We've watched the scene a thousand times. The one where the cop or the detective goes into a dangerous situation alone, and you are sitting there on the couch yelling, "Call for back up!"
It drives me (Martha) crazy to watch those scenes. It always ends with trouble. Why do they always think they can go in alone?
There is really only one answer.
As missionaries, I think sometimes, without meaning to, we do the same thing. We refuse to call for back up…and we go in alone.
We have arrived in Enga for another five-week stay. I have been very apprehensive about this trip. Our last stay was just plain hard.
Two days before we left I pulled a muscle in my neck. It was better in the morning so I thought nothing of it. On the plane ride I began to feel the pain, but of course I kept ignoring it. The first week there was awful. I kept injuring my neck over and over and I was in a lot of pain. I thought about asking friends for prayer, but it seemed silly. It wasn't big enough to warrant a prayer request. I felt like an idiot. "Um, hi. My neck hurts. Can you pray about that?" Nope, not me. I searched on the internet for answers instead.
But it just…got…worse. And if you know me, you know that I didn't just have pain in my neck. You know that I pictured the pain never going away, never sleeping well again, never being able to pick up my son again. You know that I created a monster in my brain that told me I would suffer for the rest of my life because I turned my neck the wrong way!
Why is it so hard to ask for help? Why do we always think we have it covered?
After a week of misery I finally caved. I humbled myself and sent the email that asked for prayer. And you know what? I immediately felt better. No, the pain didn't go away right then. But I felt better. I had let it go.
All of a sudden it hit me. There is something about the asking. Yes, the actual prayer is powerful, but the asking is powerful too. When you ask for prayer, you are finally admitting, you cannot do it alone. When you ask, you begin to move out of God's way, and allow Him to work. There is just something about the asking.
Our last trip to Enga was hard for all sorts of reasons. All I kept thinking during those weeks was, we went in alone. We didn't call in for back up. We never asked for prayer coverage.
If this whole Bible translation thing is going to happen, we need prayer coverage, because the enemy wants us to quit.
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
- Ephesians 6:12
Consider this our official call for back up. Here are our prayer requests.
1. Pray for protection over our family spiritually and physically. Pray for Jacob who struggles here more than the other two kids. He just said goodbye to his best friend who is going on furlough. Please pray that he would be obedient to his parents and kind to his brother and sister. Pray that all three children would thrive here, play creatively, and grow close as sibling. Pray that Adam and I would have special, quality time here with the kids.
2. The translation team is working on making corrections and refining the book of Mark before recording in August. They will then continue working on the book of Matthew. Pray for protection over the translation team and their families. Pray for unity and clarity as they work together to find the right words to translate accurately.
Names of the translators: Martin Harty, Frank Paiyak, Maniosa Yakasa, William Walewale, John Singi, Nete Talian, and Reuben Yonasa.
3. Pray for Adam. He bears the weight of this translation project. Pray that he has energy, and that he would not grow weary or discouraged. Pray that we will be given wisdom in how to lead the translation team.
4. Please pray that we will continue to develop good relationships with the people here and that the kids and I will learn more Enga during this stay.
5. Please pray that the corrupt bishop of one of the main denominations in Enga would be removed from power. Pray that the church would be unified in making this decision.
6. Pray that God would give us wisdom about where to build our house in Enga.
7. Pray for peace in Enga and an end to tribal fighting.