Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
This letter is long overdue, and we are grateful for your patience with us, your delinquent missionaries! As many of you know, last October Jeremiah, along with our coworkers, the Schlegels, were able to spend some time in Dinangat. This was primarily a translation trip, although a huge part of their time was spent in discipleship as well. Jeremiah went in to check several portions of Matthew and Luke that he had drafted, but the question was, who would help him? His main translation helper, Jaspa, would not be able to do this work. Jeremiah had spent years training him, and they had gotten into a great rhythm, not to mention a sweet friendship with the Lord at the center. But through heartbreaking circumstances, Jaspa has disqualified himself both from being a Bible teacher and translation helper. We have been trying for years to train more young men, but for many reasons (excuses?) no one has been available. But resting in the fact that this is HIS work, not ours, and that He has promised to accomplish the work that He has called us to, Jeremiah flew into the tribe, not having any idea how it would be accomplished. And then there, waiting on the airstrip for his arrival, was Basa! Basa, who had been a part of the teaching team many years ago, had been moved by the Spirit to help with this project, and stepped forward to begin training and working with Jeremiah. Jeremiah flew in again in December, and he worked with him then, as well. He has been a great fit, gifted and detailed in his insight, and a huge blessing to the team! Praise the Lord with us for this answer to prayer! Also please continue to pray for Jaspa’s relationship with the Lord and his family.
Coming up for the Dinangat leaders is a “field trip” of sorts. One major issue with their location in the isolated mountains of PNG is the fact that there are no other people groups nearby who share their faith and can offer encouragement and fellowship. Imagine if you and your family were the only believers in town, and everyone around you either actively challenged your faith or ridiculed you. Imagine no access to other believers, no gatherings of the faith besides your family meetings. This has been detrimental to them, especially the elders and Bible teachers as there is no one of their own culture to really feed into them. But the Lord has opened the doors for the Dinangat leadership team to go visit another church plant where they will stay for 2 weeks meeting with the national elders and teachers, specifically to be mentored by these experienced believers. Please pray that this time will be a huge encouragement and inspiration for our teaching team, who have been struggling with discouragement for a while now!
In other news…It’s a Boy! Since there is no official dorm at the mission center this year for the teens of church planters who live and work in a tribe, several missionary families with teens have had to find other ways for their kids’ education. Most have opted for a ‘home placement’ situation. Our good friends, the Hulleys serve as church planters in North Waghi, a tribe in the highlands region about a half hour flight from here. Recently, their 15 year old son, Ben, moved in with our family so that he could attend the school while his family rejoined their co-workers ministering to the North Waghi people. The Hulleys are from Wales and so it has been fun learning bits and pieces of British culture (and language!) while we find our rhythm in this new family dynamic. Ben and Judah have been friends for years, and were in fact dorm brothers during the year our boys stayed in the dorm in 2016, so the adjustments have been minimal. We love having Ben here, but please do pray for him as he copes with living without his family again and we learn how to ‘co-parent’ someone else’s child in this strange context. We are grateful to be able to serve the Lord, the Hulleys and the North Waghi believers this way!
Jeremiah continues to plug away, drafting Luke and checking Matthew. Yesterday he and another consultant returned from a 4 day trip into Wantakia – another new church plant, where they evaluated the new missionaries’ language abilities. Praise God with us, two more of this team have finished official language learning and been given the “Green light” to go ahead into full-time ministry! This means that they are that much closer to being able to teach the Wantakia people God’s Word in their own language for the first time!
Jordan is doing great at Bible School in Jackson, MI and is loving his classes! Praise the Lord! He would love to be able to go into mission aviation after he graduates in 2020. Please pray that he would continue to follow the Lord’s lead and trust Him in everything. Judah is also doing well, keeping his grades up and super excited about basketball tryouts this week! And our baby girl turns 12 today! Alayna Joy stays busy with school and loves Tang Soo Do, a martial arts class taught by a wonderful ex-pat in town.
Thank you for standing with us through your prayer and financial gifts! We really do depend on the body of Christ to be here. Of course, financially, it can be a struggle. But also spiritually. We see powers at work to discourage. Security is becoming a bigger issue than before, and I personally have had to battle fear and anxiety for the first time since we came here. Please do not grow weary in praying for us!