Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Building Character

Just sitting here this morning thinking about all the things that have happened in the life of our family since the last time we wrote. We have been faced with some challenging circumstances as well as some encouraging times.

I've been reading Mark Batterson's book "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day" and am being challenged.

We pray for comfort instead of character. We pray for an easy way out instead of the strength to make it through. We pray for no pain when the result would be no gain. Maybe we should stop asking God to get us out of difficult circumstances and start asking Him what He wants us to get out of those difficult circumstances.

Definitely a lot easier to say than to put into practice! Especially during the month of February when one of the main sewer lines in our house was clogged up. Part of our basement flooded. Our landlord decided to have about 30 feet of the line replaced.

It involved digging up the tile and cement floor in our basement.

It was a lot easier to complain about the mess, dirt and sewer smell than to ask God to help grow my character.

As of this past weekend we finally have everything cleaned up and put back into place.

Though we have turned over the keys to both of our Quito properties, there has still been a lot of paperwork to finish up. Scott met with the buyers of the guesthouse a few weeks ago as we still are trying to get all the papers ready so we can sign. Avant bought the property back before there were even streets. So the land deed says there is more land than there actually is because part of it was taken for building a street and sidewalk and the title deed was never changed. This past month we had the property surveyed so that we can make the necessary changes before the buyers get the property transferred into their name. The buyers are ready to help get this pushed through, but after living in Quito for 9 years we know that these unusual circumstances can be quite time consuming. Pray for these details to be completed in God's time.

The beginning of March Scott had the opportunity to spend a couple of days in Colta. Several Quichua leaders asked him to come and teach on the Avant Declaration of Faith (our doctrinal statement).

They worked hard on promoting this and they had around 80 pastors and church leaders in attendance.

It is an important issue because there is so much doctrinal controversy within these churches. There are many churches with Biblical roots which have strayed in one way or another. At the end of the first day (after 8 hours of teaching) they were all so riveted on the material that they continued an hour overtime.

They left time at the end of the second day for discussion on how they would be able to take the material home and use it. Scott had challenged them to consider adopting a similar document for themselves and that was considered very seriously. Though most of the discussion happened in their native language of Quichua, Scott caught on that they were giving highly positive feedback. Very encouraging! You can see a 3 minute video with highlights from the conference here:

One of the leaders from Guayaquil was also in attendance and has asked Scott to come and share the same material with Quichua leaders there. So please pray for Scott next week as he'll be teaching again March 28-30. Someone suggested making the conference available on DVD, so we are considering whether we can videotape the one that happens next week. Scott has already shared the material with a couple of key leaders who will hopefully be able to help spread it in other areas. Pray that it can be spread to the extent that it is needed.

Kristi and the kids are starting their 4th quarter this week. You can pray for Kristi on the 26th and 27th as she will be subbing for 6th grade Math and Science those 2 days. Another challenge we have taken on is coordinating the intramural basketball program for 4th-6th grade at Alliance. We had our first practice this week with over 50 kids signed up. We are so thankful for a group of wonderful coaches who really want to see the kids grow and learn! I think it will be a great 2 months! But it does add some additional stress to our already busy lives.

We ask you to keep praying for Scott's brother-in-law Dan as he continues to fight liver cancer. He's on the transplant list waiting for a new liver. Till then, he is receiving chemo to try and keep the cancer from growing. This past week he has been very sick from it and in the hospital.

Please pray for Dan, Cheryl and their 4 children, that God will give them the strength they need day by day for this very difficult time in their lives. You can read updates directly from them on Dan's Caring Bridge website.

When you worship God in the worst of circumstances, you never know what is going to happen next. The circumstances you complain about become chains that imprison you. And worship is the way out. Worship reframes our problems and refocuses our lives. It helps up get through the bad days by reminding us of how good God is. And when you are worshipful, your eyes are more open to notice the miracles that are happening all around you all the time.
-Mark Batterson

Pray that we will be open to building character in all circumstances.

Praise the Lord for an end to the sewer problems we were having.

Pray for a conclusion to the details of selling properties.

Praise the Lord for a good conference on the Declaration of Faith.

Pray that churches would follow through by considering their own doctrine.

Pray for another good conference in Guayaquil.

Pray about how we can make this material more available to others.

Pray for Kristi as she substitute teaches next week.

Pray for a good experience with the intramural basketball program.

Pray for Dan's health and the eventual provision of a liver transplant.

Pray for patience and trust for Dan's entire family.

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