I have a feeling I’m not alone in this…. by year’s end rationed reserves are depleted. I’m running on fumes. Finally Christmas morning arrives. After dealing with the tyranny of the urgent (which anyone else so blessed with the coveted clause of “staff to a cat” among their various job descriptions understands) the Annual Event arrives! I settle in with my Bible, Cds of Handel’s Messiah and a much tattered paper listing the Bible references for each of the songs so I read the verses as the epic oratorio unfolds. My co-worker Linda and I started this tradition back about 1980 when we first arrived in PNG and it has become my rejuvenating haven at year’s end. Everything else fades away as the lyrics straight from God’s Word replenish and refresh my heart. By the time the “Pastoral Symphony” plays the cares of this world have fled. My heart bends in reverence before God! Indeed, He has again recalibrated my mindset to focus on His bountiful mercy and grace so lavished on me in Jesus.

So begins the race into the New Year! What’s ahead for 2018? Probably more, more, more of the same. Thankfully God already has the days planned and His agenda is perfect! I anticipate – and desire your prayers for:

  • finance office duties
  • printing projects
  • literacy advising
  • Wednesday Bible study with our lady employees

Finance Office: Okay. Go ahead. Laugh! You may remember how anxious I was 2 years ago when I first began filling in “temporarily” while the missionary who oversees the finance office was away. Beth has been back nearly a year now and though we’ve talked a bit about her resuming the ministry, we hadn’t really hashed out the details. She’s been busy with their baby and adjusting to homeschooling their son. AND – Okay, I admit I’ve been selfishly hanging on to the duties as God (who knows me better than I know myself) has given me a real love for the routine tasks. Finally this past week the subject came up. Bottom line – Beth is most happy to NOT resume full time finance just now! Looks like I have some job security until God sends me back to the USA! Thank you, Lord!!!! And Beth, too! One of the not so loved parts of finance however is that I have been dubbed by our men employees with the loathsome label “boss meri (woman).”

Admittedly that does have its perks though. Occasionally there will be opportunities to talk with them as I hand out their pay packets. What they share gives real insight into their spiritual state.

  • the father of one security employee was recently “nigh unto death” as someone allegedly took his hat and worked sorcery on him using the sweat from the hat band. God graciously spared the man’s life — for now. Please do pray that TRUTH from God’s Word will enlighten both the elderly father and his son.
  • 2 other night guards active in a “salvation by works” religion recently asked me where our regional coordinator was. I was able to share with them that he was at the funeral of a good friend – a National PNG man whom he had known since their dorm days together at our mission boarding school. This led into an opportunity to story to them about God’s salvation thru Jesus and His work on Calvary alone, rather than what we try to do to earn His favor. Neither seemed to show much interest at all….

Some pictures from our annual Christmas party for our employees and their families

   
   

Tribal Resource Center: I am still anticipating the “big” printing project for another local mission. Their December target date passed with no files being sent my way. Now the new deadline looms — “early February when the government schools resume classes.” Hopefully they will send me the files soon!

Literacy: The missionary team at Amdu is about midway thru their 1st Literacy course and the Kaje team plans to begin their first ever vernacular language reading and writing class on 8 th Jan! This is an exciting time for both teams as they transition from being the students learning the Kaje language to becoming teachers in the eyes of their local friends, eventually being able to communicate the truths of God’s Word in the heart language of their community. Amdu, Pei and Kaje all hope to be able to begin the foundational Bible teaching this year! Let’s pray with them as the work toward that goal!

Wednesday Bible study: Rosie, Lisa, Meta, Susan and Paula continue to be most faithful in coming. Each has very serious specific needs. As you think of them please be praying especially in these details:

  • the husband of one lady has gambled away their rent money and they are 3 months behind. Rather than nagging or worrying, she sees this as an opportunity for God to open her husband’s eyes to his need of Jesus as his Savior.
  • 2 of the other ladies are trying to build houses here in town.
    • the husband of one is physically unable to actually do the work
    • the husband of the other sees his wife as financially responsible for all the details concerned with renting land, buying building supplies, etc.
  • each of the 5 ladies have unsaved family members who cause real strife in their households
  • 2 of the ladies need RELIABLE babysitters as bringing their children to work leaves them too distracted to actually tend to their assigned tasks
  • And to end on a note of Praise! — all are growing in their love and understanding of our wonderful Heavenly Father as they look to see Him helping them thru each of the heavies and hardships that hound their days

Now 2017 has literally ended with a bang (random day and nighttime fireworks here begin in November and build to a crescendo ushering in the New Year.) My grateful thanks to each of you striving so faithfully together with me for nearly 4 decades now to see God’s church established here among His people here in Papua New Guinea. Our tasks toward this goal vastly differ but each is vital to seeing the job done to His honor and glory. Heartfelt appreciation goes out to you for your prayers and other evidences of your support. May God grant you a year full of evidences of His blessings lavished on you in Christ, and may you gladly anticipate together with me that glorious day when we will see the fruit of our labors of love for our Savior. Perhaps today!

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