Well, we have officially been serving, learning, and living in Papua New Guinea for a year now. What better way to celebrate this blessed anniversary than to review some of the many answered prayers from the last year??? So, here they are in no particular order. Join us in our celebration and praise of our Father who is our Sustainer and Abundant Provider. His ways are truly better than our ways!
- Please pray for us as we transition repeatedly this month.
- The transitions are frequent here, but God is faithful and consistent throughout the perpetual changes. Please continue to pray for our kids especially as friends come and go all the time. The friendship roller coaster may very well be one of the hardest parts of life here.
- Please pray for our health
- We thank the Lord that we have been extremely blessed to not have frequent or serious illnesses. People go home every month because of this issue, and we are so thankful everyday for our continued good health.
- Please pray for our old overtaxed brains! That we can really soak up the language here. It has already proven to be such a strong key to deeper relationships with Papua New Guineans.
- God has answered this and has blessed us in learning Tok Pisin and bits of other local languages too (even Nori!).
- Please pray for our upcoming village stay. We will be in the village for three weeks, starting on June 25th. Pray for health, safety, sleep, food, language acquisition, and relationships.
- This time was truly blessed! We feel like we couldn't have asked for a better wasfamili. We are thankful that we can keep working on and growing these relationships! The visit in May to deliver school books was such a blessed time, and we are hopeful to continue doing more to promote literacy and the Gospel message in this community. Another exciting note is when Kristi's Mom comes to visit in September we will be taking her to meet our family in the village :)
- Please pray for rain! We are in a drought right now and this becomes a hardship for everyone. The Papua New Guineans are losing their food and their livelihood as things dry up, our rainwater tanks are becoming empty, and even the river next to Ukarumpa is dwindling, which is a lifeline to the entire community around here.
- God answered this big time in His perfect timing! Our tanks are overflowing as we enter into dry season again. John's water storage project for our community here is now complete and we hope that this is a great help as the typically frequent rains start to diminish.
- Please pray for us as we continue to settle into this new life here. That our hearts will be open to what God has planned for us that day.
- He continues to answer! We ask that you keep praying this with us, as this is a daily choice. God is constantly putting new people and new projects in our path. It's exciting to be a part of so much work and life, but just pray that we hold our plans with open hands because that is when God can really do His thing. One new thing God has added to our plates is both John and Kristi will be leading and shepherding a youth Bible study each week that consists of expats and nationals both!
- Please pray for us as we look for a local Tok Pisin church (instead of the English service here at the center) to be a part of. We hope that God can use this church relationship to give us deep roots in the local community here.
- God has answered this through our church in Kwina. He continues to further our relationships in this close-knit village. Each week we are more and more accepted as a true part of this community, and we are looking forward to working alongside of them more as we continue work on building a new church there. We feel so blessed with this church choice—unbeknownst to us when we chose it, but there a number of men and their families from the CAM department that attend here. What an amazing opportunity to continue to build relationships with people that John gets to see at work everyday
- Please pray for John as so much is changing at his job in CAM (Construction and Maintenance). Two men are leaving the department this next month: one is going finish (meaning he won’t be returning at this time to PNG), and the other (who is the director of the whole CAM department) will be on furlough through May 2016. Their departure leaves a lot of weight on the shoulders of the managers that are left (4 left in a department of over 50). There is more work to be done than they could ever finish, and now with the drought they have all been working overtime to figure out and implement some more long term solutions for the community here. Pray that God will give him wisdom, endurance, and patience. Please pray for his relationships with both Papua New Guineans and other missionaries, that they would continue to grow and deepen despite cultural differences, and pray for him to remember to use his sunscreen!
This is such a praise and still a big prayer request. John has found the work that God has created him to do and is thriving in this department that has so many hats to wear :) Given that missionaries go home on furlough every 2-4 years, he has recently taken on his fifth role since being here. He is currently in charge of the Maintenance Section which is the biggest in CAM and is pretty much responsible for everything here that's not a building (interesting background about Ukarumpa here). There are still daily challenges as he has to navigate cultural and relational dynamics and manage projects in Tok Pisin, but God is gracious! Another praise is that help seems to be on the horizon. There are at least four new guys scheduled to come (or come back) in the next few months! It's so encouraging to see all the Bible translation projects that His work directly enables to help take place. John doesn't always remember His sunscreen but maybe his darker skin is helping him become even more PNG true (LOL)!
- Steven Pikus is a young (that's mid-30's y'all...) Bible translator that we met at the training center here during our POC training. He is stepping out in faith to work 5+ days a week on the Gadsup Old Testament for his language group. He has a wife and three little kids and is working full time now for no pay, so we are walking with him through this, whatever it entails.
- Steven and John have continued to forge a deeper relationship as they get together weekly to eat, pray, and fellowship together. Steven just graduated from the next training course here for national translators to help him with his translation work for the Gadsup Old Testament. It is humbling to walk alongside someone that lives in a bush house without power and running water, but is willing to walk 2+ hours every day (one way!) and learn Greek and Hebrew to better translate the Bible into his community's heart language so that they can understand God's life-changing Word.
- A House to call Home-This is a big heavy on our heart. So much our our ministry happens in and through our home that not having this settled has been hard for us. Pray for wisdom, discernment, certainty, and for God to provide the finances needed.
- This is an answer to prayer that took us by complete surprise, but God has provided us with a home! We are overjoyed and so thankful for this generous gift from our Father! We are so thankful that we won't be moving every 6-12 months now! Please pray that this will be a safe place for our family, a haven of rest, and a tool for His ministry.
We love you all dearly. Thank you for your prayers, they are being heard and answered left and right, are are a true lifeline for us. Connecting our hearts and lives not only to our Creator but to you back home. We are so thankful for you, and remember you all in our prayers daily.
John, Kristi, and the kids