Another year has rolled by and now we’re fully into 2016! Amazing to think that I’ve been here in the Islands Region of Papua New Guinea for over 16 years now. Looking back I can see the Lord’s gracious hand every step of the way.
Our work with the Mengen people started many years ago. I remember the early days where we struggled to learn an unwritten language. It was an uphill battle, trying to repeat back different sounds and to write things the way we heard them! We were often overwhelmed as we immersed ourselves in the Mengen culture, trying to gain insight into the thinking and customs of the people we had come to minister to. By God’s grace, we were able to survive those initial days, and the day finally came for us to be able to present the Gospel to the Mengen people in their own language!!
One of the very first Mengen believers was a young man named Kamilus. He and his wife Sepin were just 18 years old with a brand new baby when my co-worker Keri and I first arrived in their village. This young couple had already been through many difficult times, with the loss of both of Kamilus’ parents and also their new little baby Alexia having been born with 2 club feet. Then, within weeks of our arrival in the village, Kamilus’ teenage brother died from appendicitis, and tragically slipped into a Christless eternity.
As Kamilus and Sepin heard the truth about God and about sin and about their need for a Redeemer, they reached out and accepted God’s gift of salvation quickly. It was amazing to see their hunger for God’s Word as they listened to the Bible lessons.
Now many years later, Kamilus and Sepin have 7 children and are doing very well. A couple of years ago, they joined another family and became the first Mengen missionaries to their own people, moving to a village many hours hike away from home. It has been a time of growth for both families and they have experienced incredible hardship as they have seen a church planted in this new village. Although he is a quiet man, Kamilus has become a mature and godly leader. It is a blessing to see him interact with the believers and to see how much they respect his quiet leadership.
This week on Wednesday, I got a phone call from Kamilus’ co-worker Bruce to say that Kamilus was deathly ill. It was terrifying news to get from a remote jungle location, knowing that there was no easy way for him to receive medical treatment. To make a long story short, two of the men from Hoskins were able to drive many long hours through the night, over rugged roads, and were able to get to this distant village. Bruce told me the next day that while he was sitting by his house, it was like a miracle from heaven to see the truck come driving in out of the darkness. He was SO astonished.
Kamilus was very, very ill and in and out of consciousness. Praise the Lord that he was finally able to receive treatment at the hospital in town. The doctor told Bruce that they arrived at the hospital in the nick of time, as Kamilus was literally near death and had just a few hours to live. If we would have delayed until the next day, Kamilus would be in heaven with Jesus at this very moment. Praise the Lord for His goodness in sparing Kamilus’ life and to arrive a myriad of tiny details so that he would be able to arrive at the hospital at the perfect time.
Now Kamilus is here recovering from his nasty intestinal bug. He is very weak, but he is moving around and eating a little. Within a few days, he should be on his feet and back to full strength again. Once Kamilus and Bruce return home, they will be starting the “Creation to Christ” teaching once again to a new group of people. They are excited to have at least 40 people who are hungry to hear the truth of God’s Word. Out of those 40, at least 12 of them are young unmarried guys who live and work in that area! I can’t wait to hear what the Lord is going to do in the hearts of these guys and the others, as we see more Mengen people come to a saving knowledge of Christ.
Thanks so much for your prayers!
- Pray for Kamilus as he recovers from his illness.
- Pray for both Bruce and Kamilus as they start to teach God’s Word to a new group of people and disciple the believers in this outreach village.
- Pray for their new co-workers Vincent and Manuela, that they would settle well into the work and that they would experience God’s faithfulness as they are away from their home village and all their family and friends. It’s a huge transition time for them and I know they would appreciate your prayers.
With praise to the King,