Thanks to YOUR prayers – last month’s literacy trip to Amdu happened! And equally in answer to prayers, God made it clear the literacy trip to Kaje was NOT to be on my agenda.

When the helicopter booked for the Kaje jaunt became unavailable, hiking thru jungle swamps remained the only travel option. The missionaries concerned were probably holding their breaths but they graciously let me make the call. That’s when God whispered, “Be realistic” in my ear: 20 years since I last hiked thru steaming swamps, often out of breath carrying a mere 7kg box the 2 minute walk between our Adm office and tribal supply, a recent bout of vertigo – it only adds up one way. One does NOT want to subject fellow hikers to possibly having to carry the old woman along the jungle trail! I wasn’t vital to the Kaje team’s literacy needs. They were, with help from missionaries Bill & Kelley Housley, totally able to do their primer construction without me. And they did! Using the brilliantly wonderful new literacy program, in a matter of days they were able to produce more than can usually be done in weeks! Since I was not there to give a 1st hand report, there’s little more to say on Kaje just now …. but lots of pics and points of comment from Amdu!

The Amdu trial literacy class has 14 students – 7 with enough prior education that they are already literate in the trade language Melanesian Pidgin and are now adding reading with comprehension of their heart language to their scholarly skills. 4 other students have had some past exposure to school so with help they are catching on. The final 3 are totally new to reading and writing and yes, they struggle. Ifaatip, Kilon and Tikmeng need lots of individual attention that they too might grasp the concept of reading. Please keep Bart & Emily Allen and Ben & Missy Hatton in your prayer as God brings them to mind as they work toward helping the Amdu become literate in their mother tongue.

It’s always refreshing to get “back to the bush” and see again first hand why we are here. Such trips help make the mundane office tasks of being in a support role here in town seem more essential. It is a privilege to be available to do the grunt work here that our missionaries might be there on the front lines. Lord willing 3 more language groups will be getting to hear the foundational Bible teaching this coming year.

Please pray for

  • Amdu – Bart & Emily Allen, Ben & Missy Hatton
  • Pei* – Justin & Lauren Rees, Chris & Evie Jones and Candace Swift
  • Kaje — Jon & Jen Myers, Taylor & Abby Goheen

as they endeavor to teach literacy, begin scripture translation and preparation of Bible Lessons. All are hopeful that 2018 might be the year that people from each of their respective tribes might come to know Jesus as their Savior!

The Pei team merits special mention as extra prayers are needful these days. Their original plan was to begin teaching the Bible lessons soon but

  • Chris & Evie Jones (on the left of the pic – baby Jensen is held by their co-worker Lauren). About 2 months ago Chris cut his heel badly including severing his Achilles tendon. This happened in their village and the med-evac to get him to medical help took many hours. They subsequently spent about 6 weeks in Australia before returning to Indiana USA for more complex surgery and ongoing treatment. He recently had skin grafts to cover the gaping hole left by the injury. A tendon transplant and then physical therapy will eventually follow.
  • Justin & Lauren Rees with Paxton and Paisley (on the right of the pic) recently came to town for a short break. While here Justin had an attack of appendicitis. Medical help for even such “minor” surgery is not recommended locally. Yep. Another med-evac to Australia. During transport the appendix began to leak. Justin has been hospitalized for several days and Lauren and the children have joined him in Cairns. He will need some recovery time close to medical facilities before returning to the Petri dish climate of our steamy Sepik.
  • Candace Swift – middle of the back in the picture – is here in Wewak until she can return with the Rees family to their village. Candace recently accompanied me to Amdu to offer Literacy advice in supplement of my long ago and all but forgotten teaching experience. She is a tremendous blessing! Please be praying for her as she is “trapped” here in town while her co-workers are away. She’s spending her time working on literacy materials and doing some “discourse analysis” which will be an asset as the team moves toward scripture translation.

When such events as described above happen as a tribal team moves toward beginning to teach God’s Word it looks evident that the adversary likes to place obstacles in the way to hinder the truth of Jesus being shared. In reality – God is still in control! Each of the people pictured below, and countless more like them, are still waiting to hear the Good News of Jesus. Our part may be from afar yet prayer warriors are needed to support those missionaries facing the spiritual battle on the front lines. Thank you for your part. And thank you for the privilege it is to be your representative here in Papua New Guinea.

Co-laboring to bring back Christ as King!
Hope Sharp