A “ghost” of Christmas past keeps tapping my shoulder for attention. I must have been about 7 years old. Dad had taken his first student pastorate in a small town in northern Indiana and we were becoming well versed in what it meant to be the “preacher’s kids.” Times were tight, making one family gift under the tree stand forever embedded in my memory. It was from one of the widows in the church. The smallish white package was extremely heavy. None of us had a clue what it might be. Mom opened it – and we were stunned to silence. Ten silver dollars! Back then that was a fortune! Finally someone broke the quiet asking, “Are they real?” Mom was immediately on the phone thanking the dear donor. Over the ensuing months those coins became the “emergency fund” that carried us thru some lean and dire times. That was one of the first most memorable moments of countless occasions over the years of seeing God provide what was needed for life and service with Him. Each of you receiving this letter have had a part in that as you have prayed, given, and otherwise creatively supported the ministry God has currently committed to our care. Because of you, I have been truly blessed!
Indisputably, God’s greatest blessing and provision to us through is His Son, given to be our Savior. He it is whom we love, worship and purposely determine to be the focus of our holiday realm. In spite of / or more likely BECAUSE OF the busyness of the season God will be giving each of us extra opportunities to reflect Him to those He brings across our paths. Our choice. We can harp on our fatigue and frustrations at the commercialization of Christmas OR we can be a melody of refreshment, radiating Christ and causing others to desire to celebrate our Savior’s coming, too.
Another precious endowment God has gifted to us is His Word, given to enlighten, encourage and lead us along. We are indeed privileged today to be co-laboring together to see that others have the opportunity to also have God’s Word in their mother tongue. There are now 8 New Testament translations completed in our region of Papua New Guinea – Bisorio, Iteri, May River Iwam, Nimo, Bahinemo (Inaru), Siawi, Bagwido (Mariama), and Bises (YembiYembi). Another 3 – Waxe, Sinow and Malaumanda – are in the process of being formatted and printed for soon getting into the hands of their respective language groups around our province (state) as well! Your prayers and gifts go far in seeing the various related church planting needs met to bring God’s Word to people who would otherwise have no means of knowing Him — and knowing what Christmas is really all about.
Sometime mid-month the cargo ship carrying my 9 totes of ministry and personal items should be arriving in Lae, PNG. That’s not to say the things will yet be in my hands! Please do be praying as the container arrives, is unloaded and transported by road to Goroka. Somewhere along the line the paperwork on everything in the container will be perused and customs officials will decide which items the want to actually see and what can be processed for the amount of duty due sight unseen. Once the container is unloaded and the customs paid, my cargo will sit and await flights to bring it the last long leg of its trek to catch up with me! I’m thinking by maybe mid-2015 it might all be here in Wewak.
Work in the Tribal Resource Center has been slow and as soon as I finish scanning 3 more 200 page Bible lesson books and compiling the files for printing, if no other work comes in, I should have time for some Iwam! Yeah!!!! Lessons abound that need spelling checked and formatting tweaks to get them ready for reprinting. All the literacy materials need to be converted to a better digital format. And then there’s the Iwam New Testament
concordance. I am hopeful there may even be time to work on that!
Hospital visitation has slowed down now too with only 2 patients – both of whom have been here for nearly 2 months now. It is likely they will be sent home before Christmas when the hospital all but shuts down, accepting only life or death emergency cases. Please do be praying for Albert and Kofele in their health needs.
The Ladies Bible Study group will disperse for a few weeks over the holidays giving the gals time to return to their home villages to celebrate Christmas with their families. Mid-January when we begin meeting together again we’ll be starting into a verse by verse study of Philippians. It will be both challenging and refreshing to get back into in-depth studies of the Word with them again!
That’s the rundown from here. I’d love to hear from you and get caught up on your life should you find yourself with “spare time” for correspondence this Christmas. Whether there’s any spare time or not, do take time to be refreshed in your celebration of our Savior’s birth as you anticipate His promised return!
And again — Thank YOU for standing together with us in the work God has for us here in Papua New Guinea.
Because Christ came and is coming again, we have HOPE!
Co-laboring together with you for the King!