When the “Spotlight of Suffering” shines on you, what will you do?

Anton and his wife, Ogagarasem, 4 days after losing their adopted son

As promised, we are writing today with an update about the tragedy that happened at the Guam River just feet from our back porch this past month. As you read this, please pray for Anton and his family as they continue to grieve for their lost adopted son.

December 4th, Tuesday – Anton, our main translation helper and one of our Itutang church elders, hiked over to the village of Bogan with Bill and a few of the other elders and deacons to meet with the Bogan church leadership, listen to their reports, and to encourage them and to teach through the book of Jude. The time together was excellent and all around encouraging.  One of the Bogan elders shared some of his “heavies” that he has endured in the past months – including being beat up with a stick for standing up for justice in the community. As they walked home, Anton thought about what the Bogan elder had shared.  He shared thoughtfully with Bill, saying, “You know, all these years that I have been a believer and a leader in the church, I haven’t really been tested.  I haven’t had any really big heavies like that.” 

Exactly one week later, December 11, Tuesday afternoon – Anton was helping the young men build a grand stand area for the upcoming soccer tournament that our village would be hosting this year.  There would be 14 soccer teams and 12 volleyball teams from all over the Ramu Valley descending onto our little village.  Many prayers had gone up for weeks now for safety and peace among the players…and for LIGHT.  The believers were praying that God’s light would be seen by those who had not yet heard the Good News in their own language yet. The soccer field was ready and the trophies had been bought in town and were ready to be placed in the grandstand. We were thankful for Anton and his concern for the young men of the community and the way he used his time to connect with them even though he himself doesn’t play soccer. He went out early Tuesday morning and began working beside the boys. His wife, Ogagarasem, had worked with Anton and the rest of the family to wash additional sago, the local staple, to have on hand for the number of visitors coming over the weekend and now she was going out to their swampland to try and bring additional fish to the menu as well. She took along her 12 year old daughter, Lydia, as well. 

The day started as any other. Ogagarasem’s younger sister, Jorjina, a caring and usually meticulous caregiver was watching Anton’s other three smaller children.  Denəva, was working around the house with Jorjina, doing what little girls do.  Darin, 7 years old, was following a neighbor and using his round net to try and catch small fish to use for bait later.  The river was high and running fast and he kept close to the edge as he threw the fish he caught into the dugout canoe nearby. Sarəstən, their 3 year old son was in the stilted cooking house with the older girls, but cried to go down the ladder to watch Darin catch fish. Sarəstən was adopted when he was only a few months old from an island called Karkar. He was a bright and friendly soul and would call out and offer food to people who were passing by. He knew people’s names – including ours, but he liked to call Bill “Mangi” which means, “little boy” in the national creole. 

Lydia holding her little brother, Sarəstən  18 months ago

The neighbor got permission to let him down and then left as Jorjina was headed down after him. As with many accidents, the next moments were blurred and only God knows which story is the one that truly happened next.

I left the metal classroom building with one of our teachers, Markus. We had been going over the diagnostics that we were using to test the grade 6 and 7 students there.  He followed me to my house, which sits next to Anton’s, and then he went down to see Anton’s children (his nieces and nephews) before heading home. As I stood on the porch, I heard the older girls begin to ask if he had seen Sarəstən. I went back down to the river edge and we began to call for him.  We looked along the bank, in the houses, around the school area.  Markus ran to get Anton and make sure that Sarəstən hadn’t taken off with someone to see his dad at the soccer field. Nothing. 

It seems the last one to see him was his brother, Darin, who said that Sarəstən had been standing on the bank and was watching him catch fish and then went back up on the bank a little. The best guess is that he walked over to the canoe to take a look at the fish that had already been caught and slipped into the rushing water between the bank and the canoe…and entered eternity. It was two hours before they could get to his mom and bring her back home where the village full on wailing and searching. 

I cancelled school testing. The young men cancelled tournament practice and drills. Work stopped all over the village and people came together to comb the water. They searched the clear areas and then began breaking up the logs jams as they checked in them. For three days, we searched.  Nothing.  

Day three of combing the Guam River area through our village of Itutang

Meanwhile, without any closure, the mourning was ongoing day and night. As unbelievers also came to search and mourn, they brought their stories with them. Consider the grief of losing a child this way, no idea of what actually happened, no body, no closure. Then, add to this the great animistic skill of hypothesizing and storytelling…it’s brutal.  Anton and Ogagarasem heard accusations that they were bad parents leaving their children at home (although they were left in very capable hands and did nothing that every other family in the village doesn’t do every single day). They heard that they were to blame because they weren’t there.  Jealous accusations came and they heard that they were to blame because they stay at the house too much like a white man (Anton had saved his money up several years ago and has a tin roof and water tank for his family to have fresh water, but still is on of the hardest workers with one of the biggest gardens in our area.) They heard that it was Ogagarasem’s little sister’s fault and that she should beaten and they heard threats that she would be killed. They heard that he wasn’t really in the water, that he would be like another village story that happened over a decade ago, where the boy showed up five days later, just lost in a garden. They heard that it was the spirit of another girl who drowned about 7 years ago in the same river and that she pulled him in. Days and days of lies compounding the pain of losing a child to this fast flowing body of water.  I watched them sit at the bank and weep helplessly looking at the place where he was last seen. I could only imagine the sifting that was going on in their hearts and minds and wondered, “What would be sifted out as lies and what would prevail as truth? What will this do to their faith?”  Mourning went on through the night for days. Our bed is only 50 feet from their house and so when a new round of wailing hit the night air, we would wake and pray quietly in our beds, begging God for strength and mercy for Anton and his family.

Wednesday and Thursday – these days were a blur, but Bill and Promise and I along with other believers all took turns speaking words of comfort and truth and encouragement, but these were hard, sifting days.  One believing friend came and reminded Anton of the pain of King David when he lost a child and reminded him that God gives life and takes it away – no one else. He encouraged them to eat something.  About 30 minutes later, Anton asked for a plate of corn that had been cooked to be brought over and they ate it. A woman came by and spoke to them and reminded them of the suffering of Job. She reminded them that Job was blameless and yet was tried and, in the end, blessed. She encouraged them toward belief in God’s goodness as well as his sovereignty in this hard pain. 

This tragedy was a blow – a swift and painful one.  The impact left this sweet couple wounded, raw, and open…and all eyes were on Anton and his wife.  Would they blame the sister?  Would they call for her to be beaten or killed? Would they blame God? Would Anton forsake the sovereign and good God that he always preaches about to others? The spiritual battle roared over our village for 4 days as we searched for a little brown body…and prayed..and waited.

December 14th, Friday morning about 10am – Anton and his wife walked over and said that they wanted us to eat with them. We said that of course we would and asked why.  They said that they wanted to cook for the village and that we were invited.  We offered to help with the cooking and donated some food as well. That night, as the sun sank over our village, 4 days after the river had swept a village son from all of us, we gathered in silence to hear Anton speak and to eat with the grieving family. Work and play had stopped out of respect for the family, but the soccer tournament officials had already begun to arrive and were also gathered with us now. Everyone was here waiting to hear what would happen next. 


December 14th, Friday afternoon – The food was put into plates and placed between their sleeping and cook houses. Anton stood beside the mass of plates and began to speak.  His speech is paraphrased here:

Thank you all for coming to eat with us tonight.  You know that we have had a big heavy come to our family. It is a very hard thing to have a son taken from us like this and not to have a body to bury. I don’t know why this happened to us, but I have heard many stories from some of you. I want you to hear this well.  When you come to my house, don’t be talking about how you think he died or about him at all.  It hurts too much.  Some of you are saying that a sanguma got him or that the spirit of the water took him.  I don’t believe these stories.  You who are believers in Jesus know what God’s Word says.  God is the only one who gives life and he is the only one who takes it away.  God took Sarəstən. He doesn’t tell us in his Word exactly what happens to little ones like this who are too young to understand their sin and the Good News. But, Sarəstən, at his mark, knew who God was.  He asked me last week who made the water as we were walking through the bush and I told him God did.  God gives life and God takes life.  Last week, I was walking with Bill and telling him that I haven’t had any hard heavies come up in my life. This was true.  Now, Ogagarasem and I  have had this very painful heavy come up in our life and it is good that we are tested.  I have spoken strongly with many of you about the goodness and power of God and I am going to stand up on God’s Word still.  I am not angry at anyone. Although, I may not come to the games, I want you boys to resume practice and to play.  I also want to tell you boys thank you for taking time to help me search for my son. Play your soccer games and play well and don’t be worried about playing while this heavy is still with us. I want the rest of you all to go back to work.  Sarəstən is in God’s hands.

The speech was not without tears and moments of silence and afterwards Anton came over and held our hands as he talked with Promise and Bill and I.  He thanked us for praying for him these past days.  He said that he knew that many people were praying because even though many people spoke truth to him, it hadn’t help him rein in his thoughts and doubts. He was really struggling with the goodness and sovereignty of God for the past three days. But then, that Thursday night, he was alone and he said God just assured him through his Word that this was in his hands and He could trust him.  Nothing about God had changed since Tuesday. God was the same.

There were many more moments that made us stand in awe of the power of God and to give praise that He gives His Holy Spirit to indwell and to help and empower mere mortals to fight these spiritual battles. And, later that next week, Bill was moved to see Anton out on the soccer field with all the young men around him as he prayed for them before their game. There is light here in the Ramu Valley.  Light that brings peace that passes all understanding. What a blessing to know these people.  To see their raw lives that cling unashamedly to Christ. To see true faith in a community in action. To see the Spotlight of Suffering reflected and magnified to honor Christ as the tragic story was spread along to the neighboring people groups who came to see a soccer game, but brushed up against an ambassador of Light of the World. 

Anton praying with our soccer team before the game

Pray that Anton and his family’s grief will be comforted and that they will use this experience to comfort others as the Spotlight of Suffering singles out the true children of the Suffering Servant and allows those who believe to experience the momentary afflictions and prepare for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparisons. Anton was an animist eleven years ago.  Today he is one of my spiritual heroes and mentors. 

Today – When the spotlight of suffering shines on you, what will you do?

Only By God’s Grace,

Bill and Kelley and the Itutang Church Community

Ramu Valley Academy End of Year Update


The Ramu Valley Academy grew out of an interdependent vision between us, our sending churches, and the tribal churches we serve int eh Ramu Valley.  RVA’s vision is to provide an educational venue that combines foundation Bible teaching, practical skills & discipleship, quality education, and safety for the children of our NTM-PNG church plants to learn more about their world and its Creator – to know Him more and to make Him known throughout the Ramu Valley and PNG.
This vision is slowly BEGINNING to move to reality thanks to a gracious God and YOU – the conduits of the physical graces of help and financial support! Thanks to all of you who have been praying and giving towards the Ramu Valley Academy project! As you know, we began raising funds February of 2018 for the first phase of the school project which includes three teachers houses, three classrooms, a washroom, a workshop and a manager’s flat.

As of the end of December of 2018, the funds for this phase of construction has been raised/ promised! It’s time for work to BEGIN!!!!

We are praising God for the way He has gone before us and stirred up hearts to PRAY and GIVE and GET INVOLVED! Our School Administrator, Eric Kitchens, will be en route to PNG with his family this year and we also have a couple of building teams lined up as well to pull your funds into a physical construct where learning can take BEGIN to take place. There are so many working on this from the various angles of construction, legal, educational, curriculum development, logistics and shipping materials, etc, etc. We are so thankful to be part of a larger global team who want to see this educational facility serve its stated purpose!

Please continue to pray for us as we move forward.

We have many needs and requests:
We are praying Psalm 90:17 – the same way we did so many years ago as we walked wide-eyed up the mountain of tribal church planting among the Inapang people group.
“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands; yes, establish the work of our hands!” Please pray this with us!
  • Pray as we develop a curriculum that will best serve the ESL and other needs of our students who are coming from rural and often failing educational systems.
  • Pray that the Lord will grant us favor in the eyes of the government and other officials that we will need approval from.
  • Pray for those who are working with us on the legal and financial sides to keep us above reproach as we form this new school.
  • Pray for our Board of Directors who are located in both the US and here in PNG – both ex-pat and citizens, that we would have wisdom as we walk forward.
  • Pray for the students. Pray that hearts would be softened and open to the gospel. Pray for hearts that will serve their local churches and communities. Pray that Christ will be made known through their lives and that the education we provide will propel the Great Commission here in PNG.
  • Pray for those of us who will teach and disciple that we would be sensitive tot he Holy Spirit and speak truth in our daily lives.
  • Pray that we would be loving, gracious, kind and yet courageous to do what He calls us to do next as we move forward with the RVA vision. It is not without adversity, within and without, that we go forward. And yet, the support and encouragement both here in country and overseas has been overwhelmingly encouraging to us as we walk where He leads us. Pray for physical strength and safety as we begin building in the coming weeks and continue to work with teams through the summer.
Thanks for taking time to read this RVA update and to commit these things to Christ, our anchor and our strength. Please take time also to THANK the LORD with us for his gracious provisions!
By God’s Grace and For His Glory~
The RVA Team
Want to do more?!! Click on the links below to see how you can BEGIN to play a bigger part in the lives of the children of the Ramu Valley!
  • To support Eric, our RVA School Administrator and his family through monthly giving as they move overseas to serve here in PNG, click here: ETHNOS360 Kitchens Family
  • To be part of the physical BUILDING crews this summer click here: Go:BUILD! and email the address at GO:BUILD!
  • To serve and share your gifts by TEACHING a core subject or a practical skill or sport (for a year at a time or for a shorter 1-2 week intensive course) click here: Go:TEACH! and email the address at GO:TEACH!
We will BEGIN putting together a schedule and syllabus for the year 2020 very soon!
Thank you.


Reflections from our time with the Inapang churches…

Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’  Mt.1:23

Dear Praying Team,

We’ve just returned from a two month visit with the Inapang churches in the Ramu Valley here in PNG. What a blessing it was to be back with our citizen and ex-pat team there and to see the continued growth among our brothers and sisters.

The Lord’s Supper with the Itutang church

This general update is one of reflection and of encouragement and thanks. Thanks to those of you who give and pray so that we might continue to be part of the local church and life of Itutang and thanks to Jesus Christ who gives us all a reason to celebrate this community we have through his Death and Resurrection. In the coming weeks, we will be sending out two more updates following this general report of our time in Itutang. One will highlight the giving towards the Ramu Valley Academy this year and the second will be a short narrative about a horrific drowning that took place on the banks of our Guam River right outside our house and the response of the family who lost their young son. There is truly a spiritual battle going on and we are thankful that the Author of Creation saw fit to write down the “end game” to keep us encouraged in our earthly fight as we journey together towards that celestial city. We are thankful that when the King returns, all the rules change and we certainly look forward to that day when Faith becomes finally Sight.

This Visit was a Time of Reflection…

In the initial days of missionary team formation we, like most missionaries, thought that our  “team” will always be these two or three families who are setting out to bring good news to a new language group. We pray, like most new teams, that we will stick it out together to see the work to its completion and maturity. Those are good and worthy and biblical thoughts and prayers, if short-sighted. Now, standing on the ridge of 15 years of church planting and look back over the valley we’ve traveled and consider what we thought then and what we hear from our local church elders today, we realize that our vision was incomplete.  For us, that initial “team” formation was crucial and we were blessed with some of the best families we could’ve asked for. But, that “team” lasted only three years before the gospel intervened and transformed our “team” to include more than just us. Now, brothers and sisters from Itutang who were now filled with the same Spirit, they now had the same seeds of the weight of the Great Commission and a desire to pursue holiness growing inside them as we had. Our team had expanded.  Our Body had grown. The long-term team that we often forget to strategize toward in tribal missions is truly that integrated Body of Christ. And, as we have matured alongside of them in our understanding of tribal church planting, we have come to see that our lives must bend to this Body, this team, their needs, and their community and ways of dealing with “the world” in their culture through the application of biblical teaching and practice. Finding  true relationship in the world of tribal missions often means putting off your own expectations of “community” and being accepted authentically into their real lives and together functioning as the Body of Christ. These new indigenous team members are wise and godly men and women who would surprise you with their knowledge of both Scripture and…their insights into the missionaries’ lives that they have been witnessing for over a decade. We all have much to learn from them if we take time to listen. For those of us who want to be part of the answer for more interdependent relationships within the local national churches, these men and women hold a wealth of wisdom and we are thankful to be able to learn from them. 

The local church team and community that exists in Itutang today is one that has an inter-dependent core of leaders including ourselves, the men of God who the Lord has called to serve as elders and their wives, the church deacons and their wives, Promise Vaughan, and the believers of the Inapang churches. Our time in Itutang this CHRISTmas season was a sweet one full of care, community, and CHRIST. Our souls were fed as we sat under the elders’ teaching through 2 Peter. Our hearts were encouraged as we were cared for and encouraged by the body of Christ and the raw and real community there – a community the world would call one of poverty and yet they are rich. They are not only rich with the endurance that comes through suffering and trusting in Christ alone, but also rich in their wisdom and their hope of eternal glory. They live and long for that celestial world and their joy in that hope contagiously affects those who rub shoulders with them and gives way to new and deeper longing for the eternal inheritance than one had before. In the coming weeks, we will share with you Anton’s story – an elder in Itutang who has just experienced the terrible loss of his son. His wisdom, his grace, his faith in Christ Jesus have shown us that there is a maturity there that sometimes we fail to see in ourselves and other missionaries here on the field. Life here is not an adventure for them. It is real and raw and painful and the maturity that comes through living on the edge with nothing to hold onto but Christ is something that calls us to awe in the One True God from whom all strength comes. These believers are our heroes. The world offers them no comforts. They are men and women of whom this world is not worthy, but you will see them in heaven. They will be sitting with kings and will be enjoying the rewards of their suffering and fruit and labor and trust that they walked in during their painful years here.

So many times this visit, we had people come and sit and thank us for coming and for staying and for being the mouths that brought the message of eternal salvation that they cling to now. We tell you that so that you might hear this: We could not have come with this saving message of hope without you, our team, behind us. Thank you for making a difference in their eternities. Thank you for giving. For praying. For encouraging. For visiting. Your labors also are not in vain and one day you will see the fruit of your labor, rejoicing around the Throne. And the work is certainly not done in the Ramu Valley, so please keep praying.

Although our hearts long for our family at home and our hearts are heavy to be away during this holiday season, we are so thankful to be here doing what He has called us to do.  We love this job and still feel the privilege and the responsibility of it every day. We long for the day when we stand before the Master of the Harvest and want more than anything to hear Him say, “Well done. You worked with my children where I sent you and with power that I gave you. Enter into your rest.” Thank you for being there so that we can be here.

By God’s Grace and For His Glory~ 

Bill and Kelley

An extra! 🙂 From the dissertation called “From paternalism and dependency to partnership and interdependency: Transformation of mission within the Reformed Churches in South Africa in the KOSH Region in post-apartheid South Africa” by Young Moo Kim:Screen Shot 2018-12-27 at 6.41.00 AM

Screen Shot 2018-12-27 at 6.41.09 AMTo read more of this dissertation, click here



His Provision & Blessing…the rest of the story

“…in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.” Ps.68:10

IMG_4433Bill bought RVA a wheelbarrow and we’re ready to work…as soon as we return from our time in Itutang –  January 3rd!!!  🙂

YHWH Yireh
His Provision and Blessing Through Repentance

A story of God’s work this week and a financial update

We are more and more convinced that our God is not just interested in the end (since He is already reigning); he is also  VERY interested in the means of our lives. Sometimes the circumstances of our lives throw us headlong into unexpected and unwarranted difficulties or misunderstanding. Sometimes sinful heart issues keep us spiraling in an unloving pattern of behavior that pulls us down spiritually. Sometimes the physical pain and sicknesses of this fallen ground seem to battling to remove all truth from our hearts that God is perfectly good in his sovereignty. The unending list goes on and on like the digits of pi, which makes it quite easy in the midst of our valleys to have the truth of God’s grace in our lives suffocated by the smoke of doubt and unbelief. That is when we must be grounded in His character and what He says about the lives of His disciples (Lk.21). His Word tells me that his goal for me isn’t first and foremost about my happiness (notice I didn’t say joy) or my wealth or physical contentment or that I have a positive social network who “like” me. It’s not even that I have an overall sense of well being and comfort. No, His goal for me is much more lofty.  His goal for me is to be broken, suffering, dependent…and still full of Joy. And, because of who He is, He promises not to let one sin destroy that good plan He has for me. He promises to discipline and train my heart to seek only Him…and then He does it!

Theory to Practice…
This past week as Bill and I sat in our little morning spot on the porch swing, we watched the sun rise over the vast Pacific Ocean. We read and prayed through the list of people and concerns that have etched their needs on our hearts the last couple of years. We also prayed again for pure hearts and for forgiveness of others as we ourselves have been forgiven. When we were done, I went upstairs to make the bed and sat for a moment looking out the window to the property down below where we want to build the Ramu Valley PNG school. I was struck once again by the hugeness of the endeavor before us and our own not-enoughness and I prayed again for His wisdom and His blessing and that He would establish the work of our hands. As I sat still on the edge of the bed, the Lord spoke the way He does when we are quiet and broken before Him and he said very clearly to my heart, “My blessing comes through repentance.” What?! I sat longer, waiting to make sense of what He was saying. And, because He is a good Father who doesn’t hide his wisdom from His children, He brought to mind something that Bill and I had forgiven, but like a child with a security blanket, were still grasping on to that one little corner. When I talked to Bill about it, he agreed and for a couple of hours that slow Saturday morning, we discussed and prayed… and we let go. It’s such a weight that is lifted when sin is confessed isn’t it? The next day was good and the national pastor at church was used as another living conduit as he spoke about the very things Bill and had discussed together the day before – even using one of the same passages. I love God’s Word and the way it is truly ALIVE and  how he uses it to give direction and confirm what He is teaching us again and again. 

The next morning, we woke up, read, prayed and thanked the Lord for always working to make us more like Him and asked for his daily help once again. Then, we started the day, busily trying to get things together for moving back into the bush this coming week. Later on, when Bill was in town buying supplies, I got a text from a friend who works at a fellow missionary training centre asking about our RVA fundraising. I told him the remaining amount and just as calmly as could be, he texted back saying that there would be an official letter coming, but that they would be able to help finish off a good portion of that amount for us! What?! I sat down on the floor covered in tears and worshipped. He is the Provider. He provides for the needy..those with physical needs and those with spiritual needs….sometimes He provides both at the same time! He doesn’t just want to work through us. He wants to work IN us. He wants to make us pure vessels that He can use for His glory. He wants to break us so that we know that Our only boast is CHRIST’s WORK & GRACE in our lives. What treasure in such unworthy jars of clay!  What pleasure to build this school so that others can KNOW THIS AMAZING & PERSONAL GOD MORE and MAKE HIM KNOWN here in Papua New Guinea! We are thankful for the believers scattered through the Ramu Valley this morning who are praying with us and trusting in Christ and who are being blessed because of the Body of Christ spread around the world. We are thankful to know that HE has WON the battle and that though there are trials and wounds galore on this fallen earth, the Song of the Lamb is not fading.  No, it is growing in strength and volume as we see those from every tongue, tribe and nation join our numbers to sing with us, “He is Worthy!”

So that’s our story – a little longer than some of the previous updates, but we wanted to share these three things as we walk along the Ramu Valley journey that began so many years ago in a little village called Itutang. 1. God doesn’t need us to do this work; He gives us the privilege of joining Him in His mission. 2. Bill and Kelley are two rotten sin bombs (thanks Tami Hughes for the new lingo) like every other messy, maturing Christian and still need prayers daily that we will walk humbly with our God, and 3. God’s WORD is always fruitful in His children, leading us towards personal repentance and holiness. So, we couldn’t just report numbers this month without letting you know the spiritual work that He is doing along the way….BUT, we do need to officially include the numbers, so here goes:

$544,000         Total Goal
-$499,210.02   Total Raised
 $44,789.98     Left to go!

In 7 months, the Lord has been so kind to raise up the funds to this amount already. We will be going bush in just a few days and then we will be out of contact for a couple of months ‘til the NEW YEAR!  We are confident that in January of 2019, YHWH Yireh will have gathered up all the resources that we need, both finances and people, to make 2019 – the year He built a school to support the local churches here in Madang Province, PNG. Please also keep praying for the specific future students that the Lord will raise up for us to disciple here at RVA! Praising God for his provision this morning through YOU – the Body of Christ!  Now, to steal from one of our heroes, William Carey… we are expecting great things from God and will attempt great things for God because #HeIsWorthy.
By HIS Grace and for HIS Glory~
Bill and Kelley

Just Thankful…

“Give thanks to the LORD; his faithful love endures forever!”
2 Chronicles 20:21

Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 12.49.44 PM

As we write this month, our hearts are full of thanks. We have had people write and encourage and pray for us as we transition back into life in PNG and we can feel it. This transition was a bit different for us and after getting some input at home, we are settling into a routine that will hopefully keep us more emotionally and physically fit in the coming years. It stinks getting old, but is sweet to see the Lord continue to walk with us and reveal more and more and to create more and more opportunities for dependence and obedience toward Him. We are thankful for the team here in Madang – both students, staff, and Itutang friends who have made it a joy to come back. Daily struggles arise – as one of the orientees reminded us this week speaking from Colossians- but thank God…He is faithful and forgives and never leaves us or forsakes us as He works to complete the work that He began in each of us. There is truly NONE like HIM. 
We are also thankful for the sacrificial gifts that we see many of you have made towards the school for the sake of training a strong new generation of believers to help us reach PNG. There was a total of $27,178.01 in donations received this month!! We are so thankful for the friends who are providing the matching grant that doubled all of those donations! So blessed! That leaves us about $179,000 left to raise before we hit our goal.  THANK YOU! Joshua and Amelia, our Itutang co-workers, came over to ask how it was going and we talked about how more people had given again this month and how we were getting close to the goal and Amelia’s eyes teared up and she said, “Tell them we said ‘Thank you for remembering the poor line (people) here.’  It is hard to give to people you don’t know, but God makes it so that we do things like this to help each other.”  Yes. Yes, He does. We are humbled thinking about how many of you are bearing this burden with us and praying and giving as we move forward. Bill is excited to be back here on the ground now and is gathering specific price lists of materials between translation hours.  Some things will need to be shipped from the U.S. and will take many months to get here, so pray that the rest of the funds will come in quickly so that we can get the ball rolling on this side. We have so many people ready to help and this, too, is a joy for us to see!
We want to ask for special prayer for all the new PNG missionaries and also for our co-workers here in Madang, Aaron and Lori Luse, who are functioning now in our former roles as Church Development Director and Orientation Coordinators training new missionaries. They have strong hearts for the church and the gospel and also still have school aged children at home. They are doing a fantastic job and we would appreciate your prayers for them for wisdom and strength as they carry a large burden together as a family to help the NTM-PNG team. Also, pray for the Centre Management Team, Garry and Sylvia Krobel, who are a huge blessing and are serving away from their four grown children who live in Canada. Mission life is so fulfilling and we all love our jobs very much, but we still need prayer to keep us content and focused when the pain begins to stab at our hearts.
By God’s Grace & For His Glory,
Bill and Kelley

Building a House & Building Up a Church

“Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.”  Ps.127:1

Thank you for all the prayers on our behalf as we traveled home to the ITU village and worked to finish Promise’s house. The team from Promise’s home church were amazing and stepped right in without missing a beat. They worked hard, tried all the local cuisine, encouraged us as a team and connected with our village church – especially the young men there – in an impactful way.  We are so thankful for the Body of Christ…and for Promise’s new home next to ours. It’s nice to have her down near the church, the school, and the homes of some of our village church leadership. We are thankful for Bill Michaud here on the field who came in to begin the project a couple of months ago and for the team who finished it up this week. This is all a huge blessing! Thank you FBC!
Please be in prayer for the Tanguat outreach and strategy. The gospel was presented over there several years ago, but through many circumstances the discipleship process stalled shortly thereafter. As a result, the Tanguat church hasn’t distinguished itself yet from the community and is immature, which allows immediate felt needs and strong (sometimes unbelieving) voices who are attending the church to drive their desires. The believers in G village long to be working together as a Body of Christ, but until the church and community are distinguished and some maturity takes place, it will be slow going. The believers came over and had a chance to talk with us and share their concerns some through tears. Bill was able to refer to Promise’s documented history of the G village’s pattern of inability over the last couple of years to follow directions and submit to literacy routines, church discipline, and the Bible teachers at times and how that has resulted in a failed literacy program, a struggling church, and a community that is constantly battling heavies among themselves. We also admitted some of the fault that lies with us as the missionary team for the discipleship ending prematurely and laying an extra burden on the ITU elders and teachers. The believers acknowledged all of this and asked for help once again. 

While we were home on furlough, Promise invited two new families to join her in finishing the Tanguat work. We are so thankful for the Chens and Swenson families who will be joining Promise to engage the G village church in a deeper way and lead them on to maturity. Please pray for Promise, the Chen and the Swenson families as they work to encourage, exhort, and disciple even now as they work on allocating. Please continue to pray for the Tanguat believers. They are precious to us…men and women who are enduring hardship and verbal/physical persecution for the sake of bringing the Word of God in its fullness into their language group. So, we wait and give a little time and ask the Lord to be gracious to those who need exactly what the Chen and Swenson families intend to bring to this church. 

The new missionaries were supposed to come in the day we flew out, but the team decided with the church that since their equipment for their saw mill hadn’t arrived yet, it would be best to postpone and allow some time for the G village to soak in the fact that they are not running the timeline and decisions for this and that they would have to accept help from the larger Body if they want new missionaries to come and finish the task.  

By God’s Grace & For His Glory~
Bill and Kelley

Safely “Home” & Settled…and traveling once again

I am your guest – a traveler passing through, as my ancestors were before me.  Psalm 31.12

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement as we made the transition back to PNG and into our ministries here. WE ARRIVED SAFELY “HOME”!!!!  As I read in the book of Psalms this morning and moved through the 39th chapter, verse 12 stood out.  Our lives are fleeting, a vapor and “I am your guest – a traveler passing through.”  The reality of this is a great comfort to my heart as we live a life of transitions. It’s such a timely reminder for us to make this short life count and to remember the unrelentless JOY that will come for the Body of Christ in eternity. We are so thankful for uneventful flights and for the sweet welcome back here by our local national church friends. The day of our arrival, the new missionary families also began to arrive…5 new missionary families who will be training in the national culture and NTM-PNG Church Development process! We are blessed already and have enjoyed the families as we all transition to PNG time and culture together! Pray for these laborers who have obediently responded to the Great Commission to “GO!”
We are writing to ask you to pray for us as we travel again…this time, we will travel more interior back into the village of Itutang. The journey from America to Madang has included a Boeing MD-88, 757, 777, 737, Airbus A330, a Fokker 100, along with subway trains and shuttle buses and we ended up in an open back PMV bus (see photo) with some well loved and familiar faces. The normal route from here on to the village would normally be 4 hours up a pot hole ridden road that follows the coast all the way up the north to a town called Bogia and then 2 hours on the dirt 4WD road to a canoe point pick up and then 6 hours by canoe to the village. Besides the river being backed up with all the fallen trees and debris following some flooding, there is also a bridge out on the North Coast Rd. We’ve heard rumors that there is a place that only a 4WD Land cruiser can sneak by and so we are going to try to make it up that way and then do helicopter shuttles to get in from there – skipping the blocked river.

A team of “Five Guys” from California (who did not come bearing yummy burgers and fries) arrived shortly after we did and will be traveling into ITU with us to finish Promise’s new house.  This new house is being built next to our little house down by the church in the village. Please be praying for safety and health for this team as we take them into to work and meet the beautiful folks there that we are privileged to call brothers and sisters. The team has traveled far and they have already had to change their schedule once because of logistics here in PNG. Pray that they would be able to accomplish what they came to do.  
Pray for the Itutang church and its elders.  We are looking forward to meeting with them again and catching up on what the Lord is doing and hearing their joys and heartaches that we have missed the last 6 months. They have carried many burdens and struggles since we have been gone.  Please pray that we will be an encouragement to them.  We will be without internet or email for the next couple of weeks and are looking forward to concentrating on the people of Itutang. We are excited to share with them, too, about our time at home and how the churches of America are remembering them in prayer and giving.  Thank you!
Pray also for the church in the Tanguat language group as they process the help of two new missionary families coming and their future relationship with the Itutang church elders and Promise.The spiritual battle is very real. We are thrilled that assistance is coming for Promise and the Tanguat church and would ask that you pray for wisdom and energy for this new team.

Please  keep the Ramu Valley Academy (RVA) in your prayers as we ask the Lord to help us meet the financial goal so that we can begin shipping supplies.

Our hearts are torn straight through the middle as we leave behind such sweet joys at home and yet long to be right here, right now  – working and doing what God made us to do.  Please pray for our hearts to love more and more deeply the only ONE who is worth all this pain and to keep Him as our CENTER and SOUL ANCHOR as we take each thought captive.  
He is worthy.
By God’s Grace & For His Glory~
Bill and Kelley


“I have no greater joy than to hear of my children walking in truth…” 3 Jn1.4

Dear Prayer Warriors,

It’s been a busy few weeks since we wrote you last! Our visit home has been one of many joys and encouargements!  We welcomed our first grand baby, Ansley Marie, into the family on March 11thand Mr. Austin Hedrick into the family on June 9thwhen he said “I do” to our Sabra. God has been so faithful and we give him honor for that.  We have also been able to get some rest and be restored through our interactions with so many of you from our faithful churches. It has been such an encouragement to sit under the teaching of God’s Word here in our own heart language and have a little time to seek His Face. Our plans changed a few months ago when we realized that our daughter Sabra would graduate from Boyce College in December, but wouldn’t be “walk” until the yearly May ceremony.  After a family meeting, we all decided to cut this furlough short and continue it next spring when we can be there for her graduation ceremony and also see that grandbaby girl at a different growth stage. We are constantly amazed at our daughters and their support and love for the gospel still. And so, with Ansley Marie’s little finger wrapped around our heart strings, we will head back to PNG on August 4th. It never hurt like this before.

We are excited about returning to our village with some new women’s health books that Kelley has translated while we were home and also some more of Bill’s New Testament translation to be checked!  We will also be returning to a newly formed Tanguat team who will be working with our church elders to finish the outreach and church planting work in the Tanguat language group. We are very excited about getting into the planning stages of the Ramu Valley Academy. Kelley has two curriculum developers that she is working with (one in the USA and one in PNG) and they have assessment testing ready and hopefully that will happen soon after we get back to see how the curriculum will need to be adapted to our PNG context! Please pray for the funds to complete Phase 1 of the RVA project.  When this month’s contributions are totaled we will have $76,741 of the $544,000 needed to get started. One seventh of the way since we started this year! Since we want to do this debt free, we are asking the Lord to raise up the remaining funds soon so that we can begin ordering the building materials and the tractor needed and have them shipped in time to begin the building project the end of this year.  Also, please be praying for the children who will attend. Pray for the Lord to ready them in body, mind and spirit for this amazing educational opportunity and that He would be glorified through them as they serve their country.
Thanks for all the love and fellowship and encouragement.  We are going back whole again and look forward to being your ambassadors once again for the ONE who is WORTHY!

By God’s Grace & For His Glory,
Bill and Kelley Housley

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. 


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.


 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


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