I start by saying a BIG THANK YOU to you guys for your help and supporting the Mengen Work in New Britain! Through God’s Grace He has planted His church and He is growing His church!
Why are we still here?
During one of our recent trips I was reminded of our calling by the following words from Paul to the Corinthian church, “I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
I am challenged to persevere in this task until the day come that we can present Gods church to Him. We are not sent to learn a language, or translate or develop curriculum, or run a literacy program. No, we are sent to share the Gospel and then shepherd those who trust in Christ into maturity and eventually present them to God as we would present a bride to her Groom.
We will appreciate your prayers for us! We want to remain focused on this goal, and we want to be good stewards of this huge responsibility.
The next step in Church Planting
Even though the Mengen church remains our main responsibility, we also recognize that Gods church consist of many parts that needs to be healthy and connect well. Its thus true, that in Papua New Guinea we had the opportunity to see Gods church planted amongst the Mengen and in many local language groups. We are now at the point where we are starting to see them functioning together in reaching their own on PNG. I have been closely involved with key elders from these different churches and we are working together in equipping churches to reach out across their own language borders into other people groups that have not yet been reached.
This marks the beginning of a new phase of church planting in PNG where the national church is now being equipped and are the ones sending out missionaries. Thanks, so much for being part of this team!
Here’s a clip of me visiting the seven phased out churches recently: South Coast church Visit
The Mengen churches
Leadership development – At the moment Simon and Annika Flanagan are living full-time in the village and working with leaders such as Brus, Kamalus and Vincent as well as many young people who has become believers over the years and are now being discipled and equipped into leadership. It’s sad, that we are still dealing with one of our leaders who has fallen in sin and he has not yet been reconciled with the church, nor has he humbled himself before the Lord. This has broken our hearts and caused allot of problems not just in our village, but also in Bologo and Soi. Simon and the Mengen leaders have done well in restoring the church after this fall, but there is still allot of work to be done! Pray for our brother and his wife!
Studying Gods Word inductively – In the past we taught the teachers and the church to study Gods Word inductively. This has not been an easy process especially for our friends, who has never learned to think critically. We have learned that a short course on inductive study is not going to make significant changes, but these tools should be introduced early on during literacy and then reinforced through lesson development, teaching and Bible studies. Simon has been working on continuing to equip the leaders using these inductive tools, and he has also produced Bible studies that track through certain books they are studying at the moment. For example, they recently finished teaching the book of Ephesians and in an effort to reinforce the teaching through the book of Ephesians and strengthen literacy amongst the Mengen church they have produced a daily Bible studies. He hopes to produce these daily bible studies for the all NT books using the inductive study format. Pleas pray for the Mengen believers as they learn to not only read Gods word superficially, but actually grasps its meaning and apply it in their lives!
Ladies study – Annika meets with the ladies regularly and they read through the Bible studies that the men are developing. They split the work of leading the Bible study up between the Mengen ladies, and so the ladies are being equipped to lead these studies themselves. Pray for these 3 ladies, Manuela, Sepin and Apite as they lead the ladies Bible studies on Monday nights. Mengen women are undervalued culturally and aren’t used to working together alongside men in the way God has planned for them. Pray that the Mengen wives will understand they are valued and an essential part of the team for the building up of the church!
Literacy – Alex is one of our literacy teachers, and he has faithful continued teaching these skills to believers. Recently a class of 16 students graduated. Look at these short clips showing some of the last literacy classes, Alex teaching literacy and literacy update.
Youth – We are thankful for many young people growing into maturity. Vincent is teaching the young believers through Acts at the moment and recently mostly young people in the church got baptised! They are the future of the church and hungry for God’s word. We hope to start youth meetings with them this month. Pray for these young folks to grow and become strong believers and leaders. Here’s a clip of the recent baptism – Mengen Baptism.
Translation – Thanks for praying for the Mengen New Testament translation over the years! We are happy to report that the first print has been completed and we will be having a Bible Dedication ceremony mid-June. We are very grateful to Rebecca Preheim who carried the bulk of the work for the translation, but also our coworkers, Kerri Pachecko, Dave and Judy Wright, Simon and Annika Flanagan and many consultants and Mengen helpers! We thank you guys for praying and supporting us financially as we pursued the task of allocating here, learning a language and persevering through the process to see this translation completed. Thanks, so much to all of you for the part you have played to help bring God’s Word to the Mengen people in their own language! We will continue to teach the church to read, and to study Gods Word inductively and apply these truths in their own lives. Please pray for us as we also work on translating more Old Testament books.
Soi/Bologo and Sambalbala
As you know, the Mengen church planted two churches in Soi and Bologo. Jon is a Maleu elder from another mature church who works in Soi church full time and we are praying for another elder/missionary family to join him. Over and above the church in Soi, they are also working closely with Bologo and a young church in Sambalbala. Simon, Jon and other Mengen recently visited the Bologo church, as well as the believers from Sambalbala which is located at the bottom of our volcano that erupted twice this last year. They were able to encourage the church and strengthen the ties between them. Slowly but surely, we are seeing the churches here on the North Coast border of the Mengen people becoming stronger and expanding their reach.
Recently the Soi church had its first baptism during which 20+ people were baptized. This was an amazing opportunity to testify of Gods grace and its already causing more people to show interest in hearing the truth. Check out this clip of Tony being baptized recently. Tony being baptized.
South Coast Church Plant
We are excited about the possibility to at last see the Mengen church reaching out to the North Coast boundary of our people group. We recently completed a weeklong survey to the South Coast of the Mengen people group to survey a different Mengen dialect. We are very excited about the potential of sending a team to go a live and work within these communities. Simon will be going on another survey next month. Here we have a picture of the team who recently traveled to complete the survey
Check out this clip for a better overview: South Coast survey
Helping evaluate other churches.
One of the tasks I now have together with the national church development team is to evaluate the growth of other churches and to help give input on how to address needs and then also help develop a strategy to help address these needs. Here we are with leaders from Patpatar, Tigak, Maleu and Ata, during a week-long visit to a church in New Ireland.
Also check out this clip we made of our visit: church evaluation
Finally – More exciting possibilities for 2020
There are many other events and possibilities for this year that you can pray for.
- Me and my national coworkers are working on developing a workshop on church leadership, which would include teaching about how to evaluate and train and equip future leaders and also on what the role is of different leaders within the church.
- Beginning April, we will be having the Ata church visit the Maleu church to present a workshop on eldership and specifically how different gifting functions within the eldership team.
- End of April we will be traveling to Mamusi church to teach all the believers about how the church of Christ should reflect the Image of God.
- At the end of those meetings, we will be traveling to Mengen, Ata, Mangseng and Nakanai to teach a similar workshop.
- In June/July we will be traveling to Aria, Ivanga, Mouk, Lusi and Anem to teach a similar workshop.
- In July we will be meeting with the leaders from all the churches in New Ireland to share and brainstorm about how we can all connect better and work together.
- In September – we are thinking about workshops to dialogue about how to develop curriculum, which will be presented by the Patpatar church leaders to church leaders from New Britain.
Please consider helping us!
Thanks again for all who have been helping us over these last 12 years in PNG. Your prayers and financial support and making a tangible difference in life’s and communities. Would you consider supporting us financially?
– For our SA supporters:
- Lourens Laureti
- Standard Bank Savings
- Account number: 238403122
- Branch: Cresta
– For our oversees supporters click on the following link.
Lourens and Marie Laureti for the Mengen church.