Over the Pal Mountains and though the Ramu Valley to Itutang We Go…

He is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today! Psalm 95:7 NLT

This Christmas will be a very different one for us.  Last Christmas was the first one we would’ve spent alone without either of our sweet daughters with us…but then one got married! As Madison and Jonathan celebrate their first wedding anniversary, we will be spending Christmas in the village with our Itutang brothers and sisters and Promise, our co-worker.  We will be dropped off in the Pal tribe tomorrow and meet with the family there and then on Wed. us and our month supplies will be dropped in Itutang. We are so thankful to be headed back to yet another “home.”

This week we were excited to have two of the elders from Itutang come out to Madang to catch up with us and do some shopping for our Bible Teacher Conference this month.  So thankful for these guys.  So full of Scripture and so full of Christ.  They are taking some hard knocks from neighboring communities and the unbelievers in our area and are still standing strong and speaking truth.

Bill asked Anton and Kletus yesterday a question after hearing that some of the ones who heard the good news early on and walked away are still clambering after a “quick fix” to their material needs problem.  He asked them, “What do you think the difference is between you and them when you think about things of the ground.  I know that you think about things of the ground as well and do business selling cocoa and other things.  Why does it consume them and not you?”  I loved their answer. Anton said simply,

“It’s because we have set our hope in heaven. We know our time on this ground is short.  We can lose or gain things of the ground and it just doesn’t matter because this is not our real home.  When you think like that about things of the ground, then they can’t consume you because you are thinking stronger about going to heaven one day than you are about those things.”

Beautiful.  Anton spoke these beautiful words sitting beside us in bleach stained shorts that we have seen him wear for the last 4 years.  He has one of Bill’s T-shirts from our first term in Itutang on that says “King of Kings” and his wife is at home, squatting in the dirt over hot fire and ash.  And he speaks profound truth so matter of fact that it humbles the two white skins sitting in the room.  Now, if we in the west could just learn a short lesson from this dear sweet wise Bible Teacher – a man who by appearance may not be allowed in some assemblies, but of whose spirit and wisdom the world is not worthy.

Later, on Saturday some boys from Itutang arrived in town. A really good group of bad boys whose parents are strong believers and praying their hearts out for their rascally hearts.  They came and ate with us and Joshua and Amelia and the elders here on Centre and then Kletus invited them to the national church next door (Some of you have donated money to their permanent building. THANK YOU FOR THAT…some of the funds haven’t processed yet, but they will be writing you thank notes soon.) 🙂 Anyway, they left and we prayed.  Prayed that they would come back and hear our pastor here in town say the same things from the same book that Bill and I and the elders and their parents all read and live by every day.  God heard.

The next morning saw about 14 boys/men from our home church in Itutang walking down the road to attend Dabelle Baptist church here in Madang.  The message by God’s amazing and sweet sovereignty this morning was an evangelistic message that hit the CORE of these boys. One of the older Madang believers as we were talking about it afterward said, “God is good and gracious that way.  He knows what we each need.”  Amen.

Afterward, Pastor Jefet, a Provincial Gov. worker,  spent some time with our group of Itutang boys.  He gave his testimony which involves growing up as a PK and being into every drug and drink available in the country and the turning after God struck him with a terrible sick that almost took his life.  Then he asked them about some of the cargo cult “company” work going on in surrounding villages and helped them work through the false claims that are being made.  They listened with quiet mouths.  We all came back to the house, shared a meal, and listened as the elders talked to these young boys about truth, God’s Word, and the lies of culture.  BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER!!!! We love this job!

We will probably hike out about 11 hours to the road to be picked up some time after Christmas.  We heard today that the cell tower was cut down that services our area, so not sure if we will be able to communicate again with you before Christmas, but please know this: We are THANKFUL this CHRISTmas season for CHRIST, for you and your eternal part of this ministry, and for the CHURCH that he is building all around the world.  Come, Lord Jesus!

Please pray for wisdom as we seek to disciple and work with the church leadership while we are home. Pray that we will be an encouragement to all. Thank you for praying sending giving and encouraging us. So thankful and indebted to Christ for his goodness to us.

Merry Christmas.

Love,
The Housleys

 

All Scripture is Inspired by God…

“…and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”  II Timothy 3:16-17 

 

Home Again!

Thank you for praying us back to PNG! Tomorrow, we will finally see our Madang “home” and do a few days of supply buying before taking the trek back into the little village we call “home.”

We just finished two weeks of meetings in Southeast Asia and our hearts were so encouraged by the preaching, the global vision that was casted, and by the friendships with others who are doing hard things for the gospel and the task of discipleship all over this globe.  Thankful for an opportunity to catch up with some old friendships from one of our sending churches and mutually encourage one another while we were there.  And, thankful for new friendships with both national and ex-pat missionaries from Africa, Mexico, India, South America, Europe, Asia and Pakistan.  SO humbled to be on the same team with all these men and women of whom the world is not worthy.  And yet, they wander like sojourners and work – looking for a city with eternal foundations whose designer and builder is God.  This Thanksgiving, we are thankful for global workers who are still busy about the Great Commission!  And, thankful for YOU who are part of that global team and keep us serving here through your love, prayers, and support.

THANK YOU!

The next upcoming task for us and our HUGE NEED FOR PRAYER is our visit to Itutang and the Bible Teachers Conference.  There will be 8 Inapang churches and 1 Tangguat church represented.  Guys, we need your prayer.  We are just not enough to know how to even prepare for the needs that are surely there.  We will be spending a lot of time  listening and hearing what the Lord has done in the last few months since we saw them last.  We need God’s wisdom as we love on these guys, encourage them and exhort them to keep letting God transform their lives through His Word and to evaluate every aspect of their life through His lens. So thankful for all of you who support us – you have contributed to this printing of the checked NT translation portions and we can’t WAIT to get it into their hands!

SATAN is at work as well.  Not long after we set the month for the Bible Conference, we heard that the Cargo Cult movement in our area is building a meeting house in the next village to do a conference of their own.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.  The news of this has been spread all the way up to the other end of the Ramu Valley and is concerning to our church leaders.  BUT, we all know that this is also part of the winnowing process that we have all been praying for.  So, we rejoice for some conflict that will help us and our Inapang brothers and sisters learn to trust in the Lord in deeper ways. The leadership is welcoming a little conflict and one of our elders told us (tongue and cheek) during our last visit that when the church gets old and begins to fall down, that they wouldn’t rebuild it.  He said that they were just going to meet house to house so the ones who were sitting in the back just being “socially comfortable” would stop coming and fooling themselves into thinking that they have a relationship that they clearly don’t have.  Hmmm….not exactly a strategy that is often heard stateside.  Again, we are thankful for men who are concerned about the purity of the church.  Please pray for the Inapang Bible teachers.

The Conference will be in December and in all of this we need wisdom to help and encourage and point to Christ with every word and every action.  Pray for the teachers as they review the gospel, their roles as leaders, fathers, and husbands.  Pray for boldness and a spirit of prayer and unity.  Pray that we will let the WORD transform us for we know that God desires for our beliefs to be turned into behavior as we grow in holiness. (2Tim 3:16-17)

WE.NEED.YOUR.PRAYERS. Please, in this advent season, remember us, your brothers and sisters and the 9 churches who will be meeting together.  Pray that CHRIST WILL BE GLORIFIED for HE IS WORTHY!

By God’s Grace and For His Glory~

The Housleys

Back in PNG, but not “home” yet…

“I am a sojourner on this earth…” Ps.119:19

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Sobega Center in the Goroka Valley, Central Area

Thanks to all of you who prayed and encouraged us as we headed back to PNG after a visit home with our friends and family in the US.  It was one of the smoothest trips we have ever made back and we are super thankful for that.  We landed in the Goroka Valley last Sunday and Monday kicked off a week of meetings. This week, we are here at our Sobega Centre catching up on some work and making our translation work schedule out. And then, we actually will be out of country again for 10 days representing PNG at some international meetings in Southeast Asia. Please pray for safe travels and for Bill as he interacts with the global team there.  So thankful to be part of a larger mission team and for the information that we hope to glean while we are there. A BONUS! We will get to meet up with another missionary family from one of our sending churches at home during our travels.  This is a rare opportunity that we are super thankful for.   The Lord is good! We LOVE the beautiful Sobega centre…AND we are happy for these upcoming opportunities and the ones the Lord already provided over the summer to visit different tribal churches and be an encouragement in those…BUT we haven’t been home to Madang or Itutang since May and we are missing it more that you could imagine at this point. Please pray for content hearts as we wait a little longer before heading to the bush.

So we are “home”….already, but not yet…in more ways than one.  🙂

What is “home” anyway?!  We are really taking this sojourner thing seriously these days.  🙂 After the Asia meetings, we will FINALLY be able to spend some time in our bush “home” – the one in the village that forever changed who we are on this earth.  It will be the middle of rainy season with lots of water and little food as we return, but we are SO excited to be with this little tribal faith family again.  Some things that we are praying for while we are “home” in the bush over Christmas:

  • That we will be an encouragement to the believers and the elders and deacons who have taken some hard hits over the past few months in regards to their stand and their faith. As we all know, leading is often hard on the soul and we want to encourage them in the work the Lord has given them.  We always love the life-on-life time with these beloved ones when we are together again.  They always exhort us, too, by their simple lives of trust and their amazing views and hope in heaven.  When we start complaining about moving around and not being “home”, we always think that we need to be a little more like them when it comes to keeping a true view of the reality of this life.  We don’t get to be here long.  🙂
  • That we will be an encouragement to the Tangguat church as it is facing some struggles and needs some support and input.
  • For the BIBLE TEACHER CONFERENCE that will happen in December.  This conference will be an opportunity for us to work with the Bible teachers and elders/deacons in the 8 Inapang churches and in the Tangguat church as well.  Please be in prayer that this is a time of unity where the Holy Spirit works in hearts and a time when the Word of God and Prayer reign.  Please remember these leaders as they come together to study and learn and encourage one another.
    • The conference is three days with these main topics:
      • A Review of the Gospel – Eternity to Eternity
      • A Review of the Calling of Elders & Deacons – Buk 1 Timoti 3:1-7 Buk 1 Timoti 3:8-13 Buk Aposelə 20:17-38 and
      • Our lives lived under Christ – Buk Jems 4:1-10, Buk Song 51:1-19, Buk 1 Tesolonaika 2:1-12, Buk Hibru 11:1-6
      • Marriage and Parenting Review
    • There is much to plan for.  The villagers will be providing food& housing, cooking, and hosting.  Please pray for these interactions that through them others who may be visiting or the lost still in our community would be drawn to the Savior!

THANK YOU FOR PRAYING!  We lost a very dear prayer warrior a couple of weeks ago, one who didn’t let being in his 80s stop him from visiting the people in ITUTANG whom he had been faithfully praying for.  As we felt this great loss,  it reminded us again of the necessity of having a team behind you who is really interceding for the spiritual battle that is going on in every tribal church.  They need your prayers and so do we.  Thank you for being part of the Inapang and Ramu Valley ministries.

By God’s Grace and For His Glory~

The Housleys

A Time to Read…

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Eccl.3.1

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Well, there is a time for everything under the sun as the wise King Solomon teaches.  And, our lives are no different.

A Time to Rest The Lord Blessed us with an amazing and providential rest from our ministry labors for a few months through a short stateside visit.  We have been able to take a mental break of sorts and to spend time with our girls, our family, and some of YOU, our faith family.  He knows that we are but dust and knows when to make us stop… and breathe.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

A Time to Work The Lord Blessed us with a stent of physical labor fixing up a house that our son-in-law and daughter will now move in to.  What a blessing to sweat and work hard physically and finish  project like this.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

A Time to Laugh The Lord Blessed us in the middle of physical labor with spiritual and emotional refreshment through your love and friendships.  Thanks to all of you who came alongside of us and allowed us to work in your homes with you and who came and helped with our projects too.  Laughter is surely sweet medicine from above and we experienced much of it during this short visit home.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

A Time to Cry The Lord Blessed us with some sweet times of vulnerability where tears punctuate our conversation and reveal our ministry struggles and longings for our brothers and sisters in PNG.  People are messy.  The Church is messy.  We are messy.  We are thankful for people in our faith family who aren’t afraid to be messy with us. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

A Time to Wait The Lord Blessed us with a period of Waiting…and even threw in a Women’s Retreat at one of our supporting churches on “Waiting” to make sure we got the point.  🙂 One thing that we have been waiting on since April is the arrival of our translation books.  These books have the translation that has been done and checked up to this point and is bound in book form.  We have been excitedly waiting for the books to arrive so that we can set a date for a conference for the 9 Inapang and Tangguat churches.  We were thrilled today to open a picture (above) sent by our co-worker, Promise, who was there when the 30 some odd BOXES of books finally arrived by helicopter to the village!  THANK YOU LORD!!!!  This means in our little corner of the world….it is A TIME TO READ and be encouraged with these written words of God in the Inapang language! Please pray as we wait for the completion of this project.  Pray that we will not grow weary in doing good and that the last 40% that needs to be drafted will be done in a timely manner and will be used by many to know Jesus more!  We are also waiting for the Lord to give us direction on a plan for a secondary education centre for the Inapang and Ramu Valley works.  Please join us in asking God to show us how he wants us to invest in the second generation of believers in these tribal churches.Blessed be the name of the Lord.

A Time for Action The Lord has Blessed us with an opportunity to sit under David Platt during a recent chapel service and although the great Commission and the nations and the Inapang people group are our constant heartbeat, it was nice for the Lord to provide a little “kick in the seat” as we look at leaving family and friends and comforts again to go back home to PNG.  What a phenomenal time in the Word (1Cor.15).  I was asked yesterday about going back and if it would be hard and replied, “If the resurrection were not real, it would be hard.”  One of my life mentors and friends, Jodi Ware, gently corrected me and said, “If the Resurrection were not real, it would be impossible.  It will still be hard.”  What a blessing to be surrounded by men & women who  think rightly about the brevity of our lives and can encourage us to embrace the hard things of life with JOY as we set our minds on things above. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

A Time for Thanks The Lord has Blessed us with so many of you on our team who inspire us to be more like Christ.  Thank you for your lives of integrity, your others-centered views of life, your passion for the gospel and your appreciation and love for the all-sanctifying blood of Jesus Christ.  Pray for us that our attitude will be as we sung last night at prayer meeting….”All I have is Christ, Jesus be my Life!” Blessed be the name of the Lord.

By God’s Grace and For His Glory~

The Housleys