Living, Learning & Loving La Vida Nueva

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Time to Celebrate!

We had our first face-to-face interview with our AIM regional representatives last fall.  At that meeting, I learned of the Bible competencies requirement Africa Inland Mission has for all of their missionaries who don't already have formal Bible training.  I agree completely with their desire to ensure that each missionary is equipped with in-depth Biblical instruction.  However, as a stay-at-home mom of an extremely busy young one, I wondered at times how I would ever complete the nine requirements.

Something about myself which I both appreciate and loathe is that I can hardly stand to have things hanging over my head.  I am a get-it-done and do-it-now kind of person.  That is great a lot of times because it means that I almost always stay on top of things.  In this case, however, I've known for nearly a year that I had these nine classes which I was required to take.  I was on my own time table since the only deadline was that I have at least five classes done before we leave for Africa; the last four could be completed before the start of our second term.  Leaving four to complete during our time in Africa was out of the question in my mind; instead, having all nine finished at least a few months before we depart was my goal.  I've been hoping for some semblance of a break between these requirements, gathering the necessary paperwork and support raising, and the imminent culture shock coming after the New Year.  Still hoping; we'll see if it happens. 

The classes weren't extremely involved.  I signed into my online account with Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and listened to pre-recorded forty-five minute lectures.  To officially complete each class I was required to pass a quiz.  For the first couple of classes, I filled out the study guides which go along with the audio lectures.  That quickly changed as I realized I would never get them finished if I had to be sitting still the entire time.  I have much more time when my ears are free but my hands are busy.  The main challenge was finding time when Kyle was asleep or heavily occupied.  And when Kyle is asleep, Mommy often wants to sleep, too.  I had to constantly fight the urge to climb in bed and go work on the classes instead.  I listened to many lectures as I cooked dinner, smocked plates for Kyle's outfits, and took bubble baths.  Diligence paid off; I finished my last class today.  Insert completely relieved sigh here:

The nine classes I completed were: Theology Survey 1&2, Church History 1&2, New Testament Survey 1&2, Prophets and Promise - a study of the Old Testament, Biblical Interpretation, and World Missions.  Naturally I enjoyed the World Missions class the most, but I also thoroughly enjoyed the first Church History class as well as the second Theology Survey class.  Each of the lecturers was engaging and had some great insights to things I don't often ponder.  My favorite quote from the World Missions class was:

"If you are planting a church where there is already a viable gospel witness, you are not planting a church where there is not already a viable gospel witness."

I had to listen to that a couple times to let it completely sink in, but it makes total sense to me now.  I strongly believe in the urgency of reaching unreached people groups.  All too often it seems that our time and resources are invested in reaching those who have the gospel at their fingertips and not those who haven't ever heard the name of Christ.

What better way to celebrate completing this stage of our ministry preparation requirements than with ice cream?  We skipped over to Bruster's this evening where we all enjoyed a delicious treat.  Jonathan and I split an Oreo Cheesecake ice cream cone.  Kyle even got a free Cotton Candy Explosion baby cone which made him exceedingly happy... and sticky.

Brrr, this is cold stuff.

Hey Mr. Sticky, you sure are handsome - can I get a kiss?

... This is why we don't go out often ...

Then we burned some calories by playing basketball.  Or at least Kyle did.  I watched.

Caleb dropped his ice cream on his shorts.  Again, we don't get out much.

Graduation photo minus the silly cap.

Glad to have those required classes off my shoulders.  I may listen to some of the lectures through again as time goes by to gain an even clearer understanding of Biblical truth.  So much of what was discussed are details which oftentimes go right over my head.  After taking these classes, however, I feel like I have a better grasp on why I believe what I believe.  I was humbled and motivated as I learned of the sacrifices our church fathers made for the sake of preserving the gospel.  I am also reminded again of the immeasurable love and grace of Christ which held him to a cross as he became the propitiation for my sins.  May I always serve him faithfully.


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