“…but what JOY for those who take refuge in Him!”
Dear Praying Friends,
We are FULL of thanks this morning for God, His Word, and each of YOU. It’s been a busy couple of months and most of you follow our facebook page or the Ramu Valley Academy page and have seen the progress, but we wanted to write a longer update here for those of you who are praying faithfully for us and this ministry.
HUGE PRAISE of PROMISE! Thanks to God for opening doors and bringing Promise Vaughan back into PNG. Promise is safely back in PNG and in quarantine for the next two weeks. After that, she will return to our little village of Itutang to continue her work with the Itutang elders in. supporting the Tangguat village church from there with her ongoing translation project.
The INAPANG CHURCHES’ GROWTH and THIS WEEK’S CONFERENCE!!! The churches in the Inapang language group are continuing to grow amidst many difficulties. The elders from our local Itutang village church came out to visit last month for a translation check here in Madang. Besides checking almost 2,000 verses, it was encouraging to catch up and hear how things are going there. They called again yesterday afternoon to ask us to pray. SO, WE ARE ASKING YOU TO PRAY WITH US! There will be a Bible Conference in the Valley and men and women from the various churches will be gathering to STUDY, READ & PRAY together. Please pray for their time together to knit them closer together as a BODY as many of the churches are several hours hikes away from each other. Also pray for those who would like to disrupt and destroy. No culture is without its people who despise good.
The RAMU VALLEY TRIBAL CHURCHES IN FOUR LANGUAGE GROUPS Please continue to pray for the bordering churches in the TANGGUAT, KAJE, and ISKI language groups as well. Pray that the Spirit of the Lord would bind them together and that they would seek unity and to mutually encourage one another through the WORD as the trials of life come.
The RVA TEAM GROWS! The RVA team started with us two Housleys and grew to include Joshua and Amelia Awangin, our Itutang co-workers. Then, last year, the Lord added the Kitchens family from our Kentucky home church to our little team. Both families have been a blessing in many, many ways and have helped encourage our hearts and propel the work forward. Now, it is with GREAT HOPE & JOY that we announce the coming arrival of MARISSA MYERS from Maryville, TN! We are thrilled to have another teacher joining our team as we move towards the opening of the academy in January of next year! Please pray that all her paperwork will be completed by the government agencies in the next week or so allowing her to move forward…..to PNG!
The RAMU VALLEY ACADEMY Grows! The Progress Report
It’s fun to watch the work go forward in photos and video, so we encourage you to check out our facebook page called Ramu Valley Academy to see the progress documented there. But, for a quick overview here, we will say the LORD HAS BEEN GOOD. The workshop, teacher house and well/septic have been completed under budget. Bill and Eric and Joshua have almost completed the classroom building with only some minor projects left inside the two upstairs classrooms, the washroom is in progress and the village churches are coming soon to build their student houses. The curriculum has been established with the local and national Education Department personnel. Kelley has written a 9-week (one term) curriculum called RVA FOUNDATIONS, which catches the student up to the level of curriculum that they will be jumping into for Term 2 of their first year. Although the students coming are some of the top students in our villages, the local educational systems have not prepared them for the 7th grade curriculum that RVA offers in conjunction with the PNG government. She has done research to see where the “below average” areas are in the incoming students and has tailored a foundational introduction course that catches them up for a strong start into Term 2 curriculum. There is much paperwork to be done when starting a non-profit school in another country legally and we are thankful for the members of the RVA Board of Directors and the NTM Business Manager and his department for helping us navigate through the legal waters and receive official government acknowledgement and approval for our academy!!! It truly takes a team and we have been blessed with a team of excellence. We also prayed and asked the Lord for some noble contacts to help encourage us along the way and he has answered. Besides the provincial and national educational advisors he has brought into our path, we have also received encouragement from our local community Council, the local Magistrate, and friends throughout this community and the wider Madang town. We began doing awareness projects for our academy last year which have consisted of assisting with COVID-19 and health awareness campaigns, building a local community bus stop on the corner of our property, and financing a local group of artists to paint the bus stop with a mural celebrating the local culture. For a closer look, please go to the Ramu Valley facebook page and check out the pictures and video. Please continue to pray that the Lord would grant us favor with the local and national governments as we move forward in helping the underprivileged find quality education here in PNG.
JUST US TWO
So what about Bill and Kelley? How are you two really doing? To be honest, this has been a very tough year. Lots of new things, lots of turnover on the NTM Centre next door that we still work with and teach in. Lots of changes in the local community, burdens for our local friends and what they hear about the Bible each week. Bill is currently teaching 4 times a week on top of the translation project and the RVA building project. He loves this part of ministry very much and is energized by his time out in the community Bible studies. Kelley has worked this year on the drafting of the book of John in Inapang, curriculum development and government paperwork and proposals and PR as well as mentoring a young girl from the village church who came to live with us for a while beginning in January. Turmoil across our home country and the global pandemic and the reporting of that overseas has added to the burden of living away from family. Our family at home is doing well amidst the turmoil and we are blessed from afar watching their ongoing, growing faith. We miss our girls and their families every day, but are thankful for their faith and their godly husbands who are seeking the Lord and seeking to lead well in these unprecedented days. We are truly blessed. We have another sweet grandchild on the way very soon and in the past, (besides a very long flight) getting home to our kids when we need to be there has been fairly easy. ENTER COVID. Our hearts are torn between leaving and being home to help for a short while and the concerns of travel bans that would keep us blocked out as the opening of the school encroaches. This year has been incredibly challenging on many levels. It has been a year that is sweet and full and exhausting and trying and magnificent and terrible. It has tested our faith, our physical stamina, our love for each other and even the Lord Himself at times. It has been all those things but in one word it has been GOOD. We serve a Good and Sovereign God who never called himself “safe”. We are anchored in his Son Jesus Christ. Our hope is there. Our love is there. Our obedience is there. It is where we are learning to live more dependently day by day. It where we are learning to love more, love deeper, love better and grow old gracefully. It is where we find him all-sufficient and where fixing our eyes on him truly makes the world around us (and those who seek to discourage) grow strangely dim because of the light of His glory and grace. We are good….because we serve a God who is GOOD.
How to PRAY
I’m sure you already have your list together after reading through this email, but specifically we would ask for YOU, our PRAYER WARRIORS. We need you to consistently pray for us. We need your prayers so much. We pray for YOU the same that we are praying for ourselves…that you would not be distracted as the nations rage. That you would watch less news and turn into the WORD more for your perspective. That you would not be sidetracked from accusations and rages that aren’t anchored in the. gospel of Jesus Christ. That you would stay focused and dedicated to the Great Commission although the ENTIRE WORLD is telling you that there are more important things going on globally. There is not. Souls and their eternity have always been the priority of our Father and His Son. Do not lose hope. Do not lose focus. People need you around the world. Guys, we need you. More than ever. Thank you for your faithfulness in being part of reaching the unreached with HOPE. May you find your anchor freshly attached to the HOPE again today.
By God’s Grace and For His Glory~
Bill and Kelley