It has almost been four years since our last home assignment. Almost two years since Jordan graduated and we brought him back to settle into life in the States. We have moved 6 times in the last 6 years. Our baby girl has started junior high and our Judah is a senior in high school. Multiple coworkers have come and gone. Some coworkers have left this journey and entered the presence of our Savior. The things that I’m going to write about in this newsletter are a few details of the changes that are yet upcoming, including at least two more major moves, potentially more. In truth, our lives are in a constant state of transition and sometimes when I wake up at night I still am not sure whether to head left or right for the bathroom, which is kind of a big deal! But oh, the grace of knowing HIM. The ONE who never changes, yesterday, today and forever! The One who always draws near, never leaves and never forsakes, always forgives and always gives grace and always gives strength. Our circumstances, everything that we can see around us, may be ever spinning and changing and rearranging. But what matters most- the things that we cannot see but we know and feel and trust- the promises and the Presence of our good and sovereign God, is completely unchanging, steadfastly empowering and constantly joy-giving through it all!
What’s Ahead? Judah’s senior class’s theme for the last two years has been “2020 Vision”, and we have cheered them on as they have sought to focus on things eternal through their service to the community and each other. Our family endeavors to take on the same challenge throughout all the upcoming changes. This year, Lord willing, we will see Judah graduate from NCA, our PNG mission school, and our family will head back to the States for our one year home assignment. As it is for most missionaries heading back to their home countries, in many ways, we will be starting over; starting from scratch. We are looking to the Lord for the many needs we will have, and we look forward to reporting to all of you how the Lord will have met each of those needs! It looks like we will be settling in Michigan this time, which will allow us to plug in with our main sending church, First Baptist in Albion. It will also allow us to be closer to Jordan and Judah (more on that in a minute).We are looking for housing in the Jackson/ Albion area, so please be praying with us! We will actually need two vehicles, one for us and one for Judah. We might even need another one if the Lord provides separate jobs for us to help subsidize all the upcoming expenses.
How are the kids? Thank you for asking! Jordan is finishing up his second year of Ethnos360 Bible Institute (EBI) in Jackson. He seems to have transitioned well, although I’m sure it’ll always feel a little strange. He has loved his classes, has felt challenged and been able to really dig into the Word to discover its truths for himself. This year he has worked two jobs, although often not still getting enough hours for his bills. But he has found God faithful to provide at every corner! He graduates from Bible school in May! We are heart broken that we will not be able to be there! Jordan would like to begin flight school in August, and there are many details (and finances!) that need to fall into place in order for that to happen!
Judah will graduate from NCA here in PNG in May and will be heading to EBI in Waukesha, Wisconsin. This will be a huge transition for him. We praise the Lord for Judah’s firm faith in Him and his desire to walk with God and we are praying that that faith will grow stronger as he learns to navigate the challenges and adventures of transitioning to the States. We moved to PNG when he was just 9 months old in 2002 (seems forever ago!) Imagine coming ‘home’ to a place that your parents call ‘home’, but to you it is only a place that you have stayed but a few years sprinkled throughout the totality of your 18 years of life. This time, he’s not just a visitor who will leave again at the end of the school year. He will not go back to the friends he has known for years and see who grew the most while he was gone. He is starting over, and once again we praise our never-changing and ever-present, ever-loving God who will be with our boy throughout all the changes!
Alayna will turn 13 in three weeks! Which means we are officially parents of THREE teenagers; that is, until Jordan turns 20 in April and then…well, I digress…She loves reading, animals and Tang Soo Do- a martial art taught by an ex-pat in town. She has progressed to a green belt and shows great promise!
What’s going on in Dinangat? We went in with our coworkers over the October school break, and then the ladies and kiddos went back to Goroka for school while Jeremiah and Gary stayed in an extra week. We focused on translation and discipleship, coordinated a youth Bible study, worked on literacy review with the women as well as participated in the women’s Bible studies, which they are leading on their own.
There are encouraging aspects of church life in Dinangat right now, as well as some concerning aspects. Please be praying for the two church elders. They are both leaders in the community relations and development, and have had a large role given them in the construction of a road from Lae city all the way to and through our area. Whether or not the road will actually become a reality remains to be seen, but the two church elders are sometimes gone for weeks, or a month or two at a time to work on this project. When they are gone, the church has no real leadership. For various reasons mentioned in previous letters, the teaching team is quite small, and they have been discouraged. Meanwhile, Satan continues to seek to divide the church with false teaching from other religions that would have the believers submit to laws and standards to ‘earn their salvation’. Some have left. The elders are currently in the village and serving the church now. Pray for encouragement for them. Jeremiah and Gary will head in next week for a regularly scheduled translation/ curriculum development/ discipleship trip. Please pray for wisdom for them as they seek to disciple these men and challenge them in their roles. Pray for responsive hearts and that the Lord would also raise up co-laborers for them from within the church.
We are very encouraged with how many of the women are standing firm in the faith and seeking to grow, challenge and encourage one another in the Word. It is evident that even several teenage girls are living their faith and wanting to know Him more. We praise the Lord for providing consistent helpers with the translation project. Specifically, this is the first time that one of Jeremiah’s friends and former Bible teacher has helped us in over a year. You may remember that a while back, this man had sadly taken his eyes off the Lord and fallen into sin. He disqualified himself from the ministry. Several months back he fully repented and we have seen a remarkable change in his life! Though it’ll be a while before he will be considered again for the teaching team, we are grateful to have regained fellowship with our brother and friend and also to have his very skilled help in the translation work!
Praises and Prayer
Requests in a Nutshell:
* Praise God with us that Jordan has had a great
year in Bible school and will graduate in May!
* Praise God for His faithfulness and strength that has sustained us in PNG this term!
* Praise God for every chapter and verse that has been translated into the Dinangat language!
* Please pray for our housing and vehicle needs for this coming home assignment, as well as the finances for plane tickets to get home.
* Please pray for increased support, ministry and living expenses are becoming increasingly difficult to manage.
* Please pray for wisdom and provision for both Jordan and Judah as they both prepare for their next big steps!
* Pray for our family to walk with God together in the joy of His salvation and His service!
Thank you so much for
standing with us in your prayers and support! We are grateful for your
partnership in bringing His Word to the people of PNG!