Finally it was time! School break started and we (the Markleys and us) got to go to our Dinangat home for 12 days which we hadn’t seen for over a year. We were so excited! We got picked up by our pilots at 6:45 a.m. and by 7:30 a.m. we were already in the air. The weather was bad but our great pilots are used to that. John brought us safely to Dinangat after 50 minutes despite the black clouds all around. The welcome was sweet, even some tears were flowing. It just felt right to be there where God has already used us and will still use us for the building of His church. Also the girls were so excited to be home. Lots of old memories came back and put plenty of smiles on our faces as they kept saying, “Do you remember when we were sitting here, eating there, playing this…?”
Time was too short. But we were able to refresh many of our relationships there, share with each other how we have been doing and walking with the Lord and enjoy a couple church services together. We saw how God’s Spirit is working in them and through them. We keep praying that He will continue to do that and that even in hard times the church will grow together and become more and more the unified body that represents Jesus Christ Himself. Please keep praying with us for that!
After 9 days we got to have the privilege of having visitors from the US. It was a team of 6 from the home church of the Markleys. They had prayed for the Dinangat people for many years and now wanted to meet them finally as brothers and sisters of Christ. The other reason for their coming was to also help with the annual NTM Central Area Conference that was going to happen right after their time in Dinangat. One of the 6 was the pastor who came to teach us adults and teenagers from the Word, then there was a young couple who came to lead us in worship and 3 more to do a VBS for all our children. But before all that they wanted to see Dinangat, and wow, they did! It was such a special time with them! They got to hike and see the beauty of God’s creation in Dinangat, eat Dinangat foods, be witness of one of our greatest ground slides we have ever seen in Dinangat going right through the village (but thanks to God no one got hurt) and they were able to hear lots of testimonies of the believers there and share their own as well. All around it was a very encouraging time for us, for them and also for the Dinangat church. It was just so obvious to everyone that whether black or white, whether from the US, from Germany or from PNG, whether poor or rich, we are all one and we are all the same because of Jesus Christ, our Savior! He was praised throughout the weekend, there was no doubt about that!
On Monday all of us flew back to Goroka together in one bigger plane (for 18 passengers) with MAF to then two days later embark on another adventure – our annual NTM conference. We met together with about 30 families to learn together from the Word, to encourage each other, to tell each other the different adventures of our ministries and over all to praise God together who made all this possible. We were also able to get to know some new families who arrived new to the field with their young children just like we did 12 years ago. Their enthusiasm and motivation was so refreshing! Then we also saw again or newly met some of the older missionary couples who have been here for over 20 years now and some of them are soon going to give the Bible translation to their churches. When we hear them talk about their good times and hard times we can’t help but be encouraged to keep on going in the strength of God through whom this all is possible. We can’t do this work in our own strength, we better not even try. HE is the builder of His churches and we can trust Him to provide and supply whatever we need to get this job done.
Refreshed and encouraged we came back to our apartment on the NTM Center. We thank God for giving us this time of feeding on His Word and fellowshipping with our brothers and sisters and for showing us again:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matth.28:18-20
Thank you for your prayers, your support, your friendship, we just really appreciate you all!
For His Glory, the Schlegels.
P.s: Please also pray for one of our pilots and his family. A few days ago he was involved in an road accident which resulted in the loss of one of his legs. Please pray for Jon and Adie Leedahl and their three young children during this very difficult time. See their blog for more info: TheLeedahls.com