Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Unexpected Start to Vacation

We were checked in at the Madang domestic airport at 6:30 am (4Nov) as we were headed to Australia for a short 5 day getaway. Before arriving at the airport we drove into town to pick up Brian as he would drive our truck back to town for safe keeping while we were gone. We were in the airport when my phone rang from Brian. Brian said he was in an accident and he was ok.

The story goes he was turning right (across on-coming traffic) into his property when he was rear ended. A Landcruiser did not respond in time to avoid the stationary vehicle that was turning thus resulting in a rear end crash. The driver sped away from the accident but not before Brian could capture the license plate information. Brian was able to drive the truck onto the property though many bystanders wanted him to track down the Landcruiser for payback.

We were still waiting the plane at the airport when Brian relayed this information. We were glad he was ok and we knew that the vehicle is just a material procession. Emily and I prayed together asking God to go before us as we prepared for our vacation and wanted this accident not to ruin our getaway plans. God answered our prayers as we had a good time in Australia and didn’t have any problems.

The police are asking for a quotation to repair the vehicle as they want to serve the offender the quote. After nearly 1 month we finally have two quotations. We highly doubt the effectiveness of the police so we will more than likely submit a claim with insurance.

In the meantime, our truck is back on the road after some getting some band aids. The local repair shop did a good job of surveying the vehicle and getting us safely back on the road. We are lucky and thankful that no structural damager was done. Mostly body, panel, and bumper damage was done. The frame, axel, and suspension are fine. It could have been much much worse and we are thankful that Brian was not injured.

Pray that the police will complete the traffic report. Pray for the offender that God will soften their heart and own up to their fault. Pray for the insurance claim.

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Tok Piksa (illustration)

Some things never change…the back of the church is always full. You know, the last five pews in the sanctuary are always filled thus allowing no space for late comers. Those coming late awkwardly look at those you came early to grab a back row seat as they gently and quietly move closer to the front to find empty space. This behavior or Christian habit is the same cross cultures, even in PNG.

The song leader opens the service with an invitation…there are lots of empty gaps so please move forward and fill the space. Don’t be afraid or fearful, don’t be embarrassed please move forward. The song leader goes on to say if we leave space satan, he might be tempted to come and sit amongst us. If satan is to come, then why not give him the back row and not the space in the middle or front? Please move forward as we begin worship.

As the service progressed I pondered on the song leaders illustration and thought about our spiritual lives. We yearn to be close to God, we want to dine with him, we want to walk with him, etc. In reality, we have barely entered the sanctuary only to find a back row seat. We have this void between us and God. The void is often filled with sin and pleasures of this ground. This is where satan enters and fills the void. With our spiritual lives why don’t we ‘move forward’ and come closer to the front? Have we left space for satan to come and dwell amongst us or are we going to leave the back pew for him?

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Village Celebration

This past Saturday we had the pleasure to travel about 1.5 hrs outside of town to a village. The village of Uria rests in the jungle mountains where our teammates live and minster to the Somau Garia people. The reason for the celebration was there oldest daughter is returning to the USA to attend college this Fall. The village community and family wanted to have a good bye celebration and feast. The parents bought a $300 pig and cooked it all night long in dugout pits. They dug holes in the ground, placed the meat and vegetables around the meat and wrapped everything in banana leaves. Then they placed very hot stones around the meat to cook all night. This is the PNG cooking method of a slow cooker or crockpot.

It was a pleasant day to get out of town and encourage our teammates. The food wasn’t too bad but the people were better. We also got to play volleyball, soccer, and a little bit of frisbee. Just like a good ole family picnic.

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After I finished reading the ‘Harmony of the Gospels’ and the life of Jesus I continued reading the next book of the NT. Acts is the story of the early church and the story of Saul being transformed to Paul along with his three journeys.

In Acts 20 you pick up the story about Paul’s third missionary journey. He is on a hurry to return to Jerusalem for Pentecost so he decided to bypass Ephesus. He stops in Miletus and sends message for the elders of the church of Ephesus to come to Miletus (coastal town south of Ephesus). Here Paul gives testimony and encourages the leaders of the church.

I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the Good News of God’s grace. Acts 20:24

What a powerful statement of faith. Paul was not afraid of anything or anyone. He in fact faced mobs head on. The old saying, when you get knocked down, you get up again. That was Paul’s motto, you can’t knock me down cause I will rise again.

In v.24 above I see three takeaways:

1. “My life is nothing” – Here Paul is defining humility, my life is not about me it is all about Jesus. A few chapters ago we read the life of Saul and how he was going to Damascus to arrest Christians. Following his humble transformation and three days of blindness, Saul > Paul is declaring his allegiance not to self, but to Jesus.

2. “My life is to complete the task” – Paul was a man who walked with purpose in his step. You think he wondered Asia for exercise or for a vacation to see the sights? No, Paul had purpose. The question comes to mind, what is my purpose?

3. “Task to tell the Good News” – To end, Paul states his task is to tell the Good News. His journey to Asia and the Gentiles was not to see the sights but rather tell of the Good News of Christ. The closing question is, what is my task?

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By Emily


Fidelis, Sam & Thomas returned to town for another recording session at the beginning of May.  Bit by bit, they along with another team of three men have recorded the New Testament in the Mborena Kam language.  The session started per usual with the steadiness to finish the task.  Each day they have the victory of knowing they are one step closing to the mark of finishing, but sometimes it is hard to see that point in the midst of reading.

Almost daily they give me updates of how many chapters they have completed, per our routine of the past year.  In the last few weeks the number of remaining chapters have dwindled until, 11:32 on May 25 the last verse of the Mborena Kam New Testament was completed.  I walked into the room where Fidelis was recording within seconds after he finished, because I knew he was getting close and I wanted to document it by taking a picture.  Cheer with us in victory that one step in the journey is done.  There are still many more hours of revisions and re-records, but as of May 25 we can say these men have recorded every last verse of the New Testament in their language.  Pray for these men and their families as they continue to press on in the work God has given them.  Pray that the words they have been reading can impact their lives and God will use them to share the recordings, when it comes time to distribute.

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Last October while we were in the USA, we attended the International Conference on Missions (ICOM) in Richmond, VA. One of the workshops I attended was on Disciple Making. The presenter, Dann Spader, opened the workshop with a testimony. When we was younger and attending Bible College he was told to buy a book, Harmony of the Gospels. He did and he read through it as he studied the life of Jesus.

Making disciples has always been an interested concept. I truly feel we are not doing a good job. Disciple making is a buzzword in the church today. All churches will boldly proclaim they are making disciples. As I survey the church of today, I ask myself are we really making disciples? What does it really look like? How do we measure disciple making? Who is responsible for making disciples?

Dann Spader’s workshop was intriguing as I sat there to listen as he presented harmony of the gospelshow to make disciples during his 1 hour class. What is disciple making? The basis is multiplication. You as a disciple, teach and train others to obey Christ thus you make disciples. However, that is not multiplication. Disciple making comes in when disciples reproduce and make more disciples. If you teach and train others to obey Christ but those you trained don’t teach and train others, then disciple making fails. Remember, it is about multiplying.

Dann’s message and challenge was, we need to study the life of Jesus and what better way than reading the Harmony of the Gospels.

I did some research and bought ‘A Simplified Harmony of the Gospels’ by George Knight. It is based on the Holman Christian Standard Bible, a modern English translation. The book starts with John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus and ends with Jesus’ ascension 40 days after his resurrection. It takes the four gospels and presents one simplified gospel.

I started to read the life of Jesus when we returned to PNG in January. I just finished reading and studying the life of Jesus this past week. I did learn more about Jesus and His life story of making disciples. This book is only a building block cause there is so much more. Reading, studying is one part but application is why we earn our marks. How am I going to apply the life of Jesus and His ministry into my life as I try to make disciples?

Dann Spader – founder of SonLife

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If you have been following our newsletters, you have read about the need for housing. Why? Our team is growing and we need to provide housing. The need is simple but meeting the need is difficult. There are numerous economic indicators which make this difficult. Real estate in Madang is valuable which drives the price to the sky. Security is always a concern so selecting the right neighborhood is critical. Lastly, financial resources for development are limited. One positive is the current exchange rate is in our favor which means your dollar goes further.

Our branch has set forth a two step financial campaign (Build and Buy) to meet our growth needs.
1. Raise $200,000 to build housing on existing property.
2. Raise $500,000 to buy property.

For more information, please read this document – PNG Build and Buy

Recently, a missionary (Erin) mother of two wrote the following closing thoughts on the branch blog article, ‘The importance of a building.’

The need here is still vast. Papua New Guinea holds the least and the last, forgotten people that desperately need an encounter with Jesus, with His Word, and His Kingdom. This means that we will continue to pray for more laborers and we will continue to expect God to answer those prayers. And we need to be ready when those answers come.

We want to see people thrive on the mission field, not just survive. When we recruit people to come to PNG, we want to have something to offer them; a home is a good place to start.

Please join with us in prayer as we dare to dream BIG cause we serve a MIGHTY God who is ABLE. For more information about giving and the project, PNG Building Development.

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For the past month we have been on standby waiting for a phone call. It has been a struggle knowing that any minute of the day a call could come and we would have to be ready to head to the village. The past month has been hard as we could make no plans as we knew our phone could ring any moment with the news that Dulcy has died.

This past Sunday we took some teammates and their family for an island outing. We packed our lunch, drinks, and snacks for the afternoon. It was enjoyable. We went got home and started to put things away when Emily received a phone call from Ducly’s son, Fidelis. He said that mama has died.

Our bags have been packed for the past month so early the next day we left the house at 4:45 AM to start the journey to the village for the burial. We picked up Sam who has been in town recording books of the Mborena Kam NT at little past 5:00 AM and we were on the road. We got to the village at 10:00 AM and arrived at Steven’s house where we heard crying and sobbing. There were nearly 200 family and friends gathered.

Steven (Dulcy’s husband) was a mess as anyone would expect. He simple told us, “thank you very much for coming. This means a lot to me and my family that you came.” I simply shook his hand and muttered, “I am very sorry.”

After a huge meal was served the service started with the reading of Dulcy’s life story. Then the head church leader spoke for the community and he concluded with a short sermon/message. The coffin was then transported to the burial site which was a short 10 minute walk. The men lowered the coffin in the ground then shovel by shovel they backfilled dirt ending the burial service.

Dulcy died of mouth cancer which she had been battling for about one year. The past three months were the worst as her body was simply crumbling as the deadly cancer cells were taking her life.

Dulcy like any good wife was the pillar for her husband, Steven. Steven is the co-translator for the Mborena Kam translation project that is in its final stages. They are hoping to dedicate the NT next summer. Unfortunately a piece of the family won’t be there to witness this ‘Good News’ in their heart language.

Please pray for Steven as he mourns the lost of the wife. Also pray for the Piki family during this time as well. Pray the God’s transforming power will be illuminated amongst this language group.

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Scripture App Testimony

Last July before I left for home assignment I was able to get some scripture portions of the Apal NT on smartphones. I was able to get Matthew, Titus, and Jude on the phone app for some of the Apal speakers. This is not the finished app but a test/trial version. The expat translator wanted to gauge their enthusiasm and excitement of having their own mother tongue language on a smartphone.

Recently, one of the men has been struggling with his marriage. Satan has gotten ahold of their marriage and caused problems. This has led him to stop reading the Tok Pisin Bible (national trade language of Papua New Guinea.) He is no longer reading the Bible and has no desire for the past six months. However, he still has his smartphone with the app that has Matthew, Titus, and Jude. When he is by himself fishing, walking, or simply has quiet time he often opens the app and listens or reads the Apal NT books that are on his phone. He recently told the translator this is what has kept him strong over the past six months of struggle and trial. Praise God!

The translator wrote me to encourage me that the Scripture App is making a difference and the translator is excited to get more scripture on the app so the mother tongue speakers are engaged and transformed by God’s living Word.

Please pray for the Apal language group that God will continue to transform hearts of the lost.

Pray for the marriage of this man and his wife.

Praise God for amazing new technology.

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‘Super’ Delayed Gratification

While living a life overseas one thing you learn to appreciate even more is delayed gratification. Living in a developing country there are many things that just aren’t normal or desired. Such as ice cream that has thawed and been refrozen forming ice crystals throughout the ice cream another one might be room temperature water rather than having an abundance of ice cubes. There are many things you just learn to live with or live without.

Being a sports fan I love to watch sporting events on live TV. Now that I am removed from living in the moment of the sports scene I have to follow games by the Game Tracker or simply reading recaps and box scores. Seldom do I get the chance to watch the 1 minute highlight video of the game.

Just a few weeks ago the biggest football game of the year was played in California…Super Bowl 50. I am neither a Bronco or Panther fan but I do like to watch Peyton Manning and cheer him on. I am a Colts fan since being raised in Indiana. I remember the Harbaugh days (pre Manning) and Manning’s rookie year, a poor 3-13 record.

This is Manning’s 4th Super Bowl after only winning it once with the Colts. I remember that night well, I in fact was working and missed that game as well. This year a fellow missionary was able to get the game while visiting Australia and bring the game back to us sports fans in PNG.

This past Saturday we had our Super Bowl party! We decided to invite the PNG men whom are in town working on their translation projects to the party so they could watch some American football, after all doesn’t everyone watch the Super Bowl. Well…only 112 million viewers did this year.

We enjoyed watching the defensive battles and of course watching Peyton Manning win his 2nd Super Bowl.IMG_20160220_175618950

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