Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV — Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Interesting days we are living thru, eh! I made an early a.m. trip to Walmart the other morning thinking I’d get ahead of the crowd. Alas, the entry line was backed up nearly to the end of their massive parking lot! Everyone was staying the required 6’ apart. And nearly everyone (but me) had on a mask. I felt exceedingly under-dressed. In talking to the masked lady in line 6’ in front of me line she shared that though she too does not fear for herself, she has a health compromised husband back home. This made me realize that for OTHERS sake, if they are more comfortable having me in their proximity because of a face covering, well, okay. I can make and wear one!

Masks, empty store shelves, social distancing….. All this could leave our heads spinning – but our confidence in God can still be unshaken. He has a plan. He has a purpose. He is working thru this current “crisis” too, to His honor and glory! We here in the USA are bountifully blessed with media options to keep pace with Covid-19. Sunday church services online, prayer and bible study groups on some newfangled thing called Zoom; news broadcasts, web sites, blogs, You-tube & other online videos, talk radio …. The list seems endless! You can hear and follow whatever opinion you choose – conspiracies, the doom and gloom with political bias, or the comfort and encouragement of God’s Word and His work thru hard times. For any of you who are maybe struggling with any aspect of this virus, may I encourage you to remember God’s assurance in Romans 8:28 (NLT):

“We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”

He is faithful. He is present walking with us each step of the way. He can bring us out on the other side having grown to love and trust Him more, and even be more like His precious Son, our Savior, Jesus.

We here at home are well tuned to how to pray for one another, for loved ones, for the front line workers, for any and all fellow Americans however they are affected by the virus. I wonder if you could add to your prayers the missionaries around the globe who are also facing these uncertain times. It affects them in many of the same ways it affects you – and yet goes beyond that with individual twists. I’ll relate some scenarios in Papua New Guinea since that’s the country I know best. As I write this there is only one known case of the virus in PNG but strict “social distancing” policies are in place for the whole country none the less, even in the very isolated jungle areas. So ….

  • How do you explain this potentially impending disease, and the recommended social restrictions, to people who maybe still believe sickness is caused by sorcery or evil spirits? How do you share that if it comes, there is no treatment? That even the hospitals in town have NOTHING that will help?
  • Amdu and Pei are 2 language groups where the missionaries were set to begin the foundational Bible teaching this week. They have spent years studying the language and culture of their people groups so that they might present the truths of God’s Word in culturally relevant ways. Lessons are prepared. Dates to start teaching announced. Now with “social distancing” and limited group size mandates in place, how do they proceed?
  • Ongoing Bible teaching too, like with the Kaje people. They have been anticipating getting into the book of Acts and teaching on the church as the body of Christ. How do you do that when you can’t meet as a group?
  • How do missionaries in remote locations (no stores, no roads) prepare to minister to the needs of their local friends should this disease gain foothold in their area? How do they safeguard their family? Think about it. If YOU were THE “doctor” responsible for the medical needs of all your associates, working with only what you have in your house (since that’s about all the missionaries would have to work with) what would you do???
  • That hopefully gives you a few ideas for praying for those still working in remote locations. Won’t you please pray for them as God brings them to your mind?

March recap:

  • Our Sepik conference happened. Of course I wasn’t there but I did get a precious “howdy” video clip from my Sepik family.
  • Details for my “after HA” status and schedule are still in limbo. The field leaders in PNG and my home church have given their approval for the proposed “itinerate status” plan. Our headquarters personnel department will finalize the details once the tyranny of the urgent has passed.
  • My trip to Indiana DIDN’T happen. Those meetings will be rescheduled once the world is back to normal again.
  • In lieu of travels …. Well, what God did FINALLY cause to happen is (in my estimation!) worthy of a couple paragraphs of its own!

Ever since arriving home almost a year ago it has been apparent that my humble abode was in dire need of a new roof. Over the years my brother Dan has tended to various leaks as best he could and continued to patch each persistent dribble. Surprisingly the winter rains weren’t a problem but with the change of wind direction, spring showers brought on the drips again.

I tried to save toward the project. Instead – in sorting thru the 4 generations of items here at the house, I found 2 insurance policies my parents had purchased for me back in my infancy.

Cashing those in would pay the bulk of the bill, and promised help from my 3 brothers could cover the rest! Dan did the homework and found a men’s ministry group here in town to do the job — but due to various obstacles, (mostly rain!) it just wasn’t happening. All in the Lord’s good time, eh! Well – in lieu of my Indiana travels, this job is now DONE!!!!! The team of men from Crossroads Ministries spent 2 days, tearing out the old chimney (racoon attempted entry portal,) replacing the vents and leaking skylight, rebuilding the holey shallow roof areas, and creating a beautiful new, leak proof covering!

What’s more, they left the yard immaculate, picking up every stray nail, scrap of paper, old shingles, and any other diverse litter from the ground. Mega thanks to the Lord for this group! And thanks to them for their faithful work ethic! Also my profuse appreciation and gratefulness to God for His total provision to see this need met! What super amazes me is that my parents, both now long with the Lord, paid for the bulk of this project. What precious proof: Psalms 37:25 “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”

I thank the Lord for each of you, too, who pray and otherwise serve to minister to the needs of His work still to be done thru my hands. Lord willing, I will begin the proofreading and spell checking of old May River Iwam Bible lesson and literacy materials as planned when Home Assignment time finishes.

My thoughts and prayers are with you, that God will keep you safe and healthy thru this current era. He is at work and we can rest in Him!
Co-laboring to bring back Christ as King!
Hope Sharp