Monday, December 12, 2011

It's the Little Things, Too

Don't worry about anything, but in EVERYTHING through PRAYER and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God.  Philippians 4:6

They were lost and now they are found...
Right now our life is what you would classify as controlled chaos.  Boxes are filling up our garage, moving truck has been reserved, stuff is being sold or given away, goodbyes are being said.  OK, so I'm not even sure I would say it is completely CONTROLLED chaos, maybe just chaos around here.

Sometimes in the midst of the chaos and confusion, I have forgotten Who is in control and why we are willingly enduring the chaos.  Yes, I've been making requests known to God and asking Him to complete our monthly partnership team.  I haven't been making what I've deemed the small or insignificant needs known to Him.  Yes, I know He knows all of our needs, but we are commanded to bring them before Him.  I learned that lesson very clearly yesterday.

Yesterday after church I couldn't find my keys.  I searched my purse, my bag with my Bible, the car, but no keys.  Fortunately Tim was there, so he gave me his key, so I could drive home.  (We had driven separately because he had a meeting.)  We got home and went through everything, and still no keys.  We decided I must have left them at church.  We couldn't find them at church last night.  I was just baffled as to where they were, but was hoping someone would come across them at church as they are cleaning this morning.

Last night I crawl in bed, and I'm talking to God, glad He can hear me over Tim's snoring...(but that is for another post).  Anyway, I'm doing a review of my day with God, and I realized that I had never asked Him for help in finding my keys.  So, I immediately ask Him to help me find the keys.  Immediately I'm reminded that I had not checked my coat pocket.  DUH!  Well, sure enough there were my keys.  It was my Heavenly Father reminding me that I need to bring EVERYTHING to Him.  

He also knows I'm pretty hard headed sometimes (Shhh, don't tell my family...), so this morning in my devotional, He reminded me, again, with His Word to bring EVERYTHING (even the small things I think I can control, which really I can't) to Him.  OK, so I get the point, well, at least for now!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Diagnosis

Isn't that just the sweetest face???  OK, so maybe I am just a tad bit biased.  Of course I do think there are several other people that would agree with me.  I took this picture last week when we went to Zoo Atlanta for a Ellis Institute of Higher Learning field trip.  We had a great time.  Who doesn't have fun at the zoo????

I just love this little girl. I'm so thankful God has given her to us.
As the lead (and only) teacher at Ellis Institute for Higher Learning (aka our homeschool), Rebekah and I were struggling in school.  We spent so much of our 'school' time frustrated at each other and at the work.  I thought a lot of it is because of all the stress and changes going on in our lives right now, her stubbornness, my stubbornness, or her just being strong-willed or lazy.  I was ready to put her on that big yellow bus and let the "professionals" have a crack at her.  Instead I started praying and researching. I looked at different curricula.  I read blogs, learned about right-brain learning, and even started investigating ADD.  I tried vitamin supplements.  We worked harder.  Nothing was working.  I was at my wits end.  I cried out to my Heavenly Father asking and pleading for understanding and help.  He's so faithful. He began showing me the term "dyslexia".

Cotton picked at the William Harris House
This week we took her to a private Educational Consultant to have her tested.  I sat there as my baby struggled to read and write words.  The only relief for me was that she was doing this for someone else.  It wasn't just for Mommy!  Then came the consultation after all the testing was over.  Bekah was dyslexic- at this point not a surprise to me.  But the next part was a surprise.  She wasn't just dyslexic, but she was severely dyslexic.  That threw me for a loop.  I'm not sure why because I had seen her struggle so much. Finally, I had an answer to all of her struggles! Of course that meant now we had to figure out what to do with all of this information.  What's our next step?  How do we help her, so she can become all that God created her to be?

Of course we have a bit of a time constraint right now.  In just two months we will be on our way to Papua New Guinea.  In just about 5 weeks, we will be leaving Atlanta to spend our last couple of weeks in Florida with family.  Not to mention we still have to pack, move, say goodbye, and finish our support team. Don't forget that this also tends to be the busiest time of year for anyone with the holidays rapidly approaching!  STRESS!!!!  I'm learning that if I'm not in the Word of our Father daily and moment by moment surrendering each one of these impossibilities to Him, I become completely overwhelmed by all that I feel is on me.

My fashionista! 
I am so thankful we serve a God who is sovereign and none of this is a surprise to Him! He reminded me that He alone knit Bekah together when she was in my womb and knew each and everyone of her days before I even knew she was to be the newest addition to our family.  (Psalm 139)  He has plans for her that are great and beyond anything I can imagine. (Jeremiah 29:11-14)  What an encouragement!!!

One of the great things he had already orchestrated was private sessions with an educational consultant that specializes with kids with dyslexia and special needs.  We aren't just taking her to classes and leaving her, but I will be in the sessions.  I'll be able to learn new techniques to help Bekah be successful in school and in life!  I will get lessons, too! We are able to do some intense sessions between now and when we leave.  Only God could orchestrate this!  It's not a coincidence!

Admittedly the practical side of me thinks I'm a bit nuts trying to do three hour sessions twice a week for the next 5 weeks while I'm trying to pack, move, rent out our house, and everything else.  We have seen God prove Himself faithful time and time again during our life.  He immediately reminded me He will provided for ALL of my needs through His riches in Christ Jesus.  (Phil 4:19).

She was sleeping holding her baby doll as we drove home.
We are so grateful that we were able to catch this early.  So many kids go undiagnosed or aren't diagnosed with dyslexia until they are older and their self-confidence is almost destroyed.  Bekah was beginning to get to the point of where she wasn't liking school because it was too hard.  She was ready to just give up, at least inside.  Does she understand what all of this means?  I'm not sure.  We pray that God will give her the amount of understanding she needs now.  She will begin classes next week (yes, the week of Thanksgiving) that are going to "help make reading and math easier for her to learn."  I'm excited!  She's not quite sure what to think.

We covet your prayers during this time.  It is going to be a tough five weeks for all of us.  Please pray for us to have patience, wisdom, and to be able to discern our priorities over the next few weeks.  Sometimes we get so overwhelmed that we get our priorities out of order.  I would really like to just crawl up with some good books on dyslexia and learn all I can, but I know that I also have to balance doing school with Andrew, packing, saying goodbye, field trips, selling our furniture, shipping our items, renting out our house, and everything else that is going on.

If you see me on the verge of tears, please understand.  These are tears of joy, relief, and excitement to see what God is going to do in our family.  We thought we had seen so many miracles and times of His provision.  Apparently we get to see more!  That is exciting!



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Prayer Calendar

I designed a prayer calendar that we mailed out to our prayer partners that don't have email.  I thought I would share it with you, too.  It is here.  I have prayer request for each day in November & December listed.  Check it out!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November/December Newsletter



Our November/December newsletter has been completed!  We are quickly approaching our departure date.  But, we cannot leave until we are at 100% of our monthly budget.  Right now we are at 76%.  If you are planning on being part of our financial partnership team, please sign up here or email us.

Read our newsletter for all the latest happenings.  If you haven't signed up to receive our newsletter and/or our prayer & praises, you can sign up here.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

We Can't Take It With Us!


We can't take it with us, so we are selling it all!  Join us next weekend, November 4th & 5th, as we have a huge garage sale.  We are going through the house and everything that can't be shipped or stored needs to be sold.  We will have some of everything- clothes, furniture, small appliances, outdoor 'stuff', toys, games, decor items, Christmas items, craft supplies, homeschool curriculum, books, tools, electronics, and whatever else we find.

We need your help to make this a huge success, though.  We've created a sign up sheet online for people to sign up to help us out.  Here is the link- http://eepurl.com/f5MK9

  • PRAY!!!!  Pray for God to send people who need our stuff.  Pray for us to make the money we need to ship the rest of our stuff to Papua New Guinea.
  • Spread the word to your neighbors and friends.  Here is a flyer we have made with the information.
  • Tables to set things out on.  
  • Pricing.  This can be done during the week.
  • Set Up on Thursday- including putting out signs advertising the sale.
  • Help at the Sale on Friday and/or Saturday.
  • Take the items that didn't sell to Streetwise or Goodwill.  
  • COME SHOP!!!!!  Find some bargains!  
Note:  Because we still need beds and places to sit, we won't be selling all of our furniture at this time.  If you are looking for something particular, please ask.  We will be selling the rest of our furniture before we leave Atlanta in December.  

Questions?  Email us or call us at 404-569-6573!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Praises and Prayers!

We just returned from a unbelievable time in Florida.  Thanks to Plant City's First Baptist Church for inviting us to their first ever missions conference.  We felt it was an incredible success.  They had invited missionaries and groups from “…Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1: 8.  We were blessed and encouraged by the outpouring of support from the body. The close of the conference was extremely exciting.  We saw many people come forward with their commitment card and place it on the altar in response to the call to missions.

We also had the privilege of speaking with Wycliffe missionary Nard Pugyao.  He is a testimony to the saving power of the scriptures translated into heart languages.  We told him he was part of how God directed us to Wycliffe.  He did try to teach us how to eat grubs, but it was a lesson we are not quite ready to learn.

Praise

  • We all made it safely to and from the conference, including a truck to comfortably drive back from Florida.
  • Andrew and Rebekah had time to spend with their Grandparents
  • Tim and Tara had some time to start the packing process.
  • We added to our prayer and financial partners  at the missions conference.
  • Tara was able to speak to two different Church's Missions Committees who might partner with us.
  • We have reached 75% of our monthly budget!

Prayer
  • We still need warehouse space with a drive up dock for our items to be shipped to Papua New Guinea.
  • We need someone with Property Management experience to manage two rental homes while we are in Papua New Guinea.
  • We had several confide in us that they feel called to full time missions.  Pray for clarity as they seek God for the next step in their lives.
  • To be able  to deal with the stress as our departure time is fast approaching.
  • Approval and issuances of our Visas for Papua New Guinea.
  • Pray for Plant City's FBC as their Mission Team plans for 2012.
  • Pray for us to be at 100% of our monthly budget by December 1, 2011.  

Philippians 1:3-5
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Life's Not Fair

OK, so my kids favorite phrase lately is "It's not fair".  Yes, they say it in a nice, whiny voice about some apparent "injustice" they must face.  Things like having to sit next to each other to have their picture made.


They are right- it's not fair.  I started to get into that "it's not fair" funk earlier this week.  I wasn't feeling good, we had just be given some discouraging news, and the kids were, shall we say, requiring a little extra attention in the discipline department.  It's not fair!  So my dear, sweet wonderful husband took over, so I could just soak and refocus in a nice hot tub.  I thought about how life isn't fair.  As I was thinking about all the apparent injustices I am facing, I felt God gently reminding me that if life was fair, each and everyone of us deserves an eternity separated from God.  That would be fair.  After all, He is perfect, and I am sinful.  I do not deserve His mercy and grace.  Yes, I'm glad life isn't fair! 

I began writing this post earlier in the week.  This morning in service God reminded me through Pastor Steve's message that it is through the problems and trials that we experience God's miracles.  Again, life's not fair.  I'm glad life's not fair.  Here are some of my reasons.  What are yours?

  • I am the daughter of the King of Kings!
  • I have a husband that loves and adores me, even when I'm not lovable and adorable!
  • I get to experience the miracle of God's provision each and every month through His people!
  • I am chosen by God!
  • Our family gets to help bring the Word of God to the Bibleless people in Papua New Guinea!  
  • I'm forgiven!
  • I get to enjoy moments like this while homeschooling:

Yes, I'm glad life's not fair!  I'm so glad God is using me, although I certainly have nothing to offer but my availability!  


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

3 Partners

We have been issued a new faith goal- to be at 100% of our monthly budget by December 1st.  Honestly, I'd like to go into the Thanksgiving holiday at 100%.

There is only ONE way we will achieve that goal- through our almighty God, who is our provider.  Please join with us in praying that we will reach the goal.  We know that prayer is the number one tool we have in life. 

After prayer, we have made this ambitious faith goal.  We have broken it down into smaller pieces.  To reach our goal, we are hoping for at least 3 new monthly financial partners per week.  Will you be one of them?  

We are incredibly humbled and grateful for the many people that already partner with us- those that pray, encourage, share about us, and give.  Some can't partner with us financially, or are one of our financial partners, but everyone can pray!

Will you join us in prayer? 

Would you host a home meeting or have us speak in your small group or church service?

Would you join us by financially partnering with us on a monthly basis? 


To receive our newsletters, prayer/praise, and/or updates, please sign up here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

August in Review

I can't believe how quickly August flew by!  We had a great time learning many lessons at our Intercultural Communications Course at JAARS.  We wanted to share some of the pictures and memories we made while gone this past month.


Andrew & many of the other boys formed their own "tribe" while we were staying at JAARS.  They had their own language, that of course needed to be translated and written down, and even had their own tribal war paint.  This is his "war face".  Fortunately it was washable marker and came off fairly easy.  





Every day the kids would come home for lunch, do school as quick as possible and go outside.  We wouldn't see them again until it was time for dinner, or one was looking for food, bringing friends inside to play (usually this was Rebekah) or going to someone else's house for food!

They spent much of their time down at the "creek", which was really a drainage ditch that ran behind the apartments.  This is a "bridge" they built to cross the "creek".  It was good practice as they prepare for some of the equally dangerous bridges in Papua New Guinea.

 MK's (Missionary Kids) learn to entertain themselves with whatever they find.  The boys found one of those Cozy Coupe cars at the dumpster.  Obviously it was there for a reason.  The kids found uses for all the pieces, though.  In this picture Andrew is sliding down the side of the 'creek' on the top of the car.

See that small speck way up in the tree- toward the right?  (Notice the bottom half of the cozy coupe next to the picnic table...)
Yep, this is that little speck.  When I couldn't find Andrew on the ground, I knew I needed to look up in the tree for the monkey. Hey, NO broken bones!!!!  That in and of itself is a miracle!
 
Here are the boys gathered around the picnic table.  They had a going away party the last day everyone was there.  There is the bread shop located just across the street.  The boys learned when the truck came and went to get snacks for their 'club'.  They scored an apple pie from Costco the day before, so that was their party treat!

Bekah loved the freedom of being able to ride her bike anywhere!  She spent lots of time on her bike!  Tim, on the other hand, didn't bring his bike, so he had to find an alternate mode of transportation.  Didn't know I had such a talented husband!


What do MKs do when it rains while the parents are playing cards?  Why, they go outside and play in it, of course.  I'm still trying to figure out why our soaking wet daughter decided to open the umbrella she got from the car, especially since they were on the porch at this time!

We enjoyed a picnic at a local park one gorgeous Saturday evening.  The kids discovered some sort of freshwater clams in the lake.  They collected tons of them.  The boys decided they were going to sell them.  Then we found these tiny black things swimming around in them.  Back all of them went in the water.

Rebekah turned 7 while we were there.  We had a big party with her friend Isabella who turned 5 the day before.  They had no trouble picking out a chocolate princess cake!  Next year we'll celebrate their birthdays together in Papua New Guinea!

For her birthday, we took Rebekah to get her ears pierced.  She had been asking for quite a while.  Here she is doing a silly pose showing off her new earrings!

 Each family was assigned an ethnic church to attend while at ICC.  We attended Open Church of Charlotte, a Korean Church located in Matthews.  It was a new experience for all of us.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time.  An important lesson we learned was that Andrew does NOT like Korean food.  We didn't think there was anything he didn't like...

Obviously someone did not seek permission for the chocolate lollipop and chocolate covered doughnut.  I guess he was making up for not eating the Korean food.

The last week we were there, we had a talent show that was for everyone.  This is Rebekah and her friend Nikki waiting for the talent show to begin. One of the hardest things for MKs is making and leaving new friends.  They really hit it off and bonded.  Unfortunately Nikki is leaving for Tanzania this weekend.


 

This was my favorite part of the talent show.  They asked for two strong, competitive men.  Of course, I volunteered my husband!  They had to sit in front of the room and begin by taking their shoes and socks off.  Then they were blindfolded.  The "purpose" of the game (at least what they were told) was they had to use their sense of touch to figure out different food items.  The very first one was using the sense of touch in their feet.  That didn't work so well, so they let them use their hands and sense of smell.  Well, as you can see, unbeknownst to them, they were receiving a pedicure.  Poor Tim didn't even realize it until he was about to put his socks back on.  The boys thought this was horrible while the girls loved every minute.  In fact Rebekah wanted to do it again and paint her Daddy's toe nails!

 As part of the talent show, each table group had to perform a skit describing ICC.  I had to play the part of a person with a high "D" personality (dominant, demanding, etc).  In this picture I had just taken the microphone away from the "announcer" to tell him how it was.  It was hard, really, it was...

This is a group shot of all the people headed to the Pacific.  With the exception of one family, we will all be serving in Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea.  Many of us are hoping to be at the Pacific Orientation Course in January!

This is Tim's table group.  Don't let the sweet innocent smiles fool you!  

We ended the course with "Stones of Remembrance".  Everyone shared what God had been teaching them during the month.  It was so encouraging to see how God used the same material to teach each person something that they needed in their lives!  





Sunday, August 7, 2011

A New Home

We are getting settled into our "new" home away from home.  We are in North Carolina at the JAARS center for the next month doing training.  While we are here, we have a 3 bedroom apartment that we call home.  It's not fancy, but it is so comfortable and homey.  I took a few pictures for you to see what it is like...
Our living room/office, yes, Tim is actually studying!
Our eating area.  This is what you see when you enter into the apartment.  It's actually larger than our table at home, so we feel quite spoiled! 
Our galley style kitchen.  Lots of cabinets, but still trying to figure out where everything is.  Andrew noticed one thing was missing the first day- a dishwasher.  We told him that is why we brought him along! 
Guess who's room this is with the K'Nex spread all over the floor?  I'll give you a hint, it isn't the one that pitched a fit because she didn't get the room with the bunk beds! 

This is the princess' room.  Not quite sure why the blanket is draped from the dresser to the beds....
Our room.  There is a balcony off of our room, so we can enjoy the nice, humid weather of August in North Carolina! 
 That's about it.  It's not much, but it is perfect for us.  The kids are able to play outside with their new friends and ride bikes.  We are located right next the playground and there is plenty of space for Andrew & Bekah to ride their bikes.  We do have the opportunity to go to the pool, too.  The kids get to swim most days, which they thoroughly enjoy! 

We can receive mail and packages while here.  Actually, we would love to get mail while we are here because we know it won't be bills!  =)  Our mailing address is:

Tim & Tara Ellis, ICC
c/o JAARS
Box 248
Waxhaw, NC 28173-0248

If you want to send us packages of goodies (hint, hint), they can be shipped to:
Tim & Tara Ellis, ICC
JAARS
7601 Radin Rd.
Waxhaw, NC 28173

If you send something to one of the kids, please make sure that you also put our name on it, so it gets routed to the right person.  We promise we will give it to them!  
I'll try to keep everyone posted on how things are going.  We visit our new church tomorrow morning.  We will be attending The Open Church, which is a Korean Baptist Church in Matthews, NC.  Pray for us while we are there.  Bekah says she wants to attend the children's worship and Andrew wants to go into service with us.  It's going to be a great experience for all of us.  We'll be attending every Sunday while we are here!



Monday, July 18, 2011

Update

OK, I promised way back at the beginning that I would update the blog about once a year.  Lately, that has been a very ambitious goal with the craziness going on in our lives!  I wanted to share some INCREDIBLE work God has been doing in our lives over the last couple of months.

In June we had a goal to have our monthly support at 50% by the end of the month.  On the morning of June 30th, our support was at 42%.  By that evening, we were at 52%!  Right now, we are at 61%!  God continues to bring new partners to join us!


When we reached our 50% monthly support, we were given the go-ahead to register for the Intercultural Communication Course that we need to complete.  We leave for Waxhaw, North Carolina on August 3rd.  This will be a time of intense preparation for us. 

We've started packing for our first shipment to PNG.  That is a HUGE task.  Imagine going through your home and deciding what you can live without for the next 3-4 months, but that is important enough to be shipped 8,000 miles away to be there, hopefully, when you get there.  Not an easy task.  Add to that the challenge of buying enough clothes (including underwear, socks, shoes), linens, and anything "special" you may need for the next 4 years, especially with two growing kids.  We have our bonus room sorted into sections.  We have four major sections- Garage Sale/Donate, Ship to PNG, POC (or the stuff that we need to pack and take on the airplane with us), and Storage Unit.  It is really organized chaos right now.  I'm going room by room through the house and making decisions.  Some things are pretty obvious.  Like the kids' school stuff for this year, we know it will need to go on the plane with us.  Somethings are more difficult.  What pictures do I want to pack and take to put up?  I can't take all of our pictures because of mold & mildew issues in PNG.  The ones I don't take will go into storage.  Yes, our house is slowly transforming. 

That's pretty much everything in a nutshell.  Maybe I'll get more time to write later.  I do get these great blogs in my head as I'm dozing off to sleep at night.  Unfortunately I haven't learned to type while sleeping. 

Thank you for continuing to pray for us! 

Friday, June 17, 2011

We wanted to share a brief update, a challenge, and an exciting story about the importance of IT workers in Bible Translation. 

Update
  • We have had a very busy month with VBS, work, finishing school, and now visiting with family in Florida.  Tara and the kids are enjoying some time in Florida with her family. 
  • Tim’s work permit application has been sent to Papua New Guinea!  We cannot begin applying for our visas until his work permit is approved.
  • We at 35% of our monthly support.  In order to reach our goal of 50% by the end of June, we need an additional $730 in monthly support. 
Challenge
  • We are looking for advocates.  What are advocates?  Advocates are people that will share with their friends/co-workers/family, etc about us and the need for Bible Translation.  They might host a home meeting and invite their friends over, so we can share with them.  An advocate could arrange for us to speak at his/her church or small group or put us in contact with a pastor, missions minister, or teacher.  Could you help?  Please email us back and let us know how you can be an advocate.  Tara is in Florida until Thursday the 24th and can schedule a time to share or meet with you to discuss about being an advocate.
  • Will you commit to pray once a week for us?  Would you choose one day a week to commit to pray for the work and needs of Bible translation, the people of Papua New Guinea, and for our family?  Let us know what day you will be praying for us.  We want to pray for you on that day.
  • Has God laid on your hear to be part of His Great Commission by sending us to Papua New Guinea?  If so, please click here and complete the online form. 
Why is computer work an important part of Bible Translation? 
Board a plane in Dallas, Texas. Travel for four days on 15 flights far into Southeast Asia. Now climb into a truck and journey up into lush green mountains on a deeply rutted, often muddy road. Hike over slippery landslides if necessary. Eventually you’ll come to a little village nestled into a mountain valley, where the local language is Yawa, but where the people have traditionally worshipped in the national language.

Sefnat 
As you walk through the village, stop and talk to church leaders. Ask if anyone preaches from the Yawa Scripture portions published over the last 20 years. “Elder Sefnat does all the time,” they’ll say. Sefnat will show you two small worn books protected by brown paper covers—Yawa translations of John’s writings, Acts, and nine epistles. Tucked into the pages are little slips of paper with dated sermon notes, references to Scripture passages in those two little books, and unpublished verses that mother tongue translator Andowa has handwritten for him.

Grandpa Bertasar
Stop by a thatched-roof home and ask if anyone there reads from the Scriptures in Yawa. Everyone will point to a bearded old man called Grandfather Bertasar. “He read to us this morning,” they’ll say. “He told us how to apply it to our lives, too.”

Walk on and you’ll come to the village church. Take a deep breath because you’re about to encounter an amazing scene!  In this very remote village, where there is neither electricity nor phone service, translator Andowa sits at a laptop computer. A dozen people cluster closely around him, listening as he reads aloud a Bible passage in Yawa. The volunteer reviewers enthusiastically discuss it, looking for ways to improve awkward or unclear sentences. When they‘re satisfied with the way it sounds, Andowa revises it on his computer. Then, since his specially-designed software has a send/receive function, he logs onto the internet and “syncs” his draft.

Andowa learns to use satellite equipment
Halfway around the world in Arlington, Texas, Wycliffe translator Linda Jones will get up tomorrow morning, sync up her computer, and read the draft that Andowa has revised. She’ll check to make sure the meaning hasn’t been altered and send back suggestions for the next round of discussion.

 This is how the final revisions are being made to the Yawa New Testament. It’s all possible because a new geostationary satellite began circling the equator in early 2009. Just two weeks after it went into service, IT specialists from Wycliffe’s Seed Company brought a computer and a small satellite device to the village, showed Andowa how to connect to the satellite, and taught him to use OurWord—the special software for mother tongue translators created by Wycliffe member John Wimbish.

Andowa & friend going to the church
Andowa and Linda have been working together long-distance for 17 years now, ever since Linda and her husband, Larry, had to move away so Larry could take on various leadership roles in Bible translation. Scripture drafts went back and forth by mail and in hand-carried packets. Linda and Larry made trips to the village. Andowa made trips out of the village. Always God helped them find a way forward, but they thought they had reached the end of the road when it came to the final revision process. “We did not see how we could finish the final revisions without greater community involvement,” says Linda. “It just looked impossible. I could not go there for any length of time, and they could not come here.” And then came the satellite—and IT specialists who knew how to take advantage of the satellite! 

 There have, of course, been a few maintenance problems with the equipment and satellite connection, but IT personnel have repaired most of them remotely. Only once did a faulty part have to be hand-carried to the city and back. That led to two and a half months without communication, but eventually the connection was repaired and revisions moved forward!

Soon the final draft of the New Testament will be sent to the printers, and the Yawa people will begin preparing for the dedication, set for June 2011. Elder Sefnat, Grandfather Bertasar, and translator Andowa are waiting. Dozens of reviewers and their relatives are waiting. The Scriptures are reaching yet another group of people, isolated, but not forgotten by the God who loves them all. He has conquered space and distance.

Honestly, I’m not sure what Tim is more excited about- using his existing IT skills to support Bible Translation or acquiring all the new skills and technology to support Bible Translation.  I do know that God has worked to hone his IT and trouble-shooting skills the last 11 years to be used for His glory.  It is exciting to see how  God is going to work to bring Wycliffe to its goal of having a translation project begun in each of the nearly 2,000 remaining languages by 2025.  WE (including you!) are going to get to be a part.  We look forward to sharing our first New Testament dedication with you!  Thank you for partnering with us!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Family

So, this blog post started out being just an update on what is going on in the life of the Ellis family.  It turned into a reflection of family. 

The cousins after our night swim.
Right now I'm sitting on the couch at my mom and dad's house in Florida enjoying the quiet.  I don't get that very much, which might explain the lack of postings...either that or the brain overload.  Anyway, Andrew, Bekah, and I are down in Florida for a couple of weeks visiting with my family and friends.  Originally it was only going to be a week, but we managed to work it out so we could attend our family reunion last weekend.  It was so much fun.  I have to say the best part was seeing my kids getting to know cousins they didn't know.  Every day we are asked when we are going to see them again.  They have not had the advantage I had growing up seeing my cousins on a regular (even if it was just annually) basis.  Even after all of these years, we still love each other and remember the fun we used to have.  I'm disappointed we haven't made it more of a priority over the years to attend with the kids.  I always used to think "maybe next year".  Well, this year I knew I wouldn't be saying "maybe next year" since it would be at least 4 more years.  Now Andrew is asking if Kansas is next to Georgia, so he can visit his cousins.  (Apparently all the geography and mapping lessons didn't exactly stick...)  I LOVE it! 

We celebrated Father's Day before we left for Florida.
I've really approached this summer and even this school year with a different focus.  Too many times I have said "no" to various activities because I didn't want to spend the money or it would throw a kink into my schedule.  This year I've been determined to say "yes" more if it involves making lasting memories with those we love.  The biggest memory maker of all is still to come, and the kids are totally oblivious.  I, on the other hand, am bursting at the seams and counting down the days!  On Monday, my parents are taking us to Disney!!!  OK, so I've been to Disney more times that I care to count, BUT my kids have never been.  I remember hearing Mrs. Barbara tell us in a Mom's Bible Study to keep the special things special- don't let them become ordinary.  I remember going to Disney as a child with my parents for the first time.  I was about Bekah's age.  It was so incredible.  I still remember begging my dad to go on Space Mountain with me.  At least this time, I have two little ones that will. Granted I will need to make sure that Bekah wears her tennis shoes that give her that little bit of height.  I'm so excited about sharing this experience with my parents and the kids.  There is only one thing that would make it out of this world- Daddy (aka Tim).  I'm praying he'll get the chance to come with us on Monday.  It would mean taking off of work, but I so want him to be part of the memories.  I want our kids to remember begging their dad to go on the rides and him saying "no".  I want them to have memories with all of us there.  Of course I don't know what would be the biggest thrill to them- having Daddy here for the weekend or Disney.  It would definitely be a toss up! 

The older cousin throwing the younger ones in the pool.
I guess tonight I'm reflecting on family because I know that our family dynamics are changing.  They are nothing like how I grew up- grandparents down the street and related to half the town.  We live about 2 hours away from our closest relatives Tim's aunt & uncle, who we see about once every 3 years.  The kids have never known what it is to have grandparents able to come to each and every event they are in.  Living in a transition city like Atlanta means many of our friends are in the same boat.  Little did we know that our move almost 11 years ago would ultimately prepare us for a family dynamic we never imagined in Papua New Guinea.  No one will ever replace our earthly family.  But, I'm so grateful for the people God places in our lives to be our surrogate family and to be the surrogate family our earthly families (both our parents & our kids) need.  I would be foolish and very naive to believe that our decision to follow God's call only affects the four of us.  It affects so many around us.  I wish they didn't have to feel the pain of a loss.  I know it will be much harder for them because they must carry on with their daily routines while we experience new adventures and have a surrogate family awaiting our arrival.  I thank God for the people He has given to encourage our family, especially my mom.  If you are one of those- THANK YOU!!!!  You are a partner with us and God is using you in ways that you will never imagine.  Thank you for being willing to step up, so we can follow God's call. 
Bekah jumping into the pool and her brother is right behind her jumping to make sure she is ok.   
OK, enough sentimental stuff.  I must decide what we can do tomorrow to keep my kids from killing each other while Nini is at work.  Yeah, we still have work to do on the whole family thing with the two of them!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Challenge

I shared with our prayer partners last week that we have been issued a challenge.  We need to have 50% of our monthly support by the end of June.  OK, this usually accompanied by questions and maybe some confusion.  I'm going to attempt to clear this up, or at least make it as clear as mud.  =) 

How do you decide your monthly support needs?
We have a budget that Wycliffe gave us based upon our needs and the cost of living in Papua New Guinea.  It is the amount that we need to cover our expenses while living in Papua New Guinea.  Costs for the kids' education, insurance, housing, food (yes even enough for our growing boy), medical care (well typical, so as long as Andrew doesn't break anything major...), taxes (social security, medicare), even costs for our return flight home for furlough are all included in this amount. 

Doesn't Wycliffe give you a paycheck?
Yes, as employees of Wycliffe, we get a paycheck.  That paycheck is based upon the gifts of the people that partner with us.  We get paid from the money that is sent in on our behalf to Wycliffe. 

Why do you need monthly support?  Isn't this just a mission trip?
In the past Tim has gone on mission trips to various countries.  Those times we just needed a one time contribution to get him there and home. His job here in the State provided income and vacation time that he used. This is not just a trip, but a new life for us.  We will be living and working in Papua New Guinea.  His job here in the States will not continue to pay him because he will no longer be employed by them.

Why 50%?
Before we can register or attend our Intercultural Communications Course (ICC) in North Carolina in August, we must be at 50% of our regular support.  This course is only offered twice a year- August & January.  If we are unable to attend in August, we will not be able to leave in January for Papua New Guinea because we'll have to attend ICC in January.  We have to complete this month-long course before going to Papua New Guinea.

How much until you reach 50%? 
We need $800/month to be at 50%.  We are currently at 34%. 

When do you need to be at 100%?  
We need to be at 100% by the beginning of December to be released to leave for Papua New Guinea in January.  Until we reach 100%, we cannot leave for Papua New Guinea.  Our first assignment will be to complete the Pacific Orientation Course (POC).  This is the 15 week course that will prepare us for about anything we will encounter.  It is only offered in January and August, so if we are unable to have our support at 100%, we will have to wait until August 2012 to do the training. 

Can I give a special or one-time gift?
YES!  We still have to raise the money for our plane tickets, training, travel, and moving expenses to get us to Papua New Guinea.  We are estimating those costs at $25,000-$30,000. Airfare alone is about $6,000 for the 4 of us to get to PNG- without extra luggage or costs associated with layovers.  That's just the beginning.  We've received about half of the $13,000 at this time.  

Do I have to start giving today?
We understand some people need to finish other commitments or want to begin giving when we actually leave for Papua New Guinea.  That is fine!  All we need to know now is what God is leading you to give monthly (or quarterly, annually, etc) and when you plan on beginning to start giving.  This way we can update our records.

How can I give or pledge to give?
We make it simple.  Click on our Invitation to Partnership (ITP)  and complete the form under "Click to Pray or Give".  This will give you options of how to give and send us a notification of your commitment.  It is really easy.  You can choose to do EFT, mail in a check, or even send it monthly through your online banking.

Right now I can't give financially, what can I do?
  • The MOST important thing we need is PRAYER!  Please pray that God will enable us to meet this challenge.  Pray for the ones He has touched to give financially.  
  • We need advocates-people willing to share on our behalf, or host a home meeting, or invite us to share with a small group or church.  Email us through our ITP  if you'd like to be added to our prayer list or advocate on our behalf.  
  • We need encouragers.  Things get tough and stressful and sometimes just an email letting us know that you are thinking about us and praying for us means more than you'll ever know!  If God lays us on your heart, please lift us up in prayer.  
  • Share your prayer concerns with us.  We consider it an honor and privilege to partner with you in prayer.  Please email us on how we can pray for you.  God has shown us that when we focus on the needs of others and lift them up, He blesses us tremendously.  It is a reminder that He is on the throne and is sovereign.  
I'm sure there are more questions that I haven't answered.  Please feel free to ask.  Post a comment, and I'll try to respond! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Blessings Continue

That's our Jeep with the boxes and packages on top.  This is what Tim found when he walked out to our car Sunday morning after we finished speaking.  Those packages are a gift from God.  They are boxes and packing material we need to begin the next step in our adventure- packing away our stuff to ship to PNG.  We have no idea who blessed us, but we pray that God blesses them immensely! It pretty much made our day to find this.  My big job this summer is to get everything packed to be shipped.  It makes it a lot easier when you have the material you need!  THANK YOU!!!!

Now, who wants to have a packing party at my house...after VBS????

By the way, we have started a wishlist on Amazon of items that we need to get.  That is where these items came from.  You can check it out at http://amzn.com/w/4O8X567G797E.  We are adding items several times a week. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

May/June Newsletter

We've just posted our May/June Newsletter.  Click here to go and read it.  If you would like to be added to our email or mailing list, please send us an email through the "Partner With Us" link.