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Merry Christmas: Plus a few other bits and pieces

I pray that your celebration of Christ’s first advent is blessed and meaningful. The Cox family is planning a simple celebration with a meal Christmas Eve and the opening of stockings on Christmas morning.

Recently Micah Joy and I went on a game drive and had an incredible encounter with a leopard resulting in some fantastic photos. You can read the story and see the photos at www.cox-net.com/leopard.htm. Since I am looking into publishing the story and photos, this site is not public. The user name is: guest and the password is: b1gc@t. (The “1″ is the number one.)

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Thank you for your prayers for our trip to Uganda. The trip went well. Unfortunately, by the time we received our passports and made it to Uganda, Brad (Donna’s nephew) was already in South Sudan. Although we had a great time with his wife, Kate, and their two boys. Below is a picture of Nehemiah and Michael.

Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men

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Update on Somali Listener Trip and Other

The Lord answered our prayers on a number of accounts. I had a successful trip to visit Somali listeners who are in refugee camps here in Kenya. By God’s grace I was able to spend time listening to them, visiting their homes and seeing where and how they worship. God provided times where they shared and I was able to listen. See picture below – sorry that I cannot show faces for security reasons. First, pray with me for those with whom I met. These are fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who have paid and continue to pay a great price to follow Christ. Next, please pray with me about TWR’s role in the hope of the Gospel holistically impacting these listeners and others in similar situations. The needs are truly many and wisdom is required to know what role TWR must play and what must be left if God’s hands.

Back on the home front, today our kids start their school break. We will celebrate with a thanksgiving meal, Kenyan style. We have many things for which to be thankful.

Donna and I had a great time dorm sitting for Micah Joy’s and Miriam’s dorm. It was wonderful to be able to care for and share Christ’s love with these girls.

As soon as Nehemiah and Micah Joy get their new passports back from the US Embassy, we are going to take a vacation and head to Uganda to visit Donna’s nephew Brad and his family. Brad and family, who serve with Every Village in South Sudan, are in Uganda for Thanksgiving. Pray that we are able to connect with them before Brad heads back to South Sudan. Also pray for safe travels, good family time and a refreshing get away from the normal routine.

Lastly I should mention that our car had an unfortunate incident with a telephone pole. Between construction of a wall into the middle of the road and dodging other obstacles, such as buckets of water being thrown over the wall while our windows were down, we clipped a telephone pole. We are thankful for no injuries and no property damage other than our car. Unfortunately, the front tire caught on the telephone pole and all the impact was absorbed by the power steering rack. This has been a discouragement as this will be our second power steering rack to purchase in the last six months.

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Successful Course / Visiting Somali Listeners

Thank you very much for praying for the course Elements of Greek that I was able to teach at Africa Theological Seminary (ATS – www.atseminary.ac.ke). It was a great blessing for Donna to be able to join me at ATS. The Lord’s grace was very evident to us. Below is a short video of a couple of students from the course. (Yes I know I need to get a lavaliere microphone for the camera to help reduce background noise and improve speech intelligibility.)

This weekend Donna and I are dorm-sitting for Micah Joy and Miriam’s dorm while their dorm mom takes a weekend off. We are looking forward to this. Your prayers for the weekend will be appreciated.

Next week I am traveling to visit a large group Somali listeners who are in Kenya. My goal is to be able to hear their stories, understand their situation and figure out how TWR can further help them to grow in their Christian faith. Please pray that the Lord would allow me to accomplish my goals. In the Africa culture, many times when an outsider visits they are expected to speak or teach. While I want to minister to those on my trip, it is more important that I hear them than that they hear me. Pray for God’s grace as I work through the cultural dynamics of listening rather than speaking. Lastly pray for security and good situational awareness. While we do not anticipate incidents, the area to be visited can be very fluid and prone to plans requiring last minute adjustments.

Link to video: http://vimeo.com/thecoxfamily/ats-greek

Teaching a Course at Africa Theological Seminary

As part of my role with TWR as the Director of Discipleship for the Africa region, I am at Africa Theological Seminary (ATS – www.atseminary.ac.ke) in Kitale, Kenya teaching Elements of Greek to pastors. Donna has been able to travel and be with me while teaching. For me, teaching Elements of Greek has been a nice change of pace to be focused on one class and one subject. In addition, it is wonderful to have Donna on a trip with me. Please pray for the students as the course is not an easy course. Pray for me as I teach. Praise God that Donna has been able to join me on this adventure.

ATS operates on an “in-service” model where those in ministry can remain in ministry while taking classes. Most students will come to ATS for five weeks three times a year for intensive classes. After the classes the students return to their ministry with practical assignments which are designed to help them integrate the course material with their ministry. The assignments are turned in the next time the students come to ATS for their next set of courses.

The timing of teaching at ATS has worked out very well as I have a number of TWR projects waiting approval. Your prayers for these projects would be greatly appreciated.

Lastly, as part of my role, I review programs for Biblical authenticity and theological soundness. In one of my recent reviews, a number of issues surfaced. Your prayers for wisdom, grace and positive resolution are needed.

Chapter 1: “Great Stuff” – - Plus TWR’s Broadcasts Helping with Ebola

Recently I submitted chapter 1 of my PhD dissertation to my advisor. His final comment said: “Great stuff. This is precisely what a good introduction should be…”. While chapter 1 was not perfect (my advisor did suggest a few additions, modifications, changes and deletions), I was greatly encouraged that the first submission was rated as “Great Stuff.” Praise God with me for the positive progress on my dissertation.

Another tremendous encouragement to me is a positive news report about the work that TWR is doing with Ebola. The story is on ABC11 WTVD-TV Raleigh-Durham: http://abc11.com/health/radio-organization-helps-battle-ebola-in-africa/360400/. My friend and colleague from West Africa, Abdoulaye Sangho, is interviewed. Thank the Lord for this great news report.

There are a number of projects I am working on that are awaiting on approval or funding. Please pray that these would move forward.

We are Official in Kenya

Praise be to God that we have received the last of the documents we need to be completely official in Kenya. We are very grateful for this. Thank you for all your prayers on our behalf.

Earlier this week Donna and some other ladies from a Bible study had a chance to visit and pray for a small village and its school about an hour from where we live. This village is facing some challenges. Praise God with us Donna and friends were well received. Pray with us as we try to move forward and minister the Gospel.

This past weekend, our kids brought friends to our home here in Naivasha to hang out and relax. A great time was had by all. Below is a photo.

Your continued prayers for Donna as she works with children in the area and Paul as he works with discipleship are appreciated.

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John 3:16 and Context

In the video below are a few thoughts on John 3:16 and its context. There are a couple of questions at the end of the video. If you would like to share your thoughts, please do so on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/rpaulcox (you should also be able to watch the video from there).

http://vimeo.com/thecoxfamily/john-3-16

God’s Blessings on the Seminar were Evident

Thank you very much for your prayers for the seminar last week. God’s blessings were very evident. Below is a link to watch a short video (less than four minutes) of a few testimonies about how God used the seminar.

Your prayers would be appreciated for Donna’s family as her father faces some health challenges and some key decisions need to be made in the coming weeks.

http://vimeo.com/thecoxfamily/2014-09vlog-spiritual-growth

Seminar in South Africa and Brokenness

I am writing from Johannesburg South Africa. I am here for meetings and to do a seminar on Spiritual Growth Through Doctrine next week (Sept 8-12). One of the things I pray for before preaching or teaching is for brokenness. Brokenness is a sacrifice to God that He will not despise (Ps 51:17).

As many of you know, I have been working on a booklet call TWR Statement of Doctrinal Position: What it Says, What it Means and Why You Should Care (WIS WIM WYSC). This booklet was to help with the trainings and teachings I am to be doing. WIS WIM WYSC has hit a snag as it needs approval from a higher level in TWR than anticipated. Because of this, I will not be able to use it for the seminar next week.

To be honest, this has been a real disappointment and discouragement. Lots of midnight oil went into getting WIS WIM WYSC ready to be used next week. However, this snag has been a great tool in God’s hands to bring brokenness into my life. For that, I am thankful. Thank God with me for His breaking, pray God would continue and that I would not be stubborn. Pray for me as I modify and then present this seminar. May God be honored next week in what I present and in how I present it. Continue to pray for WIS WIM WYSC.

A Girl and Her Cat, A Girl and Her Mission and a Family with Their Stuff

My daughter Miriam has been reunited with her cat, Asa. He made the trip from Benin to Kenya in good form and was very happy to see Miriam. Asa was a birthday gift to Miriam from some Peace Corps friends when we where in Benin. Hence Asa has a special place in Miriam’s heart along with the Peace Corps volunteers. Asa and our dog Jesse are getting along with each other without too many incidents. Give thanks to God for Asa’s safe trip and happy renunion with Miriam and the rest of the family.

Alyssa, whom I mentioned in my blog in June, is at the end of her mission in Kenya where she worked with Life Beads Kenya. She has been a tremendous blessing to our family. She has brought coffee to a whole new dimension in the Cox household! Below are some of her thoughts on her time in Kenya:

“It was devastating to leave home, but so exciting to be venturing out to serve the Lord in a place I had always dreamed of, and for so long…. When I first saw the town [Naivasha], I was in such culture shock and had no idea how to process being away from home and in such an unfamiliar place. Relatively quickly, though it felt like a slow process, I adapted to my new surroundings.”

“Over the course of the next two months, I learned how business worked in Kenya, and how bringing change was much easier said than done. It was such a blessing to be welcomed in by the Life Beads Kenya family. They all helped me understand Kenyan culture better, and a little bit of Swahili too. I was able to visit various other outreach organizations around Naivasha. All of them were monumental, I can’t really choose which one I loved the most, but I can assuredly say that the ones involving children were my favorites.”

A little more of Alyssa’s story will be featured in our September Newsletter. Praise God with us for Alyssa’s time with us.

This week we received our things from Benin. There was great rejoicing in the Cox Family and the constant questions: “Dad which box has the dog leaches. Dad, where did you pack my swing. Has anyone seen the blue bag.” Please thank God that our things arrived.

Please continue to pray for the final steps in becoming official alien residents in Kenya. We are waiting on our Alien Registration Cards which should have been out of immigration this week.