Visa Wars: A New Hope
Dear Praying Friends,
Many of you may have read in our last newsletter that we were hoping to be able to return to E's birth country as a family. I (S) have not been allowed in that country since 2012. Very recently, we have contacted a Christian lawyer there, "Phil", who has successfully helped others with similar visa troubles.
There are several things that Phil will do for us. First, he will seek to discover whether I am still banned or not. Second, he will find out whether my 15-year visa has been cancelled or not. Third, if the ban remains and/or my visa is cancelled, he will argue in court that those actions were unjustified and fight to get the ban removed and my visa re-instated.
Phil has won cases like ours, arguing that the government of this country has banned people on false grounds, with no evidence, and against their own laws. He can't guarantee a win, of course. That's where prayer comes in!
Please pray with us, that:
- God will grant success to Phil in his efforts on our behalf
- The courts will decide justly, according to their own laws
- I may know that I can (or can't) enter E's birth country within about a year, so that we can act accordingly before our furlough in about June 2021. It would be so much easier if we could start furlough knowing clearly which direction God is taking us.
We leave it all in God's hands. Thank you so much for your regular prayers for us and our ministry. We hope to have good news to share in future updates. Happy New Year!
Blessings in Christ,
Our project needs your prayers!
Dear Praying Friends,
We had a very smooth trip on our return overseas - thank you for your prayers. We're still just a bit jet-lagged, but it's getting better each day. Oddly, though the weather is generally warmer here than in Minnesota (our USA base), we feel much colder, as our overseas house has no central heating. We wear winter coats inside - it's warmer outside in the daytime!
Just before we left, I wrote that our workshop for 3 mountain teams was again canceled. Our team is working out when to reschedule. This is the most challenging group of languages we've worked with, because of their remote locations, and difficulty of travel and communication. One thing we know - we need a lot of prayer to get these workshops up and running. Please pray that God will give us wisdom and perseverance as we move forward.
We always covet and appreciate your prayers!
Dear Friends, three years ago an earthquake shook the country where we work.
It changed many peoples’ lives, including our family and our project here. I would like to focus this newsletter on our Trauma Healing Storying work, which we began because of that massive earthquake that traumatized so many people.
Prophet and Loss – A number of prophets and people in the Bible complain to God: David, Job, Moses - Jeremiah wrote a whole book of lamentations. One of the things we learn in our Trauma Healing lessons is: crying out to God when we suffer is ok!
We tell the story of Job – a man who lost everything. His friends tried to help, by insisting that he confess whatever great sin he had committed to bring this grief on himself. They were wrong, and Job called them “miserable comforters” (Job 16:2)! This still happens today. When Elina’s sister Lydia was dying of cancer, many Christians around her were saying the same thing – “Confess your sin, and God will heal you!” – it just added pain, it didn’t help. The story of Job teaches us that sometimes we don’t know why we suffer (tragedy ≠ punishment), but God is still good and in control.
Trauma Healing and Bible Translation – Until now, all of our Trauma Healing Bible training has been done in the national language. In early May, our whole team got trained to 1) Train others to lead these workshops, and 2) Help groups to translate our materials into their own languages, for even deeper impact! Not only will our efforts begin to reach far beyond us, but people will have a new way to see the value of God’s Word in their own language.
First Aid for the Heart – Our team has discovered that, for many people (even Christian leaders and pastors), our trauma healing training is revolutionary. We teach people about why God allows suffering, how to express grief, how to listen well, that it’s okay to lament to God, to bring our pain to Jesus, to forgive those who hurt us, etc.. While we don’t pretend to be professional counselors, our goal is to help people take the first basic steps toward emotional health.
Update on our regular Bible Storying – over the last 1 ½ years, we’ve been working with 7 languages. Two of them finished all their work in March – 35 Bible stories each. The remaining 5 languages each drafted 37 Bible stories, and we’ll have one more workshop in June to do final recordings. Some of our participants will go on to become mother-tongue Bible translators in their languages. We will encourage all of them to continue sharing Bible stories among their own people. 255 Bible stories were finished in the 7 different languages – God is good!
Visa Surprise! – In March, we went to apply for a 6-month student visa so that we could stay in the country. We walked out with a 5-YEAR visa! A new rule for US citizens came into effect just days before we applied, so we were among the first to get this amazing new visa. Please pray that we fulfill the visa requirements – it’s so new that nobody is quite sure what the requirements are. It shouldn’t affect us for these next 5 years, but if we need to get visas after that, we want to make sure we can. Meanwhile, praise the LORD with us – we are still gasping in awe of His bounty!
Model/Madal Students – Linus has just finished 5th grade, and Jane turned 8 in April and is getting close to finishing 3rd grade. Elina is a student at the music school again for our (5-year!) visa, and she’s learning to play a 2-ended drum, called a “madal” (pronounced just like “model” – clever, eh?). Livy and I are students of life – Livy is as curious as a kid can be, and recently I have been learning how to keep better account of our project expenses (yay). Please pray that we all learn the right lessons, and bring glory to God!
Thank you for taking time to read about our Wycliffe ministry and us, and thank you for your prayers, gifts and notes. We are grateful for your friendship and partnership!
The T Family