Little news has filtered out from PNG these past weeks. Part of the reason for that is that our regional conference was held in March and though the missionaries did tribal news reports for the gathering, everyone was understandably busy and not writing and sending out e-mail updates! I suspect there will be more specifics to share in the months to come.

Let’s please continue praying though, for our co-workers for Jesus on the front lines. We can especially bring before the Lord the situations they find themselves pursuing and/or enduring. Whether the missionaries are still in the grueling language and culture acquisition phase, or if they have gained enough understanding and fluency to begin ministry, all need our prayers. Literacy, writing Bible lessons, foundational teaching of God’s Word, doing one on one and group discipleship plus scripture translation are all demanding ministries that occupy the lives of tribal workers. Let’s pray for them in their daily commitment and involvement to such opportunities which compete with all the demands of daily living in a jungle situation.

A bit of encouragement for us all: Jason Stuart is a translation consultant for PNG. Here’s a snippet of his thoughts as he looks forward to helping missionaries in 3 more languages prepare the book of Revelation for their respective tribal groups:

I will have the pleasure of checking the book of Revelation for 3 different language groups in the next month. It is a book that always strengthens, encourages, and inspires me, but most of all it humbles me. When everything is made new, we–the rebellious, proud, and self-oriented that God condescended to make His own–will also be made new; the old will be gone forever. We will have an open relationship with our Creator, seeing His very face. The hesitation and shame and uncertainty that we often feel towards God will be finished. The family He planned to have from eternity past will be with Him and everything will be perfect. As children of God we have in our future unimaginable privileges of which we are completely unworthy. For eternity God alone will be worthy of all our adoration–and we will give it to Him–not in the half-hearted way that we do now, but freely and joyously, knowing that He has done everything perfectly and no one else is like Him.

Jason is currently checking Revelation for the Owininga tribe. The missionaries Dean & Loretta Mundy, pictured to the left, have not been able to reside in PNG for many years due to health issues, but they return as they are able to continue working on the New Testament for the Owininga people.

We can be praying today for the missionaries and the Owininga men who are working thru these verses together. Once the check is complete this portion of scripture can be printed and given into the hands of the Owininga people!

Jason’s thoughts on the book of Revelation are both encouraging and challenging. Jason & many other of my missionary friends have been pressing on doing “God’s work” in spite of many heartaches and hardships. Their faithfulness causes me to evaluate my own commitment in the life of ease I have here and now. Am I that faithful in all Christ leads me to do TODAY? Will I be in the days to come if I have to sacrifice as others have? May the love of Christ constrain me, that I will be ever-growing in my love for Jesus my Savior so that my life might reflect Him to all He brings across my path!

Life here in SEMO has been so SO relaxed compared to the overseas era! Prayer group and several Bible studies at church allow me to get to know other church ladies, and become aware of their heartaches and tears, their hopes and their joys. How precious to see God work on their behalf, then continue working in and through them each day!

“Ministry” wise – I have been privileged to chauffeur a couple of ladies for doctors’ appointments, shopping, doing their errands, etc. These are often intentional times of informal discipleship as we venture out together. At the very least these outings are tremendous opportunities to encourage one another in our walks with the Lord.

There have been numerous occasions to try (note – TRY !!!) to befriend a Christian sister with dementia. If (big IF !!!) she will go with me her caregiver can have a bit of a break. “J” and I have put countless miles on my car, singing (off-key) hymns, chatting about her mingled version of her childhood mixed with that of her own children’s lives. Being with “J” has been a challenge but oh, how I thank the Lord for how He chooses what fills my days!

Also – of no eternal value but admittedly still gratifying — A friend who falls into the “informal discipleship” category wanted to volunteer at the new no-kill animal shelter in town. Since she doesn’t drive, we do this together whenever time allows. For those who know me well, this is by far the most relaxing area of involvement these days. God gives above and beyond our needs and meets these seemingly pointless desires of the heart as well! Thank you, Lord!!!!!

As we look forward to again celebrating the death and resurrection of our Savior, the church I attend handed out a devotional booklet. The first chapter in the book covered the hymn When I survey the wondrous cross. That song is so pointedly appropriate for me as it was thru these very hymn lyrics, penned by Isaac Watts over 300 years ago, that God drew me to Himself some 50 years ago. He took all my head knowledge about His plan of salvation thru His Son, opening the blinded eyes of my heart to finally see that Jesus died for ME! God Himself put on human flesh, suffered and died, freely providing my salvation from the penalty for my sins, the power of sin in my life each day, and will eventually save me from the very presence of sin for all the rest of eternity! Thank you, THANK YOU, Papa God!!!!

When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my God! All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down! Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all. Isaac Watts 1674-1748

The words to the last stanza were my prayer that God use me anywhere He desired to send me. For many years that was in Papua New Guinea. Now it is here in a less exotic but no less needy locale. My thanks to YOU for your prayers and encouraging evidences of support as I continue to seek His plan for each of my days. It is a privilege to be co-laboring together with you for our God and Savior.
Because Christ came, we have HOPE !!!!
Hope Sharp