Hello again from Papua New Guinea! Our family would like to fill you in on what we have been up to over the past 6 weeks as we went through our bush orientation time. Before we do that, I’d like to pose a question: what is God doing in the world? The answer: He’s bringing men to repentance, building His church and one day we will be able to worship Jesus Christ together with men from every tribe, tongue, people and nation (Rev. 5:9). Our time in bush orientation gave us the opportunity to see “hands on” what God is doing here in Papua New Guinea.
During the past 6 weeks, our family spent time with our brothers and sisters in Christ in a village in the Inapang language group. We knew that the experience of living in the village with a maturing church was going to be great, but we had no idea that it was going to be as good as it was. Each week we had one or two families watching over us, helping us to learn more of the PNG culture and the trade language, and showing us what a 10-year old maturing church here in PNG looks like. It was an amazing opportunity for us to praise the Lord together and hear their heart (or liver as they would say it) for the churches that they have helped plant in other villages around them (they have helped plant 8 churches in their language group). We got to see firsthand how the elders and deacons encourage and challenge the elders and Bible teachers in the other churches.
We’re thankful for our host missionary, Promise, who worked with the church elders as they led our time in the bush. Promise is currently working on a translation for a new church which is in a neighboring language group (we will call it language #2) that the Inapang church helped plant also. Some Inapang believers speak this language so some are able to help disciple the men in the new church as they have time because the full time missionary discipler family had to leave.
What was the hard part? Leaving. The Inapang church is greatly burdened to see this new church (language #2) strengthened and discipled and they would like to see a family move in to help Promise in this work as disciplers. The church leaders desire to see the other 2 villages of language #2 reached with the Gospel too. It was humbling and challenging to hear them say on many different occasions that they would like to see us move there…one guy was even joking that he was going to tie me to a coconut tree so I couldn’t get on the helicopter when it came to get us. It was great to talk with them and have them know that it is God who holds the plan for our family and that there are many places here in PNG that are still waiting to hear the Gospel.
We don’t know if we will ever see the church there in Inapang again here on earth, but it is so encouraging to know that we will see them again someday in heaven and together we can worship the Lamb with our brothers and sisters in Christ from every tribe, language, people and nation!
Other highlights of our time:
- Getting to experience almost every cultural event imaginable: making a dugout canoe, working in gardens, fishing (with poison), processing saksak (sago) for food
- Running out of water. Ok, so it wasn’t great that the water tank ran out, but it was good to learn to improvise for the 4 days we didn’t have running water in the house. We’re thankful for our neighbor, Promise, who could share water with us for drinking and cooking. We’re also thankful for the river that we could bathe in and that God provided a heavy rain after the 4 days so that the water tank was 2/3 full again!
- Getting to experience election time in PNG.
You are all a big part of this ministry. Thank you for coming along on the journey with us!
- Pray that we would be a blessing as we help coordinate the next orientation class; organizing the schedule, speakers, field trips, etc. Our family is excited to help while we work on our other goals as well. Pray for the 3 new families that are moving to PNG in the next 2 weeks.
- Pray we would finish learning the trade language as soon as possible so we have less of a work load. We will be evaluated soon to see where we are. We think Paul may be close to finished but Ellen still has a bit to go.
- Pray for wisdom as we continue praying for direction in our work here in PNG and that God would make the road clear.
Link to our kids’ page: Read their thoughts on bush orientation
Link to our prayer page: requests and praises