So thankful to have had the opportunity to host believers from several people groups around PNG this week at the Madang Training & Recruitment Centre for various meetings. Three of our own Itutang elders and one of our literacy teachers joined our PNG literacy consultant team for the introduction of some new literacy software that is going to make constructing the materials for new indigenous literacy programs much easier and more accurate. They did a great job and we are excited to try it out on our own literacy materials and do some revisions as we move into a more kid-oriented program in the future as adult literacy is coming to an end in our language group. Thankful for the McDaniels, our NTM International Literacy Consultants, who flew in for this workshop with us. What a blessing to learn from them!
Besides the literacy workshop, the Field Leadership Team was also in full swing. Two of the elders from the Islands area of PNG sat in with our Directors to discuss some key Church Development issues, which is affecting some of our tribal churches. So thankful for these wise men who are able to think biblically and are concerned about the gospel, for its opportunities outside their borders and for their next generation of believers. We also had a few men from another area here in Madang who shared a burden on their hearts concerning partnering with a local church to so a cross cultural outreach. Please pray for the tribal churches of PNG!
Many nights this week, Bill was found out with the men listening in the background to the conversations between these tribal church elders. Thankful especially for Kaikou and Kewaka who have been to Itutang several times before to give us church evaluations and just spend time with the leaders in our church. Our elders carry such a large burden as they look after their church and support the other 7 churches in the Inapang language group. So, it was good to see them be able to discuss their own worries and concerns and have other older elders listening and giving input. What a blessing. Spending nights out talking with all of these amazing believing men and women, we are reminded once again of the realness of the need, the urgency of the task and the stewardship that we have to do what we have been sent here to do. Thank you for your monthly prayer and support that allow us to serve the Inapang churches and work to train men and women who have come to join the team and help in the task.
A short story:
You will remember hearing about Joshua and Amelia. They are an Itutang couple who moved out to Madang with us when we began living itinerant here. They have been excellent and faithful co-workers and have been such an encouragement to every new orientee family who comes through the training program here as they pour into their lives. We absolutely love their hearts.
A man named Ato stood before the class of new families and pointed out the places on the map around him. Places where they have family and friends who are asking to hear the gospel, but no one working in that language group yet. Amelia was shaking her head as she listened and whispered under her breath, “God, please send someone to help them.” As they listened to these men from the Mibu tribe share their story and needs, they were both burdened. They wanted to help. What could they do? As you can imagine, living on the centre here, they receive a lot of clothes and small things from missionaries who are passing through. They keep an action packer full of these things for times just like this. They pulled out the box and took out some clothes and things and packed them together and went to find the two men. Amelia came over so excited the next day because they were already wearing the clothes that they had passed on to them. She said, “This is what we are supposed to do. Some people give to us and we give to others. This is what the Body of Christ does.” Amen and Amen. Please pray for Joshua and Amelia as she is now pregnant with her second child. She has lost one in labor before, so please pray for a healthy delivery here next fall!
Today, about 30 men and women from Itutang and Mbongen village came to the centre in Madang to pick up our elders and take them back up North Coast Road to catch the motor canoe back into our little neck of the woods called Itutang. Anton shook hands hard and looked in our eyes and said, “Thanks for taking care of the needs of our bodies, but also for hearing our underneath thinking and strengthening us to keep doing the work of the Lord.” And, I thought of what Amelia had just said a couple of days earlier, “This is what we are supposed to do. Some people give to us (you all – financially and prayer/encouragement) and we give to others. This is what the Body of Christ does.” So as you look at the picture attached to this email, please take time to see the faces. This is the Body of Christ – our brothers and our heroes of the faith – men who need love, support, and encouragement just like you and I.
We are reminded of this in George MacDonald’s Unspoken Sermons when he writes, “-we shall never be able, I say, to rest in the bosom of the Father, till the fatherhood is fully revealed to us in the love of the brothers. For he cannot be our father save as his is their father; and if we do not see him and feel him as their father, we cannot know him as ours.”
Thank you for your continued prayers for us and our family and the Inapang churches.
By God’s Grace and For His Glory~