For the last few weeks our family has been out in a town along the coast where one of our NTM centers is located. Each year all the missionaries from our area of Papua New Guinea (PNG) get together for an annual conference (as well as standardized testing for our kids). Our theme this year was “He is Worthy.” It was a great time of being refreshed and challenged in the task God has given us here in PNG. So many times people view missionaries as super-spiritual, have-it-all-together people. But the truth is that we are all normal, sinful, broken, needy human beings just like everyone else. We just happen to serve the Lord really far away from “home.” As we listened to our fellow missionaries share God’s Word and speak to us about some of the issues that we each face in serving the Lord here, we were re-energized in our focus on the Lord and in being a part of His work among the unreached in PNG.
Living in a remote tribe and learning an unwritten language is tough. There are days when we seem to be spinning our wheels and not getting anywhere in our understanding of the Amdu language and culture. We get discouraged, our kids misbehave and we miss our family and friends back home. But this isn’t primarily about us. We are here for HIM. Our Savior is worthy of all the struggle and pain and someday of all the glory when Amdu people come to know Him and are worshiping around the throne in heaven!!
We weren’t supposed to still be out in town – we thought we would go right back to Amdu a few days after our conference! But a toothache (which required a trip to the capital city and subsequent tooth extraction as well as root canal), a dead computer and a shortage of flights delayed our return!! We are praising the Lord that each of those things has since been resolved and we will be leaving tomorrow to head back into the tribe.
A lot is coming up in the next few weeks. Many of you know that one of the families on our team will not be continuing to work in Amdu due to health issues. Next week the Parry family will be coming into Amdu to pack up their house and say goodbye to the people. They will then be transitioning to a ministry on one of our NTM centers. Please pray for them, our team and the Amdu people during this difficult transition.
The following week our language and culture consultants will be coming in to give us another evaluation. Even though we haven’t been back in language study very long since returning from furlough, it will be helpful to see where we are in our language ability and to get some direction for the months ahead.
Then the first week of May our teammates the Hatton’s will be leaving for 8 or 9 months of furlough in the US. That means that our family will be the only missionaries in Amdu during that time. While there will undoubtedly be challenges to being alone in the tribe, we are looking forward to the benefits that will come from it as well. Please pray that we would make significant progress in understanding the Amdu language and culture in the coming months!
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We appreciate the part that each of you play in the ministry in Amdu – through prayer, financial giving and encouragement. Thank you!