Sleeping Coconuts

John and Bonnie Nystrom, 2012

Excerpts From the Book and Adaptations to Teachers In Service, Inc.

If this table speaks to you and you want to serve your Lord as a teacher of children of missionaries, please read some stories from others who made the same decision.

Page

Excerpts from Sleeping Coconuts

Adaptation of Excerpts from Sleeping Coconuts

to the vision of Teachers In Service, Inc.

(Some excerpts are unchanged)

83 “I just want to let you know we are praying Jesus takes what you have to offer and multiples it for those you are there to serve. “I just want to let you know we are praying Jesus takes what you have to offer and multiples it for those you are there to serve.”
83 There were times when Paul [the apostle] had everything he needed—and times when he didn’t.  Regardless of the Situation, Jesus Christ gave him the strength to do what he was called to do. There were times when we had everything we needed—and times when we didn’t.  Regardless of the Situation, Jesus Christ gave us the strength to do what we were called to do.
88 My response took about an hour and a half, as I came to realize that this was the day God had been preparing me for during the last ten years! My response to the messenger [Bob Pittman] took a while, as I [Thom Votaw] came to realize that this was the day God had been preparing me for during the first 56 years of my life!
89

 

 

“For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”  (James 1:3 and 4) “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”  (James 1:3 and 4)
89

 

I realized my standard response to trials betrayed how little value I placed on enduring faith. (1 Peter 1:3-9) I realized my standard response to trials betrayed how little value I placed on enduring faith. (1 Peter 1:3-9)
89

 

 

What would it look like if I counted all things loss for the sake of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord?  If I did everything without complaining or arguing?  If I wanted [Christian]maturity more than I wanted a trouble-free life?  What words would come out of my mouth, and what attitudes would my heart hold onto, if I really lived what Scriptures said was true? What would it look like if I counted all things loss for the sake of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord?  If I did everything without complaining or arguing?  If I wanted [Christian] maturity more than I wanted a trouble-free life?  What words would come out of my mouth, and what attitudes would my heart hold onto, if I really lived what Scriptures said was true?
 

89

So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good (1 Peter 4:19) So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good (1 Peter 4:19)
117 “What if we had a goal so big and so impossible that it forced us to trust Him alone?”  (John Watters Vision 2025) “What if we had a goal so big and so impossible (A perpetual Surplus of MK Teachers) that it forced us to trust Him alone?”
118

 

It required that Wycliffe and SIL make significant changes in our attitudes and ways of working.

 

It required that Teachers In Service make significant changes in our attitudes and ways of working.   And that way was the use of digital media.
119 “Didn’t the tsunami give us that sense of urgency to see he Sissanos and Malols receive God’s Word?”

 

“Didn’t all the closed doors give us that sense of urgency to see all MK schools who have donation, faith-based teachers have all vacancies filled every year?”
119

 

The great resources God has blessed us with may not always be available to us. . . . The great resources God has blessed us with may not always be available to us. . . .
122

 

. . . .this wasn’t just an interesting idea—it was something we needed to do.  We also realized we were not adequate for the task.

 

. . . .this wasn’t just an interesting idea [a perpetual surplus of teachers]—it was something we needed to do.  We also realized we were not adequate for the task.
122 We are tempted to find our adequacy in ourselves when we struggle with our own definiteness.  (Vision 2025 page 12) We are tempted to find our adequacy in ourselves when we struggle with our own definiteness.
122 We are tempted to place our confidence in ourselves and to attempt to control the events of our lives when dread threatens us and we cannot control the outcomes of life.  (Vision 2025 page 12) We are tempted to place our confidence in ourselves and to attempt to control the events of our lives when dread threatens us and we cannot control the outcomes of life.

 

122 We are tempted to protect ourselves from the uncertainties of life and all risk-taking when we face the possibility of death of our dreams or relationships or programs.  (Vision 2025 page 12) We are tempted to protect ourselves from the uncertainties of life and all risk-taking when we face the possibility of death of our dreams or relationships or programs.

 

123 We are tempted to gain our own immediate satisfaction on our own terms because our sense of deprivation may be so great that we do not believe God will meet our needs.  (Vision 2025 page 12) We are tempted to gain our own immediate satisfaction on our own terms because our sense of deprivation may be so great that we do not believe God will meet our needs.
123 If God was truly directing us to work with the Malols and Sissanos, sooner rather than later, we would have to trust God for the impossible.  We looked forward to seeing what He was going to do.

 

If God was truly directing us to work through digital media (as opposed to other forms of communication) sooner rather than later, we would have to trust God for the impossible.  We looked forward to seeing what He was going to do.
129 God began to answer that question in an unexpected way . . . . . God began to answer that question in an unexpected way . . . . .
132 After thinking and praying about this for over a year, I finally had the beginnings of a strategy for how we might work with the Sissanos and Malols. After thinking and praying about this for some time, I finally had the beginnings of a strategy for how we might work with digital media.

 

145 We can praise God by acknowledging His presence and His sovereignty, by asking Him to teach us in our troubles rather than asking Him why we have them. We can praise God by acknowledging His presence and His sovereignty, by asking Him to teach us in our troubles rather than asking Him why we have them.
145 We can glorify Him by doing what He gave us to do (as Jesus prayed in John 17), even when we don’t feel like it. We can glorify Him by doing what He gave us to do (as Jesus prayed in John 17), even when we don’t feel like it.
146 But the whole experience was a gift from God, who knew what I needed. But the whole experience was a gift from God, who knew what I needed.
147 We don’t often get to see why bad things like health issues happen to us. We don’t often get to see why bad things like health issues happen to us.
147 —the multi-language translation project that had been gestating in our minds since the tsunami was finally born. —the use of digital media that had been gestating in our minds since the last door to other possibilities was closed was finally born.
149 While we hadn’t been able to see it at the time, that frustrating period of waiting was preparation for what God had in store. While we hadn’t been able to see it at the time, that frustrating period of waiting was preparation for what God had in store.
150 The Lord sent Deb to us at just the right time with exactly the right experience and training.

 

The Lord sent Ryan, Hanna, Sam, and Kathleen to us at just the right time with exactly the right experiences, training, and commitment.
151 Despite my doubts, the Lord already knew what He was going to do about a literacy team and it was much better than we could have asked for or imagined. Despite my doubts, the Lord already knew what He was going to do about a TIS team and it was much better than we could have asked for or imagined.
153 I had been looking too much at the situation around me and not enough at the God Who can do anything. I had been looking too much at the situation around me and not enough at the God Who can do anything.
153 But the Lord already knew what He was going to do. But the Lord already knew what He was going to do.
163 God’s plans were much bigger than our vision. God’s plans are much bigger than my vision.
164 We didn’t plan this or ask for this, but it seems obvious to us that the Lord has created this unique situation and we’re convinced He’s asking us to do this. We didn’t plan this or ask for this, but it seems obvious to us that the Lord has created this unique situation and we’re convinced He’s asking us to do this.
168 “Things often don’t work out as we expect, but that doesn’t mean they are failures.  In fact, in experimentation there’s no such thing as failure.  We learn from outcomes—expected or unexpected.” “Things often don’t work out as we expect, but that doesn’t mean they are failures.  In fact, in experimentation there’s no such thing as failure.  We learn from outcomes—expected or unexpected.”
168 “We’ll adjust as we go.  It’s impossible to know the end from the beginning.” “We’ll adjust as we go.  It’s impossible to know the end from the beginning.”
168 “We need to stretch and use whatever creativity God gives us to try new ideas and models. “We need to stretch and use whatever creativity God gives us to try new ideas and models.
169 Were we doing the right thing to continue to move forward with so many crucial pieces still missing? Were we doing the right thing to continue to move forward with so many crucial pieces still missing?
171 At times it felt like the decision was made for us, as though we were being carried along in a current we couldn’t control.  At other times we found ourselves considering the implications carefully and making conscious choices to move forward. At times it felt like the decision was made for us, as though we were being carried along in a current we couldn’t control.  At other times we found ourselves considering the implications carefully and making conscious choices to move forward.
171 Even so, the list of unknowns seemed to grow.  God knew we needed periodic reassurances that He was still in control and would provide for each need when it was needed, not necessarily when we wanted it. Even so, the list of unknowns seemed to grow.  God knew we needed periodic reassurances that He was still in control and would provide for each need when it was needed, not necessarily when we wanted it.
171 John [one of the authors] focused on that passage [The feeding of the five thousand in Mark] before and after the tsunami, considering how God already has in mind what He is going to do in our circumstances, even if we do not. I focused on that passage [The feeding of the five thousand in Mark] before and after the forming of the new TIS team, considering how God already has in mind what He is going to do in our circumstances, even if we do not.
173 We had an impressive list of excuses as well.  To us, this list represented very real hurdles in the humanly impossible task God was asking us to do. We had an impressive list of excuses as well.  To us, this list represented very real hurdles in the humanly impossible task God was asking us to do.
174 But we still didn’t now where all the resources would come from to follow through on those expectations.

 

But we still didn’t know where all the resources would come from to follow through on those expectations.

 

174 He already knew what He was going to do. He already knew what He was going to do.
175 Knowing we served the same God who fed more than five thousand people with five loaves and two fish, we too would keep going back to the Lord for another basketful of whatever we needed in order to do what He had asked us to do. Knowing we served the same God who fed more than five thousand people with five loaves and two fish, we too would keep going back to the Lord for another basketful of whatever we needed in order to do what He had asked us to do.

 

180 “I mean, the real point is to establish a project that can continue with or without us. . . .”

 

“I mean, the real point is to establish a project, pursuing a perpetual surplus of MK teachers, that can continue with or without us. . . .”
180 It [Bible translations projects] will never be finished.  That means we’ll need to continually assess our involvement. . . ”

 

Pursuing a perpetual surplus of donation, faith-based MK teachers will never be finished.  That means we’ll need to continually assess our involvement. . . “
184 But the Lord’s vision was bigger. But the Lord’s vision was bigger.
203 We suddenly saw God’s plan. We suddenly saw God’s plan.
204 Once again, God had provided a way for us. Once again, God had provided a way for us
212 “As for me, this translation work is my mission work, just as the apostles had their mission work.  Yes, problems will come, but they cannot prevent this work I’m doing from moving ahead, and I’m not afraid.  Matthew 10:28 says we are to fear only God. “As for me, this pursuit of MK teachers is my mission work, just as the apostles had their mission work.

Yes, problems will come, but they cannot prevent this work I’m doing from moving ahead, and I’m not afraid.  Matthew 10:28 says we are to fear only God.”

212 “My faith is growing stronger as I see all the things God is doing among us, and as I watch the translation work progress.  No way am I ever going to stop doing this work, no matter what problems come. “My faith is growing stronger as I see all the things God is doing among us, and as I watch the digital media work progress.  No way am I ever going to stop doing this work, no matter what problems come.
225 “We’ll find a way,” I said confidently. “We’ll find a way,” I said confidently.
234 The story of the feeding of the five thousand has been a recurring theme in our lives since the tsunami. The story of the feeding of the five thousand has been a recurring theme in our lives since we realized that digital media was the way to go to reach potential MK teachers.
238 But we’re not afraid. . . . . But we’re not afraid. . . . .
238 But the Lord does [knows the speed and direction of our future], and He already knows what He’s going to do in each of our lives. But the Lord does [knows the speed and direction of our future], and He already knows what He’s going to do in each of our lives.
238 Often we see God’s guiding hand only after the fact. Often we see God’s guiding hand only after the fact.
239 God. . . .has in mind what He’s going to do. God. . . .has in mind what He’s going to do.
239 So I have to ask the Lord to help me prioritize.  I have to think, What is my life really about?  Which activities are worth my time and which ones don’t contribute to my life’s purpose?  What is my unique contribution?  What can I do that nobody else can do?  What is my work lamat? So I have to ask the Lord to help me prioritize.  I have to think, What is my life really about?  Which activities are worth my time and which ones don’t contribute to my life’s purpose?  What is my unique contribution?  What can I do that nobody else can do?  What is my work lamat?

 

240 . . . .I thanked God for letting me be a part of this.  He could have chosen somebody braver, smarter, more disciplined, more energetic, or more in tune with Him.  But He didn’t, and I was profoundly grateful that God took what little I had and used it to bless others, just as Jesus had used that little boy’s five loaves and two fish in the story of the feeding of the five thousand, in John chapter 6 . . . .I thanked God for letting me be a part of this.  He could have chosen somebody braver, smarter, more disciplined, more energetic, or more in tune with Him.  But He didn’t, and I was profoundly grateful that God took what little I had and used it to bless others, just as Jesus had used that little boy’s five loaves and two fish in the story of the feeding of the five thousand, in John chapter 6.

 

245 . . . . “I feel God has called me to do the work of Bible Translation. . . . “ . . . . “I feel God has called me to pursue teachers to teach children of missionaries.”


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