Back in junior high, my joints ached all the time. My mom’s words of wisdom were “Don’t worry, they’re just growing pains.” I grew over 6 inches in less than a year. But the pain was worth the progress, especially during basketball season.
Our family and e3 Partners Ministry both are experiencing growing pains as God blesses us with progress.
A, L and baby Elizabeth
Our daughter "A" has “wonderful” growing pains, as she now is 5 months pregnant! (Easy for this new Granddad to say, huh?) The morning sickness is easing, just in time for the backaches to start! On Valentine’s Day, they treated us to a visit to “Stork Vision.” We crowded around a big screen TV hooked to a sonogram and found out . . . it’s a girl! So now we can pray for little Elizabeth Grace by name. The pain is worth the progress.
We enjoyed A and L’s five week visit here in the States. They are now back in Asia—back to their Ph.D. and language studies, back to reaching out to fellow students, back to daily eating with chopsticks. The pain of seeing them get on that plane is worth the progress being made there. But we’re counting down the days until we go see them this summer, right before A’s July 9th due date.
Joanna: New Teacher . . . Again
Every new teacher looks forward to their 2nd and 3rd year when they have lesson plans prepared, they have learned the ropes, and can focus more on teaching than on daily preps. But this year Joanna endured another “first year” as she felt called to change to teach ESL (English as a Second Language). But the progress she has made toward her goal of ministering in other cultures has more than offset the pain of starting over.
Philip: Eagle Growing Pains
Recently we celebrated with Philip (with proud sister Joanna in picture) as he attained the rank of Eagle Scout, something only 4% of Boy Scouts do. He persevered through literally hundreds and hundreds of requirements that must be finished to get to this level. The toughest were not the ones he did himself, but the ones when he had to lead others to accomplish a goal or complete a project. Some little, some big, but cumulatively very, very challenging.
As is common with many students, there were times he walked away saying “I’ve had it.” But God gave him the persistence to always return to successfully finish whatever task was blocking the trail to Eagle. The pain was worth the progress.
e3 Partners Ministry
Three years ago we began to expand beyond doing only church planting mission trips. We started recruiting national networks of church planting coaches. As God provided funding, we equipped them with training, EvangeCubes, First Steps church planting manuals, discipleship materials and other resources to help them help more churches plant more churches.
I am using skills I honed practicing corporate law more than I ever thought I would as I was asked to oversee this new part of the ministry. Please pray for us as we go through the growing pains of making progress in these areas—
· Setting up offices in 25 countries
· Hiring national staff in each office
· Developing policies and procedures that work across many cultures
· Updating our First Steps church planting curriculum that we used last year to train over 20,000 pastors and leaders
· Registering to do ministry in each country
· Training the first generation of church planting coaches in several of these countries
Thanks to all of you who have partnered with us in going, giving, and praying. Because of you, we get to see all these growing pains as God continues to grow us as His servants.