Thank you for praying for the Maliyali people of Papua New Guinea! The Gospel was presented to them in their heart language late in November and some have indeed come to see their need of Jesus as the only one who can save them from their sins! Those who have chosen the narrow road leading to heaven are now our brothers and  sisters in Christ! Hallelujah! So – that means the missionaries’ work is done and they can be home for Christmas, right???

……. Ha! In reality, sharing the gospel and the birth of the church are just the beginning! Now the REAL work begins!

Nathan & Rachel Mueller wrote:

… the Maliyali believers know nothing PAST the Gospel message. They haven’t heard anything from Acts or the Epistles yet …so our believers don’t know yet that they are the Body of Christ—His Church. That will all come in time! They don’t know how to live now in light of being saved. However, we won’t just TELL them any of that stuff—we will show them clearly from God’s Word in their own language. Which means it all has to be translated and lessons have to be prepared. It’s a mountain of work!

What we just finished is actually called “Phase 1”. In two weeks, we will be starting Phase 2. Phase 2 is going back over a lot of the (Old Testament) lessons we taught already—but it will all be taught from a believer’s perspective with Jesus as the focus. Phase 2 will be shorter than Phase 1 was—it will only be two lessons per week for about two months.
After that will come Phase 3–and that is when the concepts of Church, baptism, prayer, communion, etc. will be taught from the book of Acts. And with that, the Maliyali people will learn who the Apostle Paul is and it will give them a context for the Epistles. It’s going to be an exciting year!

As far as discipleship goes, much is done on a one to one or small conversational group basis. Taking the time, as the missionaries have been doing these past months to meet and talk with people, is key to knowing what they are understanding, what they thinking as they begin their new lives in Christ. One of their closest friends, Timoti, shared his thoughts with them.

The Muellers relate:

Timoti is one of our dearest Maliyali friends— the husband of Lasel. ….. our friend here who almost died. Well, the Lord saved her physically a few years ago, and now, she and her husband are also SAVED eternally! We have prayed for these two for years! Praise Jesus!

Timoti told Nathan last night, “Everyone here is so concerned with getting more pigs and more money…I’m thinking—why do I need more pigs? Why do I need more money? The two biggest things I already have! The first thing is, the payment for my sin—Jesus already took it! So I don’t have to pay for my sin. My sin debt is gone. That is the first big thing that I have. The second thing that I have is Jesus’ righteousness! God looks at me and I am His friend. I will be forever with Him! So why do things of this ground matter? It’s nothing! I already have what I need.”

As a team, we have had so many conversations like this one over the past couple of weeks. We have been really encouraged with how our people are understanding the Gospel. Thank you again for praying!

Sadly, David & Emily Rimestad and family have had to return to the USA due to health issues requiring more medical evaluation and care than can be done from PNG. The other 2 families, Nathan & Rachel Mueller along with co-workers Chad & Martha Earl will continue on with discipleship, teaching and translation. Your continuing prayers for them, and for the establishing of the Maliyali church will be muchly appreciated.

Now for the back page. Here in SEMO (South Eastern Missouri): It’s definitely an era of life in the fast lane! Days are occupied with attending Bible studies, prayer group, and taking elderly friends (some younger than me!) to do errands or go to doctor’s appointments. Some of these appointments are an hour or more away. Thankfully gas prices are “reasonable” just now. Prayers will be appreciated as we move into winter though. After nearly 40 years in the tropics, I do not trust myself to drive on slick roads! AND even once the streets are “clear” — I have trouble getting from the back alley where I need to park my car to the street! Last year said alley was a sheet of ice long after the streets were passable. I literally spent hours & HOURS over a couple of days chopping ice from the alley (an inch at a time) so my tires could touch bare ground and give me enough traction to safely get in and out! I am NOT looking forward to that part of winter!

I have had to cut back on my weekly visits to Jo in a special dementia unit about an hour away. Instead, I would like to add a bimonthly visit to a nursing home here in our town. During recent visits there I’ve met Pat, Sue, Carolyn, Joan, Beverly, Nadine, Nora, Elroy, Frank and several more whose names escape me just now, who may or may not know Jesus as their Savior. Some of these have friends and family who visit them. Some do not. Those who seemingly have no one are the ones I would most like to befriend.

And yes, I do continue to volunteer once a week at the local “no kill” animal shelter, hoping to continue building relationships among the staff, and with other volunteers (including some children!) who may come to help out. Often I am the only “cat person” on Wednesday mornings so being faithful to BE THERE has become integrally important in gaining open ears and hearts when I do get to mention things of our Lord.

Your pointed prayers will be appreciated about a ministry decision I need to make. I’ve been asked to spend 2 nights a week staying with a 93-year-old friend. She definitely needs the help! We did a trial run last week after she fell again, and from my perspective, I saw only negative signs for me being able to do this routinely. Others are wondering though why I don’t step up and fill the need. I covet your prayers for God’s wisdom as I must give the family my decision soon.

With Christmas on the horizon, it’s likely expected that I now wax eloquent about Jesus’ birth. A phrase regarding His first advent keeps coming to mind: Galatians 4:4 “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son …” This holiday season it seems another “fulness of time” is upon us as we regard the spiritual decline of our nation. These are dark days indeed. To many this is depressingly distressing to observe. To me, these are exciting times of seeing God moving all things toward His predetermined end! For those of us trusting Jesus to save us, regardless of what happens in this world, we are on the winning side! To quote W. H. Griffith Thomas, “Christians called on to carefully observe & scrutinize the spiritual aspects of the time in which we live in order, as far as possible, to note the signs of God’s presence and working!” We are the “chosen generation” for experiencing these current woes. Our testimony to those around is more important than ever just now. May we see God giving us open doors to share His Truth: that God became man, born the baby Jesus, in order to suffer humanity and then die to pay the penalty for our sins. For those of us trusting in Him alone for our salvation, He now lives in us that He might work through us to show His saving grace to those who still so desperately need to know Him as their Savior, too. All thanks be to God for His Gift that is marvelous beyond words! Thank you for being such an esteemed and integral part of my life and ministry!

Because Christ came and is coming again, we have …………… HOPE !!!!
Hope Sharp