Friday, March 10, 2017

Back Pain and Hope for Freedom

Pack Pain by used under CC BY solarized from the original
I continue to struggle with back pain. The only thing that seems to help is walking. I can hardly sit at all. In order to get any work done, I have converted my desk so that I can work while standing. Getting up in the morning is most difficult. After I drop Naomi off at school I walk for thirty minutes and that at least gets me to where I can function for the day. However, after avoiding sitting all day my feet are painfully tired. That is especially hard on evenings that I teach or have meetings.
This Tuesday night, for example, I met with the team that runs a class that I help out with. We had dinner together and discussed developing the class further. It was a good meeting but I could barely sit through dinner. After that had to stand through the rest of the meeting due to the pain in my back. When we wrapped up at 10 pm my feet could hardly take any more.  It was a relief when I finally got to bed, but I dreaded getting up the next day.
Thursday I finally threw in the towel and went to the doctor. He prescribed me some medications for the pain and swelling and suggested that I take breaks from standing throughout the day -move around more or lay down to give my back and feet a rest. I can't lay down long, though or standing back up is difficult. Also, I have a referral to a physical therapist, which Liz is glad for. I don't think she wants the job anymore. I'm not the greatest patient.
I so want to break this constant relationship with back pain. It invades every part of my day. I think of those who deal with chronic pain and I now have such a respect for what they deal with. Especially my brothers and sisters who deal with it with such patience and grace. They are my new-found heroes.  Even as I write this, I long to be free of this pain, yet how often am I thankful for that from which I have already been set free in Christ Jesus (John 8:34-36)? I pray that might be my meditation as I continue in this struggle. Would you pray with me on this? Please do pray that I do improve in these next few weeks. My next trip to Ukraine is coming up quickly, and I hope that things have improved by then. How can I be praying for you?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Weekly Dossier: Week 7, 2017

Monday Meals
Monday nights Liz goes to and English conversation group that is an outreach of our church. That means I cook dinner and put the kids to bed. I plan out the meal on Friday and I have as my goal to make a large enough batch that we can get at least three or four meals out of it. We usually freeze a portion or two back, which really helps when I am out of town and Liz has to take care of the kids by herself for the week. This week, I made a favorite dish from my time in Russia, Plov. Plov is a simple Uzbek dish of rice, usually with chunks of lamb or in this case beef. The ingredients are simple, but it takes at least a couple of hours to cook!
Report from Ukraine
Mark and Tim are back from Ukraine now a couple of days ago. Mark came over to our house and had dinner with us. He entertained the kids with stories and paper boats. They really enjoyed him. Then he told us all about his time in Ukraine. He said he was intimidated at first, but once he got to know the students, he really enjoyed it. They are a great bunch of brothers and sisters. I think their faithfulness is an encouragement to us as much, if not more than, we encourage them. Now, if we can just figure out how to print the books there. I'm not sure why, but the printer seems to have problems with our files. Hopefully, we have worked out our communication issues and will be able to start printing soon.
Friday Discipleship
I got to teach intro to the inductive Bible study method. It is probably one of my favorite sections to teach out of the first book. It is fun to see the lights come on as they figure out the difference between observation and interpretation. This can be really life changing for the students. Right now they are all so young in the faith and they have so many questions. It is a lot of fun most of the time, but can also wear on you. I can see why Moses was in need of Jethro's advice (Exodus 18). One of the teachers of the course likened what we are doing with Bible study methods to teaching men to fish instead of giving them a fish. Last Friday was a good beginning to that process. The students were starting to discover things for themselves in God's word. It was truly Glorious!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Weekly Dossier: Week 6, 2017

Home for now

After being on the road it has been nice to be home this week. I have used the time to make a start at cleaning my office and sets some goals for the coming year. Being back in the States for the missions conference was good and refreshing in ways, but it is nice to be back home and in the swing of things. Though I have been doing quite a bit of teaching lately, I would really like to make more time for one-on-one meetings and personal contact. I love teaching, but I always want to put myself in a situation where I can both get to know people and be known. Transparency is so important in life.

Ukraine update

The reason I get to stay home this week is because Tim Ford and Mark Maddox are taking care of BTCP in Ukraine this week. From what Tim tells me there has been quite a bit of snow there. They were delayed in getting there and so missed their first night of teaching. The plan was to do a survey of both the Old and New Testament, but now they are doing more sample lessons, which is good because this group should be able to teach already anyway.

I know the guys are doing a great job without me and I am grateful for the chance to be home, but I do miss being there. So far, all of the churches that we have worked with in Ukraine have been fantastic, and I miss seeing how the students are growing and developing. I am glad to be able to share that with others, though. It is a blessed ministry to be a part of.