Saturday was our weekly ladies’ meeting, then Sunday was the second lesson in 1 Corinthians. We’ve stayed happily busy  meeting with different believers one-on-one, having lots of dinners together with our co-workers, having little Skyler and Maddie over to play (and give their parents a break), packing what we’ll bring home from our house here, and all the regular cooking, cleaning, Bible lesson writing, etc. Shiloh is in charge of laundry this summer, Marietta in charge of the baking, and Solomon making lunches. It is all a big help to our family, as well as some practical skill building. 🙂

On Saturday we all five headed down to the village for the weekly ladies meeting. We had heard rumors of some volleyball and basketball going on, as well as the usual boys’ pick-up game of soccer.
However, most of the village was gone down to the coast, carrying their cash crop – 50 lb bags of fresh coffee to sell. They had hoped to leave Tuesday and be back by Saturday, but it rained all day long Tuesday, so couldn’t leave till Wednesday. Most everyone was back in time for church, but not for the Saturday games.

It was truly wonderful to be sitting in a hut again with six or seven Mibu ladies and Shannon as we met. They had a lesson in child training with some discussion afterwards. Almost as thrilling as seeing the ladies exhort and encourage one another about raising their children was seeing the ladies practice their reading after the meeting. Most of these ladies were in my literacy class last year, and when I left, were competent but very, very slow readers. What a difference! They have been faithfully practicing with Shannon and each other this year, and it shows!! To be able to study the Bible each day on their own – what an indescribable gift! And for the children they are shepherding to see their mothers working so hard to learn so that they can read God’s word for themselves… what a testimony.

What a joy, also, to sit and pray together for the needs of the community. For Ato, still teaching school in the next door language group with the purpose of reaching the children and their parents for Christ! And for other villages nearby to be ready to receive the gospel when it comes.
For those who are sick, for all the mothers currently expecting babies (a lot right now!), for the school children, and for our family’s safe trip from America and hiking in. How humbling to sit with these precious tribal ladies, hearing them beseech God for my own family, and praising Him for bringing us back here.

Prayer requests and praises for this week:
– Praise, another Bible teacher from the Mina area has gone home to heaven to be with God forever. How amazing it is to picture Him face to face with Jesus. Pray for his family, as they will miss his presence.
– Praise for a Mibu Bible teacher who was asked to step out of ministry a year ago as church discipline, who has repented and cannot stop sharing the love of Jesus with visitors coming through. Praise to God for the wisdom, gentleness and patience of the church leaders, who want to pursue reinstating him publically into ministry, and have decided to give it six months that can move ahead carefully and with assurance. What a joy to hear of this and just be able to back them completely in their decision.
-Pray for their ongoing testimony to the other language groups they will be in contact with on the coast as they go down to sell their coffee.
Their testimony has been strong, pray that these other language groups will have hearts prepared to hear the gospel when it finally comes to them.
-Pray for our hearts and our time here. Please continue to pray that we can make the most of every opportunity, because the days are quickly flying by!
-Praise for Shiloh’s 15th birthday this weekend, July 3rd. Pray that we can continue to communicate how truly she is loved.

Thank you!!!
Much love,
Shiloh (14.99), Marietta (13), Solomon (11)

Six Days…

Six days since landing on the Nankina airstrip. Six days since hiking home, and six days since being able to send or receive email. We have wanted to communicate that we made to Mibu safely, but have had to wait this week till our co-workers come in to get the drivers for email over the HF radio here!

The first day we flew to the airstrip to land, there was cloud cover over one end of the jungle grass strip. We circled several times, but were not able to land. We ended up detouring to Goroka and were able to spend the day and night with our coworkers who were there on break. It was discouraging not to be able to land the morning we expected to, but it turned out to be a wonderful blessing to spend the day with Geoff and Shannon and their girls, and also to be able to bring the kids to the NTM missionary center in Lapilo where they were able to see a number of good friends, and have some closure to a very real part of their growing up years.

The next day, we started off at first light to try and beat the clouds, and were able to land!! It was simply amazing to see our Mibu friends smiling and waving and waiting for us on the airstrip when we landed. It was a strange sort of déjà vu. Landing and greeting friends like we have so many times over the years, but coming as visitors. Knowing that our time here is short, we both feel a deep desire to use every day, every interaction, to the fullest. However, this has been tempered somewhat in the last six days by the fact that our legs have felt like they have been tied in knots and steamrolled. So most of our conversations and interactions have taken place within walking distance of our house. (Currently within about 20 feet of the front door!)

For Sunday teaching, we gave an overview of the first half of first Corinthians that we covered last year. We spent most of the day in the village and didn’t get back till 4 in the afternoon. It seems that every person in the area was there, and it was exhilarating to get back into teaching Mibu-style with lots of interaction and questions. Many stayed for hours afterwards to talk and catch up. There was a lot of excitement about the training we are beginning again in the fall in Arizona. There were lots of questions, and hopes that people would come to help them reach out to the unreached groups on either side of them. They wanted to know how they could be involved and help the new recruits get ready to reach into places that were like Mibu less than 10 years ago – outside of the reach of the gospel.

Thank you to everyone who prayed for us on our hike. It was grueling, long, and it hurt… but we spent most of the 14 hours hiking with fellow believers, and we also were able to plant small seeds for Christ in the villages and villagers we passed on the way. Thank you for praying that we would make it.
We did, in one long day, almost 14 hours of hiking and the last 2 ½ in the dark by flashlight and bamboo torches. But praise God and with thanks to our friends here, they had built a stick bridge over the raging and dangerous Pandepooai River, and we hiked all the way home within a group. Twenty minutes outside of the village, we were met by a dozen children who had run down the path to greet us all. It was hard, but it is over, and we all came safely home.

Please continue to pray for us this week, as the Lord brings us to mind.
Pray that we would be real and open in our conversations, that we would have the wisdom to know when to listen and when to challenge; when to encourage, and when to empower. Pray that these sweet, introverted people would have the courage to share their struggles and dreams for the church, their joys and their discouragements. Pray that we can accurately assess the state of the church and wisely lead and prepare them to lead. And Praise God with us for those who have expressed their desire to be baptized, despite opposition over the past two years from other groups.

To God be the Glory!!

The Big Day!

This is it! In just an hour, our little MAF Cessna will carry us, then our food and luggage, to the nearest airstrip to Mibu. My stomach is churning… excited to begin seeing Mibu friends that we left 9 months ago, anticipating first hand reports of the life of the churches, and hearing of new marriages, new births, and the loss of a few friends who have passed away while we were gone.

And we will have PLENTY of time to listen! We will be dropped off on the airstrip, if all goes well, by 8am. That gives us just 10 ½ hours to try and make up and down the mountains to Mibu before dark. We are not sure if we may have to stop and sleep somewhere on the way, but our hope is to make it in one day – before our legs can cramp up from laying down all night on the floor of a hut.

We ask you to keep us in your prayers over the next 24 hours! Not just that we reach our goal in a day, but that our first interactions along the long trail will be sweet, and that we will not let exhaustion mar the joy of reuniting with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray for our strength over this long hike. Pray for mental clarity and the will to fight discouragement. And most of all, may we glorify God with this day.

Traveling Mercies…

Thank you for prayers for safe travel! We have never had such a smooth across-the-world trip! Though we are all a little dazed and foggy in the brain from all the airplanes and airports and time zone changes, we are so happy to be back in Papua New Guinea! And with every family member and every piece of luggage accounted for, we are tired but thankful.

On the long flight from LA to Brisbane, Brooke sat next to a Papua New Guinean 9th grade student! She had just spent a month in Indiana, and was eager to talk about her perspective on visiting the US for the first time. Some things that stood out to her were all the machines that Americans use to do their work. She said, “how can a machine know better than I do where the dirt is on my clothes, and where to scrub the most?” She also said that New Guinea girls know better how to run and manage a house, and that the New Guinea mothers teach their daughters at an early age. When she was about six, her mother said, “Watch everything that I do, how I cook and wash and clean and take care of the little ones.” So she did! Deborah said that all New Guinean daughters have to know how to run the household so that if their mothers die, their fathers will not be forced to remarry a stepmother just to take care of the children and the house. Daughters must be ready to step in! (what a perspective! I have seen many New Guinean girls’ competence, but never heard it reasoned out like that!) Another observation she had on Americans is how silly it is to have to cut the word ‘fat’ out of their descriptions of anyone! (Here in PNG, fat and skinny are used as or more acceptably than we use short and tall!) However, her overall impression was wonderfully friendly, she loved America, and will definitely be coming back again soon!

It was wonderful to begin hearing some Pidgin again early on in our trip, and to hear some of the opposite side of the story – how a New Guinean looks at being in America!

Busy supply shopping days ahead,
More soon,

2 More Days!

Hi everyone!

In two more days, our family heads back to PNG!!! Thank you so much for your prayers as we go.

Prayer requests:
~For us to tie up the loose ends before we go on Thursday.
~Safety on the trip, and that we would be a blessing to those we come in contact with along the way.
~For our supply buying day before we head into Mibu (we’ll be buying our supplies for the whole summer, and packaging them up in just one day).
~For our hike into Mibu (it’s about a 10 hour hike)
~For God to use us to bless the Mibu church. That He would be glorified in and through us.

We hope to touch base again after we get to PNG!