You know the feeling: life stuffed to the brim with a multitude of duties crammed in and spilling outvthrough the gaps. It’s a daily prayer need that I not let anything fall thru the cracks! Without the Lord I would certainly succumb to the mental fatigue — but amid the fullness of life He gives us He is ALWAYS all sufficient. His blessings abound! God graciously allows me to be your representative to His people here in PNG and for that He allots to each day ALL things needful for the charges He commits to our care. And then, as I let Him, He does more! He faithfully uses each assignment He gives as an opportunity to further His work of conforming me to be more and more like Christ. Though a colossal undertaking – He never gives up. Thank you, Lord!
Some years ago when I first moved out of the jungle and into a provincial small town setting I had to learn to live in the urban realm again. It was decidedly not the norm for town living though. If I remember right, we got our:
- Chicken at the gas station
- Butter at the bank
- and money at the grocery store
or some equally unexpected combination for finding and purchasing the above.
Some days it’s a challenge to do even simple mental endeavors. Like today. I counted a stack of office money and came up with K300 total. That was sort of right. If you add another 0 it’s prefect! K3000 – not K300. How do I make such ridiculous mistakes???? Somehow God always intervenes to keep making everything in the finance office balance even when I succumb to such careless errors. Though 2021 is my target date for retirement, on days like today I question whether I will mentally last that long!
“I no yet.” “I no yet.” “I no yet.” (“Nothing’s happening yet”) was the continuous mantra from the hospital staff as several of us stood watch overnight (March 27th) waiting not so patiently for our dear friend Rosie to deliver her twins.
I’ll spare you most of the specifics of the prolonged unproductive labour and eventual grisly delivery other than to say if anything could go wrong, it did. The live birth of twin #1 was the decided bright spot of the ordeal and that was accomplished only by last ditch traumatic techniques by the hospital staff. After numerous further unsuccessful attempts to deliver twin #2, a C-section was the only viable option.
A year ago (January 2016) we were rejoicing on the marriage of one of our employees – young Rosie — to Rex, a Christian from the YembiYempi tribe. Over the past year many of you have continued to pray for this young couple. Now – some specific prayers will be muchly appreciated! Rosie is 38 weeks into her 1st pregnancy and on her clinic visit last Tuesday was told she is expecting twins! Because this was so unexpected and not discovered until so close to her due date, she was sent for an ultrasound – kind of a “last resort” effort here rather than a normal part of prenatal checks.
Answers to YOUR prayers! Over the past couple of years I asked you to please be praying specifically for new missionaries ….. Here’s what God has been doing!
New Year’s musings
Between Christmas and New Year’s 1970, I was privileged to attend Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship’s 9th mission’s conference at Urbana, Illinois. The musician who led the singing (Bernie Smith) would occasionally stop in hiscomments between songs and say, “Attitude check!” The appropriate congregational response was our 14,300+ voices shouting back in unison, “Praise the Lord!” 46 years later God still brings that to mind. Likely because I am often in need of doing just that – checking my attitude toward situations, my reactions to circumstances, my riotousthoughts when things weren’t going according to MY plans. Each day God brings to mind many needful “attitude checks” in my life. I admit praising Him has too often been way down the list of my responses. God is so faithful to bring me round to look at things from His eternal perspective, and as I do that – what else can I say? Praise to Him is fitting in each and every thing He allows to touch our lives as He works to mold us into the image of His Son.
Remember the song “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth….”? I don’t generally itemize or publicize my desires but I have quite a wish list this year — things that YOU can be a part of seeing become reality by praying with us!
Yes, it FINALLY happened! Thanks to your prayers, the literacy trip that has been on again off again since last February did indeed come about and is now history! The team of missionaries working with the Pei people is incredible! Chris & Evie Jones, Candace Swift and Justin & Laruen Rees are “young blood” and clearly the wave of the future of what our up and coming missionaries will probably look like. What a privilege it is to work alongside them! They have a very effective literacy program in place and donning my consultant’s cap among them was a sheer joy. I did manage to give them a few suggestions that will hopefully help enrich their program AND make them feel the trip was indeed worth the time, effort and expense of getting me into Pei land.
September is the month Wewak usually hosts a traditional cultural sing and dance festival. It’s a much anticipated highlight which, to our chagrin, didn’t happen this year. Instead we were privileged to be spectators at other local events. Attending the ceremony celebrating PNGs 41st anniversary as an independent nation was one enjoyable
venture. The all-day drizzle did little to dampen anyone’s spirits. And who knew! The town’s Police band actually boasts bagpipes! My wee bit of Scottish blood from some 10 generations ago was highly enthused!
Brightly beams our Father’s mercy, From His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping Of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning!
Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.
Dark the night of sin has settled, Loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing, For the lights along the shore.
Trim your feeble lamp, my brother; Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor, In the darkness may be lost.
Phillip P. Bliss — 1871
Once again, the update idea index is empty …. But wait! I haven’t elaborated much about finance duties of late, have I? This month has had its moments. As you know from my frequent previous complaints laments, math is among my many weak areas. That makes it all the more obvious that if something gets done RIGHT it’s certainly all God’s doing! Evidence of that was too clear to miss one day this past month……
A word of caution – I have nothing much to write about this month. It reminds me of my mother saying we kids always ate tons more when we weren’t hungry than when we were. I fear my writing may be the same. My “nothing to say” may equal a very long letter! But – to whet the appetite of those of you who still pray for the Stuart family – I’ll include a few tidbits on them this time!
The PNG ladies who work here at our center often get mentioned in my updates, but the men – not so much. We do have a good crew of PNG citizens who faithfully help us out keeping the buildings in good repair, grounds maintained, and doing security work, etc. More than just employees, these are among our closest friends.
NTM Missionaries to the Pefiyahe language group launched their 1st ever vernacular literacy program this past week! 15 students — 9 ladies and 6 men in the 16-40ish age bracket were chosen by their village leaders to be the privileged few who get to participate in this class. Some have previously tried unsuccessfully to learn to read in Melanesian Pidgin – the PNG “trade language.” Please be praying that they will be able to master the skill of reading in their mother tongue.
This update could be all about:
- teaching, testimonies
- prayer & worship
- Kids Karnival
- Skit nite, Song nite …
Way “too-many-to-count” praise points to reinterate here so suffice it to say, a wonderful and spiritually refreshing time was had by all!
Hands down, the highlight of January was definitely Rosie’s wedding! Yes! It did happen, and yes, I did get to go! Some of the missionary gals helped make sure Rosie had cake to add to her celebration, and though the icing was faultless when first decorated, I highly suspect that by the time the cakes were served (after we had left the village,) everything had likely melted into a swirling paisley effect.
January Already !!!!!!
Why is it– year’s end often brings on a compelling bout of the nostalgia, a desire to reminisce about life’s events for the past twelve months – the highs and lows, the joys, the sorrows, successes, failures, remembering too all those run-of-the-mill days whose hours crept along at a snail’s pace while the year took wings and flew gallantly to its finish. With God at the helm, such musings can make for a most refreshing response of thankfulness and gratitude!
Possible Identity theft?????
The modern day worst nightmare comes to prime time daytime, too. My first thoughts when I ran into obstacles while trying to verify my identity were: “Why would anyone in their right mind want to be me?????”
Then I got to thinking about it ….
- Ocean view living
- In the beautiful South Pacific
- Greatest family in the world!
- Incredible team of friends & supporters around the globe
- Wonderful Wewak neighbors
- Fantastic co-workers
- Perfect, ideal job & working conditions
- The best Boss EVER !!!!! — who promises all I need for today
- And then forever with Him in eternity too!
With that in mind — Who in their right mind WOULDN’T want to be me????
Little things … all those annoying irritations that seek to skew the focus of my life ….
- Slow to non-existent internet
- New method for doing our employee payroll instigated just days before my Finance Office mentor Beth leaves for their home assignment time
- Thursday school reading class being canceled — again
- Teeth breaking from my comb (can’t imagine why – only used it 35 years!)
- Lawn care workers cutting off my flowers — again
- Rats eating thru my screens and Tupperware
- Suspicions of someone else using my social security number ….
- Not having any ideas for an update letter – again
Remember the old “story problems” from eons ago math class? “Farmer Jones raised a cow and 2 goats. How many eggs did his chickens lay?” Okay, maybe the calculations weren’t really that preposterously confusing but sometimes it felt that baffling. At least to me. I get the same feeling now in the Finance Office …. But on a more positive note – and certainly in answer to your prayers! — CSR, ATF, WCM, AP and other such devious designations are actually beginning to MEAN something to my befuddled brain! AND, better yet, no common core math is involved! God will certainly be in for a busy year keeping things going efficiently in the finance department while I’m filling in, but I’m confident He won’t assign a task without also giving the ability to DO IT !!!! I can rest absolutely confident of His faithfulness and wholly dependent on Him, come what may! And yes, I can even be quite content with my mathematically challenged frailty because 2 Cor. 12:10 remains so true! When I am most weak — that is when His strength most clearly shines through!
If I had to pick words to describe the past weeks, I’d have to say it’s been a crazy wacky world. Totally a mixed bag of nuts. It’s a good thing God plans my days as I’d certainly never CHOOSE some of what He allots – though it’s obviously all for my good and HIS glory!!!
Update time again. A blank computer screen looms before me. Possibilities folder is equally empty. Intimidating. But fear not! My devoid of ideas intellect is no limit to God! With Him at the keyboard you’ll probably still get a full page report on what He has had us involved in these past weeks! Let’s see what He’s done!
Tribal Resource Center
Books have always been a major part of my life. From an early age I began to see blank sheets of paper as “potential” to become something interesting and exciting! Maybe that’s why the TRC is such a “good fit” for a ministry for me!
This past month was a busy one with projects for the Bisorio, Biem, Hewa and Iwam language groups. Some printing projects take a mere matter of hours. Others take maybe a week to complete. How precious it is that we can be involved in producing materials that will help our tribal folks learn to read, and then also printing Bible lessons and translated scripture portions to help them grow closer to our Savior!
Question at a local school:
A question came up in one of our recent sessions: “Do we have to promise to be good before God will save us?” The unanimous reply from both classes was, “Yes!” This is just one of the ingrained ideas that we seek to explain to these precious children. They are heavily indoctrinated by teachings from legalistic religious groups. Your prayers will be appreciated as we attempt to clearly yet emphatically share the truths of God’s Word! Please be praying too on where we go from here when we finish the 10 evangelistic lessons in The Lamb book. It is hard to know how much each child individually is really understanding as we have only about 30 minutes once a week contact with each class. We’re being permitted to read at the school to help the children learn English (not “religious instruction”) so we proceed with dependence on God’s leading in our choices of materials to share. Thanks for praying with us for His wisdom and direction for this ministry.