Sunday, January 09, 2011

Far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
   We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

I'll 'try' and make this update short in that the verse is LONG but SO worth reading. Ruth and I started reading 2 Corinthians together as a nightly couple devotional and have SO enjoyed it! When we read the first paragraph, we could relate & sympathize on a COMPLETELY new level! After reading God’s Word and talking with other missionaries, I continue to see and hear that missions or ministry or life at times is HARD and that’s ok/normal. It during these times that we are forced to remember that we rely on not on ourselves on the Lord and the body of Christ, our faith grows! Let me back track a little and try to explain some of the massive stress’s of our last living situation; the pastor was female which was very uncomfortable for us, the house was very nice but it had A LOT of work to finish it and we were only planning on living there 6 months to a year before moving onto Taliabo, kids constantly playing at the house all hours of the day and night and looking into our windows, Bible study every night (not normal) that we felt the need to go to, horrible internet, found it very hard to find a language helper, our yard was a neighborhood walk through, and these are just a few… One of the other main stresses that we had was we had hired a neighbor lady who needed work to come over in the morning and do some cleaning to help her and to help free up Ruth a bit for language study and homeschooling the girls. We noticed after a short time of hiring her that things in the house started turning up missing! We assumed it was her but it is VERY, VERY, VERY, hard to fire someone or accuse of stealing here. The day before we were moving however I (Ben) was over at our house helpers place and saw some of our things and that confirmed she was stealing! Please be praying for this situation with our old house helper in that she is a leader in the church and part of the praise team. I’ve been studying language all week to be able to confront her on this sin issue with the pastor and I sure hope and pray that she repents/confesses her stealing and continue her walk with the Lord. All this to say, the stress of living there with all of that going on just continued to grow to the point of it being unbearable.

On a lighter note after moving away from our previous situation we are starting to feel much better about ministry here in Indonesia. After talking with our home churches, family, & supporters many of you have encouraged our hearts in prayer and with notes about the exciting possibility of ministry in equipping Indonesian nationals to join us (you and us) in reaching the lost for Christ. We are a large body with many functions!

Grace & Peace,
Ben & Ruth
Chloe, Gwen, Addie, and baby due in February!

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