I recently had the privilege of traveling with my 2 oldest daughters on a Church Plant Consultant visit. Angie stayed home with the 2 little ones due to there not being enough room on the plane, but the 2 older ones joined me for a time of traveling to see two different Church Plants in progress. The first destination we traveled to is called Siawi. To get to Siawi it only took about an hour and 15 minutes of travel via a small 6 seat plane. The Church we visited has had missionaries for 20+ years and the time is nearing when the missionaries will no longer be living permanently in the jungle location. The Siawi Church has seen men rise to the challenge of taking on the leadership roles in the church. We had a wonderful time of visiting with the leaders that will serve in the roles of Elders, Deacons, and Missionaries. These men are humble in taking the role of leadership because the know just how powerful and crafty their advesary is. In their humility, the church is displaying evidence of living in total dependence on The Word and The Holy Spirit. What a neat time to see this church reaching a more mature state in their growth process.
After a few days of visitng the Siawi church, we set out on a 3 hour river ride toward our next destination. The river was at flood stages and the first part of the trip felt a bit more like a roller coaster ride instead of canoe travel. The river flowed over log snags and around sharp corners as it marched forward through the deserted jungle. We finally arrived at our next location to consult with a Church that was in it’s earliest stages of growth. The Uliyai church just completed hearing the Good News in October of 2010. There are a small group of folks that have made a clear profession of faith in the work that Christ has accomplished through the cross and ressurection. What a great time of celebrating the joy of new found hope. Our hearts were encouraged with the depth of understanding and the desire to know more about the riches found in God’s Word.
After a great time of celebration and strategic planning for the future, the girls and I boarded the dugout canoe to head toward the nearest airstip… did I mention the flood stage state of the river? Well the airstip was about three feet deep and since our plane does NOT have floats, we ventured back up the river cutting off the main river to smaller and smaller rivers that eventually became creeks. The girls and I had some good laughs as we pushed and pulled the 20 foot dugout canoe as far up the river as we could go. We all had a good time jumping in the water to cool off in one of the most beautiful crystal clear streams I have ever seen. We enjoyed seeing God’s handiwork in the flowers called “The Flames of the Jungle.” These flowers hang down from the jungle canopy as bright red streaks that can be 30+ feet long, slicing through the myriad of sometimes overwhelming green foliage. We could not help seeing that the bright flames of difference were a picture of the work God is doing through HIS church in the jungle of Papua New Guinea.
Small bundle of Jungle Flames.
We thank God for those of you that allow us to serve in this ministry. We pray that our kids will grow up and remember how forturnate we are to have so much access to the Best News.