Wednesday, March 25, 2009

God is doing great things!

God is so good! I had been doubtful for some time, not really sure what exactly I believed. I don't know exactly what I was doubting, but I do know that Satan, the enemy, was planting lies in my heart. He was trying really hard to drag me away from God, but God wouldn't let him. I sought to draw close to God. I began reading The Power of a Praying Teen. I started praying more often, especially during school, sitting in classrooms full of people blinded by Satan's lies, living in darkness. Their conversation often discourages me and pours doubts into my heart. Satan laughs as my mind tells me that God is distant and that I might not be a Christian, but God is not content to leave me there, fighting the spiritual battle. God used his Word, the Bible and my parents' Bible study last Friday night, to strengthen my faith and encourage me. He also proved to me that I am not alone in what I am going through with Bekah Harper's testimony tonight. She shared that she even doubted God's existence after He had told her that he would use her in a mighty way in the next four years. God is showing that he is in this place, with me, and he will be with me wherever I go. He has me here for a purpose, and he has chosen me to be his child. My name is written in the Book of Life, and I know where I am going to spend eternity. God spoke to me through 2 Peter 1, and Esther 4:14. This is a testimony that God is real, he has forgiven me and I am his child, and the purpose of my life is to bring glory to his name.

2 Peter 1 (New International Version)

1Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:

2Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Making One's Calling and Election Sure
3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Prophecy of Scripture
12So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

16We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."a]" style="line-height: 0.5em; ">[a]18We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

19And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 21For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Esther 4:14

14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

God continues to provide

God is continuing to move the hearts of people to give to my family. We have assurance that God will provide the money that we need to go back to Papua New Guinea. He wants my parents to be able to keep doing the work they are doing there. He called my family to the mission field, specifically to PNG, so why would He want us to leave and work somewhere else, especially when there is so much work that needs to be done, and my dad is the only one who is really equipped to do the job he is doing, overseeing the Doromu-koki and Uare people groups of Central Province? I know that God's plan for our lives is to return to Papua New Guinea. I just need to trust him to provide. We get new supporters every few days. God is faithful! We are at 78% now, and we have gotten ten new supporters in the last couple of weeks. Please continue praying for the rest of the money to be provided and for God to use this to grow our faith in huge ways. Thanks so much!

Genesis 22:14
So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided."

A closer look at one Papua New Guinea mk (missionary kid) - me!

Here is the speech I gave at Grace Church on March 11th, 2009. I hope that you will enjoy reading my story of growing up on the mission field.

My name is Jessica Bradshaw and I am a missionary kid from Papua New Guinea. My parents, Robert and Betsy Bradshaw, have worked in Papua New Guinea as missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators for over 20 years, and I have had the privilege of growing up there. PNG is located just north of Australia, in the southern hemisphere. It is on the eastern half ofthe island of New Guinea, the second largest island in the world after Greenland.

My dad’s job as a linguist and translator is translating the Bible into two different languages, Doromu-Koki and Uare. My mom is a librarian in the primary school library and coordinates Sunday school at Ukarumpa, Wycliffe’s mission centre where we live. I have two brothers, Jon, 13, and Christopher, 10.

I was born in Kokopo, East New Britain, and first rode in a plane when I was one week old to return to Ukarumpa. In my early years, I travelled with my family out to our village in Central Province by a small plane several times a year, staying there for a few months at a time. While in the village, our only communication with the rest of the world was by two-way radio. My parents would have to plan months in advance, buying all of the food for our stay and packing up our house for renters.

My mom taught me in the village while my dad worked with a group of Fuyug men from the language group who had chosen to devote a portion of their time to translating the Bible and helping him to learn the language. Upon returning to Ukarumpa, I attended Ukarumpa International School, formissionary kids and national children whose parents work on the centre. Approximately 170 kids attend the high school and 170 attend the primary school. We travelled back and forth to and from the village until July 2000 when we found that our village house had been robbed and everything taken or destroyed.

My parents were devastated and wanted to continue helping the people there, but our mission directors told them that they couldn’t return to the village unless the people invited them back.
Unfortunately, they never did. However, in less than a year, my dad had been asked to help the Doromu-Koki people of Central Province to translate the Bible into their language.

My dad is also helping with another translation project, Uare, after the translator died of a heart attack in 2005. He is working to oversee the national translators in both language groups and is planning to continue until the New Testament has been completely translated into both languages. My dad is doing this because God changed his life through reading the Bible, and he wants others to be able to experience that, too, by hearing from God in their own language.

Why is my family here now?

Every four or five years, my family returns to the US for approximately one year to visit friends, family, and supporters and to serve here at Grace Church. We have lived in Berea every furlough, but I don’t consider this my home. I have lived in the US for a total of three and a half years, but every birthday I have had has been in Papua New Guinea. We are going to fly to California two days after school lets out, on June 13, to spend time with my dad’s family. Then we will return to PNG in mid July if we have 100% of our support. I am trusting and praying that God will provide for my family!
There are approximately 1,000 people from over fifty countries living in Ukarumpa, from the US, Canada, England, Australia, Germany, Korea, and Sweden. One of my best friends who is also my next-door-neighbor, is Australian. I consider myself very privileged to have grown up with people from many different countries with different cultures. I have also travelled through Hawaii, Singapore, London, and Sydney, and had great experiences there!

Ukarumpa is located in the mountains of Papua New Guinea, in the Eastern Highlands Province at 5000 feet. It is relatively small town, containing only one store, a clinic, post office, library, meeting house, teen centre, print shop, a high school, and a primary school. To walk around the perimeter takes approximately 35 minutes. The houses there are for the most part, fairly nice. We don’t live in bush houses, but rather, in well-constructed wooden frame houses. Many of the houses are built on posts, mainly to ensure flexibility for the frequent earthquakes that occur there.

My family doesn’t own a car, but most of our neighbors there do. Although we don’t have movie theatres, malls, or restaurants, my friends and I have great times together. Often we simply hang out and walk around the center in small groups, but there are many other things we do to entertain ourselves, including movie nights, bonfires, lock-ins, owning horses (and other pets), riding motorbikes, making movies, playing computer games, participating in sports, and attending youth group as well as Bible studies. Besides all of those things, students participate in plays, concerts, mission trips, fundraisers, and helping to host Vacation Bible schools for the younger kids. I raise guinea pigs, and have had 49 over the past four years! Now I only have two, still in PNG, and I really miss them!!!

One of my favorite memories is spending many Saturday afternoons with my neighbor, Melanie, creating scenes and taking photos for ourguinea pig calendars. Other extra curricular things that I participated in were track, volleyball and babysitting. I have loved being a part of the band as a flautist and the choir, and taking trips with them.

Growing up in Papua New Guinea has been a blessing, experiencing different cultures and learning to see past differences. I am thankful for the wonderful privileges that God has blessed me with. I also love PNG because of its beauty and warmth – it usually is around 78 degrees every day, year-round! I don’t like the frequent downpours we get there, but it does make the grass look vibrant!

Papua New Guinea has some problems, too, that can make it a challenge to live there – earthquakes, rascal (criminal) problems, very few roads, (and blockage of those roads from landslides), lots of rain – we get over 80 inches a year, and some parts of the country get 400 inches yearly, and also the fact that there are over 860 languages packed into a small land mass! In fact, PNG has more languages than any other country in the world! However, the blessings of living there far outweigh the hardships. Papua New Guinea is a tropical paradise and a great place to call home!

I really hope that my family will be able to return to PNG in July. I want to be able to spend one more year there, having grown up there. However, my family is low on support right now. It has been hard trusting God, but I know that he is challenging me to have more patience and to wait on his perfect timing. Wycliffe requires us to have 100% support in order to return to the mission field, and we have 78%. Would you please pray that God will provide the money we need so that we can return to Papua New Guinea? That would mean so much to me!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Most Difficult Adjustment

The most difficult adjustment I faced as a missionary kid when I returned to the US this last July, from the country of Papua New Guinea, included leaving behind some very dear friends, and being plunged deep into a culture saturated with bad language and vulgar talk. I know that God had planned for me to experience those things, so that I might grow closer to Him, however, they came as a shock when I got to band camp the first day at Berea High School and the evil words were flowing uncontrollably. I was ready to run out the door and purchase a ticket for the next plane out of Cleveland, but I stayed and trusted God.

There were so many reasons why it would have been easier to have never had to experience life in Berea, Ohio, but instead, simply stay in Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea. The problem with that is that Ukarumpa can be referred to as a shell, a bubble, or other things along the same line. Ukarumpa is a place of safety-and perhaps a taste of Heaven for the small, close community living in the valley there. But I needed to be challenged, and God knew it, so he took me halfway around the world to a place where I hadn't been for four years. I had to say goodbye to friends that I love with all of my heart, yet the only one who truly matters stepped on the plane next to me and guided me through the enduring journey. He comforted me in the absence of human arms wrapped around my thin body. He has whispered his true and faithful promises to me every step of the way. Though it was very difficult for me in a variety of ways to leave behind my home, Ukarumpa, God had a reason for it, and he continues to have a reason for my being here now!

Seeing God as the Lord who Provides

Today I started reading The Power of a Praying Teen, and I have begun to see more of who God is and how He is everything to me. The first chapter listed twenty names of God that are listed in the Bible. I was comforted by this one in particular-the Lord who Provides. I know that God will take care of me in every way. I don't need to be worried about anything, because God is my wisdom, faith, counselor, hope, and so much more!!! Our family is still at 76% but little by little people are giving more money, and God is working!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

How to get involved in missions

Here are three ways that you can get involved in missions: 1) Pray - Missionaries need people to pray for them. You may not feel like you know much about what is going on in the lives of missionaries around the world, but you can still pray for them. Start by learning the names of some missionaries that attend your church, and pick up their prayer cards. Commit to pray for one missionary family. To learn more about what each individual missionary is doing, you can email them and read their updates or prayer letters. You may feel like you don't really know how to pray or that your God won't answer your prayers, but the truth is that praying is just having a conversation with God, and God promises that he will answer the prayers of a righteous person. Prayer is a great way to draw nearer to God while positively affecting the lives of others, even those thousands of miles away, in remote areas of the world! I challenge you to pray for a missionary on a daily basis. Having their prayer card on hand will help you to remember. Pray for them however God leads, and don't stop! James 5:16b The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 2) Give - Consider giving a portion of your income to support a missionary. You may think that you don't make enough money to support someone else, but God wants you to give freely, no matter how much you make each day. Remember the lady who gave all she had, and God blessed her for it! You will probably find it hard to give at first, but over time, it will become easier and you will be blessing someone else. Don't be afraid to give generously-God will provide for you. More than anything, God wants to use you, like he used the boy with the five loaves of bread and two fish to feed the crowd. Jesus could have created food from stones and not used the boy's lunch. However, by using the boy's lunch he was helping the people to increase their faith in him and his father. His purpose was to draw them closer to him, not to steal the boy's food. Besides, everything we have belongs to him, anyways, because all things were created by him and for him. You can trust God. Jesus also said that he cares about sparrows, and you are worth far more than they are - you are a child of God! So God will care for you! Give and God will reward you. You may have to wait until Heaven for the reward, but it will be worth it! You don't have to give money, though. Giving of time is also important and necessary. Send emails to missionaries to let them know that you are thinking about them. Or help out at youth group events to send supplies overseas. Giving is vital to missions. Share some of the things that God has blessed you with and help impact lives for eternity! Luke 12: 6-7 6Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. 3) Go - Get involved with mission trips. Find out what trips are available through your church, and sign up. If you want to become a missionary, this is a good way to gain experience and see close up what is involved in missions. You may have to give up some of your free time and money, but I can guarantee that it will be worth it. While short-term mission trips can't fully prepare you for long-term mission work overseas, it can give you a taste of what it will be like. God has commanded us to go, so take the opportunity to serve and make a difference in the lives of others. Matthew 28: 16-20 The Great Commission 16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Being a long-term missionary overseas is not for everyone. God has called each of us to do different things with the talents and gifts he has given us. He created each of us to be unique from one another. God may want you to stay right where you are and work, but he still wants you to pray and give! He wants you to be a missionary wherever you go, by telling others about him. However, just because you don't learn languages well doesn't mean that you can't become a career missionary! There is a need for teachers, doctors, dentists, computer technicians, pilots, etc. God can use you on the mission field with your individual gifts and talents. So if you feel God calling you to go, know that he has a specific job for you to do. The three points, praying, giving, and going, apply to every Christian in a way. God's will is that you pray, give and tell others about him. Let your light shine! Mission organizations to contact, if you are interested: Wycliffe Bible Translators Christian and Missionary Alliance MV Doulos and Logos Hope Missionary Aviation Fellowship New Tribes World Gospel Mission