School's out for Winter (it's "Winter" here, a.k.a. dry season), schools out forever! For most of the families here in Ukarumpa that is the song ringing out across the mountains—but not for the Craig kids. We are entering our 3rd month of our new school year, and going strong. I now have them all at home and the juggling act has gotten harder with a 4th, 2nd, and kindergartener in the mix. You might be wondering why we are starting so early; why we are moving full steam ahead. Well, it's because everything here takes so much more time and planning, you have to constantly be looking to the future while also staying focused on the present.
Next September (2018) we are planning to go on furlough. It will take at the very least one crazy month to pack and prepare our home here for us to be gone, and then a month or so to settle into a routine in the States. That puts us loosing 3 months of valuable school time next year. So the plan is to start early now, so that two years from now we can finish right on time, even with taking a break for transitioning.
I find that I tend to thrive in this kind of environment—as God created me to be a planner and organizer at heart. I find it invigorating to live in a place that people have to be planning all the time, it's truly is a beautiful thing :) But the better part of it really is that it's just another opportunity for us to lay our lives at God's feet and surrender control. Plans change, life happens, and that's where His glory shines. And that is a huge statement of surrender for a planner, LOL!
So for prayer this month, please pray first for the future of PNG. Elections just happened at the very end of June and we are currently waiting for the results. Pray that God defeats the deceiver and raises up God-fearing people to lead PNG through this next term.
Pray for Kristi and the kids as we are still navigating how this new school year will work. Pray that they will be patent and kind with each other as they learn. As much as I want them to absorb the knowledge from our formal teachings, even more I want them to learn how to speak kindly, love mercy, and walk humbly before the Lord. Pray that each day God will gain a larger part of their hearts.
Pray against lice!!!! We can’t seem to rid our family of it, lately. There are Super Lice here (yeah, I made that up), and they laugh at me as I put things on the kids' hair to smother and kill them. We have combed and blow-dried the hair; we have washed the bedding and sun baked it, and we have sprayed the house, but still they keep popping up! I have even taken to flat ironing the kids hair every day. Maybe a few weeks of that will fry anything still hiding in there. Pray we eradicate lice from our lives, it really makes me want to cry (drying bedding outside across multiple days of rain is impossible!).
Pray for John’s work; they have lost some people and for the next two weeks, John will be the head of all Construction and Maintenance. Pray that God sends more people to help serve in that department. Pray that John has the energy to finish and oversee all the projects, and the endurance to love the people well that God sets before him.
Thank you to those of you who have sent help for our solar project! Please keep praying that God will provide the rest of the funding needed to purchase and install them. There was a short delay in ordering, so we do have a little bit more time in raising the funds. If you were thinking about helping out, now's still the time. You can give to our Wycliffe account, or contact us if you have any questions, we would be happy to chat with you :)
Also, due to our revised Wycliffe budget amounts (accounting for cost of living increases, mostly in the US, but also here) and with the loss of a few partners, for the first time since we arrived 2 years ago we are under budget. :(
Thank you to all have been faithfully giving and supporting us all this time. It's hard to put into words how much it has blessed us to have not had to worry about this major part of being here. Your generosity has been God's faithfulness to our family here, and a HUGE encouragement. Thank you!!!
Now we are in a place where God is calling for us to be even more dependent on Him. Now we have about 70% of our needed funds coming in. Please pray over 3 things.
1. That God would surprise us with new partners to help support our work here.
2. That you would prayerfully consider raising your support of our Wycliffe ministry by even $5 to $10 dollars more a month. If all our partners joined us in this way we would be fully funded again.
3. That God will guard our hearts. It's so easy for the enemy to use anything here to make you feel discouraged. Pray that we keep our hope in Him and that we continue to trust in Him and His provisions, even when things seem daunting.
The truth is and always has been: we aren't here because of anything that we have done. It is because of the Lord that we have come this far, and it is God alone that will sustain us! Thank you again for being His hands and feet.
Thank you for praying! we love you,
John and Kristi & Nori, Banner, and Millie
P.S. - please send us your prayer requests and updates too! we would love to pray for you better :)