Monday, April 22, 2013

Hughes News #44

"Tie your shoes and pray for the Hughes"
Dear Friends,        

Recently the Lord has given us several opportunities to further our language abilities through various means.  When preaching in a church service, I felt much more comfortable expressing my thoughts in Russian.  In a couple of weeks, I will be giving a challenge at a monthly young couples’ fellowship that we attend.  Viola has been more involved in the music ministry of the church and was asked to sing a solo for an evangelistic service.  We’ve had friends over, and have gone to other friends’ houses.  The chance to use Russian in real-life situations is a welcomed change from the more dry textbook Russian study.  These times have also given us greater insight into the people of Moldova and their understanding of God’s Word.

In preparation for the church plant, David Gross and I have been preparing a doctrinal statement.  Once that is completed, we plan to discuss our vision, goals, and philosophy of ministry.  We are asking God to give us a Biblical, area-specific, reproducible church planting model.

Before we move to Soroca, we hope to take a quick furlough in the States.  Because there are still several unknown factors, we cannot make definite plans yet.  The biggest factor is my Romanian study.  If it is the Lord’s will, I would like to finish the eight levels my school offers before we head back.  If that is not possible, we need the Lord’s wisdom regarding the timing of our furlough and eventual return to Moldova.  We appreciate your interest in our ministry and your intercession on our behalf!

In His service,
Jacob and Viola Hughes

For Prayer:
1. Preparation for the church plant in Soroca
2. The Grosses hope to close on a house in Soroca May 2
3. Timing for furlough          

For Praise:  
1. Semester #4 of Romanian completed!
2. “Living” opportunities to communicate
3. Jacob’s visit to Soroca to view houses on the market

Friday, April 19, 2013

Margin- Chapter 7

A few friends and I are reading this book together. Each week we are reading one chapter. On Fridays, I am posting my comments, then giving them the opportunity to add their thoughts as well. If you would like to join us or simply find out more about the book, you can read about it here.)

Chapter 7: "Margin in Emotional Energy"

- At the end of the previous chapter, the author pointed out that we need margin in emotional energy, physical energy, time, and finances.  In the present chapter, he deals with the first of those.

- At the start of this chapter he makes the case that sufficient emotional energy can help us maintain margin in other areas or it can make up for a lack of margin in those areas.  Therefore, it is quite important.

- While I agree that emotional energy is in a "constant flux," so are the other areas: we make and spend money, we rest and exert energy, we make or spend time.  However I think another point he brought out bears on this- emotional energy is more difficult to quantify.  I know when I am getting tired.  I know when money is being spend or time is running out.  I know when I feel emotionally drained, but I often don't recognize that emotional energy is dwindling until it is gone.  I think that is the most provoking thought of the chapter for me, but I can't say I've figured out how to analyze my current emotional reservoirs.  (Maybe I should ask my wife!)

- In my opinion, he included a lot of psychological thinking in this chapter. I'm not going to take time to dissect everything with which I didn't agree.  I think nearly all of the problems he mentioned are sins that need to be met with the blood and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

- He gave 14 "prescriptions" to restore margin in emotional energy: cultivate social supports, pet a surrogate, reconcile relationships, serve one another, rest, laugh, cry, create appropriate boundaries, envision a better future, offer thanks, grant grace, be rich in faith, hold fast hope, and love.

- "Whether family and friends or community and church, the existence of intact, functioning, healthy, nurturing systems of social support are as good a resource for replenishing depleted energy reserves as can be found."  (Page 86)  I would add that many of these support systems are "broken" or often have serious problems and therefore do not give the aid they should.  In fact, instead of adding to emotional energy, they take away from it.

- "One of the best ways to heal your own emotional pain is to focus instead on meeting the needs of others." (Page 87)  How often have we tried to be a blessing to someone else, and we leave feeling that we received more of a blessing than we gave out?  I am convinced this is true.

- After reading about the man who paid for the next person's toll, I thought I would recommend that you might want to start paying others' tithe for them.

- Anyone up for trying a "laugh-every-four-minutes" day? 

- Couple of great quotes from the "boundary" section: "To be able to say no without guilt is to be freed from one of the biggest monsters in our overburdened lives."  (Page 91)  In the past, I couldn't do this.  I am growing in my ability to give a no.  "Ask yourself, 'Do the people closest to me love my no as much as they love my yes?' " (Page 91)  There is a problem if people can only take a "yes" from us.  I have learned that the problem is with them, not with me (in that instance).

- Which of these prescriptions do you already know are a great help to you? I know that I gain great encouragement from friends, but I have seen that I have to consciously do my part in maintaining friendships. Otherwise, I will overlook my friends, and then wonder where my friends are. Also, rest is probably the best thing of all for me. After a good night's sleep or a nap, things look so much better than they did a few short hours before.

- Where there any new ideas that you think will help you personally? I think creating boundaries is a good idea, but I had trouble thinking of specific ones that would help me emotionally. The way our schedule is now, we try to have a date on Thursday nights. I realized that I can set a firm boundary around that in order to protect it.  Another "new" idea that I need to implement more is offering thanks for the positives.  It is easy for me to dwell on just the negatives.

I've had my say, what say you?

Discussion on Chapter 6
Discussion on Chapter 8

Friday, April 12, 2013

Margin- Chapter 6

(A few friends and I are reading this book together. Each week we are reading one chapter. On Fridays, I am posting my comments, then giving them the opportunity to add their thoughts as well. If you would like to join us or simply find out more about the book, you can read about it here.)

Chapter 6: "Margin"

- After laying the groundwork for the first five chapters, the author starts to explain what margin is.

- If "the limit" is the full amount we can handle, then "overload" is anything exceeds that limit and "margin" is the amount of cushion between our load and our limit.  Boy, do I ever need to learn to insert that cushion!

- "We don't want to be under-achievers ... so we fill our schedules uncritically."  (Page 69)  What then happens?  We have SO much in our schedule that we can't get it all done, and we still feel like under-achievers.  Also, unimportant things get in our schedule and we accomplish those instead of the most important things.

- I agree that margin is semivisible in an of itself, but often the results of a lack of margin are visible- exhaustion, etc.

- I appreciated him pointing out that we have always needed margin, just that now we often do not have it, while they often did in the past.  Hence, it is something we need to think about and purposefully implement in our lives, while those in the past had margin without thinking about it specifically.

- I don't think margin is the ONE thing that causes us to look at the past nostalgically, but I think it is a big factor.  I remember my mom telling about her childhood.  After supper, they would often visit neighbors or neighbors would visit them.  The adults would sit on the porch and talk and the kids would play.  People were not lazy, they just had margin.  How often does that happen in America now?  I also agree that developing countries still have an amount of margin.  Just come visit Moldova in the summer.  About 8-9 pm you will hear lots of noise in the street: people talking, kids playing.  I'm sure it is even more visible in the villages.  People have margin, and it manifests itself in the time they have to be with others.

- An important quote for US to consider: "When you combine missionary [or church-planting, or assistant pastor] conscientiousness with imported Americanized schedules, and home-office expectations with Third-World need, climate, and disease, burnout is an ever-present risk."  (Page 76).  The question is not whether this is present.  The question is what we are going to do about it.  The following chapters will help us establish it!

I've had my say, what say you?

Discussion on Chapter 5
Discussion on Chapter 7