In a little less than two weeks this year will come to a conclusion. It is hard to imagine where the time has gone. All we know is that the Lord has given us some amazing opportunities to serve him here during these 12 months. We don’t look back to revel in our accomplishments but to praise Him for what He has done. Here are a few snapshots.
Malaumanda– We were able to spend a week in Malaumanda as a family early in the year. This was a great time for all of us to touch base with our church family there. In July, Stephen and I were able to go in for a week to help start construction on the new church building. In November I was able to go in with my co-worker, John Hutteman, and work towards getting the church building framed and under roof. During all of these trips we were able to see that the church is doing good but not great. There are plenty of challenges before them that we would like to address, but more on that later.
Culture/Language consulting- This year I was able to work directly with 5 different tribal church planting teams which led to 8 trips into the bush. It has been a joy to get in and spend time with these different families as they prepare for sharing the Gospel, and planting and establishing churches among the people groups that they work with. 2 of these teams (3 families) were able to finish up their study this year which means that they have now transitioned into full time ministry. PTL
Numonohi Christian Academy- Judith started this school year with over seeing a typing course at the mission school here. She does this 4 days a week as well as helping out on the school’s management team.
Judith overseeing a typing class at school
Judith’s schedule- This is where I get to brag a bit on my wife a bit. 🙂 Judith does a lot of work here that quite often flies under the radar. Besides her responsibilities with the school she is also a member of the Lapilo community care team. She oversees the conference kitchen here on centre. One of her other significant ministries is that of watching children at different times of the day so that the mothers can be involved in other ministries like the medical clinic or the school. She has a HUGE heart for hospitality (which I love) and has a knack for being an encouragement and support to so many different people here on the field. And of course she does an excellent job of looking after and feeding our 3 boys. I could go on and on but she won’t let me. Centre Operations- This is the ministry that with out a doubt takes up most of my time. Overseeing all of the physical plant sort of needs here at Lapilo continues to be a huge challenge. The personnel numbers in the department are down and yet we are still keeping things functioning here on centre which is a praise. More on this later.
The Boys- It just wouldn’t be right for us not to sneak in a word or two about the boys. They are all doing very well in school this year and have a great group of friends that they spend time with. Stephen in particular is growing up and doing better at taking on his own responsibilities. He also just recently became the president of his 8th grade class. It will be interesting to see how he grows into that role during the rest of the year.
Daniel has now taken over the job of looking after our tree kangaroo, Bear.
Timothy working hard at school. He is doing well at 2nd grade.
2018- Ministry opportunities to come
In many ways our 2018 will look much like our 2017. That being said there are some specific ways in which we would ask you to pray for us in the coming year.
Centre Operations- Please pray that the Lord would raise up some additional full time staff for our department. While we have been able to keep things running here at Lapilo, our ability to send guys off to help with bush construction projects has been limited. We know what it is like to be in the bush and need technical help so our heart is to help the folks out in the villages whenever possible.
Malaumanda– This coming year I will be looking to engage with the Malaumanda church in several areas. We need to spend a bit more time with the existing leaders in the process of developing some of the newer guys to become ministry ready. Connected to this need is the opportunity that the church there has to do an outreach to the Kasekali area of the people group. We really hope to see this happen in 2018.
For myself personally, I will be trying to make a trip or two next year to go over some of the revisions in the Malaumanda New Testament. We would like this completed before we leave for our next Home Assignment in June 2019 so that we can work towards doing a larger scale printing of the Malaumanda NT at that time.
Finances- We have been very blessed by the kind generosity of so many over the years. While our support level as a percentage is good, we are finding that we are struggling to be able to sustain all of the different ministries that we are involve in. The Lord has been faithful and by faith we move on into this new year not knowing how we will afford flight costs into the bush, replacing a computer, and the like. We don’t generally bring up money related items in these updates but would ask that you pray with us that the Lord would provide the extra funds needed to engage in these ministries.
We trust that you all have had a great 2017 and will pray that the Lord will continue to guide and direct you in the coming year. Heaven is our home and we are sojourners together on the road ahead.
Blessings to you all,
Eric and Judith,
Stephen, Daniel and Timothy