Thank you so much for your love and prayers and gifts! We are deeply grateful for your part in reaching the Hewa people with the love of Jesus. Thank you!
I just arrived back from a one-week trip to Hewa! While Susan, Mikenna and I have been living at our mission’s support center in the highlands of PNG, the Lord granted me a trip into Hewa so I could re-connect with the church and work with the believers on the chapters of John I have been translating. I was especially happy to discover I had arrived in time to attend the wedding of Fato’s first born son (bride pictured above center on her wedding day). Back in 2008 Fato was one of the first to trust in Christ when we presented the Gospel in his village, and at that time he stood and courageously declared he and his village were going to follow the Jesus trail (you may enjoy watching his testimony at Fato’s story at ethnos360.org). Over the last 10 years Fato has battled many disappointments and setbacks but has continued to strive to lead his family and community in surrendering to the Lord. This past week, he told me that while I was in the States he had struggled for two terrible months with intestinal pain but had resolved not to slip back into the old patterns of spirit appeasement for recovery, but instead had been waiting on the Lord for health and strength. We are praising the Lord for His faith and for the continued faith of the Hewa believers.
As Susan and I make preparations to return to live full time in Hewa, our efforts will continue to be in Bible translation and teaching, but our special focus will be to lead the church in preparing Fato and five other faithful men to become the first official elders of the Hewa church (Faimpat, Yanis, Ken, Kifeson & Waina). We also plan to lead nine others in preparation to be recognized as deacons. This phase of discipleship training for church leadership will require humbling accountability but it is an essential step in the process of the church being able to care for itself, especially after the time we missionaries are no longer able to live with them full time.
Please consider writing the names of the potential elders in a prominent place in your prayer journal or somewhere in your home or office so you can remember to pray for them as we lead them through months of important discussions. We do not want to enter this process lightly but instead want to be directed by the Holy Spirit. Though the Hewa names may feel strange and difficult to pronounce (vowels pronounced similar to Spanish vowels), we desire that you pray they will grow in faith, love and discernment to lead with the heart of a shepherd. Someday you will be privileged to meet with these men as we gather in worship around God’s throne and praise Him for how He rescued them from the Kingdom of darkness and brought them into the kingdom of the Son He loves.
Check out our new Hewa Tribe story called “The Womwe Are Coming”
Thank you for your love and prayers and gifts! We deeply appreciate you!
Jonathan, Susan, Mikayla & Mikenna