Yesterday, Lori and I sat in on the Patpatar adult literacy class. We each took a minute to thank the teachers and to encourage the students to continue to work hard and finish well. As we were getting ready to leave, one of the students stood and thanked us for developing the program, training teachers, and helping teach. He also said, “When you go back to America, say ‘Good morning, good day, good afternoon and thank you’ from us students to those people who have helped you so that you could be here.”
Earlier in the week, Lori had her last day of co-teaching the literacy course which she was such a big part of developing. It has now been handed off along with all the materials to the 13 teachers who have trained to teach the course. Five of them have also been trained to teach new teachers so that the adult literacy class can continue to spread and help more of the Patpatar people.
For the past several months, we have also been preparing the young Patpatar Bible teachers so that we could “hand-off” the curriculum and teaching role to them to continue to teach and grow the Patpatar church during the year that we will be absent from them. At our last meeting I was encouraged as several of the believers stood and encouraged each other that this was not the “missionaries’ work” it was “God’s work.” They went on to challenge themselves that, “we should stand strong in the truth of God’s talk and the work of Jesus together in the clan of God.”
We feel so much like we are in a marathon race. Right now we are rounding the last corner and making the “hand-off” to our Patpatar brothers and sisters in Christ to run a lap. Does this mean our work here is finished? Far from it. When we return, there is still Bible curriculum and teaching to be done for many of the epistles. There is still much translation to be done. There is still an advanced literacy course to be developed. There are still elders and deacons to be raised up who can lead the church to maturity. But we are thrilled with what God is doing and how He is using the Patpatar people. We are excited to “hand-off” these aspects of the ministry to them and let them run the race while we return to the States for our Home Assignment.
In the next New Guinea News, we will tell you more about our Home Assignment and what we will be doing. For now continue to pray for us and the Patpatar as we complete the hand-off for this lap. Pray that God would use them to bring more Patpatar to Christ and grow them in the truths of His Word. Just this week, Master Rod, an older Patpatar man stood and gave public testimony about the understanding he has gained of his standing in God’s family because of his belief in the work of Christ for him on the cross. He explained, “When I first began to hear the teaching I wasn’t clear on God’s plan and how everything fit together. Now that we have finished the roots [the evangelistic lessons] and have gone on to the trunk [truths about the believer because of Christ’s work], it all is clear to me. I see it clearly from the start to the finish.”
In the race, Aaron
Fact: In English to express that someone is taking on the responsibility of another we sometimes use the phrase, “fill his shoes.” Of course in Patpatar this would not make sense and because most of them do not wear shoes it would sound a bit funny. They do use a phrase though which means to ‘resemble’ that person. Therefore some have remarked about the Patpatar who have begun to teach that they “resemble Aaron” or they “resemble Lori.” What an awesome way to express that we should be taking on the responsibilities that Christ has given us, we should “resemble Christ.”