Days 28 and 29: The Call, the Community, and the Crucible

William Carey, the "Father of Modern Missions"

William Carey, the “Father of Modern Missions”

Perhaps you’ve heard of a missionary named William Carey. He was a poor cobbler in 18th century England, married to an illiterate woman older than he. While he was not cobbling (making or repairing shoes), he studied the Bible, engaged in service, and thought deeply. He lived in a time when the idea of going overseas for any reason other than colonialism was considered mad. Yet the more he studied, the more he became convinced that taking the gospel to the lost was the central call of the New Testament church. And to Carey, it meant taking the gospel to the lost among the rest of the world, away from rural England.

He sailed for India in the waning years of the 18th century and would discover the high price to be paid for following the call. The community within which he moved in India opposed his work greatly–not just the Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims—but also the East India Trading Company who feared that his work would interfere with their profits. He moved to the interior to avoid being deported, into malarial areas where heat, fever, and sickness was as common as rain.

Over the years he established schools, translated the Bible into several languages, planted churches, wrote books, established a press, a mission, and taught Oriental languages at a university. He also lost three wives (his first went insane years prior to her death). He constantly endured sickness and opposition, watched his mission split and be rejected by his denominational mission board, and lost all of his manuscripts (including several Bible translations, polyglot dictionary (that he had authored), and books) in a warehouse fire while he was away from the mission station. Not surprisingly, his self-described spiritual gift was “plodding”.

Getting the Word Out Somau Garia Style

Getting the Word Out Somau Garia Style

There are a group of Somau Garia men scattered throughout the foothills of the Finisterre Mountain foothills who face three furies in their lives: the call to translate the Scripture into their heart language, the alternate support and opposition of their community, and the crucible of spiritual, social, and physical pressure to cease and desist. One of the leaders spent an extended period in the hospital with tuberculosis in his bones–resulting in a somewhat debilitating physical condition that he now lives with constantly. He went from being a vigorous, energetic man to being comparatively frail. Yet he continues to draft, to ask for help in checking the translation; to keep it moving forward. When I talked with him in September, he said, “We need to hurry and get the translation done. Who knows how long either of us will live? We must finish.” Need I say more? The translators’ resolve to continue the work has caused societal discord as old ways and new clash.

Please pray. God is at work. Angela and I live morning, noon, and night with the call pressing in on our hearts. Our dreams are populated by visions of the Somau Garia celebrating the coming of the Word in their heart language. These visions meld with the vision painted in Revelation 7:9, filled with faces from every nation, tribe, people, and language gathered around the throne and in front of the Lamb, on their faces, worshiping. We are in the throng alongside our Somau Garia brothers and sisters.

Please pray. Pray that God will continue to build a supportive community around us, supporting and sending us to Papua New Guinea, in order that we might be with our friends daily, working diligently toward getting this work done as soon as possible. Please pray that the larger Somau Garia community will stand behind the translators, the literacy workers, the teachers, the families who give themselves to this work. Please ask God to catalyze the community to support these folks.


Please pray. Pray that as we endure the crucible, we can, like Carey, plod. Pray that as we endure spiritual opposition here and now, that our Father will empower us to overcome and stand in the evil day. Pray that as we get our boots on the ground in Papua New Guinea, we will withstand the pressure and squeeze of the crucible. Please pray for our Somau Garia co-workers, that they will be able to withstand the crucible, as well, to overcome the enormous pressure that they live and work under.

Prayerfully Consider Partnership
Please pray, asking God what part you might have in this call, this community, even this crucible. He does not ask his people to go without supplying the goers with senders. Anyone engaging in high impact ministry can expect diabolical opposition. It is a given. Pray that God might help you count the cost. If, in your prayers, you feel that God is asking you to join the prayer team, click here to drop us an email so that we can plug you into the prayer team. If you feel that the Holy Spirit is leading you to partner with Pioneer Bible Translators financially in sending us out, clicking here will send you to our donate page where you will find how PBT handles donations.

Thank you for prayerfully considering your part in this vital ministry.


What’s in a Dream?

Dreams are intensely personal. They are expressions of our true self. What do we passionately pursue? What gives us that far away, wistful look in our eyes? What causes us to shed tears or to argue or to take risks that to most seem oddly insane? Dreams are intensely personal.

Some sequester dreams in the shadowy places of their lives. Quiet. Unnoticed. Anonymous. Free of mockery and derision. The dreams of these people occupy their quiet moments and resemble hobbies more than life-altering pursuits. These dreams are the books that never quite get written, the dragster that never quite gets built, the guitar that collects dust in the corner.

Others realize that their dreams are bigger than they are. These realize that these dreams are risky ventures, full of blind corners, pitfalls, and dragons. Their quiet moments are nervous affairs spent vacillating between fear and the potential for huge dividends. These people talk a lot about their dreams with their friends and confidantes, but ultimately it remains an exciting possibility, always just over the horizon, the dream that I’m going to get to just as soon as . . .

Then there are those who are not merely dreamers, but visionaries. The dream for them begins in the twilight pre-dawn hours and at mid-day and in the watches of the night. At first these folks closely guard the dream as they birth it, nurture it, allow it to develop. These folks are taken by the transcendent value of the dream and see that the dream reaches far beyond themselves, beyond their personal benefit, beyond even their lifetime. They too recognize blind corners, pitfalls, and dragons. They feel the butterflies. They too talk endlessly about the dream with friends and confidantes. At this point, the dream transforms into something God-sized, powerful, and compelling . . .

The dream becomes a vision. The dream moves beyond friends, beyond personal acquaintances, beyond close community. The dream ceases to be the sole property of the dreamer, the nurturer, the talker, the motivator. It takes on a life of its own and becomes the property of the community, the network, the . . . generation?

Angela and I once had a dream. We dreamed of living cross-culturally, taking the Word to the far reaches, to the remote, the lost, the forgotten of the world. That dream grew beyond the two of us and birthed something far greater than we would ever have imagine. It became a vision that took us across the world and played itself out over a decade of love and hardship and challenge and hard work. We had to shelf that vision for a while and it was relegated to the role of dream for six years.

illuminated bible

Dream has once again become vision–a vision that I think has the potential to capture your imagination and change the course of your life, not just ours. This vision bears an impact that will span generations and impact the future of an entire culture. This vision bears an impact that will change how you think when you eat your breakfast, read your Bible, eat a chocolate bar, drink your coffee. The vision–I don’t think that I’m speaking too boldly–has the potential to impact how you relate to God himself.

Beginning Friday, November 22, we begin a 40 day period of fleshing out the vision, bringing it to life and inviting you to be changed by it, to set in motion an impact that will change a culture for generation upon generation.

Tomorrow I want to share a dream that is worth living and dying for . . . join me here for an exciting first step into the vision.