Skip to main content

What I Learned from Our Bible Study Group

We have had a Bible study with students from a university-level school that trains flight controllers, meteorologists, and others involved in the field of aviation.  The average time we have these students in our group is a year and a half; some shorter than that, some longer, depending on their program.  

We have enjoyed every group we've had ... we started this Bible study in 2012 when one of the students who attended our church asked if anybody in the church could host a Bible study.  Since we live near the school, we volunteered and we've never regretted it.  Sure there have been weeks when John barely had time to prepare or when we were so tired we would have liked to have had a quiet evening to ourselves.  But then the students would come, and we'd be glad we had opened our home and prepared a study.

The latest group just graduated.  Several of them have said that when they came here where the majority religion is not Christian, they never expected to grow so much in their faith.  Another said that what she learned in 14 months was like what she would learn in 14 years.  It wasn't just our Bible study, so don't give us all the credit!  They were very involved in church, in studies and groups on campus, and with each other.  I am convinced more than ever that a good community contributes to spiritual growth!  (Of course, the reverse can also be true.)

Not only did the group learn a lot and grow spiritually while here, but they taught me or reminded me of some important lessons.

1.  Sing with joy and with all your heart.  Dance, too!  And who cares if you're off key.  You're not singing to entertain, you're singing to worship.



2.  I am not a touchy person and physical touch is probably way down on my love language list.  But the girls in the group hugged and kissed me every time they saw me.  It was very special and I became very comfortable with their "holy kiss".  Show people that they are loved even if it takes you out of your comfort zone.



3.  When you are struggling with something in your life, ask for help.  This takes humility and a great deal of courage to admit your struggles, but you can't get help if you don't ask.  It's also part of living in community.

4.  All aspects of your life are affected by your spiritual health.  When the Spirit works in your heart, you will change how you live.  That change can be painful, though.  Surround yourself with people who will support you.



5.  Prayer is about praying for your exams and your health, but it's also about asking prayer for your spiritual health and for God to do deeper things in your heart.  It's supporting each other when you're vulnerable in asking for prayer.  It's praising God when you see Him at work in your life.

6.  Be hungry for the Word of God.  Surround yourself with good Bible teaching.  Ask questions.  Attend church regularly and get involved in a cell group if your church has them.



7. Being involved in counseling, mentoring, even giving advice is stretching.  When approached to do any of these, ask God for wisdom and pray much for that person, but don't be afraid to get involved and walk with that person.

8.  You don't know what pain a person may be privately bearing.  Be kind to all and encourage each one.

9.  Opening your home takes time and effort, but it is worth it.



10. We have had some difficult times at our church since November, but in December we had some weekend seminars to help during that time.  Several of the students mark that time as the beginning of a deeper spiritual journey.  God does indeed work all things together for good.  It wasn't a fun time, but God was at work in spite of it all.

11. I still have a hard time following French when people start talking fast!  And these students could sure talk fast when they got going!  Whew, language learning is a never-ending process.

Comments

Beth said…
Loved reading this, Nancy!

Popular posts from this blog

Practice Hospitality

My mother-in-law, Jean, is an amazing person with many gifts.  One of the first things I noticed about her when I was but a young bride, was her gift of hospitality.  It was nothing for her to invite a large group of people over, make each one feel welcome, cook a big meal,and seemingly do it without stressing herself out.  I don't know if hospitality just came naturally to her or if she learned it.  In this picture you can see Jean throwing a party for a class she taught in Nigeria.  




I believe that for me it has been a learned skill.  My parents were hospitable and it wasn't unusual for us to have guests over (though usually not as many at a time as my mother-in-law would do!).  But when I started living on my own, I had to learn hospitality.  The first time I invited somebody over for a meal, the lid got stuck on the pot of vegetables, I put too much salt or soda or something in the muffins, and I forgot to serve milk and sugar with the hot drinks.  I've gotten much bett…

2016 in Review

Let's take a look at the year 2016.

January's big events were the dedication of the Tamajaq New Testament, our annual Spiritual Life Conference, helping friends find a house, a trip to visit missionaries in the bush, attended a big wedding, and celebrated John's birthday. It was a pretty busy month.  My January picture is from our trip to the bush and shows baobab trees.  



February was a little less crazy.  John started taking moolo lessons.  February is the time of year when the fresh fruits and veggies are in season so I did a lot of work to freeze veggies for the hot months ahead.  This picture isn't terribly exciting, but a year after the church burnings this church we helped plant back in 1989 finally had a new ceiling and a fresh coat of paint.



In March we attended another big wedding, froze more veggies, celebrated Easter, and visited a church in another town.  John and I have visited a lot of churches in the past three years as he has done research for his doctora…

Meat Roll-ups

Tonight I made meat roll-ups.  And I got to use some ingredients that made food prep much easier than normal!  I did make two batches of rolls so that John could have a lactose-free meal.

The first thing to do is to brown some hamburger.  With the main batch I stirred a tin of mushroom soup into the browned meat.  For John's batch, I stirred in flour, some almond milk, and seasonings just enough to moisten it, but not to make it really runny.  In Niger, I would make it the second way since we don't have tinned soup.

Next I made a batch of biscuit dough using Bisquick.  Of course, in Niger, I have to make the biscuit dough from scratch.  I mixed it up with the almond milk.  Once the dough is rolled out in a strip, spread the meat mixture on it.  Roll it up like you would cinnamon rolls and cut into slices.  Lay the slices on a cookie sheet and cook in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes.



While they're baking, I browned fresh mushrooms in butter (in Niger I would use tinned mushroo…