Pete and Carole Unseth
We worked in Ethiopia doing Bible translation with a language group where many were Christians, but few knew much of the Bible. They wanted to learn more, but few could understand a language in which the Bible was available. As some of the more educated ones read the Bible, they read that God commanded that people burn animal sacrifices for their sins. So, they burned a sheep, thinking this was what God wanted. They needed to understand that God provided the ultimate sacrifice so that we don’t have to burn any more sheep. Doing Bible translation with them, we saw believers gain in their understanding and maturing. Scripture in their language is what they need to grow in their walk with Jesus.
When medical issues sent us back to the State, we moved to Dallas and joined the staff of GIAL (Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics). We love molding future Bible translators that will go around the world to work with other language communities that need God’s Word in their language. This is where we met Carla and were quickly impressed with her.
We are totally convinced that God has filled Carla’s mind and heart with what is needed to help more communities have God’s Word in their own languages. We have hosted a living room full of friends from church and work to hear Carla tell about her vision and needs. And now we enthusiastically encourage others to join us in backing Carla both in prayer and financially. We know personally how crucial it is to have adequate financial support, and ask you to please join us on Carla’s support team. We all want her to be able to do the work God has called her to.
Bobbie_Blakely – He saved a wretch like me
When I was six years old my father died from cancer. He was just 32 years old. There were three of us kids and in five months there would be one more. My mom had a couple of miscarriages so the doctors, being concerned for my sister, gave my mom something to keep her calm. Both of her parents had died, her father when she was a young child and her mother when she was 18. Looking back, I think that she often struggled with depression. From a child’s perspective it appeared as if she was swallowed up by a black hole that we were trying to coax her out of.
My mom raised us to believe in God and we knew that Jesus died on the cross. I talked to Him all the time, mostly asking Him to do something, to help me. I thought that mom sent us to church to make us good and it didn’t seem to help. I don’t think she ever forgave God for taking my dad.
At age sixteen I decided that the only way to make my mom happy would be if God would exchange my dad for me. He was in heaven with God so I didn’t see this as a problem. He of course wouldn’t exchange His plan for mine. I came to the conclusion that He must not be in control or maybe He wasn’t as smart or as powerful as I thought He was.
From that time until I surrendered my life to Jesus at age 35, I made life-changing decisions alternately motivated by trying to please my mom or trying to get away from her. My life became a wasteland of shipwrecks. I was selfish, fearful, driven, unloved, rejected, a compulsive people pleaser, a failure, discouraged, angry and just plain exhausted.
On August 3rd 1989 I broke my hand in a fit of rage and with it my spirit broke enough for God’s Spirit to enter into me to begin His transformation process. First He gave me a hunger and thirst for His Word as He showed me that Jesus suffered and died on the cross for my sins because He loved me. Then He showed me that I was the weaker vessel. Which made me question His sanity, until He convinced me that this was a blessing because I wouldn’t have to muster up my own strength anymore but receive His strength as I spent time with Him. I was still driven to please but now it was directed towards the One Who created me. I longed for Him to purge me from all my sins…the quicker the better.
I soon found out; that His ways are much higher than mine, that my being driven wasn’t going to get me there any faster than Him leading me and that His transformation process is spread out carefully over a lifetime.
I made yet another decision wrongly motivated, and married a man who was angry and broken, though a Christian. For the next ten years I learned to trust and obey God by submitting to this angry and broken Christian husband. This taught me the power of prayer and the wisdom in attempting to be meek and humble. Humility is a gift from God as we recognize our inability to do anything on our own.
After two years of marriage my husband informed me that God was calling him to live under bridges and eat out of garbage cans. He graciously told me that he knew I would be unable to do this so he was leaving me. I was completely blown away by this. I stayed up all night seeking the Lord for direction. I told the Lord that I didn’t like this and didn’t think I could do it. But if this was indeed His will for us, would He please change my heart. I remember reading “The Cross and the Switchblade” by David Wilkerson. I read some of the book and prayed. After hours of reading and praying I fell asleep. When I woke up I was completely at peace and excited for the prospect of living under bridges and eating out of garbage cans! I had the most realistic, life-altering dream. We were living under bridges and eating out of garbage cans but the most amazing part was that I had one of those black doctors bags and it was full of supplies that I was using to bandage and minister to the other people on the streets. It was so vivid that I was utterly convinced that God was going to supply all of our needs. I called my husband and told him that I was ready to live under bridges and eat out of garbage cans because I was convinced that God would supply all of our needs; he said he would call me back. He came to me and confessed that God did not tell him to go and live under bridges and eat out of garbage cans. When we are willing to submit to God’s Will; He gives us the Grace to go through it and or He will shine His light to reveal that this is not His will.
Revelation 12:11 became my life verse. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
This became the pattern; my husband wanted his way and I wanted my way, ultimately leading to God getting His Way. Marriage is God’s picture of our relationship with Him. He intends for us to be changed in the process of working out our differences. His plan is to transform us into His spotless bride of Christ (Ephesians 5).
Once when I was so frustrated and selfish I cried out to the Lord…this is not fair! Instead of disciplining me, God graciously gave me a picture in my mind’s eye of Jesus dying on the cross. It broke my heart to see my sins and selfishness holding Him there. It continues to break my heart when I begin to murmur and complain. I pray for the Lord to give me a fresh understanding of the cross. How truly unfair it was for Jesus, totally innocent to die in my place. But without His sacrifice I would be eternally lost in my sins and shame. I am forever thankful for my salvation.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
In the end when my husband chose to leave me for another woman. I just knew that God would heal our marriage and use us to help other Christian couples that were struggling. Funny how I still wanted my own way. His ways are much higher than ours. When things didn’t turn out how I thought they would, I once again came to the end of myself. I was ashamed that I had already been divorced, and I didn’t think a Christian marriage should or could end in divorce. I thought that it was impossible to fail this time. I was completely bankrupt. I cried; how could I encourage others who were going through trials in their marriages when I had failed? Through the heartache and the tears He gently adjusted my thinking. It is not up to me…nothing is up to me. No matter what our circumstances are in life. He is in control. He is the ever present “I AM”. He is working in this very moment. I need to keep my eyes on Jesus. It is only in surrendering all my hopes and dreams to the One Who gives and sustains my life that I receive His Grace to walk through whatever trials may come.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
If given the option, I wouldn’t trade one minute of my life circumstances. Because I know that each difficulty has brought me to my knees and taught me to love, trust and obey the One Who loved me first.
Jesus is my redeemer. He gave me Craig, the love of my life. I know that I am a better wife to Craig because of what God has brought me through. I also know that God isn’t finished transforming me. These are the changes He is working in me: I now have Peace from the Prince of Peace, I am loved, blessed, accepted, precious in God’s sight, led and encouraged by God’s Word, victorious in Jesus, renewed daily by God’s mercy and strengthened by the joy of the Lord which is found in His presence.
All Praise, Glory and Honor to our God and King.