Yesterday, I was talking with a national friend of mine who had joined me for lunch. Her story has many “heavies” in it and yet she is one of the most joyful, peace-filled, faithful women I know. She came back from a conference a few weeks ago very excited at how God had used her and the things she had heard, just glowing with the joy of the fellowship she’d had with other believers and being used by God!
Yesterday we got to talk more about it. Another couple from her church went to teach at a marriage conference in another region. Often in the mountains, one area of believers understands in their heads that there are believers all over the world but experiencing it first hand, how God can bring His children from all over the country together, speaking different languages but still worshiping the same God, is life changing for them! My friend has been teaching the women in her church and in her area for quite some time but this was the largest venue she’d had yet for teaching. She said that though the general teaching times with ol manmeri (men and women) focused on marriage, she and her friend got to go aside with the women and teach them about being godly wives–how to think about their husbands, how to submit to their husbands, how to turn to God for refuge when they experienced “heavies”, etc–all of which she spoke out of personal experience!
She then related how every Saturday she ends up with her small house packed with women who have or are experiencing “heavies” and she teaches them these things. Some have husbands that acted very nicely and were very loving and maybe even Christian at first, then after a year or so of marriage changed into someone altogether different, abusive at times, taking other wives at others or just being unfaithful. Other women have lost one or more children. Some have lost their husbands. Some have had husbands just leave, never to be heard from again. Some are living a long way from where they grew up and may never see their families again. Some are facing illness. And these exist, not to mention all of the everyday life “heavies” that come up! My friend takes them through Scripture to learn to think and see themselves and their husbands and their families as God sees them! Her husband does not seem to her to be a Christian and yet she says that her bel i stop strongpela bilong wanem God i stop inside. (“Her bel (belly–used like our “heart”) is strong because God is inside.”) This faithful woman I have the privilege of calling friend. What an example to follow!
Thank you for the privilege of serving with you here in PNG! God is teaching me and changing me in ways I didn’t expect and giving me friends I can look up to and learn from! In addition, we’re keeping God’s other servants here healthy and moving on with the service God’s given them–whether it be the bush missionary needing medication, the maintenance man who needs stitches, the girl who “might have broken her foot”, the teacher who can’t seem to shake this cough, the “I-don’t-know-what-this-is-but-it-started-a-month-ago” kid, the administrator and his family needing to update there vaccines–whatever the service God has asked of them, they’re giving. And we’re helping them continue! Thank you for allowing me the privilege of service with you here! May you continue to find joy in the service our God! What a MIGHTY God we serve!