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.

And now as we look ahead to the New Year, we see numerous opportunities to trust the Lord and the faithfulness he continually shows. Home assignment is right around the corner in June 2013, which means a big transition for our family. We would appreciate your prayers as we make many decisions for things like these: Do we home-school the kids to allow for greater flexibility in traveling, or do we enroll them in school and allow them more opportunities to “acculturate” to that foreign country, the USA? Does Neil take a full-time or part-time job, or focus on continued partnership development for our next term? Where should we live? Going along with all of our family’s decisions, are the decisions that Andrew will be making about his future as he is finishing up his time in high school. He has been accepted to several schools (LeTourneau, Texas A&M, Azusa Pacific, and Baylor), and he is also considering doing a Bible program for his first year at Joshua Wilderness Institute in Hume, CA. We would all greatly appreciate your prayers for wisdom in the myriad of decisions, large and small, that we will need to make in the coming months. We would also appreciate your prayers for God’s financial provision for airplane tickets and other associated expenses with home assignment. Thank you!

More from Biem

We wrote last time about the Gospel presentation and birth of a new church among the Biem people. After we sent our letter, missionary (and former NCA student) Brandon Buser shared the following testimonies with us:

One of our middle-aged guys has been sharing his )new faith with everyone he can. As I asked him some basic questions on his faith, he looked at me like I was a moron, “Brandon, you know why Jesus died. He died for your sins and mine. I believe that, and because of that I know that I am God’s kid. But I want to tell something new. This joy I feel…it is so ‘over the top’ [Biem expression]. Brandon, I used to smoke marijuana and that used to make me feel good. This is nothing like that…I cannot hear enough of this. It sits in my thinking all the time. And that joy, it sits in my insides unlike anything I’ve ever felt.”

An older man who came late at night shared, “I’ve tried to follow many roads to heaven. People told me I had to follow these laws, or be this kind of person…I tried, but I always fell. Now I know though that Jesus did it all. He said up on the cross, that He finished the work. I believe that. He died and took my sins. That’s it. I believe that, and that’s it. Jesus says that it’s by belief only that a man’s sin are taken care of.”

One of Rachel’s [Brandon’s wife’s]good friends, a firecracker that God has gotten a hold of, said, “Many from my family are putting me down for my belief and I feel pulled back to my old way of thinking because of that, but then I just know in my heart that this is the truth and I have so much joy that I can know my sins are gone and I don’t have to keep trying.”

Thank you for your prayers for these new believers and for Brandon and Rachel as they disciple them. As I look through the New Testament at Paul’s pattern of prayer, I note that his prayers were primarily focused not on the places where there were still unbelievers yet to reach, but on the baby churches that he had already planted, What a critical time
for these new believers in Biem! Let’s join together and pray for them, that they will be grounded in the truth and in love for one another as they enjoy the blessings of their new life in Christ.

We are so grateful for all that you all continually do to stand with us in the ministry here in PNG. As we look back over the 17 years that you all have partnered with us, we are humbled by your faithfulness in so many ways. God is truly using you and your support for the ministry in PNG to bring many to a saving knowledge of Himself!

SEW 2012

Thanks for your prayers for our annual Spiritual Emphasis Weekend that we mentioned in our last letter. We were so blessed by the team from Hume Lake Christian Camps (pictured right, in the front row) that came in October to minister to us and our MK’s. It was so encouraging to see the Lord work in their hearts during the weekend. Your prayers were answered!

Prayer and Praise Corner:
  • Praise the Lord for his faithfulness to our family and school over this past four-year term of ministry. Pray for three new teachers who are raising financial support to come teach next year.
  • Pray for us as we begin making plans for home assignment in the USA beginning in June. Pray also for Andrew as he makes many decisions regarding his future next year. Pray for God’s provision of finances for tickets and our time in the USA.
  • Praise for a great first semester for Ben at LeTourneau University. Continue to pray for him as he starts his second semester.
  • Praise for the continued testimonies from the Biem church. Pray for their growth in Christ.

Gratefully in Christ,

Neil and Becky Burleson & family