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.

Update
By Rich Rudowske on 3/7/2012 10:15 PM

Well, I have to tell you that we have been incredibly busy, but so often I have sat down to write an entry on this blog and felt like I had nothing to say.  Here is an update on what's happening here:

Project - we were not able to hire additonal staff as we had originally hoped to do, due to budget constraints at LBT and more seriously at the United Bible Societies, our main partner in this venture through the Bible Society of Botswana.  That has turned out to be a blessing in disguise since we have had several other things come up these last few months that we needed to deal with and if we had had additional staff to orient and train it would have been very difficult.  (More about the other things below).  My new partner, John Strasen, will be arriving from the USA on March 30.  John will work with Pontsho Mosweu, our project secretary/translator on Shekgalagari language and culture learning while we are gone.  Not ha ...

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A New Christmas
By Rich Rudowske on 11/26/2011 6:36 PM

December is the busiest month of the year for most people, and that’s really saying something, because most of us were busy even at the slowest part of the year!  Upon already busy lives are piled shopping trips for Christmas, meal plans, travel plans, kids’ or grandkids’ programs, office parties, neighborhood parties, family parties.  Amidst all this busy-ness, I want to challenge you to take some time to stop and consider what this season is all about. 

Certainly it is about the coming of our Lord in Bethlehem two thousand years ago.  God broke into history in person, in the flesh, born of a virgin, so that He could live a perfect life only to take our sin upon Himself and suffer and die to give us His perfection.

Were that the end of the story, that would be a really neat story.  We could celebrate year after year that God did that for us back then.  But it’s not the end.  Jesus is ...

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God's Heart for the Weak
By Rich Rudowske on 10/2/2011 5:48 PM

"Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise," says the Lord, "I will protect them from those who malign them." Psalm 12:5

God's heart and desire for the weak and needy is a key theme in scripture that is prevalant yet ignored by my people.  The Lord himself in several places warns that when the weak are taken advantage of, he will himself arise to protect and avenge.  Why is this?  All I can think of is that each human being is lovingly crafted in his image and it is so contrary to his original plan for creation that one human would lord it over another, that he must act.  What does it mean to oppress the weak?  Is it active or does it happen passively too?  Am I complicit in any type of oppression?  Lord I need you to open my eyes, turn my heart, forgive me this sin, and show me how to make it right with my neighbor.  Lord, no one can lov ...

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The Third Year
By Rich Rudowske on 8/4/2011 8:56 AM

Hi everyone,

Maya said it best when she said, "the third year is beginning so much better than the first."  We are beginning our third year here in Botswana, the last leg of our first term in ministry here.  We have grown so much and, to be honest, it is SO nice to not be new here anymore.

In the last month we achieved significant milestones:  1)Finalizing a Memo of Understanding between LBT, the Bakgalagari Community and BSB for the operation of the Shekgalagari Bible Translation Project.  2) Obtaining and furnishing an office in the village square of Kang, 3) Interviewing candidates for the position of Project Secretary (this person assists me in the project by helping me learn Shekgalagari, organizing p.r. events, and basic translation duties both oral and written).  The worker we have requested for this position works for the Lutheran Church and we are awaiting approval of her ...

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MK Creativity
By Rich Rudowske on 8/1/2011 10:22 PM

I have to say that my children are some of the most creative people I know.  Today they used the styrofoam packing trays from the vegetables we bought, along with various pencils, paper, nails, lego people etc. to make pirate ships and then sailed them in the bathtub (and raced them, and bombed each other with bottle caps and so forth).  I regret that both of our cameras are on the fritz right now so I can't share any pictures or video - a situation I hope to remedy soon.

Then tonight at dinner the 3 boys decided to play a word association game with each one saying a word and the next saying (supposedly) what came to his mind first.  It got to be pretty funny, but the funniest was this sequence:

Chris: Fish legs; Matt: Strange, Josh: Involuntary!

Josh:  What's involuntary mean?  Me: when you do something that you didn't have control over.  Josh:  Like my eyes? (moving them quickl ...

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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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