Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD.
But the LORD hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.”
(Jonah 1:1-6 ESV)
An Application For Missions: "Understanding and knowing God is paramount in our missional work"
The context for this passage sets up with Yahweh commanding Jonah to take a message of hope and redemption to the nation of Nineveh. However Jonah's response, not unlike our own at times is to flee. He attempts to run away from the presence of God, so that he can run away from the command of God.
It is paramount to note some of God's attributes from this passage to understand our application.
1. God's Omniscience - God knows everything 1John 3:20. "In one simple and eternal act, he fully knows himself and all actual and possible things. He knows all things that exist and all that happens" Wayne Grudem. In this passage "evil has come up before me"
2. God's Omnipresence - God is unlimited with regard to space. "He does not have size or spacial dimensions; he is present in every point of space with his whole being. He cannot be limited by material space because he created it" Wayne Grudem. In this passage Jonah tries to flee God's presence because he believed, wrongly, that God's presence was limited to the land of the Hebrews.
3. God's Omnipotence - There are no limits to what God can do. "Nothing is too hard for you" Jeremiah 32:17. He displayed his power over the sea in this passage causing the great storm to stall Jonah.
Let's apply the application in our understanding of God. If we truly understand and believe the God of the Scriptures then we are rooted, not by emotions or needs, but by the character of God to fulfill the task of spreading His glory among all nations. Let Him who is always faithful be our strength and endurance for serving. No matter what task God has called us to.
It was seven years ago today that I set foot for the first time in Iceland. I remember that day like it was yesterday. When I boarded the Iceland Air plane and sat on the tarmac at the BWI (Baltimore, MD) airport, my heart raced with the joy. I had been praying for Iceland for four years and now for the first time I would get to see the country I had come to have such an affection for. The opening line in my journal for the trip was “God please show me why you have placed the country so heavy on my heart.”
Seven years later, I ponder all that God has allowed me to share in and I weep with joy in this truth. “God has been and is working among the Icelandic people.” My joy has been seeing God do more that I could have ever imagined. I am, along with many others, grateful to share in this journey.
This week Cami and Ben completed their first week of public school in Iceland. They have been welcomed with open arms. Our prayer is that God will allow friends they make today to become brothers and sisters in Christ over the next several years.
Thank you for your prayers and support as we serve in the northern most capital of the world, Reykjavik, Iceland.
We are privileged today to be heading to Greece. Our partnership with the IMB affords us the opportunity to participate in this meeting with other like minded families. The Jessup household is very excited about this coming week and the vacation to follow.
We also want to ask you to pray for a team of eight coming from the University of Mobile to minister in Iceland July 21 - 30. They will minister in Reykjavik over two weekends and be in the northern part of Iceland working at a summer camp during the week. We are always excited to have new partners joining us in the work here. We only wish we could be here to welcome them in. However we have opened our home them and are trusting they will feel welcome.
Much has happened in the last month. Again I feel the need to apologize for not writing more. God has been working in some exciting ways. Here are a few stories that I believe will encourage you.
Three years ago Colby and Annie Garman were the first IMB missionaries in Iceland. One day while Annie was at a ladies only gym, she befriended one of the employees there. A lady (name protected) had moved from another country to Iceland after marrying an Icelandic man. This lady wanted to learn English so Annie agreed to teach her if they could use the Bible as their primary textbook. Before the Garmans left Iceland for medical reasons, Annie introduced her new friend to Gudrun who would continue language training and sharing the gospel with her. In early June this year, through a series of hardships in this lady's life, she asked if she could attend a ladies Bible study with Gudrun. Two weeks ago this lady was at our house for Bible study. She asked me what made Christianity different from Mormons, as Mormons are very active in Iceland. This question opened the opportunity to share who Jesus really is. The gospel is resonating in this persons life. We are praying and believing that the work started three years ago with Annie meeting her at the gym will bring fruit for eternity.
Cami had a great answer to prayer. The opportunity came for her to practice football (soccer) with a group of girls her age on Monday and Tuesdays at noon. The first Monday came and she did not want to go over. After a long conversation she shared that it is really difficult and intimidating trying to fit in when you do not know the language. We prayed on the steps of our home that God would send someone to be a friend to her and she agreed to try it the next day. On Tuesday, Cindy stepped outside to get Alli’s stroller ready so they could walk with Cami to practice. Three girls were standing on the sidewalk, looking up at our house. Our next door neighbor then called over from her balcony to ask if our daughter was going to football practice. Cindy said yes. The mom said that one of the girls on the sidewalk was her daughter. She explained that her daughter was very shy but that she wanted to invite Cami to walk over with her and her friends. Needless to say, God knows and responds to the details of our life in a special way.
God's faithfulness is evident and His encouragement is real. We are rejoicing in your partnership with us as we seek to minister in the northernmost capital of the world.
We apologize that it has been a while since we last posted. It has been a busy time. A few highlights that have really encouraged us.
1. We moved to our permanent home or perhaps I should say we are moving into our new home. Boxes are still being unboxed and items are still finding their new home but all in all we are settled in. A really great God moment came with our container that was being shipped out of Norfolk, VA. The ship was originally leaving on May 17, we knew it would take about 10 days to arrive in Reykjavik and then a while to clear customs. We had to be out of the furnished home on June 10, so we felt good about the time. The day before we loaded the container in Stafford, VA we were told the ship would not leave until May 24. We knew this could cut things close with our transition, but there was nothing we could do except was is most important, pray and trust that God will work everything out. It turned out that our ship left Norfolk on May 21, arrived Saturday June 2 and was through customs and at our house on June 7. Those three days gave us just the time we needed to unload and set up the basics of home. It really is amazing to see God at work in all the details.
2. This past Sunday God really moved in our time of worship. There were 37 of us who had gathered together and it was refreshing to hear others talk about the way God was working. Please continue to pray for the church at large in Iceland but also for Emmanuel Baptist Church.
We are thankful to be in such a great seeing and we believe that God is doing something amazing in the northernmost capital of the world!
Today we start moving from Kelduland 17 to Safamýri 23. The ship containing our container left Norfolk, VA on the 21 and arrives in Iceland today. We are now praying for a speedy process through customs and a delivery sometime late in the week. If all goes well we should be completely moved by June 10.
It is 1:10 am on Monday morning and I can still look across the city where God has called us. The light hovers at dusk and gives us plenty of vitamin D.
Our language class has dominated our days and nights since it started. I have learned if I am going to be a good student of language then I must spend more of my days and nights practicing. English is spoken so fluently among the country that it is very easy to communicate. This can be a barrier to learning, however.
One of my favorite language stories over the last month came when I took Cami and Ben to the pool. I decided to test out my language skills and used the words for “two children” when purchasing tickets. I motioned to myself, assuming the lady taking my debit card would understand I wanted entrance as well. In Iceland when you pay with a debit or credit card most places ask if you want a receipt. I had that in mind when the lady used a phrase I was familiar with from language school. The problem was I was not in school, I was at the pool. So, the phrase she used which means “and you?” was processed in my mind as “do you want a receipt?” I replied with “nei, takk” or no thanks. After the lady gave Cami and Ben their tickets I asked in English, “Where is mine?” She replied in English, “I asked you if you wanted one and you said no thanks.” We laughed and she gave me a free entrance into the pool. A few days later I was at the same pool with Cami and the same woman took our money. I spoke to her in Icelandic and she gave me a smile and a thumbs up. Language learning is as fun as it is humbling.
From May 10-20 I was back in the States. It was time to get our container ready for shipping. Many thanks to our church family, Stafford Baptist and Pillar churches, for all the help. The twenty foot container was loaded in an hour and fifteen minutes thanks to the generosity of many friends. Over the next fifteen days we will begin our relocation to our home of the next three years. We look forward to creating many sweet memories in our new home. During the time in the States I also met several new people who are praying about how they may be involved with our ministry in Iceland. It is exciting to see God bring more partners together.
On May 22, Ben celebrated his 11th birthday. We are so grateful for God bringing him into our family. Ben’s choice for the perfect birthday dinner was salmon with brownies for dessert. We happen to live in a country that has some really fresh salmon. It was very tasty. Ben got some cool gifts from sisters but his big gift is coming over on the container, a new bike which he says he plans to ride two miles every day. Ben and I played some basketball and ‘around the world’ recently. At the end of the game I shared a thought with Ben to encourage him with basketball and I found it also very appropriate for ministry in Iceland: “Display Patience, Develop Perseverance, and Take Responsibility.”
Let me ask you to pray about a few things:
Believing God is going to do something great in the northernmost capital of the world, Reykjavik, Iceland!
Celebrate with us and give thanks to our God, we received news today that our Residency Permit was granted.
Here are some specifics about our week coming up and how you can pray for us.
MondayWe begin week 3 of language class. Pray that we will learn new concepts/words quickly...for patience...and good study habits!1:30 PM (9:30 AM EST) - Bill, Cami and Ben meet with administrator and teachers at a school we hope they can attend in the fall (Háteigsskóli - How-taygs-skoaley)
TuesdayNational holiday - May Day (like Labor Day), so no language classBen's first guitar lesson since our arrivalBill continues training 'behind the scenes' at Lindin Radio for the weekly international program. (Special guests this week are Kim & Andy Bohon, newly arrived missionaries and daughter of the Fitzgeralds who started the station - 5-7 PM EST www.lindin.is)
WednesdayLanguage classBill attends prayer meeting
ThursdayLanguage classCindy has lunch plans with a young lady from our language class.
FridayLadies Bible study - Cindy helps co-lead. Bill's sermon preparation with Helgi (who translates into Icelandic during the worship service)Have a blessed week. Thank you for your prayers!
This week is a blur in many ways. It is hard to believe how quickly it has passed but I would like to share a few highlights.
On Sunday we had a send off lunch for our friends and co-laborers. Andy and Stevi Hansen and their daughter, Signy, have served in Iceland since 2004. They are moving to Staunton, Virginia, to take care of Stevi’s mother. Forty-eight people gathered for worship and the Hansen luncheon. Bill taught from Romans 1:8-16. We were delighted to welcome to the church new guests, Leenerd and Alise. Leenerd is from the Netherlands and was in Iceland for business. Alise is an exchange student from Latvia who is here on a work exchange program. Alise will be in Reykjavik for six more weeks.
Monday started our second week of language school. We continue to discover both the beauty and challenges of the Icelandic language. We are blessed that our sending church and organization are so supportive of our language learning. Two new friends came for a short but delightful visit (see previous post). We look forward to an ongoing relationship that we pray brings them to Iceland for a longer period of time to work with us.
Tuesday was a beautiful day in Iceland. The sun was shining, the wind almost nonexistent and the temperature was 12 degrees Celsius. Bill, Cami and Ben took a trip to the pool where Ben got a little sun on his legs! We had a great time doing some laps and then relaxing in the whirlpools. http://www.visitreykjavik.is/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-177/406_read-1469.
Bill was a bit under the weather on Wednesday, but we pressed through our toughest day so far in language school. Bill attended a weekly prayer meeting. A group of about 20 people have faithfully prayed for God to move and bring a great revival in Iceland for the last four years. Bill was warmly received when he joined this group.
Thursday we awoke to snow falling. It was not much to talk about in the city but the outskirts got about six inches of new snow. Cindy’s highlight was when our language teacher talked to her after class and complimented her on her progress. Bill was not a part of that conversation for obvious reasons.
Friday gave us the chance to visit with new friends who just arrived in Iceland to live for the next two years. Andy, Kim and Luke (age 4) Bohon moved to Reykjavik from Texas and will be working alongside Mike and Sheila Fitzgerald, some of our dearest friends in Iceland. This is no surprise since Kim is Mike and Sheila’s daughter. Kim first moved to Iceland when she was 14 when Mike and Sheila answered God’s call to serve here. Now Kim and her family are joining the work once again to labor for our Lord in Iceland. Please pray for the Bohons as they make all the necessary adjustments to living here.
Please pray for:
Last week began our new adventure of language class. Although many people have tried to prepare us for this formal training, you really have to experience it personally to fully appreciate it. It is much like having a baby, the experience is necessary to identify with others who have had the same. Some describe language learning as going back to kindergarten. To me, it felt more like the first day of high school when as an incoming freshman you feel intimidated, overwhelmed and cannot wait till the day is over.
Since our first week of class has ended and we are already into the second, I honestly look forward to going to class. I realize most of my classmates are just as confused as I am and are learning about as fast, or slow. There are some exceptions: the Dane who has lived in Iceland for three years, and the Pole who has been here for four. They both already know a lot of conversational Icelandic. There is one very studious learner, my wife I am proud to say, whose study habits are to be envied and whose pronunciation is amazing.
We had a delightful visit from our friend and cluster supervisor this past week. Mikko and his five year old son, Timothy, live in Finland and came to Reykjavik for a couple of days. We enjoyed some good times together that included a run and trip to a city pool. I later heard that the trip to the pool was one of the highlights for Timothy.
Earlier today I welcomed in two new friends who had a layover in Iceland on their way to England for an Acts 29 Conference (www.acts29network.org), Tim Abbott and Chris Attwell. Tim owns one of the Chick-Fil-A restaurants in Stafford, Virginia, and brought us a suitcase full of goodies from the States. Can anyone say Chick-Fil-A sauce? Prior to Tim’s ownership of Chick-fil-a, he served in various churches as a student pastor and associate pastor.
Tim’s pastor is Dee Whitten. Dee was the lead pastor at Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in Stafford for almost 15 years. He was the first pastor to welcome me to Stafford in 2000. I have always appreciated Dee and his leadership. Today he serves as lead pastor of Fairview at River Club (www.fairviewatriverclub.org).
Chris Attwell serves as lead pastor for PORTICO Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, and is the Mid Atlantic leader for Acts 29. I had not met Chris until today, but I have been praying for PORTICO Church since its beginning in 2004 (www.porticocville.org). In November 2011, I attended a service at PORTICO but had to leave soon after the service ended, so it delighted me to have a chance to officially meet a brother who I have prayed for for so long.
A big thank you to all our prayer partners and supporters. We serve together to reach the northernmost capital in the world with the grace and power of Jesus Christ.