Through the provision of God I was able to join some missionaries in their bush tribal location this past week. The work they are in is an older work that had had the Gospel and had a church for some years but, after the missionaries moved out, the church began to diminish over time. Some people moved away; some allowed sin to grow up in their lives until it was overwhelming them and they no longer attended the church; and for various reasons others stopped coming. Over time the church was down to just a handful of people. Since re-entering the area, our missionaries have been able to encourage the believers and bible teachers, help them work on the sin in their life, began a literacy program and later handed it off to those trained to lead it, and have been translating the Scriptures into their language. They now have much of the Old Testament and several books of the New Testament translated and printed as individual books. They have been translating the books in the order that they are teaching through them. For instance, the church is now teaching through 1 Corinthians so 1 Corinthians is mostly finished in the translation work and they are moving towards Romans next.
I flew in for long, long weekend (6 days!). Several people had left for a few days and others were working in their gardens and elsewhere during the day so the area was pretty quiet and not many people around to visit with. My days were relaxed and lazy, which I needed more than I realized! I got to enjoy naps, books for fun (more than one!), movies, crafts with friends, and more. I didn’t take any work with me and so had no pressure for anything while I was there. Such a great vacation! And the highlight of my week out there? Visiting with the believers at church on Sunday morning and swimming in the river Monday morning (my first time swimming here in PNG—very cold as it was coming from the mountain-top run offs not that far away!).
And before you question bush comfort too much let me just say that their houses were much the same as my house here on center—electricity, bathrooms with hot showers, woodstove when it got cool inside, gas oven and stove, …every comfort of home…with the exception of the fact that they have a lot faster internet connection than I have here on center! LOL! I went in not having more than met these missionaries here on center and occasionally emailing with them from the clinic, and came out with great new friends and an appreciation for their work, seeing aspects of it that I’ve never seen before. God is truly good and gracious. And I’m grateful to be a recipient of it!