“God was sweet to us,” is a phrase that I heard someone use recently. That phrase is a perfect summary of this last year for our family. John and I (Amber) finished up the year 2015 both teaching here in Papua New Guinea. John taught History, Bible and French while I was in Kindergarten. We both also had the chance to teach Technology. John taught it in the high school while I taught the Elementary Technology class in the afternoons. Teaching at Numonohi Christian Academy has been a blessing to both of us and we are thankful for the chance to be part of that ministry here.
After losing a child in the beginning of 2015 due to miscarriage, God was sweet to us and saw fit to answer our prayer for another child. I became pregnant with our little Naomi Grace. Since medical care is limited in this country, the leadership here asked us to leave for her birth. At first, we were burdened with the thought of the additional load we were leaving with the school.
Since my pregnancy had been uneventful and I was generally healthy, we requested that a special exception might be made to the rule on our behalf so we could stay in the country and continue our ministry. We were denied, so we finished up the first semester and flew back to the States.
God again was sweet to us and as an unexpected answer to prayer, we ended up in Moyobamba, Peru with my sister and her family for Naomi’s birth in March. Going there provided for the financial burden of medical expenses that we could not afford had we stayed in the States and included the extra blessing of being able to spend time with family there.
The birth came with complications and we are now convinced that if our request to stay in PNG had been accepted, I would have died shortly after the birth. I am grateful that God saw it fit that I should live to help raise Naomi and continue the work here.
After getting all of the Peruvian paperwork in hand, we returned to the States to work on Naomi’s American and PNG paperwork. We were blessed to be able to spend some extra time there with family and friends. Time with both always seems too short and too far in between. We were encouraged in our time there and were thankful for this chance.
Once we had the paperwork in hand, we bought tickets to return to PNG. John jumped right back into teaching at the school. He continues teaching History and French. Since he is one of two full time teachers in the high school, he has also taken on many other responsibilities this year. One of those other responsibilities was helping to coach the high school volleyball guys for the first term.He also continues to serve on the speaker’s team for our church services here on the center. Recently, he was nominated and appointed to serve on the Center Management Team which makes decisions for the running of the support center.
Upon returning, my primary job has been caring for Naomi, which I have found to be such a blessing and a challenge. This new role has opened many doors to building relationships with ladies from here. In addition to that, I was also able to join up with a Language and Culture Acquisition course. That is a three month course normally for new missionaries, but since we were working in the school, we were never able to go completely through the course when we first arrived. It has been a blessing to be able to
know a little more in depth about the culture here as well as visit on a deeper level with the ladies I come in contact with on a daily basis. I am also the substitute teacher for the school so have been able to teach a class here and there. We both have also been serving on our Center Community Care Team which strives to encourage those serving here on the center as well as those visiting from tribal regions.
It has been a good year. It’s hard to believe it is drawing to a close and we will soon gather with other missionaries to celebrate the miracle of Emmanuel – God with us.
How about what is happening in PNG?
God is doing amazing things here. I’ll just share a few highlights. Some of you may have seen a video from the Bagwido Bible dedication we attended a few years ago. This last month, there was a believer’s conference there in the village hosted entirely by Papua New Guinean believers! Eight tribal churches gathered for the weekend. It was planned and carried out entirely by tribal believers in order to mutually encourage one another. All these churches had missionaries living among them for several years and are now standing on their own. The Bagwido are also working on an outreach to a neighboring village.
In other locations, 5 villages are currently teaching through Phase 1, which is our teaching from Creation to Christ, ending with his death, burial, and resurrection.
There are 7-8 Church development families due to arrive here in January with 4-5 more due in August. There is much work to be done here and the people are eager for the Gospel. We are thankful of God’s blessing of more laborers. There is much more God is doing here in PNG, but my space is limited.
We are privileged to be a part of what is happening here. We hope that you realize what a vital role you play as well. Without the financial support of those in the States, we would not be here. Thank you. Thank you for your support, prayers, and encouragement. Thank you for allowing us to be your hands in PNG spreading God’s Word.
How can you pray? Thanks for asking.
– Health: We are grateful that all three of us have been healthy overall. That is a blessing we far too often take for granted.
– Finances: We are pleased that for the first time since arriving in PNG, we are officially meeting the required support level of 75% of the recommended amount most months. We know this is due to extra sacrifices many of you are making in order to give. Thank you.
-Please pray for our school, especially the high school. It continues to be short staffed. We particularly need a full time math teacher for the next school year.
-Also please pray as we strive to find the balance between ministry and family. We want to do both well.