Two of our security guard employees are “cousin-brothers” and always come to the office together on pay day. They like to just sit a spell soaking in the quiet in the air-conditioning away from the heat, humidity and hassles of life. I often have to remind myself that silence, though awkward for me, is probably a welcome interlude to them. As each fortnight ends I know to expect their prolonged visit when they come to collect their pay. I always TRY to chat with them about the Lord but ….. Well, here’s a sample conversation from this past week what transpired with Mr. P and Mr. K.

“Do either of you go to the Monday afternoon Bible study that (missionaries) Thomas and John have for you employee men each week?” I asked. (I happen to know that Mr. P does faithfully attend but Mr. K never comes.) Both remained silent for a season. Finally Mr. K piped up, “June 6.” (A silent “Huh?” was about all my brain could emit.) “Oh yah, June 6,” Mr. P replied. “I’ve got an app on my phone so I can keep up with the scores!” I was still drawing a blank. They enlightened me. “State of Origin.” It’s THE annual Australian rugby league football game played each year between the Queensland Maroons and New South Wales Blues. (In case you are interested: Internet enlightenment records the nickname of the New South Wales team as being the “Cockroaches” and the Queensland team as “Cane Toads.”) This year the teams will play on June 6th. How could I not know that?

Anything sports is out of my league but knowing God can use whatever He likes as an opening I let Him carry the ball. The brothers informed me that they support opposite sides. “What do you do after the game when one of your teams has lost? Do you 2 brothers fight?” I asked.

“Oh, we don’t fight,” Mr. P laughed and assured me. He then went on to share a long drawn out spiel from some years back. Evidently a married couple in another area of PNG DID take the sport seriously enough for a fight to ensue. I’ll spare you the lengthy thrice repeated intricately involved details that EVERY local story includes and go right to the finale. The husband ended up killing his wife when the team she supported won. Our security guard brothers were in their element sharing the saga with lots of snickering, tsk-tsking and head shaking. Then it was again my turn to talk.

Who would have thought that State of Origin rugby could become the perfect opening to direct the conversation back to spiritual matters! None of us know how much time we have left here on this ground. It’s always good to be ready to stand before the Lord. Perfect opportunity to share the salvation story that God saves us by the blood of Jesus alone and not by any good works we do or even faithful church attendance. Though able to expound for some minutes I don’t know if either of the men were really paying attention. Mr. K just stared off into space nodding his head – but was he listening??? Mr. P went back to counting his money.

The PNG ladies who work here are far more tuned in to desiring God’s food for their souls. Our Bible studies with them continue each week and they faithfully come. Their home lives are stressful and even depressing – yet they are believing God will answer their prayers in His own time and way. Some of their recent requests:

  • Rosie and her husband still await the approval of the brother of the land owner who has said they can build on his ground. Rosie wants a house of her own so she will be free to have Bible story time with the children in their settlement. Her desire to reach these kiddos with the Good News of Jesus is precious.
  • Meta has missed work a few times lately as she doesn’t have a faithful babysitter for her two children – Maili age 4 ½ and Kodi who just turned 3. With the massive rains we’ve had of late water floods under her house and she’s afraid that the children will fall in and drown. Could you please pray for a reliable babysitter for Meta?
  • Susan is “elderly” in her mid-50s and has problems with her knees. She would like to retire but also needs the income.
  • Naomi – newest to join the team – shares that her mother has ongoing struggles with what sounds like shingles.
  • Lisa – though she faces a multitude of housing and family issues she never dwells on the hardships. Her confidence in God is a sweet challenge to us all!
  • Paula is retired but still faithfully comes each week. Her family too can use lots of prayer.

These employees are not just men and women who work here on our center. They are our friends. Dear folks who we long to see know and love Jesus too. Your prayers for their souls will be greatly appreciated!

Other missionary friends whom I’ve mentioned before continue to need our prayer support too:

  • Gail and Deb battling terminal cancer
  • Chris awaiting surgery for repair of a cut Achilles tendon from a freak accident nearly a year ago.
  • Jessi on an extended medical leave for help with chronic pancreatitis.
  • Petra at home in Germany for a procedure to help relieve her migraine headaches.
  • And a new one: Isa facing surgery on Tuesday for a brain tumor.

And one MAJOR “Thank you, Lord” from our local Sepik family:

  • 18 month old Naomi’s recent MRI and other tests down in Australia have come back showing no change in her NCM (Neurocutaneous Melanocytosis) – a tremendous answer to prayer!

Thank you again for your prayers and other indications of support that you so faithfully share with me. It is always amazing to see God provide whatever the need may be. Some of you on occasion do write and share your prayer requests with me and I certainly appreciate that MORE than my infrequent return e-mails to you could indicate. Others of you I can only guess what your needs may be. We are privileged to be a part of God’s Family and able to uphold one another before His throne.

Thank you so much for your part on the team!

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