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Micah Joy Recovering & Nehemiah Wisdom Teeth

Thank you very much for all the prayers and emails. Micah Joy’s jaw surgery and recovery has gone very well. The one setback has been an upset stomach from the change in diet (no chewing). Praise God for her recovery, pray that her stomach settles down and that we can find the right diet combination.

On Wednesday (April 22) Nehemiah will have his wisdom teeth removed, two of which are impacted. Pray that this goes well. Also pray that he recovers quickly as the kids return to RVA on Saturday (yes their schools starts on a Saturday).

Thanks for all your prayers and support.

Changes! Like Really Major Changes.

Thank you for your prayers and emails over the last month. Concurrent to the restructuring in TWR, the Lord was working and opened the door for Donna and I to teach, research and write at Africa Theological Seminary (ATS – www.atseminary.ac.ke), which is based in Kenya. After much prayer and reflection Donna and I have made the decision to leave TWR to join the faculty of ATS as missionaries (i.e. we will still be raising prayer and financial support). Praise God with us for this clear new direction.

This decision is bitter sweet. It is sad to be leaving TWR after 10 years of service and we have many dear TWR friends and colleagues. As I said in my February 3rd blog, the restructuring of TWR in Africa positions TWR’s ministry to move forward powerfully. We are sad that we will no longer be a part of what the Lord will do with TWR in Africa.

At the same time, we are excited about the opportunities at ATS. For those of you who know me well, you know that I love teaching and helping people understand the Scriptures and sound theology. Also, part of my duties at ATS will be research and writing, another area that I enjoy. In addition, ATS has a Children’s Ministry Program in which Donna will be able to develop curriculum and teach. Donna is passionate about both of these. She is looking forward to being part of equipping others to minister to children as I equip a new generation of pastors and leaders. We see this opportunity with ATS as the Lord opening the doors for both of us to minister in areas where God has given us a passion along with the ability to stay close to our kids.

We will be with TWR until June 30. Between now and June 30, I will be working on some FM radio projects here in Kenya to extend TWR’s reach. For those of you who financially support us, please continue to do so as normal through June 30.

Starting on July 1, we will be transitioning to ATS which is a ministry of International Christian Ministries (ICM – www.icmusa.org). Around mid July we will head to the USA for furlough. This will give us a chance to connect with people to share about what God has done through TWR in the last three years and to share about the new ministry with ATS.

For those who wish to financially support us in this new endeavor starting on July 1, you will be able to give through ICM. More will be said on this latter along with information for those who would want to support another TWR missionary after June 30.

Undoubtedly this short blog leaves many questions unanswered. Lord willing in the near future we will have an FAQ which will help answer questions. Until then, please feel free to email.

Please pray that we can finish well with TWR and then transition well to ATS and ICM.

Headed to Meetings

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for us and for all the emails. Both are greatly valued.

I am on my way to South Africa for a couple of weeks for meetings. As you know from my last blog, there are some major changes ahead and I will be having some significant discussions while I am in South Africa. Your prayers for God’s grace and peace during these meetings and during my time in South Africa will be appreciated.

Donna is involved with a children’s musical that our church in Naivasha is doing on Sunday. We praise God that He has already been honored and gloried in the lives of some children during the preparation. Pray that He continues to be honored and gloried in the final preparations and musical.

Lastly, my 6 year-old laptop died (issue with power/charging circuit). Pray that it can be revived while I am in South Africa.

Africa Restructuring – Paul’s Position is Becoming Redundant

TWR in Africa is in the process of some restructuring. Donna and I wholeheartedly support this restructuring and truly believe that it is going to position TWR’s ministry to move forward powerfully in Africa. While we are excited to see how the Lord will use this restructuring, it makes Paul’s current position redundant. Hence his position is being eliminated.

Paul’s position becoming redundant and eliminated in the restructuring is very bitter sweet for us. It is sad to see this phase of his ministry come to an end. It is also great to see TWR better position itself for ministry. Thank the Lord with us for the changes in TWR and how He is going to use these. Pray for TWR in Africa as they make these transitions and us as we bring a season of ministry to an end.

TWR has offered us another position in Africa that would require us to move to a different country. As you know from our communications the Lord has blessed us here in Kenya and being close to our children has been amazing. It is hard to think about leaving Kenya and another adjustment for our kids.

Donna and I have put out a fleece before the Lord as to whether we should pursue this other position with TWR in Africa or whether the Lord is leading us to something else. Please pray for the Lord’s clear leading in our lives and the courage to follow Him however and wherever He leads.

Heartbreak and Hope

 

Christmas_Tree_BOne of the things we did as a family this Christmas was go to the Safe House and celebrate Christmas with the children and staff. You will remember that the Safe House is where the Kenyan government in the Naivasha area first takes children that had to be removed from their homes because of pending court cases, abandonment, neglect, abuse, etc….

As I looked at the carefully decorated Christmas tree at the Safe House, two things caught my attention. One, there were no Christmas presents under the tree. For these children there was no ripping open wrapping paper. There was no stockings stuffed with surprises. Christmas consisted of much needed caps to help fight off the cold Naivasha nights and a new pair of jeans. This was heartbreaking to me.

The second thing that struck me about the Christmas tree was that there was simply a manger scene underneath it. What more could anyone want for Christmas? The gift of Christ. The gift of redemption and salvation. The gift of God Himself invading our time and space continuum to show us the way, the truth and the life.

Is not this Christmas tree at the Naivasha Safe House a picture of the Gospel? A picture of heartbreak and hope. In the midst of abandonment, neglect and abuse God’s response is a baby born in a manger, a son destined to a cross and a glorious resurrection. In the midst of war, famine, epidemic and heartache is the promise of Immanuel – God is with us no matter how bleak our situation. Was not Christ, the hope of the world, born into the tragedy of Herod killing all the male children of Bethlehem?

Heartbreak and Hope. The way of things until the second advent of our Lord. Maranatha – come quickly Lord Jesus, come quickly (1 Cor 16:22).

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. Please email me for access.

Leopard_Teaser

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

NLC_MB

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.

2014.11.28_Somali_Listeners

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.