We’re writing to you from our sunny, tropical and ruggedly beautiful supply town here in Papua New Guinea where we have been enjoying good fellowship with our greater PNG team of fellow missionaries. Our annual conference is a time of reconnecting and refreshing ourselves together in God’s word and in the stories of God’s amazing faithfulness to all our families.
One family in particular, Chris and Evie Jones, have overcome some huge obstacles by God’s grace and returned to PNG just days after we came out of Amdu. Chris had almost severed his Achilles tendon more than a year ago and then it got badly infected during the healing process. Many surgeries later the Jones’ are back in PNG and yesterday Chris went into the tribe they have been serving in for the first time since his accident. Watching him get on the airplane was one of those moments where, in this world there was no fanfare or applause, but in the unseen realm God was taking notice. We know that in the days to come when Christ returns and we are with him forever, these choices, like the Jones’ have made – to stay in the race for the Gospel to the Pei people – will be raucously applauded in glory! Chris (baseball cap) and Evie (yellow headband) are pictured below with the Jack Housley and Bob and Noby Kennell. Jack and the Kennells are part of the team who reached the Bisorio people in 1982. They have come back for one of their bi-annual visits to strengthen the Bisorio church. We can’t ask for better examples and ministry partners than this amazing bunch!
Thanks for all you do to keep us in the race, and encourage us to keep pushing towards Gospel Day in Amdu! Next week we are starting a translation workshop designed to introduce us to the complexities of translating the Epistles. We’re leaning heavily on Jason Stuart and Lisa Kappeler who will be teaching us. We’re thankful for their gifted, servant hearts. Will you pray that we’ll have minds that understand all they have to instruct us about? The Epistles present an entirely different genre of biblical literature than the narrative portions we have been working on. With this new genre come new challenges in communicating meaning. Pray with us as we learn new translation skills and draft the book of Ephesians over the next two weeks.
We have also been using our time out to reconnect with Bart and Emily Allen and their boys. We missed them while we went our separate ways during our home assignment. It’s great to be back together again in PNG, and after the translation workshop, we’ll head back into Amdu together. We have lots to catch up on still as we make plans for what the next few months are going to look like for us. We are going to be increasing our intensity in all our ministry efforts so that we can begin teaching God’s Story to our Amdu friends as soon as possible. More translation needs done. More than thirty Bible lessons still have to be written. Pray with us and the Amdu people as we work and plan towards Gospel Day later this year!
One more item of urgent prayer has to do with New Tribes Mission in Papua New Guinea. For many years we have enjoyed great freedom to serve in Papua New Guinea as missionaries, but recently some new rules for foreign workers are being proposed by the PNG government regarding entrance into the country which could greatly curtail our ability to support the efforts of those working in bush locations. Please pray that God would keep the doors open for ministry. There are still many needs in PNG for missionaries to go where the Gospel is not understood in the heart language of the people.
Thank you for praying with us.
Benjamin and Missy Hatton