noren update 3/21

THANK YOU to those who pray for us here and who have given generously to God so that we can be working here.

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What are we doing?
Karl is teaching chemistry, 9th grade math, and 9th grade combined sciences.  He also has a guys' small group Bible study and oversees running club and a game-creating club.  This is an accreditation year for Rain Forest International School (RFIS), so there is extra paperwork involved in that.

Mary is teaching a middle school music/fine arts class this semester.  She also supervises the RFIS worship team (which leads daily assemblies and chapels), co-leads a small group Bible study, and homeschools Ezra for kindergarten.

During our current 2 week school 'break', we're catching up on correspondence, typing curriculum guides into the school's records, planning our next 8 weeks, and applying for 2 year resident cards.  Our kids are enjoying Legos, a Wii system someone gave us, and reading.  We also are watching some saved episodes of Amazing Race with the family.

Why are we here?
We desire to help others come to a knowledge of the truth and to glorify God in every area of their lives.  RFIS's educates and disciples 7th-12th grade missionary kids and Cameroonian students, and it enables people like Wycliffe Bible translators to commit to long-term ministry here without neglecting their God-given responsibility of caring for their children.

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Our fight is not against flesh and blood.  We bring this up because we have faced various physical threats this last school quarter:  COVID within our community, some other unknown virus in our youngest, and even the following:

On Thursday, 4 February, Rain Forest International School experienced an armed intrusion and robbery.   We are incredibly thankful, through God’s grace and protection, that their direct interaction was limited to a handful of staff members and that no staff members or students were physically harmed! 
Local law enforcement responded following the incident, and investigations are underway.  Please be praying for our community as we all process today’s events and evaluate what actions can be taken to better protect our community in the future. 

We pray that the Holy Spirit enables us to respond appropriately to real threats.  Merely reinforcing security protocol, adding walls and locks is a common response to physical threat in a postmodern world.  Calling on 'tradition'/magic/evil spirits for protection is a common response in this part of Africa.  The response reveals what is regarded as the threat and who is trusted to have the power.  As followers of Christ, we know that in this world we will have trouble, and that Christ has overcome the world.  We know that the true fight is against the spiritual forces of evil.  So even as RFIS has been strengthening physical security, we also pray to the One who is truly in control.  Our trust is not in the walls, not in the locks, not in the security protocol, and not in the police or American embassy.  We use those as seem reasonable, but ultimately, it is the Lord Almighty, the Lord of Hosts, who ensures our spiritual and physical safety.  When we experience trouble, we are assured that God is not shocked or caught off-guard, but that he has the ultimate victory and can use everything for his glory.

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Jesus was aware of the difficulty of the cross he would endure, and yet he considered the glory of the Father as a higher priority.

Thank you for praying for and supporting the work here.  Pray for courage and unity in Christ and pray against syncretism.  Continue to pray that God would supply the teaching staff needed here.

Thank you, God, for showing your faithfulness time and time again, from generation to generation.  You are strong and you are good.  Please protect your people and enable us to do the work you have set before us.  Have mercy on those who live in fear.  May those who call on the power of evil spirits for protection repent of their unfaithfulness to you. Thank you for your kindness in sacrificially redeeming us from sin and death, even while we were still sinners.  Give us wisdom and discernment to know what is best in teaching, in cross-cultural relationships, in our family, and for our whole lives.  Help us to forgive our enemies and use our lives for your glory.

(Mary Samuelson Noren).  God bless you all.

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