Brightly beams our Father’s mercy, From His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping Of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning!
Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.
Dark the night of sin has settled, Loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing, For the lights along the shore.
Trim your feeble lamp, my brother; Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor, In the darkness may be lost.
Phillip P. Bliss — 1871

Some weeks ago when walking by the house of one of our new missionary families I heard them singing “A Mighty Fortress is our God” with their pre-school aged children. The weighty doctrinal statement and intricate melody did not keep the tiny tykes from singing along. That brought back such memories of a bygone era when even very young children knew and sang along to hymns of our faith, with the meat of God’s Word storied thru the verses. I could write a book on how God has used those hymns to mold my life. But fear not! I’ll limit this to a brief exerpt from way back when, when I was in about the 3rd grade ….

At that age the only concept I had of the sea was a jigsaw puzzle our family did together picturing a majestic clipper ship on the ocean. This Philip Bliss hymn brought to my mind’s eye that ship struggling thru stormy waters toward a rocky shoreline. But for a lighthouse – all aboard would perish. The undercurrent of missions was too obvious for little me to miss. Hoist & unfurl that hymn aloft between “Throw out the Lifeline” and “Bringing in the Sheaves” and it’s little wonder how God brought me to where He has me today!

The mighty waves of grain billowing across the American continent may frame your current area of outreach instead of ocean whitecaps, but the task God has allotted to you is certainly as great as any here. As political correctness tries to prohibit preaching (or even mentioning) Jesus, Christians could easily feel buffeted by the wind and caught in the undertow of the waves. We who make up the Church need to stay our course, with our eyes fixed on Jesus. His promises are certain for all who are trusting Him. Our future is secure in Christ! Be encouraged from God’s Word, and stand strong! I can but imagine how that plays out in your lives in America these days, but be assured you have my thoughts and prayers as you minister to those adrift or gone astray whom God brings across your path today.

Here on the PNG side of the ocean – days are filled with mundane matters — finance duties, printing materials for our brothers and sisters in Christ in the more rural areas of the country, preparing and teaching Bible study to our lady employees. The daily task related to home school projects is currently off the agenda though as Jason Stuart and his children do a 5 month stent in Australia so that he can establish his Australian residency on behalf of his children. The literacy trip to Pei is back in the “possibilities” column. Also maybe some long distance or on location help with literacy in another area. Life never seems to slow down ….

Living and ministering as a support missionary here in Wewak doesn’t often get me out to the excitement of the front lines anymore. With such occasions so rare, the few opportunities God brings are all the more compelling. When Susan mentioned at Bible Study a couple of weeks ago that her daughter had given birth to a premature baby I began looking for a way to get to the hospital to see them. A driver was finally available. Little Adanaizah weighed 1.6kg at birth but babies always initially lose weight, adding to his frail appearance.

He seems to be a fighter though and the nurses let his mother hold him while they took some pictures for us. As you pray for little Adanaizah please remember his mother Elizabeth too – that she will see God undertaking for her and her tiny son thru this time, and that that will serve to draw her, and the whole family, closer to Him.

An update to my last epistle requesting prayer for dealing with the frustrations of life: please do keep those prayers coming! This month too was awash with vexations – computer related this time. NTM “migrating” our e-mail accounts to a “better system” created ongoing mayhem for those of us with no claim to computer literacy. You hopefully notice no difference, but on this end – oh woe! E-mail address book, all Inbox sub-files where vital info is stored — all disappeared. Our local internet company changing the location of their subscription web site without telling us where to go or how much to pay for data plans didn’t help. If you receive this, see it as pure evidence that God remains undaunted by the computer era and He mercifully takes pity on those of us so easily exasperated by its complexities. Sincere thanks go to Him for getting me back online – though I admit I’ve tacked on some pleading with Him that He migrate ME to heaven before any future e-mail mass migrations are deemed necessary!

My aggravations pale however in comparison to what is the norm for some of my friends here. Privacy precludes sharing of names and details but please do keep PNG Christians in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for standing together with me on their behalf thru the thick & thin of life and ministry here in PNG. You are a much appreciated part of the team!

Co-laboring together to bring back Christ as King!
Hope Sharp