Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the LORD will work for us, for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few.” And his armor-bearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish. Behold, I am with you heart and soul.” Then Jonathan said, “Behold, we will cross over to the men, and we will show ourselves to them. If they say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up, for the LORD has given them into our hand. And this shall be the sign to us.” So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines… (from 1 Samuel 14)
What an awesome Bible story! Seriously! The steadfast, unwavering and unconditional support of an unnamed young man known only as an armor-bearer must have been such an encouragement to the one he served… to Jonathan. And while armor-bearer isn’t a “position” for most of us in our day and age, reading through this story does remind us all over again… makes us grateful… for those who’ve been like armor-bearers for us.
If at any time in the past, you’ve contributed financially allowing our family to minister in West Africa, if you’ve traveled and visited and ministered with us as we served overseas, if you’ve prayed for us, if you’ve sent packages, if we’ve shared a need and you’ve stepped up to meet it, if you’ve written or called or Facebooked, if you’ve hung in there with us as major changes took/are taking place… we think of you as our armor bearers. We can’t do this ministry God has called us to do without you - standing behind us, sending, encouraging, exhorting and just loving our family. God’s Word teaches us clearly that we wage spiritual battle: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds…”(2 Corinthians 10.3-4) Thank you for standing with us in this battle. Knowing that “you’ve got our backs” gives us strength, encourages us and enlarges our vision as we see such visible manifestations of God’s grace working through you.
Saying, "Thank you!"
And in that vein, we want to give a huge shout-out of thanks to a bunch of special folks! Some friends are so good at coming up with very specific and tangible ways to help. While we were visiting with them a few months ago, we shared a very practical prayer request. Prior to leaving Niger, we sold almost everything – we kept some clothing, linens (because we were going camping in Scotland on our way home), a few heirloom-type/souvenir items and favorite toys as well as a few other things we could fit into our luggage – but we landed back in the States with very little in the way of material possessions or all the stuff that helps a household to run. It hasn’t been an issue because we are living in a furnished missionary house. But over the course of the next several months, we are planning to do a lot of garage sale-ing, thrift store shopping and collecting of hand-me-downs from those wanting to part with “stuff” because if all goes to schedule, we will be needing to furnish a house for our family of 10 in about a year, basically from scratch. When our precious friends at First Baptist Church of Cass City heard of this need, they invited Richelle to come speak at their Mother/Daughter banquet – and asked if they could also have a shower for her. That time included a delightful few hours of fellowship, the opportunity for Richelle to share what God has been teaching her about “Growing God’s Way – in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord…,” and we were literally showered with many, many practical gifts, scratching many items off our list of things-we-hope-to-have-before-we-have-to-furnish-a-home-again!
|The van loaded with gifts from First Baptist, Cass City.|
Some exciting (we think) info!
As we’ve shared several times now, Tim’s ministry at the studio in Niger had come to a crossroads. We are firmly convinced... at least a dozen qualified, motivated and burdened for their own people local, Nigerien technicians can capably do the very ministry Tim had gone to Niger to do. Several missionaries are also currently in country, working in the audio-visual domain. Therefore our ministry either needed to change or needed to move focus elsewhere.
To best steward the talents and abilities God has given, we knew we needed to broaden the focus of our ministry – enlarge the scope so that the audio-visuals we were helping to produce did not just touch Niger, but a larger potential population.
We are excited that Tim will be able to do just this: not only does the studio where he will be working have a burden for their own, which some call the largest unreached people group in North American, they want to touch the entire francophone world. According to Nations Online, there are 56 political entities on the continent of Africa. Twenty-eight of them list French as a primary language – either an official language or a language of commerce. That means half the countries in Africa use French consistently at some level. Tim will be helping produce programming targeted for these populations. And, he is also working on a collaboration with another ministry group whose entire focus is recording the Bible in local, heart languages – particularly populations where literacy rates are low. There’s been some great discussion already, and we are praying about a potential trip to Africa (for Tim) later this year for this very purpose.
So no… we are no longer directly working on the African continent. This ministry change, however, does seem strategic to us, potentially continuing to impact and support missions work in Africa – just as we did while living there - except that equipment and technical resources will be better, electricity will be more consistent, and we will be working in collaboration with mother-tongue French speakers who have a heart to reach the entire French speaking world!
God has not simply changed our focus to a different part of the world; He has enlarged our vision (which still very much includes Africa) and, we pray, our potential influence – as we seek to best steward the gifts, talents and abilities He has gifted us.
All because of Jesus,
Tim, Richelle, Brendan, Rebekah Joy, Nadia, Anna, Victoria, Jonathan,
Elsie Mae and Mary Michelle Wright
|Richelle with Rebekah all dressed up for her Jr/Sr Banquet.|
• exciting opportunities
• the end of the school year
• good first year at university for Brendan
• new church contacts
• enjoying Spring weather
• missions trip opportunity for our older girls
• generous, faithful “armor-bearers” who continue to partner with us
• details, as we continue to finalize them
• wisdom as we make new contacts
• safety as we travel
• upcoming missions trip for our girls
• Brendan’s transition to a new university
• 3 teenage drivers-in-process at our house this summer
• May 18 – Burt Baptist, Burt, MI
• May 20 – International Women’s Club, Midland, MI
• May 22 – Chapel, Calvary Baptist Academy, Midland, MI
• May 27-31, Tim training
• June 3-6, Tim training
• June 7-14, Anna, Nadia and Rebekah – Missions trip to Chicago
• June 10-13, Tim training
• June 15 – South Baptist, Bay City, MI
• June 22 – Berean Baptist, Cortland, NY & New Testament, Peruville, NY