Do you remember the bestselling book The Prayer of Jabez? There were varied opinions on it, but Jabez's prayer of faith in 1Chronicles 4:10 certainly made an impression on me (who had ever heard of Jabez before that book?).
"'Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!' And God granted what he asked."
Since Jabez is called honorable in the previous verse and God granted his request, God didn't have a problem with it. I haven't prayed this for quite a while, but I realize this is what God has been doing.
Keep me from harm
At the end of December our family was robbed at the missionary beach house just after midnight. Although this wasn't pleasant, God protected our lives. Ellie was sleeping on the roof by herself and the thief didn't go near her. He stole my cellphone which was inches from my sleeping head, but he didn't harm me or anyone else. When I woke up and he ran out, he dropped my wallet and several other things, so we got them back. And graciously, friends who learned about it on Facebook replaced everything that was stolen. This was a blessing beyond anything we expected or imagined.
Enlarge my border Our borders of ministry influence are cetainly enlarging. Here are a few examples...
In December's newsletter, I mentioned my upcoming publication "Sis Faz Nan Lavi Gason An" (The Six Phases of a Man's Life). Since then, over 2,100 people have accessed it online, people from other areas in Haiti have asked me to send them the PDF version and hundreds of printed copies have been distributed. I praise God for giving me something to share that is meeting a need.
Tomorrow I will give a seminar to 140 Haitian teens on "Honorable Sexuality." This is a step toward my next publication. I hope to compile these smaller publications into a book in the years ahead. Sexual immorality is a major contributor to generational poverty in Haiti. God has a better plan.
God is giving us opportunities beyond Haiti
Sean will give a seminar to Trinidadian pastors on April 21 on "The Elements of Honor vs. Shame in the Bible and Culture", in collaboration with Pastor Varma from the ECWI in Trinidad who attended the Honor-Shame Conference with Sean at Wheaton College last summer.
Sean will give a few talks at World Team America's LEAD meetings in Trinidad the following week on "Cross-cultural Conflict Resolution" and "International Ministry Partnership." Sean's Trinidad trip is April 19 - May 1.
Sean and Heather will travel to Suriname May 29 - June 12 where Sean will be the keynote speaker at the UNIE Baptist annual convention (five sessions over the weekend). Then Sean and Heather will spend a week in the jungle interior visiting our Dutch colleagues working among the Wayana tribe.
July 14-20, Sean will be the summer conference speaker at Pinebrook Bible Conference Center in eastern Pennsylvania on the topic of "The Elements of Honor vs. Shame in the Bible and Culture." This has been a neglected topic in seminaries for centuries and missionaries are helping to resensitize church leaders to this major theme in Scripture which has vast applications for the Christian life.
FYI: Sean's travel expenses for his area leadership role are paid from WT's admin fee. Heather's ministry travel expenses come out of our support account.
Part of the maturing process at the Bible School in Haiti includes seeing more qualified Haitian professors. The staff has identified our recent graduate, Judley Lubin, as an excellent candidate for the Masters in Theology program in the north of Haiti. It requires monthly trips to that university. Judley is smart, humble and has a heart for Christ and people. Judley doesn't have money though and neither does the Bible School! If you would like to contribute to the scholarship we want to give him, you can give through World Team's "IBL Scholarship" project. See the giving options listed at the bottom. His monthly need is only US$95 per month.
Judley's not the only one in need of support. With the coming of 2018 and Sean now over 45, the World Team US office needed to adjust our support budget for the first time since 2014. This necessary adjustment means that our pledged support is $1,900 short of that budget. Gulp. Why?
Health insurance costs are by far the main reason.
In 2014 we only had one teenager! The older they get the more expensive they get.
We have lost donors for various reasons.
Heather traveling with Sean raises our expenses. This is far from just a fun trip. Heather makes a significant contribution. You know her, so you know that.
We have made several adjustments to actually lower our ministry expenses, but these other factors have outweighed those effects.
Our average monthly donation is $60/month. We're asking for a team of supporters all doing what they can. We are so grateful for all those who continue to support us faithfully.
Giving can be monthly, quarterly, annually, or special gifts.
A monthly electronic transfer from your checking account is the simplest (no credit card fees or expiration dates, no forgetting).
World Team can faciliate a variety of giving options. Click here to see them.
We were pleasantly surprised to see this photo on CIU's recent alumni email. Ian's the one in the brown hoodie (not any of those in T-shirts!) Heather and Ian took a trip to South Carolina in February to get Ian ready for college life. He got his driver's permit, passed two CLEP tests, and spent a day at CIU for the Robertson McQuilkin scholarship event. We're excited for him, but also feeling the reality that we will leave him behind in August.
Pray for God to guide and empower Sean in his upcoming speaking engagements and for safety in travels.
Pray for the kids to finish their school year well. You know what spring is like for students and teachers.
Praise God for three recent large donations that are making up for our budget deficit for several months. They didn't know our need, but God did.
Pray for needed provision for Ian's college costs. He's applied to numerous private scholarships but so far no responses.
We need to borrow a minivan for our summer travels.
Thank you for your partnership in the Gospel,
Sean, Heather, Ian, Erik, Joey and Ellie Christensen
Training the next generation of leaders for the Haitian church and beyond