Newsletter, April 2010

With all that’s been going on with home renovations, it’s been hard to pull away and write a bit. In the last newsletter I wrote (in December), our email project was about 50% complete. Now, a part of me can rest, since that project is 100% finished. Done! And so far, I haven’t seen much residual work.

So now the big push is to finish the sorting and selling and packing and fixing-up and planning and … you get the idea. Perhaps you’ve been through it yourself. In the newsletter, I describe what we’ve been up to and what lies ahead. In just a few weeks, we’re going to make our first major moving trip, and there’s a lot to do in the meantime.

Please enjoy the newsletter. You will notice that it mentions how much more support we need for our assignment in Germany. You may not be aware that all Wycliffe missionaries raise their own support. We’ll need to get the full amount before we can leave. And that, my friends, is part of what faith is for.

April 2010: A Liddle Good News (for reading on-screen)

April 2010: A Liddle Good News (for printing)

Tear it down, pull it up, sell it

“… let us throw off everything that hinders ….” (Hebrews 12:1)

When I look around our house, especially in its present state – Katherine would be furious if I put up pictures – it becomes all too clear that we have a lot in our life here that hinders us. Old things, books, toys, clothing, furniture, paperwork, the house itself – it all weighs us down. And the process of getting rid of it all, in one fashion or another, is pretty painful. It’s so easy to say, “It’s too much. I just can’t do it.”

There’s a lot that we’re trying to do simultaneously: sell or give away unneeded items, renovate parts of the house, set aside things to put in storage, and prepare for life in Germany. Oh, and while all that’s going on, there’s the daily grind of household and office. “Hey, welcome to real life.”

But is that the way the Liddles are supposed to live? “… let us throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” I’m not aiming to get preachy – it’s just that the message from God is the only instruction I can truly rely on, especially when struggles in life seem insurmountable. Katherine and I are convinced that God has marked out a race for us. Now He’s watching to see if we’ll run … or if we’ll hide.

Please pray for us to have this perseverance as we literally wade through everything that we’ve accumulated in our time in the U.S. Oh, how the enemy tries to take hold of us through our stuff! Jesus said, “Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” Unfruitful? I do not want to be like that.

Pray for Katherine and me to have patience with one another as we persevere through this season of stress. A big move will always put stress on a marriage We want to demonstrate to each other, to our sons, to our families, and to anyone else who’s watching (even the enemy!) that the power and love of God can overcome all difficulties.

This week I’ll complete the removal of some of the carpet in the house, clearing the way for the new flooring. We’re setting aside a mountain of things to tag and haul off to a Just Between Friends sale next week. And Katherine and I will be sitting down together with our health records, application forms, and a German dictionary so that we can apply for health insurance over there. Gesundheit! Bitte, beten Sie!

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:2-3) BAM!

Swimming to the wall

When I was in high school, I started swimming competitively year-round. One lesson I learned from my coaches, which has impacted how I work and live, is that the athlete must always swim to the wall, in practice as well as in competition. Often, in practice, we would slow down as we approached the wall at the end of a series, and sometimes we didn’t even touch the wall to complete the distance we were supposed to swim. Our coaches hated that lazy habit and drilled us out of it. “If you do that in a race,” they said, “your effort will count for nothing – you didn’t finish the race! Always swim to the wall. Finish! And if you swim to the wall in practice, you will do it in the race.”

Would Michael Phelps have won so many gold medals in 2008 if he hadn’t swum to the wall with everything he had in him?

My email migration team and I are approaching the wall in our project. We are on an excellent pace, doing far better than I expected – we have finished more than 95% of all the accounts. I expect us to be done by the end of this month. But we can’t let up now and just coast in, and we can’t stop short of completion. The last 5% require more effort now that we’re so close.

We have a mix of people who are left. Obviously, there are folks who have put off the process as long as possible. I understand that. Do you remember worrying over the order in which kids were to present their book reports in school? Most kids wanted to be at the end – and they’re the same way now as adults! There are also people who have schedules that are difficult to accommodate, and there are people who are traveling out of the country.

This week, I have to orchestrate the migration of some accounts for a couple who are so far out in the boonies on the other side of the world that they’re not even in email contact. I have to plan this in such a way that they don’t freak out when they return to the nearest city and that there’s someone on hand who knows enough about the situation to help them “get connected” again. These people are folks I do not wish to disappoint – the fellow’s a well-respected anthropologist who helps translators understand the people they’re working with. This cultural knowledge helps the message of the translated Bible really shine into the hearts of the people who read it.

So please don’t stop praying for my team and me – we want to touch the wall at full speed! (And not just with email!)

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Paul, in Philippians 3:12-14)

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