Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Radical

While we've been down here in Mississippi these past couple of months we've gotten to connect with our Bellwether Church family in many ways, but I think our favorite part has been visiting all the different small groups they have. We've not been able to attend any one of the evening groups more than once or twice, sadly, but I (Scott) have been able to meet with the men's group each week. Aside from the fact that they meet early in the morning each Tuesday, this has been a phenomenal part of our time here. I've been challenged through our time and, hopefully, have been able to spur on some of the other guys as well.


In this group we've been studying David Platt's Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (God timed our visit so I could jump in at the beginning of this study and I'm only missing the last chapter next week). I, yes even me the missionary, was challenged by this book and had to struggle through some of the chapters, wrestling with what Platt was saying and what I see in life and in Scripture.

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American DreamThe basic premise of the book is that we've taken Christianity and, mostly unknowingly, softened it to conform to what would be called the "American Dream." When he looks at the Bible, Platt sees a lot of conflict between what Jesus is saying and what he sees the church doing today. He believes that we've shaped Jesus into what we'd like him to be, rather than allowing Him to shape us into what He wants us to be. He begins the book by asking a simple, but extremely probing question, "Is the Jesus you know someone worth losing everything for?" If not, why not? That's what the early disciples believed. That's what Christian's in the rest of the world live.

Platt builds on this idea throughout the book, challenging various aspects of our American Christian culture, until he challenges people to take up his radical experiment for a year. This radical experiment covers 5 facets of our lives where we need to be radical. Here they are: Over the next year to....

  • Pray for the whole world
  • Read the whole Bible
  • Commit our lives to a multiplying community (Church, small group, something)
  • Sacrifice our money for a specific purpose
  • Give our time in another context
What would your life look like if you made a commitment along these lines? What kind of impact could you make in the world? It doesn't necessarily mean packing up and coming to Uganda with us, but the result would be no less transforming. I'd challenge you to pick up a copy of this book and read it (if you've got a kindle or a kindle app on your phone or computer you can get it for just a couple dollars). Be open to the challenge and see where God might want to move you outside your American comfort zone.

You can also check out some more info by visiting www.radicalthebook.com or www.radicalexperiment.org.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Why We Train Pastors

Ever wondered why we have focused our ministry on training pastors?

Check out Josh and Kelly Hallahan's blog to read the story of Pastor Wilson -- I think his story will show you exactly why we believe in training pastors.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Day at the Zoo

Today, we got to spend the morning at the Jackson Zoo. It was great fun to see Tim's excitement about seeing all the different animals. He would run up to one exhibit, look at the animal inside for about 10 seconds, and then turn to us and say, "Let's see another animal!" Benjamin wasn't quite so excited, but he did enjoy a nap in the fresh air... But as we were walking around, the zoo (like so many things these days) got me thinking about Africa and what our boys might think of the zoo the next time we're home for Homeland Ministry Assignment.

You see, this was probably the last time that our boys will see some of these animals through a cage or over a wall. They are going to grow up watching animals like that through the window of our car as we drive from Arua to Kampala (and who knows where in the future). What an amazing opportunity they will have to grow up in another context. Not that life will always be easy or as fun as safari, but when we're back in the States again (at ages 4 1/2 and 2 1/2) their worldview is going to be vastly different than that of their peers. They are going to see life here very differently than the average American kid.

But it also got me thinking about whether coming back to the States will even feel like coming "home" to them. Probably not. Do you remember anything about your life prior to age 2? Prior to 6 months old? I don't. And I wonder, how long will it take for Africa to feel like it is home for me? We know that God has called us to Uganda at this point in our lives, and to Africa for our lives, but at what point does "home" change?

These are some of the thoughts and feelings that we're wrestling through as we look toward our departure for Uganda (we're currently at 88%). I don't have answers to all (or any) of this, but I thought I'd share so you all can get a glimpse of where we're at and know how to pray with us even more. Thanks for joining us in this journey.

***A correction to our last post***
We apparently experienced our first team miscommunication (of many, I'm sure) about the vehicles in Arua. The Coppedges are actually going to continue driving the Land Rover I described below while we will be driving a Toyota Land Cruiser (which is equally exciting: more to come on that when I know more). And all that is kind of relative anyway; they're both Arua team vehicles and we'll use them as the mission requires.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Land Rover!!

Exciting news: We found out not very long ago that there is a Land Rover sitting in the Coppedge's yard waiting for us! I (Scott) am super stoked about this (just ask Meg; I've been reading stuff online, looking for service manuals, etc. She thinks I'm ridiculous). For one, because who doesn't want to drive a Land Rover around Africa!?!? I mean, seriously, talk about adventure. Isn't that just iconic? But also, two, it means we are close to going! They are getting ready for our arrival. Jesus is making a way! That is truly exciting. (Side note: For those who care, it is a 1995 Land Rover Defender 110)


There are other exciting things related to departure happening too. Billy and Joanna have been praying and looking for a home for us to live in in Arua. We've started making some preliminary packing lists. We're heading to Colorado for our last training at the end of this month. We're studying our Swahili (although, probably not as consistently as we'd like). We're praying in the remaining 22% of monthly support that we need. Would you pray with us that God will get us to Uganda soon? If all of our support is in by the end of March we will be cleared to leave by the end of MAY!! 

If God is leading you to be a part of getting us to Uganda, you can click here to download an electronic fund transfer form to set up a recurring monthly gift, or here to give online.