Oct 242017
 

Click here for the printable version.

A lot has happened in the last month, and even more changes are coming over the upcoming two months, as they will (hopefully) culminate in us leaving for language school.

Westwood Baptist, Bethany’s sending church, hosted a spaghetti dinner and silent auction at the beginning of the month to help raise our outfit and passage fund. We were very blessed by all the hard work and generosity displayed by the church during that time.

A few days later we headed to the French Consulate in D.C. for our visa appointment! Thankfully everything went smoothly and we even had time to stop at a few museums before heading back home. Continue reading »

 Posted by on October 24, 2017

The Not so Distant Horizon.

 The Not so Distant Horizon.  Uncategorized  Comments Off on The Not so Distant Horizon.
Sep 182017
 

Enjoying the view of a distant horizon from atop the steep slopes Devil’s Marble Yard.

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This last month could be easily said to be one of doing the leg-work to get everything ready.   We set the goal to reach 85% of our monthly support by the end of August. And we’re happy, relieved to announce that God provided in a big way by propelling us past that goal all the way to 93%!  That’s enough to allow us to go to the next and last training sessions starting at the end of October.  That also means that we’re less than $350/month away from full monthly support.  The goal is in sight. God is amazing! We’re praying that God will bring us to the final goal of 100% before the end of October so that we can focus on setup costs and logistics. We’re proceeding in faith that we will be cleared to leave at the end of the year.

Along with that comes a lot of work.  Perhaps we had  forgotten or perhaps it really is so much more than before but it seems that the to-do list is long and time is short.  Even in that God has provided.  Each of us has started and is nearly half-way with our Story of Hope bible study training. We have applied for our visas to France and were granted interview slots with plenty of time to spare.  Others have had to wait months to get in.  We go to the French consulate in DC on October 10th. … and God be praised, a friend who lives near DC offered to put us up for the night so that we didn’t need to leave at 4:45 in the morning to drive there.  Imagine someone who is not a morning person trying to interview after getting up that early and driving for over six hours in heavy traffic trying have a clear mind to answer important questions.

But God has provided even more… someone gifted us enough to purchase our plane tickets to France!  That means that we now have a departure date – January 4th. The pieces are coming together.  We’re working with another missionary family in our area headed to Togo (Archers) on sharing a sea shipping container. We are starting to look into the different things that need to be shipped.  Some items it is only possible to get in the US or it cost/quality effective to purchase here.  We have created a detailed list which you can see at the bottom including a registry and details about other items that we are seeking.

 

Prayer Requests

For contacts old and new to be willing to partner with us to be fully support by the end of October and have our setup costs by the end of November.

For God’s provision in working out all of the details required in starting a life overseas.

 

Support Levels

Monthly Support = 93% of $5200

Setup= 44% Tickets from US to France = $1500/$1500 = 100% Tickets from France to Togo = $0/$2500 = 0% Vehicle= $3100/$25000 = 12.5% House Setup= $15500/$23500 = 66% Language study= $10000/$25000 = 40% Misc= $5000/$5000 = 100%

 

Here are some ways to help out in tangibly way without donating money. Please let us know about or order before October 27 if you can help with:

  • Household items: See our registry on Amazon. We will be purchasing these in the US before we leave. If you would like to purchase one or more of these items and have it sent to us, that will  count toward setup costs and help us reach our goal.   (Note: Some of the small kitchen items are not set in stone and are recommendations.  If you find similar items cheaper then send us a link and we can let you know if that meets the need.)
  • Primary transport: We are raising the funds to buy an SUV in Togo or but donation of an actual vehicle would go a long way. We need a suitable SUV reliable and in good condition with automatic transmission of brand Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Honda, Hyundai, or Mitsubishi to handle the rough, dusty roads. It must have A/C. This vehicle will make regular long-haul road trips where getting stranded is not an option; reliability is important and good gas mileage is a plus. (Note: parts, service, and cultural factors limits us to these brands.)
  • Alternate transport: Utility 4-wheeler in good working condition with a manual transmission (preferred) sized for an adult. Used primarily for around-town and easier to maneuver through crowded, narrow streets than a full-sized vehicle.

 

 

 Posted by on September 18, 2017

A Building Excitement

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Aug 012017
 

Comrades in cause attend part two of three training.

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If we had to sum up what is weighing on our hearts in one word it would be: deadline.

We attended training part 2 (of 3) in Harrisburg this last week and learned a lot about planting a church in a different (or sometimes not so different) culture.  While we were at training other topics naturally came up and we came to realize just how close we were to being ready for language school and that the process needed to be started right away.  When we got there it was still five months away… but as we left we realized that it was only five months away!  And with the application deadline for language school enrollment in January fast approaching, we knew that if we waited any longer we risked being blocked out until the next semester  in August.  But we also weren’t at full support yet either.

A tough decision had to be made.

After prayerful consideration we have applied to language school near Paris for January!  We’re excited to be starting this process and at the same time apprehensive because it sets specific deadlines that must be met.

So  we’re praying and trusting God that the remaining needed support will come in. It has to; we need it to come in. We are not given permission to leave for language school until we are fully supported. Our goal is to reach 85% of our monthly before the end of August so that we can attend part 3 of training and  to reach full support by the end of November.  If we don’t meet those goals, if we cannot go to training part 3, there will be no language school until August 2018.

There are so many logistics involved in moving a family across the ocean… How do we get visas? What are our living arrangements? What stuff will we need? How to get all of that stuff there?  How do we get our stuff that needs to be shipped to Togo packed and stored while waiting for a sea container and how does it get loaded while we are away?

Thank you to everyone who has been praying about these things and please be praying that God would make all of this possible and that we would retain our sanity in the process.


Support Levels

Monthly= 79% of $5200

Setup= 40%

Travel= $0/$4000

Vehicle= $3098/$25000

House Setup= $15500/$23500

Language study= $10000/$25000

Misc= $5000/$5000

Prayer Requests

For contacts old and new to be willing to partner with us to be fully support by the end of November. (This includes monthly & setup costs.)

That God would help us to meet our training requirement to lead individuals through the story of God’s Word.

 Posted by on August 1, 2017

A Delay of Plans

 A Delay of Plans  Update  Comments Off on A Delay of Plans
Apr 262017
 

Spring arrives! Enjoying the beautiful daily commute home from work on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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The craziness of our February-April schedule is wrapping up just as Spring is rolling in. Would you believe that in 10 weeks we spoke at 10 presentations, many of them multiple day conferences, and 2 multi-day training courses in 4 different states?  We are thankful to be back to something resembling a routine and hopefully will be taking a few days to relax and recover.

Our goal had been to get to 85% by April 10th so that we could attend field prep training. Though it was not our plan, God determined that we should wait at least another six months before going to language school. We are only at 66% of our needed monthly support instead of 85%.  We simultaneously disappointed and relieved at not getting to go in August.  Now our schedules are not so mindbogglingly packed but even so we still desire to be on our way to Togo quickly.

We still have more training upcoming in July as well as ongoing courses learning about Islam, evangelism, theology, and bible study.  Please pray with us that we would be diligent to get these done and that they would be done well so as to bring the most glory to God.  We would also ask for specific prayer that the requirements for leading an unbeliever and a new believer through the story of the God’s Word could be fulfilled.  God has not shown us yet how He will meet this requirement.

So… our hope, now that the April 10th deadline has passed, is to be to language school by January.  That requires that we meet all of our training requirements as well as reaching 85% of our monthly support by the middle of October.  Would you please pray that God would raise up financial partners and church contacts to reach this goal. And if you would like to partner with us financially you can contact us using one of the ways contact page or visit our giving page page. We would love to share with you the many and diverse ways God is working in Mango.

In Service of the One who is able,

Jonathan & Bethany

 Posted by on April 26, 2017

Support Update and News from Mango – Feb 2017

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Feb 162017
 

News from Mango!

This old photo is of a similar Fulani refugee camp that was set up behind the hospital in Mango several years ago.

Currently the team in Mango is helping with a sudden refugee crisis as late last week violence erupted between the Konkomba and Fulani people groups. Around eight Fulani people were murdered (from that number several were children) and many people’s homes were burned, their main livelihood Continue reading »

 Posted by on February 16, 2017

In case you thought we were all that…

 In case you thought we were all that…  Odd and Ends  Comments Off on In case you thought we were all that…
Feb 152017
 

“I could never do that.”
A common misconception others have when they find out Jonathan and I plan to go on the mission field in Africa is that we are somehow super-humans or super-Christians. However, this could not be farther from the truth.
Yes, Jonathan and I are preparing to move to a new continent.
We will learn a new language.
We will find ourselves in a vastly different culture and environment.
Our job atmospheres and roles will be different.
Difficulties will arise — some will be anticipated and some will be completely unexpected.
And we will struggle.
Because we are only humans and we like the comfort and routine of our first-world lives.
But when we struggle, and undoubtedly, become discouraged, and are sure we’ve failed, we will not respond by quitting simply because it is not easy or pleasant — because we can’t do it.
Instead, we will lean closer into Christ.
Because the one factor that definitely did not influence our decision was our ability.
Here’s the truth:
I, Bethany Edwards, in and of myself, cannot do missions.
– Before we present at churches and conferences, I get so nervous I shake and I wish I could be anywhere but right there about to be the center of attention. I am not a natural public speaker. Please put me in the back pew and I will sit contentedly and listen all day.
– I’m quite frankly afraid I will be awful at speaking French. I took Spanish in high school, but French sounds so complicated. (Why don’t they pronounce words like they’re spelled?)
– I struggle with so many doubts and feelings of inadequacies already and we’re not even officially on the field yet. Like, What if my nursing experience here in the States was not the right experience I need to care for patients at the Hospital of Hope? What if the culture switch is too overwhelming and I really miss family and I’m really bad at cooking from scratch all the time? Or even, What if the Mango sun is too much for my fair skin and I get skin cancer??
So, now you know: I am not extremely qualified or a spiritual giant. Jonathan would tell you the same about him (although his concerns are not quite so trivial as some of mine ;).
Hence, when we ask for support through prayer, we really do need it.
And when we ask you if you will consider partnering with us financially, please know that you are not giving to support Jonathan and Bethany and the great things they will do for Togo. If that were the case, your money would be wasted.
Instead, know that we are trusting God to be glorified through our weaknesses. Without Him, we would fail. But throughout history, He has specialized in using weak and unexpected people to accomplish his will and display his glory.
We are simply going because HE has called us to.
So in response to the statement,
“I could never do that,”
You’re absolutely right – you can’t.
And we can’t either.
But, with the help of the One who has called us and is faithful to provide for us, even in the smallest details, a random IT nerd and a nurse can be used by Him to accomplish what they never could on their own.
And so can you.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

 Posted by on February 15, 2017

Praises & Changes

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Nov 052016
 

Get the printable version here.

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! 379095_4896825743567_1124840372_n
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand….”

Psalm 95:1-7

Happy November! We hope you’re enjoying the autumn beauty around you as much as we are here in the Roanoke valley. We are thankful for our Lord’s blessings that are as abundant as those colorfully-changing leaves and His faithfulness to us in the transitions.

October was a busy month for us. Continue reading »

 Posted by on November 5, 2016

We Do – Now to Get There

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Aug 162016
 

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13880388_10154401672089680_4940740833350120925_n     Well, it happened just as planned. We were married just after 2:50pm on August 6th. Thank you all for being there in support of our union whether in person or in spirit and prayer.  We’re settling in to our new abode and discovering our new routines – as much as there is such a thing on this missionary journey.
Bethany was accepted as a missionary to ABWE (officially) just two weeks before. Praise the Lord for these good gifts in the whirlwind that was this past month.

13987591_1223452164341064_4956451533015085809_o So now what?  We are starting to build contacts with the churches in our general area of Virginia and North Carolina.  Our hope is to start language school in France in August 2017.  For us to meet that goal we need to be at 50% support by Oct 15th  and then 100% monthly + 100% setup costs by March 31st, 2017. This coincides with the training schedule needed for us to get onto the field.  Isn’t it exciting to think that in a year we could be learning French and just a few semesters away from ministering in Togo!  Please pray with us that we would be able to meet these goals and not need to delay ministering to the people of Togo.

From our family to yours,

Jonathan and Bethany Edwards

 

Why Mango? – Here are over 1.5 million reasons.

Mango has over 1.5 million unreached people coupled with almost nonexistent gospel access and churches served by too few and mostly poorly equipped leaders. Here are the top 5 unreached people groups within 100 miles of Mango.

Mango_top_5_unreached_chart

 

 

 

Unreached defined as evangelical population < 2% and little to no access to gospel. Statistics from joshuaproject.net, 15 Aug 2016

 

 Posted by on August 16, 2016

June 2016 Newsletter

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Jun 152016
 

Get the printable version here.

     In February I announced that I had asked Bethany to marry me and she accepted.  While we’re not married yet (as the name above might suggest)– that will come in early August – we are making preparations accordingly. What an exciting time!b+Jengaged_Print-163

Bethany will be I are planning to attend the training seminar together in July. (For those keeping track, this will be my 3rd time through training.)

Additional life transitions will see us be relocating to central Virginia where we will live and work until we are able to leave for language school.  We have started building contacts with church and family partners there and in the surrounding areas into North Carolina.  Pray that God would raise many partners from these areas. So… if you are in the Ohio-Michigan area and want to meet with us, please let us know soon because we won’t be able to visit nearly as often as before.

The ministry focus has not changed. I will continue to manage and build IT related ministries and Bethany, an RN, will minister at home and at the hospital.

We thank you for your continued prayers as we continue to seek partners for God’s work in Togo. We have increased our financial support by over 7% in the last few months to over 33% and at this rate hope to be ready to leave for language school before the beginning of 2018. Praise the Lord that He provides abundantly.

 Posted by on June 15, 2016