The kids’ summer vacation is dwindling. Friends are returning from trips to their home countries, PE uniforms are being handed down to the next sibling, pages are being ripped from last year’s notebooks so they can be used this year, and the days of sleeping in are numbered. I have been working on getting my classroom ready for the three classes I will teach this year, and I am excited to get started.
I finished translating the Gospel of Matthew last spring (it still needs to be checked by the consultant), and since I can’t travel back and forth to the tribe much due to the kids being in school, I won’t be starting any new translation projects. Chris, however, has several New Testament books in the works right now, and I will help him with those during one step of the process. In the meantime, the opportunity has come up for me to teach in our mission’s school.
More on that in a minute, but first we’d like to share a need with you. Many of you know that we depend entirely on people and churches who donate finances for our income. From that income, we pay for everything involved in our ministry as well as our family’s needs (including 100% of our health insurance, taxes, and travel and living expenses). God has always provided what we need, and we know that he always will, but we also know that sometimes we don’t have because we don’t ask. So this is not to make anyone feel guilty or obligated, but if you feel God nudging you toward joining us in our work here in PNG, and you are willing and able to give monthly, you can click on the “give” link at the top of this page, or you can get in touch with us to find out more: firstname.lastname@example.org. If a one-time or yearly donation is more your speed, that can be done as well.
Ok. Back to the school stuff. We live near a community of over 100 missionaries whose ministries are to support church planters who are living in the bush. Why so many support workers? Because it takes A LOT of support to keep church planters going! Our tribal homes are so remote that we rely on radios and satellites and cell phone towers to keep in touch. Computers allow us to learn language, keep culture records, and translate the Bible so much more efficiently than our predecessors! But all that technology needs an IT department to keep it going. Tribal missionaries also rely on people with knowledge of building and plumbing and wiring to keep us ahead in the war against the bugs and the humidity (not to mention getting our houses built in the first place), and people who know how to set up and maintain solar panels also come in handy. That’s our Tech Services department. We also need the people who buy our supplies and send them in on the plane or helicopter, and the people who repair and maintain the vehicles we need to get around, and the people who fly the planes and helicopters, and the people who make sure that we are complying with government regulations…
The list could go on, but suffice it to say that because we work in a country whose infrastructure is still developing, it takes a huge team working in the background so that church planters can focus on the huge task of church planting. And many of these support workers have kids, so our mission runs a school so that those parents can also focus on their jobs and not have to spend all their time home schooling their children. Our school also serves the kids of many of the PNG citizens who work alongside us at our headquarters as well as those of tribal missionaries. These kids may have grown up being home schooled in the tribe, but as they progress into high school they often benefit from a more traditional classroom environment and the expertise of a certified teacher. They live in either a dorm or with a family near the school, and in addition to school they get to enjoy many social events that aren’t available to them in the tribe.
Our school has been a huge blessing to our family. Our last year of home schooling was Micah’s 9th grade year, and already I was running into problems handling his curriculum. I basically had to re-learn high school geometry so that I could grade his homework, and it would have just gotten worse from there! He’s doing calculus this year. Raise your hand if you could help a kid with their calculus homework, let alone teach it to them. (I am not raising my hand.) Our kids are getting a great education from people that we know and love, and I am so happy to be a part of providing that same blessing to other families this year. I even get to have both of my girls in class again this year, and I keep telling them that they will need to call me Mrs. Mom. (They aren’t falling for it.)
After we all go back to school, Chris will go to Pal for a week in late August. He has been working hard to organize all the steps necessary to bring in the tin roofing panels that the Pal church has raised money to buy. A truck will drive the tin up the road as far as possible, and the helicopter will meet it there and make several trips to Pal with the tin in a net hanging from the bottom of the helicopter because it won’t fit inside. That tin will top the new church/literacy building that they sorely need in our village. It will be big enough for everyone to fit inside, it won’t erode after a couple of years because of the weather, and it will keep the people and school materials dry so that they don’t fall apart all the time. (The books, not the people.) Please pray that this trip goes smoothly–it has been cancelled a few times already–and that Chris can continue to encourage the church and equip its leaders at every opportunity.