Breaking The Silence… Its time to break the silence as it seems that the last update we wrote was in April. It amazes us how quickly time has passed since we came home last September.
Our travels have taken us from Michigan to Missouri twice, Kansas, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington D.C. & West Virginia. We will share bits and pieces of our time stateside over the next few updates so we can try to not overwhelm you. ☺
The Fish’s Tale Though we’ve done a lot of travel we have not been alone. In April we picked up two Beta fish for the boys who have been excellent travel companions. The boys have enjoyed having them along for the trips and showing them off to the families we stay with. Amazingly enough, they’re still alive! If only fish could talk, the tales they would have to tell…like being spilled on the floor and nearly stepped on by Levi’s size 13s during one of our packing frenzies.
Encouragement, Refreshment and Reflection Throughout our travels we have made a lot of wonderful friends and have had the chance to catch up with many old friends. It has amazed us how small the world seems as a part of God’s family, or perhaps it’s just that God’s family is so large. Either way in many regards the saying is true, “strangers are only friends we have not met yet.” The boys have done a great job with all the travels we have done. We thank the Lord for their flexibility and thank You for your prayers!
In June we were able to attend the New Tribes Mission Missionary Refreshment Course in Camdenton, Missouri where the current Missionary Training Center (MTC) is located. It was a full week of reconnecting with many families and individuals that we had known throughout our own training days and first few years on the field as well as get acquainted with many co-workers that have been veterans for years all over the globe. We were spiritually fed and uplifted by Pastor Harry who spoke passionately from his heart and challenged us with truth from the Word of God that was refreshing to be reminded of and much for us to continue to reflect upon in our own lives and in the ministries God has given us. I told Levi that it was nice to be surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses where we had such a deep connection simply by our lives of ministry.
Unexpected Opportunity… Last weekend we were able to attend my (Robyn’s) dad’s side family reunion and reconnect with several family members, including one of my cousins and her family who are missionaries to Eastern Europe and just arrived back to the USA about a month ago. We had a wonderful weekend reconnecting and catching up on each other’s lives. It was also during our time together that I was made aware of a possible opportunity to attend a special training course that focuses on helping to determine learning disabilities and how to be better equipped as a home schooling mom. The course will be taken through the West Michigan Specialized Language Development Center. Their commitment is to bring the power of reading, writing and spelling to all individuals with dyslexia or other unique learning styles, enabling them to achieve their full potential.
The principals taught in this course will be helpful whether our children end up having any kind of learning disability or not. It will further equip me as a teacher to my children and because our family has dyslexia on both sides it is a very high possibility that perhaps one or more of our children could also struggle with it, as dyslexia is a genetic learning disability. We felt this to be a valuable opportunity as it will equip me to identify the signs at an earlier stage so that we can help our boys learn without becoming defeated and frustrated. This is an intense two week graduate course that if I was pursuing my education degree at a graduate level I would receive 3 credits upon completion. Unfortunately, that is not our situation but that does not change the work load. It has been an intense but enjoyable first few days going back to school! We were able to get the course materials second hand (Thank You A. Pearl and Becky) which helped to reduce the cost to $525 (from $750). I have been learning so much about learning styles and the benefit of teaching in a multi-sensory way that will enable all children to learn in the style that is best for them.
The Final Countdown…less than 7 weeks remaining… Things for our family are now changing course and picking up speed in another direction. Over the last few weeks we have been working with several travel agents to find the most reasonable fares for our return to Papua New Guinea. We now have a reservation being held for us departing on Michael’s 6th birthday (October 11). We are trusting the Lord to provide for the $6,500 for our return tickets. We were happy to find such a great deal for our family as this is approximately the same cost of our tickets when it was just the three of us heading over in 2006 for the first time.
Though we are looking forward to going back to Papua New Guinea, we are going to miss a few things here in the USA. We will miss our family and friends most! This is one of the harder areas where we feel that we count the cost of ministry. A few other things include: that I, Robyn will be once again giving up the freedom of being able to drive and go to town and of course stores like WalMart Supercenters. Levi’s going to miss hunting and fishing. Michael has told us that he will miss McDonalds and their hamburgers and all the fun things that we can do in America. Daniel will miss those too. Both boys are excited to get back to our home, friends and their kitty Mickey Mouser. Matthew will be young enough that Papua New Guinea will become home to him very quickly, but I know that he will miss carpeted floors to crawl on and his snuggles from grandparents, aunts and uncles and I know the feelings are mutual for all the boys and our families.
During the many road trips, the boys have learned most of the fast food signs. Just about everywhere you go in Papua New Guinea the fast food consists of fried or fire baked sweet potato, fried chicken and french fries along with the ever available flour balls which are flour, yeast, and water made into balls and deep fried. The boys used to really enjoy these, so we are hoping that they will again.
A Call to Prayer… So much has been happening in North Wahgi since we left last September. We will try to quickly capture the past year of hard work, discipline, devotion and answered prayer through unexpected health issues. Great steps forward have been made in sewing seeds of interest among the people and countless hours have been spent in writing, preparing, translating and organizing the Yuwei (You-way) Literacy Program, with hopes to begin teaching the first course next month! (September 2011) Lord willing, the first phase of the Chronological Bible teaching will begin late this autumn (November 2011). These areas alone need so much prayer! Please join us in bathing these precious Wahgi souls in prayer, as well as our co-workers, their health, strength, wisdom, discernment, unity, discipline, faithful helpers, and for a hedge of protection around them.
Praises and Prayer Requests: • Andrew and Dan, two of our co-workers, have recently had the completed translated portions of the Word of God in the Yuwei language evaluated and have been given direction and guidance for revisions. They have been working through Genesis and Exodus all while also working on translating the chronological Bible lessons.
• Please continue to pray for our Team as the men continue to work on Scripture and Bible lesson translation.
• Pray for the strength, encouragement, health and energy for our Team as so much is on their shoulders right now.
• Please pray that the Lord would continue to draw the hearts and minds of the precious souls of North Wahgi, preparing them to hear the Words of God in their own heart language, Lord willing, starting as soon as this November!
• Pray that the Lord would direct the leaders in the village and our co-workers to the right place to teach the chronological Bible lessons this Autumn / Fall.
• Pray that there would not be resistance or objection to the teaching by surrounding religious sects.
• Pray that the enemy will be bound in this area so that the Truth of God can penetrate the hearts and minds of the people at a worldview level.
• Pray that each of us would be diligent in spending time with these precious people and building relationships with them so that the Word of God is lived out in our lives before we even speak it in their language.
• Pray for our family as we wind down these last weeks stateside and prepare for yet another transition.
• Pray for the funds needed to cover the extra expenses this month with Robyn’s teaching class ($525) and our airfare back to Papua New Guinea. ($6500)
• Pray for our families and friends as they and we are saying farewells for another possible 4 years before we reunite again.
• Pray for Levi and I to be faithful with learning the Yuwei language and culture upon our return & for our family to be faithful in building relationships with our Wahgi friends.
• Pray for our family as we transition into a home schooling home and all that this entails with a K/1st Grader, Pre-schooler and soon-to-be toddler.
We thank you for your love, prayers, and encouragement. It is certainly our privilege to have you as a part of our ministry team.