hard work and strength and wisdom as you prepare for literacy and teaching. So proud of you guys!!!
    Love you,


  2. Your team is in my prayers everyday. I knew you were coming to the end of language learning, and was hoping to hear of your sharing of His story. What great new, that the Good News is again being planted. Let us know anything that we can be praying for. We are behind you all the way.


  3. Thanks for this great update. I just had to share a phrase that I heard a couple weeks ago that has just stuck with me and is worth repeating to myself and others. It seemed to be implied in your update as well.

    Don’t do things for God, but rather do things with God!

    We just got back yesterday from spending the weekend with Jonathan and Jolie. We saw Carter play a game of flag football and Camryn play soccer. We played games and went on walks. For once Tim didn’t have a work project. 😊 (Not that he minds.). This Friday (your Sat) will be their first day with Leo and Rosey who are coming to live with them, forever. This brother (4 1/2yr) and sister (3) are coming from Florida. They Shepherds went down there to meet them in November; and their grandma (who they live with) brought them up here to visit at the end of February. Now the permanent transition is here.

    As you know, I believe, Jessica married Scott Pershall mid February. Adjustments have been smooth and wonderful for everyone. Thankful for that. More good news is that Jessica’s X is giving the go-ahead for Scott to adopt the kids. So they will all become Pershalls.

    So this is the year of adoptions and changes. We would appreciate you joining us all in prayer for Jonathan, Jolie, Carter and Camryn with Leo and Rosey coming. Wisdom, patience, love, grace, and endurance is all needed. We are all such needy people aren’t we!

    Hugs and love to you all. Just love seeing all the photos of your growing girls. Your mom shares some videos with me too from time to time. (She is such a wonderful friend!).


  4. Hey guys, would it be alright to share what you’ve written below and some of the photos on the NTMPNG social media?


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