Dear Praying Friends,
What an incredibly life changing week for so many people around the globe. Our hearts break for those souls who are dying from the sickness of this fallen world and for those who are facing these fears without the hope of the gospel. We pray that this time is a time when the Lord uses you to reach out (with good hand-washing of course 🙂 to the lost around you who need hope. So much has happened here in the last few weeks. To save you time, words and space, we have put them into bullet points below.
- Christmas in Itutang, time spent with the churches in Itutang and Tangguat
- We came back to Madang with Lydia, Anton’s daughter to help her with some educational needs for a few months.
- We moved into the new RVA teacher house and spent a few weeks completing the final projects inside the house.
- We began the His Story Bible lessons here in the Local community and was blessed to see many of our friends attend and take notes week by week
- Dad joined us in February to get ready for two teams and just be an all-around encouragement
- Our RVA team prepped food and lodging for the incoming team from Broadway Baptist in Maryville, TN and then the senior class of Numonohi Christian academy here in PNG
- The teams arrive and for 2 weeks we had non-stop work, food, fun, and fellowship.
- These guys raised the roof on our four-classroom building with such joy and zeal it hardly seemed like work!
- While we were hearing about the CoVid19 pandemic, it still seemed very far away until we heard my mom had flown through Paris (which was now an epicenter) on her way to Africa for their team’s work there and wouldn’t be able to return through Europe. She re-routed through another African country and arrived home safely, but with fever and cough. Of course, she had to be put through quarantine and viral testing but came back negative for both malaria and CoVid19. Praising God for that!
- It seems from that point on, things began to cascade here. As international borders began to close, we began having to change plans and get people home. The NCA team got back to Goroka as planned. The BBC team got back to TN and we got my dad on one of the last flights out of PNG to Australia and then one of the last flights out of Australia. He and mom are back home together now.
- The PNG government was proactive in shutting its borders internationally and then this week enforced a provincial lockdown, closing off any borders and travel between provinces. To ensure Joshua and Amelia, their children and Anton’s daughter stay safe in the face of a lot of uncertainty, we along with the RVA team and the e2 students contributed to get them up the road and back into the tribe. Since schools has been cancelled, when Eric drove them up the road, he was able to pick up the other Itutang students who would be stranded in town with the school closings. They should be in safely by now, but unfortunately the tower must be down as we have heard from no one in the village all week, which isn’t normal. Thankful that we were able to get them back up the road and they were sent with some educational flyers to help our friends in the village understand what is happening in PNG and around the globe.
- Our provincial government has also posted notice to stay in our houses or localities for the next 14 days. So we are. After catching up on some rest and getting the house cleaned from all the team and travel, we are getting to a few lingering projects and to our translation and office work. Everyone here has food for a couple of weeks and essential stores and services are still open in Madang town. We are proud of how the government has handled things so far. The new Prime Minister even called for a Day of Prayer and Fasting to ask for God’s protection. There was one case diagnosed in PNG and treated and then transferred back to Australia.
We wait….like all of you there. And we trust that this is what He said is good for us today and we make use of the time. We live inside a large fenced in area that is shared by RVA and NTM-PNG. We will continue to teach classes, work on translation projects and RVA projects and will learn in this new season to wait patiently on the Lord.
During this world-wide “down time,” if you find yourselves with more time to pray, we would like to pass on some specific points that we would love for you to join us in praying through:
- Health and Protection of those us living in a third world country with grounded domestic air travel and provincial border closures.
- Pray that the cellular tower would work and we could get word from the Itutang village about the safe arrival of Joshua and Amelia.
- For the village churches scattered throughout the Ramu Valley – including the new baby Christians in Kaje!
- For Promise Vaughan and her plans as she is stuck outside the country wit closed international borders now.
- For the lost around the world to be drawn to the hope within all of us as the Body of Christ globally as we react without fear to the unknowns around us.
- For RVA construction. One team for June is already considering cancelling. We have another lined up for July and a possible fall trip. We need manpower to finish current projects and start up the next line.
- For physical health and stamina for Bill and I. We are hitting the 50 mark and as a friend of ours says, “The engine lights start coming on.” We are both battling with ongoing “thorns in the flesh” and want to be faithful to the end, not set back by little sufferings or by our desire to just “have it easy” for a while. Pray that we would continue in the hope and joy of the Lord.
- For Marissa Myers who will be joining us in the fall as an RVA teacher. Pray that she would still be able to come as planned.
- For Kitchens and Awangins (Joshua and Amelia), Marissa and us as we work together as a team.
- Pray that Bill and I would communicate the Vision of RVA well as our team forms and that we would keep the local Ramu Valley churches in mind as we communicate that vision.
- Pray that those who join would be true learners who ask lots of questions and purposefully work to understand the rationale behind the philosophy and decisions so that they can adapt and fully support the Ramu Valley Church plants as we educate their children.
- Pray for our local community here in Madang as we postpone church, Bible study, and other community meetings for the next 14 days in compliance with the provincial and local notices.
- Pray for the kids who will be attending our first RVA classes next year. Pray that the Lord would begin working in their hearts and making them open to what He has in store for each of them in the years ahead.
- Pray for sponsors for each student. We are working on an information sheet to send out explaining why we feel it is important for each student to have a spiritual sponsor. Pray for those who will become part of these students’ lives via distant communication/support.
A Praise from Yesterday:
One of the men in the community who has been attending the weekly His Story Bible study contacted a friend of ours on campus here and let him know that although we wouldn’t be meeting in a big group, that he would be gathering his family together to sing and to review the lessons that they have learned so far. This was honey to everyone’s heart. We pray that God would raise up men and women in this local community who love Jesus and are willing to be spent for his kingdom. Please pray for the Kananam community here where the RVA school property is on the outskirts of Madang town.
Guys, we love this job. And we love doing it together as a team with all of you. Please know that we are encouraged in the work here in PNG. And, although there is much uncertainty with the lockdowns, the state of the healthcare centres, closed international borders now, and a thousand others changes from day to day….that it is well with our souls. We are especially meditating on Psalm 46 and relishing the thought that we can be still and know that He is God and will be exalted among the nations. We are not in fear of an untimely death. We know that the one who marked our birth day has marked our last day and that both days were written with the purest ink flowing from an unconditional perfect love.
By God’s Grace & For His Glory~
Bill and Kelley Housley