Waiting Upon the Lord
We intentionally have not written an update for awhile, because we thought we would have more to share concerning getting back to PNG. That is not the case, however. We are still in KC waiting for the Lord to open the doors for us to return to our ministry in Papua New Guinea. In our limited understanding, we are waiting for Dawn & Hannah’s health to improve; and we are waiting for our monthly support level to increase to at least 70% of what our mission recommends for our family.
But in the broader scope of things, God is doing more than that. He knows when we will really be ready to return, He knows when the Bena church really needs us to return, and He knows how He wants to use us here in the meantime.
In this season of waiting, we are learning more about resting in Him rather than trying to make our plans happen. Recently while I was out running in a wooded area, I came upon some daffodils growing at the base of a tree. It reminded me of Jesus’ exhortation to “consider the lilies of the field, how they grow” (Mt 6:28). The flowers I observed were not visible even just a few weeks earlier, because they were dormant. In fact, they were dormant all winter long, not being fruitful or useful as they lay buried under the ground and snow. Yet at the right time, they burst through the ground and grew into tall green stalks with beautiful yellow flowers. And in another few weeks, they will be gone again. Yet even in dormancy, the flowers were preparing for the Spring when they would get to display their splendor for a short season.
That is also what we are experiencing. At times, we feel as though we are just dormant, waiting for our “Spring” to come so that we can be back in PNG. Yet in the perceived dormancy, God is doing His perfect will of conforming both us and the Bena church to the image of Christ. It is not wasted time, but rather time when God is at work “underground”, orchestrating that which will bring Him the most glory. Then at the right time, He will take us back to minister to the Bena people of PNG.
Renewing our Strength
Isaiah tells us that those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. God gives power to the faint, and to ones who have no might He increases strength (40:29-31).
We were exhausted when we departed PNG nearly 3 years ago. We thought we would get rest & refreshment during our home assignment, but we have also faced several challenges while being here in the States for this extended time. So we see these next several months of waiting as God giving us rest and renewal. He is keeping us away from PNG and full-time ministry for this season so He can do His perfect plan. Part of that plan apparently is renewing our strength while we wait for Him. Since we are in this place of waiting, we are realizing just how tired we were, and how good our God is to give us this extra time of strength renewal. And in His time, we again will “mount up with wings like eagles, will run and not be weary, and will walk and not faint” (Is 40:31).
The Bena Church
We don’t have much to report concerning the Bena church. Last we knew, they were not meeting together for various reasons. A fellow missionary recently went to visit the believers to see how they are doing and to encourage them. I was able to write the church a letter and have him deliver it to them. His report back to us is that the ones he was able to meet with are still desiring to walk with God, and are wanting to be further taught in God’s Word. One man is seeking the opportunity to teach a Religious Instruction class in the community school. He is waiting for school committee approval before he begins that outreach.
Please continue to PRAY that the truth of God’s Word will impact their lives, and that they will feed themselves from His Word. Also PRAY for unity among the believers, that they will resolve their differences and will honor the Lord with their lives. There is much growth that needs to take place in that church; and growth takes time, so PRAY that the Lord will use this time to mature them.
Progress in Health
Dawn and Hannah continue to improve with their health issues. We initially sought the direction and assistance of various doctors, but with very little being solved. We are currently seeing a chiropractor in St Louis who specializes in kinesiology evaluations, and then uses bio cranial adjustments & enzyme therapy as treatment. They are seeing good progress in their adjustments holding and fewer problems needing to be addressed when evaluated each visit. Dawn will be having a full enzyme evaluation in the near future, and Hannah will probably need a shorter evaluation of the same kind. This will determine more problem areas internally that need to be addressed with enzymes. Dawn is very encouraged with the progress she is seeing with the pain in her neck diminishing dramatically and is excited as she realizes that she is free from the near-constant neck pain and headaches that have accompanied them for the past several years. She is finding herself with much more energy and able to take on more of the normal activities that she enjoys without needing to rest as often.
Hannah is also seeing some improvement with her digestion, is much more clear-minded, happier, finds her emotions stable, and has good energy once again.
Our home church in Michigan and our mission organization have agreed to give us a 9-month medical leave to get our health issues treated. At the end of that time period, if we are not healthy and ready to return then we will have to temporarily resign from New Tribes until we can get restored to health. Upon reclaiming healthy bodies, we will then continue our journey back to PNG to minister there.
Please PRAY that the health issues will be resolved by December so that we will be able to return to PNG in the Spring or Summer of 2015.
Speaking of ‘Michigan’
Before our eventual return to PNG, we want to spend some time with our home church in Michigan. Most of our last 2 years have been in Missouri caring for my mother. Now that she is no longer with us, we have the freedom to move to Michigan to spend time with our home church and Dawn’s family. Our plan is to complete this year of home school in MO, and then move to Michigan in the summer.
While We Wait
While we wait, we are serving the Lord here in Missouri. We are getting more opportunities to speak in churches to share about our church planting ministry and to challenge others to get involved. Our support level is rising slowly as God leads various ones to partner with us to reach the Bena people. We are still in need of about $2,000 per month, so PRAY with us about this need.
I am spending some time updating and remodeling our house to get it ready to rent when we move away from Missouri. We expect that the monthly income will help offset some our ministry needs that I mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Another privilege that God has brought my way is the opportunity to disciple 2 young men. I have been asking the Lord for this type of ministry for quite a while, and He is now answering that prayer. I sought other opportunities with other people, but none of them came to fruition. Then somewhat out of the blue these 2 men pursued me asking for help. We meet together to learn from Ephesians, and also talk about the issues that they are facing as young fathers and new employees. It is exciting to see them grow in an understanding of God’s grace, and then watch as that grace is lived out in their relationships with each other and with their significant others.
Dawn has spent the last year teaching a young lady through the same type of Chronological Bible lessons that we teach in the village. She began teaching in Genesis and worked her way through the Old Testament stories, revealing the truths of God’s love, man’s rebellion, God’s judgment of sin, and His provision of a Savior. The young lady grew up in church yet never knew of her need for a Savior because she didn’t really understand her lost position as a sinner. But that has changed. She is now a new believer in Christ, and she just spent her first Easter in church understanding the significance of the resurrection message.
God is also expanding Dawn’s opportunities to reach others. She will be starting another weekly study with 4 ladies — 2 are co-workers of our daughter Hannah, 1 is a friend of the lady who recently got saved, and 1 is a new contact initiated by a couple who visited our church. PRAY that these ladies will come to a saving knowledge of Christ as they are exposed to the truths of God’s Word.
Our Favorite Ministry
Our 4 oldest children are busy trying to get their school responsibilities completed, and each one is doing very well. Hannah is taking weekly violin lessons, which was highlighted with a recital in April. Hadassah, Jordan, and Havannah spent a good part of the winter months memorizing Bible verses, practicing various games, and playing volleyball, all in preparation for their Awana competitions through our church. Jordan and Havannah competed on the regional level with their age groups, and Hadassah was part of a 4-person high school-age Bible quizzing team that won the entire national competition.
Josiah (2 yrs old in Feb) is learning new things each day, including some Bible memory verses. We count ourselves very privileged to have the opportunity to raise these children for the Lord.
Hannah performing at her violin recital
Hadassah’s bible quizzing team won the national competition
Jordan quoting a memory verse during Bible quizzing competition
Havannah ice skating at her 12th birthday party
Josiah enjoying his 2nd birthday in February