Pentecost (and a Financial Update)
Today is the day that we celebrate Pentecost! It is a day to remember when the Holy Spirit came to dwell in the followers of Jesus Christ. This story can be found in Acts 2.
I love to read this story and to try to imagine myself there when it happened. Christ had promised that the Holy Spirit would come (John 14), but at this point, there would have been a lot of fear and unknown. Christ had ascended to heaven and left his disciples unsure of what was next.
Pentecost means "50th" and it was celebrated originally as the 50th day after Passover. Now that Christ had died on Passover, everything in this time is starting to take on new meaning. About 40 days after the resurrection, Christ ascended, so it's roughly another 10 days before Pentecost happens. During that time, it's hard to imagine what the disciples were thinking, but I know I would have had a lot of questions!
Suddenly, a sound like a mighty rushing wind fills the house. Picture that! The sound is described as a wind that fills the house. And it was loud enough that people came from all over to see what it was (Acts 2:6). Then, (and there are some translation issues here) tongues as of fire appear. God made sure to have both an audio and visual aspect to this entrance!
And what happens? They are filled with the Holy Spirit and begin to speak in other tongues (languages) as the Spirit gave them utterance. This is incredible! The very first thing that the Holy Spirit does is to translate the good news of Jesus Christ into multiple languages for people to hear it. And when the people hear it, they say that they are all hearing it "in the language in which we were born"!
This is what we talk about every day - our goal is to get the good news of Jesus Christ to every person in their language, the language in which they were born! The first time this happened was in Acts 2, and we want to continue this work by translating Scripture into their languages.
But don't miss the main point. The focus is not even really that they were speaking in multiple languages. Acts 2:11 says that each person was hearing in their own language "the mighty works of God."
That's God's main goal here. And that should be our main goal, too. We should be working every day to tell others of the mighty works of God. In Acts 2, God used multiple languages to do that. But how can He be using you to tell of his mighty works today?
I also wanted to take a moment to update you all on some changes that have happened over the last couple of months.
As we have worked to narrow down our final location (Côte d'Ivoire) and our language school location (Switzerland), this has meant some changes to our budget and preparation for the field. Let me just start by saying that we have been so blessed to have an incredible team of people around us that have worked hard to make sure we are prepared for the field. There have been a lot of emails and phone calls talking about what it will look like for our family to be on the field, and most importantly, how much it will cost.
Well, we finally have some answers! The language school, in particular, is going to cost more than we had originally planned. We knew that going in because the cost of living in Switzerland is higher than in France. Because language school is temporary, these funds are raised as a one-time, launch expense and do not affect our monthly ministry budget.
But can I tell you about the mighty works of God in this area of our lives? Through the generosity of many of you and through some financial blessings that came our way in the last few months. God had already blessed us with the extra finances to cover this before we even knew that we were going to need it! I cannot express enough to you how this was not just good financial decisions on our part or particularly savvy planning. It was simply that God knew ahead of time that we would need this money and provided it generously!
We also submitted our visa paperwork for Switzerland and sent it in. Now we wait for approval from the embassy!
Regarding our monthly ministry budget, having an exact location means that we can finally have some more precise numbers where we had been estimating some costs. Practically speaking this has actually raised our budget slightly. I'm so thankful for all of you that give already and we were actually able to absorb some of this change because we were already above 100% of the monthly ministry budget that Wycliffe had given us.
We are now just $221/mo short of our monthly ministry budget. In the grand scheme of things, this is such a small amount that we have seen the Lord provide before. But, in order to be able to leave for Switzerland in August, we have to be at 100% of this budget by then.
So, would you please consider partnering financially with our Wycliffe ministry as we wrap up this first stage and prepare for our time in Switzerland? The last thing I want to do is to come across as standing on shifting sand regarding our finances. Trust us, we feel it, too. But we were finally able to be more accurate about our budget and reaching this goal is the last obstacle before we can finally go overseas!
So if you are not already giving and maybe God has been working in your heart to give toward reaching people with a Bible in their language, I hope you'll consider giving.
If you are already giving, would you please consider increasing that gift by just a little bit? As we've seen already, these obstacles that seem to be so large are overcome when many people do just a little part to get us to that goal. We have 80+ individuals and families that all give different amounts and come together to meet the needs that lie before us.
It has been truly humbling to be a part of this team and we pray you'll join us as we approach the final step of our preparation to join the Bible translation work in Africa!