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Scribblings Online – Mar 2006

Six!

This is very old news to most of you now, but just in case you didn’t hear yet, Eliana Joy was born on 22nd July2005 — our 16th wedding anniversary. Fortunately she sleeps better than most of her siblings ever did at her age. Eliana is a Hebrew name though not found in the Bible as a name. It could mean either God has answered or possibly the LORD is God. We understand that Eliana is a popular name in Portugal and in modern day Israel, it has been increasing in popularity in the US, though it seems almost unknown in Britain. We can certainly confirm that our Lord is God and he really does answer prayer. We hope that you will know that as your experience too.

Six!

This is very old news to most of you now, but just in case you
didn’t hear yet, Eliana Joy was born on 22nd July2005 — our 16th
wedding anniversary. Fortunately she sleeps better than most of her
siblings ever did at her age. Eliana is a Hebrew name though not found
in the Bible as a name. It could mean either God has answered or
possibly the LORD is God. We understand that Eliana is a popular name
in Portugal and in modern day Israel, it has been increasing in
popularity in the US, though it seems almost unknown in Britain. We can
certainly confirm that our Lord is God and he really does answer
prayer. We hope that you will know that as your experience too.

{mosimage}

Luke will be three in May. He is a typical unruly two year old, but keeps us all amused – at least when we are not clearing up the latest spilled drink He has been slower to talk than Christopher and Emma were, but he makes himself understood and is beginning to say more. Emma will be 13 in August. She loves to chat. She has lots of friends and seems to spend much of her time chatting to them either on the phone or most often typing incomprehensible txt spk into MSN messenger or her mobile phone. Quite a few of her friends go with her to our church youth group. Pray with us that they will trust in Jesus as she has. It was a real joy for us all and a special privilege for Paul as he baptised both Emma and Christopher last year.

Both Christopher and Emma continue to get excellent reports and results in school. Our years spent in Africa have certainly done them no harm academically. Christopher will be 15 in September. Now in year nine, he is just choosing some of the subjects he will be taking at GCSE. Like Emma he enjoys using the computer a lot, but in his case he most enjoys playing online games. He is a keen supporter of Liverpool football club, so it was a special thrill to travel to Anfield to watch them beat West Ham earlier in the season. As you can imagine Margo has a busy life looking after the rest of us. She does find time to sing in a local Christian choir and also helps to run our church parent & toddler group. Paul also enjoys online computer games, but usually after the rest of the family are in bed. To try to maintain a measure of fitness he tries to get to the swimming pool once a week.

The challenges of IT in Africa

Paul continues to enjoy his role as Africa Inland Mission's International IT Officer. Information Technology is now driven by the Internet, but whilst we have information superhighways' in developed countries, most parts of Africa struggle to move data over what might be described as 'information dirt tracks'. It's a real challenge to maintain perspective when building Internet based systems ensuring that they won't end up being unusable by our members in Africa. They often have nothing but slow and unreliable dial-up connections that struggle even to transfer e-mail. But the wind of change is currently blowing strongly within AIM – our country units in Africa are being grouped together under the direction of regional offices. Hopefully, those offices at least can be provided with reliable Internet connections.

Working in French

AIM works in several French speakingafrican countries and also has a sending office' in France. Following some staff changes Paul discovered that he is now the only French speaking person working full time in the office. So, as well as dealing with IT he now sometimes finds himself translating email messages relating to franco phonework or relaying messages on the phone with the AIM France director who doesn't speak English. It's good to keep these skills from going rusty. Both already fluent French speakers, Christopher and Emma go to an afterschool lesson once a week which should help them get top grades when they take an early French GCSE.

{mosimage}Don’t judge by appearances

Being a family of six is great, but it did rather force us to buy a bigger car. We swallowed our aesthetic pride and went for a Fiat Multipla just like this one. However unusual it looks, it is amazingly versatile. It has three individual seats in the front and three removable seats in the back with plenty of boot space to boot! We hope we can fit everything in for our holiday to France in August. We took Margo’s very rusty old G registered MG Metro to get an MOT certificate recently and they issued it with a death certificate instead! Since we could no longer drive it, we wondered how much we would end up paying to have it towed away, but we put it up for sale on eBay and a dealer came from 150 miles away and gave us £125! He wanted the 1275cc engine to put in a Mini.

{mosimage}Unfortunately the news on the internet is rarely good. So many promises have been made and broken but we keep on praying for peace & reconciliation.

On the Bete Bible Translation front the work needs your prayers. Carlos is discouraged by the struggles of supporting his family on the very limited income he receives. Sending more support from outside might sound like the answer, but that would do nothing to help the local church recognise their responsibility and could devalue the end results. The Bete language association -A “Zo “De seems still to be struggling greatly from poor communication and a lack of coordination. Please pray for Carlos and the association.

{mosimage}Eliezer married a young lady by the name of Angèle in April and they now have a baby whom they have called Margo! Please continue to pray for him as he tries to scrape together enough for them to live on. He is no longer working for -A “Zo “De, but still wants to do whatever he can to help bring God’s Word to his people in their own language.We might attribute most of these problems to the war, but of course the battle for the Bete Scriptures is a spiritual one. So let’s ask the Lord to defeat these enemy attacks and bring honour to his name.

Paul was privileged to attend a conference in February last year for AIM members involved in reaching Muslims. For the safety of Muslim background believers, details of this work are not normally written or even spoken about in public. It was moving to hear of the great cost to some of following Christ, but thrilling to hear how God is powerfully at work bringing Muslims into his kingdom.

Travels and Visitors

In June, Paul again attended the ICCM conference in Indiana – a great chance to learn and share experiences with others involved in missions IT. He then chaired a gathering of AIMs IT personnel at our US office near New York city. This was a very useful and strategic meeting. Another trip to the US in November began the process of unifying AIM’s different public websites. You can watch developments by pointing your web browser at www.aimint.org from time to time. Earlier this month we enjoyed having our website designer from the AIM US office staying in our home for a week together with his wife. He and Paul are working closely together on the development of AIMs web-based personnel placement system. Our hope is that it will really help the whole organisation to get the right people to the right places where they can be most effective in serving God within AIM.

Family on the Move

Margo’s parents moved from Swansea to Bradley Stoke in January. This is the first time in our married lives that we have lived near either of our parents. We are delighted to have them close by — and that’s not only because of all the help they bring in babysitting, giving lifts to the children etc.!

The other news is that Paul’s brother Iain is moving from Street Baptist Church to become the pastor of Battisford Free Church near Stowmarket in Suffolk. We pray for God's blessing on the family as they move there in April.

{mosimage}We thank the Lord for making our family part of the family at BSEC. Paul has been an elder now for about a year. It is a privilege to serve the Lord in this way but also a great responsibility. Since we do not have a pastor at present Paul has been preaching more frequently. Although study and preparation often takes a lot of time it has been great to sense the Holy Spirit at work through the Word, challenging both preacher and hearers. As elders we are particularly engaged now in looking for a man to join us as a full time pastor. We are very conscious of our need for great wisdom as we talk to prospective pastors and seek the Lord’s direction.Thank you again

We must conclude again with our very sincere thanks to all who continue to pray for us and for the Lord’s work in which we are involved. We reckon some of you have now been praying faithfully for almost twenty years! It's been almost as long since we have had any personal contact with some of you. We would love to reconnect with folks we rarely see so why not pick up the phone now and give us a call or send us your phone number and we'll call you? We send our particular thanks also to those who have continued to bless us through generous gifts which allow us to continue in the work he God given us.Our prayer for you is that God will bless you by deepening your knowledge of him and making your lifespiritually fruitful for his greater glory and honour.

Paul, Margo, Christopher,Emma, Luke & Eliana

 

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