Special Prayer Mail

Dear friends,

Lately we have been asking you all to pray for discernment, yet not with any preconceived agenda in mind. At long last and in the past day or so, it has become really clear to Julie and myself that the way forward that God has in mind is for us to become Associate Missionaries with SAMS. Sometimes the answers are about timing.
What does this transition mean? 
In terms of Belize et al, we are moving in new directions and away from missionary work (official change date is October 1st, and because there is a fair amount to do, please keep your financial support and prayer support coming our way through September). 
In addition, we are planning to continue as canonically resident clergy in the Diocese of Albany, and we plan to continue with our other avenues of ministry which started out simply as ways to supplement our mission work and which have developed a life of their own. 
It means:

1) Prayer support would be appreciated as long as we keep the prayermails going. 
2) The following are anticipated matters related to Belize that may continue after October 1st:

2a) I may need to keep the distance learning Web site open for another year for any residual courses if a student may need to take to finish up, and for anyone else who might be taking courses. One of our supporters pays annually to keep the site open – thank you. In terms of distance learning at this point it is more:
 i) my monitoring the student’s progress, 
ii) my issuing certificates of completion for the student’s two remaining courses, and 
iii) my issuing a certificate for the student’s having completed the overall program.

2b) If the Bishop of Belize needs an officially designated person as Examining Chaplain and/or Director of ATI, I may need to keep my name there as a placeholder, so that there is some continuity, until he finds my replacement. Most of my work might be by email or Skype. He may want to be thinking about replacements in time for Diocesan Synod this year, in October. 

2c) Shut down what I can of my temporary Diocese of Belize Web site as soon as I hear from the Diocesan Secretary that the new permanent site is set up. I have begun transitioning in that direction this past week. The Diocesan Secretary in Belize told me this week that at long last (since 2014) they finally have a way forward for a diocesan Web site.

2d) I might keep a title such as “Director of the ATI Distance Learning Program” until the Web site closes down, so that one of the students has a way forward. 

2e) I may make a trip for the unveiling of the Spanish CPWI Prayer Book if there is one. The Prayer Book is scheduled to be printed in September. 
You have been very faithful supporters, both in prayer and financially. We can’t thank you enough. We have enjoyed your company since we began our odessy in 2008, through our adventures together in Peru, East Africa, and what God has had in mind for us in Belize.
4) We (all of us – you included) have made a tremendous difference wherever we have been. I plan to keep the prayermails and monthly newsletter up and going through September.  
5) Each of you has been important to us. In particular, Torre got me started on this prayer mail idea. Jeanne has been faithful in getting the word out. Tom Gizara has been our advocate. Bill Schrull has been our faithful tech support person. And you have been faithful. The cast of helpers has been thousands more. And thousands of people have affected/will be affected by what we have been doing in one way or another, on at least three continents.  
6) We have many friends because of our mission work. You are one of them.
7) I also appreciate all that my family has been through on our behalf through it all, especially Julie and Lydia, as well as the help that we have had from all our family members in their supporting roles.
Next prayermail will be coming out next week. Now, we pray for the transition and what lies ahead.
Best wishes, and may God bless you in your endeavors. 
I continue to pray for you, every day.

In Jesus’ Name,

Shaw, and on behalf of Julie, 
In Connecticut

You, Me, and God: Mentoring and What the Bible Says

2016-08-30 00:00:00

Mentoring can be a significant way for us to get to know each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. When we know a person who is more knowledgeable or experienced, we can then learn from that person. Although the Bible doesn’t come right out and use the term “mentor,” we can see relationships throughout both the old and New Testament that take on this structure. We often see one person guiding another, to help them make decisions, guide them, and mold them into the people that God wants them to be. Here are just a few examples:

Elijah and Elisha:

Elijah and Elisha were two prophets in Israel. Elijah confronted Jezebel and won victory over Baal on Mount Carmel, but he still felt alone. God spoke and told him to choose a successor, Elisha. This new relationship began as a result of God choosing Elisha. “Elijah went from there and found Elisha” (1 Kings 19:19). Elisha then “set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant” (v. 21b). Elisha learned how to be a prophet of God by being with Elijah, watching him, and listening to him continually. When Elijah was taken up to heaven in a chariot of God, Elisha immediately took up Elijah’s cloak and all those watching realized that “the spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha” (2 Kings 2:11-15). Elisha went on to do even greater things than Elijah in his ministry. Part of mentoring is to teach and encourage others to accomplish even greater ministries that the Lord has planned than us.

Barnabas and Paul:

Barnabas mentored Paul to use his gifts of teaching and preaching wherever they traveled. When Luke records their travels together in the Book of Acts. Barnabas encouraged the church in Jerusalem (Acts 4:36-37), encouraged the new believers in Antioch (Acts 11:22), brought Paul along to work in Antioch (Acts 11:25-26), accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey (Acts 13:2-3). Throughout Acts they are referred to as Barnabas and Saul, (Acts 11:26; 13:2), but after their ministry in Cyprus, they are referred to as “Paul and Barnabas.”  Was Paul then looked upon as the leader of the duo from that point on? What does that say about Barnabas who poured himself into this mentoring role? His ministry was overshadowed, but his desire to see the fulfillment of Lord’s work to be done was more important.


Jesus and his disciples:

When we think of a mentorship we usually picture just two people. However the relationship between Jesus and his disciples can be the ultimate example of mentorship. Jesus let his love for God be the standard by which he loved his disciples. Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you. By this will all men know that you are my disciples?” (John 13:34,35). Instead of focusing on his disciples negative attributes, his lead them on the straight path. Jesus said to Peter who he knew would deny him three times, “feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17). His teaching and mentoring allowed these men to go on to be courageous leaders who would speak the truth of God around the world, and ultimately lead the growth of the Christian church.


Newton, Gary C. Growing Toward Spiritual Maturity. Evangelical Training Association.

Newsletter August 2016

Newsletter August 2016
With views of lions, spectacular thunderstorms, and the long awaited arrival of a new faculty member and his family, it is hard to know exactly where to begin. Perhaps Maria von Trapp’s wisdom is best. “Let’s start at the very beginning…”
We arrived back in Addis from a quick medical trip to Cape Town, South Africa, but did not stop there…we followed the signs for those in transit (first time ever – how exciting not having a clue of where to go or what was waiting for us at the end) and were shuttled to the domestic airport where we competed with a flight from somewhere in the Middle East to have our passports stamped and our residents cards checked. Then we simply walked up a short flight of stairs into the waiting lounge. Ah, bliss…no struggling through the first security checkpoint.
And there we met up with Tekle Belachew, a dear and very learned friend who was flying down to teach African Church History (I) and (II) – Early and Modern. The beginning of our second year – yup, we have one year behind us already! – was a very good beginning. We had all our students present – 1st years, 2nd years, and part-timers…all rearing to go. Many of our students expressed surprise when told that Africa played a huge role in shaping Christendom, as we know it.
After Tekle left, I started teaching four courses to both 1st and 2nd year students. Theological English (I) and (III), African Traditional Religion/Philosophy, and the Intertestamental Period. While I was teaching one year, Louise read one of our more difficult prescribed books with the other year…this is working so well that we will continue doing this even after that particular course is ended. Most folks here don’t read so Louise demonstrates how to read and study, using dictionaries and other reference books when there are difficult words or concepts. The students love it and so does Louise!
Chris, Suzy, Abigail, and Matthew Wilson arrived on August 22, together with another Chris, also from the UK – a seminary student who is doing practical work here – and the Rev Roger Kay from Addis. Roger taught our students how to do cultural research as a project, while Chris (not the faculty Chris) led morning devotions. At one point we asked him to give his testimony as he had grown up in a church only to discover years later that he wasn’t really a believer at all. The students loved that! The culture here is so community oriented that many people end up joining the church, not because they believe, but because that’s where they find community! Not a bad place to start, but they can’t stop there…so his testimony hit a solid home run!
Jeremiah, our Nuer faculty member, is now our College Chaplain, the Coordinator of our Field Education Programme, and the Director of our College Research Programme. He certainly has his work cut out for him, so he would appreciate your prayers.
The renovation of the old classroom is now complete and the 2nd year students moved in this past Friday. Chris Wilson will start teaching his subjects on Monday…one week before the arrival of two lecturers from the US, Clark and Carol Smith, who will be teaching on the book of Ezekiel.
We are both doing exceptionally well in every way…I have a rather heavy teaching load, but I am as content as a warthog in a mud hole. Our students are amazing and eager to learn…what more could a teacher ask for?
Our little grandson, Jeremiah, turned five years old today…we are missing so many of our wee ones milestones, but hopefully we will get to Face Time with them this evening.
Oh yes, the lions…+Grant saw two lions on two separate trips not too far from Gambela. So there is life out there after all! Speaking about +Grant, he is down with malaria now too…seems we like to take turns getting sick here…but please pray for him.

Visit to the poorest section of town

2016-08-25 00:00:00
Look at these happy faces!! We visited 2 recent moms and they love seeing  themselves in pictures. Corregated wall houses with thatched roofing open sewage and waste. Outdoor cooking on small Hibachi like stoves. Shared family caretakers and community living. Over my shoulder is the home of the priest, this alley way neighborhood is right behind the church of Ankilifaly, Toliara. 



Stirrings of the Holy Spirit

Recently, through scripture and events in my life, I feel as though God has been speaking to me about the stirring of the Holy Spirit.ID-10020880

A few weeks ago, I started reading the Book of Ezra and was struck how God “stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus” (Ezra 1:1, NRSV) to have the Temple of the Lord rebuilt and how certain Israelite tribes, “everyone whose spirit God had stirred” (Ezra 1:5, NRSV), had responded to the call to rebuild the Temple. Cyrus wasn’t even an Israelite; he was the king of Persia, which was occupying Israel at the time.

I couldn’t help but think of Wayne and his mission team to Madagascar. The Holy Spirit stirred the Bishop of Toliara’s heart to request a South African team to assist them during their youth conference, and the Spirit stirred the hearts of six Capetonian youth leaders to answer this call. Plus, the Spirit stirred the hearts of countless donors to make this trip possible for the South African team.

The Spirit stirred the heart of one of our SAMS donors to send Wayne and me an article from Weavings, which gave a refreshing new take on Romans 12:1-2 (the passage about our bodies being the temple of the Holy Spirit). Romans 12:1-2 just happens to be the theme at the youth conference in Madagascar. How timely to receive such an article that will provide spiritual nourishment to the mission team who has gone to serve.

And just over the weekend, the Holy Spirit moved on Wayne’s heart to go to an ATM in a certain suburb. He was planning to go to another suburb to use the ATM and to pick up some flowers for me, but he felt a prompting to go to the suburb of Plumstead. While he was queuing for the ATM, a little boy was playing on the railings outside the bank and fell off, knocking his head on the concrete. Wayne is a first-aider and was able to patch up the little boy’s gashing wound. He then drove the boy and his father to a local hospital for medical care. Wayne never got around to giving me flowers that day, but I didn’t care. Having a husband who is so sensitive to the Holy Spirit surpasses a conservatory of flowers any day.

You may say that all of these instances are “coincidences,” but I like to think of them as stirrings of the Holy Spirit, which indeed they are.

I, as so many others, oftentimes forget how God is at work in the world, often in the simplest ways.