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John & Becky Leverington          MINISTRY UPDATE         January 18, 2017
Olive Tree Counseling Center News
Try to picture yourself in this scenario:  You’ve been involved in full-time language study in a difficult language now for 18 months and are at the stage of ¾ there but it feels like you’ll never fully grasp it well enough to do ministry here in the language.  You're past the honeymoon stage of culture adjustment and in the stage where all the big and little things about this culture are wearing on you.  You’re in the process of developing friends but it’s a lot of work, and worker friends come and go a lot, making weekly deep sharing time difficult, and national friendships are in the early stages.  Then a personal issue you thought you had worked through a long time ago raises its ugly head under all the additional stress of this massive adjustment to a new place.  You wonder, did you do all this work to get here only to fail?  Did you hear God’s call wrong?  Will life here ever get easier?  Who can you share this with, as everyone else seems to be doing ok?  ​
 
This is a common scenario of a first term worker.  They say in mountain climbing the hardest stage is ¾ of the way to the top.  You have been climbing for what seems like forever but you can’t yet see the goal.  This is also true in the marathon of adjusting to a new ministry in a new culture & language with a new team and having left your support system back home.
 
No matter how good the prefield orientation sending agencies provide, the first term on the field is a real marathon.  We are so thankful to be here to help many first term workers when they hit this wall to process the factors that are the most stressful for them, and develop a realistic plan to overcome them.  They often come to us feeling very discouraged and without much hope, and leave encouraged, empowered, and with the resources and tools to get to the finish line of that first term. 
Answers to your prayers
Every one of these requests has seen an answer in the past month.  We praise Him for His provision and thank you for your faithful fervent prayers.
--Approval of the US non-profit application needed to support Olive Tree Counseling Center arrived today!
--Corinne’s full support came in, she is commissioned by her sending church tomorrow, and moves to join us on the 26th!  She has arranged a 1-month home stay with a believing local family to learn language and culture, in conjunction with formal full-time language study.  Please pray for her to find a good apartment to rent.
--Amber’s 2-week visit to experience life and ministry here ends today.  It confirmed that this is indeed the answer to her long-term calling to minister in this country using her gifts and training.  We reminisced last night about our first meeting at the Mental Health & Missions Conference in 2015, and how in 14 months she has finished her counseling licensure, taken additional specialty training in working with children and counseling those experiencing crisis and trauma, joined a sending organization, and begun to raise support to join us in January 2018.
--Our son in law's (Matt) family after the loss of his step-father.  The funeral service was very special, with family from around the country able to attend in spite of bad weather.  There has been wonderful support for his Mom.
--Becky's nephew, Josh: He is 1/3 of the way through the radiation treatments for the cancer, the doctor is pleased with the progress, and he has not suffered a lot of side effects to date.  Physical and occupational therapy continue to work on regaining the ability to walk.  We continue to pray for the tremors to go away, which would allow so much better functioning in all areas and for His peace for him & the family in the midst of all this.
 
--We received our passports last week and begin collecting the many documents and approvals to update our residency permits this week. Please pray we are able to complete the process before travel in April.
--Our desired continued growth in balance:  With four full-time counselors in the office for the first time, work/rest balance is improving greatly.
Our own race
We’re memorizing I Corinthians 9:24-27 as we prepare for the local half marathon, realizing that physical health is only one part of being healthy.  We want to finish the race of life spiritually, emotionally, and relationally healthy as well.
 
High fives to conclude our
recent counseling staff retreat
January Ministry
Many agencies have their annual field conference in January/February during the school holiday here.  We were asked to provide individual counseling and seminars at two of them this month.  Although this is it's own marathon of seeing many people for just one or two sessions, we were so encouraged to see how God used the time we did have to strengthen and encourage weary or struggling workers.  And we had the joy of learning worship songs in the national language and worship with both expatriate and local staff daily.  It seems like a small taste of what heaven will be like—people from many cultures worshiping Him together!
 
For more answers to prayer click on the picture above to watch a two minute video about the progress of Bible Translation in 2016.
PLEASE PRAY FOR:
  • For Roger & wife, Gwen’s visit April 1-15; that this introduction to the ministry and location will make it clear to all of us if he should proceed with the application to join us as a counselor at OTCC.
  • For good communication with a second male counselor this month about the possibility of a similar visit to consider OTCC as a ministry location.
To join us in prayer and financial giving click on become a partner. 
or
mail a check to Wycliffe Bible Translators, PO Box 628200, Orlando, FL 32862.  On a separate note, not on the check, designate it for Leverington account #301412.

To contact us:   John.leverington@sil.org       Becky.leverington@sil.org
You can call us from anywhere in North America at 972-679-2437 but please be aware of the 7-9 hour time difference depending on where you live in the US.

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