“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” -1 Cor.12:26-27
The pinky on one’s non-dominant hand is arguably the least important finger. If you had to choose to lose use of a finger, you’d definitely pick that one, and it probably wouldn’t influence your life much, right?
Well, I broke my pinky on my left hand over a year ago, and consequently, I still can’t do a single pull-up. (And yes, I used to be able to do a few 🙂 ) It’s not even really my pinky’s fault anymore. Because I couldn’t use it for several months, I stopped doing pull-ups, and as a result, I lost a lot of muscle not only in my fingers, but in my hands and arms as well. Because one part of the body was hurt, it affected everything else.
As you know, our ministry in PNG has included a lot of role changes. We were reflecting recently how with each new role, our vision and circle of concern has grown. When we came to be church planters, we were focused on the tribe we planned to go to. Then, when we switched to various support roles, our focus shifted to helping others at our support center. Next, when we shifted to field-wide member care, we were concerned with caring for all of the missionaries in our organization. Finally, as Matt has done this personnel director role, we have become concerned not only for the individuals in our organization, but for the organization as a whole, and how the way we function is impacting our mission of church planting.
Matt just returned from a conference in Malaysia where he learned some good ideas about policies and programs to implement in order to better protect the children in our organization. Organizational policies- that’s what everybody gets excited about, right? 😉 However, because of how our focus has shifted, we are very invested in the workings, details, and dynamics of our organization because we see how they affect our people and our mission.
I guess what I am saying is, we are so thankful to have gotten to be a part of our organization in various ways, and we are thankful for how our vision has expanded. We are so thankful that we get to be a part of the goal of “a thriving church for every people” through strengthening our organization of NTM PNG. We have seen so clearly how each part of our organization affects each of the others, and we deeply want to help every person to thrive, love each other well, and fulfill the calling God has laid on their hearts. We are thankful that we get to be a part of it, and we are so thankful for YOUR part of it in supporting us and enabling us to be here.
Till all know,
Matt, Karissa, Ty, and Wyck
Matt preaching at the church service for our center
Our family had a campfire for New Year’s day and reflected on God’s faithfulness to us in 2023.
-Matt had a good trip to Malaysia and a beneficial time at the conference
-Things went well for Karissa and the boys back home
-Teaching continues to go well for Karissa
-Karissa is getting to help with a drama program at the school
-There are upcoming field leadership meetings, dealing with both the church planting and support side of things. Pray for wisdom and good communication.
-Our organization is bringing in some consultants next month to help us see areas in which we can grow. Pray for wisdom and the Lord’s leading.
-For an ongoing stressful situation in Matt’s work
-For Matt as he continues to balance school and work
What are we supporting? This month’s tribal focus: Pray for the Kaulong church. Prior to missionaries Peter and Pam Van Der Decker coming in 1997, a man named Pita Linggol from Kaulong consistently hiked 7 hours from his village to a neighboring tribe, the Asengseng, to ask for missionaries. Why? Because, as the Kaulong people later told the missionaries, when they looked in the eyes of the Asengseng believers, they saw light. When they looked into their own, they only saw darkness. Today, the Kaulong church is growing in numbers and in their walks with the Lord. There is an Asengseng church elder who consistently invests in the Kaulong believers, and the missionaries there continue to work on translation and discipleship. Pray for the Van Der Deckers to make progress in translation, and for God to continue to use His Word to impact both the saved and the unsaved in Kaulong.