Imagine. You’ve been born in the jungle and never left your home turf. You have the opportunity to travel not just downriver in an outboard motor canoe, then truck into Wewak on the back of some type of vehicle you’ve never even seen before. You’ll ride several hours over rugged rutted roads to get to that town — and see the ocean! You’ll sleep in a building on a cement floor, get up well before dawn to board a jet plane (whatever that is) to fly to the capital city of PNG.
While there you’ll be attending a conference with other ladies from the AOG church and doing who knows what all else … That’s exactly what these 7 Iwam ladies got to do! And indeed, MOST of them had never been out of the jungle before!
I was able to visit with them briefly on their way to Port Moresby, but sadly missed them on their way home. They evidently flew back into Wewak a day later than planned and immediately jumped on a truck to make the overnight trek to the Sepik River, followed by an all-day in the sun motor canoe jaunt to get back NEAR home. It may not be ‘til eternity that I will have the chance to hear their stories and details of the impact of such a journey. Hopefully it will have lasting spiritual benefits that will server to draw them ever closer to our Precious Savior. We can pray to that end!
Also in September – fellow missionary Jason Stuart spent a week at May River with the Iwam churches, training the church leaders on the whys and hows of teaching chronologically thru the scriptures. Early October Jason was back with the Iwam again, along with believers from 8 other language groups who all met together in the Siawi tribe for a Bible conference. 21 Iwam men and women attended, though the above 7 gals did not make it home in time to go. Jason’s ministry of encouraging these tribal churches who are now standing on their own is so vital to their knowing they are not forgotten.
Even when “their” former missionaries can’t come to see them, they are still being lovingly remembered and prayed for not only by missionaries, but folks from all over the globe. My thanks to YOU for your ministry to the Iwam in that way!
Jason always reports on his times with our jungle brothers and sisters in Christ. Here’s a tidbit from what he shared on his recent times with the Iwam:
Two Waxe (tribe) church leaders and I were in May River for a week and had a great reception with the Iwam people. They really enjoyed the Bible course and are hungry for more. This last week I again saw some of the Iwam church leaders and they re-expressed their appreciation for the course. One of them was still a heavy drinker and a real rascal when the missionaries left the Iwam people group and he is now a church leader. He told me that he learned so much from the foundational/chronological Bible teaching and couldn’t wait for the next course. It is always refreshing to see a hunger for God’s Word.
Hundreds of believers from 9 different language groups converged on the village of Siawi for a 3 day conference. It was a great time of fellowship and unity amongst so many people and none of the problems expected from getting so many people together happened. There was more food than everyone could eat (all provided by the Siawi church who did an amazing job organizing everything) and everyone left feeling happy to be part of God’s people. One of the special things about this conference was that two new churches joined us–
people from the villages of Wakomo and Falu who had just been saved this year. They didn’t hear the Gospel from white missionaries; people from their own tribes who have never even been to school went and taught them God’s Word from the story of Creation up to Christ’s death and resurrection so that they could understand the Gospel. I was the only white missionary who attended this conference and I had no official function, except to observe and see what God is doing with these people.
During the conference representatives from one language group came and said, “We have heard the Gospel from the Siawi church, but we don’t have God’s Word in our own language. We know we aren’t understanding the Pidgin English Bible as well as if we had it written in our own language. Can you send us a missionary to translate the Bible for us?” Another group came to observe and said, “We have another denomination in our village and they only teach in Pidgin English and people aren’t understanding God’s Word. Can someone come to share the message in our language?” While God’s Word is going out in many places in Papua New Guinea, there are still many other needy groups. It is definitely a case of the harvest being great and the labourers being few. Please be praying for more people to come and give their lives to see people brought to a mature understanding of God’s Word.
May River Iwam singing group at the recent Believers’Conference in Siawi
Along with Jason’s prayer provoking update, I have one request more relevant to my town ministry these days.
From Oct 13-17th another missionary (Lisa Kappeler) and I will be schooling a group of pastors from another mission on how to teach people to read and write. These pastors requested such training and since I’m supposedly the local NTM literacy lady guru, I got elected to teach. We will be giving them guidelines for setting up literacy programs in rural and not so rural PNG locations, using the Gov literacy program to teach reading and writing in the trade language of PNG – Melanesian Pidgin English. Neither Lisa nor I have ever actually taught literacy using this course so we will greatly appreciate your prayers!
Again my sincere and grateful thanks to YOU for your part in allowing me to be “on location” and be involved in the work God has committed to us in PNG. I certainly couldn’t be here without your prayers and other evidences of support. May God give you an ongoing excitement too, to see what He will do in the lives of His people here as we take advantage of the doors He opens before us.
Co-laboring together with you for the King!