April 7, 2017

A Visit Back Home


Dear Friends,
Greetings from Papua New Guinea. It is a joy to share with you some of the exciting things that the Lord is doing in our lives. Here are some of the most recent highlights.

The boys had their Spring break from school and we as a family were able to travel back down to the Sepik and attend the Sepik regional conference. It was so enjoyable to get back and touch base with missionaries that we served alongside for years as well as get to know the new folks. The Lord is doing some great things there in the Sepik. I have had some consultant trips in to help some of these teams and it is a blessing to have a small part of encouraging these ministries.

After 6 days in Wewak we jumped on a plane and flew into Malaumanda. We had a warm reception at the airstrip. They hadn't seen anyone other than Stephen and I (Eric) since we were in for the Bible dedication. The Malaumandans couldn't believe how big Timothy was. When we left he was just a little guy but he isn't anymore. 

(The boys loved being back in the jungle. This picture was from a trip we took to the river.)

The first three days were very rainy so we didn't get out much. I did spend one on one time with several of the leaders and some other friends. I usually spend the first couple of days of any of my visits there just talking to people and getting a feel for how things are going. Who is involved and how are things going? Without a doubt the  interpersonal issue between one of the deacons and two other leaders was obviously unresolved. I don't know how many hours I spent listening to stories from all the parties involved. It was a classic case of unresolved small issues become large and take on a life of their own. Isn't that one of the tricks of the enemy?! In the end I believe that all parties were able to forgive each other and move on but more than that it was our prayer that the leaders learned just how essential it is to keep short accounts. This was just one of several learning moments for the guys there.

(Sitting around and talking with the leaders allowed us to get a good feel for where the church is at.) 

(Judith and Mobe heading up the hill after church.)

I also sat down with the two elders and got a report from them. They seem to be doing well though some small items needed to be discussed. In many respects it seems that it is easier to be an elder who stands up and teaches then it is to be a real shepherd of God's flock. I encouraged them again to get out into the houses and spend time with people on a regular basis; and to always take a leader in training along with them. They had also started teaching on Sundays be grabbing a verse here and a verse there. Believers need to hear whole books taught through so that they get all of the spiritual food that God has for them. One exciting bit of news that we talked about was concerning the outreach possibility in the last area of our language group that has not heard the Gospel. There are several families in a small hamlet that have been asking to hear the Creation to Christ teaching. Please be praying for the Church in Malaumanda to know when the time is right to undertake this outreach.

Now I also spent a good portion of time with the deacons during our week in there as there was some misunderstanding as to their function within the church. I know that we had taught them on these points but sometimes it takes some time before the book knowledge becomes internalized. You can be praying for them as they learn to properly look after the equipment and funds that the Lord has provided the church there.

The school year coming to an end

We have roughly 2 months left before school is out. This will be a very busy season for all of us. The boys will obviously be busy with end of the year assignments and reports. They all seem to be doing well and for that we are thankful. The end of the school year also means that some of the families here are getting ready to head on furlough (home assignment). In my department two of my co-workers are taking off. This will be a huge adjustment for myself and the whole department as the work load doesn't diminish when the workers leave. We will be getting a couple of new guys in though they have little or no experience with living at Lapilo before so please pray for this transition.

Thanks again for so faithfully standing with us in prayer. We have been greatly blessed through your partnership with us. May the Lord continue to bless you all.

In Him,

Eric and Judith, Stephen, Daniel and Timothy

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