I asked for some questions, and here is the first response I got.
Hi Jeff, First off, thank you for the nice email that you sent us to let us to know how you do your work for the Lord.
(He is referring to Mali Story #95 “How Are People Being Disciples Through Jeff & Heidi Frazee?”)
I have to tell you that I always pray for you and your lovely family.
(Then he poses several questions that many of you are probably asking yourselves.)
I wonder how you guys handle the large family you are taking care of, and the labor to spread the gospel.
What any other project you guys are working on, is there any kind of a plan to do it, what is the short and long term goals, in a summary way, details can be addressed afterwards
The last emails I have from you is to let us to know all the deals you go through to be able to receive your new baby, and during all that time, about four months, there is just traveling stories, that for sure gives you the opportunity to share the gospel, but what about your commitment with your “work” how did you follow up on the plans you have, described in line 3. I think it is important to be in touch with all your supporters, by letting them to know how is your family doing, but also including the status of the projects you guys are working on
Honestly, I was kind of concern about your lack of information about your work for which you are in an other country, I share some of your communications to my friends, and they concurred with this: it was most about the adventure you were having than the actual report of activities for which your are there. Please don’t take me wrong with this communication, but I may need some more information to see how can I help you better.
God bless you all Javier Garcia
Javier’s first question was about how we handle our large family and the work of spreading the gospel. Several of you who follow us closely find our large family to be poor judgment, an impractical use of resources, and irresponsible. We believe our large family to be exactly the opposite. By our judgement, according to the Bible, we are doing our best to live with open hands toward our good Father. We are trying to make the most practical and responsible use of the resources He has given us. Understanding that, I think Javier’s is a question of balance, and it is a good question.
We have eight children 14-years-old and under, and we have a responsibility to preach the gospel and teach other people to obey what Jesus taught us. How do we balance these two nearly-impossible tasks? There are two ways you can balance a load. You can take from one side to give to the other, or you can move the center of balance. It would be wrong to take from our children. So at this stage in our lives we are more closely centered on family than most people are. Caring for our family has become one of the main ways of preaching the gospel and teaching others to obey the Word at this time in our lives.
I read the Bible with my children’s friends. I encourage and train them all together according to the Bible. I model and discuss Biblical marriage for Drissa, Baba and other young men. When I ask my children for forgiveness, something Mariko says he has never done, it becomes a time for us to talk about what the Bible says about forgiveness and unity among followers of Jesus… all … day… long. That is how I live… every day.
Trusting YHWY with every aspect of your life is the best way to spread the truth about who He is to all peoples.
Javier also asked about short and long-term goals. My short-term goal is to teach the guys closest to me to know and obey God and the Bible. And my long-term goal is for them to do the same thing with other people. It is so simple that it might be hard for most American church-goers to imagine. Here is what it looks like: people are daily in my house, and I am daily in theirs; time is taken to read and question the Bible; driven by God’s love for us, we strive to obey it. And it grows like that. Jesus told the people the parable of the sower. Then he told parables about what the Kingdom of God is like.
Matthew 13:33 (NIV) He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds[a] of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
Yeast represents sin in the Jewish tradition. It is a shocking thing He said. If you’re shocked that all I do is talk to my neighbors about Jesus and the Bible… I’m okay with that. That lady was making 60lbs of bread!
Everyone has a different method, but I am playing the short game. Drissa, Koné and Tairou will move on and disciple other people, and I will disciple new people. I don’t intend to organize a church. I’m just mixing yeast into the dough, and in heaven I will see what God made of it.
Finally, Javier expressed his sincere concerns that we were doing little besides raising our family.
First of all, I want to apologize. I can see that I haven’t done a good job of communicating, and I agree that it is important. It wasn’t for lack of trying. It is really hard to account for how different life is here from San Jose, CA. And if I can’t account for it, our communications tend to sound like a huge waste of time to your average American.
Our world does not function around work hours. Life is not divided into separate pieces, and we work to live in our world. It is hard for us, but we constantly give up more and more of our personal space, private time, and our right to have our own things. While that will continue to make our lives less and less familiar to most of the people who read what we write we believe it is the right thing to do.
Three things have greatly encouraged us in our work lately: a training session and two godly men reflecting on how they devoted their lives to the spread of the gospel.
A little over a week ago Drissa and I were in Bamako together for two different conferences. His conference was a CityTeam training about using Discovery Bible Studies for evangelism in West Africa, and my conference was a 30+ year missionary who reviewed all his time in Mali and shared his best advice for the future of disciple making here. Both conferences greatly confirmed and encouraged the methods we are using. The second godly man that encouraged me was Billy Graham. This taken from a Christianity Today article from January 2011.
(Taken from Christianity Today 2011 January http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/januaryweb-only/qabillygraham.html?start=2 )
They asked him,
If you could, would you go back and do anything differently?
Yes, of course. I’d spend more time at home with my family, and I’d study more and preach less.
What are the most important issues facing evangelicals today?
…the most important issue we face today is the same the church has faced in every century: Will we reach our world for Christ? In other words, will we give priority to Christ’s command to go into all the world and preach the gospel? Or will we turn increasingly inward, …
…our calling is to declare Christ’s forgiveness and hope and transforming power to a world that does not know him or follow him.
I hope this is helpful to all of you who are committed to partner with us in growing God’s Kingdom. In a later e-mail Javier asked us to pray for him and his family that they would be more proactive than reactive when reading our communications. Likewise, pray for us Eph. 6:19 NIV
Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,