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

All the petty, trivialities of life that somehow seem such a big deal at the time … yet really are so “samting nating” = insignificant in light of the burdens other people are carrying. Or in light of eternity.

“Funny” that amidst all the above pettiness the lesson for our Wednesday Ladies Bible study was Philippians 3:1 – 

  • (KJV) Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.
  • (CEV) Finally, my dear friends, be glad that you belong to the Lord. It doesn’t bother me to write the same things to you that I have written before. In fact, it is for your own good.
  • (GNB) In conclusion, my friends, be joyful in your union with the Lord. I don’t mind repeating what I have written before, and you will be safer if I do so.
  • (Murdock) Finally, my brethren, rejoice in our Lord. To write these [things] again and again to you, is not irksome to me, because they make you cautious.

God certainly knew, all those years ago, just what to have the Apostle Paul write from his prison cell that would bean encouragement – and CHALLENGE – for some of us in need of keeping our priorities straight today!

Teaching the lesson on Phil 3:1 was a challenge as ALL the ladies in our Bible study group are going thru REAL heavies = trials of some sort ALL the time. Who am I to even try to talk about this, much less lead these ladies who carry burdens and suffer real hardships?

In a nutshell — currently — 

  • Rosma, newest to join our group, was recently rescued by a missionary family after her parents tried multiple times to tortureand even kill her for her refusal to marry the unsaved guy they wanted her to wed. Her future – only God knows.
  • Lisa had all the money stolen from her bank account and can’t get anything done about it.
  • Widow Susan is the sole source of income for her extended family and though elderly and would love to “retire” she needs more work.
  • Meta has 2 young children and no reliable babysitter when she comes to work. She brings them along – but it is hard for her getting to and from work, plus giving adequate attention to tasks allotted to her here.
  • Rosie continues to have problems since a burning ember flew into her eye several months ago. She also faces a possible marriage that could mean she moves from town back to a more primitive village setting.
  • Widow Martha’s family is still dealing with an unresolved court case from several years ago.
  • Paula’s grown children continue to be very unsettled.

 Then there are the heartaches and sufferings YOU who are reading this are carrying –

  • Health concerns – you and / or family members with cancer and other debilitating illnesses
  • Financial impossibilities glaring at you daily – with no hope of an end in sight
  • Knowing how to help your children when they struggle
  • Taking care of aging loved ones – some of you doing this alone, without any emotional or physical support
  • for you as the care giver
  • Recent losses of loved ones
  • Uncertainties of what’s ahead as you face relocating, retiring, or other unsettling changes in life.

Oh, how easy it is to know what we should do, and even to say, “Rejoice in the Lord!” – yet in reality, for me at least, that isn’t always the first thing that crosses my mind.

It’s certainly no surprise that God brings all these thoughts to mind during the month we Americans celebrate Thanksgiving! What can I say but, “Thank you,
Lord, that YOU are continually faithful even when I fall to my frailties!” I do have so very much to be grateful for! How much better to concentrate on them rather than the trivialities of life!

To give you a very short list of current blessings here in regard to things YOU have known and been praying about with me:

We expect 2 new families to be joining us in December to open new tribal works here, and more families coming later to help fill in gaps where missionaries are needed in existing works!

The 4+ month long El Nino dry season looks like it is coming to an end as we hear of reports of rain around the different areas of PNG!

Finance office missionary Beth has left a whole notebook full of EXTENSIVE instructions to remind me how to do the various office tasks for the year she is away!

The Tribal Resource Center computer is back and works well thru a “docking station” so doesn’t need replaced!

And of course rating a prime position in things God gives me to be thankful for is YOU — and your enabling me to be your representative here in PNG, and be used however He sees fit to help others have the opportunity to know and grow in their love for our Savior too!

But most of all, I am thankful to God for the privilege it is to know Jesus – the One who died in my place and paid the penalty for my sins, His total sufficiency and faithfulness, His ongoing work in my life making me more and more like Himself, His all-encompassing love and care! A list of all we have in Christ would be
impossible to ever complete! But perhaps the capstone of that for us today is the certainty of His promised return! …. Perhaps even today!

To close – there is a hymn that has meant a lot to me over the past many years. (Especially verse 5!) I’m sure I’ve shared it before in some letter so please forgive me being repetitive! I have never heard this hymn sung – yet the words express my thoughts so well. May God use these words written by Richmond Deck over a century ago to encourage your heart today as well!

Co-laboring together with you for the King!

Hope Sharp


1. I take Thy promise, Lord, in all its length,
And breadth and fullness, as my daily strength;
Into life’s future fearless I may gaze,
For, Savior, Thou art with me all the days.

2. Days may be coming fraught with loss and change,
New scenes surround my life and fancies strange;
I thank Thee that no day can ever break,
Savior, when Thou wilt leave me or forsake.

3. There may be days of darkness and distress,
When sin has power to tempt, and care to press,
Yet in the darkest day I will not fear,
For, ‘mid the shadows, Thou wilt still be near.

4. Days there may be of joy and deep delight,
When earth seems fairest, and her skies most bright,
Then draw me closer to Thee, lest I rest
Elsewhere, my Savior, than upon Thy breast.

5. And all the other days that make my life,
Marked by no special joy or grief or strife,
Days filled with quiet duties, trivial care,
Burdens too small for other hearts to share;

6. Spend Thou these days with me, all shall be Thine,
So shall the darkest hour with glory shine.
Then when these earthly years have passed away,
Let me be with Thee in the perfect day.