What a glorious blessing to have the opportunity to have Candidacy. We are making many friends, learning more about MAF as well as the countries that they serve, and how MAF serves the Lord by doing the works they do. Thus far, we have learned about the opportunities to serve in Africa, Eurasia, and Indonesia. Tomorrow we will learn about Latin America and Haiti. We have had two program directors Skype talk with us via internet video connection and one from Indonesia here on furlough. MAF truly cares about laying eveything out on the table for us to see. We asked alot of questions - some about positive things and some negative. And based on their honesty, they didn't sugar coat any of the answers. I really appreciate having this time to ask questions about each program. Today, we were given a booklet with a few of the opportunities the wives have with MAF. For example, they can perform standard tasks such as flight operations to help the base run smoothly; they can perform Bible studies and encourage church ministries; they can perform humanitarian aid such as visiting the orphans and widows; or they can even teach an arts and crafts class! There are so many opportunities for the wives so that our new lives are enriched by our everyday ministries!
Each time we hear from a different program, there are so many appealing qualites that we are having a hard time discerning which one would be the best fit for us! Ephesians 2:10 talks about good works prepared in advance for us by God. Please pray so we can see God's will and which works He would have us do!
As a candidate class, we got a chance to close the doors and just vent our fears and expectations about what our new lives will be like. We wrote them on all out on a flip chart so that everyone could have them in the open to see. There were many heads nodding in agreement to the things being said. One common fear was that we will be so willing to serve the people as missionaries that we will forget time with ourselves and our families. It is a reasonable fear for anyone but seeing it out in the open helped everyone to realize we all have the same fears. The same goes for the expectations. How can we expect to take care of others if we don't take care of ourselves. Just like in an airplane, they explain that whent the oxygen mask drops, take care of yourself first so that you can take care of others. We must be focused on God first (our spiritual lives) so that we can be missionaries who aid others. This intense session lasted about 45 minutes, and then we spent about another 45 minutes praying together over all the things we had listed. Our prayer was that God would hear our fears and expectations and help to ease our hearts.
We also had a chance to learn about one of the newer ministries of MAF, Learning Technologies. What learning technologies does is figure out how to get "the right technology to the right location, with the right information." This technology is not necessarily the latest and greatest, for example, one of their most effective tools is a little solar powered audio device that speaks the Bible translated in their own language. After analysis, they determined that although the Christain numbers are growing, sometimes by as much as 4,000 per week in some areas, there is no one to nurture them. The presenter made the point that many nationals who feel the call to ministry leave thier villiage to go to seminary school, but only 10% actually return to their village to minister to their people. The rest learn the gospel, but it is so out of context to what would make sense to their people that their efforts are largely innefective. So using the most appropriate technology, they can teach local leaders the gospel within the context of their community. She also made the sales pitch that most technology oriented organizations are more focused on the latest, greatest gadgets with the most gizmos. Which is fine and dandy, but little Bobby in Oom-papa-mow-mow doesn't have electricity or internet. What happens to a cell phone? The battery dies. How do you recharge it with no electricity. How does a computer hook to the internet, when none is available (for that matter, how do you use it with no electricity anyway). Instead of trying to solve everyones problems from the inside out, L.T. engages the people in need, and collaborates together to find out what can help them the most. What an incredible organization.
Finally today, we found out we are in charge of next Wednesday morning's chapel service. Kevin will be leading a couple of songs, then we were to come up with a creative way of introducing the class. Needless to say, we are all very excited about what we came up with and can't wait to present it. No spoilers, but hopefully Tasha can get it on video camera!
Kevin & Tasha Spann