Again, there is little exciting to share from me but some profound prayer needs for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Papua New Guinea.
Kaje – From missionaries Jon & Jen Meyers and Christopher & Lili Meyer: On Sunday the young Christian man Waendom (on the right in the picture) a faithful believer, husband, father of 6, was alive and well, looking forward to another week of helping with the local post literacy course. 2 days later he was bitten by a poisonous snake. During the agonizing hours that followed, Waendom told people not to worry about him. He was looking forward to being with Jesus. Many hours and prayers later the Lord chose to take Waendom home. Missionaries Jon Myers and Christopher Meyer were both with him when he died. Needless to say, his death was a shock to everyone, and the missionaries wondered, “Would the Kaje blame witchcraft, and would this cause fights in our village as people tried to determine who was responsible for his death?”
Throughout the week of his funeral and nights outside grieving with the community, the missionaries did their best to encourage the Kaje that Waendom was now with his Saviour. The Kaje Christians stood firm in their faith, happy to know Waendom’s work here on this earth is completed. No more hard work, suffering, pain. No more sorrows and worries. The church’s response has been an encouragement to the missionaries as well as strengthening the young believers individually. One of the missionaries said, “The work we are doing here as a team is not in vain.” For those of YOU have prayed for the Kaje people these past years, YOU are also a part of that team!
Other news from Kaje: In April they began a new literacy class. Only 8 students this time which is good as other than one lady, none of the students have ever has any school experience before. Unlike our USA children, the Kaje have never had access to books, paper, pencils, classroom settings, etc. This means you must start at the very beginning – teaching them everything. At first some cannot even make sense of the content of a simple line drawing picture. They must be taught how to discern the front of a book, holding it right side up. How to turn a page in a book. How to hold a pencil. How to recognize small differences in shapes. It must be drilled into their thinking – read left to right, top of page to the bottom. Once these peaks of intelligence are surmounted they can begin to learn the sounds of the letters. This is done
very gradually – the first lesson teaching a vowel or 2 along with one or 2 consonants that will fit together to build words. Those first words learned are built into sentences, then stories. A new letter (forming new syllables and thus new words) is added about every 3 days. It’s a colossal challenge and requires a lot of discipline and stamina as well as concentration! The missionaries shared: “Please pray specifically for Franziska, Sophia and Clementa as they are struggling more than the others. Pray that they will be motivated to do their homework on their own and remain willing to walk the extra miles it takes to learn such an ‘abstract concept.’ Being able to read on your own does change the
world – but it requires hard work to get there. Please be also praying for wisdom and patience for the teachers so they can really help the students.”
YembiYembi: The local church at YembiYembi has also been facing their share of life & death struggles. The missionaries who helped establish the church there (Tim & Courtney Shontere) have shared about Nathan, a staunch believer – the family photo taken a year or more ago. Nathan battled TB for some years, taking his medications while living in the village – until he developed sores in his neck and became unable to eat due to stomach and neck pain. Getting him to town for IVs and further medical treatment was the only option – and God did work out those details. While in the hospital Nathan had an audio Bible by his pillow and he listened to the Bible each day. Then, due to some local health restrictions he was discharged from the hospital and moved to stay at a camp where others of his language group live when they are in town.
Nathan held a Bible Study with the guys at the camp until he was physically unable to continue. Nathan shared, “I tell them, don’t cry for me. Cry for the unsaved. I am going to Heaven.” He also sent a message to missionary Tim Shontere saying, “Brother, I am one stomach (at peace) with the problem. I am concerned for who will teach my family God’s talk if God takes me. I am one stomach that He has given me this sick to teach me his lessons. I am in God’s hand, He will chose my outcome of this.”
God took Nathan home to be with Him early in May. Getting his body back to his village was another challenge – an overnight ride in the back of a truck from town to the river, then a long canoe trip home. The wake, funeral and burial… Back in the village the local church leaders Fidelis, Roger, Malachi & Sakius, pictured above, are on hand to help bring comfort and hope to Nathan’s wife his wife Stela and their 3 boys, as well as the extended family, and the church as a whole deal with the death of one of their esteemed fellow Christians.
This is not the first death the leaders have had to shepherd their congregation thru these past months. Earlier another believer, Martin, died. With such deaths, the unsaved blame witchcraft and look for payback. The church leaders must help the believers stand strong amidst the temptations that seek to draw them back into the traditional ways. The church elders commented,
There was so much talk of fear and shooting talk at us for not doing the customs. But that morning message killed that talk and many were amazed that God’s Word speaks so clearly of God’s control of death & life. He marks the time…. Since some in the church were still scared and worried, we decided to teach against the wrong thinking this Sunday, so we didn’t start Romans as planned.
Another shared, “We sensed it was more better to rebuke and correct the wrong thinking with God’s verses like Eccl 3:1-2. God marks the time of death and life. Deut 32:29 God is the one who takes & gives life. Gen 3:18. From the ground we are formed and to the ground we will go….. And 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 – Listen, this body house was nice looking, but we really should be excited to know that Martin will be in a new body. Martin’s new body is going to be so much greater than this house we are dropping in the ground today. We will see the new one some day. ”
Won’t you please pray with Fidelis, Roger, Malachi & Sakius as they steer the church, replacing the long drawn out local customs originating from fear and sorcery to substitute instead with what brings honour to God and strengthens the faith of those left behind, awaiting the day they too will be promoted to glory. “We wanted to show our faith. We cry differently and we bury people differently.” And “Yes, there are tears, but only because we won’t see him for a while, but we will see him again.” Their united thinking as they guide the church is, “May we stay that tight bundle of sticks and give the right discipleship talk at the right and the right time.” May we seek to uphold them in our prayers to that end!
Thank you for your part in God’s ongoing work in Papua New Guinea.
Co-labouring to bring back Christ as King!