Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.
Great song to kick off the Christmas season, eh! Written as a prayer by Charles Wesley about 1745, we now are so blessed to know that “Israel’s strength and consolation” is not just with, but in us today, and we are privileged to be anticipating His promised return to take us to be with Him! We are indeed so favoured to know our expectation is in Jesus. Too many people today still do not know the “hope of all the earth.” The “dear desire of every nation” to the lost seems to be for power and material wealth that can never satisfy them. Oh that they could come to see that the only One who can fill the hungry void in their hearts is Jesus! I’ll spare you further sermonizing but hope that as you ponder these words perhaps it will be the encouragement and hope to you that it has to me as we walk on in faith thru these troubled times.
Someone mentioned after my November letter that they missed the tribal updates. Mega-regrets that there’s still not much recent news from any of them to relay to you. I am dependent on email updates from the tribal missionaries and, other than the Hughes family on the Yambaitok (Lembena tribe) team whose update included the above picture and word of their being in town for a few days “break,” others are understandably too busy to write. Whether slogging away to learn a local culture and language, or being further into the ministry by nurturing infant churches, life can be hectic even out in the middle of nowhere.
The Maliyali missionaries (Chad & Martha Earl, Nathan & Anna Muller, Dave & Emily Rimested) are currently in town participating in a workshop to launch them in to scripture translation. We can be praying for them and all the other missionaries who labour on for the Lord, far from their flesh and blood families yet faithfully continuing on each day with all the Lord has place in their hands.
Back at the mission’s regional headquarters in Wewak – the missionaries there just finished a “Teen Camp” for the MKs from our mission and other such organizations in town. The kids were taught the fine art of debating in the mornings, then found adventures around about Wewak during the afternoons. Evenings were devoted to strong spiritual challenges. Reports say that they also practiced pranking and counter-pranking each other at night!
Big BIG news from Wewak though is that coworker Heidi Greenlaw is currently training Lisa in the finance office to do payroll for our mission center citizen employees! Many of you will remember my mentioning Lisa in former updates. She has long been one of the key ladies in our Bible Study group. We have prayed for a national coworker to put in this finance position. Lisa seems the perfect answer! She has had little (perhaps no) prior exposure to working on a computer though so there will be a steep learning curve for her. The whole payroll program back in my day was fraught with challenges. Please pray for Heidi as she guides Lisa thru the learning process. Pray fervently too that God will help Lisa to be able to grasp the task and soon feel comfortable taking over this important part of keeping things going at our NTMPNG regional center.
Also from Wewak – the annual Christmas party for our citizen employees & their families – a highlight of the year for all concerned – was held this week. Mountains of cake and ice cream! Waterslide for the kids! Time to visit with each employee and catch up with their families. Several folks, including one of the MKs, took pics and sent them to me. How precious to see the faces of these dear friends again!
Meanwhile, here at home – work has slowed on the Iwam concordance & key terms book. After 6 back-aching months of 40-50 hour weeks at the computer, I am taking some time this month to deal with long neglected life. An extensive list of ignored projects and critical issues looms. I work on the Iwam projects as I can, cleaning up the concordance entries and trying to find ways to resolve formatting issues with a goal of finishing everything by March 2021. And yes, I am taking time now to do the traditional family Christmas baking, too!
My sincere and grateful thanks once again to each of you who are praying and otherwise supporting me thru these days. You will get to meet many of these PNG folks one day, that glorious and much anticipated time when we will stand together before God’s throne! You can know YOU have had a part in these PNG brothers and sisters in Christ getting to be there too. Thank you!
Co-laboring to bring back Christ as King!