Happy May! It's possibly the one month out of the year when our weather lines up with yours—showers and flowers.
We have made it back from our month away, serving at the Alotau Regional Center in the southeast of PNG. We were so blessed to be able to work there, serving the local translation teams. While there, we had the honor of celebrating with Cliff Olsen and his Gumawana co-translators. After 30 years of work they finished the translation of the New Testament into the Gumawana language. These people will never again have to wonder what God’s Word says—they can read it for themselves in their own language. Praising God for this work that He completed! Please continue to pray for their language project as the finished New Testament now goes off to be type set (formatted) and printed.
As glad as we were to go somewhere new to work for a short time, we are equally glad to be home. Before, whenever we would travel to other villages, or work outside Ukarumpa, the kids would always ask when we were going to be going back to Ukarumpa again. This time they asked when were were going to be going home. Home… such a small word to hold such big meanings.
Well now that we are back home, we are jumping back with both feet. John is catching up on a month of work that seemed to stop without him. The past couple weeks for him have been filled with drainage projects, road repairs, security fence repairs, and a lot of tree work (he and his guys got attacked by a bunch of angry bees last week, yikes!). I have my hands full, as always, with these amazing kids of ours. We are homeschooling, leading youth Bible studies and worship times, and trying to love the people in our small community well. Also, Katie just left our household to make her way back home after her 2 year term in PNG. She is heading back to the US to finish her degree in language survey and hopefully return here to serve full time in 2020. Please pray for her as she prays for what's next. We have been delighted to be able to use our home to serve and care for others here.
Please pray that God continues to open our eyes to all the various ways we can use all He has blessed us with to bring Him glory.
Please pray for us as we face more transitions in the months to come. As the school year finishes, families here will start leaving for furloughs. People here call it crying month because of all the goodbyes. Having been here 2 years now, we have even more goodbyes to make than this time last year. This is probably one of the hardest parts of this life God has called us to, a life of constant goodbyes with those you love. No matter where we live from here on out we will always be far away from some people that we care deeply for.
Thank you for praying over our finances the past few months. We feel very blessed to still be hovering around 95% of our monthly budget that Wycliffe has set for us! This is AMAZING! We are so thankful for the constant support from all of you in our home in the States. We are continually humbled at your willingness to help us do whatever God calls us to do in His name here in PNG. The blessing of your consistency is that we can commit our concerns to the work here, which is abundant, so thank you!
As a side note, we have a rare opportunity coming up that we would also ask your prayer over. The CAM dept. (Construction and Maintenance, John's dept.) is going to be placing an order for solar panel systems for the first time since we have been here. There is a big upfront cost, but in the long run we will be saving a good bit of money that we can put to uses here other than living expenses. The rate that we pay for power here is about 8-10 times what we were paying in the States. The cost for a 3 KW solar system with 10 panels will be around $6,000. Not only will our power bill go to zero, but the center will buy excess power from us (which is a savings for the center as well versus our power provider). Our breakeven point should be 3-4 years. The center will be placing the order in the next couple months. So what are we asking for? Please pray. We've seen God do amazing and unexpected things throughout this journey, and we firmly believe that he'll move in one way or another. If He doesn't provide the money for them, we'll praise Him for that too. His ways are bigger than our ways!
For His glory,
John, Kristi, Nori, Banner, and Millie
PS- let us know how we can be praying for you too.