Sunday was an important day in the for the Siawi church body, as four men were commissioned as elders, men who will lead and nurture the believers. As Kwaelom and Mese, Beiyem and Matinae, Mabou and Lebeniae, and Nokee and Kati stood before the church, it wasn’t with pride and a feeling of importance. These men and their wives very clearly recognize the responsibility that is theirs.
With less than three weeks left before permanently moving out of Siawi, Jason handed the reins of leadership over to these four men. There were others who would have gladly taken their places, wanting the honor such a position might give, but those were not the kind of men that God chooses to lead his people. Please pray for these four humble men and their wives, as they serve as spiritual leaders for the Siawi members of the body of Christ.
There is much false teaching in the area, where remnants of Cargo Cult teaching have been mixed with Christian and other popular evangelistic teaching, producing a religion where, if just the right rituals are followed, miracles will provide the road to riches (the ‘cargo’ of the Western world). This mixture appeals greatly to the PNG mind and world view, so that it will only be by standing strongly on God’s Word that these four men will be able to steer the Siawi believers clear of such things.
Please do be praying for your Siawi brothers and sisters, as they accept and support these men as their spiritual leaders. There are those who do not want authority shifted from the missionaries to their own people, because there is no hope of getting material goods from their own people. There will no doubt be a falling away of some from meeting with the believers; but this is good, because it will be those who have been playing church, hoping for material profit from that attendance.
Please continue to pray for Jason, Shannon, and their four children, as they make this big move. For the children, while they have been gone from Siawi from time to time, this is what they have always considered as “home.” They are all excited to be looking ahead, but it will also be very hard for them to leave all this behind. They have left an indelible mark on Siawi hearts, and the Siawis have left an indelible mark on the hearts and lives of each member of the Swanson family.
Thank you for your part in seeing the Siawi church reach this important step toward maturity!
Laborers together, in our Father’s harvest fields,