Pertaining to Life & Godliness

2 Peter 1:3  His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 

2018-03-27-PHOTO-00000103

Hello Friends!

Thank you for your many prayers on behalf of the Inapang churches!  We are writing today with such an encouraging update for you and your families and hope that you will join us in praising God for His kindnesses to His children around the world!  Promise, the single woman who has been working among the Tangguat people next door is back in the tribe after a short furlough and was able to send out a brief report last week.  She also has a family visiting who might be interested in joining her in the Tangguat work so they are in the village getting to know our Itutang elders and the Inapang churches that the Tangguat work has been working under.  This is an excellent time for the family to hear their stories, their fears and frustrations, and understand the needs of the church and outreach better.  It is also a good time to assess if this work is a fit for their family.  We are thankful for an encouraging text we received from them as well, so we are including both Promise’s email and the new family’s text here so that you can know how your prayers are at work and how to keep praying.  These are real lives.  Real souls.  Real hurts and struggles.  And real victories through Christ alone.  Thanks for being part of their salvation and sanctification through your prayers and giving.

Update from Promise:

Hi Bill and Kelley,

       I think you would be encouraged if you were here in the village right now. So I want to take a few minutes to report on a few encouragements.

 – All four literacy classes are going (simultaneously)! Last time that happened was 2014. I’m encouraged to hear that teachers are being faithful.

– The elders said they had not met for a while, but they did meet along with K. and I.  this past Tuesday. They talked about “anointing” T. as elder and desire to do that soon.

– Teaching is going on in Mb village (V. is teaching Luke), Ongi (AA is teaching 2 Thess_

– M. continues to faithfully teach in G village and seems to have done that mostly without A.’s help the last few months.

– New Phase One going on with a small group in G village. They are at lesson 41 and meeting most weekdays. Eight Bible teachers taking turns teaching.

– a Bible conference will be held in Itutang next week. This is just for Itutang, but they decided they would let people from Mb. village stay and listen if they came. A. is going to select a few from G village to come as well.  

-Finally had a good rain! The ground was dry and cracked when we arrived, and the new family visiting will hae plenty of water.  Thank you for your faithfulness and being willing to do hard things because He is worthy. I’m blessed to be living with the results.

Promise

 From a Text Sent out from the visiting family:

The church seems to be doing well.  There are so many cultural things that I’m still learning about.  From what I gather from talking to Promise and the elders, there are the usual hevis (problems) and such, but the elders seem solid.  Today in church they addressed some people who had gone to a (false teaching and) “healing/demon exorcism” (in another village) yesterday. Anton preached on Acts 19 (seven sons of Sceva) and then Colossians 2.  Although I could only understand the part s in Tok Pisin, I could tell he knows his Scripture.

As you can see, the church and its work are still going strong.  The exciting thing for us in that second text is that once the elders became avid readers and studiers in their mother tongue, we taught them how to read and study in the national language as well.  As you know, we are finishing up the NT translation still, and guess what?! We haven’t translated the book of Colossians yet! Anton confronted false teaching from a book that he has been studying in the national language on his own! So thankful for the gift of literacy and the way it is being used to read, study and CONFRONT FALSE TEACHING with the TRUTH OF SCRIPTURE!!!! Please continue to pray for the church elders in each of the Inapang churches that they will spend time in the Word, know God, and walk towards Him in ever increasing holiness letting their light shine in a dark place valley where there is still more work to be done.  HE IS WORTH IT!!!! 

We are enjoying our last month around our sweet family here and little Ansley Marie as well as our Louisville faith family.  Our prayer when we came to live here for many months in the house all together as a family again was that the Lord would give us special times together and grow us closer as a family.  He has been so kind and our kids have been so hospitable and flexible with us and our crazy schedules.  Thanks for praying for our family.  Now, we will head down to our Tennessee faith family next month to begin prep for the upcoming wedding of Sabra to Austin Hedrick.  We met as a family and have decided that we will leave August 4th for PNG and then make a trip next year to finish off our furlough time and be with the family as they will all be going through some transitions. We decided as a family, we would all rather us be back together at that point.  We are thankful for family who still believes in sacrificing as a family.  As one of our daughters said recently, “It still hurts and that’s okay.”  That’s where we all are at this point…we are real people with real emotions and are having to choose obedience again, even though it hurts because the King has left us with one job, He is coming back and He is worth It.  Doesn’t mean we won’t need heaps of prayers over the next few months that our time would be fat and full of special memories and that when it comes time to kiss that sweet beautiful grandbaby and kiddos goodbye, that He would be our strength once again. Thankful for a Savior who loves us and knows our pain and for faith family that encourage us all along the way to keep our eyes and hearts focused. Please keep the Inapang, their new school project (RVA), and our family in your prayers.  The work in them and us…it is not finished yet.

By God’s Grace and For His Glory~

Bill and Kelley

 

Introducing the Ramu Valley Academy

Hello Friends!
 
We hope this Resurrection Season has encouraged your hearts and enlivened your senses once again with the richness of the knowledge that CHRIST our Savior LIVES. Because of His Perfect Life, He was raised from the dead as first fruits and now, as Colossians reminds us…this is the secret…CHRIST IN US! Hallelujah!
 
We are writing today with a short update and information about a ministry that is growing out of the local church plants that you have participated in planting among our people groups in the Ramu Valley. As you well know, our team has been working at church development among the people groups of the Ramu Valley for almost a decade. This includes ongoing translation and discipleship and are looking forward to the day when we are able to place the entire New Testament, written and bound, into these believing hands. As they continue to grow and mature, the church leaders have raised a new concern regarding the education of their children. Their dream is to have a safe educational atmosphere where they could send some of their children to learn about Christ and be trained for church and community service. For the sake of the future church, we also believe that it is time for this to happen.
 
Since 2016, we have worked with our local village church leadership, national PNG teachers, NTM-PNG leadership as well as the stateside and international Ethnos360 leadership teams to come up with an exciting plan for moving forward. The Lord has already provided a beautiful piece of ocean side property set along the Pacific which provides more than ample room for the completion of the entire academy. Now, we are trusting Him to move hearts to be part of the team financially and in prayer support to allow us to begin Phase One of the RAMU VALLEY ACADEMY project beginning January 2019. Most of you know that Bill has a background in both construction and trim carpentry and he will be putting together the supplies and building teams made up of both western and national church volunteers to complete the structures. Once the building of phase one is completed, we will begin selecting students for the first seventh grade class in the spring of 2020. The calendar will follow the PNG calendar which is Australian-based.
 
This ramuvalleyacademy.com website is designed to help you understand this arm of our Inapang ministry a little better. We hope this will lead some of you to commit to praying faithfully for the building, students and teachers of RVA. We also have packets of information and a thumbdrive with files that can be copied to share. We would love to send you this informational packet if you think this is something that your local church or friends might be interested in being a part of. Just email us the mailing address to bill_housley@ntm.org and we will get a packet in the mail to you. If you have any questions or want to know more, we are happy to try to connect either via voice call or skype or in person!
 
THANK YOU for your faithful, faithful love and support. We often reflect and dream of the day when the King returns and all those whose lives have been touched with the good news on this side of eternity are realized and brought into glory forever together with Jesus! What a day that will be!
 
By God’s Grace and For His Glory~
Bill and Kelley Housley

 

The Growing Years…

“…I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in Him is being talked about all over the world. God knows how often I pray for you.”   Romans 1:8-9

Dear Faithful Friends and Prayer Warriors,

Greetings from the homeland! We are excited to be home and enjoying the part Body of Christ who resides in the North American continent. It has been a breath of fresh air to see some of you face to face and to be able to worship side by side once again. Our hearts are full with your kindnesses and your love and prayers that we have already experienced in the last two months as we have travelled around the southeastern United States.

Overseas, the leadership in our local churches are growing in their spiritual walk and abilities to lead and shepherd. We were just able to FaceTime with one of our elders who made his way out to the mission centre in the coastal town of Madang. He told us of the marriage and family “mini conferences” they are doing in each village in our area.  These meetings are meant to strengthen and encourage the young boys in the Lord.  These young men will be the future leaders in the local community and church.  It was good to hear this report and to hear of this elder’s love for the local churches that he oversees.  He actually was able to see Bill’s parents via FaceTime as well and gave Jack a thank you because he raised Bill to be concerned for getting the gospel to others and that because Bill came and lived among them and broke the language barrier, he is living in truth today with hope of heaven. This was a good reminder as we are caught up in the comforts of stateside and friends and family that the stark need in PNG is an ongoing reality with many more tribes still existing in that dooming “never heard” category.  Please continue in your faithful prayers for the churches of the Ramu Valley as they reach out.

The Inapang churches are continuing to grow as they study through God’s Word a book at a time.  The Tangguat work has two potential families who are interested in joining Promise to help disciple and finish that work there. They have tender hearts of discipleship and desire to be a blessing to the local village church and to Promise. Please be praying for the Itutang elders, Promise and the two families as they spend time together in prayer seeking the Lord’s guidance in the team building process in the coming weeks.

Here stateside, our family has grown and now includes little Ansley Marie born to our daughter Madison and her husband Jonathan on March 11th.  We are so thankful the Lord has allowed us be home during this very special time.  Our family will grow again as we add Austin Hedrick into our family.  He and Sabra will be married this summer.  We have many kindnesses to be thankful for in this new season of life and our hearts are full to the brim and spilling over in joy.  God is surely a gracious God who bestows undeserved blessings on His children.

There is more exciting news to share!!! Stay tuned later this week for another blog called “Introducing the Ramu Valley Academy.”  We will be officilally kicking off the RVA project with you, our support team and look forward to partnering with you once again….’til the valley is reached for the King!

 

By God’s Grace & For His Glory~

Bill and Kelley Housley

The LORD Gives His People Strength

The LORD reigns as King forever. The LORD gives His people strength. The LORD blesses them with peace. PS. 29.10b-11

Dear Praying Friends,

We are so thankful to be writing you this morning from our quiet little abode in the States where we will be staying for two more weeks before we begin some traveling here in the south.  We arrived home just before CHRISTmas and were able to spend some beloved time with friends and with family…especially our two girls and their men.  It was fun to see our son-in-law Jonathan and our daughter, Madison, doing well with their first pregnancy and our second daughter, Sabra, become engaged on CHRISTmas day to a young man that we have all fallen in love with!  We are very blessed! We enjoying some rest and finding once again that the Joy of the LORD is our Strength. Thankful for His steadfastness in a mutual and sometimes chaotic world.

This month we are catching up on some translation projects.  Please pray as we work this month translating the book of Hebrews.  We hope to get it al least to the half way point before we begin our travels to touch base with our churches down south and visit with many of YOU!

As much as we love being home, as we begin to receive news about the EXCITING start to literacy in the KAJE tribe next door, it’s hard for our hearts not to long to be there, too.  We are so proud of the Goheen and the Myers families.  They have humble hearts who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, trust him, and love others. Many of you support and pray for them as well and they continue to just be such a blessing to us. They have worked so well with our Itutang church over the past few years and we are privileged to call them neighbors and friends.  Please pray for them as they begin literacy and teach over the next four months the FIRST KAJE READING classes EVER!  Praise the Lord!

Our home church in Itutang is doing well and they actually sent some words of thanks and some prayer requests to you.  You can see the video and the translation of their thanks here. it was good to spend a few weeks with the young men of our church at the conference in Madang just before we left.  There was SUCH a good response and some good time one on one with us and the elders of the church speaking heart to heart with our young men.  Please pray that the Lord will raise up a next generation of leaders who seek God and desire to live in obedience to Him. Speaking of the NEXT GENERATION…

We are excited to let you know that things are moving forward in the Ramu Valley School Project!  After many years of prayer in the Itutang church, we officially have a piece of beautiful waterfront property to build our school on!  This is a huge undertaking and we have no real precedence to follow, so we humbly ask that you would put us, the church, the NTM leadership, and this project before the Lord daily.  Please ask for wisdom, finances, and prepared students.  We have given over a decade to church development on the ground in the tribe and have seen the Lord do MORE than we could ask or think.  Now, we look forward to seeing what He will provide in the coming decade as we commit ourselves together with you and the churches of the Ramu Valley to Him and equip that next generation for His work of reaching the unreached in PNG.  We are thrilled (and nervous) about this opportunity, but know that with God ALL THINGS are possible.  Not just a cliché!

We will be building teams for fundraising, building & construction, teaching & administration, and practical skills and helps/discipleship. We hope to begin the building process January 2019 and enroll the first class January 2020, but there are some major milestones to hit before then! If you are interested in helping to make the Ramu Valley Academy a reality for the churches of the Ramu, please contact us at bill_housley@ntm.org or visit our project page with Ethnos360 here. Your help is needed both stateside and on the ground in PNG – for a month, or a year – whatever He might be nudging you to give. THANK YOU for your many faithful years of prayer and support.  We honestly could not and would not be here were it not for YOUR obedience to give and encourage us in this ministry.  We are thankful that we do not serve alone, that He walks with each of us and that our RAMU VALLEY TEAM includes YOU! THANK YOU!

By God’s Grace & For His Glory~

Bill and Kelley Housley

A Time For Thanks…

CLA - Bill .JPG

Dear Friends,

As we mark a decade of the gospel in Itutang and the celebrated season of Thanksgiving, we have been taking time to read through journals and remember some of the highs and lows of the last ten years. Today’s remembrance comes with praise to an Almighty God and a Thank You – to YOU.  He heard your prayers and kept us in the tribe in 2009 when my allergies were threatening to kick us out.  Thank you for your faithfulness in upholding us body, mind, and soul.  We seriously couldn’t be here if you weren’t there.  THANK YOU.

Nov 25, 2009  Dear Prayer Warriors and Sending Churches,

Hello!  Bill here.  I want to thank you so much for your prayers.  The Lord has helped me, and I am doing a lot better.  My eyes got to the point to where I was rubbing them so much and they were almost completely swollen shut and very painful for several days last week. We are thankful for everyone’s prayer and help. Being in a remote location where you are exposed to so many different kinds of things, allergies can be a little scary.  I know a lot of people that have had to leave the tribe because of them and so I am so thankful the Lord has helped me through this and answered your many prayers on my behalf. Thank you. Please continue to pray for the church in here as well. They need so much yet and we are not anywhere near finished with the work in here.

As we prayed together this morning, we thanked the Lord that I was able to stay in 2009 and that the allergies I battle now are minimal compared to what I went through back then.  We also thanked Him for YOU.  So thankful to be part of the Body of Christ.

 By God’s Grace & For His Glory~

Bill and Kelley

Missionary Journeys & Joys…

Missionary Journeys and… Literacy Coming to a Brand New People Group!!! A More Detailed Update of our Last Two Weeks for Supporters!

“…Paul sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.”  Acts 20:17

Thank you for your constant prayers and encouragement to us. We have had a very FULL two weeks in the Ramu Valley and are so excited to report to you what the Lord has been doing! This is a longer report for our supporters who want to know what we are doing in more detail so no guilt if you don’t read on! 🙂   Thanks for being a part!

Conference Time Out

Two weeks ago, we had a lovely conference up in the highlands meeting together with other fellow missionaries serving here in the Central Area of PNG. The full-time support staff and all the new missionaries waiting on allocation did a fantastic job of hosting, encouraging, and making us all laugh, too.  The visiting church team from the US shared refreshing and convicting messages that we all benefited from very much. So thankful for the support teams that are spread around the country to facilitate the church planting works in the bush going strong.  They are many times the unsung heroes and often the backbone of the Church Development movement here in PNG. After conference and after a few short teaching modules back at the orientation centre in Madang, we headed home to Itutang for another visit.

Itutang & Our Sending Churches Touch Once Again

We woke up early and loaded several heavy boxes of Bible Curriculum onto the dolly and then loaded them into the 4-wheel Land Cruiser. Ben Gauntlett, one of our favorite support team drivers, loaded us up along with one of the leadership couples from NTM Germany and we were off.  Up the beautiful North Coast Road, past beautiful beaches and volcanoes, into Bogia township.  We sat on the public boat dock and waited for our ride.  The NTM helicopter made a perfect landing againstthe backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and we were off.  Up over Manam volcano and across a vast inhabited jungle and back to our little home in Itutang village.  We were greeted by Promise Vaughan, who works next to us with some bilinguals for the Tangguat ministry along her visiting missions pastor and his wife. They spent the next three days understanding the Inapang and Tangguat works and forming relationships with the people and us, hearing their hearts and administering sweet member care to our PNG-American village church team.  Thankful for churches who are willing to spend and be spent to visit their missionaries on the ground and gather a complete picture of the church and her needs and then give welcomed advice and input. We were able to connect with sweet believing friends again, feast together every night on the sweet Itutang hospitality, and hear the struggles and joys that continue to face our home church in Itutang.  We were encouraged by a new “elder in training” who shared God’s Word and by the mature elders who stood up after him and gave everyone even deeper insights and exhortations after the teaching of the Sunday passages.

Pray for the tribal church leaders, guys.  IMG_7888They are pastors who deal with messy churches.  They don’t get to write updates and post their results on social media.  They just quietly work where the Lord has placed them and patiently look towards heaven.  We are humbled and honored to be their co-workers. They will be the honored princes one day.  

When the King returns, all the rules change.

First Books in a New Language

The following week, the visitors were off – back to America – and Promise and I and two of our Itutang Literacy Supervisors headed to the neighboring people group to assist the missionary team there in the formatting and writing of their first literacy primers in this mother tongue!  Thankful for the Itutang supervisors, Ambo and Vinansus, who are bilingual and helped write some of the Reader material for the teams. Thankful also for Promise who came along and provided invaluable help and phonemic analysis input to the team there! The team itself has worked super hard and has done an immaculate job in their language learning, culture documentation, and literacy prep. The team has also had some really hard hits this year (deaths of parents at home, loss of a baby, medical medevacs) and we were encouraged by the way they (and their kids) are able to verbalize a new higher dependency and need to trust in Jesus.  One of the little girls on the team img_2420.jpgwrote a song that spoke about the loss of the much anticipated sibling and how in the end we “...just gotta trust in Jesus.  Such a sweet time with the Kaje team and they accomplished 6 of their 8 needed books in a very short few days.  Please be praying for the Goheens and Myers families as they continue on toward the presentation of the gospel message in this language. It was so fun to be representatives of three language groups working together and modeling the spirit of unity.  Before they even hear Christ – we hope we help them see Him.

Missionary Journeys

While Promise and I worked in the neighboring language group, Bill embarked on his own missionary journey to visit the 8 Inapang churches as well as the one in Tangguat.  Over all,  he walked more than 50 miles for the sake of meeting with Bible teachers and elders in each village church throughout the language group and offering encouragement and exhortation to them through the Word of God and a personal visit. He was encouraged by those he met with in each village and was reminded again that maturity is a messy process –  but a miracle and work of God when we remember where they came from just years ago and where they are today.

The Bible teachers and elders all met up with him again early Thursday morning.  This time they all hiked to him and met in the translation office.  He was able to distribute more teaching curriculum to the churches that aren’t writing their own lessons yet and also books of the translated portions that we have in the Inapang language.  He was also able to say goodbye one more time to them all as we head out the end of the year for a much anticipated time of rest at home in the US. After these meetings, Bill hiked once again over and found Promise and I.  Promise hiked back home with the Itutang guys after our literacy goals were met and Bill and I hiked back out to the station where Ben G was once again waiting with that blessed 4-wheel drive vehicle and we loaded in our sweaty, stinky bodies and took off for our 5-hour drive back down the coast to Madang.

No Rest For the Weary 🙂  

We arrived in Madang and the next day, we began PNG Field Leadership Team meetings.  Bill is involved as the Church Development Director and I take minutes so it is always a busy week. We are so thankful for the leadership team here at this time.  Such a joy to work and watch them process together.  One of the items on their busy agenda was our proposal for the Ramu Valley Academy project!  We have been thinking about this for many years and have been in process of passing this proposal through for the last year, now.  So, we were elated that the PNG team here have given final approval! We had been fasting and praying this week with our churches in America and in Itutang that if this is something the Lord wants to do that it would be passed this time around and if not, that he would shut it down for us.  We just wanted a little confirmation from Him as we step out into this next area of need for the Itutang church.  Our PNG team here is forward thinking and will try this with us and evaluate the effects on the local churches and we are SO thankful!!!  This vision started many years ago in Itutang and the details came together around the campfires of our Itutang church elders and as we brainstormed with them and now here we are!  We will have more on this once we talk with our leadership team in the US and others and will let you know how you can be a part very soon. Thanks for all who have prayed.  This was a huge blessing to our hearts this week.  As many of you know, this has been a rough year in our lives and the life of our church and we are thankful that in all that comes, He keeps giving the grace for the Itutang church and us to say, “Blessed be the name of our Lord.”   He.Is.Worth.It.

We can’t say THANK YOU enough.  We could never be here without you and we can’t wait to see some of you face to face next year.  We are beginning to think about our furlough plans and would love to add a visit with you to our list.  Just let us know via email if you’re interested!

By His Amazing Grace and For His Glory Alone,

Bill and Kelley

10 Years With the Gospel: ANNIVERSARY UPDATE

The ‘Wanbel’ Factor & Its Affect on the Gospel Reception in Remote & Unreached Places…Ten Years Later

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.”   Romans 6:17-18

 

 fullsizeoutput_1615A Tale of Two Testimonies and a Decade to Prove It

Many of you will remember the day – exactly 10 years ago today- when the Story of God & Mankind culminated in the narrative of the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  On September 19, 2007, we wrote:

“The people sat and listened to the story of the cross today and then watched the short drama. As we broke into groups afterward, we were encouraged with what we heard.  It was a long day as we sat and listened and talked, but they are very much in awe of the fact that He was perfect and clean and yet he died…in fact without fighting back when he COULD have.  He had all power to do whatever he wanted and yet he WILLINGLY DIED FOR SINFUL UNDESERVING MEN!!!! 

That was an amazing day – and week.  We remember specifically hearing the testimonies of “Alambarə” and Gumentige in particular and rejoicing.  But, as we listened to testimonies, we listened with ears and hearts which knew from our culture study that Wanbel Factor was going to skew what we would be hearing initially and that the litmus test would be time…discipleship…and then more time. Today, ten years later, only one of these two men ever showed the fruits of belief. What happened?

What is the Wanbel Factor?

Social Harmony is a phenomenon of unity in PNG.  It is called in the local dialect ‘wanbel.’  This means literally ‘one belly’ or ‘one stomach’ and exposes one of the major themes of their culture, which is to live in agreement and for the village to “sit down together with cool stomachs.”  Other cargo cults beliefs can also play into this as some cultures believe that once a society finds the right words and actions to do with ‘wanbel’, they will find the literal road to western cargo and the margin between the living standard of the west and this third world culture will finally close. ‘Wanbel’ exists in cultures throughout PNG, although the implications and rituals will differ from culture to culture. Do you see some possible conflict of interest when the gospel is presented? Even reading this very modest definition of ‘wanbel’, the spiritual mind, although unfamiliar with PNG culture, begins to see the potential for “rice Christians” – people who are committing verbally to Christ for other underlying reasons. As Christians, we are never promised health, wealth, prosperity or ‘wanbel’ here on earth across the board. Luke 12:51 reminds us that Jesus himself asked, “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth?  No, I tell you but rather division.”  The theme is throughout the entire Bible from beginning to end.  We see the burgeoning effects of sin on mankind culminate into a stream of constant divisions between those who repent in humility and those who rebel in self exertion. In many times and cultures, confessing with your mouth would result not only in division, but in instant persecution and possibility of death. But, what about wanbel cultures where the gospel is sometimes embraced without thoughtful consideration as a societal expectation?

The “Wanbel” Factor & Its Effects on the Gospel in Remote Unreached Places

So, how is the presentation of the gospel affected when dealing with the PNG ‘wanbel’ system which accepts the gospel as a whole society and what does the serious church planter  and missionary do about it?

First, we must know the languages and cultures in which we work. This understanding is essential.  We are bringing Christ’s very own good news to men. It is an important stewardship and calls us to predict, preach…and then disciple well. We must study culture well and understand that in many unreached and isolated societies where they have no formal religion prohibiting them from hearing the gospel, there usually has been a hopeless feeling of disconnect from the modern world and very little outside influence of any kind. When the missionary arrives and seemingly has life and material goods figured out and since there isn’t much else vying for the village’s attention, the missionary can often expect a village-wide turnout. Part of culture study is realizing that if the gospel is at that time truly believed and accepted by a majority of the village, it may be expected that ALL members of a wanbel society make a profession to this new allegiance together in hopes for true social harmony that will lead to the other cargo cult fulfillments. In this type of ‘wanbel’ society, it can also be predicted that any change, including the gospel, will most likely be embraced initially in full by the entire society with little to no persecution. This is very good as it provides the long-term church planter with an open area to work for many years.  This is also very bad because the purity of the universal church and the church’s growth throughout history has been brought about by such persecution.

Secondly, as church planters, we must pray for wisdom and be in it for the long haul. Time will tell.  That’s discipleship.  We must take the time to finish the work. We know from Scripture that God’s Word will not return void and he calls us to more than just preaching.  He calls to “make disciples of all nations” which requires that we spend time with people, hearing their testimonies and asking questions to make sure they understand the gospel well. And then, we wait.  While we wait, we do life with them. And while we do life, we give time for the Word to do its work – to divide the wheat from the tares.  We keep teaching and exhorting and praying.  This is a time for waiting on Christ.  Abiding in him and trusting him with the results. When we first presented the gospel, almost every adult in the village made a verbal profession of faith. Ten years later, in accordance with the parable of the sower, about 50% of these are still following, faithful or fruitful. Like the parable, many never had any change of heart or change of allegiance.  Some have even become cargo cult leaders who are actually persecuting and hostile towards the present day leadership of the village church once their cargo cult dreams were not realized. They followed the gospel like Judas who followed Christ while the going was good, but time tells the whole story.

In conclusion, as church planters working among the unreached and isolated, the gospel may be accepted well and without hesitation, which will require wisdom. When church planters are dealing with cultural implications on every universal level of life, they must think clearly.  Know the culture.  Know the worldview.  Be able to predict the response this particular culture will have to the gospel.  And, then stay to help them wade through the aftermath of the gospel impact on their culture.  Stay long after the “new” of the teaching has worn off and the confessions grow cold.  Stay courageously through the sicknesses, the deaths, and the persecution.  Help those who are walking in their new faith to keep their eyes fixed on that greater weight of glory and the hope that we have been promised.

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 9.00.21 PMTen Years Faithful 

As we continue to pray for “Alambarə,” we rest in the fact that he has heard the truth – many times.  And we rejoice in what the Lord is doing in those who have believed and their ongoing burden for those who have not believed and those who still have never heard. Take a look back at some of the first confessions of Kletus Gumentige, who has been functioning as a church elder for 7 years.  Gumentige saw his sin and repented and then began to see the entire culture around him with clear spiritual eyes:

September 19, 2007 ~ Today as Bill talked with Gumentige (Kletus) and some of the guys today, he read in Isaiah where it says that all who fashion idols for worshipping are fools.  Gumentige said to Bill, “That’s us right there…fools.  Remember when we went over to the other village and you saw our custom where we blow the bamboo pipes for the spirits?  Well, we had a meeting before that and said…maybe if we show the white man our biggest custom, they’ll show us their customs and we can find the road to money.  That was so stupid!  Now, I am thinking that God let us think like that and used our bad thinking to put our sin right out in the open.”  

This is only the work of a good, and sovereign God and He alone is worthy of praise.  May we all see our own cultures with as clear a view today. Please pray for Gumetintige and the other church leadership.  Pray for us as we continue to work and serve the Inapang church and finish the translation.  Our Itutang elders will be coming out to the orientation campus next week to share with the new missionaries and teach a couple of modules.  Please pray for them and Promise as they travel out via canoe/road.  Thank you for your faithful prayer and support these many years.  We LOVE being your ambassadors and serving side by side with you for the glory of the Only One Who Is Worthy! 

By God’s Grace and For His Glory~

The Housleys