Still here!

10 Feb 2012

Hi everyone,

If you've been following our blog you might wonder if we're still around. We are! Our holiday by the beach was a great time of doing very little but building sandcastles (Sean blogged on this on the WEC website - http://wec.com.au/story/building-sandcastles-planting-churches). Now we're back into the swing of things.

Clarissa started school this week, she is going to the same school as Georgi (Enfield Public). She is happy to be there and easily relates to other kids there. Georgi is in year 5 and settling in a bit more slowly but is still happy to go to school which is great.

We had a planning meeting with our teammates in Sydney last week which helped to put focus into this year for us all. Among other things, we'll regularly relate to students in local Bible Colleges; run several Missionary For a Weekend experiences, a couple of Testdrives; organise some nights to help people interact with 'real life' missionaries from Cambodia, West Asia & Asia; Jan will continue on our WEC Australia Board & of course we'll continue in our role as Team Leaders - infact Sean will spend a lot more time on this aspect of our ministry in the year to come, especially resourcing the team to do ministry well.

Last week, Sean shared with a group of Koreans visiting Australia on what WEC is, a very different experience - and he will do so again next Thursday (16th). Next week Jan will be attending a 'Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills' Course here in Sydney, every day 9-6 makes for long days!

Sean is also doing a course over the next 8 weeks 1 day per week on 'Biblical Storytelling for Cross-Cultural Church Planting', telling stories is something he's always been good at (;-)) but this will help frame stories that can be used as a tool to help people think about Jesus.

A longer blog this time, but we do say thanks for your prayers and support. We'll blog more often again now - whatever that may mean!

At The Sound of Your Name

09 Feb 2012

 

We have been here less than two weeks and already we have experienced the power of His name..... in an earthquake!

Having lived through an earthquake now (and over 200 aftershocks) I can’t but reflect on a couple of things:

·         He is God, we (humanity) need to be reminded

·         What we take for granted as stable is not always so

·         I spend little time meditating on the power of who God is (His Name).

·         What lays dormant in our hearts come to the surface in times of trouble ie fear, prayer etc

I wonder if many people have continued to reflect on the fragility of life and determined to seek to know God. Were they reminded that Jesus is returning soon and there WILL be an enormous earthquake :“There were flashes of lightning, voices and peals of thunder; and there was a massive earthquake, such as has never occurred since mankind has been on earth, so violent was the earthquake”.Rev 16:18 CJB

What does it take to get humanities attention?

 This song reminds of His Majesty: Shout To The Lord by Chris Tomlinson 

Why we can be optimistic?

07 Feb 2012

I am excited that every people group in Peru will be reached for Gospel. Though we may play only a tiny part in God's plan, I am confident that hundreds of thousands of people in Peru who currently do not know Jesus will one day worship Him as Lord and Savior. Am I just a silly optimist? Is this just a crazy dream?

There are a couple of very good reasons why we can be confident. Patrick Johnstone, editor of Operation World, explains this in detail. He gives two reasons why not just Peru but the world will be reached by the gospel.

Firstly, Jesus promises it. The job he gave us to do will be completed. In Matthew 24 Jesus promises that the gospel will be preached through the whole world. Also in Revelation 7:9 we read about "a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb".

Secondly, the statistics demonstrate that this is actually happening. While the church in Europe and other parts of the west have been in decline, in Latin America, Africa & parts of Asia the church has been growing strongly. Globally there was a hard patch in the mid 20th century where we had 60 years of stagnation but in 1950/60 something dramatic happened. This continued in the 1970's with massive growth in Latin America. In the 1980's it was China and now it continues in India.

Patrick says that while he is optimistic there are still dangers and challenges. He sees the main danger being the fragmentation of the evangelical church over secondary issues. A challenge is that we need to have a long term perspective. Anything that is done quickly is not necessarily going to get quick results - let alone the long-term transformation of a culture.

See the full interview with Patrick Johnstone here. 

Patrick Johnstone Part 1 of 2 from U.S. Center for World Mission on Vimeo.

So bringing this back to Peru - we're seeing the church continuing to grow. We also see so much potential. In our ministry area with university students there is currently only a single full-time Christian staff worker for all of southern Peru - which is a massive area. What would happen if we could have a staff worker for each city and even each University? We also see an openness to the Gospel and people are willing to discuss Spiritual issues.

Here in Peru there are dangers and challenges too. The danger I see is with rapidly growing churches that teach that the Bible promises prosperity and health. The subtle message they promote is that God solely exists to fulfill our needs rather than our need to submit to Him. The challenge on the other hand is to have Bible based churches working together and supporting each other. These are exciting times and also times for prayer.

An Introduction

07 Feb 2012

Greetings! Welcome to the new blog for Mark & Rochelle Groombridge.

For our first blog, we just wanted to introduce ourselves and let you know a little bit about what we are doing in Slovenia.

Peter & Lidija Novak

Rochelle and I have been in Slovenia for 8 years now. We were invited to work alongside pastor Peter Novak, who is a Slovene we met while studying at Bible College in Australia. We serve the people of Reformirana evangelijska cerkev, which is easily translated as the Reformed Evangelical Church. The acronym REC fortunately works in both Slovene and English, however we usually use the Slovene sounds, hence we say RETS (a 'c' is Slovene sounds like the 'ts' you make when using the Russian title czar or tsar).

The church consists of about two dozen men, women and children. We are committed to teaching Slovenes to know God and his Son, Jesus Christ, through reading the Bible. We will obviously talk more about the challenges we face doing this in later blogs.

Rochelle and I have three children. Our eldest son is Matej (this is the Slovene form of Matthew and said like Ma-tae), who was born in Slovenia in 2006 and attends a local pre-school every day. He really enjoys playing with Lego, wrestling with his Dad, and watching cartoons. Philippa was born in Australia in 2008, while we were in Sydney visiting our sending churches. She also loves pre-school, going to exercises, and doing anything which involves playing with other people. Calvin is our youngest and he was also born in Slovenia in 2010.

Through this blog we have several goals:

  • We want to provide you with another avenue to hear about what we are doing here in Slovenia through us
  • We want to share some of the challenges we are facing.by living in a different culture
  • We want to encourage you to pray for what God is doing here and around the world
  • We want to encourage you to consider how you can serve God's church throughout the world

We are thankful to Missionshub for allowing us to join them in their project to promote God's mission through modern internet features. We trust this blog will be fruitful in bringing glory to God.

Spending time with the Family

03 Feb 2012

Hi Friends.

We are so thankful with God this summer for our first summer church family camp. Most of the time parents want more activities for their children during the vacations. In Peru they like to put their children in music classes, poetry classes, swim, language, etc. However they don't consider that the vacations may be an opportunity to spend more time with their children. They only think how busy they are!!

So we worked for 3 months to raise money and organize a program for this camp. Praise God that on the camp we had 9 families, parents and children together, for 3 days leaving, playing, swimming, eating, working like a team in some activities. They were really grateful for this camp.

Sometimes we want to look for more activities for our children apart from us but often they want to spend more time with us!!

Thank you God for providing and protecting us!!! People are asking me for the dates for the next family camp.  

Be Still & Know That I Am God : The Challenge

01 Feb 2012

Coming back to a 'third world' country obviously has its challenges. Before coming, God was sensitizing me to how I often 'buy, make, collect' things and how they make me 'feel' better.

Today I read these words from T.W. Tozer:

"There is within the human heart a tough, fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess.... The ancient curse will not go out painlessly; the tough old miser within us .... must be torn out of our heart like a plant from the soil; he must be extracted in agony and blood like a tooth from the jaw. He must be expelled from our soul by violence, as Christ expelled the money changers from the temple. And we shall need to steel ourselves against his piteous begging, and to recognize it as springing out of self pity, one of the most reprehensible sins of the human heart!.

Pow! How's that for between the eyes!

Becoming aware of my need to 'possess'  materials is one thing (and certainly a first world problem) but what of my need to 'possess' adequacies, reputation and respect?

Our God is so wise. He knows its not the 'possessions' we need but the process of His transformation. I think of the verse; Be still and know that I am God and how He has set up from the beginning of time, 'the way' to live so that these fibrous roots that entangle us are regularly kept in check. For example, He knows that we need one day a week to stop our striving, creating and collecting, and 'know' that He is God (the provider).

More and more as I submit to His ways, I discover He is indeed transforming my life. How good is our God!

Home at last !!

28 Jan 2012

We are praising the Lord for our new home. We were finally able to move last weekend and are really enjoying settling in and setting it up for our family life and ministry needs. The Lord has really provided.

We are praying for the sale of the former church and manse buildings which should cover the price of this new pastoral home and avoid drawn out loans.

We are thankful for so much help in moving; even the Reformed Church couple organised to have our moving team eat at their manse. It took away all the pressure to provide and set up, leaving me free to coordinate the move.

This week I also started up some of the ministry activities I had had to stop while renovating the house and preparing the move (not to mention the month we were all 5 of us ill just after Christmas!) It was great to be back and has made me even more determined to set up my office to be really efficient.

One of the pleasures of moving was being able to sort through so many papers. I had kept most of my notes from 3 years of Bible College, and really hadn't looked at them for years. As I sorted through what I thought I should need in the future, I was struck by how much we learned, how precious those classes were. I know where to look for much of the material if I need it again, but the other positive discovery was how much of our course work I had integrated into my life and ministry as well. So a big grateful prayer to the Lord for all those wonderful teachers, but also for His Holy Spirit who continues to teach us and guide us.

I realized also that it's vital to put into practice what we learn and that's the way it sticks even after all these years. I'm now looking out for opportunities to transmit some of this precious knowledge to other women - discipling them to disciple others.

THE CHALLENGE AND CALLING OF EVERY BELIEVER.

28 Jan 2012

The photo of youth revival meeting in Kandhamal.

       A. If you have been redeemed, accepted God's gift of salvation..."be risen with Christ."

              1. To be risen with Christ is to be risen to eternal life. 

              2. It means we have true life. It points us to the Lord Jesus in Heaven and our waiting for the appointed day when He will come for us. 

              3. Note that Christ is standing by the right hand of God. It focuses on the fact of Christ watching inventively at what we are doing, not sitting, but standing in anticipation. Standing to guide and direct and empower us with all the power of God Himself. 

B. Paul here is making a straight forward appeal. To those who have been saved and experienced the power of God in Salvation, become in life and experience what God has made you by His Grace. 

              1. What a passage this is to challenge us in this New Year. Live as God would have us too. 

     2. Accomplish that which He desires for us. Be found in his pure will. 

C.   To end up straight we must start straight and keep straight until the end. We have that opportunity before us. 

            1. We have a new day before us. God is the God of new beginnings. 

              2. Let us resolve to do better, and do our best for the Lord in this New Year He has given us. 

              3. Let's commit ourselves, to with God's help, be what He wants us to be. Let us turn from our sin and turn rather to God 

              4. We must all admit we failed in many ways last year, but that is no reason not to strive and move forward this year. We learn from our trials.

     

               It is a fact that if we attempt nothing, we will be very successful and will accomplish nothing. 

              God has always used the man or woman who would have a vision of what God can do and believing that, strive to be victorious in the Lord. 

 Some would make little of resolutions and speak ill of making them. Remember, to end up straight you must start straight and keep straight. The start is vital to the ending. What athlete ever won the race by starting with an attitude of conceding to failure in the end? God’s will is clearly stated for all Christian men and women to keep on trying, and who never give up! Those that continue they win, the finish and they do so because of their resolve. I feel sorry for the man or woman who giving in to failure, or far worse the man who trudges on with his head down. I like a man who will shake his fist as trouble and keep on. The Christian however, sets his jaw and declares that God says “we are more than conquerors.” (Rom. 8::37) Therefore he admits he cannot win in his own strength so he makes the resolve to allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct him and accomplish what he could not. Remember it God’s work. We are His servants and He will supply the need. 

D. Set your affections on things above. God has given us the direction to go, He has set the course. 

              1. Thank God for the man or woman who is not satisfied with what they are and wants to be better for the Lord. To be a great tool used by the Lord. 

              2. Thank God for the Child of God who says, I hate every sin in my life, God forgive and help me to overcome every one. I despise my shabby habits, unfaithfulness, and apathy. Lord, help me to shake off my bad habits, cleanse me of lust, convict me of sin, remove it shackles from my heart and give me a pure and clean heart. 

              3. I thank God for every child of God that makes the commitment to be faithful to the Lord’s local church. Money, family, friends, inconvenience or apathy are not reckoned to be a reason to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. (Heb. 10:25)

 

E. Don't fail to start! It takes more power to start a car and get it moving than it does to keep it running. 

 When Carolyn and I first came to Utah we were driving an 81 Ford Escort. The alternator burned up somewhere pass Vernal and we were running on the battery. We almost panicked because there were no towns with a shop to fix it. We finally found a store that had a battery charger which was east of Dushane and with a charged batter we went on to Salt Lake. The car made it to Salt Lake City but the battery was so drained it would not start the car. We got it charged again and off we went to Wyoming to visit a friend. The point was clear it took little current to run the engine but a lot to start it. 

A car uses less power running than starting. Cars too must start in low gear, after they start you change to a higher gear because the motion helps to keep it going. The car would not pull off in high gear. 

               1. A life in motion helps itself. If it is started right it is easier to go right. 

              2. For the lost man or woman, the start begins with believing and accepting God's only begotten Son as your personal Savior. That is not only the right start, it is the only right start. . . all others fail, and hell reaps the ruin that will always result. 

SIM Peru Conference

23 Jan 2012

Running makes missionaries happy, healthy and wise!

SIM Peru had our Spiritual Life Conference at the Bible Union Camp near Lima.  Every year we gather all the missionaries and kids (77 this year!) and spend time together.  Dr. Stuart Scott from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary came to teach on Biblical decision making, and a team from Canada led the program for teens and kids.  We also had workshops on 'orality' (how to teach illiterate people Bible stories and truths), multicultural teams, a book review of "When Helping Hurts" and some less-academic events such as a 4.5-mile foot race on the beach called "Race to the Rocks", pictured above.  I guess having running events is one of the risks that come with having a field director who is a running fanatic.  

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