Great Expectations!

What does that phrase bring to mind? Maybe Charles Dickens unforgettable classic? Hopefully it suggests some happier prospect for you — perhaps some potential you foresee soon coming to fruition? Maybe optimism regarding happy holiday plans? The things we dream of in life may or may not transpire according to our highly wished for outcome. (For example, if you are hoping this update won’t bore you to tears you may be sadly disappointed!)

Confidence in worldly expectations often leaves us disillusioned. When our expectation is in God though and the certainty that He will bring about all He has promised, we will never be disappointed!

Old Simeon in Jesus’ time waited with confident expectancy to see the Savior God had promised to send to Israel. He was not disappointed. He did not know however what God’s exact plans were for the life and ministry of Jesus. In Israel’s pre-conceived mindset, they were presuming that the promised Messiah would come and reign as their King! Christ most assuredly WILL reign as King here on this earth – but first God had other plans for Him to fulfill.

That’s the message we have come to PNG to share. Anticipations are currently running high among some of the missionary teams in our region. Foundational Bible teaching (Creation to Christ – and discipleship beyond!) is scheduled to begin among the Kaje, Pei and Amdu people in 2019.

The tribal people in those 3 language groups have great expectations! But all too often “religion” is seen as the key to being materially blessed. (Google “cargo cult” for more information.) If that is what people are anticipating as they come to hear God’s Word being taught, their hope is misplaced. In reality, they know not for what they wait. Let’s be praying even now that their hearts will be prepared to receive God’s truth when the teaching begins!

Too many other people groups in PNG have even less hope. They have asked for missionaries to come, but there has been no one to send. When will they have their chance to hear the Good News of Jesus? Like the 6 priority groups mentioned in my last update: West Hewa, Umeda, Lembena, Swagap, Arafundi, and Gavamas. Besides those, roughly 200 more ethnic groups in PNG are still without the Gospel. Can we pray together that they will not have to continue waiting in vain?

Okay, long introduction to say, “What are your hopes and expectations for this Christmas season and for all your days to come?” For us who realize our need of Jesus as our Savior and trust the total sufficiency of His blood as payment for our sins, we have so much to confidently anticipate: Saved forever from the penalty for our sins! Saved day by day by letting God’s Holy Spirit help us stand strong against the power of sin! And the certain prospect of being saved for all eternity out of the very presence of sin! Ah, that latter is a grand and lofty expectation indeed!

We are blessed too to have God’s Word in our own language. Too many people do not yet have that advantage. Because we have His Word we know of the glorious certainty of Jesus coming back as King! And that, my friends can be our daily hope! Perhaps TODAY!

Our usual annual Christmas festivities are in the works:

  • Dec 5th — a luncheon was held for the PNG ladies who work on our mission center and attend our weekly Bible study.

  • Dec 14th – will be a party for all our employees and their families with lots of cake, ice cream, volleyball, and a water slide for the children.

  • 21st Dec – we’ll host a get together for missionaries from other organizations who also labor here in PNG. (And yes, food will be included in that gathering too!) – Sometime the week before Christmas will be the annual delivery of plates of breads to numerous businesses in town and to 20 departments and wards at the local hospital.

Lamentations 3:26 — It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Ps 130:5 — I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

Thru the busy-ness it’s sometimes hard to think of “patiently waiting” on the Lord and His timing. Especially (for me) when it comes to personal plans for the coming year! I still haven’t a clue when I’ll be heading home. In the Lord’s timing He will let me know – and be assured, when I know I’ll most certainly relay that news to you! In the meantime, rather than waiting on “what’s next” in life, may this be true for each of us today:

May all our hope and expectation be in Christ this Holiday season! He will certainly work far beyond our finite ideas to bring about His perfect will.

Name that tune!

Now lest the letter seem too totally sermonizing, care to take a guess at which English Christmas Carol the lyrics below reflect? (Hint: it’s the one that speaks of Christ as King!) (Please feel free to e-mail me to see if your guess is correct!)

Amamas tru, olgeta lain,

Jisas i kam long graun.

Yumi wanwan mas redim bel.

Givim biknem long em, givim biknem long em, Givim, givim biknem long em.

Amamas tru, olgeta lain,

Bikpela i stap King!

Olgeta man mas autim nem Bilong Bikpela Krais, bilong Bikpela Krais, Bilong, bilong Bikpela Krais!

Amamas tru, olgeta lain!

Kin b’long tok tru i kam.

Belisi wantaim amamas

I stap nau long yumi, i stap nau long yumi, I stap, i stap nau long yumi.

Thank you for your part in allowing me to be here, and to be your representative to the people God desires to touch here in PNG. You are a blessing and encouragement to my life as you show in various ways your support of God’s Work here.
Co-laboring with you to see Christ return as King!
Hope Sharp