Dear team members, It has been way too long since we’ve sent out an update. Much has happened over the past few months, as most of you know. Thanks for your faithful support for us, even though we have not been the best communicators.
Dear Prayer Warriors, This is a different kind of update. We are making a plea to you that has been on our hearts for some time, and it provides a new opportunity for you to be a vital part of reaching the unreached in Papua New Guinea in an even deeper way.
As we wrote back in August (has it been that long?) we are heading back to Texas in a couple of weeks for a six month home assignment. We are grateful for God’s provision already to us for some physical needs. We are thankful to Grace Bible Church in College Station for the provision of a house to live in during this time. Just by God’s grace, the house is just a couple of streets over from where our 3 sons are already living as they attend Texas A&M. We look forward to spending some special time with them in the coming months.
We had a great summer in the coastal town of Madang, casting a missions vision to 19 college-aged students in our six-week Interface program. I was able to teach, and Becky and the girls provided kitchen help for the program. The students attended classes on tribal missions, learned some of the local language, visited established national churches and remote bush locations, and heard the testimonies of many, many missionaries who work in both tribal and support ministries.
We have a lot of news to share with you since our last update. Lots of things happening and some exciting new opportunities coming up in the next few months. Thanks for taking time to read and pray for these things as the Lord lays them on your heart. But first…
Why in the World Are We Here?
Sometimes, we ask ourselves that question. I think I ask it more these past few years, as we’ve found our family scattered across the continents. What are we doing here?
Less than a week ago our feet finally touched down again in Papua New Guinea, after a whirlwind of a summer. We are down to just four of us in PNG now, as all three boys are now in College Station studying at Texas A&M. All in all it was a great, full summer, and we are happy to be able to relate some of the high points to you.
Richard sat in my office and poured out his heart to me, “I pastor a small church in Wabag (a town a few hours’ drive from here). I have a tremendous burden for the youth. They have so many problems, drugs, alcohol, fighting. I want to help them, but I do not feel ready. I want to study theology, to really know the truth of God’s Word! Can you help me?” The pleading look in his eyes showed the sincere desire of his heart.
Hello again from Papua New Guinea! We are so grateful to all of you for your prayers and support for us here this past year. As we are just a few weeks away from finishing up the 2015-16 school year here, we are excited to share that we are making a brief trip home to Texas this summer, primarily to help Michael settle in to college (see below), but we also look forward to seeing parents, friends, and churches as well.
Hi again, Friends!
School is underway here at Lapilo. Classes at Numonohi Christian Academy started on July 29 so we’ve already had a week and a half of school. Michael (12th), Katie (9th), and Cara (8th) enjoy seeing their friends each day and learning from an outstanding group of teachers. For some reason, they have us teaching along with them. Becky is teaching two sections of Spanish 1 and is enjoying very much her 21 students. Although he is not really working in the school anymore, Neil is still able to teach Grade 12 Bible which he is really happy to be able to do.
We just received the update below about the evangelistic teaching currently going out to the Tangguat people. We were so touched by this story. Please take a few minutes to let God bless your heart with what HE is doing here. This village is in the midst of evangelistic teaching that is primarily being done by Inapang (a neighboring people) Bible teachers, with expat missionaries just partnering as facilitators.
Prayer and Praise Summary from the Burlesons (details below):
- Praise that Becky’s mom was able to move back into her home in Dallas last month!
- Praise that the Lord provided funds so that we could purchase our tickets!
- Pray for safe travels as we return to PNG in June. Pray for the kids during this transition.
- Pray for Neil’s transition into a new ministry.
- Pray for laborers to reach the lost in PNG. Pray especially for support personnel (teachers, pilots, mechanics, accountants, etc.
Merry Christmas to all of you from South Texas! We are still alive here, and apologize for not writing for a few months. We did want to take this time during the holidays to take a minute or two and update you on our current status and our plans to return to Papua New Guinea next summer.
Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement over these past few months. We just wanted to take a moment to update you briefly on where things are at with us since our last communication with you in May. As you may remember, we are delayed in our return to Papua New Guinea as we spend time here in the USA caring for Becky’s mother who is recovering from Guillaine-Barre syndrome. At this point, our best estimate of our return is late June 2015. In the interim, Neil is on “Continuing Education” status with NTM, taking courses with Liberty University on-line seminary pursuing a Masters in Religion with Leadership Focus.
Thanks for your continued prayers for us and for bearing with us over these past few months of uncertainty. As most of you remember, our lives since January have revolved around Becky’s mother’s extended illness and her gradual recovery. As we mentioned in our last prayer letter, we are still working toward a return to PNG, but it may not be until January or June 2015. We wanted to take a minute to update you more specifically on what the next year is going to look like for us now that the Lord has laid out a plan for us.
A LAMP FOR OUR FEET
There are many times in our lives that God provides that lamp for our feet when he does not illuminate the entire path before us. These past weeks and months have been one of those times for our family. Most of you are aware of what has been going on with us, but just to recap briefly:
I am unable at the moment to put together a regular newsletter but I did want to pass on some urgent prayer requests to you all if you could please be lifting them up at this time.
This past weekend we moved from College Station back to Schertz, TX (San Antonio/New Braunfels area) as planned. Spending our home assignment in two locations is less than ideal for the kids, but the Lord really up some doors for us and allowed us to spend some great time with Grace Bible Church in College Station. We are so grateful for their hospitality. Now, we look forward to our time with Fellowship Bible Church in New Braunfels in the coming months.
In case you are ever tempted to think that those stories about miraculous catches of fish are just made up fables, or they only happened in Bible times, read on. . .
We just received the following from one of our tribal missionaries (a former NCA student of ours, actually) whose family ministers among the Biem people. For those of you new to our e-mail list, the Biem people live on a small island off of the north coast of PNG and just heard the gospel for the first time last year. A number of them came to faith in Christ, although there are still many unbelievers in the village.
SO, WHAT IS “HOME ASSIGNMENT” ANYWAY?
WE’RE GLAD YOU ASKED!
We are grateful to finally be decompressing in Garden Ridge, TX after a rather stressful few months of ministry and moving! From late April onward things really haven’t slowed down until now. Just to recap the main events; a successful but hectic WASC accreditation visit in late April was followed by all of the end-of-year school events, including Andrew’s graduation, which were then followed by a frantic week of packing, cleaning, and storing in preparation for a year of home assignment. Departing PNG on June 9, we spent the next three weeks traveling, visiting friends and family, and finally unpacking for the month of July in the vacant home of some friends in the San Antonio/New Braunfels area.
Our second semester has been full of a variety of activities that the kids have been able to be involved in. The fourth and fifth grades put on a medieval festival which Cara enjoyed. Michael has been a part of Musical Theater class that put on a performance of “The Jungle Book” in March. AndrewContinue reading April 2013 Quarterly Newsletter
WRAPPING UP, LOOK ING AHEAD
As we wrap up 2012, we are grateful for the Lord’s abundant faithfulness to us, both our family and our school, Numonohi Christian Academy. First, we are grateful for this four year term of ministry that we are wrapping up. The Lord has worked in so many ways at NCA over these past years: raising up a highly qualified team of educators and administrators, enabling us to achieve accreditation, working in the hearts and lives of so many of our MK’s, and allowing us to be part of the team bringing the Gospel to several new people groups in PNG during these years, In addition, we are also grateful for the way he has blessed us as a family this year. Leaving Ben in the USA was one of the most difficult things we’ve ever had to do, but God has been so faithful to provide a great situation for him at LeTourneau University and has really blessed him in his first semester there. We missed Ben even more than usual during the holidays, but we are so grateful for our families who provided a home for him during this time. We are thankful for God’s faithfulness in the lives of our other children as well, seeing the Lord working in their hearts and growing them in His grace day by day.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” – 2 Cor 5:17
A Church is Born in Biem!
When we first arrived in Papua New Guinea in 1996, one of my first students at Numonohi Christian Academy was an energetic young man named Brandon Buser. A senior that year, Brandon was in my computer applications class and was also my teacher’s assistant. What a joy it was this past week, therefore, to be able to share in the joy of Brandon’s ministry as he and his wife and children, now missionaries to the Biem people, saw the first fruits of a church planted on a remote island off of the north coast of PNG.