Thank you so much for your faithful prayers for me. The past couple of months have been interesting, and I’m thankful for our Heavenly Father who gives grace and strength each day. Although I’ve only been back in PNG about 10 weeks, I’ve managed to be sick for about 5 weeks in total! Not exactly a great way to start out my fifth term. Thankfully I have a nice house, soft bed, lots of food and medicine, and everything I need for comfort, unlike my poor Mengen friends, many of whom have also picked up some of the same nasty bugs as I have!! Thankfully I’m mostly on the mend now, although I continue to experience some pain in my lower back, but at least I can move around albeit stiffly!
Progress in Bible translation is VERY encouraging these days, as I begin to wrap up the books of 1 Timothy, Titus and 1 Corinthians. I still have some work to do, checking people’s comprehension etc, but thankfully we are seeing these projects start to wind down. In the next few months, I’ll be working on 1&2 Thessalonians, 2 Timothy and Philemon (just for fun!). It’s a real joy and encouragement for me, to be able to work on some short books, after many years of long and difficult ones!
Bible classes are continuing to go very well these days, with the ladies meeting together on Sunday mornings and the men on Monday mornings for discipleship class. The ladies have already memorized all the books of the Bible and are able to quickly locate verses in their Bibles. Also they are beginning to memorize Scripture. They blazed through Romans 8:18 and are moving ahead to another passage this week! It has been super encouraging and exciting to see their enthusiasm for God’s Word and their faithfulness to attend the class each week.
Along with the discipleship classes, our Bible teachers have started another “Creation to Christ” outreach in our village. It has been AMAZING to see quite a few teenagers and young adults coming faithfully. A number of them are from families who have been opposed to the teaching, so this is the first time these young people have heard the Bible lessons, although we have taught them several times before. Please be in prayer for Robert, Laurence, Imelda, Massey, Dulcie and others. What a joy to see these unsaved young people, hearing God’s Word for the first time. Pray especially for our Bible teachers who are teaching for the first time and for Edward who is the “veteran”. It is a huge responsibility for these men and their families.
This last week, a man and his teenage daughter named Dulcie came to our village to see some distant relatives. They are from another Mengen village about 2 days hike away from us. Apparently there was an older man who was trying to take Dulcie as his second wife. Not sure why, but the parents were opposed to it. (It is not uncommon in the Mengen culture for a man to have more than one wife.) For some reason, this father brought his daughter to our village to live with his distant cousin or something. This young lady has been here for a few days now, and it has been neat to see her maturity and interest in the Bible teaching. Instead of hanging around with the “giggly girls”, she has been coming with some of the more mature ones and has been listening intently as God’s Word is being taught.
Because we are already about 1/3 of the way through the “Creation to Christ” lessons, it is clear that Dulcie has a lot of catching up to do. In our ladies meeting Sunday, some of the girls came up with a plan. Sooooo…..starting tomorrow, it sounds like quite a few girls and younger ladies will be coming to our house to hear the first 20 Bible lessons. Pray for Dulcie especially, that she would grasp the truths regarding God’s character, about the creation of the angels and Lucifer and also this world. Pray especially that she would begin to see herself as a sinner because of Adam and that as she eventually hears the Gospel message, that she would accept Christ as her Savior.
Pray too for the other girls who will be coming, that this will be a great time of discipleship and input into their lives. Pray also for a young mom named Imelda. Her husband is a new Bible teacher and is on fire for the Lord. Pray that as Imelda hears God’s Word for the first time, that she would choose to place her trust in Christ!
These are exciting days for our team, as we see the Mengen church go from “teenagers” to mature adults in their faith and actions. It is such a joy for Keri and I and our co-workers the Wrights who have been here from the beginning, to see how far the work has come over the past 15 years! Praise God for His faithfulness. Thanks so much for “coming along for the ride” with us!!
I appreciate you all so much.