Mexico, Tojolabal Translation
the bad news… a dear friend of many, many years has gone blind. When we lived in the village, learning to speak Tojolabal, Demetrio would often come over and help us understand both the language and culture. He has always been a great friend and has been a translator for many years. He struggled with diabetes and about one year ago completely lost his sight. He now listens and gives suggestions. It is encouraging to see that he wants to help bring the translation the finish line. Listening to the text is a key task now for the team in general, so he contributes quite a bit.
the good news… a very gifted young lady has joined the team. We have known Elly for a number of years. She would often be busy in the kitchen, preparing the food for us throughout the day. She is a daughter-in-law of another translator. Now, when we sit in the kitchen, instead of serving us – she joins us. More importantly, despite no translation nor Biblical studies, she has had an immediate impact. We often say every translation needs both men and women, so having a woman is great and the fact that she is young is a bonus. The Tojolabal Bible needs to be understood by young and old, men and women, literate or illiterate. She is helping the message reach more.
So as the team approaches finishing, (maybe in 2 or 3 years) God is providing for their needs. It was a great week with the team. Even though I can’t be with them very often I thankful for weeks like this one.
Thanks for your prayers for the Tojolabals.
Back to School…
This past few weeks the topic of Facebook has posts of children going off to their new classrooms in a new grade. For us, this year has been much different. Our eldest son, Michael has just started off his first year in Junior High at Calhoun Christian School in Battle Creek, Michigan. He’s spending the year with Robyn’s parents. We are thankful for God’s provision for his tuition fees. Though it was a hard choice to send Michael back to the US for the school year, we have seen the positive fruit of that decision as he is being stretched and grown in many ways.
God has also blessed us by providing Home School Assistants for the year. Megan was able to be here to get the school year kicked off and she has been doing a great job of overseeing the kid’s school thus far. Johanna is still waiting for her PNG Entry Permit. We are hoping she’ll be able to get here soon. We have already seen major benefits to having a Home School Assistant. It has changed our family dynamics in a very positive way by allowing Robyn to be Mom and not Teacher as well. In short, it has decreased school-related tensions and increased the amount of love and affection Robyn gets from the boys. Having Home School Assistants has also freed Robyn up to be able to invest some time into language learning and further ministry with the ladies.
Ongoing court case…
In our last update we asked you to be praying for our brother “S” who has been in an ongoing land court case for nearly 3 years now. At the time, we were hopeful that the case was almost over. Unfortunately, things have a way of dragging on. We are encouraged to see how God is working in “S”’s life through these events. We have seen tremendous growth in his spiritual maturity. He has another court date on October 9, but much can happen between now and then. Please pray that his spiritual morale will not fall as well as for his physical safety.
We’ve recently started up another literacy class with 15 students. The students vary widely in both age and previous education levels. It has been fun to see the younger, more educated students helping the older, less educated ones. These students are driven by their desire to read the Scriptures in their own language. Please pray that God would open their minds so that they may learn to read fluently. We are also working to train up a couple individuals to help teach literacy with the hopes that they’ll be able to fully take on the teaching of future classes.
Thank you for your continued prayers, support, and encouragement.
At His Service and For His Glory,
Levi & Robyn Lenz
Serving the North Wahgi people of Papua New Guinea
Facebook: Lenz’s View
Dear Praying Friends,
We’ve been back in the States for a little over 2 months. We have gone from being in cold & gray Kijabe to hot & sunny Florida; driving for 1 ½ hours for groceries to now only driving a few minutes; having limited choices to having sooo many options. We are definitely feeling some culture shock and are many times overwhelmed with life here, but we are slowly adjusting to being in the U.S. and living in Florida. As we’re starting to settle into the home we are house-sitting, church hunting and beginning to work; it will soon feel like we’re putting down roots. Pray for us as we transition to life back in the States and living for the first time in Florida.
We’re thankful for the time we’ve had with both sides of our family, and for being able to spend 10 days together as an immediate family. Goodbyes are a big part of our life, and they are never easy. It was hard to leave our dorm girls, friends and community at RVA, and we have already started the goodbyes in Florida. We said goodbye to Anissa 3 weeks ago, as she left for her 4-month stay in Costa Rica with Torch Bearers. She is attending a Bible school in San Jose which also does service, outreach, and missions to the local community and beyond. Two weeks ago, we said goodbye to Autumn as she flies to Thailand for her 3-month missions study abroad program through her college. She will be living in Bangkok, working with a missionary family, doing local outreach and learning Thai language and culture. Pray for Anissa and Autumn in their time abroad as they grow and serve the Lord where they are living. Alanna is living here with us in Florida and is currently job hunting. Please pray for wisdom and direction as Alanna looks for a job in the Orlando area, transitions to life after college, and starts to make Florida her home.
So, what are we up to in Florida?
- We are on Home Assignment (furlough) until the end of December, and then we are planning to work for AIM in Florida until 2021. We hope to see many of you in the next 3 years as we visit family, friends, churches and supporters across the US.
- We are house-sitting a couple’s house at AIM’s retirement center in Minneola, FL for the next year. We hope to find housing nearby after that.
- Rod will continue with his exact same AIM role doing training, life coaching, and leadership development with missionaries and leaders.
- Lori will be serving at AIM’s retirement center in various ways, such as office support, caregiving, and cleaning.
- We will continue to be full-time members of AIM and will need to be 100% financially supported.
Please pray for us as we grow and serve where God has planted us for the next 3 years.
If you would like to see and hear where we are living and serving, please click on this link: https://aimint.org/retirementcenter/
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support of us,
Rod and Lori, Alanna, Autumn & Anissa
Soeryanto and Ester
Just over a year ago I was asked to visit a project in South America that was nearing completion. We had a very hard time finding a good date for me to visit and I had suggested to try to work remotely but they insisted I do one final visit. Shortly before my departure I found out that one of the translators (Soeryanto) had heart problems and he was not going to be able to work. The other translator (his wife-Esther) still wanted me to come to help them finish.
When I arrived I got a call from Esther and found out that she was sick and it would be impossible to work the first day. I wondered if we’d be able to work the next day. I also wondered if I would get sick, since she had the flu. We got some work done those days and I did not get sick. But what I remember most vividly from those days is her request for prayer. They were getting so close to finishing the translation but struggle after struggle seemed to be upon them and seemed to be preventing them from completing the work. It did seem obvious that their were opposing forces in their life.
One year later, almost to the day, I was back with them. They both looked great and were back to working full time in their church. It is always wonderful to connect with people I work with over the years. This time was extra special because on this occasion I was able to be there with them for the launching of their Bible. God supplied their needs. The translation was finished. There was a grand celebration.
The Bible for the Javanese people in Suriname was dedicated last month.
… ongoing work
Hundreds of projects around the world are in progress. Each is unique and while some march forward towards completion without too many roadblocks, the reality is that most have issues that cause them to struggle. In a week I will be visiting a dear team in which one of the translators has gone blind. Please pray for protection, understanding and endurance for the hundreds and even thousands of Bible translators around the world.
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Renes – Bible Translation
Change is in the Air
We are SO thankful for cooler weather. The European Heat Wave of Summer 2018 was challenging without the air conditioning that so many Americans enjoy. Temperatures were in the mid- to upper 90s F/mid 30s C many days and it was very dry. The cooler weather has been a huge relief.
Besides cooler weather, we are seeing changes in our own lives. Tom’s health challenges this year have caused changes in our eating habits as well as in our need for more use of Uber and other taxi services since we do not own a car. Tom is also traveling much less than he did over the last five years, but that is allowing him to do more from his desk.
Between now and mid-October, Leslie has more speaking engagements than usual, along with more travel. She is getting increasingly involved in the Daniel Movement in the Czech Republic (see June’s newsletter) which is expected to grow throughout Europe in the next few years. The Teaching Redemptively study group has also started up for the Fall.
In the midst of this, we are now planning on a HUGE change in 2019. Though we expect a lot of our work to continue, we plan to relocate to the US in June. Several reasons have led to this decision, two of which are:
- Life in Prague is wearing Tom out. We have 29 steps in and out of our apartment if the elevator/lift is working. So just going out can cause Tom pain.
- Aimee and her husband have invited us to move in with them to help with life, especially when her husband is away with the army. For example, he will be deployed for 6 months starting this fall. We just saw their active little boy crawling all over, and that made it more clear that she can use reinforcements when her husband is out of town for an extended time.
Living with Aimee’s family will help with transitioning to the US culture since we anticipate the change from European culture to American culture to be challenging. By then, we will have lived in Europe over 25 years.
As we said, Lord willing, our work will continue. It will just be from a different continent. We are hoping to get back to Europe once or twice a year to continue much of the work we are doing. When we are not in Europe, a lot of our work is done from the computer.
We are asking you, our supporters, to continue to:
- Pray for us in our work and transition;
- Support us financially as the Lord leads; we will still be dependent on your generous gifts to continue serving our Lord in our calling.
An Update from Tom
In July, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the first ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. More than 80 countries sent senior diplomats. US Ambassador for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback (in picture) said this was an attempt to launch an international religious freedom movement.
The World Evangelical Alliance sent me as an envoy to the event. We estimate that 400 million of the 600 million Christians affiliated with the WEA are experiencing discrimination, severe restrictions, or persecution because of their faith. I have to write a detailed report, for which we will plan to send you the link.
A different report, “The Relation of the Swiss Evangelical Alliance to the Roman Catholic Church,” has been published and is appearing on various websites. Here is the original place of publication.
I think this is one of the best studies of Evangelical/Catholic relations to be published by a major Protestant organization, so I translated it from German and French into English, giving more readers access to it. Our attempt to upgrade the quality of Evangelical/Catholic discussions has a larger context.
Common problems of sometimes overwhelming persecution caused the WEA and the Vatican to increase communications about a decade ago. This led to the joint publication of “Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World” in 2011 and then to the Tirana Consultation on Discrimination, Persecution, and Martyrdom in 2015. Now the WEA and the Vatican are working on a memorandum that will move us from individual joint events to a long-term process of cooperation. We cannot stop the persecution of Christians, but we can, I believe, restructure the pattern of the Christian response. It is my serious hope that our grandchildren can inherit a situation of global Protestant/Catholic cooperation in response to persecution. Please pray with me.
On a different note, I have added two parts of my personal testimony to my academia website. Both are short excerpts from my books. The first is “After a Cult: How I was forced to become a theologian.” It is the first text in the section about the Trinity. The second is “After the Holocaust: How I was forced to become a philosopher.” It is the first text in the section about persecution and human rights. Take a look if you are interested. In the last month I have had people reading my website from 407 universities in 102 countries.
Thank you for making it possible for me to do this type of work! Without your support, we could not do it!
Click HERE for the link to get to Tom’s academic website.
September and early October are a busy time for Leslie
- There is a Christian educators’ conference in the Netherlands where they will be discussing religious freedom in schools.
- I have been asked to lead another accreditation team for ACSI, this time in Ethiopia. I will need to go for 2 days in September and then again, Lord willing, in December.
- The annual ACSI Europe Student Leadership Conference is at the end of September. I will be teaching two workshops for students and one workshop for the chaperones.
- A Christian school in Poland is celebrating a significant milestone. Along with Alan Brown, the former director of ACSI Europe, and his wife, Malinda, I will attend their celebration and give a talk to teachers and two talks to teens.
I would appreciate your prayers for safe travels and for the Holy Spirit to be at work through my teaching and ministering to Christian educators and young people.
We thank the Lord for:
- Tom’s time in Washington DC about religious freedom issues. It was a great time of connecting.
- Tom’s health cooperating while he was in DC.
- Leslie’s teaching going well in August and early September.
- Safety for Leslie in her travels.
- The new learning platform regarding freedom of religion or belief. (Click HERE to see it.)
- The setting up of Tom’s academic website which has a lot of links to publications Tom has worked on and is growing in downloads regularly.
PO Box 12147
Overland Park KS 66282-2147
Volunteer Informational Meeting
Thursday, September 20, 2018
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
If you have ever thought about volunteering at Care Net, but were unsure about what is involved, please consider coming to an informational meeting.
We are planning to expand our hours and services, but we can’t do that without more volunteers.
This is just an informational meeting with no pressure or expectations. We just want anyone who has any interest to understand who we are, what we do and what our needs are.
If possible, let us know you are coming at 315-573-7833.
If not, just come by. We look forward to meeting you.
Loving people to Life,