I Guess I’m God’s Little Princess…

I don’t normally write about money, especially tight times.  I want to hold those stories for later when money is no longer an issue so that the stories can be shared without them coming across as a plea for donations!  But it’s important for God’s kids to be reminded that God’s in charge of finances, too.  I also wanted to write this now because it’s fresh in my mind, and if I waited until we had some ‘free time’ on the mission field to recall some of the challenging times, I might not get them right.

I’ve said before that we’ve not been around missionaries throughout our lives, and have only now getting to know a few since we’ve started to become missionaries ourselves.  We’ve read and read, and the one of the things that is consistent among missionaries that are leading souls to Christ is that they are not focused on ‘things’ and personal wealth.  Many whose stories I’ve read have told those considering a life of missions to expect a life of poverty.  As we’ve been clearing out our lives getting ready to ‘downsize’ from a house to an RV for the duration of deputation, we’ve given away so many things that just a year ago we couldn’t have imagined not having (as well as a few things that should’ve been gotten rid of years ago!).

That said, we’re not in any way trying to admonish Christians with wealth!  God’s used others in wonderful ways over the years to help us and others in need, and He also uses those with almost nothing that we’ve seen selflessly help others that had even less.  God doesn’t care how much you have, He cares that you focus on Him, Love Him, and use what you have to further the expansion of His family.

Another reason I wanted to write this now is the same reason that we started this site at the very beginning of the process:  to document as much as possible for our own sakes and to get the information out there for others embarking (or considering to embark) on a similar journey, as well as to keep family/friends/supporters ‘in the loop’ as they’re praying for God’s working in our lives and service.

Doing contract work can make for an irregular pay schedule.  Add to that working for a guy (“R“) that’s way too busy, overwhelmed, and fired his office manager a few weeks ago.  It also doesn’t help that we’re putting as much into the house as possible so we can put it up for sale at the end of the month, leaving ourselves little margin for deviating pay schedules!

While I’m writing this part of the post (I’ll publish it after writing a final paragraph!), money’s tight.  (Can something that doesn’t exist be labeled “tight”?)  We should’ve been paid last Friday but it hasn’t happened, yet.  Today’s just Sunday, but since we’re running the budget tight, every day late feels like a month!


J. Hudson Taylor 1832-1905

As payday was approaching, I’d been reading Hudson Taylor’s A Retrospect, and he’s talking faith, fully depending on God for his provision.  Friday night (while hoping for a text about where to meet to pick up a check) I read about a time when Taylor was due some pay, but his boss had forgotten to pay him.  Taylor trusted God.  Even when he had the opportunity, he didn’t remind his boss that he needed paid.

Earlier in the day on payday, I had texted R to make sure he had the right phone number (there had been changes), no response.  I started to send him another text at the end of the day to remind him, but deleted it, trusting God could handle it.  The first text was a little lapse in faith, I’ll admit.  I’ll also admit that my faith falls far short of that of Hudson Taylor.

I even typed out a text to a friend who works for R — just a general text that would have prompted the friend to talk to R to remind him to pay me.  I know God can handle it, but he uses people to accomplish His will, right?  Well, I deleted the text without sending.  If we’re gonna trust, we’ve gotta trust.

Saturday night, still no word.  I went to tuck Olie into bed, and she handed me a little devotional book, called “God’s Little Princess Devotional Bible”.  I was princessembarrassed to take the book from her, with it’s title and tiara on the cover with a little plastic “diamond” glued to the front.

I swallowed my pride and took the book, flipped through to a random devotional and read it to her.  My embarrassment waned when I read, “God wants us to trust him to meet our needs.  If we really believe God will provide what is best for us, then we are freed to share what we have with others in need.”

I finished tucking and left to have a time of Princess Devotions with myself.

Sometimes God uses the words of a missionary to China that died in 1905, sometimes He speaks through your 6-year old’s Little Princess Devotions book.  In truly desperate times, when God’s having trouble getting your attention, He may have to use both!

[It’s 1:15 Sunday afternoon.  Gonna save this as draft until God finishes this episode.]

Here’s the final paragraph:  I told someone  last week that I have faith that God can do absolutely anything.  I know there are no limits to what God can do.  Where my faith is lacking is believing what God will do.  It was Monday afternoon, 24 hours after writing the above, that the situation was resolved.

OK, maybe a couple more final paragraphs… I’m no Hudson Taylor, nor would I compare myself to any of the missionaries in the past or present that are exhibiting great faith.  I was a little surprised to see God work this one out as not much more than the natural flow of things, but since He created “natural flow”, it’s all Him!

As a Dad, it adds an entirely new dynamic to trusting God for the day-to-day, since both my struggles and my victories are shared by all of us.  Compared to what they could be, our ‘struggles’ have been pretty tame.  Please pray that the victories won’t go unnoticed!

Free Time!

Religion:  a mental relationship with a concept, usually a vague one.


Random Sunday School Teacher:  “Every person has a God-sized hole in their heart that only He can fill.”



In the U.S. (other places, too, I’m sure, but I’m here so I can speak authoritatively!), life is so busy and burdensome that religion is usually enough to suppress the emptiness to a level that we can ignore the pain.  To the times that we’re not busy, add alcohol, drugs, partying, or even social media, and the result is a sustainable spiritual lull that most people can maintain their entire lives, up until the point that eternity begins.  It’s true that only the Holy Spirit can fill the hole reserved for Him in the hearts of every person, but with enough filler and duct tape, the longing can be suppressed.

So, those that do not know the Lord are keeping busy and missing/avoiding an introduction to Him.  What about us?  There are times that busy-ness just happens, is unavoidable.

I am working construction rehab’ing apartments and houses.  Gotta pay the bills, and need money to finish getting the house ready to sell (soon, to get rid of some of those bills!).  I’m taking a missions course and trying to keep on contacting churches, and am busy spending what little money is left over after bills on repairs/upgrades to the house.  On top of that, trying to maintain the family and our spiritual lives.

I’m not complaining, trying to follow the path the Lord has laid out and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I know it’s temporary, maybe God’s testing us, maybe it’s more training (always more training!), and maybe we’re not doing everything right and a scolding is imminent.  But as we fight to keep our minds/bodies/souls/family/dishes/friends/lives somewhat sane and sort of stable, we must also take the time to look beyond our selves, our lives, our family, and be aware that there are those around us fast-tracking to an eternity without Christ.

Pew_religion_in_americaIn the U.S., almost everyone calls themselves a “christian”.  Most of the people I talk to, specifically those that most likely don’t actually know the Lord, have gone to church at some point in their lives.  And they all know just enough to be dangerous, as the saying goes.  They know enough of the lingo and the even some of the rules to think they’ll “get to heaven”.  They’re wrong, all they have is religion.  They have that mental relationship with a very vague concept, a concept with just enough substance that they can combine it with other distractions and continue unabated down the path that avoids direct contact with the only One that can truly save them.

Pray for us and yourselves as we all come in contact every day with those that do not know the Lord.  He’s prepared the hearts of many, pray that we’ll be ready when we come in contact with those He’s prepared.  We may have a short season in your life from time to time that you’re too busy to even stop and rest, but if it’s for more than a short season, we must re-evaluate our lives and our priorities, because God can not bless a life that’s too busy to honor Him, that’s too busy to take the time to introduce others to Him in the hopes of expanding His kingdom.

We will never win a soul to the Lord, that’s His job.  We are to make the introduction, to have the conversation, to be available and willing to take the time to talk about Him at every opportunity, to be sufficiently knowledgeable about what we believe in order to share the Good News of Christ’s death and resurrection, to be open to the lost souls that He has prepared.  At the same time, we must maintain a testimony that reflects Christ, to keep from being what almost all that do not follow Christ say is the reason they no longer go to church, a hypocrite.


Lost Hope

Jesus Christ took on human nature, became a man and died to redeem mankind.  I’ve sometimes wondered if it was really that great of a sacrifice.  He knew what was going to happen, He’s the one who gave the story to the prophets of old so that they would write it down, enabling us to recognize when Christ came as the Messiah.  He knew He would raise again in three days, and He’d be back to the right-hand of the Father.  So, what’s the big deal?

I’ll get back to that.

There are a number of views of hell among Christians.  Some believe that it’s actual real fire, and I recall preachers referring to fire that burns black (explaining both fire and blackness in hell).  Some believe that there are actual worms eating at the flesh for eternity.

Others believe, and this seems to be becoming a more common belief, that the Biblical descriptions of Hell are accurately descriptive, but man has no concept, no words that can describe what Hell is like, and the inspired authors of scripture used the best description available to the human vocabulary and our limited mind.  Hell is the absence of hope, once there, you will never, ever, ever have the opportunity to see Christ, to know God, to experience oneness with the Spirit.  We can’t comprehend what this is like, so the various authors described it as “outer darkness”, “furnace of fire”, a place where “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”, “fiery lake of burning sulfer”, where “the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched”. (Matt 25:30, Matt 8:12, Rev 21:8, Mark 9:44, etc.)

Those that have not accepted Christ will spend an eternity empty.  While alive, people try to fill the void with friends, drugs, sex, alcohol, busy-ness.  Mostly busy-ness, I think, keeping their lives so full they mute their own longings for God, either because they don’t want to know Him, or because they haven’t been told that He is who they need to know.

So, what was Christ’s sacrifice?  He became a man to die.  He came to die for the very people that killed him.  Man had become the type of being that would kill God when He came to earth to save them, which is the very reason God had to come to earth to save them.  That’s a sacrifice, a wonderfully awesome thing that Christ did!  But He still knew He would raise again.

In the garden, right before His death, He was in torment.  (Mark 14:33, 34)  He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.  “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them… Why?  He knew what was about to happen.  He knew that He was going to die and raise again, suffer incredible physical and emotional pain.  But He was still God, He knew how it was going to turn out.

Up until this point, Christ was focused on the mission, His (about) three and a half years spent about His Father’s business (Luke 2:49), to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).  But now, he seemed to be losing hope.  That’s not a figure of speech, hope was actually going away.  He was about to be separated from His Father, to experience death and the punishment of sin, to be forsaken by His Father (Matt 27:46).  We have the descriptions of the punishment, the descriptions of hell.  Christ was about to experience a separation from God without hope.  His knowledge of what would happen was of absolutely no value.  Christ was to be without hope for a period of time, physically and emotionally and spiritually experiencing hell.

For how long was Christ without hope, separated from His Father?  By some counts it was about 6 hours, from the point of being forsaken until the point of death when Christ commended His Spirit to His Father.  We think in terms of time, but God is outside of time as are we once we die.  At the point of death, Christ was taken out of time.  Out of time, you are basically experiencing eternity.  For all we know, Christ experienced an eternity of separation from His Father without hope.  In the Garden, He knew what was coming and chose to do it anyway.

Now, I’m not establishing new theology here.  This is a combination of fact and conjecture, and I welcome debate, a little iron sharpening iron (Prov 27:17).  What can we take from this, from a combination of the stuff that’s solidly supported in scripture and from some speculation from a limited human mind (although a mind created by God with the ability to speculate!)?

First, we should really really appreciate the sacrifice Jesus the Christ made.  It should be real to us every day, we should thank Him often that, as believers, we will never have to experience separation from the Father without hope.

Second, we should try to understand from Christ’s example what awaits those that do not know Him, and be motivated to always represent Christ and be ready to offer His story to every person we meet.

Teach a Man to Fish

Almost everyone knows the adage, “Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day.  Teach a GiveAFishman to fish, and he eats for a lifetime.”

In school, a teacher shouldn’t give the students the answers without teaching them how and why; neither should they teach just so the students will pass the test — a good teacher wants each student to master the subject of the class, to finish the class knowing.

Likewise, a good parent doesn’t coddle their children through to adulthood.  At some point, the parent needs to stop spoon-feeding and changing diapers, else the child will remain a child, and have no value as a parent in the next generation.

So what about missions?  Since God doesn’t provide details in His Word much beyond “Go”, each missionary/mission field combination is going to be different.  God gave each of us a unique set of skills/gifts that He helps us apply in the way best suited to accomplish His goals.  There are missionaries that God has tasked to spend their lives handing out fish.  God’s method of ‘getting the Word out’ in the Transkei, Eastern Cape, South Africa, has become to teach fishermen.

Mentioned in other posts, the Koskys have been in the Transkei for 25 years, the only full-time missionaries in the rural areas.  Many souls have been brought to the Lord, hundreds of churches planted, and many ministries have been started.

Around 80% of the churches are independent, and most of the operators/board members of the ministries are amaXhosa — from what we’ve gleaned, non-Xhosa leadership in the ministries is only on an as-needed basis.

Gatyana Bible College is a great example of what’s being done in the region.  The school is the only Bible school teaching in the native language (isiXhosa), the only governed mostly by native black Africans (plus Kelly), and to graduate you have to take a ‘fishing trip’ to a Xhosa village, of which there are tens of thousands!  Check out more on GaFishtyana here.

I can remember in High School, a number of times kids would come to class having not done their homework and would ask me for the answers.  I couldn’t do it, no matter who was asking I couldn’t just give up the answers.  They learned to come early if they were gonna ask me, because I’d make them work through the answers themselves, guiding as necessary.  At the end of my first year of Calculus, one regular thanked me for teaching rather than just giving out the answers.  I can’t imagine doing it any other way, and I think this further confirms God’s ability to match people and places.