Less than a week ago our feet finally touched down again in Papua New Guinea, after a whirlwind of a summer. We are down to just four of us in PNG now, as all three boys are now in College Station studying at Texas A&M. All in all it was a great, full summer, and we are happy to be able to relate some of the high points to you.
Of course the primary task of the summer was to get Michael settled in to Texas A&M. After a wonderful graduation ceremony on June 1, and a brief family vacation to the coast, we left for Texas. Michael had his New Student Orientation at the end of June and was able to register for his classes in Biomedical Science (pre-med). He was also offered a job in the student bookstore. He’s looking forward to a freshmen camp August 9-12 and starts classes at the end of the month. We would greatly appreciate your prayers for him and his brothers (thankfully all living together there in College Station) as they embark on this new school year.
A Summer of Milestones
There were a number of milestones that took place in the month of July. One was a celebration of Neil’s parents 50th wedding anniversary. It was a joy to glorify God by honoring their commitment and sacrifice to one another through the years. We were so grateful to be able to be with them for this occasion. We also were grateful to be able to take part in our niece’s wedding in Dallas. Christian and Rebecca were united in marriage in a lovely summer evening ceremony. We are excited to see how God uses this beautiful couple for his purposes and glory in the future.
Another notable milestone for our family was that July 2016 marked 20 years since we first left for Papua New Guinea. I thought the two pictures below demonstrated the big changes from those early days: a prayer card from 1998 and a shot at the airport last week. We came over with all boys originally, and now we have only our daughters with us! The main thing that strikes me, however, as I consider the past 20 years is your faithfulness to us. Many of you having been praying and supporting this ministry since the very beginning. THANK YOU! I recently saw a list of all of the people groups that have heard the Gospel for the first time in the 20 years since we first came. Can you believe that 37 tribal groups have been introduced to the Gospel during these years? Nearly all of them have had churches planted among them and Scripture translated into their languages. Thank you for partnering with us on this journey. We could not be here without you all.
The Year Ahead
The girls are excited about starting school on Tuesday (yes, this Tuesday). Cara starts high school and Katie is in 10th grade. Their dad is excited to get to teach their Bible class this year! Becky will teach a large class of Spanish 2 students. On the personnel front, Neil has a number of projects that he will be embarking on this next year to help our people serve more effectively across the country.
One major item for prayer: One of our missionary teams is beginning the chronological teaching among the Mali-Baining people of East New Britain in the coming weeks. Will you pray that the Gospel will penetrate the darkness that exists among these people? They are very confused by “cargo cult” teaching and do not understand the truth of the Gospel. Please be in prayer as the enemy of their souls will no doubt seek to keep them in the darkness! Your prayers are vital.
We are so grateful to be serving here as your missionaries to PNG. Thank you for your love and support for us.
Neil and Becky Burleson
Katie and Cara