It’s been quite some time since my last update so I thought I’d send one out. We’ve been busy, busy, busy since our last newsletter so there’s a ton of stuff to say, but you’d all probably be bored to tears if I tried to tell it all so I’ll just hit the highlights for now. So far this year, I’ve had the privilege of going on several bush trips to encourage our church planters amongst the tribes of PNG. Earlier this month, several of us traveled to the Island of Bali, which is about a 4 hour boat ride north of West New Britain in the Bismark Sea, the big island north of the New Guinea mainland. While there, God allowed us to accomplish an incredible amount of work as we built Josh and Faye Butler’s house in just two weeks. The only thing that still needed to be done when we left was the interior paint. It was awesome to see what God can do with some willing servants. The journey back from Bali was almost as unbelievable as the build itself. As we were motoring back across the high seas from Bali to New Britain, the engine quit…Ummmm, yeah it quit. Well fortunately with all of our wits combined we were able to figure out the problem and after an hour of floating around in the middle of the Bismark Sea, we were speeding towards our destination once again, greeted by a rain squall, but safely made it back to shore. The next day we hopped on a flight back to the mainland and upon arrival at the Lae airport, we caught a bus to the mechanic shop where my Toyota AWD van was having its heart (Diesel injection pump) replaced…Ouch! As we pulled out of the mechanic’s shop, I was pleased that I wouldn’t have to worry about my van dying on me any more…that is until we got about 80 km outside of Lae and the head gasket blew. So, there we were stranded once again on the side of the Highlands Highway a couple hours before dark, wondering what in the world we were going to do. Fortunately, God had our back once again and the mechanic came and towed us back to town, at night…not really on my top 10 favorite things to do list, but it all worked out. We even had a place to stay that night. The next morning we jumped on a PMV (Public Motor Vehicle) and rode 5 hours back to our families. Home never looked so good. So, that was just a glimpse into the craziness that frequents our lives here in PNG, “The land of the unexpected!” By the way, we found out that the head on the van is cracked and needs replacing along with the piston rings. Not cool! Sounds pretty rough, but this is proving to be one more opportunity to put all this stuff in God’s hands and allow Him to walk us through this as he always does. And in turn we are drawn closer and strengthened in our relationship with Him. I’ve learned a lot during my very short time here, and one thing is that life isn’t about what we can do, but more about learning what God can do, which is always way more awesome.
Well folks, I just wanted to share one of our experiences with you and hopefully you’ll pray for us as we take it one step and one day at a time here in PNG. One thing’s for sure, we’re never bored and we’re always leaning on the Lord, sometimes even when we don’t know it. Thanks so much for each of you who have taken an interest in our lives and the lives of those who have yet to know the truth. Please continue to pray for us and the the people of Papua New Guinea. These are exciting days here as we see new tribes being reached with the Gospel by those who God is using in the bushy places of PNG. Without our support network back home our job would be much harder. Our prayers for you are that God would continue to touch your hearts for the lost and bless you for the sacrifices you’ve made to see the Gospel spread. We miss you all and hope to hear from you in the blogosphere, on Facebook or via email. Don’t be strangers, we want to hear from you.
In His Grip,
The Simmons Family
Josh, Melody, Sarah, Morgan & Hannah
P.S.– Be looking for our Christmas letter with pictures coming soon to your mailbox. Because our finances are tight these days, this will be our last “hard copy to all” update. We’ll begin sending our update to most of you via computer. IF you don’t use your computer, or are just one who loves to have a hard copy in your hands, let us know so that when our first update after the Christmas letter comes out, we will know to send a paper copy to you.