The Encouraging Word Blog
Author: Rich Rudowske Created: 7/30/2007 9:14 PM
Welcome to the blog! Our family will post updates, musings, and other fun stuff from our experiences in Botswana to work in the ministry of Bible Translation.

Evil is not Equal to God's Power
By Rich Rudowske on 7/18/2011 5:21 PM

"And they begged him not to command them to go into the abyss" Luke 8:31

God is NOT struggling in an epic battle against evil.  We (mankind, beginning with Adam) chose evil and God has chosen in his goodness and wisdom to let it remain.  But make no mistake, God is not fighting with an equally powerful foe like the force in Star Wars with a yin and yang of good and evil.  He is working only to show his love to humanity.  We might say, "If he loves us, why not just eliminate evil?"  But that is taking our small ideas of good and right and applying them to God.  Who are we, the created, to question the creator? (Job 40-41, Romans 9:20).  So these demons in Luke 8 know that God in the person of Jesus has power over them and they are begging for their lives.  He grants them their request and they enter a herd of pigs.  Is God merciful then, even to evil spirits?  That is more ...

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The Father's Up Front Decision
By Rich Rudowske on 7/18/2011 5:08 PM

"And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma he said in his heart, ' I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth.  Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done."  Genesis 8:21

It is against God's normal mode of operation to destroy.  It is an alien work to him (Isaiah 28:21).  He prefers to be in the business of forgiving and relenting, even though he knows the inclination of our hearts.  This makes his graciousness abound even more, to know that he has decided ahead of time to be merciful even when he knows that his mercy will be ignored, exploited, and disregarded.  In light of this mercy, I may be thankful and merciful.  I too can expect to be ignored and disregarded by my children and by the people whom I work among.  But I, by the power of God given me through Jesus, can decide ahead ...

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Scripture Engagement
By Rich Rudowske on 6/13/2011 5:26 PM

One of the reasons I became a pastor was that I felt that God had significantly interacted with me through His word and I wanted to help other people to be equipped and able to interact with God through the Scriptures and prayer as well.  One of the tools I do that is scripture journaling - a practice I learned many years ago and was sharpened by a speaker I heard at a conference when I was on staff at Emmanuel Lutheran in Kettering Ohio.  The practice is called S.O.A.P. and I have taught it in several different places (and countries!) since then and have engaged in it myself.  I wanted to briefly share it with you and from time to time, the blog entries will be my writing on engaging the scriptures based around this method.  What I do is read a selection of scripture asking the Lord to show me a verse or section to focus on.  I copy that verse or section into my journal along with the reference.  That is the 'S' part for 'Scripture'& ...

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Prayer for Botswana
By Rich Rudowske on 5/4/2011 12:17 AM

Just a short entry asking you for prayer for the nation of  Botswana.  Since April 18 government workers have been on strike seeking better pay.  Demonstrations have been peaceful which we are thankful for, but I have overheard some negative things directed towards white people (which could include expatriates and also the minority population of Botswana citizens) in some of the speakers' comments at the local group demonstrating in our village.  We pray that demonstrations will remain peaceful and that race issues, which are not typically part of the political landscape here, will not become a problem.

In addition, there has been an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in cattle in South Africa which has led to a shortage of imported dairy items and a resulting price increase.  Additionally, an outbreak has been discovered in NE Botswana and so movement and slaughter of cattle in the country has been frozen for perhaps the next ...

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Update and Holy Week Greetings
By Rich Rudowske on 4/21/2011 4:33 PM

Dear friends,

Greetings in the name of Jesus!  As Lent culminates in Holy Week, the remembrance of the Passion of Christ, and the event that altered the course of history, the resurrection of Jesus - we are reminded of the privilege of serving in the ministry of Bible translation, translating the word, so that people may know the Word made flesh.

Our family continues working in the sometimes exhilarating and sometimes frustrating period of project setup and language and culture learning.  The project is in a holding pattern of sorts at the moment while details on a memo of understanding are worked out between Lutheran Bible Translators, the Bible Society of Botswana, and the Advisory Committee (AC) of the Shekgalagari Bible Translation Project.  Until those details are worked out I am unable to hire any staff which is frustrating at times but has opened up other opportunities for work and for that I am thank ...

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Sometimes Things Don't Work Out
By Rich Rudowske on 3/25/2011 5:29 PM

One of the hard parts of being in ministry is that things happen, things don't work the way you hope they will, things fall apart and we realize that the brokenness of humanity is still very much a part of all that we try to do.

A case in point is the continuing story of my friend Jacob.  I wrote about Jacob on this blog a few months back.  At the time he was working for us, and in his spare time he was taking a recorded version of the Setswana Bible (Proclaimer) out into the bush and reaching groups of people who are usually not reachable with the word of God. 

Unfortunately, things fall apart sometimes.  In January, Jacob told us he no longer wanted to work for us, he didn't like being tied down to one job.  (This is common around here).  We have had to fire workers before, but this was the first one to quit and it was a surprise.  He kept the Proclaimer and continued to meet with his li ...

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Campfire Therapy
By Rich Rudowske on 3/11/2011 10:52 PM

As I write to you, oh faithful blog reader, I am sitting next to a small campfire in my yard under a gorgeous blanket of stars on a cool Kalahari night.  Campfires are therapeutic for me.  This one has been very refreshing.  These last couple of weeks I have felt overwhelmed at times with all that there is to do, the various hats that I wear as part of our LBT organization and the various tasks I juggle as a dad, teacher, neighbor, and pastor.  

I have experienced depression in my life, a sort of empty feeling devoid of feeling - it was horrible.  Depression can come for no apparent reason, sometimes brought on by stress, sometimes not.  After I faced a season of depression a few years back, I sat with my grandmother and also my mother through their own dark times, wishing I could help and understanding to an extent what they were experiencing. 

I felt myself slipping bac ...

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To my son, Chris
By Rich Rudowske on 2/25/2011 10:56 PM

He towers over me, this firstborn son of mine, by at least 3 inches now.  Named Christopher - the bearer of Christ - after his uncle, my beloved brother, he has always been the unique individual that I was warned in playful fun by my mother that he would be if he were to be named after his uncle.  This past week as I have collected textbooks from the end of the first semester of high school and laid them aside for new ones, I am suddenly aware at the passage of time and that soon this young man will no longer be under my care and guidance.  I feel a twinge of sadness at the thought.  It seems like we have always been together, this guy and me.  We moved right before he would have started kindergarten, and largely unfamiliar with our new surroundings and incredibly naive - we decided to homeschool him.  He soon proved to be too strong willed for his mother and the task of his training fell to me.  Oh sure, I've had plenty of help over the ...

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Horses, an Airplane, and Drawings
By Rich Rudowske on 2/11/2011 5:50 PM

It has been an eventful last week.  Last Friday I was met in the village by some folks who own a game farm near here and who have invited us to come several times to visit and we have always been too busy.  So they insisted we come that weekend, so on Saturday we did.  It was a blast!  They have a boy and girl the same age as Chris and Katherine and they all hit it off very well.  There was horseback riding, a game drive, braai (barbeque) and just great conversation.  This farm is 19km from here down the paved road, and then you turn north and drive 30km(!) on sand tracks to this 45,000 acre farm that borders the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.  Driving in we saw zebras, wildebeest (including several that dashed right out in front of my car) kudu, lots of various antelope like creatures.  At night you can hear lions roaring in the CKGR.  Amazing.  

On Monday, missionary pilot Uncle Da ...

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The Part Between the Chapters
By Rich Rudowske on 2/4/2011 3:35 PM

Many missionary stories we have read have a section about getting ready to go, then when they first get there and then the next chapter will start with 'five years had gone by'.  That's where we are now - in that part that doesn't often get written about.  The weeks just fly by around here it seems.  There isn't much to report and I don't have much creative energy flowing, so let me just give you a snapshot of where we are right now:

On Monday (Feb. 7) the board for the project meets here in Kang.  They have already ratified in principle a memo of understanding that will place administration and ownership of this project under the Bible Society of Botswana (BSB).  We have a target date of April 1st to have all stakeholders on board.  LBT brass is reviewing the document now and the BSB board will meet to discuss the proposal and hopefully agree as well.

The board will also consider hiring the project's firs ...

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