One of my all-time favorite Christmas songs, “Good News”, is a lesser-known song that a former band called “Avalon” recorded in 2000 on their Christmas album. The lyrics are wonderful and encouraging, and as a musician, I very much appreciate the complementing instrumentation/musicianship. Take a listen to the song here if you wish: https://youtu.be/f-fSnE4TZHo
We do indeed feel very thankful to have lots of good news of our own to report to you, our faithful friends and supporters. It’s not as magnanimous as the good news given by the angel to the shepherds in Bethlehem that night, but as we ponder God’s story of redemption that is so perfectly weaved throughout history, we rejoice that we continue to see the outworking of that redemption today all around the world, including here among the Tigak people.
In our last update, the Tigak church was very busy making preparations to host the annual tribal church conference. The conference went very well. Here is a brief summary.
More than 100 believers from different tribes (language groups) arrived safely, albeit in the rain. Some fellow missionaries also arrived and we enjoyed hosting and having fellowship with them during the week.
While the housing and food situation did not turn out as expected for various reasons, in the end it turned out just fine, and everyone had a place to sleep each night and a full stomach. We were glad to also see that the Tigak ladies were not ‘stuck in the kitchen’ during the teaching sessions each day. Rather, they prepared food after each day’s sessions, so they were able to catch all of the teaching.
The teaching was on the end times/last days, and for many/most of them, they had not heard clear, Biblical teaching on this important topic before. So we heard lots of encouraging feedback throughout the week, and have heard more positive comments since then. We were thankful for Gordon coming and teaching, and for his very clear speaking and explaining in the national language and culture. It was very well received!
My (Lisa) parent’s arrived a few days before the conference, and we thoroughly enjoyed catching up with them face to face! (Hug to hug!) This included watching a couple Seahawks games together (#sorrynotsorry49ers), opening cards and gifts sent along with them from many of you, tucking away wrapped Christmas presents from them and a few other sneaky folks (thank you!), visiting the families throughout the village, observing homeschool, Dad helping Noe with a couple house projects, attempting to nap in the heat of the day, and they absolutely LOVED attending the conference! They were overjoyed to worship with believers from the several language groups that came, and following along with the teaching as I madly scribbled notes in English (Mom, a “van” van?).
After a generous 2 weeks with us here in Tigak, we enjoyed a short holiday with them to the Gold Coast of Australia. We’re so thankful for their generosity in providing us with a lovely stay and some special treats as we got refreshed a bit.
We are now back in Tigak and back into the swing of things here. No doubt you already know our long list of the things we are doing here, so I’ll wait for you to recite it back to me. 🙂 But here are a couple specific requests:
Pray for the Tigak men who are believers to continue growing in their faith. Pray that the young men in particular will ever learn to say “no” to the things of the world. Ask the Lord to give Noe wisdom as he continues to be co-elder with Paska, and as they both desire to see more men step up to become elders and deacons in the church, and Godly men leading their wives and children.
Pray for the Tigak ladies to continue growing, and to have a desire to grow deep in their faith. Ask the Lord to give Lisa wisdom as she leads them into some practical outworking of their faith (as believers, as women, as wives, and as mothers) in the weekly ladies’ meetings. Like the men, we desire to see them recognize and grow in their unique spiritual giftings, and particularly who the Lord might raise up among them to lead and teach, hopefully in the very near future!
Pray for wisdom in ministering to the children of the church and of the village.
Pray for wisdom regarding the literacy need here in Tigak (not just on our island, but thinking beyond to the many other Tigak islands).
Pray for ongoing ‘office work’ types of ministry that continue. Lisa is translating the book of 1 Samuel, and Noe is working with some of the men to organize and revise the evangelistic Bible lessons.
Pray for upcoming evangelistic Bible teaching that will start soon in the village!
Pray that strong, solid, believing families will be raised up in the years ahead and equipped/ready to take the Gospel to the other Tigak islands. (And Lord-willing, one day beyond the borders of the Tigak language!)
Naya and Jocie are continuing to plug away with schoolwork and life in general. They are both getting so big that I’m sure you won’t recognize them next time you see them!
THANK YOU for your support and prayers. Special thanks also to those who have recently given one-time special gifts, it is much appreciated! We’ve had some unexpected medical expenses this past year, so that’s been a big help. If you’re reading this and you would like to also give toward those expenses, you can find specific information HERE: “JOIN OUR TEAM”
Thank you, and Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you and your families! We anticipate celebrating in person with many of you next year, Lord-willing.
~the Martinez family