Ryan & Jordan

with Pioneer Bible Translators

Category: Stories

There & Back Again: not quite yet

by ryan

We’re interrupting our road trip recounting because our hearts are heavy.

Would you please pray for justice & peace in Syria?

Would you please pray for peace in Lebanon and in the nation-state of Israel?

This world is full of pain & sorrow, and yet in the midst of it all we can be surprised by Joy Himself.  Grace.  And in that moment God draws us closer to himself.  As the Syrian civil war has been raging, I have often been convicted about my priorities.  So often I am self-focused and running about because of things that don’t really matter much.

All of this reminds me of a conversation a group of us had this week with Brian Doerksen and Dorothy M. Peters.  Many of the Hebrew songs in the Bible come out of a state of anguish or lament (Psalms 3,5,6,7,10, 137 to list a few), yet we do not often sing these songs (ever listen to “Christian” radio?).   Often the Psalms are an intertwining of praise & faith in the midst of pain, or praise because God has delivered (Psalm 30 for example).  Let us learn from the psalmists, singing new songs to God in confident trust not hiding our tears or fears, knowing he is the Sovereign One.  Even in our pain & mourning.  His mercies are new each morning (Lamentations).  And his faithfulness?  Psalm 36.

There & Back Again: Day One

by Jordee

beginning

For any who may have noticed the recent lack of posts, we will now explain.

Ryan and I have been on the road, a trip we decided to take just before it began on Saturday, August 10th. Because it has been so eventful and because we have soaked in a lot of life and adventure and conversation and people, we’d like to take you through the trip (mostly) day by day.

As with all my prior experience with road trips, the morning of Day One went as we might’ve expected: waking up early, packing, making checklists, packing, coffee, packing, loading up the car, driving out of the neighborhood excitedly, remembering what we forgot, turning around at the stoplight, a joke about “if we ever leave,” and finally heading south toward the United States of America.

The border wait was the longest we’ve experienced and the traffic was a bit unexpectedly heavy, but we made it to our first stop in Yakima, Washington. There we enjoyed dinner with Ryan’s old friends and my new friends. We got back on the road and continued east toward Pasco, our final destination for the day. We arrived and enjoyed time with family whom I met for the first time, explaining we didn’t have much of a plan for the following two weeks.

Day One: taking things as they come and the sweet times with friends and family foreshadowed the rest of this trip as we would find out soon enough.

Stay tuned for Day Two and beyond.

The Author and His Story

by Jordee

Ryan and I study diversity in the world’s languages. Language is rich and complex, and lots of scholarly energy is poured into finding what some call “language universals” so we can make sense of it. One of these universals is something we might have guessed. Stories. We learn from stories. Stories are what make up our histories, what define us and what we use to identify ourselves, what we read to and tell our children, what our children tell us, what we pass on through generations.

Of course, the structure of stories differs greatly from language to language. “Once upon a time” and “happily ever after” aren’t language universals. The scholar Robert Longacre, however, has suggested several story elements that are shared among a lot of the world’s languages. One of these elements he calls the “inciting moment.” The predictable is disrupted, plans take a sudden twist, the story isn’t what we had previously thought. The inciting moment gets the story going.

Sometimes we are happy trudging along in a comfortable and safe episode of our story, and we’d rather not be disrupted. About two weeks ago, we were on a pleasant run in a sunny park, when our car was vandalized. An unwelcome inciting moment happened. Plans were changed, our routine was disrupted, and the story of the next several days was not how we would have written it.

But it helps us to look at our stories as a part of a much Bigger Story.

We can remember the bigger inciting moments–
when God spoke the earth into being and called it good,
when He took on human form as Jesus,
when the tomb was found empty,
and when by His grace, He rescued us and made us His children.

These are the inciting moments of the Bigger Story, and the Author is using us to form it into a narrative for His glory. Every moment of our lives is a part of His story, and Ryan and I remain His dearly loved children in every beginning, every conflict, every climax, every resolution.

So if you have just experienced a discouraging inciting moment, or if you are just trudging along, we invite you to remember Jesus, the Author, who endured the cross and ignored the shame because He focused on the joy that was set before him.