For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
~Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)
This is a tale of two very different cross-cultural assignment experiences of a young woman we’ll call Joy. One of these experiences was extremely difficult, but the other experience was a delight.
Joy followed God’s call to take the Gospel to a particular country that had little exposure to the Gospel. In that country there were almost no Christians, and so she felt burdened to be Christ’s hands and feet and to show his love there. Joy accepted an assignment to serve there cross-culturally.
Her first cross-cultural experience during her first term in country was nothing short of a disaster. Unable to communicate with local people, Joy could not share what was on her heart with them. Learning language was more difficult than she imagined, as was the local lifestyle. She could not work out how to adjust even after months of trying. She felt like a failure. Burnt-out, Joy returned from her first term overseas earlier than anticipated, begging God not to send her there again, even though the need was so great.
By God’s grace, Joy agreed to return to the country for another term. Her second cross-cultural experience was completely different and amazing! Joy was able to learn the local language and able to adjust to the culture. She started to develop relationships with the local people that would allow her to show and share the love of Jesus!
What made the difference in the second trip? She travelled to the same exact place, stayed in the same locale, and travelled with the same exact people. Nothing about the place had changed. So why was the second trip so much better than the first?
Joy told us that the difference was the training we provide at SIL Australia (SILA)! Between terms, Joy became a student at SILA and learnt valuable skills to equip her for cross-cultural work. Joy thanked the Lord for this training, and she wished she had done it before her first term!
You see, before her first term, she had little to no preparation at all. But after that first term disaster, she thankfully learned about the training we provide at Kangaroo Ground and decided to attend.
Because of the training we offer, she was able to process through some of the difficulties and traumas she had during that disastrous first trip. She could begin to make sense of the challenges she faced. She also gained insight into how she could begin to speak to locals and build relationships with them. And she learned some valuable strategies to learn the local language and culture.
During her second cross-cultural term, Joy was able to put into practice the valuable skills and insights she gained from attending the SILA course. This made a huge difference! And for her, that second term made her praise God for the training that had helped her! That amazing second term confirmed God’s call on her life and enabled her to be faithful to God’s invitation to show his love and spread his Word in even the most difficult of places.
Good training makes such a difference to cross-cultural work! This is why we are so committed to providing unique and effective training for people working cross-culturally. How amazing that God uses the training SIL Australia provides to equip workers for his service and to help get his Word into the hands and hearts of people all over the world!
Joy’s story is not unique. We have heard from numerous past students how helpful they have found SILA training for the work God has called them to. Recently, one student wrote to us, “Such an excellent course! Thank you for the thoughtfulness and thoroughness which you put into all aspects of the course. God bless you!”
As we get ready for the academic year to start with our summer semester intensive in a couple of weeks, we feel incredibly privileged to be part of what God is doing through the SIL Australia team and through your partnership. This is why we serve at Kangaroo Ground and are living by faith as Graham continues in the Principal Executive Officer role of SIL Australia and Ellie mentors. ‘Living by faith’ is code for not receiving a salary and instead trusting God to provide for our needs through his people. It is because of people like you that we are able to help turn cross-cultural experiences like #1 disasters into cross-cultural experiences like #2 delights!
In some ways, this has been a difficult year for us. We started the year with the knowledge that SILA needed to find a new accreditation partner for next year. We’ve both struggled with injury and health issues. The learning curve for Graham’s position continues to be steep and the workload heavy. And SILA still struggles to fill some key administrative positions. All these have their own ‘disaster’ label, if you like.
And yet, God continues to answer your prayers and use your partnership to encourage and provide. God has provided a new accreditation partnership through Eastern College which is almost finalised. The SILA team has been amazing as they have re-written curriculum, created new academic guides, and painstakingly gone through and adjusted every document related to the courses and subjects we offer. We delight in working with such a dedicated team. God is healing us, and we delight in the ways he strengthens and uses us despite our weakness. Graham is learning, and we delight in the encouragement and affirmation others continue to give him regarding how he is doing. We delight in the ways God bears our burdens with us. And we look forward to seeing how God will delight us as he provides for those positions that need to be filled.
In other words, we believe that God is in the business of turning ‘disaster’ into ‘delight’. We see this in Christ’s conception – the shame of an unplanned pregnancy being the means the Holy Spirit uses to bring about a miraculous virgin birth and the delight of adoption into Joseph’s family as he names Jesus. We see this in Christ’s birth – the disaster of lack of suitable accommodation becomes the means God uses to direct the shepherds to find the Christ-child and delight in him. We see this in Christ’s ministry – the disaster of illness becomes the means by which Jesus is able to display God’s power at work, and many come to believe and delight in him. We see this in the cross – the disaster of Jesus’ execution becomes the means of forgiveness for us and the delight of the resurrection life we share in through Christ. And we will see this in Christ’s coming again – the disaster of this broken world groaning for redemption will be delighted in the new creation and life eternal Jesus’ kingdom brings.
We cannot thank you enough for allowing God to use you to partner with us in this journey we call ministry. We are so, so grateful for your friendship, your prayers, your encouragement, and your gifts to us. God uses you to delight us. And we pray that together, our delight will be in the Lord, and that we will see him turn any disaster into delight in the coming year as we work together for his glory.
God delights in you, his dear child. May his joy, peace, grace and love be yours in abundance this Christmas and always.
Please join us in praising God:
- for the students and staff who are arriving over the next couple of weeks to participate in the summer semester intensive – and for those past students who, like Joy, are using the skills gained through the SILA training in their cross-cultural ministry
- for God continuing to heal and strengthen Graham’s injury – he is once again beginning to run
- for God continuing to improve Ellie’s health and helping her adjust to treating her symptoms of low cortisol
- for the many ways God has delighted us this past year through answered prayers, renewed strength, and stories of his goodness
Please join us in praying for:
- the final government approval of SILA’s accreditation arrangement
- Graham, the SILA team, and the students as they enter the busyness of the summer semester intensive
- God’s continued provision – for healing and health for both of us, our financial needs to be met, and a way forward in recruiting people for the key administrative positions to be found
- Protection from bushfires and their impact (like smoke haze) as we enter this hot and dry season
How to Donate to Our Ministry
Or Donate through any Wycliffe organisation worldwide—just include a note that it is for Graham and Ellie Scott, ID#281522
Monthly pledges also can be set up at https://wycliffe.org.au/member/graham-ellie/
Australian cheques can be sent to Wycliffe Australia, 70 Graham Rd, Kangaroo Ground, VIC 3097, with a note that it is for “Graham and Ellie Scott.”
By check in the USA: Wycliffe Bible Translators P.O. Box 628200
Orlando, FL 32862; include a note that it is for Graham and Ellie Scott, ID#281522.
Donate online through Wycliffe USA — copy and paste this info: Graham and Ellie Scott ID#281522 into the Give to the Ministry of My Wycliffe Missionary page.
For US-based ongoing automatic giving, you can set up a Bill Pay through your bank by providing Wycliffe’s name and address: 11221 John Wycliffe Blvd; Orlando, Fl 32862 – and put as a reference our missionary ID #281522 Graham and Ellie Scott. Or call 1-800-992-5433 to speak to a Wycliffe representative.
For US Donation Questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call Wycliffe USA: 1-800-992-5433