Yesterday, we rejoiced to hear another tribal update and to see what God is doing here in PNG! In 2009, a team of NTM missionaries moved into a tribal work here in the mountains. Now three years later, they have seen the Gospel presented and literacy taught; they have been teaching through New Testament and are now teaching from the book of Hebrews, seeing the believers come to a deeper understanding of the Gospel and of the God who gives it, of the church, and of their new life in Christ; the Bible translation is now 75% complete; a church has been established and leaders are being discipled; Bible teachers and literacy teachers are being trained; twenty-eight people have been baptized; they now have 15 deacons in training, almost ready to “mark” those that will be the first deacons of the church there and who will continue in training until they are ready to lead also.
A few months ago, about 60 people from their village went to a large Christian conference where they met other believers from many different tribes and worshipped together though each had their own language (Tok Pisin being common among them and thus the language of the teaching). This teachers training course was followed by teaching on marriage and relationships between husband and wife. (My friend, “the woman of faith” I’ve talked with you about before, was one of those teaching the women.) Returning home, they presented the marriage teaching again to their village. During one of the sessions, the teacher and his wife acted out a drama of what had actually occurred in their home—he had chosen to believe in God but his wife remained in the animistic belief of their ancestors. She lived in fear that because her husband had chosen to believe in another God the spirits would be angry and come to kill her and her children. But over the next year, she saw her husband change, saw him learn to show her and his family love, learned to say “thank you” (a very embarrassing thing in the tribe previously!). After about a year, she came to believe as well! Now they teach and share and show others what it means to believe in God and live for Him. The whole church now says “thank you” without any embarrassment though they giggle at the thought that they were once so embarrassed to say it! In the ladies group, the teacher challenges the women with the question, “Who is winning the ‘thank yous’ in your home—you or your husband?”
What once was a people living in fear of the spirits is now a people living in the freedom of God! Where once marriages were often wars in and of themselves, now there is peace and love! Where once works dominated their faith, now works demonstrate their faith! Where once they were taught, now they are teaching! Where once was darkness, there is now light! God is building His church and you and I have been a part of it!
The missionary, upon giving his report, said with tears in his eyes, “We couldn’t have done it without you—without all of you! What we do is not easy. We get lonely out there. There was one time 3 years ago, when my youngest son swallowed twelve Benadryl. Twelve! You know what that means. It was past 7pm…no one would have their radio on. But we decided we had to try anyway. Arlita had her radio on and answered us and was able to get us connected to the doctors who talked us through it and saved our boy. We couldn’t have done any of this without you and we are so grateful for each of you! Thank you!”
In small ways that you may never know, God is touching lives in PNG through you…or could. Look around. What is God using you to do today? Whose lives is He touching through you? Are you doing the fullness of all He’s asked you to do?
“But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk.” ~I Cor. 7:17
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” ~I Cor. 15:57-58