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!
We were planning to return to the States for a one-year furlough starting in May, but as you well know, temporary travel restrictions have been put in place in the States and across the world. After much prayer and discussion with our mission family, we have decided to postpone our furlough plans in order to stay with our tribal friends here in PNG. Though we long to be re-united with family and friends, we feel that at this time, we should continue with our work and try to help however we can. If things settle down over the next few months, we hope to return to Arizona in time for Mikenna to start school in early August.
We have tried to purchase medical supplies and everything else we may need to assist Yanis with medical needs in the tribe over the summer months, and though we know there are not yet medicines to combat the virus itself, our little medical clinic can try to help with the various sicknesses that typically follow the virus. We know we are limited in how we can help but we are confident that Christ’s power is best seen in our weaknesses (II Cor. 12:9).
We are very happy to report that the Lord provided for a consultant to review our most recent translation progress and he has approved Hebrews and II Corinthians, which means we are now at the 75% mark of completing the New Testament! In these next few months we hope to press forward toward completing the entire New Testament for the Hewa believers. Thank you for your love and prayers and gifts that have made this possible.
We are also very pleased to report that one of our elders and another Bible teacher has taken their families to another Hewa village to start an outreach (about a nine-hour hike from our village). They are already two weeks into a four-month overview of the Bible that starts with creation and ends with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Please pray for boldness and wisdom for Kifeson and his wife Emiyas, as well as for Aliyes and his wife Esina, and that the villagers will turn to the Lord for forgiveness and a relationship with Him.
In our recent letters we have been talking about starting a Christian school in the tribe, but for now we will have to postpone those plans until the time the PNG government feels it is safe enough for children to return to school and flights are again available to bring teachers into the tribe. Thank you for your many notes of encouragement to let us know you are praying with us for this venture.
As we consider this time of uncertainty over the globe, our prayer is that God will give you and us the courage and strength to find ways demonstrate the love of Jesus and that His awesomeness will shine through the fear, chaos and confusion all around us.
Love and prayers,
Jonathan, Susan & Mikenna
In the letter we sent you two days ago we mentioned that we had met with a consultant to review our translation progress and we had purchased medicines to head back to the tribe to support our main medical worker, Yanis. But what we didn’t mention was that at that time Yanis was with us in the town of Wewak to help us with the consultant review. Not just Yanis, but also two other Hewa church elders, Faimpat and Ken, and also Ken’s sister, Yalofam. They were all with us for the purpose of assisting in the consultant review of Hebrews and II Corinthians. When I sent you that letter we were all scheduled to fly back to Hewa together the very next morning.
But then soon after sending that letter we received news that our flight was canceled due to new C19 travel restrictions! We immediately searched for other travel options but each idea proved impossible. The final option available was for our family to be flown to a mission center about an hour and a half flight away from our tribe, and for our four Hewa friends to make their way across the Sepik plains/swamps and then hike over the central range of PNG in order to get home!
Please be in prayer for Yanis, Faimpat, Ken and Yalofam as of right they have made their way up a road to a river, and we just now confirmed that they are being taken by boat toward the base of the 10,000 foot central range. That’s when the tough part of the journey will begin as they will spend the next three days hiking up over the very steep and rugged mountains before arriving back to their families- all this with very little food and supplies- no tent or other hiking gear.
These four faithful helpers need to get home to their village, not only to be with their families but also because Yanis is the only well-trained medical worker for miles around and the three young men are the faithful shepherds of the village. And currently Yalofam is the only trained midwife to help with baby deliveries since Emiyas has gone with her husband to the outreach in another Hewa village.
Please be in prayer for these four faithful servants of Hewa. We are feeling terribly guilty for taking them so far away from their village to help us with a translation review and then becoming suddenly powerless to get them home at a time when the virus may be moving in the direction of their families.
And then please also pray that if it would honor the Lord that He would make it possible for us to get a flight to take us to the village to go be together with our believers to assist them medically and spiritually as they face the uncertainty of these coming months.
Thank you for loving us and being with us heart-and-soul all these years.
Jonathan & Susan