Early February highlights in America seem to revolve around Groundhog Day, super bowl, State of the Union, Valentine’s Day…. For me February means TAXES. This year has been a muddle of confusion beyond all previous years. Thankfully we have home staff missionaries at our main office who serve the Lord by helping inexpert filers like me along this treacherous path. Yes, no matter what skill set God has entrusted to you, He can use you in His work! How thankful I am for these fellow missionaries who take on this task most of the rest of us shun. Their rewards await them in glory!

Meanwhile back in PNG – The new team of missionaries going to the Lembena language group have two of the 3 family houses underway. Jason and Tami Hughes are in the tribe this week as more work goes into getting the framed structures livable. Please do pray for health and safety for them, and for rain so they will have a safe water supply!

Elsewhere around PNG, over in the Pei and Amdu tribes missionaries continue to work on lessons for teaching the foundational truths of God’s Word. They like to have the 60+ lessons at least in rough draft form before beginning to teach. That will leave them more time to be out in the village each day once teaching is underway, chatting with their local friends to see how they are understanding what they have heard. Teaching is slotted to begin within the next few months.

The new believers in the Kaje tribe who heard the good news of Jesus late last year are continuing to be interested in understanding and growing in their newfound faith. Here are some comments from the missionaries:

The people are so hungry and they are just bubbling over with questions like: Will God listen to me when I talk to him? How should I be living now that I am in God’s family? Should I leave my wife since I do not think she is believing? I am not married yet… How does God want me to marry? Is it a sin to kill a sorcerer? What do I do if my husband beats me? And so many many other things. …

The entire village is by no means saved. Satan has snatched away God’s Word from some of the people so that they still lack understanding of what they have heard. However,

…. these people continue to come and listen to every lessen that we teach. Please continue to pray for these ones that they can understand and put their faith in Jesus Christ. Praise God with us for the many that have believed!

Also soon to be in progress in another of PNG’s 800+ ethnic groups – the final translation check of the New Testament in the Simbari language will take place 7-14th of February! This is a milestone event as once the check is finished final formatting can begin to put this New Testament into print. Missionary David Ogg and one of his translation helpers, Raymond, are pictured here. They, along with other missionaries on their team and many other Simbari translation helpers have worked for years to reach this point. Translation consultant Jason Stuart will be heading up this check of 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2 & 3 John, Jude and Revelation. May the Lord give them all health, strength, and stamina for this grueling time, and wisdom to see whether the passages they have translated are communicating clearly the truths of God’s Word to the Simbari helpers, who will be hearing these verses for the first time. Dave will read the passage to the translation helper who will then reiterate what they have heard back to the consultant. From that it will be clear whether the passage is good as it stands or if it needs further tweaking to communicate clearly the truths being portrayed in the passage.

At the other end of the church planting ministry spectrum over in the YembiYembi tribe, the local church has been standing on its own for several years now. They have had their share of “growing pains” as they mature in their faith and increase their confidence in God to use them to lead their fellow believers in strengthening their faith as well. Local teachers are currently sharing lessons on Humility & shepherding from Isaiah 66:2 & 1 Peter 5:1-5. Former missionary to the YembiYembi, Tim Shontere, shared some comments from the Bible teachers and teachers in training:

Roger – “May I understand the talk so that I can communicate it clearly. This is a kicking message and it shot our stomachs last year when it was preached. Now again, may everyone’s ears be unblocked and may the true talk go inside deep.”

Sakius – “May His talk come clear into their stomachs and work inside.”

Brian – “I pray that His Spirit would open our eyes to the powerful talk that is there. May they feel it strong in their stomachs. If the teaching is sweet to their stomachs, then they will want more. May it shoot our stomachs and then may we communicate it in such a way that it will shoot their stomachs.”

Tim teaching the Monday Morning Bible Study in the National Language

Missionary Tim Shontere now works at our main mission center in Papua New Guinea. One of his current ministries is to hold a Bible study each week with those of our PNG employees who chose to attend. Some of the ladies working at that location were my co-workers from afar during my years in our regional finance office in Wewak. I came to love those ladies dearly and am so thankful they have this opportunity to hear God’s Word. Here’s a comment from Tim on his teaching:

…I normally don’t wear a tie, but I had it on for an illustration. The point was that we can dress up the outside of our body, but God looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7. God wants us to believe the Good News and follow the Spirit in everyday life. He is not wanting us to just come to building each Sunday, dress nice, smile and be religious. It has always been about the heart first.

The above are specific ministries currently in progress in PNG. Hopefully they will give you ideas on how you can be praying for these and other missionaries as well. Your part on the missions team, for both myself and as you uphold our co-workers too, is muchly appreciated. Thank you!
Co-laboring to bring back Christ as King!
Hope Sharp