Dear Praying Friends,
Good Morning from PNG! We count it a privilege to have so many of you faithfully praying and standing with us still. It has been quite the year and we are thankful that on the good days and the bad days, we have Jesus ~ the immutable constant in our lives. Knowing that his plans, his character and his mercies never fail and that he is collecting workers and building his church exactly the way that He wants to build it always gives us hope. Bill is presently translating 2 Timothy and studying through it together with the new orientee families here. This week’s passage begins with…
“But the Word of God is not bound! So, I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.”
What a great reminder as we read this together this morning to press on because He is truly Worthy – and no other reason. Some of you are asking for more details about how we and the other works around us are doing and we are thrilled for the vision that you continue to hold with us as this network builds. Here’s a quick update on the churches and future church plants around the Ramu and ways you can support with prayer:
Bill is on the phone with Anton as I write. The church is doing well – with all the normal struggles and heavies that come with living in community. They were encouraged by a visit by our co-worker, Daniel, recently. He was able to meet with many of the Bible teachers from the other 8 churches and was especially encouraged by the 5th church plant, which is about 3 hours away from us. The Itutang church is currently in the process of choosing more elders and deacons to help in the work and that has been quite a process and they could use your prayers for that. Please pray for the elders as they are carrying a lot of responsibility at the moment. They are no different from us – they get tired and need breaks and encouragement. In fact, if any of you would feel led to write an email of encouragement to these men in English, we would love to pass it on to them when we visit again in the coming months. Just send it to firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you!!!
Promise is faithfully working on the translation project and although she has finished the draft of the book of Romans, there is still much checking and revising to do. Please pray for her as there have been many distractions (both good and not so good) in the village and life in general. Pray for stamina! She’s doing no easy job. From Promise, we have heard that the Itutang elders have continued to hold this work at levels that they hadn’t anticipated and they are still doing it amidst accusations that they aren’t doing enough. The elders have voiced concerns to Promise about the church disappearing altogether. It has been a continued challenge as the original teachers have disqualified themselves on different levels (either not teaching well or for sin issues), but the Lord is bringing up some key men who are newer believers to carry on with the work. There is a huge need for discipleship here. At a meeting this week on location at the Tangguat church, about 5 people showed up with a couple trickling in at the end. One of the cargo cult leaders also showed up and accused the Itutang elders of hiding information and the missionaries of not fulfilling their promises. This was discouraging for the elders, but they continue on with integrity. Anton called after this and reviewed with Bill how they had handled it and we are so thankful for the wisdom and love they still have for people who are so unthankful and full of false narratives. There are people in two other Tangguat villages who want literacy and to hear the the Creation to Christ teaching, but have no one to teach them at the moment. Pray for men who know this language to be raised up and made ready to tell the life-giving story. Pray for the souls in these other two villages who are waiting. Also continue to pray for encouragement for Promise and the ongoing translation process.
This church is post-gospel and many of you have been following their updates already. God has been very good. The church is alive with many believers. But, the nourishing work of discipling them through their real life day by day is just beginning. Please pray for this team as they purpose to work together to disciple the Iski by walking through life and the rest of the NT with them.
Exciting days for this group! They are on the verge of finishing their orthography and beginning the literacy prep needed for developing their first set of books in the Kaje language! We just met with them tonight and are hoping that we and the Itutang literacy supervisors and another literacy consultant will be able to make a visit in the coming months! The team has worked well and have been an excellent testimony. We were able to talk with some men from the Kaje village this week and are encouraged by the relationships there as they talked so highly of Jon and Taylor and their wives. The team is shooting for presenting the gospel in about a year’s time! Pray for team unity, wisdom and stamina for the coming days as well as hearts who are prepared to hear truth very soon!
We are so thankful when we look at the work the Lord has done in the Valley in the last decade and we see clearly that the Word of God IS NOT BOUND! IT WILL GO FORTH! Hallelujah! We are also super excited and thankful that we will be……grandparents soon! This, of course, called for a change in our schedule for the coming year and we are looking forward to coming home and connecting with many of you that we haven’t seen since 2008-9 when we took a furlough trip through the States. Hoping to see many of you soon and encourage you and be encouraged by you as we share more face to face!
Thanks for standing with us in prayer as we work here. We love being part of a team who encourages and pushes us back toward Christ and the strength that only comes from Him! We love being your ambassadors here in the Ramu Valley!
By God’s Grace and For His Glory~
Bill and Kelley