Downing – April 2012
It’s Semi-Official! by Grace Downing
We have been recommended on to the Missions Training Center in Missouri! There’s a slew of paperwork to complete before it’s a done deal, but as far as we know, we’re headed to the next phase of training in the fall. As we head into our spring break, it’s strange to look around and realize that our two years here have flown by and in a matter of weeks we’ll be headed to Colorado for the summer and then off to Missouri. One teacher mentioned this past week that if we were to stretch out our Bible training to its uncondensed length and were to study it in our regular sunday school and morning church, it would take about 37 years! I cannot tell you how much has been packed into every inch of our minds during these hours, not only in the classroom but outside as well. It is our desire that this knowledge wouldn’t just fill space in our heads, but pour forth into our hearts and find its way into the lives of those around us. We heard this week from Brad Buser and from Jason Swanson the week previous. Both men have spent years on the mission field and had so much truth to impart. One of the joys of our training has been to hear from missionaries who have walked in paths that we someday hope to follow. They shared about hardships and the unsurpassed satisfaction of a life lived in service to their Savior.
Jason Swanson’s story was unique in that he and his wife joined an existing work over in PNG where 9 missionary families had already been. Much of the groundwork was laid, but there was just as much confusion as well. He told us the story that went beyond the first four years of language and culture study. His story wound through 12 painstaking years of guiding a small, scraggly, syncretistic church into a rooted, maturing body. Just this past year, elders and deacons were appointed from within their midst. The NT translation is almost finished, but there will still be a few years where they will watch and guide–mostly from the sidelines–as God grows the Siawi body for His glory amidst the struggles.
Brad Buser, sometimes affectionately referred to as “Brad the Abuser,” is quite the firebrand. He’s a 6’5”ish former surfer from California and talks incredibly fast. He’s not afraid to get in your face and ask you if you’ve counted the cost of missions, if you’re ready to lay it all on the table. He spent years and years on the field first working with the Iteri people, and has since been involved in challenging many young lives with the great commission. A few of us got some time with Brad, so I wrote a little more about the conversations on our blog if you care to read all of the secrets we learned from a seasoned missionary.
We’re currently on spring break in Asheville, North Carolina, visiting Payton’s brother and enjoying the warm weather! We’re staying with some lovely friends from Colorado who moved to NC a few years ago and opened a B&B called the Fox and Fiddle. I’ll probably add pictures to the blog when we actually arrive home. After this, our days are numbered and the flood of homework, graduation and such will not let up until we actually pull out of Jackson. Keep us in your prayers!
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