Thank you so much for your love, prayers and gifts! We are deeply grateful for your part in reaching the Hewa people with the love of Jesus. Thank you!
January is the time when we are reminded of how amazing God is for His faithfulness to continually love and guide us and draw us closer to Himself. When we realize the depth of our plight and the awesomeness of His grace, our hearts respond with deep joy, and we can’t help but adore Him saying, “Thank you Jesus! You are amazing!”
My friend, Eyaka, returned to our village from town for his Christmas break from school and his heart has been full of joy and appreciation. When he was in my office helping me with my translation efforts in II Corinthians, one of the passages about gratefulness grabbed his attention and he excitedly told about a time when he realized God had reached into his life to rescue him, and how this resulted in a new sense of adoration.
I had moved to the village of Asop with hopes of teaching the people there about God but then after only a few months, the witch doctor drove me away and I quickly became very discouraged. Not knowing what to do I hiked down river to one of the villages my father had once lived in. I decided to help a relative there clear a plot of land to plant a new garden. When I was cutting down a very large tree in the middle of the garden area, I saw that my relative’s little son kept coming up to where I was chopping, even after I insisted he go back to the hut to be with his mother. The tree had a huge base with wide fins so I had built a little scaffold with poles to stand on (Similar to the scaffold a man is standing on in the picture above) so I could cut through the tree where it was narrower. As I was chopping through the tree, I didn’t notice that the little boy had come back below the scaffold and had fallen asleep under the tree. I didn’t hear any warning cracking noises from the tree and was shocked when it suddenly split up the middle and then broke in half and a big section of the base came swinging down toward me. As I jumped to the ground I saw the sleeping boy and reached out to grab him. I tried to pull him to safety as I dashed away but he slipped out of my grasp and the base of the tree came crashing down, obliterating the poles I had been standing on. I turned around in shock, realizing the boy must have been crushed, and I ran back to search under the tree, clearing away the branches that had fallen. And there he was, slowly waking from his sleep, rubbing his eyes without a trace of fear, with no sign of injury. Then suddenly my dread was replaced with a new kind of gratefulness I had never experienced before. God had not only rescued me from death, but had also spared the boy. I was so happy and I kept saying, “You saved me! You saved me! Thank you God!” I will never forget the feeling of amazement for how God spared our lives that day.
As we are planning our phased departure from our Hewa village starting next May, one of the things that has been heavy on our hearts is the need for continued Christian education for the village children. Our village leaders and church leaders have continually asked us to help them locate good Christian teachers who can start a small Christian school. We see this as a legitimate need for the children but have not known how to address the problem, mostly because of the expense of hiring qualified teachers who would be willing to live in this very remote location. Now, in fellowship with our mission leadership we would like to ask you to pray with us about this need, to ask the Lord to raise up a group of people who would be willing to sponsor a couple PNG citizen Christian teachers, if that is His perfect will. Please feel free to contact us to ask for more information about this idea.
Thank you again so much!
Jonathan, Susan & Mikenna