So – did you have a happily memorable Christmas season? Here’s how some missionary friends spent the holidays:

Pei – Chris & Evie Jones, Candace Swift, Justin & Lauren Rees invested the time with translation consultant Lisa Kappeler going over recently translated portions of the Gospel of Mark and other scriptures that will be needed when they begin the foundational Bible teaching this year.
Amdu – Bart & Emily Allen and Ben & Missy Hatton started another literacy class, this one for students who can already read the trade language of the country but need help realizing they can also read things written in their mother tongue. Also an excerpt from their recent update:

… in December both Benjamin and Bart were able to speak to the majority of our village in two separate meetings about the character of God’s word and the importance of the upcoming Bible teaching. Bart explained to the group that God’s word is like a sharp knife that God uses to help us to cut through lies and understand truth. Benjamin spoke about God’s word being a light that shows the right path to follow. They both challenged the listeners with the reality that the only people who benefit from God’s word are those people who have heard the whole story. The Bible teaching that will begin in March is their opportunity to hear the whole story that God has given us and to benefit from the sharp knife and the bright torch of God’s word. The challenge was well received as this is the first time the people have heard Bart and Benjamin speak at length in a teachers’ role. They loved it!

The new Lembena team – Adam & Anna Ferguson, Jason & Tami Hughes, and Micah & Laura Myers kept moving forward in plans for their 3 families to move into the village and begin language and culture study. Months of preparation go into making this transition become a reality – buying materials to build their houses, cutting timber for the construction, investing in the necessities for living in the jungle …. The list always seems endless!
Kaje – Taylor & Abby Goheen, Jon & Jen Myer, and Christopher & Lilli Meyer. I haven’t seen any updates from the Kaje missionaries since Christmas but am sure they are keeping busy discipling the new believers. Usually group teaching resumes with a short review of the earlier foundational teaching, showing all the “clues” God gave throughout the old testament of how He would work thru Christ. Kinda like the saying: “The new (testament) is in the old (testament) concealed, the old (testament) is in the new (testament) revealed.”

Wewak – The Hutteman, Depner, Morlang, Buser, Ferguson, Hughes, Myers families hosted the normal Christmas activities for our Wewak friends: party for our employees and their families with lots of cake and ice cream. Also the kids’ favorite – the water slide! They also handing out plates of banana bread to the local hospital wards and businesses who help us out thru the year.

Please be praying for these missionary teams as God brings them to mind!

On the home front: I have been corresponding with mission departments at our USA headquarters about my options for when Home Assignment time finishes and until I reach the ripe old age of 70 when I’ll begin life on Social Security. That will be a bit over a year from now. It is looking likely that during these intervening months I can continue living here at home and work to finish up some longstanding projects for the May River Iwam – mostly spell checking and readying formerly compiled Bible lessons, etc. for printing. Details to follow in the months to come. In the meantime I’m settled into life, still continually amazed at how people are always on the go, and how much they cram into their days.

A highlight for me is a small Tuesday morning community Bible Study I’ve happily inherited temporarily while the regular leader is not able to attend. Another bright spot for involvement is Nursing Home visitation. A friend (Jackie) and I try to spend a couple of hours there every other Saturday specifically to see ones who don’t get many visitors. What insights the residents give us! It is a challenge but a joy to visit with these folks and hopefully cheer them up a bit. Often they just need someone to listen while they vent their frustrations. There are Christians among them though who are seeing God undertaking on their behalf. We try to encourage them to let Jesus use them to minister to those who still do not know Him or know how to rest in Him. This is our goal in visiting with them – that they all might come to know God’s salvation thru Christ and experience His presence with them every moment of the day, seeing Him helping them thru the trials of their lives.

Your prayers will certainly be appreciated on each of the above opportunities to bring needs before God’s Throne.

Today’s chuckle – or at least I hope it strikes others as funny as it did the ladies in a prayer group that I attend. I’ve been having kitchen plumbing issues of late and as I shared this the gals commiserated with me about the inconvenience of not being able to use the kitchen sink. I could honestly tell them it’s no big deal. Way back when in missionary training we had to haul all our water in buckets both into our dorm flat and then tote the greasy dishwater out again to dump it in a pit outside. That was, theoretically, teaching us to cope with such tasks of “everyday life” on the mission field. Well, in reality, in all the nearly 40 years in PNG and since I have never needed to use that training – until now. For some reason that tickled their funny bones! Not to worry. I’m now reveling in watching water go down the drain again!

My thanks to you yet again as we work together in the various locations and diverse ministries God has committed to our hands. Your part in my life and ministry, both in PNG and now on this side of the ocean, is appreciated more than words can say.
Co-laboring to bring back Christ as King!
Hope Sharp