It’s nice when official business can also be fun, that was the case this past week when we enjoyed having some visitors. Chris & Erin Lujan are a couple who are part of the church planting team among the Siar people here in Papua New Guinea. If you keep close taps on NTM News you may know that recently the missionaries to the Siar completed evangelistic teaching culminating in the death, burial & resurrection of Christ! Praise be to the Lord that the Siar church has been born with many having placed their faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross! Agh! It’s so exciting!
As the Siar missionary team continues to teach the new believers, Chris Lujan is also a Culture & Language Acquisition (CLA) consultant for our region. In other words, it is his job to give us advice, oversight, and evaluations as we learn the Tigak language and culture. As we’ve mentioned in other blogs, five weeks ago he and another missionary traveled here to our village to give us our official CLA “Kick-off” and last weekend came back, this time with his wife & two kids. The purpose of his visit this time was to check in on us and see how things were going for us so far in our language & culture study.
All that background info to get to my point. This time when the Lujans came for a visit they were able to bring three brand new Siar believers (two women and one man) along with them to meet some of our Tigak believers for mutual encouragement. This was exciting for everyone but especially for the women’s sake this was a big deal. Currently, there are only three Tigak women who are faithfully a part of the Tigak believers’ meetings here in our village. Can you imagine if you only knew two other believers of your own gender in your entire language group? Anyway, the Tigak women who are believers were very excited to be able to meet and fellowship with some other PNG believers from a different language group! Of course they could not converse with each other in their heart language’s but having one language in common (the trade language- Tok Pisin) was enough for them! It was so incredibly encouraging to watch their immediate love for one another upon meeting and the way they were able to build one another up in the faith! Watching their interactions was such a great reminder to me how important the body of Christ is! We really do need each other and God created us- the church- to function that way. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…” (1 Thes. 5.11)
On the last night our visitors were with us we all ate a meal together at one of the believers huts. It was a wonderful time to sit around together and visit with our new brothers and sisters from Siar and hear them talk about the Lord. It is amazing how these believers who are still just “babies” in the faith gave me goose bumps all up my arms as they shared about their new found love for the Savior! One of the women shared with me (this is my best memory at what she said exactly-but I was not recording her so I may be missing some things :D):
“We had never heard teaching like this before, we were told a lot of other things, they were lies. What we knew was lies because it was not what God says. Now we know God’s talk and it is so true! I know that it is true. Now I know that there is nothing I can do to make God like or accept me. All I have to do is believe what He did for me, that is ALL! That is ALL! I have been so surprised at this news and very happy. Now my stomach can rest.”
What a privilege it was to meet these Siar people that are now, because of the knowledge of God’s grace, in the family (of God)! We are thankful for the way the Tigak could encourage them and the way they encouraged all of us! Hopefully we have spurred each other on to a closer walk with our Lord and the desire to having a part in making sure more people come to know Him!