Our Dear Friends,
We had this update written about a week ago, but before we could finish it, several events have taken us away from getting it complete. These events have been significant enough that we want to include them in this letter, so that you can pray with us. Rich’s mom had a bad fall in our home that caused her to have a concussion and a small hemorrhage on her brain. She spent most of the week in the hospital, and then was transferred to a rehab facility for further care. Doctors say that with time the blood will dissipate back into the tissues of the body, and she should be fine. Please pray for her recovery, and that she can be a testimony of Christ to those who care for her. Her name is Evelyn.
We rejoice because we can enjoy the resurrection power each and every day! We recently celebrated Easter with our church here in Kansas City. It was a great opportunity to reflect on what we have (and who we are) in Christ because of the cross and the empty tomb. Yet that type of celebration is not limited to one weekend every Spring. It should be a lifestyle and a lifetime of celebrating freedom from sin’s bondage, freedom from self, newness of life, and hope for a tremendous eternal future. All that is offered to us in Christ became ours at the moment of salvation, yet it takes a lifetime (and beyond) to enjoy the depth of the riches of God’s grace to us. Paul tells us in Ephesians that we have redemption “according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us” (1:7-8). That lavishing has the idea of ‘super-abounding’ or ‘super flowing’. It is the Niagara Falls of grace ceaselessly gushing to undeserving man.
From these amazing truths come real spiritual growth. John Eadie in his commentary on Ephesians (1883) stated it this way, “growth in the Christian life consists largely in realizing all that is given to us in Christ, which causes the heart to respond to the truth and the Spirit.” Too often we Christians stagnate in our spiritual walks because we don’t allow the amazing truths of grace to permeate our hearts and minds. Time is not captured by nominal believers to reflect and muse on the immeasurable, inexhaustible riches of what God has done in Christ on our behalf. We are too busy to cherish what we have in Christ, and to realize the inheritance we possess because we are children of the King.
We pray that you will grow in your understanding and appreciation of all that Christ accomplished at Calvary, and how God freely gives eternal life to all who believe. And we pray the same for the Bena people in PNG. Pray with us that the young Bena church will meditate on, and cherish, the truths they can now read from the book of Romans in their native language.
That’s right, a missionary friend in PNG helped us get my Romans portions printed into booklet form, and dispersed to the Bena believers. And another missionary who lives at NTM’s Interface mission base, which is next to our village, is spending time with the believers and is encouraging them in the various truths from Romans. Many of these truths I was able to teach prior to our departure in 2011, so Jason is now reiterating and expanding on the application of these truths.
On this side of the globe, I am continuing with the initial draft of the translation of Ephesians, which I should finish this month. I was contemplating a trip back to PNG this summer, but due to other circumstances in the village (I will mention later), I will have to postpone such a trip. So my next step is to start translating the book of I Corinthians.
For the past 20+ years, New Tribes Mission has run a college-level missions course in PNG called Interface (ITF). The Lord has used this program to challenge many people to get involved in missions, and has challenged even more to a deeper walk with Himself (Dawn & I first met at the ITF base). However, over the past several years, the number of students attending ITF has drastically diminished, so it was decided to move that program onto another NTM base in PNG. The current ITF property may be sold to another mission organization, a business, or to a government agency. This base is located about 300 meters from our village front door, but it will no longer be an NTM property. At this point, we don’t know how this transition will affect the Bena church and our ministry to them. Downsizing is not a fun thing, but is often a necessary thing. We are trusting God in this situation too.
The local Bena people are disappointed and sad that NTM is departing. Possibly the most difficult aspect of this move is that the young Bena church will no longer have input from our fellow missionaries who serve on staff at the base. Although these staff members don’t know the Bena language, they have the trade language as an avenue of communication, and they have genuinely demonstrated the love of Christ to the villagers over the past couple decades. Humanly speaking, it is difficult to think of the Bena church without having any input and guidance during this season, but we believe that Christ meant it when He said, “I will build My church.” The missionaries are needing to depart, but the Holy Spirit will not forsake His children.
On the home front, we have survived a long winter of sickness. Beginning in November, we have had only one week where we didn’t have at least one person down with some sort of sickness. We have 8 of us living under this roof, so it takes a while for the flu to get around to all of us. Then we followed that with various colds, viruses, earaches, headaches, congestion, fevers, etc. You name it and we had the symptoms. My mom got hit the worst and she took the longest to recover; but she seems to slowly be getting stronger and healthier again.
- Bena church growth as they read & study Romans
- Another avenue of communication between us and the Bena church, since ITF missionaries are departing the community
- Opportunities to share about our ministry while we are here in Missouri
- Someone(s) to disciple while here in Kansas City
Thanks for faithfully standing with us in prayer and support,
Rich & Dawn
If you are interested in partnering with us financially: you can do so online using the online donation link on the left OR you can send a check made out to New Tribes Mission to the HQ address below (include a note designating it for Rich & Dawn Foster)
**we receive 100% of your monetary gift**
If you are interested in partnering with us in prayer: go to the throne of grace and make your requests known to God