The Helper

Last week was PILAT week. PILAT is a language acquisition program in which we had the privilege to participate. It was a long week, but a good week. It helped us to better hear and produce different sounds. It also gave us many different tools to help us acquire another language. Then, we got to put what we learned into practice. I was in the group that learned Portuguese for two days.  I was amazed at how quickly our brains were able to retain and reproduce the languages.

One big distinctive of the PILAT program is it’s emphasis on a language helper. A language helper is someone that you can find around your same age, status, and gender with whom you can learn the language. The time spent with the language helper is propelled by the learner.  The idea is that a language helper is the expert on the language and therefore the language can be best learned by the language helper. Ideally, you find a language helper as close to the context of which you will be living and working to learn the language according to that community or people group as accurately as possible. Similarly, we talked about the importance of a cultural helper who assists you in know how the culture acts, thinks, and behaves.

Learning Portugese

Learning Portuguese with our language helper

During this time, I read in John 14:16 about how Jesus would ask the Father to send us a Helper who would be with us forever.  Wow.  All of the sudden I saw the similarities and distinctives with all we had been talking about a language helper. Like a language helper, The Helper, The Holy Spirit who God would send, is from the country that we are seeking – The Kingdom of God.  Therefore, The Helper, just like a language helper is the way in which we can most accurately learn about The Kingdom of God because not only does He come from there, but He is God Himself.  We can’t get any closer to the Kingdom than through the ways in which God has revealed Himself to us, through His Son, the Bible and His Holy Spirit – The Helper.  The Helper assists us in acquiring the Kingdom of God here on earth. The Helper lets us know how to act, think, and behave in the culture of the Kingdom of God.

Yet, I see three big distinctives. First, it’s not us that begins the relationship, like it is with a language or cultural helper. Instead, it is the Holy Spirit’s work.  Jesus said that He would ask His Father to send a Helper. It’ts not depended on us.  Second, where a language helper relationship is dependent on the learner, us, to initiate and work hard; our relationship with The Helper is completely and wholly dependent on the Holy Spirit’s work of God’s Grace in our lives. Third, a language helper would last until we learned the language well enough to function within the language / culture.  However, The Helper, the Holy Spirit, will be with us forever. He will never leave us.

I find this encouraging and convicting. I am encouraged because I have access to The Helper who can enable the Kingdom of God to be present in this world through His work and change in my life. Yet, I am convicted, because I realize how easy it is to pass up, forget about, and just simply ignore The Helper in my life.

How are you encouraged or challenged by these truths about your Helper – The Helper?  It is my prayer that we might have heightened awareness of The Helper with whom God has gifted us. So that we may be a better advocate in ushering in God’s Kingdom and culture here on earth.

Seeking this with you,

Bethany Joy

In The Shepherd’s Hands

Yesterday, I was able to travel to visit Amsterdam.  On the way, in the bus, the scenery was beautiful.  Beautiful homes, fields, flowers, small towns and cities. One thing I saw a lot of was sheep.

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I love how, when the Lord is revealing something to you He brings it up again and again.  Through the pastor at the Turkish Armenian Church I am involved in here in Brussels, morning devotions with my MTW family, and personally, the Lord has been showing Himself to me as my Good Shepherd.

 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:10-11

“I am the Good Shepherd,” Jesus tells us. Psalm 23 talks about how our good Shepherd leads, restores, guides, protects, and provides for His sheep. We don’t have to fear.  In trials we can cry out to our good Father and He will give us peace only He can give (John 14:27).

As I’ve been here at CCMI (the cross cultural ministry training through MTW) now for a week and a half I’m starting to process all the transitions I’m going through a bit more. My heart is finally realizing what my head has known for a long time now. I’m transitioning out of living life with a family I’ve lived with for two years. I’m transitioning out of nannying for 3 young boys I’ve nannied for six years into full-time fundraising and soon the mission field. I’m transitioning out of providing for myself and into relying on others generosity and ultimately the Lord. I’m transiting out of serving at my home church of 24 years to being sent out by them to spread the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yes, these are all good things, necessary transitions. I know this is where the Lord is leading me and I am SO excited about it! After all these years of waiting on the Lord, He is finally sending me out. I can’t wait to get to Nicaragua.

Yet, in the midst of the excitement I also grieve deeply. I grieve leaving the job I have found purpose and joy in for so long. I grieve leaving the family and precious boys I have had the privilege of deeply investing in over the years. I grieve the upcoming departure from my own dear family. As I leave the known and secure and enter into the unknown, I am drawn all the more to our Good Shepherd and I feel Him draw close to me.

I am reminded that our Good Shepherd not only gave His life for His sheep for our future, so that we might live with Him forever; but also for our present, that we might taste His goodness in this life. Praise be to His Name, the one who has gone before me, who gave up everything for me, and who enables me to follow Him in abandonment.

Whether you are abandoning self to follow the Lord, going through tough trials, or bogged down at the increasing wickedness of our world; we can and must lean into and trust out Good Shepherd. He knows. He cares. He gave. He will come again. He will restore.

Do we see God as our Good Shepherd? What are you being called to abandon and follow your Good Shepherd who has gone before you? What ways is your Good Shepherd wooing you to rest in His peace and care for you?

In a world that seems to increase in wickedness may we all learn to turn all the more to the loving embrace of our Good Shepherd.

Relying on our Good Shepherd with you,

Bethany Joy

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