2022 was a challenging yet rewarding year for our family. As the new year begins, here are just a few highlights from each month of 2022.
January – Experienced plenty of NW Pennsylvania snow and cold at the end of our furlough time. Packed up and began saying goodbyes – the hardest one being to our oldest son Luke.
February – Returned to PNG and our home in the Amdu tribe
March – Enjoyed our regional conference with fellow missionaries from our area of PNG
April – Appreciated time with the Amdu believers and our teammates
May – Said goodbye to our teammates as they left Amdu to begin their journey to the US for their 1-year home assignment
June – Welcomed the Doerr family who lived in Amdu for their 6-week bush orientation
July – Continued with translation, discipleship, and teaching Romans while also spending time with the Doerr family
August – Began a new homeschool year – 12th, 6th and 4th grades – Emily began helping out as the homeschool coordinator for the missionary families in our region
September – Celebrated PNG Independence Day – Titus had the opportunity to climb Mt. Wilhelm, the highest peak in Papua New Guinea
October – Enjoyed some time at two of our mission centers – Bart went on his first trip as a culture/language consultant-in-training (final tribal language check for that missionary!)
November – Privileged to have a front-row seat watching the Lord work in the lives of our believers – through their challenges and victories
December – Experienced our first Christmas apart from Luke – thankful that the Lord is near to each of us, even though we are far away from each other
It is not an exaggeration to say that this year probably held the most challenges and difficulties we have experienced since coming to PNG in 2009. Returning to ministry in Amdu without Luke was, and continues to be, one of the hardest things we’ve had to do. Helping him in the transition to life as a college student in the US, while remaining engaged and active in the ministry, here has been very stretching. Please continue to pray for Luke and for the Lord’s provision for his needs!! We have also faced various health issues personally as well as various ministry challenges as we, along with the believers, experience much opposition to the continued teaching of God’s Word. Sometimes it feels as if we are pressed on every side. But we can also say, as Paul did in 2 Cor. 4:8, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.” The whole chapter of 2 Cor. 4 continues to be a great blessing to us. The chapter ends with this encouragement in verses 16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
But the challenges of this past year are not the whole story! The Lord has given us abundant blessings as well. It is a joy to see our Amdu believers growing in the Truth of God’s Word that they are hearing. Some are studying the Word on their own now. Many are regularly taking opportunities to be bold in their witness to family and friends. A long-time translation helper is now a believer as a result of continuous exposure to the Word of God! Others were added to the Family as well. God continues to provide for our needs amidst rising costs here in PNG. We have seen growth in our boys with the opportunities they are taking here with their friends. The Lord gives us just the encouragement and strength we need at times when we feel overwhelmed and discouraged. We are hopeful for what the Lord will continue to do in the year ahead. And we remind ourselves often to “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.”
Thank you for standing with us in this task that has eternal value! We are grateful for your encouragement, your financial support and your prayers. And we look expectantly to the new year and all that is ahead, knowing that we are safe and secure in our Father’s good hands.