Greetings from Goroka,
We rejoice in the Lord that you all pray for us and support us. You are a part of the fruit that is being harvested and the lives that are being changed here in Papua New Guinea (PNG). This report is a little long, but God is doing great things that we want you to know about – for His glory!
Finally, we had a pause in the rain to be able to get the Thomas container sent off to America. The truck was not able to get into our property because everything was so wet and muddy. Due to medical reasons, the Aaron and Stephanie Thomas family were required to depart the PNG field and move back to Columbus, OH. Doing the final packing and making all of the arrangements for shipping the container has been no little task. Please pray for the safe arrival of their belongings as they travel by ship for the next several weeks and their final delivery in Columbus, OH.
Two days later, on June 17th, Sandy started have symptoms that she was getting sick. At the end of the week we knew for sure that she had Chikungunya, or they call it here Tiger Malaria. This virus is mosquito borne and began in Africa. Check out the World Health Organization page on the web about this virus. Five weeks later, she is still having symptoms of severe joint pain similar to a sprain. This pain moves around your entire body from joint to joint. It is now working its way out through her knees, ankles and finally her toes. She is ready for this to be over. We are now able to be more sympathetic to those that have this virus. This virus is here to stay. Praise the Lord that once you have it, you are not supposed to be able to get it again. Thanks for your prayers for our health. Steve is using mosquito repellent daily to try to not get this virus.
Last year, Steve heard about the Starkey Hearing Aide Company from America who was visiting Goroka here in PNG. He was able to get two children from one of our Bible College student families fitted with hearing aids – for free. They could now hear, but there was no one to teach them how to talk. Steve stopped at the Mt. Zion Center for the Disabled a few weeks ago. Don, the director, told Steve that they were beginning classes for the hearing impaired. A third member of the family was able to get fitted for hearing aids. Classes are supposed to begin next week. Gibson age 26, Benson age 15 and Arime age 6 will begin these classes. Their hearing loss is due to perforated ear drums from many untreated ear infections. When Gibson first put on his hearing aid he heard the rain on the roof, heard the children playing outside through the open window, and he began to repeat words that were being spoken to him. I think that Gibson will be at the head of the class. Thank you for your prayers for them as they learn to talk.
Sandy has been able to feel well enough to begin the True Love Waits classes. They have met for the past four weeks. There is an average of about 20 girls attending. Please pray that these girls will put into practice the things that they are learning and grow to be Godly women. Please pray also that Sandy will find a national lady to co-teach with her so these classes can continue on with national leadership.
Pata, an 8-year-old Bible College student’s child, is suffering from cancer of the bones. His right rib cage is nearly gone. Praise the Lord that there is chemotherapy available in a hospital in Lae. These treatments have greatly improved his quality of life. His last treatment was here in Goroka. The medical personal who administered his final round of chemo treatments, here in Goroka, made a mistake that nearly cost Pata his life. They gave him an additional drug that counteracted the chemo. Bill Smith, one of our coworkers, rushed Pata back to Lae, an 8 hour drive, due to poor road conditions, where Pata is now in stable condition. These treatments are not a cure, but will improve his quality of life. Thank you for your prayers for this family.
Steve has been busy repairing a broken tractor. Once we got a manual to know how to work on it, things have been much easier. The tractor was broken-down in the garden on our lower campus. On the way down to the tractor one day, Steve noticed some rusted out water tanks that formerly were used to water the gardens. Steve took a group of neighbor boys, small generator and his Sawzall down to the site and cut the top off of the two tanks – one for female and one for male fish. Fish for the Bible College students to eat will allow them to get more protein into their diets. The fish have been in the tanks for three weeks now. We are preparing a third tank that will be used for breeding and hatchery. The female tilapias are black and the males are lighter with a reddish tint. We will have to draw numbers to make it fair for who gets the first fish.
We were able to use an old scaffold, from a local gas station, to replace lights that were burned out and not working in our gym. We used more than one case of bulbs. It was good to have the neighborhood boys on school break to help with this work.
During this school break, working with the boys, has really opened door into their hearts. Amero, a 12th grade student, came to Steve and said that he was afraid of death, after he watched the Left Behind video at our house one Friday night. He came this past Friday with Taiwani. Steve led Taiwani to faith in Christ one night after Tyler Thyng died, in 2007. We talked for a brief time before Amero wanted to kneel here in the living room, and asked God to save him.
Steve was able to teach through Proverbs 8 in Sunday school for two consecutive weeks. We are studying about what it takes to be a leader. He was able to put his teaching into practice. He went down at 5:30 a.m. one morning to talk to a group of people who had been partying all night. God is at work, through this experience, bringing about change in some of their lives – wisdom standing at the crossroad, crying at the gates.
We have been busy helping Rhonda Wilkinson and her friend Kelly Dillon. Rhonda will be here until August 5th. Rhonda is a former ABWE missionary who is here sorting through her belongings that she left stored here in 2006. Please pray for this process of sorting and selling over the next two weeks to go well.
Right now we have around 300 ladies on our GBBC campus meeting in a 120 x 100 foot tent. Pray that these meetings will energize the ladies to glorify God with their lives. There are 17 different speakers.
Steve went today to sit with the family of Katamo. He is a friend who died unexpectedly at a church meeting Friday night. During the hour that Steve was there, the Holy Spirit worked in the lives of those family members present to bring comfort and a new perspective on the situation. There was talk of sorcery when Steve arrived, but the mood completely changed and the people present said that they were now comforted in his death. Please pray that his death will draw others to faith in Christ.
Steve has been able to counsel with Abu. He and his wife have had marriage problems for many years. Praise God that they have responded to the Holy Spirit and that his wife has started coming back to church again.
We will be going to a sports outreach this Thursday for our neighborhood youth. Steve will be speaking to the group of youth, presenting the gospel and reality of Christ’s imminent return. Pray that lives will be changed – for the glory of God.
We rejoice that, last Friday, Phil and Jan Smith and Timothy Hawes were appointed as missionaries with ABWE, to work here in PNG. Please pray that the Lord of the harvest would send forth more laborers – for the harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few! Please pray for their parents and for their support to come quickly. Also, Tim is praying for God to provide a wife for him.
Are you doing what you feel Christ wants you to do, where He want you to do it?
Listening for the trump and praying,
Steve and Sandy Aholt