From Radical.net

Read about our friend and brother, Anton, in this blog from Radical.net called “Unreached to Disciple-Maker”

http://www.radical.net/blog/post/from-unreached-to-disciple-maker-a-testimony

A special thanks with this blog goes out to those of you who have served so faithfully by continuing in prayer for the Inapang and all its ministries. Some of you have served in prayer and giving  for the last 13 years of our ministry. Thank you. We are all such dumb and broken vessels and yet the Lord puts us together in teams to build his church. Amazing Grace. 

By God’s Grace and For His Glory~

The Housleys 

“I Have Hidden Your Words in My Heart”

“I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you….I have recited aloud all the regulations you have given us.”  Psalm 119.11,13

As most of you know, Bill and I are out of the tribe right now. We constantly pray and call and correspond with Promise and the church there in Itutang, but its not the same as being there in person and hearing their daily stories face to face of God’s provisions.  But today, this week, this is where we are – living vicariously through Promise who is on the ground with the church there. 🙂   This past week she related some news and we asked her to write it up for us to edit and share with you.  Please read and be encouraged:

A small group slowly gathered at the Itutang village church. Some with eager anticipation of an afternoon’s entertainment. Some with nervous laughs and comments as they contemplated what they were about to attempt. They drifted in one by one and sat around the edge –  other than a few brave men who made their way up front. The Inapang church is memorizing and reciting Romans 8:1-18.

As some of you know, when you are translating into previously unwritten tribal languages, there is often no neat compact word to sum up a concept like “propitiation” or “justification.”  Often, it takes a phrase that actually describes the process. Understanding that, think about Romans 8:1-18 in English.  Nice and compact and still a challenge for us to memorize.  Well, Romans 8:1-18 in Inapang is about twice as long as it is packed with terminology that has to then be meticulously unpacked for the reader to understand the meaning clearly in his mother tongut.  Memorizing these 18 verses in Inapang is a big deal.

Cletus (Inapang church elder) started off the afternoon by standing at the front of the church and confidently reciting Romans 8:1-11 in Inapang. When he finished, the crowd clapped with enthusiasm and expressed their amazement—a nearly word for word recitation! In Inapang! (Those eleven verses are about 300 words in English, but again, it takes 800 words to say the same thing in Inapang.)

One by one, others went to the front of the church to recite some verses from Romans 8. Some recited several verses. Others just one or two. Several ladies and teenage girls joined the recitation in spite of nervousness and some trembling voices. Everyone who had studied was encouraged to try and the results were met enthusiastic clapping and encouragement.

Looking around during the gatherings, one thought that would come quickly to the mind of many Western observers is, “Where else in the world is reciting Scripture on a Sunday afternoon the most interesting thing happening in town?” It’s one aspect of Itutang village we love—the interest in God’s Word.

This past Sunday, one month after the first gathering, the group gathered again. This time Anton (Inapang church elder) started off and recited Romans 8:1-18 all the way through—the only person so far to complete the entire passage at once. Three others continued on from where they left off the month before and also finished. Several other men recited the next verses they had learned. Then, with some trembling, the ladies and teenage girls took their turns standing in front of the group and reciting their verses. Clapping, handshakes, and words of encouragement were given to all those who recited – whether one verse or eighteen.

At the end, Anton distributed bright yellow t-shirts to those who had completed the entire  passage and reminded the others that more t-shirts await those who complete the passage next month.

Outside the gatherings, you would have heard Cletus, Anton, and others discussing this passage that they have now spent weeks meditating on and marveling again about the wonderful truths it contains as they summarized its teaching from our glorious salvation that begins the passage all the way down to the wonderful truth in verse 18 – All the heartaches and pains of this life seem trivial compared with what is awaiting believers.

We are so encouraged that with the knocks and tumbles of this life – with the verbal persecution and the hard life that they endure every day– that they are still finding their hope in the Word of God…and are hiding it in their hearts!  Please pray that the Lord would use these memeorized verses to bring these truths to light during their day to day life and give the STRENGTH and JOY..and keep them from sinning against our Great God. 

 

The Body of Christ – Brothers and Sisters of the Same Father

“So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individual members one of another.” Romans 12:5

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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~

The Housleys

Teach Them to Your Children…

“For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel.  He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children,so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born—and they in turn will teach their own children.” Psalm 78:5-6

Photo creds: Haleigh Schaeffer, Etched in Time Photography

Dear Prayer Warriors,

Just writing a short update to tell you all of some encouraging news from this past week and pass along some points of prayer.  Thank you for always being there to take us, our family, and the Inapang Ministries before the throne.

First of all, we had a good trip into ITUTANG which is always an encouragement and a much needed rest for the soul. The helicopter was already taking Bill and a few other consultants into a neighboring language group and they were able to drop Kelley off with Haleigh, one of our interns, into Itutang for a couple of days.  We slept the best that we have in months!  We took in a new set of literacy supplies for the new classes that they are beginning with the younger kids.  We’ll include a little bulleted update for literacy there for those of you who specifically support that ministry:

  • Not only has the gospel itself  been spread to 9 outlying villages, the literacy teacher teams also have effectively taught more than 70 classes throughout the language group and we are so very proud of them.  Our advisor, Markus, who faithfully gave oversight to all of these literacy programs has now transitioned and is serving on the local government school board and is a helpful liaison between the programs. Please pray for Markus, Ambo, and Vinansus as they join us for some literacy meetings that will be held here at the Madang Centre.
  • Most adults throughout our language group in 9 villages have had the opportunity to attend literacy classes.  We are switching gears now and dealing mostly with children and trying to be creative about how to bridge them from our 5 step program into the government schools.  Our classes are recognized by the provincial government now and the children can test into either grade 4 or 5 depending on their ages and scores. They have the first and second step classes beginning again and we listened to their plan that will allow them to be ready for steps 3, 4, and 5 as the children graduate through these classes!
  • After 9 literacy and gospel outreaches and one cross cultural outreach, the Itutang leaders have been just a little worn out.  When they finished the adults and reached the younger children, they took a break from literacy for a bit and we have been waiting to see if they pick up the ball on their own and begin to teach literacy effectively to the children on their own.  So I was thrilled to be in Itutang and see one of our church elders had put together a small teaching team and began leading them in teaching literacy to the children. Praise!
  • Please be praying about the ongoing educational needs of the second generation.  We have a strong desire to work with one of our believing PNG friends in Goroka to establish a small school in the village and to one day see a Christian high school available to our Ramu Valley churches here in Madang town.  So much potential.  Please pray for wisdom for us as we wait on the Lord!

In Itutang Village…

While we were in Itutang, we met with the teachers, the church elders, and some of the women and were so encouraged again by their faith.  There are many changes going on in their lives that bring stress and uncertainty right now and yet to hear them verbally commit themselves to the Lord again and again was honey for our hearts.  I watched one lady as she spoke about how God’s Word keeps giving her strength as she walks through this hard life and keeps her focused on heaven.  I kept thinking, “What a privilege it is to know this sister! I hope I am able to be there to hear the Master as he takes her into His Everlasting Arms and says to her, ‘Well Done, my faithful daughter!’”

We also visited a family who has been struggling for the past year as the father has been pulled under by some of their life circumstances.  We were able to talk and listen and encourage and would ask you to be praying for them as well. We heard testimonies of what the Lord is doing and prayer requests as they see Satan attacking within and without.  We told them we would be writing and asking you all to continue in faithful prayer for them as they live on their tribal clan ground, but now as sojourners – looking to a new family and a new ground that will be their eternal home.  It is always such a blessing to spend time with these folks and we are thankful for the digicel service now that lets us keep in touch even when we are away working at the training centre in Madang.

Tangguat – Promise came in as we flew out and now has her parents visiting and they will probably be heading back out of country by the time this is posted.  Pray for Promise as she continues to live in Itutang alone under the supervision of the tribal church elders there.  Thankful for her parents’ visit and for her heart and stamina to serve alongside the church there as she works on the Tangguat translation. Pray for Tim Lanier as well as he makes a visit into the tribe following their time stateside.

In the Ramu Valley neighborhood…

Thanks to those of you who pray for and support these missionary families working with the Itutang church!

Iski

is a couple of weeks from their halfway mark – heading towards the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Deliverer .  Everyone in the village is still coming and attending quietly and listening well to the Creation to Christ teaching.  Please pray that many will hear and BELIEVE!  Pray for the Iski team as well as the days of teaching every day for 4 months is a stressful and busy time for juggling families and the daily needs of ministry.  Thankful that they are willing to be there so that souls might have hope!!!! To sign up for weekly emails and see what God is doing in this people group write to jason_williamson@ntmpng.org or  andre_tousch@ntmpng.org

Kaje

is finishing up all the tasks that come with completing language study: discourse analysis, phonemic analysis, orthography, cultural write ups, grammar write ups etc etc.  Once  these are done, the Itutang literacy team and the NTM literacy consultants will be working with them to get their program up and running…the precursor for reading God’s Word!  There is  a lot to do, but they are taking it step by step and doing a great job of getting things done right and in order.  They continue to be a blessing to the Itutang church as they call, talk, and hike  to visit with the Itutang church leaders. To sign up for email on what the Lord is doing in Kaje, write to taylor_goheen@ntmpng.org or jonathan_myers@ntmpng.org

Back at the centre….

Things are getting busy in our lives. 🙂  As you know, the mission field is always short of help, but we have felt this keenly in the last few months.  Our Madang Centre co-workers, the Rodges, who went home with a brain tumor are doing well spiritually and emotionally and are receiving radiation and chemo, but would appreciate your prayers as they move through this process. We miss them both dearly. We still have 6 families and 2 interns in the field orientation training here in Madang and they are all doing great, but have been through a week or two of sickness that spread through the centre and would appreciate your prayers as they get back into the swing of things and complete an overnight hike to stay in a bush house this week.  They also have their half way evaluations this week.  We are so proud of how hard they have worked and with the way we see them leaning on Christ to balance their sweet families and their sweet PNG Friends who are teaching them language and culture! We have been especially blessed with how this little group has embraced the national church next door  and how the church has embraced them and their children during this program.

In our hearts…

This has been a long and hard year for us in many ways.  We have been at some of our lowest points in life and yet have seen God’s grace in deeper ways than ever before as well.   So thankful for our two girls and our son-in-law who are a constant encouragement to us an keep pushing us on toward the goal every day through texts and phone calls.  We are blessed.  Thanks for those of you who write and encourage us personally and for those of you who pray so regularly for us.  We honestly FEEL your prayers at work in our lives and know that some days can only be explained by the sheer Grace and mercy of God, the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and the miraculous team that we have had standing behind us for the last 12 years. So thankful that we are not here alone!

By God’s Grace and For His Glory~

Bill and Kelley Housley

“I Fear God…”

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“In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.”

Proverbs 14:26

We want to say thank you once again to all of you who faithfully work and give so that we can be here and faithfully work and give – we love being part of your team.  Every month, we are amazed again and again by the faithfulness of God and of His people.  Thank you for investing in the Inapang Churches and entrusting us to this work.

We haven’t written much since the new orientation classes have begun, but just to catch you up, here are a few bullet points from this Spring’s NTM-PNG Equipping & Training program:

  • The Lord has blessed us with workers and we have the largest program to date with 6 families and 2 interns. In July, we are back to the normal numbers with 3 families on the books. Please pray for those who are already here in country and those who are preparing to leave.
  • The Lord brought on more staff families to help us with this larger program and they have all been huge blessings to us. It has been an added bonus being able to work with Bill’s mom and dad.  God is so good!
  • This year’s e2 student team is another amazing group of men and women. We are super privileged to be a part of their lives and ministries for the next few months.  We are encouraged by their love for the Lord Jesus, their desire to obey him in the day to day things, their learning to balance their lives while stepping out in what we call +1 culture and language study and their willingness to “become PNG” and be part of the national church next door. Such a blessing to have them all here.

Please pray for us as we work side by side with them.  And, please continue to pray for these new families as they adjust to being a family in a new place and serving Jesus together in a new culture.  Pray that they will see every day that HE. IS. WORTHY.

We had the special treat of having Promise along with two of our Itutang church elders and two translation men from the Tangguat church visit this week.  Promise was able to check off more translation that will now be usable for the Tangguat church.  Thankful for the hard work she has put into this!  Our elders co-taught one of the modules with us called “Living as Elders” and it was so encouraging for all of us.  There was much wisdom passed on from these PNG believers to our new missionary families here on centre.  The Q&A that stands out the most to us is when one of our students asked the elders about how they look after so many churches and help with the Tangguat outreach and still have gardens and families – how do you keep doing these hard things?  Kletus didn’t even skip a beat as he replied something like, “Mi save pret long God, olsem na gutpela taim na taim nogut, wanem wok em I givim mi long mekim long dispela de, mi save mekim wok bilong en tasol. Em i lukautim mipela.”

Translation: I fear God and so whether it’s a good time or a bad time, I just do the work that the Lord gives me today. He looks after us.

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for us and our girls through a hard time of being apart.  So thankful for our girls who write truth to us and encourage our hearts to keep pressing on for the sake of the gospel.  Praying that God will indeed as the verse above says continue to be their refuge.  He is so faithful.  Please keep praying for us that in the good times of joy and strength and in the lonely, hard, and ugly times, too, we will just follow in obedience like Kletus and do what He gives us today – in His strength, in His power, for His glory, and by His Amazing Grace.

Over a decade and we still love this job. That’s your prayers at work.  Thank you.

By God’s Grace and For His Glory~

Bill and Kelley

Then They Read From The Book

“Then they read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage.” Nehemiah 8:8

 

Dear Praying Friends,

We are back in the land of the semi-connected and are so thankful for every one of you who dutifully remembers us in prayer. We can feel them at work in our lives as we live and work here in PNG.

Inapang Bible Conference Update

Thank you especially for praying for this very sweet time spent in the Word – IN THE INAPANG SCRIPTURE!!! – with the Bible Teachers and elders and deacons of the 8 Inapang churches and the Tangguat church.  Some of these amazing men we had only heard their names and so it was very good to see their faces and hear their stories in person. For three days, the ladies cooked meals, the elders taught, the leaders gave a report from each of their churches, they broke into prayer groups and prayed for each of the churches and other needs, they sang and held extra night devotional meetings and best of all…they bonded. It was so good to see them together laughing and praying and thanking God for bringing the GOOD NEWS to Itutang and then out to the rest of the villages. There has been a bigger and bigger separation between “community” and “church” and the Conference came at a time when the Itutang believers, in particular, were feeling weary & beaten down by things going on in their lives and the work of the church. The conference teaching encouraged everyone so much they couldn’t stop saying thank you for putting this together. They each received the printed portions of translated New Testament that are finished and checked and we told them that it was because of YOUR WORK AND SACRIFICIAL GIVING that we are able to print these 600 books and get them into the hands of the Inapang believers.  Even one of the Tangguat teachers took one and was so encouraged to see so much of God’s Word in the Inapang language that he got more excited about helping Promise and wants to get his language printed as soon as possible!

 Other December Tribal Happenings & Quotes from the Church:

We arrived in Itutang via helicopter and hiked back out (another update on that little adventure).  It was nice to be back in our little one-room open bush house and sharing a backyard with our neighbors and church leaders, Anton, Kletus, and Igi. We loved being out in the village in the evenings, eating from house to house and hearing all the village news, and having those early morning chats with people walking to the river to check their fishing nets.  It may be a forgotten little dirty swamp, but it’s where our family called “home” and where our hearts forever are.

  • We attended one of my favorite activities – the children’s Christmas quizzing. I am always amazed at how many facts, figures, stories, and names these little guys know.  I am also always amazed at the church elders who come up with hundreds of challenging questions off the top of their heads as they throw out candy to those who answer correctly.  LOVED THIS CHRISTmas ACTIVITY.
  • Christmas was a day like every other. The church was filled with hot humid bodies and air and we swatted flies and heard many many thanks go up to Jesus for his work, for sending His Word, for the translation project, and for the conference and the encouragement that they had received.  It was a precious Christmas service for us.
  • We were able to spend time with Promise who has been flying solo in the tribe for over a year now. It was fun to watch her interact with the church leadership and with the women and see the discipling that is going on in a casual and purposeful manner.
  • We attended a court for a break-in into the Lanier’s house. The man from Tangguat is pleasantly loony and breaks into many homes, so it was difficult to come to a decision, but after many hours, the poor crazy man’s family settled the “heavy” with the Laniers via the three of us on the ground in an appropriate customary way.
  • Bill was able to teach the elders through the book of 1 Peter, which they will now teach to the church over the next several months. We are amazed at the intelligence of some of these men.  Bill was able to talk them through more discourse features to look for as they find the main point and exegete Scripture, like “for” and “therefore.”  One of the elders came to our house later that night and said, “Bill, I know that you’ve taught us things like this before, but this time I’m ‘holding its thinking’ and I am very happy about studying this way in 1 Peter and looking for these “joiners” (connecting words) now.”
  • Kelley was able to do another Parenting Class with the elders’ and deacons’ wives. It was such a good time of laughing and talking through the trials of daily life when you have little ones all around.  Again, one of the deacon’s wives who we don’t see as often said, “Friend, this isn’t the first time you have taught us these things, we have heard them straight from your mouth so many times, but we feel like we are at a place in the road now where we can start to walk in them a little stronger than before.  Pray that we will do our work and train our children.”
  • Right before we left there was kind of a last minute shared meal that our elders put together and they kept reiterating how thankful they are for God’s Word and that we left people and our culture and things behind in America to bring it to them. They expressed thanks to everyone who works there in America every day so that we can have food and travel and print and serve this language group.  Then they said that they had gotten into a hole – feeling like they were worn down and weren’t feeling strong enough to fight the battle anymore, but through the conference and seeing other believers who they normally don’t see and hearing their stories and realizing that they are in similar situations, they were standing up in God’s power and were ready to do more hard things for the sake of the church.
  • We have been praying for many months now for the Identity of this maturing church. That they would be able to see themselves as believers  – together in the “spirit clan” of Christ and we have seen this begin among them through these hard times. One man told us after a long discussion about this, “It’s true what you have told us.  We work in ground clans because we live here on the ground and that is how it must be, but we can never forget that our spirits have a clan as well. We will be only a short time with our ground clan, but forever with our spirit clan. We need to pray for each other when we are falsely accused by those on the outside.”  
  • Another prayer we have had for many years is that the people will learn to seek ways to better their living conditions, while still carrying an attitude of contentment in the circumstances where the Lord has given them to live. We have been happy to see three copper houses go up with guttering and water tanks so that their children will have fresh clean water.  Others are saving up as well. But, we were also so encouraged by one of our dear friends who Bill went to visit out in the sak sak swamps while his family was harvesting.  He told Bill, “Yes, this is hard work.  But, we know about Adam and why we have this work now.  I know that just because I heard God’s talk, this ground work won’t finish.  I will continue to have to work hard until I get to heaven.”  Sak sak is hard work and before our team presented the gospel, the Cargo Cult teachers were saying that once they heard the gospel, they would never have hard work of harvesting sak sak again. So, with that dream never coming to light, those who are more concerned about the cares of the world walk away and those who have set their minds on heaven grow stronger in their hopes and desire to be with Christ and enter into his REST.  So sweet!  We have a video interview of Nimankar and will post his thoughts when we get our internet and blog site running in the same direction.
  • Overall, it was super encouraging visit all the way around. We love these dear brothers and sisters so much. They are friends who we have laughed with and cried with.  We have watched children and parents and brothers and sisters die together.  We have feasted and famined together.  They are our heroes of the faith.  The unspoken ones who faithfully labor and continue to spread the gospel where they are today. 

Thank you for your faithfulness and may 2017 be Blessed in your Home!  Please continue to pray for the churches of INAPANG!

By God’s Grace & For His Glory ~ The Housleys

Inapang Ministry Update

Day one of the conference went sooooo well. Two more to go. This is truly the best CHRISTmas present ever. Thanks to all who are praying. About 55 Bible teachers from 9 churches were present. So encouraging. Especially our time of prayer together at the end. We are taking video to share with you when we are back in town with better internet service. Please keep praying!
by Gods Grace and For His Glory~
Bill and Kelley